Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- More than 100 7-Eleven convenience stores in South Korea should be fitted with blockchain-powered air pollution and weather monitoring devices before the end of this year, reports Fn News. The retailer has struck a deal with a company named Observer, which will initially install weather and pollution monitoring devices at shops in the capital – and rollout at 3,000 stores nationwide in 2020. Observer says the devices will feed real-time pollution data to a blockchain-powered network that can be shared with companies and agencies involved in the fight against air pollution.
- Blockchain adoption combined with IoT (the Internet of Things) adoption, while still immature and facing multiple challenges, is booming in the U.S. and moving much faster than expected, finds the major research and advisory company Gartner. Their recent survey says that:
— 75% of IoT technology adopters in the U.S. have already adopted blockchain or are planning to adopt it by the end of 2020;
— 86% are implementing the two technologies together in various projects;
— 63% indicated that the top benefit of their combined IoT/blockchain projects is increased security and trust in shared multiparty transactions and data;
— 56% said the top benefit is an increase in business efficiency and lower costs;
— 43% chose increase in revenue and business opportunities;
— 37% chose improved constituent or participant experience.
(Learn more: Blockchains are Helping the Internet of Things to Move Beyond Hype)
- Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), an American multinational semiconductor company, has joined the Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA), and it has made partnerships with blockchain technology providers Robot Cache and ULTRA to help promote the development and proliferation of new blockchain-powered gaming platforms. AMD plans to enable alliance members with computing technologies for next-generation blockchain-based gaming platforms that could potentially transform the way games are created, published, purchased and played, the company says.
- ByteDance Inc., the owner of the popular social networking service TikTok, started a joint venture with a state-owned Chinese media group on December 10 in China’s Jinan city, in order to develop business lines that include blockchain and artificial intelligence, reports Bloomberg.
- Decentralized storage provider Filecoin has launched their public testnet on schedule. The announcement explains that it is a live test network for interoperable implementations of the Filecoin protocol, as well as a period of significant testing, benchmarking, and optimizations. The goal is to evaluate Filecoin at meaningful scale before launching mainnet and to fix any potential issues that may arise. This testnet marks the transition to a new phase for the Filecoin project, that of ruthless prioritization, network launch, refining protocol-market fit, and growing the Filecoin ecosystem, they said.
- The Minister of Finance in the Argentinian state of Misiones says the provincial government is keen to launch a local cryptocurrency. In an interview with Ambito, the minister, Adolfo Safrán, claimed that a Misiones-issued token would be the world’s first of its kind, perhaps hinting that the coin would not be a stablecoin pegged to the peso or the United States dollar. Safrán added that Misiones is eyeing a “medium or long-term launch” for the token, and is mulling the idea of backing it with material goods or USD-backed securities.
- Tata Consultancy Services, a global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, launched its Quartz™ DevKit, a development kit for enterprises to "quickly build and deploy blockchain applications on any popular blockchain platform."
- Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has announced it will end leveraged trading. In a blog post, the company says it will end all leveraged-related services on March 13 next year. Although the company did not explain why it had taken the decision, media outlet Crypto Watch has suggested that forthcoming regulatory changes are coming for existing leveraged trading laws in Japan. These amendments are expected to take effect in spring 2020 – meaning Coincheck’s move is likely preemptive.
- The Japanese regulatory Financial Services Agency (FSA) has issued a warning to an overseas exchange that it says is targeting Japanese customers. Per an official release, the FSA has stated that the exchange, named BtcNext, is based in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The FSA says it has evidence that BtcNext has been providing services to Japanese customers based in Japan. Under Japanese law, all exchanges dealing with customers based in Japan must obtain an operating license – with platforms like KuCoin and Huobi previously heeding the agency’s warnings.
- The AMLD5 (Anti-Money Laundering Directive) European Union regulation that will be coming into effect on January 10, 2020, has claimed three more victims. The UK-based Bitcoin payments startup Bottle Pay will shut down on December 31, saying that the amount and type of additional personal information they’d be required to collect from users would bring such a radical and negative change to the user experience, that they are not willing to force this onto the community. Online crypto gaming platform ChopCoin and mining pool Simplecoin also announced that they will be closing up shop in less than a month. They too cited the AMLD5 regulation, which requires companies to adopt a range of anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) measures, which the companies worry will jeopardize users’ privacy.
Digital fiat news
- Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, developed an e-krona in a test environment. They said that they intend to sign an agreement by the end of the year with consulting company Accenture to develop the e-krona digital currency pilot project, the primary objective of which is to broaden the bank’s understanding of the technological possibilities for the e-krona. The contract lasts for one year, but can be extended up to seven years of testing. The Riksbank has not yet taken a decision to issue an e-krona.