Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.
Bank of Tokyo launches its own digital currency. Pete Rizzo of Coin Desk reports that Japan’s largest bank seeks to enter the cryptocurrency space with the recent development of its own digital currency, known as MUFG coin. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ has been involved in the launch of its own cryptocurrency following thorough research on the blockchain technology. The goal of this venture is to leave the network of miners on the outside when replicating the peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange and to lower the managing costs of financial transactions. The trial of MUFG coin was initiated last fall.
Putin’s new internet advisor considers bitcoin transactions a crime. As Samburaj Das of CryptoCoins News writes, German Klimenko, Putin’s newly appointed internet counsel, has allegedly claimed that accepting bitcoin as a payment constitutes a criminal action. Following the long-standing debate in Russia whether the bitcoin should be regulated or not, Klimenko considers the digital currency a threat to the national economy, claiming that other countries around the globe should also put a stop on the use of bitcoin before it becomes “critical”. Klimenko reportedly stated that “Accepting bitcoin as a payment for anything is unacceptable because it is a crime. Payments within the Russian Federation are accepted in rubles.”
Commonwealth Nations are prompted to legalize the bitcoin. According to Forklog, a report released by the governments of the Commonwealth’s of Nations Working Group on Virtual Currencies calls all 53 member states to launch a discussion on the legalization of cryptocurrencies. Following a year’s research and consultation with industry experts, the report primarily seeks to “raise awareness of emerging trends in the use of virtual currencies among Commonwealth member countries and determine any risks that these trends pose”. Its main findings can be summarized in bitcoin’s popularity and usefulness despite its risks. This is why it claims legalization is important.
Viber and the Western Union join forces to launch mobile remittance solutions. Jp Buntinx of Bitcoinist reports that Viber, the instant messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) app for smartphones that currently serves 664 million unique users around the globe, has partnered with the Western Union aiming to capitalize on the growing interest of consumers in mobile payment solutions. Viber seeks to become a major player in the financial world through this partnership and people are expected to follow the deal as it practically connects mobile messaging and global payment solutions. Although it would make more sense for Viber to integrate the bitcoin on its platform, the company goes for the big step by joining forces with the leading money transfer company.
Alibaba investigates the blockchain technology. As Joseph Young of Bitcoin Magazine writes, the Chinese e-commerce leading company explores the possibility of supplying Alipay, a blockchain-based cloud service platform to its customers that could lower the costs of settling transactions. The decision was taken after observing a number of financial institutions and organizations integrating blockchain apps into the conventional finance sector. The announcement was made at the YunQi Computing Conference in Shanghai.
Stellar and Oradian enter a strategic partnership to bring cheap and seamless money transfer solutions to Nigeria. As Jp Buntinx of NewsBtc writes, the partnership aims to capitalize on the fact that large African banks do not seek to expand in Nigeria because of the costs involved. In contrast, a strategic partnership based on the cryptocurrency technology and the bitcoin is to the best interest of the African region as a whole. Furthermore, the fact that Oradian is already known for supplying micro-finance institution with cloud-based software makes the partnership extremely interesting.