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Europe is Falling in Love with Blockchain as Major Initiatives Take Root in Spreading Crypto Use

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Blockchain technology has started attracting a lot of attention in the EU, especially in the last few years. So much so, in fact, that the EU classified it as promising and challenging some time ago. But, after observing this technology’s potential, it appears that the European Union might be ready to make a move that will lead to blockchain’s adoption.

The current situation is a result of a decision made in February 2018, when the European Commission (EC) decided to launch a Blockchain Observatory and Forum in order to support international engagement with the new technology and its stakeholders. Since then, the organization made three reports — in July, October, and December.

However, following the launch of the organization, the next step came in April. On this occasion, 21 countries that were EU members, accompanied by Norway, decided to sign a Declaration that resulted in creating the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). Since then, five more countries decided to join in 2018 — Greece, Romania, Denmark, Cyprus, and Italy. The main focus of this partnership is interoperability, energy efficiency, cybersecurity, and privacy.

European Blockchain Partnership

A few months ago, a report called “EUS Blockchain Technology Market (2018-2023)” coming from ResearchAndMarkets.com stated that EU will likely increase investment into the blockchain from $94 million to $386 million by 2020. The report expressed a positive view of the situation of blockchain technology in Europe based on several aspects. Those include the fact that EC is in the process of liberalization of industry regulations, as well as the fact that a new task force with blockchain expertise is being created.

Following this, another move that will bring Europe closer to blockchain was made in October. This was when the European Parliament created a new resolution called “Distributed ledger technologies and blockchains: building trust with disintermediation”. The document predicts that DLT might affect most, if not all, sectors of the economy. However, finance, health care, education, public governance, transport, copyrights, data protection, and similar sectors received the most attention.

However, the biggest conclusion that can be made due to the agreement is that Parliament has plans to realize the proposed policies. Despite the risks of the new technologies, it appears that the EU believes that the potential benefits are worth it.

Blockchain In Health Care And Finance

As mentioned, the health care sector is among those that have received the most attention when it comes to the potential of DLT implementation. A project called MHMD (My Health My Data) aims to use the blockchain for storing medical data in a safe and effective environment. By employing the blockchain, both public and private institutions would be able to access patients’ digital data, under the patients’ own control.

The focus is on the protection of personal data which will also allow people more control over how their data is stored, managed, and used. Blockchain can and should protect the privacy of sensitive data related to health, and allow citizens the ability to choose which data to share.

As for the implementation of DLT in financial services, there are several major advantages. The first one, of course, is the significance of the blockchain in improving transparency, reducing transaction costs, eliminating hidden fees, and better managing data and streamlining processes.

It is believed that trends of DLT implementation should be monitored, but also encouraged. Of course, one big concern is the volatility and uncertainty of crypto. In fact, the ECB and EC will have to provide a report on volatility sources in crypto, but also identify what may pose a danger to the public. If cryptocurrencies can, in fact, be incorporated in the European payment system, then the possibilities must be explored as well.

ICOs were also seen as an important risk, mostly due to the lack of clarity when it comes to legal frameworks that are applied to ICOs. The EC and national regulators will, therefore, be asked to identify criteria that can improve investors’ protection and regulate ICOs in a better, more precise way. There is potential in this area, although it requires careful handling.

Is There A Future For Blockchain In Europe?

While Europe does recognize the potential of blockchain technology, it is believed that there is still a serious lack of education regarding this technology. Only a week ago, big blockchain firms including the NEM Foundation, Ripple, Fetch.AI, and Emurgo decided to create a new association called “Blockchain for Europe”. The Association is to help the EU shape the global agenda on this technology through education and by stressing its potential.

Slowly but surely, European countries are turning to DLT, with some countries only just entering the space, while others have been involved for a while now. The ultimate goal of the EU is to become a global leader in this field, which is clear from numerous initiatives that have taken place in 2018.

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Bakkt Futures to Launch in the Current Quarter

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Managing director and quant strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors Sam Doctor suggested in a Twitter post published on July 19 that Bakkt’s Bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts will launch this quarter.

According to the post, which includes a summary of Fundstrat’s takeaways from the Bakkt Digital Asset Summit held on July 18, the firm’s futures will launch in the current quarter. The launch is set to follow tests announced last month, which are scheduled to start next week. The firm believes that the launch will be a catalyst to accelerate entry of traditional institutional investors. The post notes:

“THERE APPEARS TO BE A CRITICAL MASS OF ADOPTERS READY TO COME ON BOARD ON DAY 1 OF THE BAKKT LAUNCH, WITH THE SALES TEAM GAINING TRACTION AMONG BROKERS, MARKET MAKERS, PROP TRADING DESKS AND LIQUIDITY PROVIDERS.”

During the aforementioned event, Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Dawn Stump apparently expressed that no current cryptocurrency could threaten financial stability and that the regulator sees a growing demand for Bitcoin futures from the public. Also during the summit, chief information officer at crypto investment firm Blocktower Ari Paul was reportedly confident that once a killer app or user interface makes cryptocurrency on-ramps safe, reliable and as easy to use as Paypal, retail adoption will be enormous.

According to the Fundstrat notes, Paul also said that institutions should not dismiss crypto assets, considering their low correlation with traditional assets and with compound annual growth rates of 200%-300%. He also said that inflation and confiscation resistance of cryptocurrencies are a key value proposition.

Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead, on the other hand, said that most tokens will fail and a handful of base protocols will survive, but with thousands of decentralized applications built on top of them. 

As Cointelegraph reported in May, the Intercontinental Exchange is reportedly taking steps to ensure approval from the United States CFTC for Bakkt.

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Bitcoin Price Slips 10% in 24 Hrs as Fed Raises Facebook Libra Concerns

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Bitcoin Price Slips 10% in 24 Hrs as Fed Raises Facebook Libra Concerns

Bitcoin price (BTC) shed more than 10% on July 11 as markets appeared to react to criticism of Facebook’s Libra from a senior United States lawmaker.

Market visualization

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Data from Coin360 sees the majority of cryptocurrencies firmly in the red Thursday, hours after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Facebook’s offering should not continue development.

Libra, which aims to act firstly as a cross-border payment method, allegedly buoyed Bitcoin throughout recent weeks, with commentators arguing its public profile was driving publicity and uptake of Bitcoin itself. 

Powell’s demands, which follow similar words from representatives of the Senate House of Financial Services Committee, leant weight to that theory.

“Libra raises serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, financial stability,” he said during a speech before a congressional committee. “These are concerns that should be thoroughly and publicly addressed.”

“THESE ARE CONCERNS THAT SHOULD BE THOROUGHLY AND PUBLICLY ADDRESSED.”

At press time, BTC/USD traded down 10.4% at $11,530, having risen as high as $13,160 in recent days. 

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

The drop places the pair still within its recent corridor between around $9,700 and $13,800, with volatility still in evidence across crypto markets. 

Altcoins, meanwhile, delivered noticeably worse performance as Bitcoin price fell, with several assets in the top twenty by market cap shedding 15% or more.

Ether (ETH), the largest altcoin, lost a similar amount to Bitcoin, hitting $272 and firmly losing support at $300 once again.

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Among the worst performers were Bitcoin SV (BSV), which lost 17.2%, and EOS (EOS), which was down 20.2%.KEEP TRACK OF TOP CRYPTO MARKETS IN REAL TIME HERE

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Bitcoin Approaches $11,000 With All Top 20 in Green

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Saturday, July 20 — crypto markets have seen another upward move, with all top 20 coins by market cap seeing major gains, while Bitcoin (BTC) has approached $11,000 mark again.

Market visualization from Coin360

After dipping below the $11,000 threshold on July 14, Bitcoin has approached the price point today, with its intraday high of $10,944, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The biggest cryptocurrency added 3.7% to its price to trade at $10,922 at press time. As Bitcoin has seen significant volatility this week, with its price having dipped below $9,500, the cryptocurrency is down around 3% over the past 7 days at press time.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin360

Ether (ETH), the second cryptocurrency by market cap, is up over 5% and trading at $232 at press time. The top altcoin is down 13.4% over the past 7 days.

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ripple (XRP), the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, added 6.4% to trade at $0.339, also seeing a notable growth over the past 7 days, adding up to about 2.6%.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin SV (BSV), the ninth top cryptocurrency by market cap, has added over 25% to its value today, seeing the biggest growth among the top 20 coins by market cap.

As of press time, total market capitalization amounts to $298 billion after that number dropped below $250 billion earlier this week. Daily trade volume amounts to around $63 billion.

The new wave of green on crypto markets follows a recent bullish prediction by managing director and quant strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors Sam Doctor, who suggested that much-anticipated Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures contracts will launch in Q3 2019.

Additionally, India’s Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said yesterday that there is no legislation in India that expressly bans citizens from using cryptocurrencies.

by https://cointelegraph.com

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