This week, Russia’s finance minister did an about-face on the issue of bitcoin prohibition, reports Bloomberg. Image credit: Wikimedia.

Weekly crypto-news recap (April 11, 2017)

Fidelity Labs, the Russian Federation, and DTCC are just a few of the major organizations to speak favorably about Bitcoin and blockchain this week.

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Bitcoin users in Russia no longer fear jail time

While countries like Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland were quick to embrace Bitcoin, Russia took the opposite approach in 2016, threatening to jail Bitcoin users. Bloomberg LP is reporting it has changed its position 180 degrees and now seeks to recognize and regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by 2018.

Paying with Bitcoin at Tokyo’s Bic Camera Superstore

This YouTube video shows an American tourist paying with bitcoin in the most famous electronics retailer in Tokyo. This was shot the same week that Japan’s Bitcoin regulation went into full effect, making BTC a legitimate payment method nationwide. He was the first customer to request a crypto-payment from that particular cashier, but it worked anyway!

DTCC Official Calls for Single Global Ledger

As a quirk of our private financial system, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation actually owns custody of most securities traded in the US, to the tune of $1 trillion. Sometimes it screws up, as in the case of the Dole Foods stock debacle.

In February, Bloomberg reported that DTCC procedures caused anincrease in the supply of stock of Dole Foods by over 12 million shares, about 33 percent of the total oustanding. DTCC has been looking into blockchain for at least a month, but Vice Chairman Larry Thompson took the opportunity to reiterate the company’s interest on March 29 in Frankfurt, Germany, saying:

“All of us here have discussed how standardization across repositories and jurisdictions is a precursor to effective global data sharing. Agreeing to one common ledger could end the discussion.”

Fidelity Joins Blockchain Research initiative

The firm’s tech arm, Fidelity Labs, has joined Cornell University, UCBerkeley, IBM, and Intel in the IC3 blockchain research project. Hadley Stern, SVP for Fidelity Labs, told Reuters the group would “explore how this technology can be applied.” Fidelity’s charity arm already accepts bitcoin contributions.

Arizona recognizes smart contracts as legal documents

In an effort to encourage blockchain-based businesses to operate within the state, the State of Arizona has passed a bill giving legal recognition to digitally-signed transactions and smart contracts. The bill was signed into effect March 29th by Governor Doug Ducey. (Hat tip: ConsenSys)

The Cross-Section of Crypto-Currencies as Financial Assets: An Overview

This academic paper from October 2016, completed at Humboldt University in Berlin, recently surfaced on Reddit. It concludes:

“We document that returns of crypto-currencies are weakly correlated both in their cross-section as well as with established assets, and thus interesting investments for diversifying portfolios… We conclude that this still new alternative asset market can provide valuable contributions to portfolio allocation.”

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