Cryptocurrency Highlights Of The Week

The IRS is scaling back tax investigations into Bitcoin owners, and the city of Zug will launch an Ethereum-based identity service. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 27

  • A lawyer for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said Thursday that the agency intends to narrow its request for broad swaths of account-holder information from San Francisco-based Bitcoin exchange Coinbase Inc. Federal tax enforcement officials previously have asked Coinbase to sift through reams of data for U.S. customers, including user communications with the company, account passwords and security settings, to allow the government to search for unreported income.

  • A Swiss city known for its cryptocurrency startup ecosystem is launching a new Ethereum-based identity service. The City of Zug announced that, starting in September, it will offer digital identity services through a new app, connecting a person’s ID with a particular crypto-address. Local citizens can register and get verified by city officials. Zug is pursuing the effort in part due past efforts to create digital identity solutions using centralized means. Those solutions proved to be “relatively complicated in application and are already technically considered obsolete today”, according to translated statements.

  • “Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are assets but Bitcoin in itself does not have the fundamental attributes needed to be a currency that could meet modern economic development needs”, a Chinese central bank adviser said. Sheng Songcheng, adviser to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), made the comments in an interview with financial magazine Yicai published late Thursday. Like many other countries, China is still mulling how to regulate and classify Bitcoin.

  • Japanese banking group Mizuho has released the results of a blockchain experiment focused on trade finance. Mizuho said today that the test saw participation from Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading conglomerate, and domestic insurer Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. During the test, information was transmitted between Japan and Australia, with “all trade-related processes, from issuing the letter of credit to delivering trade documents, [being] completed entirely via a digital platform using blockchain”, according to Mizuho. Among the benefits highlighted by the trial: faster document delivery times and increased transparency. Mizuho said that the digitization of the process cut the amount of time it takes to create and disseminate trade finance-related documentation, as well as reduce the human labor required.

  • Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by more than three percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $2,530 per BTC. The price of Ethereum decreased by almost 10 percent over the same period, taking Ether down to a rate of $245 per ETH. Ethereum Classic lost about eight percent, with the price decreasing to $16.30 per ETC. Zcash lost roughly 15 percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $241 per coin.