Last month we passed the one year mark. During our inaugural year, we accomplished an ambitious list of milestones, including launching the first ever Congressional Bitcoin Education DayandCongressional Bitcoin Briefing. Though the support of our Members, we have made some significant advancements for the digital asset industry in Washington, DC and beyond.
For the full list of our first year milestones click here.
If you're not already a Member of Chamber and would like to support our work, click here to sign up.
The Chamber Of Digital Commerce and The Digital Currency Council Announce Strategic Partnership
The Chamber of Digital Commerce (“Chamber”) and the Digital Currency Council (DCC) recently announced their key strategic partnership to strengthen the advocacy and education efforts for the digital asset and digital currency industry. In this tactical Chamber initiative, the DCC will provide education and training opportunities to Chamber members as part of their membership benefits.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco What Community Banks Should Know About Virtual Currency
The Federal Reserve of San Francisco recently issued a warning for community bankers regarding banking virtual currency companies. The Federal Reserve outlined that banking virtual currency companies comes with additional risk, including legal, credit, and reputational risk. Compliance risk was noted as the most significant due to “the less-than-transparent nature of the transactions.” In addition, the Fed also stated that “eventually, it is also possible that community banks may find themselves holding virtual currency on their own balance sheets.”
Prized Mobile App Developer Settles With Federal Trade Commission
On June 29th the FTC settled with smartphone app developer Prized, which lured consumers into downloading its “rewards” app. Thousands of consumers downloaded the app believing they could earn points for playing games or downloading affiliated apps and then spend those points on rewards such as clothes, gift cards and other items. In reality, the app’s main purpose was actually to load the consumers’ mobile phones with malicious software to mine virtual currencies for the developer, like DogeCoin, LiteCoin and QuarkCoin. The settlement includes a $50,000 monetary judgment against the defendants.
Lesson for the industry: When dealing with consumers, always get express authorization.
New York Department of Financial Services' BitLicense Takes Effect
The final BitLicense regulations were published in the NY Register on June 24, 2015. This marked the beginning of the 45-day grace period for companies already operating in the state to file their application, which has now ended as of August 8th. Firms who submitted an application can continue to operate until a decision has been made but must cease operations if their application is declined.
California's Virtual Currency Bill Passes In Senate Banking Committee
The California State Legislature is considering a bill that would require those engaging in any virtual currency business to be licensed by the Commissioner of Business Oversight. On July 15, the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee passed AB-1326 by a 7-0 vote. The bill now moves to the Committee on Public Safety, but still has a number of hurdles to overcome before reaching the Governor's desk for final passage.
On July 15, the Governor of New Hampshire signed House Bill 666 into law, which is effective on January 1, 2016. New Hampshire enacted legislation that repealed and reenacted its money transmitter laws. Among the changes made, the law adds a definition for “convertible virtual currency” as well as amends the definition of “monetary value” and “payment instruments” to include “convertible virtual currency.”
In the opening keynote at American Banker's Digital Currencies + the Blockchain conference, the former JPMorgan Chase executive and Chamber of Digital Commerce Advisor Board Member said the first application of blockchain tech will be post-trade processing, rather than payments, securities or derivatives solutions. Processing is something banks need to accelerate.
National Science Foundation Funds A Cryptocurrency Research Initiative
The National Science Foundation granted Cornell, Berkeley, and the University of Maryland roughly $3 million in joint funds to establish digital currencies as a prominent research area. The research groups hope to develop new technologies that enable greater transaction scalability and privacy. Cornell and University of Maryland have already developed Hawk, a blockchain that enables smart contracts to be written into the blockchain without being publicly disclosed.
Overstock Launches tØ, Cryptosecurity Trading Platform, and Offers $5m Cryptobond
Overstock announced the sale of a $5 million digital security in the form of a cryptobond to FNY Managed Accounts LLC ("First New York"), an affiliate of FNY Capital. The sale is intended to serve as an additional proof-of-concept of the safety and efficiency of exchanging financial instruments via a cryptographically secured public ledger. This strategic transaction uniquely positions First New York's proprietary front end, HYDRATrade, and Overstock's tØ.com cryptosecurities trading platform to offer the first fully integrated CryptoTrading software suite.
UK Prime Minister Invites Bitcoin Company On Trade Delegation
British Prime Minister David Cameron recently toured South East Asia on a trade mission and brought with him a few UK companies including, Lloyd's of London, Rolls-Royce, and the London-based Bitcoin startup, Blockchain. When asked about regulation in the UK, Blockchain co-founder and CEO Peter Smith said, "I think the invitation is a reflection of the positive relationship and the Prime Minister’s dedication to fintech, and especially fintech 2.0.”