This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments
IBM claims 65% of world’s major banks will use blockchain by 2019
A recent report from IBM suggests that by 2019, 65% of the world’s major banks will be using blockchain technology. The CEO Ginni Rmoetty, speaking at the Sibos Conference, said that she wasn’t talking about bitcoin or any other type of cybercurrency, but about the technology that allowed trust and efficiency in exchanges. According to her, blockchain will do for transactions what the internet did for information. IBM has been experimenting with blockchain for a while now, delivering it as a service for developers.
Amazon launches its own virtual currency, called Stream+
Twitch, a company owned by Amazon, has recently announced that it will be launching its own virtual currency, Stream+, as a loyalty points system where players can earn points by watching streams. According to Patrick Gilmore, head of Amazon Game Studios, it can be used in “polls and wagering”. The coin will roll out when the game Breakaway goes public, but it is yet unknown if users will be able to buy, sell or trade the currency elsewhere. The move comes with some controversy, as the gaming industry has been widely affected by gambling scandals.
Unicoin, an Indian bitcoin company, has raised $1.5 million from investors
Unicoin is a Bangalore-based bitcoin startup that recently managed to raise $1.5 million from U.S. and Indian investors. The company itself Is a platform that allows users to buy, sell and store bitcoins – mostly for Indian customers. The company compares itself to an Indian Coinbase, and was born out of necessity as, according to a co-founder, exchanging bitcoin in India could sometimes take three to five days. Right now, the company has over 100.000 users and 30 employees.
BigchainDB, a blockchain database startup, raised $3 .37million
BigchainDB is a startup looking to scale blockchain for enterprise, and it has recently managed to raise $3.37 million. The capital is intended to help the company increase its staff and bolster its security. The company is looking to, according to the CEO Bruce Pon, “blockchainify” existing database infrastructures to, admittedly, turn blockchain into a reality for enterprises. As of right now, the company is currently employing only 15 people, and is looking to hire 4 more, including a business development manager, with the use of the capital it has raised.
Hacked funds are now being transferred through bitcoin ATMs through money mule scams
Hackers who raid corporate bank accounts need to launder their stolen funds in order to use them safely. Now, light has been shed on one of their schemes that uses money mules, people recruited through job scams. These people are instructed to wire stolen funds to scammers through bitcoin ATMs, after their given an instructional video on how to do so. According to KrebsOnSecurity, bitcoin ATMs are being used as traditional wire transfers can easily be seen as suspicious, while bitcoin transactions are safer.
Spain may tax its bitcoin miners up to 47% of their profits
According to Spanish publication CriptoNoticias, bitcoin miners may need to start paying taxes of up to 47% of their profits in the future, according to a recent notice issued by the country’s National Directorate of Tax. Reportedly, the reasons for the new tax cited money laundering, possible relation to cybercriminal activities, and money laundering. If the tax is implemented, bitcoin miners will have to register with Spanish authorities so they can later on submit their taxes on mining-earned profits.
OneCoin is being investigated by London Police over cryptocurrency fraud
Promoted as a digital currency investment opportunity, OneCoin has gained a lot of popularity but, according to the Financial Conduct Authority, one of several finance regulators in the UK, it poses a risk to consumers as some critics even go as far as saying that OneCoin, as a currency, doesn’t even exist. The FCA has warned consumers, and urged those who believe to have been scammed to contact the London police’s fraud division. OneCoin has been warned against in the past by Belgian authorities.
Bitcoin at $614 near the end of the week
At the time of this writing, one bitcoin was worth $614, according to Coindesk. Even though the price of the cryptocurrency has been somewhat stable in the past, there seems to be a belief that the problems Deutsche Bank is currently facing may affect the price of bitcoin, as people may seek refuge from traditional markets by using bitcoin – oftentimes seen as virtual gold.