Facebook Creates Blockchain Team
On Tuesday, Facebook’s Messenger lead, David Marcus, announced the launch of a small team “to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.” It’s worth noting that Marcus joined Coinbase’s board of directors in December 2017.
Obviously, there is very little to go on so far. However, according to recode, Facebook’s blockchain team “will be small at launch, fewer than a dozen people, but will include a few key Instagram executives who are moving over to join Marcus: Instagram’s VP of Engineering, James Everingham, and Instagram’s VP of Product, Kevin Weil.”
In a March 2018 interview with Enigma, Everingham confessed that he is “fascinated” with blockchain.
“I think that’s interesting and I think it will be transformative,” he said. “Right now the application is cryptocurrency—but I believe there are many more interesting applications beyond that and will be transformative in medicine, for instance.”
He went on to say, “My personal passion is med tech—specifically the human body as a connected device. I want to get notifications when my blood pressure is up and map it to my calendar.”
No word yet on whether Facebook will use blockchain for that sort of application, but the possibilities remain limitless.
Written by Ethnews.com
Winklevoss Brothers Win Crypto Exchange Patent
Winklevoss IP, the company owned by Gemini founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has been awarded with a patent claim that aims to settle exchange traded products (ETPs) holding cryptocurrencies.
The company outlined a system that can execute transactions for ETPs holding cryptocurrencies “such as bitcoins … ripple, dogecoins … ether” as well as BBQCoin, among others, according to patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday. The company first filed the application in December of last year.
ETPs, which include exchange-traded-funds (ETF), are a type of security whose prices derive from other investment instruments they are tied to, which in the Winklevoss case, would be cryptocurrencies.
The patent reward is notable as it provides a glimpse into the Winklevoss brothers’ continuing efforts to push forward the trading of cryptocurrency-related ETFs after having met hurdles from U.S. regulators.
As previously reported by CoinDesk, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected the brothers’ last bid in March 2017 that sought to list a bitcoin-tied ETF on the Bats BZX Exchange, citing risk associated with the trading and regulatory uncertainty.
Currently, the SEC has yet to green-light any bitcoin-related ETFs on exchanges. And in January this year, several firms that were proposing a rule change to the SEC had also withdrawn their filings per requirement by the securities regulator.
Today’s patent reward also comes just a month after the Winklevoss IP won another patent claim for strengthening cryptocurrencies’ transaction security that could be used in the Gemini exchange, as previously reported by CoinDesk.
The Winklevoss brothers image via CoinDesk
Written by CoinDesk.com
Ex-Trump Advisor Predicts ‘Global Cryptocurrency’
Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs executive who led Donald Trump’s National Economic Council until last month, weighed in on bitcoin and blockchain technology on Tuesday.
“I’m not a big believer in bitcoin,” Cohn told CNBC’s Bob Pisani in an interview. “I am a believer in blockchain technology.”
He then made a bold prediction about the future of the tech, telling the network:
“I do think we will have a global cryptocurrency at some point.”
Cohn clarified that this global cryptocurrency would not be “based on mining costs and costs of electricity and things like that,” a reference to the power-hungry mechanism that bitcoin and other blockchains utilize.
“It will be a more easily understood cryptocurrency that will probably have some blockchain technology behind it, but it will be much more easily understood how it’s created and how it moves and how people can use it,” he remarked.
Cohn was prompted by a question about Goldman Sachs’ decision, revealed last week, to launch a bitcoin futures trading desk.
“Look, they can do whatever they want. They can do whatever’s in their shareholders’ best interest,” Cohn replied.
Cohn became Goldman Sachs’ president and chief operating officer in 2006. He remained in the post through the aftermath of the financial crisis, which his firm was widely seen as contributing to through its mortgage-backed securities business.
When Trump took office in January 2017, Cohn left Goldman to serve as director of the National Economic Council. In March 2018 it was reported that he would resign, a decision that likely reflected his opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs. Cohn left the post on April 2.
Gary Cohn image via Wikimedia
Written by CoinDesk.com
$2.5 Billion Sent Out of Iran to Purchase Cryptocurrencies
$2.5 Billion Capital Flight
Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, the Chairman of the Economic Commission of the Parliament of Iran, was quoted saying last week by Ibena.ir news agency:
Based on the existing data, few people in Iran are cryptocurrency users and more than 2.5 billion dollars has been sent out of the country for buying digital currencies.
He previously told Isna newspaper that Iranians had transferred $30 billion out of the country over the few months ending March. “Iranians do not have access to the international banking system and the transfers can only occur through unconventional ways, such as exchange dealers or international travelers,” Radiofarda explained.
The chairman’s statement came on the heels of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) banning banks and financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrencies, citing money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
Iran’s National Cryptocurrency
Iran’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, recently confirmed that an experimental local cryptocurrency has been developed and a test model was ready.
However, in an interview with Ibena.ir last week, Pourebrahimi said that “No virtual national currency has been designed in the country at the present [time].”
Nonetheless, he explained that Iran’s national crypto can “facilitate economic deals and circumvent sanctions,” the news outlet conveyed. Citing that “the future of the world economy will be done on digital currencies,” the chairman was quoted asserting that the national cryptocurrency “can pave the path for multilateral currency swap agreements between Iran and countries which are enthusiastic to have economic cooperation with Iran but they couldn’t have it so far owing to the sanctions.” He also elaborated:
The structure of the cryptocurrency should be suitable for economic activity and be acceptable at the international level simultaneously.
Pourebrahimi believes one of the benefits of cryptocurrencies “is [the] absence of [the] American regulator,” which he admitted can circumvent sanctions. His statement echoes Azari-Jahromi’s statement made last week that “All cryptocurrencies have the ability to circumvent sanctions because they are not under the supervision of the US financial regulator.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal by restoring sanctions on Iranian oil exports.