Luno News RoundUp: Is Germany really “crypto heaven”?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the perfect opportunity to show off your expert crypto knowledge to friends and family. Such as, which game is making a comeback with some slick blockchain-related updates? And what’s Bakkt’s CEO up to in the US Senate?
What’s that? You don’t have that knowledge yet? Never fear. Keep reading to find out what made crypto news headlines over the weekend.
Germany: a new “crypto heaven”?
According to reports in a local German newspaper, the Handelsblatt, the German federal parliament has passed a bill which will allow banks to offer customers direct access to crypto assets.
The legislation is effective from 1 Jan 2020 and was passed by the German parliament as an amendment to the fourth EU Money Laundering Directive. The original bill didn’t set out to allow banks to act as crypto custodians and initially specified they were to rely on third-party custodians, a change that has garnered significant praise for its forward thinking nature.
Sven Hildebrandt, head of the consulting firm DLC, for one, praised the bill. He said: “Germany is well on its way to becoming a crypto-heaven. The German legislator is playing a pioneering role in the regulation of [crypto assets].”
German banking association, BdB shared this enthusiasm: “Credit institutions are experienced in the safekeeping of client assets and in risk management, are committed to investor protection and have always been controlled by the financial supervision,” it said. As such, banks could “effectively prevent money laundering and terrorist financing” with crypto assets.
Bakkt CEO named top candidate for vacant Senate seat
Moving stateside, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is reportedly expected to appoint Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bitcoin futures platform, Bakkt, to the United States Senate seat next week.
It’s reported that Loeffler will be asked next week to replace of US Senator Johnny Isakson, who has announced plans to vacate his senate seat on 31 December. A local news outlet reported that the decision is an attempt to widen the appeal of the Republican party to women. Loeffler will become just the second woman from Georgia to serve in the US Senate. Yikes.
But, someone’s not too happy about all this. Donald Trump had his sights set on another representative by the name of Doug Collins, stating Loeffler is “too moderate”. Let’s keep the popcorn close, and wait and see. But what does this mean for Bakkt? Would she yield the helm to someone else? Either way, it would undoubtedly be a positive development for the cryptocurrency market to have such a bullish voice in the senate.
Drone package theft and blockchain tech
That’s right – welcome to the future! A future in which you could receive a package you ordered online to be delivered to you via a drone – currently being worked on by the likes of Amazon, DHL and FedEx. We’re sure you’ve got questions – we do too. Is it safe? Will my umbrella pose a threat? And what if a drone could be adapted to steal your package instead of delivering it?
Well, worry no more, IBM’s thought of that too. In November, the computer hardware giant won a patent for “preventing anonymous theft by drones” using an Internet of Things (IoT) altimeter. The altimeter sends a signals if a package exceeds a certain altitude. So if, say, a hawk (or a drone) swoops in and snatches your latest purchase off your front porch and carries it into the sky, the sensor will send data to a blockchain platform letting you know something’s not quite right. The sensor then periodically updates the blockchain, and the intended recipient, with the package’s altitude.
“The confluence of the increase in drone use and the increase in online shopping provides a situation in which a drone may be used with nefarious intent to anonymously take a package that is left on a doorstep after delivery,” the patent description reads.
An admirable goal. But before you get too excited, it’s been reported that IBM doesn’t plan to actually build an operational device. If they want to though (and if they wanted to be the only ones who legally could), now they can. They do say the early bird catches the worm. We’ll keep our binoculars at the ready.
1980s gamebook’s revival on the blockchain
In years to come, 2019 may be known as the “year of remakes”. Between The Lion King and a very contemporary rendition of Cats, there’s been a rehash of childhood favourites across the board. And there’s another to add to the pantheon – and this time, it’s gone crypto.
Microsoft, along with game developer, Eidos and gamebook firm, Fabled Lands have developed a blockchain card game based on a best-selling 1980s gamebook. The new game, based on an original book, titled “The Way of the Tiger”, is called “Arena of Death”, and the aim is for players to fight in fantasy-themed card battles.
Jamie Thompson, co-author along with Mark Smith, believes leveraging blockchain technology will yield far better results than a traditional videogame: “We were going to relaunch the series into a computer game format but this new technology (blockchain), just made more sense. Imagine playing Magic the Gathering but knowing if you owned a card, it really does belong to you. Or if we say there are only 100 editions of an item or skill, you know there really are only 100 editions.”
The company plans to use non-fungible tokens (NFT) on the Vechain blockchain to ensure the ownership of in-game assets. Pretty nifty.