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Blockchain This Week – EU and Blockchain

EU Clarifies Its Stand on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

This week, the European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the European Union, announced its plans to create a comprehensive framework for digital assets. This move is significant in providing the much needed legal clarity for the crypto industry in the member states. On Sep 24, the EC revealed the digital finance package named Regulation on Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA). This package includes digital finance and retail payment strategies, along with legislative proposals for crypto assets. 

Further, the EC, along with the 30-country alliance, plans to launch a regulatory sandbox to test Blockchain and digital asset use cases by 2022. They plan to consider additional use cases around data portability and digital identity in industries such as health and mobility.

Finally, at the European Blockchain Convention Virtual 2020 conference that happened this week, executives from some top EU central banks shared the opinion that Blockchain is not required for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). They cited several reasons, with the chief reason being the need to trust and depend on centralized entities such as governments or central banks for CBDC.

US Backs Digital Dollar Stablecoins

In its next interpretive letter, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) considers allowing the US financial institutions to back digital dollar stablecoins. The OCC permits these institutions to hold deposits as reserves for stablecoins. The OCC had earlier released an interpretive letter clarifying its stand on US institutions offering crypto custody services. 

Leaders From Finance & Politics Collaborate on Blockchain

On Wednesday, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the leading voice for Blockchain in Washington DC, announced that Visa, Goldman Sachs, and Mick Mulvaney, a former Congressman, are joining their executive committee. Visa is exploring payment innovations such as digital currencies and looking for ways to include them into their existing products. According to Mulvaney, the US progress with Blockchain technology is vital for their continued success as a global leader in technology.

BitFlyer Allows Buying Crypto With Paypal 

In yet another development signifying the ushering of crypto into mainstream finance, the European subsidiary of the Japanese crypto exchange, BitFlyer, has now added PayPal as a payment option. Until now, only wire card transfers were possible, but such transfers took a few days for clearance. With PayPal, the crypto firm expects faster payments.

Iran to Sell Electricity to Crypto Miners

The Thermal Power Plant Holding Company that operates the power plants across Iran announced this week that it would soon be selling its surplus electricity to the cryptocurrency miners. It has already installed the necessary equipment in three of its power plants. While this move benefits the miners, it will also add a new source of revenue for the power generation company. 

Venezuela Gives the Green Light to Bitcoin Mining

Venezuela’s National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities has issued the first bill that legalized the crypto mining activities. However, the decree imposes several conditions for those planning to mine cryptocurrencies in the country. According to the order, those interested have to first apply for a license, and have to maintain all documentation of mining activities for at least ten years. Additionally, those manufacturing mining equipment need a special permit at a price stipulated by the Registry of Miners. Also, to bring all miners in the country together for legal mining operations, the authorities in Venezuela created a National Digital Mining Pool. The national pool is mandatory for all miners. Those who refuse to join the pool will be punished according to the law.

Blockchain to Track Food Supply Chain

Austrian-based gin maker, The Stin, is planning to use South Korea’s ICON Blockchain network to guarantee the rarity of the gin. An Austrian Blockchain firm, block42, will be using NFC technology along with the ICON Blockchain to ensure maximum security.

Meanwhile, the Australian government-backed food and wine tracing platform Entrust is launching on Hedera Hashgraph. The platform was launched earlier this week, with the initial focus on protecting the wine industry from counterfeit fraud. Entrust plans to record geolocation and time-stamps on Hedera.

Christie to Auction Artwork Containing Bitcoin Transcription

A non-fungible token, representing part of the art project that combines 40 paintings carrying the reproduction of the code behind Bitcoin Blockchain, will be auctioned by Christie. Blockchain artist Benjamin Gentilli has created — Portrait of a Mind — a monumental series of 40 paintings stretching over 50 meters in length. The first twenty of these paintings were privately offered to collectors and are currently owned by some prominent names in the Blockchain ecosystem. The next artwork in the series called Block 21, will soon go under the hammer at Christie’s.

And Finally, Blockchain Solution to Reduce Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest

JBS, one of the leading meat processors in America, is often accused of allegedly sourcing their meat from ranches that get the livestock from suppliers who cut down the Amazon rainforest to increase the size of their pasture land. JBS were so far tracking only the last link of their meat supply chain, the suppliers of meat. They will now use Blockchain-based solutions to track the indirect suppliers who supply the livestock to the meat suppliers. JBS plans to start indirect supplier tracking in 2021 and intends to monitor 100 percent of the suppliers by 2025.

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