The Hash War is over, Germany takes on tax fraud, Hong Kong and Gibraltar welcome new regulatory-compliant crypto businesses, and Overstock gets out of the retail business.
Here is some of the news, for Monday, November 26, 2018:
Bitcoin Cash Hash War Ends, Leaving Battlefield of Collateral Damage
Bitcoin SV – one of the feuding claimants for the Bitcoin Cash mantle – has officially waved the white flag over the Thanksgiving weekend, ending a hash war that has helped contribute to a BCH bleed-off of over 50 percent of market capitalization since the beginning of November.
In a post on Coingeek, Bitcoin SV representative Calvin Ayre indicated the company is no longer seeking the name “Bitcoin Cash” and will instead seek its own blockchain.
“Any time you feel forced to square off to defend yourself or something you value you always need to have an end game plan. For CoinGeek that end game was always making sure there was a version of the original Bitcoin still able to show off its original economic design genius to the world.”
Per Ayre, nChain – the Craig Wright-headed firm supporting the SV fork – said it will “leave ABC chain alone if they enact replay protection and do a permanent split.” Replay protection prevents charges from one fork of a blockchain from being registered on other forks.
Germany to Tackle Tax Fraud with Blockchain
“Regulatorically, we are not quite ready for the new world,” parliamentary state secretary Christan Hirte said, per a Google translation. “This could ensure that who owns a share is at any time certainly traceable.”
The idea for this came following the tax evasion scheme CumEx-Files, where several banks, stock traders, and lawyers engaged in speculation with dividend tax. The German economy was hit for at least $36.2 billion in the scheme that saw over $60 billion stolen.
The hope is that through blockchain technology, tax obligations would be traceable at any time. At this time, there are no definitive details on how this new system would work.
Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Awarded License
Irish Tech News is reporting that the Gibraltar Financial Service Commission has awarded the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) a “full Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) license.” GBX is a subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX), meaning that it now owns a fully regulated blockchain exchange.
The exchange was purpose-built to comply with the blockchain regulatory framework for the British territory. The establishment of the exchange reflects Gibraltar’s intentions to make blockchain and token sales principal industries for the island.
Post-Regulations Crypto Custodian Launches in Hong Kong
InVault, a Shanghai startup, is reportedly the first trading platform to emerge following Hong Kong’s new licensing requirements for cryptocurrencies. The South China Morning Post reports that the firm, which holds about one million Ether in mainland China, has been granted a new trust license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
The Chinese government prohibits banks and other financial institutions from dealing in crypto or providing services to crypto firms in China. However, as Hong Kong maintains a separate legal standard from the rest of the nation under existing “One Country, Two Systems” guarantees, the territory has been a bastion for crypto businesses. Pressure to ensure crypto security has led the SFC to introduce a new regulatory framework.
InVault provides custodial services for crypto assets by storing private keys in physical storage. InVault will serve as a trustee under SFC’s new regulations, which requires virtual assets fund managers to name a third-party trustee to safeguard assets, leave the assets in the care of an exchange, or provide a self-custody plan. Said custodian must have insurance coverage in place to compensate customers for loss of assets, with trading platforms expected to have insurance policies covering at least 95 percent of all crypto assets held.
Overstock.com to Get Out of Retail Business, Focus Exclusively on Crypto
Overstock.com, one of the first major retailers to support bitcoin, has indicated it seeks to sell off the retail portion of its business to focus solely on crypto.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne indicated that the retail operation’s sale – which started in 2017 – will likely conclude by February 2019. No potential buyers have been identified.
Instead of its surplus merchandise-selling business, Overstock will focus on managing Medici Ventures, which controls Overstock’s trading platform tZERO and “a collection of startups developing new uses for blockchain technology.”
One of these startups, Voatz, permitted oversea military personnel to participate in the West Virginia primaries this year via a smartphone app. Another has been working with the Rwandan government to develop a digital property rights platform. Despite this, Medici has yet to make a profit and the tZERO trading platform has yet to be launched commercially.
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Frederick Reese is a politics and cryptocurrency reporter based in New York. He is also a former teacher, an early adopter of bitcoin and Litecoin, and an enthusiast of all things geeky and nerdy.