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Washington State Recognizes the Validity of Blockchain Technology in New Bill

The Washington State Senate introduced bill SB 5638, an act that recognizes the validity of distributed ledger technology and aims to provide the legal recognition that blockchains were missing, the State’s authorities announced on January 28, 2019.

New Bill Aims to Encourage the Development of Blockchain and DLT

While the future of cryptocurrencies and the technology underlying them is still largely unknown, certain “crypto hotspots” have formed around the world offering a boost to the industry. One of those hotspots is the Washington State in the U.S., where low electricity prices and a welcoming government made it a promised land for crypto miners and blockchain companies.

Now, the state has introduced a new bill that aims to further encourage the development of distributed ledger and blockchain technology. According to the Washington State Legislature, the Washington State Senate introduced SB 5638, an act “relating to the recognizing the validity of distributed ledger technology.” The bill, introduced on January 25, 2019, will reportedly amend and add to an act that is already in state law.

The new bill aims to codify blockchain-enabled digital signatures and licenses, as well as provide the legal framework needed to enforce the newly implemented standards.

Amending An Old Authentication Act

The new bill was created as a revision of the “Washington Electronic Authentication Act,” an act passed back in 1994. The purpose of the original bill was to ensure that “electronic signatures,” which was a relatively new phenomenon then, were not denied legal recognition.

While there are many sections of the act that the new bill revised, the most important change is the addition of the blockchain sector to the list of things protected by the act. The bill also added two new definitions – the terms blockchain and distributed ledger technology were clearly explained in the document.

Despite the fact that Democrats control both houses of the Washington State Legislature, the bill is sponsored by four Republican State Senators. According to the Legislature’s official website, Senators Sharon Brown, Ann Rivers, Randi Becker, and Shelly Short have all backed the bill, which has completed its first reading as of January 28, 2019.

The bill is now headed to committee, where it will be subjected to detailed analysis by the state authorities. After sufficient research has been done on the subject, the committee will go ahead with the proposed legislation. And while the bill itself won’t bring any meaningful change unless it’s passed into law, giving the space formal recognition could accelerate the growth of the state’s already booming crypto industry.

SOURCE: https://btcmanager.com/washington-state-recognizes-validity-blockchain-technology-bill/?q=/washington-state-recognizes-validity-blockchain-technology-bill/&

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Croatia’s City of Zagreb Set to Integrate Blockchain Technology

Several firms including DeloitteOmega Software, and others have submitted proposals to authorities in the city of Zagreb to enable them to develop distributed ledger technology (DLT) based solutions that would handle the day-to-day processes of the region, reported local news source Vecernji on January 29, 2019.

Croatia Joins the Blockchain Movement

Per sources close to the development, authorities in the Croatian city are looking to adopt blockchain technology and integrate it into the day-to-day running of the state including safeguarding sensitive documents as well as to monitor the business processes of local firms.

Reportedly, three firms have submitted proposals for the project, including Deloitte, a global professional services firm, Omega Software, a Croatia-based DLT startup, and a local software firm created through a merger between IT Systems and New Technologies.

Zagreb Betting on DLT

At a time when various nations across the world including China, Thailand, Kenya, and others have started embracing the revolutionary technology, Zagreb is trying its best not to be left behind in the race.

Commenting on the matter, Olivera Majic, deputy mayor of Zagreb, reportedly noted that the creation of a highly functional blockchain system for the capital is a top priority endeavor, adding that “it is part of a broader transformation of business processes in the city government which is performing excellently well.”

Reportedly, current Croatian legislation stipulates that all official documents of the government (both digitized and in paper form) must be kept for a minimum of ten years or more before being disposed of.

Interestingly, the officials of the city also noted that while documents in paper form can be kept securely for over two decades, it is impossible for electronic records to achieve the same feat since the digital certificates that make them tamper-proof have a maximum lifespan of five years.

Against that backdrop, once the e-signature of such documents expires, it becomes almost impossible to determine whether the records are still authentic.

Importantly, authorities have now started processing the proposals of each of the firms, and sources say the most suitable firm will be selected within the next 90 days while the blockchain solution is expected to go live precisely one month after that.

Though nascent, it’s worth noting that blockchain technology is slowly but steadily gaining global traction globally.

In September 2018, BTCManager reported that the United Nations was looking to employ DLT in tackling the global social crisis.

SOURCE: https://btcmanager.com/croatias-city-zagreb-set-integrate-blockchain-technology-operations/?q=/croatias-city-zagreb-set-integrate-blockchain-technology-operations/&

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Coinbase Unveils Services for High-Volume Crypto Investors in Asia and Europe

On January 22, 2018,Coinbase, the American cryptocurrency exchange, announced the launch of new trading and custody services for Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Pro which will allow high-volume investors in Asia and Europe to trade virtual currencies, make cross-border payments, and store digital assets in its cold storage.

Coinbase Leading the Crypto Revolution

On its blog, Coinbase revealed the launch of new features and services for its suite of products such as Coinbase Pro, Coinbase Prime, and Coinbase Custody which can be used by high-volume investors in Asian and European regions.

According to the exchange, as from January 22, 2019, Coinbase Prime customers in either continent can use its professional trading platforms to deposit, withdraw, and trade USD for virtual currencies.

At the same time, these customers can access USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin which is reportedly backed by USD at a ratio of one to one. USDC is said to be exchangeable for the USD as well as a wide variety of trading pairs and vice versa.

Multiple Options for Crypto Traders

The highly-reputed cryptocurrency trading venue also stated that customers in Asia and Europe can now make cross-border payments via SWIFT, where they can choose to buy digital assets using a non-U.S. bank account or receive funds in their bank accounts through wire transfers.

Aside from these, other services which the exchange has provided for customers in Asian and European countries are the Coinbase Custody and Over-The-Counter (OTC) trading desks.

Notably, the firm has hinted that its custodial service, Coinbase Custody, is a New York Banking Trust that has been regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) and fully optimized to enable the offline storage of digital assets securely. The cold storage service is primarily targeted at high volume traders in Asian countries.

The OTC service is only available for select customers of the Coinbase Prime platform, enabling traders to carry out large volume trades at the designated desks in the U.S. and Europe.

“Coinbase’s OTC desk is agency only, meaning that we never trade on a principal basis or against our clients,” Coinbase declared.

While shedding more light into the launch of these services, the virtual currency exchange stated that over the past year, their range of products has seen significant adoption in the cryptospace, with cryptocurrency miners, trading firms, and asset issuers actively using its products and services.

In a recent report on January 18, 2019, BTCManagerrevealed that Coinbase had acquired Blockspring, a company focused on data collection and processing.

SOURCE: https://btcmanager.com/coinbase-unveils-services-high-volume-crypto-investors-asia-europe/

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Bitcoin, Ether, and XRP Weekly Market Update: January 24, 2019

The global market cap is down $2 billion since January 17, 2019, and now stands at $119 billion. Bitcoin lost 1.7 percent for the seven-day period while ether and XRP declined 5.7 percent and 4.2 percent respectively.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin closed its second day of gains on January 17 and moved north to $3,720. However, it could not keep the momentum and retreated on January 18 sliding back to $3,675. Generally, the BTC/USD pair has been moving indecisively within the $3,650 to $3,750 range for four days in a row.

On January 19, it once again registered a green day by climbing up to $3,760. It then broke above to reach $3,880 during the trading session, but the pressure from sellers was far too big to ignore. This was most obvious on January 20 when bitcoin lost 4.6 percent of its value and stopped at $3,585, where it was seven days earlier.

The biggest news of the week was without a doubt CBOE (Cboe Global Markets, Inc) withdrawing its application to list a Bitcoin ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) on its platform.

The first U.S. exchange operator to list bitcoin futures voluntary canceled its own application for the VanEck and SolidX Bitcoin Trust on CBOE BZX Exchange on January 22, 2019. The news was officially announced by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 23, but later that day VanEck’s Gabor Gurbacts tweeted that the filing had been “temporarily withdrawn” in order “to build appropriate market structure frameworks for a Bitcoin ETF and digital assets in general.”

During the last seven days, BTCManager covered the most important news in the industry starting with Binance’s new European platform and Belarus’s new digital stocks and exchange platform. Following this, wasHuobi’s return to Japan and Coinbase’s acquisition of Blockspring, before moving over to Thailand, where the official stock exchange shared plans to obtain a cryptocurrency license.

Staying in Asia, big news came from Japan where Crypto Garage, a subsidiary of the Japanese IT company Digital Garage, Inc, announced on January 21 that it would test issuance of JPY stablecoins on their very own SETTLENET platform. The news was initially reported by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) on January 18 when it granted the fintech firm entry into the regulatory sandbox.

Leaders of the South Korean crypto exchange Komid were sentenced to serve jail time for manipulating trading volume data on their platform. Hyunsuk Choi and Mr. Park faked transactions to artificially inflate volume, which earned them $45 million. Both of them were sentenced on January 17 to serve a combined five years in prison Korean media blockinpress reported.

Back in Europe where Sindri Þór Stefánsson, the mastermind behind the “Big Bitcoin Heist” in Iceland and his partners in crime, were also sentenced to serve jail time. Stefánsson received four and a half years in prison for stealing over 600 bitcoin mining rigs and other hardware while Matthias Jón Karlsson was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and Hafþór Logi Hlynsson was sentenced to 20 months.

January 21 saw BTC price hovering around $3,580 with no significant changes. On January 22, it once again moved above $3,600 in its first green day since January 19 and closed session at $3,640. The CBOE ETF withdrawal, however, had its impact on BTC price and the most popular cryptocurrency dropped to $3,590 on January 23.

Most of the market analysts expected a solid drop given the importance of the news, but the fact the proposed ETF was voluntarily withdrawn rather than rejected by U.S. regulators a resulted a the small price correction.

ETH/USD

Ethereum climbed up to $125 on January 17 in its second day of gains. Buyers were hoping to reach $130 in their next move and initiate a new short-term bull run, but on January 18 bears pushed price back down to $121 in an effort to break the recent low at $118. The mentioned level already resisted few times and did not crack under sell pressure.

ETH/USD raised to $126 on January 19 in its fifth day in a row in the $130 to $120 range. Not being able to confirm a trend, the pair dropped again on January 20, this time below the 50 percent Fibonacci line at $122.9 and $120 level. The cryptocurrency was almost flat for the seven-day period starting the week at $117.8 and closing it at $119.

At the end of last week BTCManager wrote about the creation of a new Ethereum classic (ETC) core development team called ETC Labs Core and continued with an update on the much-anticipated Ethereum Constantinople fork. Yesterday, Diar released news of ethereum’s on-chain transaction value hitting an all-time-high in December 2018 .

On January 21 ETH/USD price value declined below $118, to $117.4. On the next day, January 22, it managed to rebound from the mentioned support line and hit $120. The pair dropped to $118 on the ETF withdrawal news and suggested further losses as it became the worst performing cryptocurrency among top ten for the last seven days.

XRP/USD

Last week the Ripple company token XRP was hovering around the $0.335 level, which proved to be a strong support/resistance line in August 2018. It also coincided with the Fibonacci 50 percent retracement level on our weekly chart, which made it extremely important for further movements.

XRP/USD pair closed the trading day on January 18 at $0.3277 right above the 61.80 percent Fibonacci level. The move represented a two percent loss and was followed by a similar candle on January 19. This time, however it was in the opposite direction as the coin peaked at $0.35 during trading and closed at $0.335.  

The top ten currency could not establish a trend and made another move south on January 20. It closed at $0.321 without being able to break below this line, holding it for the second time in the last eight days. The XRP/USD pair ended the seven-day period with no significant price changes.

The Ripple coin experienced high volatility during trading session on January 21 peaking at $0.3276 at one point during the day and dropping to $0.3173 at another. It finally closed at $0.322, still above the $0.32/$0.321 support line. On January 22, it extended gains to $0.324 as pressure from sellers continued to weaken.

Major indicators and current support position suggested a consolidation phase and further movements upwards. Instead, XRP/USD dropped to $0.32 not being able to resist the brief market selloff after the CBOE ETF news.

SOURCE: https://btcmanager.com/bitcoin-ether-and-xrp-weekly-market-update-january-24-2019/?q=/bitcoin-ether-and-xrp-weekly-market-update-january-24-2019/&

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