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Bitcoin news roundup, 18th December 2016

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

Digital exchange Kraken has acquired a bitcoin buying service

One of the most well-known digital currency exchanges, Kraken, has acquired a bitcoin buying service called Glidera. According to CoinDesk, this is one of a few acquisitions Kraken has been making in the last few years. Glidera’s services, which enable users to buy bitcoins using the money they have in their bank accounts, will be branded as “Kraken Direct”, and will be available to all of their international customers.

Cryptocurrencies may be the norm in space colonies

According to a research paper published by Dr. Kartik Hegadekatti,of India’s Ministry of Railways, cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, the blockchain, could be the norm when it comes to money in space colonies, as paper money and physical coins won’t be a viable option by then. Paper money and physical coins will be, according to the research paper “logistically and economically inappropriate” to carry to space, as the cost associated with carrying it would affect its value. Printing money wouldn’t be an alternative, as a large supply of paper and ink would be necessary.

The solution, according to the research paper, would be for every planet or moon-based colony to have its respective cryptocurrency and blockchain. The whole system would be synced together. As such, there would be MarsCoin linked to a Martian blockchain, LunarCoin linked to a Lunar blockchain and so on. Per Dr Kartik Hegadekatti, even mining would be possible.

OpenBazaar, a decentralized eBay, has raised $3 million in a funding round

OpenBazaar is a project that won the Bitcoin Expo Hackathon in Toronto back in 2014, and consists of an open-source marketplace similar to a decentralized eBay, has raised $3 million in a funding round led by Berlin-based VC fund BlueYard. The marketplace connects buyers and sellers directly through an application-based marketplace, and instead of accepting PayPal or credit cards, it accepts bitcoin as a currency. The concept could revolutionize e-commerce and, according to a company spokesperson “bring the benefits of truly free and open trade to the world”.

Bitcoin wallet Blockchain added ex-Barclays CEO to its board

Antony Jenkins was Barclays’ CEO from 2012 to mid-2015, and has now joined the bitcoin wallet Blockchain’s board. Blockchain CEO Peter smith praised Jenkins by referring to one of his speeches in which the ex-Barclays CEO talked about how he believed technology would change financial services in the future. According to Business Insider, the move comes after Antony Jenkins launched a FinTech startup called 10x Future Technologies, a company that develops cloud-based banking software.

ABN Amro is testing blockchain application for real estate transactions

Dutch banking giant ABN Amro announced it was working with IBM to develop a system in which parties involved in real estate transactions can share and record their steps. The bank suggested this new project could lead to new kinds of services, as it would be connected to the country’s central bank and other entities. According to ABN Amro: “This latest pilot is part of the bank’s strategy to offer innovative solutions for commercial real estate financing.”

World affairs:

Dutch city of Rotterdam to record lease agreements on a blockchain

Deloitte Netherlands, along with the Cambridge Innovation Center, is working with the city of Rotterdam in an attempt to create a prototype that can record lease contracts on a blockchain. The prototype started off with lease agreements, but in the future may move on to monitoring rental payments through the implementation of additional blockchain applications. It won’t just make life easier for those directly involved, as it will also help decision makers use data analysis tools to predict whether or not they should make future investments – whether these involve buying, selling or improving real estate properties.

Russian politician is accepting bitcoin to support his bid to become president in 2018

Russian politician Alexei Navalny is accepting bitcoin in his bid to become the president of the country in the 2018 presidential elections. The candidate accepts other forms of payment such s PayPal, but the fact that the candidate accepts bitcoin shows how much the cryptocurrency has evolved in Russia, as it is now rising in acceptance. According to ryptoCoinsNews, a tweet from Leonid Volkov, head of Navalny’s electoral campaign, claimed that out of the first million rubles raised, 15% came in the form of bitcoin.

Financial:

Bitcoin at $784 as it prepares to lose 2016 on a three-year high

Bitcoin has been surging in value as volatility in the Chinese stock market makes a lot of investors buy the cryptocurrency as a safe-haven. Since the beginning of the year, bitcoin has surged in value and it looks like it will close at a three-year high, as it may even reach $800. At the time of press, one bitcoin was worth $791.

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