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TRUMP’S CRYPTO TANTRUM

Bitcoin and other “unregulated crypto assets” found themselves in the presidential crosshairs late last week when President Trump unleashed a series of tweets seemingly sparked by regulatory unease surrounding Facebook’s Libra project.

“I am not a fan of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump said. “Unregulated crypto assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

LIBRA TESTIMONY

Days later, the Libra project was in the hot seat during a U.S. Senate banking committee hearing. Facebook crypto chief David Marcus promised to work with regulators before launching libra, hoping to assuage lawmakers’ fears that adoption by the company’s 2.38 billion registered users could undermine the stability of the global financial system and give Facebook access to too much personal financial information.

And after Facebook’s recent privacy scandals, it’s clear that Marcus sees libra as a way to restore the social network’s credibility.

“Facebook will not offer the libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals,” he assured the committee. For more on the hearing, you can read Forbes contributor Caitlin Long’s official written testimony here.

LIBRA APP EXPLOSION

But as elected officials frantically try to make sense of the project, app developers are getting down to business. They’re rushing to learn how it works and some are already building actual products—ranging from anti-money-laundering software to crypto wallets—on the platform.

“This is how we maintain our competitive edge,” says Pawel Kuskowski, whose regulation technology company Coinfirm is building the first libra tool designed to prevent money laundering.

CRYPTO MARKETS

Unsurprisingly, bitcoin had another volatile week, falling to a three-week low on Tuesday as libra’s U.S. senate hearing drew widespread interest, and dipping even lower to around $9,200 the following day.

ENTERPRISE

New enterprise blockchain projects continue to crop up week after week. Siemens is exploring car sharing on the blockchain, Samsung has teamed up with three mobile carriers and three financial firms to form a consortium to launch a blockchain-based mobile identification system, and State Farm and USAA confirmed that they’ve had early success using blockchain to help manage insurance subrogation claims.

Plus, Oracle is using blockchain technology to track declining honeybee populations and verify that honey from beehives in its network is sustainably produced.

THE NEXT BILLION-DOLLAR STARTUPS

Cryptocurrency investigations firm Chainalysis is the first cryptocurrency company to be featured on the Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. Founded by Jonathan Levin, the company was responsible for locating the 650,000 missing bitcoin stolen from Mt Gox, then the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

Be sure to check out the full list here.

ELSEWHERE

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak launches a blockchain company in Malta. [The Malta Independent]

McDonald’s, Nestlé and Virgin Media enter media blockchain pilot. [The Block Crypto]

For $15K, Gotbit will fake your crypto exchange volume. [CoinDesk]



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