Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.
Brave New Coin (BNC) launches the first blockchain-backed index for financial markets. According to Finextra, the New Zealand-based Data & Research company has joined forces with Smartbit, a Melbourne-based company that develops blockchain-related digital currency tools, for the development of the BNC Bitcoin Liquid Index (BNC-BLX). The innovative partnership is expected to offer “provable market data” to investors by engaging in the Market Chaining process, where market indexes, quotes and trades will be secured onto the blockchain ledger. The BNC-BLX Index will be launched for settlement of bitcoin derivatives and is expected to satisfy the increasing demand for “proof of settlement”, a key implication of the Market Chaining process.
Itis, Finland’s largest shopping mall, welcomes the first bitcoin ATM. As Erin Lace of Coin Telegraph writes, Bittiraha.fi and Bitcoinkaupat.com, two Finnish leading bitcoin companies, have opened the first bitcoin ATM (BTM) in Helsinki’s largest shopping center. Generally speaking, the Nordic countries have expressed an early interest in blockchain technology and particularly Finland is in the top-3 countries in bitcoin usage per capita globally. The establishment of the two- way BTM in Helsinki is expected to turn the Finnish capital into the bitcoin capital of Europe, but also to increase the interest of nearby merchants to accept the bitcoin.
Lloyd’s favors Blockchain use in the insurance market. As Joon Ian Wong of Coin Desk reports, the prominent London-based bank and key participant of the London Market sees great potential in the use of the blockchain technology in the leading international insurance market. As part of Lloyd’s modernization plan, known as the Target Operating Model (TOM), the blockchain can significantly improve data access and lower the administrative costs. Furthermore, as Shirine Khoury-Haq, Lloyd’s director of operations states: “Blockchain has the potential to improve the way insurers record risk, increasing the speed, accuracy and transparency of our processes.”
The Swift Institute identifies problems in bitcoin regulation, especially in the EU area. As Elliot Maras of CryptoCoins News writes, “The Evolution of Third Party Payment Providers and Cryptocurrencies Under the EU’s Upcoming PSD2 and AMLD4” report released by the Swift Institute, reviews bitcoin-related regulatory initiatives and legislative developments in the U.S., Asia and Europe and highlights some of the potential problems in regulation of the digital currencies. Europe, compared to the regulatory activities in the U.S and Asia, remains vague in its cryptocurrency-related legislatives, whereas the U.S regulatory agencies implement a clearer approach as they consider digital currencies as a means of money transfer.
Bitcoin debit card launched by Coinbase. As Julio Prisco of Bitcoin Magazine reports,
Coinbase, the San Francisco-based bitcoin wallet and exchange company has partnered with Shift Payments to issue the first U.S. bitcoin debit card. The Shift Card will allow Coinbase users in 24 states to spend bitcoin both online and at physical POS at more than 38 million retailers globally, where Visa is accepted. According to Coinbase announcement, there are no annual, conversion or domestic transaction fees, at least “for a limited time”, whereas there are ATM fees and international transaction fees.
American Airlines (AA) refuse the Argentinian Peso as a potential turn to the bitcoin. JP Buntinx of The Merkle writes that American Airlines announced that they are no longer accepting the Argentine Peso due to “repatriation issues”, meaning that AA faces hardship in converting Argentine Peso to U.S. Dollar. Given the recent change of President in Argentina and the issues of the national currency, the situation is not expected to change anytime soon. On the other hand, the AA’s decision opens up the door for the bitcoin as Argentinian people will be able to book flights with the AA using the digital currency.