Bitcoin News Roundup 27 August 2016

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments

New developments:

China’s top search engine, Baidu, has halted bitcoin ads

Two local chinese exchanges, OKcoin and Huobi, have reported that China’s largest search engne, Baidu, has quietly removed bitcoin ads in a move that Bloomberg reports to be a signal of growing wariness over the amount of online scammers.

While China accounts for more than 90% of global trading, bitcoin is not considered “real” currency over there. According to some, this may be a move that will push China towards a more nationalized approach to virtual currency.

Apple and Google value Ripple Blockchain technology over Visa

Ripple’s new technology, the Interledger Protocol, has been getting a lot of attention from tech giants such as Apple and Google, that want to give users the best possible experience for their online payment solutions. According to information from the International Business Times, tech giants hate Visa, as they have to share market power with them in order to succeed in the online payment world. Ripple is expected be fully integrated with all major cryptocurrencies by the end of this year. By then, big technology companies like those mentioned above may make a move.

Sandia is currently developing a “de-anonymization tool” along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Sandia National Laboratories wants to tackle bitcoin anonymity in order to help law enforcement battle the use of the cryptocurrency in criminal context. Sandia aims to help law enforcement by creating a de-anonymization tool that will allow law enforcement to connect bitcoin addresses with specific individuals. According to Andrew Cox, a lead researcher, the de-anonymization will simply allow the team to identify various transactions linked to the individual, and not an actual name or address – as these aren’t connected to the use of bitcoin.

The tool will reduce the amount of resources law enforcement needs to implement whenever they need to track down users involved in illegal activities. According to Andrew Cox, there isn’t an easy way to make the tool.

World affairs:

Blockchain voting may be a reality in several countries

This week, several news outlets have reported that both the Australian Post and the Russian Government have been exploring new ways of using blockchain technology including its help in the voting system. According to some, this could help in several ways, as voting seems to be an ideal use for this type of technology, aside from crypto currencies. While in Russia this is a clear sign of the country loosening up its policies on the cryptocurrency, in Australia the idea has been supported and criticized, with critics such as Steve Wilson of security outfit Lockstep claiming: “Blockchain is not necessary, and more importantly, neither is it sufficient.”

Interest in bitcoin is growing in Kazakhstan as its fiat currency collapses

Kazakhstan ‘s fiat currency, the Kazakh Tenge, has been losing most of its value since the financial crisis of 2008, which means citizens’ savings have been affect. Even though the country didn’t accept bitcoin with open arms when its popularity started to grow, it now starts to see it as an alternative to the dire financial situation the country is currently handling.  Even though the government has warned against the use of bitcoin, partly due to Russia’s attitude towards the cryptocurrency, citizens are looking for a safer way to save money. The country now has a bitcoin advocacy center, Bitcoin Kazakhstan, and admits the blockchain system may come in handy. Bitcoin Kazakhstan educates people on bitcoin, providing training, consulting, networking and mining services.

UKGC allows gambling with bitcoin as it is seen as cash equivalent

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has decided to allow the use of digital currencies in their list of cash equivalents – a list that includes credit cards and banker’s drafts – which now means online casinos approved by the commission can allow players to gamble their coins away. It is expected that exclusive bitcoin casinos ma start attempting to expand their operations to the UK.

South African Bank receptive to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is, according to what Lesetja Kganyago said in a conference on cybersecurity in Johannesburg, open to explore the breakthrough technologies bought on by cryptocurrencies. While the bank merely says its receptive, other financial institutions in South Africa have attempted to test the technology in tests using ethereum, for example. This comes in two years after the country issued a position paper on cryptocurrencies

Financial:

Bitcoin appears to consolidate above $550

This week, bitcoin has apparently continued to recover from the Bitfinex hack as the price was above $580 for a while, even though this was a very volatile week, but then plummeted back to the $570 mark. As of this writing, the price of bitcoin was of $567 – a drop in price caused by a sharp US dollar rebound, and by hawkish comments on behalf of Federal officials.

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