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The news that JetBlue and United Airlines have raised fees for checked bags and some flight cancellations has provoked the ire of two U.S. senators and a congressman who are calling for “relief from this fee gouging.”
Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Steve…
Bitcoin is many things to many people. To some, it is a peer-to-peer version of electronic cash, just as Satoshi intended. To others, it’s a store of value, while yet others see it as a system for remittance. When it comes to Bitcoin’s ledger – the blockchain – interpretations are equally divided. This presents a problem in a court of law, as the state of California is about to discover.
California Believes It Can Define Blockchain
As we reported earlier this week, a draft law has been passed for defining various crypto-related technologies. Through defining terms such as “smart contract” and “blockchain”, it is hoped that the wheels of justice will roll smoothly when crypto-related cases pass through the courts, without being waylaid while sophistic lawyers argue over the minutiae. The initiative seems well-intentioned, for given the proliferation of ICO scammers and crypto criminals, it’s likely that words like “blockchain” will be uttered in court with increasing regularity in the years to come. Unfortunately, the state of California’s definition of blockchain sucks.
“Blockchain technology means distributed ledger technology that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared, and reciprocal ledger, that may be public or private, permissioned or permissionless, or driven by tokenized crypto economics or tokenless,” it begins, which seems logical enough. It’s in appending Clause (c) to Section 1633.2 of the California Civil Code that things come unstuck. It reads:
The data on the ledger is protected with cryptography, immutable, auditable, and provides an uncensored truth.
Truth or Word Salad?
Blockchains don’t understand truth. As an inert and intangible device, a blockchain cannot serve as an arbiter for what is true and what is false. The only logic it can grasp is that which is sent to it as ones and zeros for determining the state of a specific data input. Blockchains are incapable of storing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Because public chains are permissionless, anything can be digitized and stored on them. In block 366186 of the bitcoin core blockchain, for instance, there is a transaction encoded with the message “9/11 inside job. Earth is flat.” According to the California Civil Code, that message constitutes uncensored truth. It may seem flippant to pick an extreme example of blockchain mendacity, but it is precisely instances like this that truculent lawyers will seize upon to muddy the waters and have a case delayed or abandoned.
A blockchain spectacularly fails to provide an uncensored truth. Nor is it immutable, as chain rollbacks are always possible. In almost every single respect, California’s definition fails miserably. And what if a legal case being heard doesn’t involve a conventional blockchain but a DAG – can the same definition still be applied? So many questions. So few concrete answers.
Stop Trying to Define Blockchain
California Democrat and Assembly member Ian Calderon, who pushed through the DLT bill, doubtless had good intentions. But in seeking to provide clarity, he may have unwittingly made matters worse. His biggest mistake was perhaps trying to define blockchain in the first place. After all, everything we know about blockchains comes from Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin and its accompanying whitepaper – where the word “blockchain” doesn’t appear once.
The words “block chain” are buried in Bitcoin’s code, but that’s as close as Satoshi ever got to the much maligned term. California might as well define blockchain as “an extremely slow and energy intensive database”, “overhyped internet buzzword”, “distributed ledger of bullshit” or “meme clung to by douchebags who completely miss the point of Bitcoin”. Whatever a blockchain is, it isn’t what the state of California thinks it is. And that’s the uncensored truth.
Do you think California’s definition of blockchain is airtight? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Blockchair, and Twitter.
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The U.S.-Mexico trade deal announced by the two countries’ leaders this week now faces scrutiny from their respective legislators, who ultimately must ratify the agreement.
WSJ.com: US Business
Civil rights groups and lawmakers express concerns about a TSA program that tracks domestic travelersJuly 31, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
Civil rights groups and lawmakers are demanding that the Transportation Security Administration explain a program that tasks federal air marshals at airports and on domestic flights to track and monitor Americans who have committed no crimes.
The program, called Quiet Skies, was first reported…
South Korea’s top financial regulator has urged lawmakers to pass the country’s first crypto bill quickly, citing the urgent need from rising incidents at crypto exchanges. There are currently several crypto-related laws pending at the National Assembly.
Crypto Law Urgently Needed
South Korea’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), has urged lawmakers to “pass the country’s first cryptocurrency bill quickly,” Bloomberg reported this week. According to the agency, “Korea urgently needs crypto laws as thefts rise,” the publication conveyed, adding that “local exchanges are rife with security flaws and money laundering risks.”
Hong Seong-ki, head of the FSC virtual currency response team, said in an interview:
We’re trying to legislate the most urgent and important things first, aiming for money laundering prevention and investor protection. The bill should be passed as soon as possible.
The South Korean government first announced crypto regulation in the second half of last year. In September, initial coin offerings (ICOs) were banned. A crypto task force was established at that time “to improve the transparency of transactions and improve the legal system to protect consumers,” Joongang Daily described.
Since then, the FSC and other regulators have announced additional crypto regulatory measures including the real-name system and trading restrictions on minors and foreigners. However, “the problem is that these announcements have shaken the market but do not provide a proper legal framework for investor protection or market development,” the news outlet pointed out.
According to the publication, there are currently five crypto-related laws pending at the National Assembly.
Inadequate Security Measures
Hong was further quoted by Bloomberg claiming:
While crypto markets have seen rapid growth, such trading platforms don’t seem to be well-enough prepared in terms of security.
In June, two Korean crypto exchanges suffered security breaches. Coinrail was hacked on June 10 with an estimated damage of 45 billion won (~US$ 40 million). Bithumb, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the country, was hacked on June 20 with an estimated damage of about 19 billion won (~$ 17 million).
Putting FSC in Charge of Crypto Exchanges
Following the security breaches at Coinrail and Bithumb, the Korean government immediately launched an investigation into their causes.
The FSC subsequently pushed for a bill to require crypto exchanges to report to and be regularly supervised by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is under its supervision. “This is the first time government agencies have said they will oversee virtual currency exchanges,” Maeil Business wrote.
Emphasizing that he personally “wouldn’t recommend putting money in cryptocurrencies,” Hong reiterated:
FSC oversight wouldn’t imply an official endorsement of crypto trading. If the bill is passed, the regulator will focus on policing the exchanges rather than promoting their growth.
Meanwhile, the commission itself is undergoing a major restructuring. A bureau dedicated to financial innovation including cryptocurrencies will be established for policy initiatives, the FSC recently announced.
Do you think South Korea needs to pass a crypto bill urgently? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSC.
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The post South Korean Regulator Presses Lawmakers to Pass Crypto Bill Urgently appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Always thought politicians were crooks? Now Amazon’s facial recognition system agrees with you, but not in a good way. A test by the ACLU matching all 535 Congress members to 25,000 mugshots found 28 false positives—many of whom are people of color, the Verge reports. “An identification—whether…
Two extremely conservative House lawmakers are leading a bid to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Robert Mueller. Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan are among 11 Republican lawmakers who filed a resolution Wednesday calling for Rosenstein to be impeached, the Washington Post reports. The men, allies of…
China hawks in Congress lost a battle over ZTE when the Trump administration announced a deal Thursday to resuscitate the Chinese telecom giant, but they made it clear their war against Chinese technology firms is far from over.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia
Influential British lawmakers criticized the government for not doing enough to clamp down on illicit Russian money, as it emerged that a prominent oligarch hadn’t been able to enter Britain in recent weeks.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
Curious to see the Facebook ads bought by Russian agents? Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee just released about 3,500 of them on issues from gun control to Black Lives Matter to immigration—often taking multiple sides on the same issue, the Washington Post reports. “They sought to harness…