Crypto Valley Association Taps VC Firm Lakestar as Strategic Partner

Switzerland-based blockchain consortium, the Crypto Valley Association (CVA), has added European venture capital firm Lakestar as a strategic partner, the association revealed to CoinDesk this week. Lakestar has previously dabbled in blockchain, and in 2017 made investments in crypto wallet provider Blockchain and exchange startup ShapeShift. Its portfolio also includes investments in Skype, Spotify, Facebook and Airbnb. With the announcement, Lakestar will join the rank of CVA’s existing strategic partners that include the multinational consulting firm PwC, and ethereum startup ConsenSys. In addition, Lakestar will chair the CVA’s new “Venture Building”…

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First Bitcoin Smart Contracts Sidechain Now Secured By 1 in 10 Miners

The first bitcoin smart contracts sidechain just reached an early milestone. To be revealed Monday at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference, RSK, the startup that built the long-anticipated technology, touted as a way to bring ethereum-style smart contracts to the world’s largest cryptocurrency, is issuing new details on the number of bitcoin users dedicating computing power to backing the experimental idea. First launched this past January, the sidechain pegged to bitcoin was admittedly limited in that it’s not pegged to bitcoin in a “trustless” way advocates have promised for so long. Rather,…

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IoT Startup Filament Hits Milestone for Blockchain Hardware

Filament, a startup that focuses on Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, announced Monday that it has successfully created a USB-compatible form factor for its blockchain semiconductor. Co-founder and CEO Allison Clift-Jennings told CoinDesk that the device, based on Filament’s existing technology, allows technologists to launch blockchain projects simply by plugging it into a compatible port. The blockchain-native semiconductor was first announced in January and offers “the ability to sign and verify transactions at the silicon level.” The new “Blocklet” device, she said, builds on that, allowing blockchain processors to interface…

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SAP Launches Blockchain Supply Chain Initiative

Multinational software firm SAP is expanding its work with blockchain into the supply chain space. Torsten Zube, SAP’s blockchain lead, revealed Monday that the company is looking to apply the tech to agricultural supply chains by way of its Farm to Consumer initiative. Companies like Johnsonville, Naturipe Farms and Maple Leaf are working as additional collaborators on the project. “The Farm to Consumer project perfectly showcases a common pattern we see in many of our blockchain projects,” Zube wrote in a blog post detailing the initiative. “Cross-company collaboration along complex…

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CoinDesk Releases Q1 2018 State of Blockchain Report

After reaching historic highs in 2017, cryptocurrencies languished across multiple fundamental metrics in this year’s first quarter. Unease permeated the industry, mostly from regulatory uncertainty and pull-back after a year of parabolic growth. To shed light on a tumultuous Q1, CoinDesk’s latest State of Blockchain report provides a 90-plus slide analysis of some of the most significant data points.  Released Monday, the report covers public blockchains, distributed ledger technology (DLT), consortium chains, initial coin offerings (ICOs), trading and investments, and regulation. It also features the results of our 50-plus question…

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Florida Tax Collector to Accept Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash Payments

A Florida county tax collector has partnered with bitcoin payments processor BitPay to accept cryptocurrency for a variety of services. Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg said in a statement Monday that his office will take bitcoin and bitcoin cash for payments associated with driver licenses and ID cards, automobile tags and titles and property tax. The office decided to accept the cryptocurrencies in an effort to streamline fee collection, reduce the potential for fraud and identity theft and increase the transparency and accuracy of payments. Greenberg’s office added that…

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CME Group Partners to Launch Ether Reference Rate Index

Derivatives exchange operator CME Group is launching an ether reference rate and a real-time ether-dollar index in partnership with UK-based digital asset trading service Crypto Facilities. The operator noted Monday that it would provide “a daily benchmark price in U.S. dollars” every 24 hours, as well as the real-time price “based on transactions and order book activity” from cryptocurrency exchanges Kraken and Bitstamp, according to a press release. The rates are already available online on both the CME Group and Crypto Facilities websites, and will be provided to the CME…

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New York Plans Blockchain Center to Stake Claim as Industry Hub

It’s Blockchain Week in the Big Apple, but if city leaders have their way, New York will become more than just a nice place for the industry to visit.  Announced Monday, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is launching several initiatives to put the city on the map as a blockchain technology hub. Foremost among them is a plan to open a “Blockchain Center” that will both promote public awareness of the technology and facilitate conversations among industry stakeholders. A key topic of the center’s conversations will be…

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Legal Framework For Cryptocurrencies Comes Into Force

A regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies has come into effect by royal decree in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported Sunday, May 13.  The 100-section law, published yesterday in the country’s Royal Gazette, defines cryptocurrencies as “digital assets and digital tokens,” and brings them under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Thai Security Exchange Commission (SEC). The Bangkok Post quotes Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong as saying that the new measures are not intended to prohibit cryptocurrencies or Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The Finance Minister’s position reiterates that of the country’s SEC, which…

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Scandinavian Start-Up To Track World’s Shipping Containers Through Blockchain

A start-up led by seasoned professionals in the shipping industry is creating a Blockchain-driven platform which, for the first time, will provide a real-time registry of the world’s 27 million containers. Blockshipping says its solution – which is called the Global Shared Container Platform (GSCP for short) – has what it takes to address staggering inefficiencies in the marketplace, bringing significant savings for businesses throughout the supply chain and dramatically reducing the industry’s toll on the environment. Despite being a “hugely valuable” sector, Blockshipping says the industry has been plagued…

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