Top Crypto News – 20/07/2018

UK Begins Research on Law Reform for Use of Blockchain Smart Contracts


The U.K. Law Commission has launched a research project investigating reforms that would bring legal clarity to the use of blockchain-based smart contracts.

According to a working paper published on Thursday, the independent agency has already this year carried out initial research on the topic and a more formal project is due to start in the summer. The agency said the work is to “ensure that the law is sufficiently certain and flexible to apply in a global, digital context and to highlight any topics which lack clarity or certainty.”

“There is a serious intention to take forward reform in this area,” it added.

The Law Commission believes that smart contracts have the advantage of increasing “trust and certainty” and boost transaction efficiency among businesses. As such, the current legal system should adapt to the nascent technology to make the U.K. attractive for enterprises, it argued.

The working paper states:

“It is important to ensure that English courts and law remain a competitive choice for business. Therefore, there is a compelling case for a Law Commission scoping study to review the current English legal framework as it applies to smart contracts.”

The effort follows a report published by the commission in December 2017 which outlined 14 areas – including the use of smart contracts – that are set for law reform after a year-long public consultation process.

The commission said at the time that the smart contract research process could take 9–18 months to complete, adding:

“There are questions about how this feature (smart contract) would interact with contract law concepts such as implied terms or contracts which are held to have been void from the outset. There are also questions about data protection law.”

Last year, John Thomas, the top judge for England and Wales also made notable remarks at a lecture hosted by the Law Commission, saying that British law may need to be updated to account for blockchain-based smart contracts.

U.K. flag and court image via Shutterstock
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Japanese Minister Denies Ties to Unregistered Crypto Exchange Under Investigation


Given Her Position as a Cabinet Minister, Noda Risked Being Accused of Exerting Pressure on a Government Investigation

Japanese Minister Denies Ties to Unregistered Crypto Exchange Under Investigation
Seiko Noda, Minister for Internal Affairs

“Because there has never been any administrative ties between this company and my office, I believe there is no exerting pressure on the front of this government investigation.” Noda told the press at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on Thursday.

According to Noda, her secretary and aide solicited an FSA agent for general background briefing regarding crypto exchanges’ legal framework and organized a meeting at her parliamentary office with an acquaintance who represented the company. Noda said she was not present at the meeting. The unnamed company was under government investigation on suspicion of violating the fund settlement law at the time, but Noda’s team claims it was not aware of that fact. An FSA official visited Noda’s office at the Diet members’ building on January 30 to explain Noda’s aide and the representative of the company under investigation the FSA’s positioning on regulations concerning funds raising by issuing cryptocurrency and other matters.

A senior agency official noted that the request from Noda’s office for a briefing could be interpreted as pressure. “A public servant will likely take it as pressure if an aide to a sitting Cabinet member calls for a meeting in which an employee of a company the agency is looking into is also present,” the official was quoted saying to Asahi newspaper.

Noda told reporters that she hasn’t received any political contribution, nor had she made any investment with the company. “I promise I will take more prudent responses in the future.” She added.

The company, which began dealing in its own cryptocurrency in October 2017, received administrative guidance in February 2018 not to continue selling cryptocurrencies.

The Amended Settlement Act

Japanese Minister Denies Ties to Unregistered Crypto Exchange Under Investigation
The National Diet, the seat of the Japanese government

Japanese lawmakers amended the Act on Settlement of Funds in May 2016 to regulate businesses handling virtual currencies. This law was amended after Mt. Gox went bankrupt in Japan in February of 2014 due to the misappropriation of customers’ assets by its operator.

In response to these background events, Japanese lawmakers enacted the Amended Settlement Act with three pillars of regulation as follows:

  • Registration requirements on virtual currency exchange business in Japan;
  • Regulation against money laundering and terrorist financing; and
  • Introduction of rules to ensure customer protection.
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It Took Just A Day for Tron’s Founder to Win His Own Blockchain’s Election


An unconventional candidate has triumphed in tron’s ongoing blockchain elections: its own founder Justin Sun.

After announcing his candidacy to become a tron “super representative” (a node on the software elected by token holders to validate transactions, create blocks in the network and compete for its rewards) just one day ago, Sun has successfully garnered enough votes to run one of just 27 nodes that will operate the $2.5 billion tron network.

As of press time, Sun had acquired over 120 million votes according to tron’s Tronscan feature. Candidates must receive over 100 million votes to be elected, with each TRX counting for one vote. (For context, it took other candidates several days to a week to be elected, and only 11 representatives have been elected thus far.)

As reported by CoinDesk, tron kicked off its election in June as part of the launch of its own proprietary blockchain. The project was originally meant to run on the ethereum blockchain, and is currently in the process of migrating its TRX tokens from that network to its new platform.

Sun wrote in his Wednesday announcement on Twitter:

“I hope that my candidacy will make all the TRX holders, supporters and believers see the significance embedded in voting. I hope it will enable all of us to contribute to the establishment of a truly democratic, decentralized tron community.”

Sun’s decision was not wholly unexpected, as it was foreshadowed in an April Medium post in which he wrote, “I myself will participate in the tron super representative election along with all other candidates.”

Later, Sun clarified in his statement that his candidacy was “a completely personal action” and will not represent the Tron Foundation, of which he is the CEO. He previously promised that the foundation would not use its 34 billion tokens to vote in the election, though he did not disclose his personal TRX holdings in the announcement.

At the time, Sun largely sought to downplay the potential impact that his influence in the community could have on the election. “I am determined to go through the selection process like everyone else, which displays tron’s inclusiveness and openness as a decentralized and autonomous community,” he said.

Unlike other super representative candidates, Sun did not publish an election “manifesto,” which typically contains information on the candidates and the hardware they plan to use to run the node.

New ‘democracy’

Still, tron’s ongoing election is part of a broader trend among public blockchains, one that finds notable projects experimenting with novel ways to coordinate stakeholders to update the software.

Most recently, neo, the 12th largest blockchain by total value, saw its founders take on a prominent, almost exclusive, role in its election, despite claims the process was decentralized or democratic.

As such, Sun’s announcement was greeted with some skepticism by tron users. “Hey Justin that’s not good for us, this is unprofessional,” one Twitter user commented on Sun’s post.

A Reddit user questioned Sun’s rhetoric of democracy, commenting: “Create democracy. People love it. Huge media presence and influence. People love you. Run for head office. Everyone follows. Easy win. Now in control of said democracy. Seem strange? No? I give up.”

Others suggested that Sun’s candidacy would bolster criticism of the project, which was previously accused of plagiarizing its white paper and failing to properly attribute code in its Github repository.

However, with the results only recently concluded, it remains to be seen whether the move will have any lasting impact on the project, which after making global headlines by acquiring BitTorrent in June, remains one of the more prominent to have emerged over the last year.

Justin Sun image via Tron Foundation Facebook 
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