SEC delays Bitcoin ETF decision to September
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed a decision on a proposed Bitcoin ETF, pushing its final determination ahead by more than a month. In an order published on August 7th, officials at the agency wrote that they were giving themselves more time to deliberate on whether to approve what would be the first exchange-traded product of its kind in the US.
It’s also perhaps unsurprising, given that in the past, SEC officials have used the agency’s statutory powers to push back decisions on Bitcoin ETFs.
Swiss bank Maerki offers services to cryptocurrency firms
Zurich-based private bank Maerki Baumann has agreed to form banking partnership with cryptocurrency firms, solving a pain point for companies that operate in this industry. Previously, fellow Zurich institution Falcon Private Bank was the highest-profile Swiss bank offering services to blockchain companies.
Unlike Falcon, Maerki Baumann does not currently plan to offer cryptocurrency asset management or custody services. The bank recently published a report on cryptocurrencies in which it said it is “keeping an eye” on this asset class. From the report: “Maerki Baumann is keeping an eye on the development of these investment instruments and the corresponding progress on the regulatory side… Maerki Baumann is generally prepared to accept funds generated through cryptocurrencies, be it through speculative transactions or in the form of payment received for services provided or from mining profits.”
Spanish central bank backs cryptocurrencies in new report
Spain’s central bank, Banco de Espana, has released a report stating that the use of digital currencies, especially when there is a digital version of the state currency, will improve the country’s monetary policy. It also states that digital currencies could assist in improving the existing financial infrastructure of the nation.
Director General for Economy at BDE, Galo Nuño, said the use of cryptocurrencies could have a positive impact on the economy. The document also suggests that if the central bank shifts to blockchain, this would help manage interest rates and the money supply better.
Coinbase resumes Bitcoin buying and selling in Wyoming after getting regulatory approval
Coinbase is offering services to residents living in the US state of Wyoming again, after having renewed its money transmitter license in Wyoming, marking a long-waited return since Coinbase abruptly pulled out from the state three years ago. Coinbase had announced in June 2015 that it would be costly and impractical to continue its services in Wyoming after state regulators clarified the company fell under the Money Transmitter Act.
The Act required at the time that Coinbase must “double reserve” state residents’ assets – meaning holding fiat currency reserves for all crypto assets held on consumer’s behalf – in order to renew the money transmitter license. However, the Cowboy State passed a notable bill in March of this year that amended the Money Transmitter Act to provide an exemption for virtual currency “cryptocurrency companies in Wyoming are no longer required to double reserve the assets of state residents.”
West Virginia offers its counties mobile blockchain voting
Officials from West Virginia are bringing a blockchain-based mobile voting app to all 55 counties in the state in a move aimed to allow absentee voters in the military to cast ballots remotely in the midterm election. The state piloted the blockchain app in May that allowed deployed military personnel and their dependents to cast ballots in the primary election.
The app is developed and deployed by voting technology startup Voatz, which said the tech encodes and stores data of ballots via a decentralized network in a bid to ensure voting information is encrypted and transacted more promptly. That said, Warner’s deputy chief of staff Michael Queen said the state will leave the final decision to individual counties whether they will use the nascent tech.
Report: Blockchain deployments to save banks over $27B annually by 2030
A study conducted by market intelligence firm Juniper Research indicates that by deploying blockchain technology, financial institutions stand to generate savings amounting to over $27 billion on cross-border settlement transactions by 2030. On the basis of on-chain transactions, the costs will be reduced by over 11%.
The report titled “The Future of Blockchain: Key Vertical Opportunities & Deployment Strategies 2018-2030” reports banks that integrate blockchain will achieve cost reductions not just in payment processing and reconciliation, but in treasury operations and compliance. Also, the new research identified potential savings for consumers and enterprises across a range of industries, from reduced fees for home buyers to reduced costs in the food export trade.