OSCE Sponsors Cryptocurrency Course for Central Asia Law Enforcement
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conducted a training course on combating darkweb-facilitated crime. Law enforcement representatives from Central Asian countries were taught how the darkweb and cryptocurrencies function, in order to better combat drug-related crime. The training was held in the span of five days that ended on Feb. 21, an official announcement reveals. The course focused specifically on “new psychoactive substances,” synthetic replacements of common drugs that are designed to mimic their effect. They are often considered more dangerous due to their unknown history and particularly shady production practices.
Belgian Regulator Adds New Crypto-Related Businesses to Its Blacklist
Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has updated its blacklist of cryptocurrency-related websites associated with fraudulent activity. The FSMA made the update following a number of complaints from Belgium-based users who dealt with fraudulent offers of investment in digital currencies, according to a Feb. 21 announcement. After the latest revision, the FSMA’s list now includes a total of 141 websites offering cryptocurrency-related services.
Brazilian Central Bank Promises Instant Payment Platform to Compete With Crypto
The Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) has announced a plan to launch a new near-instant payment system during November. The platform, called the Brazilian Instant Payment Scheme (PIX), will facilitate peer-to-peer and business-to-business transactions in 10 seconds or less via mobile phone, internet banking, or select ATMs.
Sweden Is Testing Its New Central Bank Digital Currency
The country of Sweden has begun testing an e-krona, bringing it that much closer to the proper release of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The pilot program will be in operation for one year, until February 2021. If and when the e-krona formally launches for use by the public, the idea is that this blockchain-powered currency would drive conventional payments and banking activities throughout the country. Instead of swiping a credit card or spending fiat currency, everyday transacting can move to the blockchain.
Indian IT Giant Tech Mahindra and Local Gov’t Launch Blockchain Accelerator
Tech Mahindra, the IT subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group, is launching a blockchain accelerator together with the government of the southern state of Telangana. The parties hope the accelerator will become a “torch-bearer” for future accelerators nationwide, the Economic Times reported on Feb. 19. The new “T-Block Accelerator” is aimed at fostering blockchain startups that have identified a strong real-world use case for the technology, and to boost industry growth overall. Innovation management firm IBC Media will run the accelerator program, which developed following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the government of Telangana and Tech Mahindra back in 2018.
Samsung Keeps Cryptocurrency Functionality in Galaxy S20 Models
South Korean technology giant Samsung recently unveiled its latest smartphone series, the Galaxy S20, at the Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco. While the headline feature is undoubtedly the new camera, according to the official marketing material the phone will also improve on the integrated blockchain security features introduced a year ago on the Galaxy S10.
New Platform Helps Developers Tokenize Their Games on Ethereum
A new initiative aims to make game creation and creative projects on the blockchain simpler for a wider community. Today, Feb. 18, blockchain startup Enjin launched its gaming and digital collectibles creation platform on the Ethereum mainnet. Platforms such as Enjin’s consider that the blockchain can and should be used for purposes beyond currency and value transfer. Commodities such as video games, digital art and even memes can be tokenized and monetized, circulating in a peer-to-peer community using blockchain technology. For this kind of ecosystem, a unique but tradeable blockchain asset — known as a non-fungible token — can be used to represent all manner of virtual — and equally, real-world — goods.
Bank of Korea Seeks to Deploy Blockchain in Bond Market: Report
According to a report by local publication Yonhap Infomax, the Bank of Korea has been seeking a blockchain services provider in order to build a blockchain bond system that would allow distribution of the bond records among all participants. The Bank of Korea reportedly launched a Proof of Concept (PoC) project in late 2019 in order to move bond transaction records that are currently maintained by the Korea Securities Depository to a blockchain-powered base of records accessible by multiple nodes.
Russian Central Bank Links Crypto Transactions With Money Laundering
The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) published a new set of rules for suspicious transactions, Russian finance publication RBC reported on Feb. 17. The update broadly categorizes any cryptocurrency-linked transaction as a potential money laundering risk. The bank issued an update to directive 375-P, which lists all signs of suspicious activity that may be linked to money laundering. This is the first such update since 2012, when the initial regulations were introduced.
One Million UEFA Tickets to Be Distributed Via Blockchain in 2020
Soccer fans in Europe will join the ranks of early blockchain adopters thanks to a new initiative by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). According to a Feb. 17 announcement, UEFA will distribute over one million soccer match tickets via a blockchain-enabled mobile application. The organization claims that this new ticketing system will make “entry into the stadium smooth, safe and secure.”