Monthly Archives: agosto 2019


Facebook token runs into instant political opposition in Europe

(Article published by Michael K. Spencer with same title in Medium)

Libra could be a Trojan horse and Europe is actually paying attention. Just when you think you’ll get Zuck-ed again, Europe actually has some sense. Facebook’s Libra pitches to be the future of money, but not everyone is raving about it.

Facebook has already abused their power and our trust (not to mention our data) and now we want to trust them to bank the unbanked? It’s a special kind of insanity when Silicon Valley tries to hack the world and crpyto.

Europe has been for a long time calling for tighter regulation of the social-media giant, while the U.S. has more or less been failing at tech regulation for more than a decade.

Mark Zuckerberg’s public image is sort of tarnished and even new top Grads don’t want to be associated with Facebook.

That means this pet project Libra is so ambitious it makes them sound like they want to “become a sovereign currency”. A stablecoin disrupting fiat currency? You never know, in the internet the U.S. has created, just what’s in store for us years from now.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the digital currency known as Libra shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for traditional currencies. So to say that Europe is wary of Facebook’s “Libra Association” that’s taking up a cryptocurrency challenge and its banner would be an understatement. The Libra Association companies are basically a coalition of U.S. payment and tech companies.

The Libra Network could also damage banks and their bottom lines. If sending digital money on WhatsApp has no fees and can even get me interest, Facebook might just become a convenient bank with its Calibra wallet.

European financial leaders vowed vigilance after Facebook announced it was diving into the cryptocurrency market, as analysts warned the social media giant could face major regulatory questions.

Facebook’s warped sense of what is good for the world is already well documented, I think.

The Lightning Network folk are probably best buds with the Facebook crypto overlords. They see Libra being good for Bitcoin, and that’s a win-win for all of these crypto influencers and fake news (biased) publications.

Cuba eyes cryptocurrency as solution to financial woes and sanctions

(Article published by Tomorrowland Ltd. with same title in Medium)

Cuba has announced it is considering the use of cryptocurrency in order to bolster its finances. According to a report from SBS-AAP, the country’s Communist government announced on state-run TV that it would potentially use crypto as part of a package aimed to boost incomes for as much as a quarter of Cubans and assist with market reforms.

The move is possibly influenced by the nation’s ally, Venezuela, which launched its own “petro” cryptocurrency early last year. It’s not clear from the report if Cuba might launch its own token or use existing alternatives. Like Venezuela, Cuba is suffering from tough U.S.-led sanctions and has also seen a drop-off in aid from Venezuela which is undergoing both financial and political crises of its own.

In the TV announcement, Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel indicted that the cryptocurrency plan is aimed to raise national production and demand in order to boost growth. The package would reportedly boost some pensions and wages for employees within public administration, social services and state-run media, almost doubling their average monthly wage.

If so, the state appears to be placing a lot of hope in its crypto dreams. Venezuela has not seen its petro token take off internationally, despite having touted it at OPEC as a means for the world to pay for oil. Soon after launch, U.S. President Donald Trump also added the petro to its list of sanctioned assets. Companies assisting the project in avoiding sanctions could also get in hot water. A Russian bank was itself sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury after it was considered to have assisted financing of the petro.

SmartDegrees obtiene el Sello de Excelencia de la Comisión Europea

La Comisión Europea ha otorgado a SmartDegrees el Sello de Excelencia, por su plataforma de registro y certificación de títulos y certificados académicos basada en blockchain.

Se trata de un certificado de calidad proporcionado a las propuestas de proyectos presentadas a Horizonte 2020, el programa marco de la Unión Europea para investigación e innovación en el período 2014-2010. El certificado garantiza el cumplimiento de los criterios de excelencia, de impacto y de calidad y eficiencia en la implementación, valederos para la obtención de financiación dentro del presupuesto Horizonte 2020.

Horizonte 2020 es el programa de investigación e innovación más grande de la Unión Europea, con fondos disponibles durante 7 años (2014 a 2020), una iniciativa emblemática de Europa 2020 destinada a asegurar la competitividad global de Europa. Es un medio para impulsar el crecimiento económico y crear empleos y cuenta con el respaldo político de los líderes de Europa y los miembros del Parlamento Europeo. Al unir la investigación y la innovación, Horizonte 2020 impulsa la excelencia en la ciencia, el liderazgo industrial y aborda los desafíos sociales.

Walmart wants to patent a stablecoin that looks a lot like Facebook Libra

(Article published by Daniel Palmer with same title in CoinDesk)

Retail giant Walmart has applied for a cryptocurrency patent that bears some similarities to the Libra token proposed by Facebook in mid-June.

In its application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart touts the concept of a digital currency “tied to a regular currency” – that is, what’s commonly known as a stablecoin. Libra will be a token pegged to a basket of fiat currencies and government bonds, according to Facebook.

Over and above that, the filing suggests that the proposed coin could help provide finance for those with limited access to banking services – one of the major claims Facebook has made for Libra, most likely in an effort to appeal to the public (and regulators) over the token. “Using a digital currency, low-income households that find banking expensive, may have an alternative way to handle wealth at an institution that can supply the majority of their day-to-day financial and product needs,” Walmart states.

Facebook’s offering is expected to create a system whereby its social media platforms could use Libra for payments, allowing advertisers to earn Libra and pay Facebook in the token for ads. Although it could also be used more widely in time in remittances and other use cases.

Walmart’s filing, too, indicates its coin could have features that apply to a token being used within the ecosystem of a high-street retail company: “The digital currency may be pegged to the US dollar and available for use only at selected retailors or partners. In other embodiments, the digital currency is available for use anywhere. The digital currency can provide a fee-free, or fee-minimal place to store wealth that can be spent, for example, at retailers and, if needed, easily converted to cash.”

A notable difference is that users of a “Walmart Coin” could “even earn interest,” the application suggests. With Libra, interest earned on the scheme’s potentially vast reserve funds would go to Libra partners that back the company to the tune of around $10 million.

More closely applying to a commerce giant, though, Walmart says its token could store user’s purchasing histories on the blockchain, and then apply related savings to their subsequent purchases in a similar way to loyalty points.

Other novel features suggested in the very broad filing include the ability to remove the need for credit cards, and acting as a “pre-approved biometric (e.g., fingerprint or eye pattern) credit.” “A person is the ‘credit card’ to their own digital value bank,” the firm says.

The token could also be used to restrict what product categories can be bought and by whom, for example blocking minors from purchasing cigarettes, alcohol, or an R-rated DVD.

Walmart is already using blockchain for tracking products like fresh greens and pharmaceuticals. It’s also has been investigating various use cases of the technology, with projects including connecting automated delivery drones. In June, Walmart China launched a live scheme aimed to improve the nation’s poor food safety record. It also has a host of other patents applied for, including some relating to tracking packages, power supply payments and delivery fleets.

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