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| September 17, 2019

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TMZ

Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Has Big Plans After Prison Release

September 16, 2019 |

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino won’t be running off to honeymoon with his new bride anytime soon — he knows there’s a ton of money to be made — and he’s gotta strike while the iron is hot. Sources close to Mike tell us the “Jersey Shore” star’s…

TMZ.com

CNN

Bugatti plans a car that can go over 300 mph

September 15, 2019 |

You will soon be able to buy a car that can go over 300 miles an hour, assuming you can find somewhere safe to do that.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

Trump plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes

September 11, 2019 |

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the FDA will develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors from the market.


L.A. Times – Business

Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park Revealed

September 10, 2019 |

Plans to Build a $  50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed

At the Bitcoin Cash City conference in North Queensland, the CEO of Code Valley, Noel Lovisa, announced plans to build a $ 50 million dollar Bitcoin Cash tech park in the city of Townsville. The plan is to aggregate startup companies and there are more than 12 Bitcoin Cash focused startups already on board. Additionally, the BCH tech park creators aim to create a sister project with a mining and server facility built near the Kennedy Energy Park.

Also Read: Emergent Coding, Adoption Incentives and Practical Use – Bitcoin Cash City, Day 2

Code Valley CEO Announces Bitcoin Cash Tech Park

Over the last two years, many BCH proponents have heard about the city of Townsville on the coast of North Queensland, Australia. The city is well known for its dense population of BCH supporters and the 78 bitcoin cash accepting merchants. On Sep. 4-5, Townsville hosted the first annual Bitcoin Cash City conference, a BCH-centric event in a city full of supporters, developers, and BCH retailers. During the two-day event, participants heard from Code Valley team members like senior software engineer Mark Fabbro and CEO Noel Lovisa. The two discussed a subject called Emergent Coding which is essentially a software supply-chain or global compiler network that will work in concert with the BCH chain. “If the “utility of BCH is going to be an international currency then at some point we’ve got to get the global economy using bitcoin cash,” the Code Valley CEO insisted during his talk at the event. Lovisa also told conference attendees that emergent coding will bring “a serious amount of economic activity onto the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.”

Plans to Build $  50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
Code Valley CEO, Noel Lovisa, speaking to Bitcoin Cash City conference attendees in Townsville. He told the crowd that day that the Code Valley team had won a tender and they have plans to build a $ 50M Bitcoin Cash tech park in Townsville, North Queensland.

Lovisa further said that with emergent coding, the company didn’t want to stop there and aimed to leverage the benefits of Bitcoin Cash City as much as they could. So the company formulated a plan to create a Bitcoin Cash tech park based on Emergent Coding technology in Townsville. In Lovisa’s eyes, Townsville has an edge on adoption already and the city is “a year or more ahead” than most urban areas. The Code Valley executive told the event participants that a tender came up from the city for the redevelopment of the North Rail Yard and they won the tender. This means the project will partner with the city to develop the tech park Lovisa revealed. After the Bitcoin Cash City conference, news.Bitcoin.com spoke with Lovisa to get more information about the BCH tech park in Townsville.

Plans to Build $  50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
The slide images of the model Bitcoin Cash Tech Park.

A Technology Park Fueled by Bitcoin Cash Innovation

Bitcoin.com (BC): How did the Bitcoin Cash City Conference turn out?

Code Valley CEO, Noel Lovisa (NL): When all the delegates are eager to return next year for the 2020 Bitcoin Cash City Conference, I think you can say it was successful. A combination of a location in sunny North Queensland, extraordinary Bitcoin BCH adoption and differentiation such as a helicopter scenic built into the premium ticket, together with a great organizing effort managed to attract all the big names for speakers and sponsorship. It was really fun for a conference to walk the talk too with tickets in BCH, flights in BCH, accommodation in BCH, food, taxis, etc. We are planning a much larger event next year built upon this successful model.

Plans to Build $  50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed

BC: Can you tell our readers what initiated the planning for a $ 50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park to be built in North Queensland?

NL: A North Queensland innovation called Emergent Coding is the fuse that lit the BCH tech park tender proposal. Emergent Coding is a distributed software development technology which trades the ability to specify completely bespoke software for extraordinary advances in software design speed, cost, native performance, and resource usage. Emergent Coding solves software’s “double-spend” problem to permit the first feasible developer specialization. It aims to combine the world’s 30 million developers into a single cohesive unit that designs software. Since these 30 million developers are spread around the world, Bitcoin Cash is ideal for rewarding these developers for their design contributions.

Plans to Build $  50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
The architect who designed the Bitcoin Cash Tech Park attended the conference as well.

With such a large innovation and recognising the many startups moving into the Emergent Coding space, it was decided that a Bitcoin Cash tech park would be the ideal vehicle to anchor much of the development benefit for North Queensland. When the City’s North Rail Yard redevelopment tender came up, and given the Rail Yards are the traditional tech center of the city circa 100 years ago, making it the modern tech center of the city while preserving these heritage-listed buildings of the original yards seems like an unbelievable opportunity. While we have won the tender, there is still much to do before we can make the Bitcoin Cash Park a reality.

Clearly, North Queensland is investing big in the future of Bitcoin Cash and as seen by the conference, North Queensland gets stuff done.

BC: When is the BCH tech park project starting?

NL: It has been a very exciting year with our tender application initially being shortlisted, then winning the right to partner with the city on the project. Presently we are racing to reach a heads-of-agreement before Christmas as the local government goes into caretaker mode ahead of the election next year. While the site is complicated by the heritage aspects, we have put an experienced team together and expect to begin construction mid next year.

Plans to Build $  50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
Proposed Bitcoin Cash Tech Park plans. Are you a Bitcoin developer? Did you know you can create your own Bitcoin Cash app with the Bitbox and Badger Wallet SDKs, get started with BCH tokens through the SLP SDK, and build your knowledge base with our Bitcoin Cash developer guides.

BC: During your talk at the Bitcoin Cash City conference, you mentioned 12 Bitcoin Cash focused tech startups in the area are involved with this project. Which BCH startups are included in this list?

NL: Leading the startup list is Code Valley Corp P/L and Aptissio Australia P/L, with the latter securing about $ 1 million in its first seed round and already delivering their first Bitcoin Cash products into the market. Aptissio’s focus is about applying Emergent Coding to BCH software development and they already have more than 700 Emergent Coding Agents online in addition to Code Valley’s 1,400 Agents. Aptissio hopes to field a BCH full node in the near future which may well be the most exciting Bitcoin Cash development since the fork.

It promises to amplify BCH developer productivity, provide a new developer funding model which excludes the possibility of capture, eliminates duplication of effort intrinsic in incumbent development, and much more.

Plans to Build $  50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
Proposed Bitcoin Cash tech park plans.

But coming back to your question, Aptissio may be the leader and furthest along with the application of Emergent Coding, however there’s Echt Fin P/L, Lexcode legal P/L, Bitcoin BCH P/L, Townsville Mining P/L, Appening P/L, Cyclone AI P/L, SatoshiwareNQ P/L, Townsville Technology Precincts P/L and several beginning to appear in SOCAL such as Straya LLC, Coactive Blockchain LLC. These startups are in various stages of funding and active development and all in the Emergent Coding Bitcoin Cash space.

BC: Can you tell our readers about the mining and server facility to be built near Kennedy Energy Park?

NL: The sister project to the BCH tech park is the server complex. Emergent Coding has a vast need for server capacity to support its design agents and is dependent on Bitcoin Cash, so we want to support the Bitcoin Cash network with some domestic mining. North Queensland has an incredible site that promises to be highly competitive in terms of renewable energy, cooling, data, and low-cost real estate. We have completed a comprehensive technical due diligence on the site and are in negotiations over its development. I can not say more about this project at this time but watch this space.

Check out the full version of Noel Lovisa’s Bitcoin Cash City tech park announcement in the video below.

What do you think about the BCH tech park planned for Townsville? Do you think this will help bolster BCH adoption and industrialization? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitcoin Cash City Conference, Code Valley, Noel Lovisa, and Pixabay. Bitcoin Cash Tech Park photos are not final depictions and the park design is subject to change.


Are you a developer looking to build on Bitcoin Cash? Head over to our Bitcoin Developer page where you can get Bitcoin Cash developer guides and start using the Bitbox, SLP, and Badger Wallet SDKs.

The post Plans to Build $ 50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park Revealed appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Tether Plans to Mint Digital Yuan and Commodity Coins, Says Bitfinex Shareholder

August 30, 2019 |

Tether Plans to Mint a Digital Yuan and Commodity Coins, Says Bitfinex Shareholder

Tether Holdings, the firm that issues tether (USDT), has plans to launch an offshore Chinese yuan stablecoin called CNHT. Tether’s digital dollar presence within the crypto economy has been massive in recent months, seeing significant demand from China. Bitfinex shareholder Zhao Dong has explained in a recent interview that Tether is also preparing to launch stablecoins backed by bulk commodities like gold, rubber, and crude oil.

Also read: ERC20 Tether Transactions Flip Their Omni Equivalent

Tether Dominance in the East and Plans for a Digital Yuan Called CNHT

Bitfinex shareholder and over-the-counter (OTC) trader Zhao Dong has revealed that Tether is planning to launch a cryptocurrency backed by the Chinese renminbi. Tether has captured a market capitalization of over $ 4 billion to date. When the project first launched in beta in November 2014, the company said the flagship tether tokens would eventually represent three currencies: “UStether (US+) for United States dollars, Eurotether (EU+) for euros and Yentether (JP+) for Japanese yen.”

Tether Plans to Mint Digital Yuan and Commodity Coins, Says Bitfinex Shareholder
Tether (USDT) is the most dominant stablecoin and accounts for the majority of cryptocurrency trades.

A great example of tether’s prevalence can be seen this week as most of the top 10 cryptocurrencies have dropped below their 200-day averages. Today, tether accounts for more than 75% of all BTC trades, 49% of ETH swaps, 40% for XRP, and 57% of all BCH trades. In July, cryptocurrency reporter Anna Baydakova discussed the demand for tether (USDT) with Chinese importers in Russia. According to Baydakova, the importers claim to be purchasing $ 30 million a day of tethers and between the Russian and Chinese border, USDT is the king of cryptos. The report detailed that prior to 2018, BTC was used by the importers, but since then they have switched over to utilizing the stablecoin.

“According to several Moscow OTC traders, it has at least one real-world use case – as the go-to remittance service for local Chinese importers,” Baydakova wrote at the end of July.

Not too long after Baydakova’s report on August 21, Zhao Dong discussed the possibility of a Tether product that represented an offshore yuan called CNHT. The prominent Bitfinex investor revealed the plan on the Chinese messenger and social media platform Wechat. Zhao Dong also claimed that when the stablecoin launches, his OTC business Renrenbit will support the newly minted CNHT. “Personally, I think the offshore yuan stablecoin could boost the circulation of offshore renminbi and internationalize it. Regulators may be happy to see it proceed and succeed,” he said on Wechat. Zhao Dong also told the publication Chainnews the same information in regard to Tether launching a digital renminbi.

Tether Plans to Mint Digital Yuan and Commodity Coins, Says Bitfinex Shareholder
On August 21, Zhao Dong said that Tether Holdings Limited is planning to issue a digital yuan.

Tether’s Multi-Chain Operation

The news follows the recent migration of tethers from Omni Layer to the Ethereum chain. Over the last week, ERC20-based tether transactions flipped their Omni equivalent and last month tether users paid $ 260,000 in ETH gas to push the ERC20 versions. On Thursday, there were 100,000 ERC20 tether transactions compared to the 39,000 Omni tether transactions. The Chinese yuan-backed tethers won’t be the company’s first time issuing another fiat stablecoin after the USD version. In August 2016, the firm started issuing euro-based tethers via Omni called EURT. At the time, the euro versions were traded on Omnidex against USDT and on other exchanges like Openledger and Coinsbank. Just like USDT’s current migration from Omni to Ethereum, Tether Holdings moved the EURT project to the Ethereum chain in January 2018. “Following the widespread success of our Bitcoin-based USD tether, issued via the Omni Layer Protocol, we have launched and issued both US Dollars and Euros as Ethereum-based Tether, compatible with the ERC20 standard,” the website tether.to explained.

Tether Plans to Mint Digital Yuan and Commodity Coins, Says Bitfinex Shareholder
Tether is the sixth largest crypto market by capitalization. Check out charts and data on tether (USDT) here at markets.Bitcoin.com. You can also easily buy Bitcoin with a credit card. Visit our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely, and keep your coins secure by storing them in our free Bitcoin mobile wallet.

The reason for the change over to the ERC20 standard was attributed to “much lower network transaction fees and much faster confirmation times (15-30 seconds) compared with tether on Omni.” As far as USD-backed tethers are concerned, there’s roughly 2.5 billion USDT on the Omni network and 1.5 billion USDT that use the Ethereum network. Additionally, between the EOS and Tron networks, there’s $ 350 million USDT circulating on both chains. Tether has also revealed USDT will be hosted on the Algorand platform and rumor has it tethers will also be used on Blockstream’s Liquid protocol. Today there’s approximately 4,008,269,411 USDT in existence and $ 15.42 billion in global trade volume. Tethers are currently the most traded cryptocurrency by volume worldwide.

Bulk Commodity Tethers and the PBOC Digital Renminbi

The expansion of Tether migrating coins from Omni to Ethereum, the continued issuance of tethers, and the current demand for the stablecoin is all happening while the New York Attorney General (NYAG) investigates the company. The NYAG office accused Tether and Bitfinex of losing millions of dollars worth of commingled corporate and customer funds. Ifinex, the two firms’ parent company, has called the allegations “misleading” and “inaccurate.” The crypto-based company also attempted to get the case discharged on the grounds of jurisdictional overreach, but so far Ifinex hasn’t been successful. Besides fiat-based tethers, the company is discussing the possibility of minting coins backed by bulk commodities according to a Bitkan interview with Zhao Dong. Tethers could be backed by commodities like gold, crude oil, and rubber the Bitfinex investor and Renrenbit founder said.

Tether Plans to Mint Digital Yuan and Commodity Coins, Says Bitfinex Shareholder
A few days after disclosing the digital yuan tether concept, Zhao Dong said that Tether Holdings Limited is planning to issue tethers backed by bulk commodities like gold, crude oil, and rubber.

In the midst of Zhao Dong revealing the concept of bulk commodity backed tethers and an offshore digital renminbi, a senior official at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) disclosed that the country’s state-backed cryptocurrency was “close to being out.” The PBOC coin could pose a problem for Tether if the Chinese government whimsically decides to ban the use of any fiat-backed tethers. Tethers may meet the same fate BTC saw in 2017, when the central bank and financial regulators put a stop to exchanges trading BTC against the yuan. Deputy director of the PBOC Mu Changchun told the press that the state-operated crypto was coming soon and said the offering would be a two-tier system. The first system the cryptocurrency will use will be tied to the central bank and the subset of smaller financial institutions below the PBOC. The second tier will be comprised of a system that distributes the digital yuan to the retail market. Rumor has it the PBOC crypto might be called “Globalcoin” and the Chinese digital fiat has a lot of similarities to Facebook’s Calibra project.

Because of the PBOC’s efforts, some digital currency proponents believe Tether’s creation of CNHT is not a good idea and could upset Chinese regulators. Founding partner at Primitive Crypto Dovey Wan said: “I don’t see enough demand for CNHT and alike, as local Chinese will still trade USDT with CNY, if it’s CNH it will be the same as USD — Not sure what’s the material upside of having CNHT for Tether, plus pissing off the Chinese regulator.” The founder of cryptocurrency trading platform Lbank had the same opinion. “This is a useless stupid effort — There’s no such demand from local traders, neither demand from overseas. It only enables trade between the Chinese yuan and U.S. dollar in the digital realm, while its issuer is not a Chinese firm,” Lbank’s He Wei commented.

What do you think about Tether issuing offshore digital yuan called CNHT? What do you think about the possibility of Tether minting tokens that represent bulk commodities like gold and crude oil? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, markets.Bitcoin.com, Tether.to, and Wiki Commons.


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The post Tether Plans to Mint Digital Yuan and Commodity Coins, Says Bitfinex Shareholder appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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TMZ

Mama June Leaves Her Home and Plans to Live in RV with Geno

August 27, 2019 |

Mama June has left the building, and her plan is to start a new life traveling around the U.S. in a home on wheels, with her boyfriend … for better or worse. Sources close to June tell TMZ … she’s no longer living in her Hampton, GA home –…

TMZ.com

Netflix Plans Film to Revisit Breaking Bad Meth Cook

August 25, 2019 |

Six years on, Breaking Bad fans will be able to catch up with at least one character. Netflix plans a feature-length movie this fall that will center on Jesse Pinkman, reports Fox Business . El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie picks up where Breaking Bad left off with Pinkman, played by…
Newser

Column: Why the short-term health plans Trump favors are cheap: They spend pennies on healthcare

August 12, 2019 |

The short-term health insurance pushed by Trump spend pennies on customers’ medical needs


L.A. Times – Business

US Regulator Plans to Outsource Running Cryptocurrency Nodes

August 2, 2019 |

US Regulator Plans to Outsource Running Cryptocurrency Nodes

A recently published document reveals that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has plans to hire contractors to run specific cryptocurrency full nodes for the government agency. According to the SEC documentation, the regulator wants third-party contractors to run nodes for Bitcoin Core (BTC), Ripple (XRP) and Ethereum (ETH) in order to monitor compliance risks.

Also read: SEC Begins Green-Lighting Token Offerings

Running a Full Bitcoin Node for the SEC

Depending on whom you ask, the news of the SEC soliciting contractors to run full cryptocurrency network nodes could be seen as either positive or negative. The government document was first spotted by Trustnodes news outlet. Despite the fact that there’s a wide range of blockchain explorers out there, the agency wants to pay contractors to run nodes for BTC, ETH, and XRP. In the future, the SEC may also contract others to run nodes for Stellar, Zcash, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, and NEO. The document doesn’t really explain precisely why the SEC wants to outsource contractors to run these full node implementations, but the notice does highlight that it’s meant “to support its efforts to monitor risk, improve compliance, and inform commission policy with respect to digital assets.”

US Regulator Plans to Outsource Running Cryptocurrency Nodes
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been involved with the cryptocurrency industry since companies have attempted to get a bitcoin-based ETF approved. The regulator has deemed certain tokens securities and enforced regulatory action against some initial coin offerings (ICO). The SEC has recently approved two Regulation A+ token offerings.

The SEC also emphasized that the “subscription shall source all blockchain data from hosted nodes, rather than providing this data as a secondary source (e.g., via blockchain explorers).” Node operators can work remotely and use the SEC’s electronic e-mail invoices and a preliminary base period of one year. The contract can be extended up to four years, the agency’s paperwork explains. Interested contractors may submit a price estimate with a complete data scheme, dictionary, and sample data file to be reviewed. The SEC “intends to procure a commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) enterprise-wide data subscription for blockchain ledger data,” its documentation details. The advertisement states:

The [SEC] intends to award a firm-fixed-price contract in accordance with FAR Subpart 13.5 in conjunction with FAR Part 12, Acquisition of Commercial Items, for a commercially available enterprise-wide data subscription for blockchain ledger data in accordance with the attached requirements list.

US Regulator Plans to Outsource Running Cryptocurrency Nodes
A full node includes an entire copy of a blockchain from the genesis block up to the present time. At press time, there are 9,476 BTC nodes and 1,463 public nodes running on the Bitcoin Cash network. Want to see the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) networks and ecosystem at a glance? — Check out Charts.Bitcoin.com here.

Crypto Community Debates the Meaning and Importance of SEC’s Node Advertisement

Of course, the crypto community has a lot to say about the U.S. agency wanting to hire contractors to run nodes. “It took them this long?? Welcome to the playground, kids — Hopefully, they’re not the bullies in the sandpit,” L.A.-based crypto news correspondent Omar Bham wrote on Twitter. “Never thought I’d see the day,” Etoro analyst Mati Greenspan tweeted. “The SEC is seeking quotes from contractors to run Bitcoin and Ethereum nodes on its behalf — Great, I welcome it — These are public blockchains that can be queried by any basic blockchain explorer,” another crypto proponent explained this week, viewing the news as “bullish.”

Coinmetrics founder Nic Carter said that he didn’t believe the headlines that say the SEC will be running nodes and, in contrast, he referred to the advertisement as outsourcing node-running. “You’d never see the day because it’s not happening — They are looking to outsource node-running,” Carter responded to Mati Greenspan’s tweet. “They will never run nodes (not according to this prompt at least), they are outsourcing everything and just ingesting the data. Your parent tweet is not honest,” he claims. Carter further tweeted:

‘SEC to run … nodes’ is just false — It’s like hiring mercenaries and claiming it’s your own army. It’s just not the case. The XRP army is now using the headline to claim the SEC is a validation — It ain’t true.

US Regulator Plans to Outsource Running Cryptocurrency Nodes
A map of publicly known Bitcoin Core (BTC) full node operators.

ETFs & Nodes

The SEC has been very involved with the cryptocurrency industry as many companies have applied to launch bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF), but the U.S. regulator has not approved any yet. It previously denied the Winklevoss ETF attempt and postponed its decision on the Vaneck/Solidx bitcoin ETF proposal in May. The regulator also has issues with Ripple and whether or not the project’s XRP tokens are considered securities. However, William Hinman, Director of SEC Division for Corporate Finance, recently revealed that the agency may send “no-action” letters to projects that comply with its guidelines and demands. Letters like these reassure token issuers that the SEC will not seek legal action against them going forward unless any transgressions arise.

In addition to the leniency offered by no-action letters, the SEC approved two token offerings under Regulation A+ in mid-July for “Props” tokens by the Props Project and “Stacks” tokens by Blockstack PBC. The SEC’s plan to hire contractors to run full nodes is an entirely different animal and the document seems to address third party blockchain surveillance operations. The regulator wants data like “hashing algorithms, hashing power, mining difficulty and rewards, transactions quantity and size, coin supply and blockchain size.” Additionally, the contractor should be able to “demonstrate the level of rigor of data cleansing and normalization meets requirements of financial statement audit testing.” At the end of the advertisement, the SEC states that the data supplier could be granted another blockchain project with advanced notice.

What do you think about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission soliciting contractors to run full cryptocurrency nodes? Do you see this as a positive development or do you see it as a net negative? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, SEC, Wiki Commons, and Pixabay.


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The post US Regulator Plans to Outsource Running Cryptocurrency Nodes appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Indian Government Updates Parliament on Crypto Plans

August 1, 2019 |

Indian Government Updates Parliament on Crypto Plans

The Indian parliament has repeatedly asked the finance minister about the government’s plans for cryptocurrency. In July alone, the Ministry of Finance answered three sets of questions: two in Rajya Sabha, the upper house, and one in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the parliament.

Also read: Indian Finance Minister Addresses Crypto Proposal – Industry Responds

Government Aware Crypto Growing More Popular

Indian parliament member Shri R. K. Sinha last week directed some questions at the finance minister at a sitting of the Rajya Sabha regarding the “Law for banning usage of cryptocurrency.” He asked on July 23 “whether [the] government has taken notice of the growing popularity of cryptocurrency.” Replying to this parliamentary question, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, simply said: “Yes, Sir.”

Indian Government Updates Parliament on Crypto Plans
Anurag Singh Thakur

The question about cryptocurrency’s popularity was also asked in Rajya Sabha a week prior. Parliament member Shri Dharmapuri Srinivas similarly asked the finance minister on July 16 “whether [the] government has taken note about [the] prevalence of cryptocurrency in the country.” Thakur also replied: “Taking note of the issue, the government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) under the chairmanship of Secretary (EA). The IMC has submitted the report to the government.”

The Secretary of Economic Affairs (EA) at the time was Subhash Chandra Garg. However, on July 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled his top-level bureaucrats and replaced Garg with Department of Investments and Public Asset Management Secretary Atanu Chakraborty as the new EA Secretary. Garg has been appointed the new Secretary of Ministry of Power.

Indian Government Updates Parliament on Crypto Plans
Subhash Chandra Garg

The IMC was constituted on Nov. 2, 2017, to study all the aspects of cryptocurrency and providing recommendations. Its report, dated Feb. 28, was made public on July 22. It contains a draft bill entitled Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019. This bill has not been approved by the finance minister and has not been introduced in either house of parliament.

No Data Suggesting Crypto Mainly Used for Illegal Activities

A second question asked in Rajya Sabha on July 23 was “whether it is a fact that the cryptocurrency is primarily used for secret/illegal activities.” Thakur replied:

Cryptocurrency can be used for secret and illegal activities, but there is no data to corroborate that it is primarily being used for such activities.

Indian Government Updates Parliament on Crypto Plans

In August last year, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Lilita Infante admitted that illegal activity is no longer bitcoin’s primary use. “The ratio of legal to illegal activity in bitcoin has flipped … Now, illegal activity has shrunk to about 10 percent and speculation has become the dominant driver,” she said.

Law Preventing Use of Crypto

The bill which the IMC drafted proposes a ban on so-called “private cryptocurrencies.” As news.Bitcoin.com previously reported, the bill states that “Whoever directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers, disposes of or issues cryptocurrency … shall be punishable with fine or with imprisonment which shall not be less than one year but which may extend up to ten years, or both.”

Parliament member Sinha asked on July 23 about “the steps being taken by [the] government to put a check on the usage of cryptocurrency in India,” and “whether [the] government is considering to bring any law or Act for prevention of the usage of cryptocurrency?”

To these two questions, Thakur reiterated that the government took note of this issue by constituting the IMC which has submitted its report to the government, adding:

The government is examining the draft report and bill submitted by the committee. However, at present, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies.

Indian Government Updates Parliament on Crypto Plans

The Minister of State’s answer resembled the previous one he gave in Rajha Sabha on July 16 when parliament member Srinivas asked about “the action [the government has] taken against the persons who are responsible for running the cryptocurrency in the market?”

“Presently, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies. Hence, all concerned departments and law enforcement agencies, such as RBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, etc. take action as per the relevant existing laws,” he clarified at the time. “Similarly, police/courts take action on IPC offences. Further, in view of the risks and dangers associated with cryptocurrencies, [the] government and RBI have been issuing advisories, press releases, and circulars to the public.”

Flawed Crypto Bill and Report

Since the IMC report was made public, the Indian crypto community has been vocal about how flawed the report is, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. The committee drafted this report without consulting any industry participants.

Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of local crypto exchange Unocoin, shared with news.Bitcoin.com on Wednesday: “We were invited by NITI Ayog last year. Apart from this, it has always been us trying to approach government officials and departments to talk about crypto assets and the industry.” Noting that there was never any invitation to discuss the drafting of this bill, Vishwanath emphasized:

In the draft bill, there are many major flaws. They have a wrong understanding of the technology and usage of crypto assets.

He elaborated, “Even the reasons they have mentioned to create laws related [to the] ban of crypto assets is vague and incomplete,” noting that “If such a ban becomes the reality, the bill does not discuss its enforceability in detail.”

While the government can pass a law to ban cryptocurrency, “they won’t be able to control the crypto assets and transfer activity because it just happens over the internet on which government will not have direct control of,” Vishwanath told news.Bitcoin.com. “There are multiple ways to bypass any control they may forcefully put through ISPs and IP addresses. This also pushes the present crypto market into the black money market which is not good for the country. This also will hinder the progress of technology and innovation in the country over the long term.”

Indian Government Updates Parliament on Crypto Plans

No Crypto Ban Currently

Thakur confirmed in Rajya Sabha on July 16 that there is currently no ban on cryptocurrency when parliament member Srinivas asked the finance minister “whether [the] government has prohibited cryptocurrency in the country.” Thakur simply replied, “No, Sir.”

Prior to the public release of the IMC report and draft bill, Lok Sabha also wanted to know if cryptocurrency will be prohibited in India. Parliament member Shri Gnanathiraviam S. asked on July 8 “whether the government has any proposal to ban cryptocurrency in India.” In his reply, Thakur explained that “The government has not recognized cryptocurrencies as legal tender,” adding that the IMC was “working to develop a framework for regulating cryptocurrencies.”

The IMC report has been submitted and presented to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. While she said in an interview with The Economic Times, published on July 29, that it is “a very futuristic and well-thought-out report,” she admitted, “I have not spent time on it after the presentation.”

What do you think of the answers the Ministry of Finance provided to the Indian parliament? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock and the Indian government.


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