Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.
Moscow is hosting the next bitcoin conference in April. As Gola Yashu of NewsBtc reports, Russia, the least bitcoin-friendly country will host the next bitcoin conference, which will be organized by Smile-Expo. The event focuses on discussions about the use of bitcoin and the blockchain technology in Russia with the participation of members of the government as well as the banking, legal, fintech and payment sectors. According to the Smile-Expo press document, several Russian leading companies are interested in the blockchain technology believing that it can significantly simplify the existing remittance and record-keeping methods. At the same time, 2016 becomes the bitcoin election year in Russia. According to Bitcoin Magazine, the liberal-minded techlibs who favor the bitcoin and the conservative secruocrats who are afraid of the digital currency will vote for or against the use of bitcoin in Russia,
China’s Central Bank seeks to issue its own digital currency. As Samburaj Das of CryptoCoins News writes. Since 2014, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has put together a special research team to investigate all the regulatory frameworks to issue a digital currency. Currently, the PBOC is taking the required steps towards the release of its own digital currency while considering the effect on the Chinese economy. According to a PBOC statement “The digital currency team should clarify the strategic objectives of central bank digital currency issuance, thoroughly research key technologies, research various applications for digital currency to help the central bank introduce a digital currency, as soon as possible.”
The U.K. government is urged to use blockchain digital ledgers. As Chris Baraniuk of BBC reports, a report released by the U.K. Government Office of Science favors the use of the blockchain technology for a variety of services. In his report “Distributed ledger technology: beyond block chain”, Sir Mark Walport, chief scientific adviser, advocates how distributed ledger technology can revolutionize government and private sector services and recommends that the U.K. government should take action to capitalize on the potential of this new technology while minimizing the risk of deployment.
The International Monetary Fund releases a virtual currency-related report. As Neer Varshney of Coin Telegraph writes, the IMF Director Christine Lagarde presented a report titled “Virtual Currencies and Beyond: Initial Considerations” to the World Economic Forum held at Davos during the Transformation of Finance panel. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of virtual currencies aiming to highlight the legal and economic potential of the blockchain technology as well as the necessary regulatory and policy changes that need to be in effect. According to Christine Lagarde, such innovative technologies can provide faster and low-cost financial services, yet the challenge is to prevent fraudulent use.
New California bill seeks to lower smartphone encryption. As Jp Buntinx of Bitcoinist writes, California Assemblyman Jim Cooper proposed a new bill to weaken smartphone encryption by default as a means to fight terrorism and human trafficking on a global scale. Although most manufacturers seek to add additional layers to protect user data, the California lawmaker considers that a lower encryption would help government officials fight terrorism, especially after the Paris attacks.
New Hampshire bitcoin tax bill overruled. As Stan Higgins of Coin Desk reports, with 264 to 74 votes, the New Hampshire House of Representatives has rejected the bitcoin tax bill that was originally introduced by Eric Schleien on January 2015. If passed, the bill would allow the New Hampshire citizens to pay their taxes with the digital currency using a bitcoin payment firm to process the transaction. However, the bill was killed as a number of representatives raised a red flag related to the exchange rate risks the New Hampshire state would experience as a result of the fluctuating market prices of bitcoin.