2020 Presidential Hopeful Swalwell Launches Crypto Donations Campaign

Swalwell, 38, announced his presidential bid on April 8. A fourth-term Member of Congress from California’s Bay Area, he serves on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees and co-chairs the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.Swalwell is also reportedly founder and chairman emeritus of Future Forum, a Congressional caucus of House Democrats that focuses on issues and opportunities for millennial Americans. His pro-technology House initiatives reportedly earned him the moniker of “The Snapchat King of Congress” in 2016.While 2020 contender and senator Elizabeth Warren is well-known as a staunch crypto critic, serial crypto advocate John McAfee has also claimed he aspires to run in the 2020 race. The controversial figure conceded he may have to run a prospective campaign from a boat in international waters, given his alleged indictment by U.S. tax authorities.

Circle Sheds 10% of Workforce as CEO Blames Restrictive US Regulatory Climate

The CEO of Goldman Sachs-backed crypto finance startup Circle blamed a hostile regulatory climate in the United States as he confirmed layoffs of 30 staff on social media May 21. Allaire had taken aim at the slow progress on unifying the patchwork U.S. regulatory landscape, but remained hopeful that the future would bring improvements.He made the comments while attempting to explain why Circle had cut off U.S. access to certain trading pairs on Poloniex, a cryptocurrency exchange the company acquired in 2018.Announcing the firings, Allaire likewise sought to underscore Circle’s overall health as a company.Crypto outlet The Block also reported that Circle has purportedly lowered its March fundraising goal of $250 million by 40%, citing unnamed sources.Circle is just the latest industry business to slim down its operations in response to an extremely challenging year.

EOS Developer Block.One Attempts 10% Private Buyback of Its Stock

EOS developer Block.one is attempting a 10% buyback of its stock, offering backers a share repurchase price that will return as much as 6,567% on their initial investments. As As reported today, Michael Novogratz’s crypto   merchant  bank Galaxy Digital accepted the buyback offer and sold its shares in Block.one for $71.2 million — realizing a 123% return on its initial investment. Novogratz stated that substantial outperformance from Block.One had contributed to the decision.Bloomberg cites a March 2019 email to shareholders that reportedly indicated that EOS’ total assets, including cash and investments, amounted to $3 billion at the end of February. $2.2 billion of these were held as what the company termed in its email “liquid fiat assets,” with most invested in U.S. government bonds. The email also reportedly revealed that the company’s crypto portfolio had halved to around $500 million during the bear market.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Eyes Blockchain-Based Products, Needs Regulatory Clarity

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) chief executive Justin Bgoni says ZSE is interested in adopting blockchain technology if regulatory certainty can be achieved.Regulatory certainty for the crypto spaces is currently being pursued in several jurisdictions. The newly reintroduced Token Taxonomy Act (TTA) in the United States for example, seeks to provide regulatory certainty for crypto by introducing uniform definitions and reclassifying it.ZSE is considering blockchain-based services and products in real estate investment trust securities, mineral commodities exchange, and exchange-traded funds, per the report.In 2017, however, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) — the country’s central bank — announced that bitcoin is illegal. That being said, RBZ Director and Registrar Norman Mataruka commented that the bank had begun investigating the risks of crypto, and that it would need to create a regulatory framework for digital assets before they could potentially legalize cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase Earn Now Available to the Public in Over 100 Countries

 Coinbase first announced the program at the end of 2018 as an invite-only initiative. This pilot period let users earn cryptocurrency by learning about the ERC-20 token “0x” (ZRX). Coinbase Earn users can also earn crypto. In return for taking quizzes about Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC) and Basic Attention Token (BAT), users can earn those respective coins. Earlier this week, Coinbase added trading support for 50 new jurisdictions, as well as USD Coin (USDC) trading options in 85 new countries. In its press release announcing the expansion, Coinbase commented on its hopes for USDC to provide economic stability in these newly covered countries.

Reserve Bank of India Urged to Reconsider Banning Crypto From Regulatory Sandbox

The RBI’s proposed framework, unveiled last month, would allow blockchain technology to be tested on a small number of consumers — but cryptocurrencies, exchanges and initial coin offerings are excluded.Nasscom, a trade association of Indian IT companies, is calling for the regulator to rethink, and argues the RBI would better understand the risks associated with crypto by including it in the sandbox.Sandboxes are used by regulators around the world, including the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority. Some startups are concerned that India’s hardline approach will mean innovative products cannot be tested in their home country, even if they are permitted in international markets.India’s relationship with crypto has been fraught at times. Late last month, a report suggested that the world’s second-most populous nation was considering a complete ban on digital currencies.

ConsenSys-Backed Kaleido Launches B2B Tech Stack With ‘Plug-and-Play’ Features

The ConsenSys -backed company said the stack brings together the necessary tools and technologies that businesses need to build modern networks delivering operational improvements and new revenue streams. Kaleido claims it has helped multinational corporations including T-Mobile, Heineken, Sony, Shell and Fox implement blockchain-based solutions in their businesses.In November, Kaleido and Amazon Web Services launched a marketplace to help enterprises implement blockchain solutions — a move designed to eliminate the custom code required to build blockchain projects.Last May, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance released its architecture stack, which was designed to standardize specifications for Ethereum -based business applications. 

Binance Confirms Trading Relaunch for May 15 as Upgrade Completes

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has confirmed it has completed a major system upgrade and will relaunch its trading platform at 13:00 UTC on May 15.Binance, which lost over 7,000 BTC (at the time $41 million) in a hack  earlier this month, froze deposits and withdrawals altogether before a limited return to operations this week.A subsequent notice stated developers would shut down functionality in full for a period of up to eight hours on Wednesday, beginning at 03:00 UTC.Binance’s hack caught the cryptocurrency community by surprise when it emerged $41 million of funds had gone missing from some user accounts. As a form of compensation to users unable to use their accounts as normal, Binance also announced a giveaway scheme involving its in-house token, binance coin (BNB).

Crypto Custodians Foresee Growth in Partnerships with Traditional Custodians

Alexandre Kech, CEO of Onchain Custodian, predicted that collaboration between crypto and traditional custodians will grow.  Kech’s remarks came during a panel called “Custody: The New Global Competitive Landscape,” part of Consensus 2019 on May 14.

Kech observed that crypto custodians are much better at adding new token support to their wallets and are willing to hold a variety of crypto assets. “We have the agility, both in terms of compliance and technology, to deploy those coins way faster.

CEO of Coinbase Custody Sam McIngvale agreed with the other speakers, adding that selling custody is ultimately selling “trust and a track record.”

German State Announces Plan to Establish European Blockchain Institute

The government of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) announced plans to establish the European Blockchain Institute to research blockchain technology in a press release on May 13.

The press release says that critics of blockchain have voiced concern over the amount of energy consumed by mining bitcoin (BTC). Pinkwart addressed these concerns and praised the benefits of blockchain tech, saying:

“This technology can be safe, decentralized, affordable and, when used properly, not too energy-intensive.”

“There is a broad discussion in Washington around 5G being dominated by foreign firms and the U.S. being reliant on foreign technology and foreign expertise… With blockchain and crypto, I think there’s a recognition now that these will be part of our future infrastructure… It’s important both for national security and from an economic perspective, that the U.S. is a leader in that.”