The HyperLinq Weekly Digest is the one-stop source for the HyperLinq community to access relevant news involving digital assets, where we essentially outline key industry updates that our members may have missed. We are always open to suggestions and feedback so please do not hesitate to let us know what you think!
Bitcoin ATMs Worldwide Hit New Milestone, Surpassing 6,000 : Adrian Zmudzinski | CoinTelegraph
The number of Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs installed worldwide has now surpassed a new milestone surpassing 6,000. Online resource CoinATMRadar shows that there are currently 6,004 machines installed worldwide, over 65% of which are in the United States. Furthermore, 108 machines have been deployed this month and data also shows that the average daily number of Bitcoin ATMs installed is 11 — the fastest pace this year. Over three-quarters of the machines installed worldwide are in North America, nearly 20% in Europe and only 2% in Asia. Bitcoin ATMs, sometimes referred to as BTMs, allow users to buy BTC, while over 35% of machines also have two-way capabilities enabling sell crypto for cash. In mid-October, one such machine was installed by BTM firm Bitstop at the Miami International Airport. As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Chief John Fort said that the regulator is wary of the potential tax issues caused by Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks. “They’re required to abide by the same Know-Your-Customer, Anti-Money Laundering regulations, and we believe some have varying levels of adherence to those regulations,” said Fort.
Chinese Army’s Blockchain Provider Approved for New Hyperledger Certification Program : David Pan | CoinDesk
Hyperledger, the open-source blockchain alliance backed by the Linux Foundation, has green-lit a Beijing-based firm that also serves the Chinese army to join its new certification program. Only five companies are authorized Hyperledger Certified Service Providers (HCSP), allowed to offer support, consulting, training and professional services, including installation, configuration and troubleshooting, to other enterprises exploring blockchain technologies, Hyperledger said. The three U.S. members are IBM, Accenture and Chainyard, while the two from China are Ant Financial, formerly known as Alibaba’s Alipay, and Beijing Peersafe Technology. Four months before the Hyperledger announcement, Peersafe raised a series C funding from Shanghai Civil Military Integration Development Fund, which invests in dual-use technologies that could be used for both civilian and military purposes. Peersafe claims to be the only Chinese firm that has all three government-issued qualifications: the Commercial Cryptography Product Category Certificate, Sales Permit of Information Security Products for the Ministry of Public Security and Software Supplier for Central Government Agencies. But its involvement in the military side has been largely unexplored until now. The new certification program has qualified Peersafe for Hyperledger Fabric, a distributed ledger technology intended as a foundation for developing applications such as a logistics tracking platform and a secured information system. Hengjiu borrowed heavily to pay $20 million for 71% of Minbo Information Technology, an information security and cryptography firm that’s been serving the Chinese army and other government security agencies for a decade, according to an equity transfer announcement filed with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Military and government will be two of the driving forces for information security industry, Minbo said in its recent annual reports.
Indian Parliament Will Not Consider Total Crypto Ban in Winter Session : Helen Partz | CoinTelegraph
The draft bill entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currencies” is not included in the session agenda issued in India’s lower house of parliament, Lok Sabha, on Nov. 14. In August 2019, the Indian government stated that the draft bill would be introduced in Parliament in the winter session, which takes place between Nov. 18 and Dec. 13. As reported by Cointelegraph, the draft legislation purportedly intends to not only impose a complete ban on the use of crypto in India but also to introduce a“Digital Rupee” issued by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. However, the proposed bill does not apply to Bitcoin’s (BTC) underlying technology of blockchain as well as other related technologies associated with the development of the technology, including blockchain-based financial applications. Sohail Merchant, CEO of Indian crypto exchange Pocketbits, considered the news a temporary relief, stressing that the community now has more time to circle the wagons and protect the industry. Nischal Shetty, CEO of Wazirx crypto exchange, said that the delay is great news for the crypto ecosystem in India, suggesting that the government is taking more time to reevaluate the complete ban of crypto. India’s potential ban on crypto has been widely criticized by investors in the industry.
Visa R&D Arm Develops a Blockchain System That Could Replace Financial Data Aggregators : Nathan DiCamillo | CoinDesk
Visa, the world’s largest card payment network, has been quietly developing a blockchain system that could upend how banks transfer customer transaction data to consumer financial applications like Mint and Credit Karma. In a paper published by Visa’s research and development arm, researchers describe a system called LucidiTEE. Such a configuration might spell trouble for aggregators like Plaid, Envestnet Yodlee, Finicity, according to people familiar with Visa’s thinking. LucidiTEE could also allow banks to share data to train machine learning algorithms for tackling fraud or keep financial data tracking apps from selling anonymized customer data to tech giants like Google. While the paper is undergoing a peer review process and is subject to changes, it illustrates Visa’s desire–like most large financial firms–to be able to not have customer data touching multiple different companies and to allow consumers to get closer to controlling their data. Fintech apps have encouraged banks to work with third-party data aggregators to pull, clean and normalize financial transaction data from customers. In place of regulation like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), banks and data aggregators have formed informal and formal agreements about how the aggregators would handle customer data. When two parties differ on data-sharing standards, banks have been known to cut off aggregators, stopping customers from accessing financial apps. For LucidiTEE to work in the customer transaction data space, the industry would also need to adopt a common data categorizing standard that every entity would need to follow. “It is simple when described as an exchange of data, but when you layer on the multitude of use cases, data intelligence, variances in data, security, privacy, regulation and more, it becomes much more sophisticated,” Nick Thomas, co-founder of Finicity, said in an email. Thomas said that Finicity, a founding steward of the ID-focused Sovrin Foundation, is looking at blockchain for data privacy, however.
John McAfee: Authorities Should Not Expect Crypto Firms to Stop Crypto Crimes : Ana Alexandre | CoinTelegraph
John McAfee said he hopes that the “societal impact of giving people freedom from an overburden and corrupted government” prevails over “what small part criminals are going to play in this technology.” As Cointelegraph reported last August, the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network revealed that the agency had seen a surge in filings of crypto-related Suspicious Activity Reports, the number of which exceeded 1,500 per month at the time. Despite McAfee’s assertions that cryptocurrency firms are not responsible for tracking suspicious behavior associated with digital currencies, other industry players are taking a more active role. Recently, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis launched alerts for suspicious transactions across 15 major cryptocurrencies. The tool is meant to help cryptocurrency exchanges and other financial institutions mitigate their regulatory and reputational risks. According to a Chainalysis report released this spring, 64% of ransomware attack cash-out strategies involved the laundering of funds via cryptocurrency exchanges, 12% involved mixing services and 6% involved peer-to-peer networks, while others used merchant services providers or dark web marketplaces. However, in late August, Chainalysis revealed that stolen funds represented only 8.1% of all funds sent to cryptocurrency mixers.
Coinbase Expands Reach of Visa Card in Europe, Adds 5 New Cryptos : Daniel Palmer | CoinDesk
Coinbase has added support for five new crypto options to its Visa debit card, and also expanded availability to 10 more European nations. The U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange announced Thursday that holders of the card can now spend XRP, basic attention token (BAT), augur (REP), 0x (ZRX) and stellar (XLM). The new options come in addition to the currently offered bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH) and litecoin (LTC). Coinbase customers in Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Poland, Romania and Sweden have now also been provided access to the card product. Zeeshan Feroz, CEO at Coinbase UK, said in a statement:
“By more than doubling the number of assets our customers can spend on Coinbase Card, as well as introducing the card to 10 new countries, Coinbase continues to help drive crypto’s role as a utility, and not just an investment.”
The Coinbase Card was launched back in April to serve the U.K. Coinbase says it “instantly” converts cryptocurrency to fiat currency when customers make a transaction using the debit card. According to the firm, the card can be used anywhere that accepts Visa, including internationally.
German Airline Company Hahn Air Issues Tickets on Blockchain : Ana Alexandre | CoinTelegraph
German airline Hahn Air claims to be the first airline company to issue tickets on a blockchain, the firm announced in a press release on Nov. 18. The ticket sale using blockchain technology was made possible through Hahn Air’s collaboration with a decentralized platform for the travel industry, Winding Tree. Frederick Nowotny, head of sales engineering at Hahn Air, Maksim Izmaylov, the founder of Winding Tree, and Davide Montali, CIO at Winding Tree, became the first passengers to use blockchain-booked tickets. Commenting on the product, Nowotny said the goal of the company is to “investigate and monitor the opportunities this technology holds for travel distribution, even if widespread acceptance is still a vision of the future.”
German airline Hahn Air claims to be the first airline company to issue tickets on a blockchain, the firm announced in a press release on Nov. 18. The ticket sale using blockchain technology was made possible through Hahn Air’s collaboration with a decentralized platform for the travel industry, Winding Tree. Frederick Nowotny, head of sales engineering at Hahn Air, Maksim Izmaylov, the founder of Winding Tree, and Davide Montali, CIO at Winding Tree, became the first passengers to use blockchain-booked tickets. Commenting on the product, Nowotny said the goal of the company is to “investigate and monitor the opportunities this technology holds for travel distribution, even if widespread acceptance is still a vision of the future.” Blockchain technology and digital currencies have been steadily entering the travel industry, in recent years.