One of the most fascinating things about the cryptocurrency revolution is that it is a truly global phenomenon. Lawmakers all around the world are still trying to determine how cryptocurrency and blockchain technology should be governed. Courts and regulators are trying to establish how crypto fits into existing laws and banking rules. Businesses are trying to figure out how it can be used to make a profit. As a result, on any given day there’s almost too much cryptocurrency news to follow.
In this post, we’re taking a look at five recent cryptocurrency-related news items from around the world that you may have missed.
1. Cryptoassets and smart contracts validated by UK law panel. In a statement released earlier this week, the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce of the Lawtech Delivery Panel confirmed that cryptocurrencies and other “cryptoassets” should be recognized as “tradeable property” under existing law. The panel, which includes Sir Geoffrey Vos (Chancellor of the High Court) and Sir Antony Zacaroli (Justice of the High Court), also established that blockchain-based smart contracts are legally enforceable under UK law.
2. Venezuela to pay Christmas bonuses in Petro tokens. On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro announced plans to pay holiday bonuses to retirees and pensioners using the country’s controversial Petro cryptocurrency. Bonus recipients will automatically have their bonus payments converted into Petro tokens, which can then be accessed through mobile wallets hosted on the government’s website. Spending those tokens may not be so easy, however, as few businesses in the country accept Petro or other cryptocurrencies.
3. Swiss email provider ProtonMail confirms it is “HODL”ing BTC. In a tweet posted over the weekend, privacy-focused end-to-end encrypted email service ProtonMail revealed that they have been saving their cryptocurrency for a rainy day. The company allows users to pay for their premium service via bitcoin, and when one customer lamented that he was feeling “HODL guilty” for spending his bitcoin with them, the ProtonMail responded “No worries, we will HODL for you (we actually don’t sell our BTC and haven’t for years).” Previous reporting suggests that ProtonMail currently holds at least 200 BTC ($1.6 million).
4. BBC claims Russia’s FSB seized over $450 million from WEX. According to an extensive report published on the BBC’s Russian language news service, Russia’s Federal Security Bureau (FSB) seized roughly $450 million in various crypto tokens from BTC-e co-founder Aleksey Bilyuchenko during a 2018 investigation into money laundering at the BTC-e owned WEX exchange. The vast majority of the seized funds belong to the exchange’s customers, and there appears to be no plan to return the crypto tokens to their owners. Where the money actually ended up after being handed over to FSB investigators is also unclear.
5. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) denies crypto exchange rumors. Canadian business news outlet The Logic reported last week that the country’s largest bank, RBC, was in the early stages of building a cryptocurrency exchange. Speaking with cryptocurrency news outlet Cointelegraph on Tuesday, an RBC spokesperson denied the rumor. The spokesperson suggested that the confusion may have come as a result of RBC’s recent patent filings related to blockchain-based technology.