Bitcoin owners turn to NFC implants to keep their cryptocurrency safe

Bitcoin under the skin – Why people are using subdermal microchip wallets — CCN — “Dutchman Martijn Wismeijer is very cautious when it comes to storing Bitcoin so much so that in 2014, he had two NFC (near field communication) chips surgically implanted into each hand to store his encrypted Bitcoin keys. Wismeijer stated a number of reasons for the drastic method of storing crypto, saying he had lost the majority of his Bitcoin over the years to exchange failure, hacking, and theft… Wismeijer says he uses his chips every day to make purchases — the process involves scanning the chips with his smartphone to receive and then decrypt the keys in order to make a transaction.”


Korea’s capital city plans its own payments cryptocurrency

Mayor Park Won-soon unveils Seoul cryptocurrency ‘S-Coin’ — Coindesk Korea (translation) — “Park Won-soon, mayor of Seoul, said he will create a coin currency called S-coin that can be used in Seoul… He thinks that ‘blockchains can be applied to all administrations in Seoul such as the public transport system operated by Seoul City and the provision of youth allowance.'”


Rakuten to use blockchain for global loyalty and payments program

Rakuten will roll its $9bn loyalty program into a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin — Techcrunch — “The company is planning a new cryptocurrency called Rakuten Coin — built on blockchain technology and the company’s existing loyalty program, Rakuten Super Points — which it plans to use to encourage loyalty services globally and to help customers to buy goods across different Rakuten services and markets… The news was announced by Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani on stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where he described Rakuten Coin as a ‘borderless’ currency.”


PayPal patents faster cryptocurrency payments system

Expedited virtual currency transaction system — USPTO — “The systems and methods of the present disclosure practically eliminate the amount of time the payee must wait to be sure they will receive a virtual currency payment in a virtual currency transaction by transferring to the payee private keys that are included in virtual currency wallets that are associated with predefined amounts of virtual currency that equal a payment amount identified in the virtual currency transaction.”


China’s central bank sets out digital currency plans

PBOC official pushes for centralized state digital currency — Coindesk — “Unlike most cryptocurrencies, the CBDC [Central Bank Digital Currency] might not operate via a peer-to-peer mechanism, which brings the key features of anonymity and untraceability… Transactions using CBDC will be visible to the central bank, which would function as a third party to bring oversight on potential money laundering and illegal financing.”


Japanese bank to issue digital currency that cuts transaction costs

Japan’s biggest bank is releasing its own cryptocurrency in March — Investopedia — “The MUFG coin will have parity with the Japanese yen and will be rolled out to employees of the financial services group first. It will enable standard transactions, such as shopping or transfer of money between individuals (for example, splitting of a bill after a meal or drinks), at much lower costs as compared to credit cards.”


Messaging service Line looks to cryptocurrencies for payments

Line explores cryptocurrencies for payment services, sources say — Bloomberg — “The messaging provider is in discussions with multiple companies on using cryptocurrencies for payment services including Line Pay, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The broader goal is to create products that keep users within Line’s ecosystem and keep them coming back to the app, increasing ‘stickiness,’ they said.”


Bank of England puts a hold on research into issuing its own digital currency

Bank halts crypto-currency plans over stability fears — FT Adviser — “The Bank of England (BoE) has been researching the possibility of launching its own digital currency to rival bitcoin, but fears about the impact on the wider financial system means it has no ‘current plans’ to do so… If the central bank launched a digital currency of its own, it worried consumers would stop using commercial bank accounts and, instead, have a bank account with the Bank of England, and choose to use digital technology to purchase goods and services over paper money.”


Bank Hapoalim to investigate potential of blockchain for user authentication

Bank Hapoalim, IAI team on blockchain for cybersecurity — Globes — “The joint research undertaken by the two companies will examine how blockchain, the technology at the basis of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, could be used for developing innovative cybersecurity solutions, such as secure transmission of information between services and supply chains, user authentication, critical devices and elements that run with no human intervention and additional solutions for the cyber challenges in a hyper-connected world.”



Venezuela to create a new virtual currency

Venezuela unveils virtual currency amid economic crisis — BBC News — “Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced the creation of a new virtual currency in a bid to ease the country’s economic crisis. He said the Petro would be backed by Venezuela’s oil, gas, gold and diamond wealth… Mr Maduro said the new cryptocurrency would allow Venezuela ‘to advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.'”


Bank of Canada reports on the potential of digital currencies

Central Bank Digital Currency: Motivations and implications — Bank of Canada — “This paper addresses the question of whether a central bank should issue digital currency that could be used by the general public. It begins by discussing the possible motivations for a central bank to issue a digital currency. The paper then sets out a benchmark central bank digital currency (CBDC) with features that are similar to cash. The implications of such a digital currency are explored, focusing on central bank seigniorage, monetary policy, the banking system and financial stability, and payments.”


Visa gives approval to prepaid cryptocurrency card

Visa approves Monaco cryptocurrency card for Singapore residents — Bloomberg — “Visa Inc has approved a prepaid card backed by the cryptocurrency Monaco as the world’s largest payments network continues its foray into digital currencies… Visa has also approved programs for BitPay and Shift Card that allow consumers to convert cryptocurrencies into legal tender and deposit those funds into a bank account that is linked to a Visa debit or prepaid card.”


Russia to issue state-backed CryptoRuble digital currency

Russia issuing ‘CryptoRuble’ — Coin Telegraph — “Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially stated that Russia will issue its own ‘CryptoRuble’ at a closed door meeting in Moscow, according to local news sources. The news broke through Minister of Communications Nikolay Nikiforov. According to the official, the state issued cryptocurrency cannot be mined and will be issued and controlled and maintained only by the authorities.”


Cambridge academics report on cryptocurrency market status

Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study — University of Cambridge — “This is the first study to systematically investigate key cryptocurrency industry sectors by collecting empirical, non-public data. The study gathered survey data from nearly 150 cryptocurrency companies and individuals, and it covers 38 countries from five world regions. The study details the key industry sectors that have emerged and the different entities that inhabit them.”


Bank of England examines the technical requirements of central bank-issued digital currencies

Beyond blockchain: What are the technology requirements for a central bank digital currency? — Bank Underground — “What type of technology would you use if you wanted to create a central bank digital currency (CBDC) ie a national currency denominated, electronic, liability of the central bank? It is often assumed that blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), would be required; but although this could have some benefits (as well as challenges), it may not be necessary.”


BIS reports on the potential of central bank-issued cryptocurrencies

Central bank cryptocurrencies — Bank for International Settlements — “New cryptocurrencies are emerging almost daily, and many interested parties are wondering whether central banks should issue their own versions. But what might central bank cryptocurrencies (CBCCs) look like and would they be useful? This feature provides a taxonomy of money that identifies two types of CBCC — retail and wholesale — and differentiates them from other forms of central bank money such as cash and reserves. It discusses the different characteristics of CBCCs and compares them with existing payment options.”



Burger King has launched its own cryptocurrency in Russia called WhopperCoin

Burger King has launched its own cryptocurrency in Russia called WhopperCoin — CNBC — “With each purchase of the burger chain’s signature Whopper sandwich, customers can receive WhopperCoin tokens via a digital wallet… WhopperCoin transactions will be powered by Ethereum rival Waves’ distributed ledger network. The blockchain platform allows users to issue and transfer custom blockchain tokens, and to trade them on an integrated peer-to-peer exchange.”



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