Top Stories in Blockchain This Week: Libra in the Senate, Ballers to Bitcoins, Lighting Network

July 19, 2019

WHAT ANOTHER CRAZY WEEK for the Blockchain/DLT/DApps space…Since my update last week, the landscape has shown no signs of slowing…except in the venture space — more on that next week. We saw no shortage of conversation around Libra this week as David Marcus (Head of Calibra) headed to hearings with both the US Senate and House. The rest of the industry was focused on introducing new decentralized applications (DApps), implementing infrastructure to continue testing blockchains scalability, and more. To keep you up to speed, here’s a snapshot of the top stories this week around the industry.

📖 Highlights from Facebook’s Libra Senate hearing

At Senate Banking Committee, Calibra head David Marcus told that Facebook will only integrate its Calibra cryptocurrency wallet into Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Libra will not embed wallets from competitors but Libra wallet will be interoperable amongst users desiring to send money between other cryptocurrency wallets. The article also covers other highlights from the “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations”… read more

📖 Bitcoin Startup Brings Lightning Network Payments to Amazon, Whole Foods

United States-based payments startup Fold is making Lightning Network payments possible at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, and other big-name retailers. In its announcement, Fold reveals that participating selected retailers will settle users’ Lightning Network payments — denominated in satoshis, or one hundred millionths of one Bitcoin — via their prepaid access programs in a currency of their choice… read more

📖 Facebook Libra: What Regulators Should Do.

As expected, the US Senate and House hearings regarding Facebook Libra were not dissimilar and showed a strong bipartisan consensus. This consensus is anger, frustration, and distrust based on Facebook’s historical track record at handling user data along with the fact that the company has become in less than 15 years one of the ten most significant companies in the world. After all, the regulators perceive Mark Zuckerberg as Victor Frankenstein, who after having created a monster (Facebook), wants to create another one in another domain. And at this point, regulators would rather be in the situation of Captain Walton watching Facebook drifting away into oblivion rather than seeing Facebook’s leadership creating another monster…read more

📖 SEC Clears Blockstack to Hold First Regulated Token Offering

SEC gave blockchain startup Blockstack the go-ahead today to conduct a $28 million digital token offering under Regulation A+, the first token offering of its kind ever approved by the SEC. Blockstack is a blockchain builder that has raised $47 million through a previous token offering under Reg D, a different provision that does not require SEC approval but is only limited to accredited investors. In comparison, Reg A+ is open to all companies and individuals, adding its value as the financing accelerators for smaller firms… read more

📖 Shell Invests In Ethereum Hybrid That Gives Real Power To The People

Shell Oil is continuing its exploration of blockchain with investing an undisclosed amount in LO3, a New York startup using a modified version of the Ethereum blockchain to make it easier for individuals to buy and sell locally produced energy using the existing network of power cables… read more

📖 Ballers and Bitcoin: Miami Dolphins Set To Accept Cryptocurrencies For Payments

The Litecoin Foundation, in partnership with the Miami Dolphins, is announcing it would begin accepting both Bitcoin and Litecoin for payments beginning in the 2019/2020 NFL season. Aliant Payments, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based payment processing and independent merchant services provider, will be powering the cryptocurrency payment solution intending to give home game attendees the ability to pay with Litecoin and Bitcoin when purchasing tickets for the team’s 50/50 raffle…read more

📖 Amazon, Deloitte, Fidelity Partner With IDEO CoLab on Blockchain Accelerator

IDEO CoLab is partnering with 20 blue-chip and crypto firms to launch a blockchain accelerator dubbed Startup Studio. Partners include Amazon, Deloitte, and Fidelity, as well as crypto data firm Messari, the Ethereum Foundation, the Stellar Foundation, among others, to build on the distributed web incubator that IDEO CoLab launched in February…read more

📖 Visa Makes Its Second Investment Into a Crypto Startup

Global payment giant Visa has recorded its second investment in a crypto project by leading a $40 million funding round of Anchorage startup. The new funding will be used in Anchorage’s mission to provide an alternative to cold storage-based institutional custody to ensure the security of customers’ assets…read more

📖 Million of Durians Tracked on the Blockchain for Thailand’s Largest Durian Exporter

DiMuto is closing a deal with Queen, Thailand’s largest durian exporter, and producer to track Durians on the Blockchain and will tag, track and trace around four million fresh durians from Thailand to China, Japan and other parts of Asia. DiMuto’s Track & Trace blockchain platform integrates with supply chain workflows and existing systems to create traceability and accountability for each of the durians, from farms, factories, cold chain to distribution channels and end consumers…read more

📖 MOBI Announces the First Vehicle Identity (VID) Standard on Blockchain in Collaboration with Groupe Renault, Ford, and BMW Among Others

Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative’s member-led Vehicle Identification Working Group created and launched the industry’s first VID standard incorporating blockchain technology into a digital vehicle identification system…read more

Libra Watch

📖 China Should Prepare Digital Yuan to Counter Facebook Libra: Ex-PBoC Chief

As per the former People’s Bank of China (PBoC) governor, Zhou Xiaochuan China should prepare digital yuan to counter Facebook Libra. He cited that while Libra may help developing countries improve their payment systems, it would also pose a threat to existing cross-border payments systems and could weaken national currencies…read more

📖 Facebook’s Cryptocurrency, Libra: Senate Banking Testimony

The Senate Banking Committee staff reached out to Caitlin Long last week regarding Facebook’s Libra project, pursuant to her recent article. During a conference call, they indicated interest in receiving formal written testimony from her…read more

📖 ‘Facebook is dangerous:’ Senators grill Facebook’s David Marcus over Libra in 2-hour hearing

Facebook’s David Marcus is facing a cacophony of fear, uncertainty, and doubts surrounding the social media giant’s plan to launch its digital currency Libra during a Senate hearing Tuesday, following criticisms from a wide range of regulators and lawmakers around the globe. Marcus stuck to the Facebook talking points, noting once again that Facebook is not the sole member of the so-called Libra Association backing the crypto and that other members — including the likes of PayPal and Visa — would keep the company’s power over the network in check…read more

📖 Libra: A Governance Perspective

Dmitriy Berenzon, Head of Research @ Zenith Ventures focuses on an underexamined aspect that will make or break the Facebook Libra project — governance. The post covers Libra’s currency and governance model design, An analysis of Libra’s governance model and incentives for Association members and Best- and worst-case scenarios for Libra adoption… read more

📚What I’m Reading Now

Every Sunday I grab a LARGE cup of coffee and open up the latest edition of Nathaniel Whittemore’s Long Reads Sunday on Twitter. If you haven’t had the chance to do that, I highly recommend it. Here’s the beginning of the most recent issue #55 - The Donald Debrief:

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Writing about #Blockchain, #DApps, #Digitization, and all things #Distributed. Host of Blockchain & Crypto Today