FinCEN Issues Guidance on Virtual Currencies as Congressman Proposes Bill to Outlaw Crypto Purchases

U.S. regulation has certainly dominated the crypto headlines over the past 24 hours. One story came from Congressman Bradley Sherman – a known detractor of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general – who proposed the introduction of a bill that would ban Americans from buying cryptocurrency. Then there was the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), who issued an interpretive guidance on crypto, or “convertible virtual currencies (CVCs)”, as they call them.

Away from regulatory scene, London-based legal technology firm Mattereum announced it teamed up with renowned sci-fi actor William Shatner to showcase a blockchain-enabled technology that promises to disrupt the arts and collectibles market.

Bitcoin (BTC) is showing no signs of wavering after breaking through the $6,000-mark yesterday, a level not breached since mid-November of last year. At the time of writing, BTC is trading at $6,314.13 (+3.55%). Whilst ether (ETH) is also moving higher – $173.84 (+1.31%) – it is, once again, lagging behind the market-leading BTC in relative terms. Finally, the MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 10 Index is tracking at 2896.50, a 2.69% rise over the past 24 hours.

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Congressman Proposes Bill to ‘Outlaw’ Cryptocurrency Purchases

In a Financial Services Committee hearing on Thursday (May 9, 2019), U.S. Congressman Bradley Sherman (D-CA) called on “colleagues to join [him] in introducing a bill to outlaw cryptocurrency purchases by Americans.” Explaining his motivation in front of the Committee, Sherman stated it is partly “because an awful lot of [the United States’] international power comes from the fact the dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions.”

To be sure, this is not the first time Sherman has called for a blanket ban on cryptocurrency buying. “We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies,” he declared, last July, in front of a subcommittee for the same Committee.

FinCEN Issues New Cryptocurrency Guidance

U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) regulator, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), published an interpretive guidance document outlining when, and how, companies, individuals, and platforms native to the crypto ecosystem may be money transmitters pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and other relevant laws.

Notably, the guidance made explicit interpretations that software wallet providers, multi-sig providers, decentralized exchanges, and other non-custodial services are not regulated as money transmitters under FinCEN, meaning they are not obliged to follow federal AML and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations. For an in-depth rundown of FinCEN’s guidance, CryptoGlobe recommends readers view this extremely helpful annotated version by Katherine Wu, the former director of business development at Messari.

William Shatner Teams Up with Mattereum to Blockchain-ize Captain Kirk

Actor William Shatner, best known for starring as Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, is teaming up with London-based legal technology startup Mattereum “to document authenticity of memorabilia and collectibles, on the blockchain,” according to a press release published on Friday (May 10, 2019).

Shatner will appear alongside Mattereum during the upcoming New York Blockchain Week, where they will showcase the firm’s so-called Asset Passport technology, which uses legally-binding smart contracts to ensure the accuracy of records, the statement explained.

As part of the partnership, Shatner will be putting his one-of-a-kind numbered action figure of “Capt. James Kirk in Casual Attire” on an immutable ledger, creating what Mattereum calls a “digital twin.” Notably, Friday’s announcement revealed the famed Star Trek actor will continue working with Mattereum to “create digital twins for science fiction and other collectible memorabilia.”

Apple Users Score Crypto-Friendly Options; Trio Close Venture Equity Rounds

The top daily news from the cryptocurrency and blockchain space:

  • Opera’s crypto-, blockchain-ready browser hits Apple iOS.
  • Venture funding spree continues with trio of equity round closures.
  • Ethereum ERC-20 tokens to be tradable on a world-leading stock exchange by year-end.

At the time of writing, bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) are trading at $12,630.8 (-0.7%) and $327.5 (-1.1%), respectively. As for the MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 10 Index, it is currently tracking at 5,051.6 (-0.1%).

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Opera’s Crypto-, Blockchain-Ready Browser Hits Apple iOS

Opera, the software technology company behind the popular web browser of the same name, announced its blockchain and cryptocurrency-ready Opera Touch browser is now available for iOS, the mobile operating system created and developed by Apple.

Opera Touch features “crypto wallet integration and Web 3 support,” meaning users can natively interact with blockchain-based applications; eliminating the need for a browser extension such as MetaMask.

Currently, Opera Touch only supports ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens. Support for other blockchains like Tron (TRX), however, is expected to be enabled by the middle of next year.

Venture Funding Spree Continues as Trio Close Equity Rounds

A total of three projects that, either directly or indirectly, form part of the fast-growing cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem, announced successful venture capital rounds.

The first was blockchain data startup dfuse, which raised $3.5 million in an equity round co-led by Multicoin Capital and tech giant Intel’s venture arm, Intel Capital. Commenting on his crypto-fund’s decision to invest in dfuse was Multicoin’s Kyle Samani, who, in a blog post, noted that the EOS-native dfuse will “be launching support for Ethereum in the next few weeks.”

The second was Imgur, one of the world’s leading image hosting platforms, which announced it raised a venture equity round worth $20 million from the XRP-integrated micropayments startup, Coil. “As part of the transaction, Stefan Thomas, Founder & CEO of Coil and former CTO of Ripple Labs, Inc., will be joining Imgur's board of directors,” stated a press release from Coil.

The third was now-former ConsenSys incubatee 3Box, a U.S.-based startup specializing in the decentralized identity space, which closed a Placeholder Ventures-led $2.5 million seed round. Other investors in 3Box included Venrock, CoinFund, Northzone, and ConsenSys.

Ethereum ERC-20 Tokens on Swiss Stock Exchange by Year-End

According to CoinDesk, Swiss security token startup BlockState is planning to “passport” six Ethereum-based ERC-20 tokens to R3’s Corda, a private distributed ledger technology platform.

“Before the end of the year, the tokens will be locked up in a smart contract on ethereum and “mirrored” versions of them will run on Corda,” the crypto media outlet reported, before continuing to report “the passporting will take place on the network R3 is building for the Swiss Digital Exchange (SDX) – part of SIX, Switzerland’s national stock exchange.”