Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Two directors of the South Korean market-leading Upbit crypto exchange have been cleared of criminal fraud and market manipulation charges, reports Newsis. Prosecutors had brought forward over 30 charges against the directors, claiming they used accounts on their own platform to manipulate prices. The presiding judge claimed that prosecutors had presented “insufficient evidence” to support their claims.
- GO.Exchange will close the operations of the exchange on March 15, 2020. They stated that as of January 30, they no longer accept customers or allow transactions to take place on the exchange, other than withdrawals.
- Deribit will start offering daily Deribit BTC index options on February 3, 2020. Per the trading platform, the new daily options will have similar contract specifications to the other options already available on Deribit and a shorter time to expiry. There will be a BTC option contract expiring every day and investors will be able to choose from a full range of expiries ranging from one day to nine months.
- Tokyo-based Nomura Research Institute (NRI), a management consultancy and research firm, has developed a benchmark for investment appraisal of crypto-assets in coordination with Intelligence Unit LLC (IU) - the “NRI/IU Crypto-Asset Index Family.” Per the announcement, this new offering will be available through NRI’s financial information database, IDS, to domestic and overseas institutional investors, financial information vendors, and crypto exchanges starting today.
Digital fiats news
- The central Bank of Japan (BOJ) “must be ready to issue digital currencies,” says its deputy governor Masayoshi Amamiya, per Reuters. The BOJ executive stated that the central bank had “no immediate plans to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC),” but added that it was “very important” for the BOJ to continue exploring CBDC issuance-related matters.
- The U.S.-based private key security specialist Casa said that it is winding down its hardware product Casa Node which will now be run on open-source software and "anyone can build it on their own hardware." Also, their CEO Jeremy Welch said he is stepping down due to a family health issue while the current head of product Nick Neuman to become their new CEO.
- Digital currency trading and lending firm Genesis stated that the fourth quarter of 2019 was its best yet, closing it with record-high results. Per the press release, the company facilitated more than USD 1.1 billion in loans and borrows for its institutional clients, marking seven quarters of consecutive growth. Total active loans are up to USD 545 million, they write, a 23% increase from the third quarter figure of USD 450 million.
- Digital debate game TruStory decided to shut down, saying that, while they believe in its mission, they also believe that the business behind TruStory is unsustainable and too early for the market, as the market is not large enough for it, they claim. They further explain that getting their token TRU on the market proved to be too difficult as the regulatory and compliance risk of launching a token is still too high, the infrastructure to distribute the token is still not ready, and there aren't enough people in crypto yet.
- The government of Venezuela has announced that payments made in foreign currency or cryptocurrencies will be subject to a VAT surcharge of between 5% and 25%, reports Criptonoticias. One notable exception to the new rule will be the state-issued Petro token, which will be made VAT exempt.
- The Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) has launched the "first known voucher to be powered by blockchain technology," redeemable in up to 3,000 participating member restaurants, reports Irish Tech News. The platform was developed by eosDublin and is powered by Europechain. The RAI Listings site allows users to see participating restaurants by location broken down by province, and vouchers can be purchased online with instant email verification.
- South Korean blockchain operator Ground X and Hanyang University will offer free online lecture access to their joint Smart Contract and Decentralized Apps master’s degree course, reports ZDNet Korea. The course was launched in the second half of last year.
- South Korea’s southwestern South Jeolla Province will launch a blockchain-powered “eco-friendly” agricultural distribution platform in March, reports ET News. The platform will allow farmers and buyers to trade farmed goods and related products on a decentralized network and has won central government backing.
- The open-source Hyperledger Foundation announced the release of distributed ledger platform Hyperledger Fabric 2.0. Fabric introduced its v1.0 release in July, 2017, states the announcement, and its second iteration brings new chaincode lifecycle management, new chaincode application patterns for collaboration and consensus, data privacy on a need-to-know basis, new external chaincode launcher, new consensus type of Raft, and performance improvements.
- The South Korean government has confirmed that plans to rollout blockchain-powered mobile driver’s licenses have been approved, per Decenter. Issuance will begin in May, using police-operated servers, and will allow drivers to do away with plastic and paper-based alternatives in favor of a police force-approved smartphone-based ID system.
- In an ongoing case, Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by traveling to North Korea, in a Southern District of New York courthouse on Thursday. A status update hearing is scheduled for March 17.