Blockchain This Week – Intriguing the Nations

This week, the word Blockchain resonated with governments across the globe. Which countries are excited about this technology, and which of them snub Blockchain? Here is a look.

The U.S. continues its pursuit of a digital dollar

The U.S. has recently renewed its interest in launching the digital version of the U.S. dollar. This development is attributed by some to the mounting pressure on the U.S. to maintain the reserve currency status of the U.S. dollar, which they feel is increasingly being threatened by the imminent launch of the digital yuan. On Tuesday this week, the Senate Banking Committee held a virtual hearing on the relevance of the digital dollar in the U.S. economy with the luminaries from the digital currencies sector as witnesses. Addressing the frictions in the current payment systems while emphasizing financial inclusions took center stage in this discussion.

Canada opines on the digital currency

One Tuesday, the experts from the Canadian Central Bank, released a note on what they consider as an ideal digital currency. According to them, the digital version should imitate the physical one both in terms of experience and security. The CBDC has to be easily accessible as cash. Physical or digital incompetence should not inhibit people from using digital currencies. Lack of infrastructure such as smartphones, electricity, and internet connection should not dampen the adoption. The proposal, however, sounds quixotic at the moment, and needs to be developed.

The new North American treaty can benefit Blockchain

United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), the NAFTA replacement, came into enforcement on July 1. According to James Cooper, a U.S academic, this new deal holds many opportunities for Blockchain. USMCA is believed to increase the flow of goods across the U.S – Mexico border. First, smart contracts can be leveraged to settle disputes and provide arbitration in several cross-border trades. Secondly, USMCA’s requirement of standardized data sharing between the countries is possible using Blockchain. Thirdly, the ability of Blockchain to provide reliable provenance information will benefit the automotive industry, where the new pact has mandated verification of sources of the raw materials used in production. Finally, Blockchain technology can prove beneficial in the remittance markets and reduce the extensive paperwork involved in cross-border trades.

Japan tests digital currency

Soramitsu, a Japanese Blockchain company, will introduce the ‘White Tiger’ digital currency at the University of Aizu, starting July 1. This digital currency is part of the Smart City initiative by public and private entities in the city of Aizu. The retailers participating in the White Tiger project will receive payments using smartphone apps or charge cards.

It was, however, not always good news. There were incidents where Blockchain and cryptocurrencies were rejected. 

Yet another glitch in Russian Blockchain voting

Russia’s vote for constitutional changes had piqued the interest of the Blockchain enthusiasts due to the use of the technology in recording votes in Moscow. But, many problems have been reported with this voting method. The latest among them is the bug that allows anyone to access the keys used to encrypt the votes from the HTML code of the ballot page. The Russian IT department claims these keys can decrypt only one’s vote. Meduza, the firm behind these findings, however, reports that the key can decrypt any vote.

Zimbabwe bans all digital payments

As Zimbabwe continues to reel under hyperinflation, the country’s central bank seems to go further belligerent and ban all forms of digital payments. An estimated 85 percent of the transactions have been impacted. According to the central bank, this step was essential to protect the customers from vulnerable mobile platforms and prevent adverse effects on the economy.

This week also witnessed a mixed bag of responses from various nations on the adoption of peer-to-peer technology.

Australian securities exchange delay porting to Blockchain

Buckling under the urges of its stakeholders, the Australian securities exchange (ASX) has delayed the switching to Blockchain-based equity processing systems by one year to April 2022. ASX cited pandemic and stakeholder requests, among others, as the reason for the delay.

Russian court denies Bitcoin theft as a crime

The legal status of cryptocurrencies widely differ across countries. While some consider crypto as property, some denounce its existence. Accordingly, a Russian court denied reparations to a victim of a $900000 bitcoin theft, stating that bitcoins cannot be considered as the victim’s property as per Russian laws. 

P2P transactions on the rise in Africa

While developed nations such as Australia and Russia are hesitant towards the digital currency ecosystem, Africa recorded triple-digit growth in peer-to-peer bitcoin trading, making it the second strongest region, after the U.S., in terms of trading volumes.

Overall, it looks like Blockchain and digital currencies are increasingly catching mainstream adoption.

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