Blockchain Report — 12/18/2018

Summary: Iranian Official Believes Blockchain Could Deliver Economic Growth To Country; Coinbase Launches Cryptocurrency Conversion Feature; Hong Kong Might Implement Stricter Cryptocurrency Laws

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Iranian Official Believes Blockchain Could Deliver Economic Growth To Country

According to Coindesk, Alireza Daliri, head of management development department of the vice presidency for science and technology for Iran, believes that the use of blockchain technology could create growth to Iran’s economy. He said:

“This is possible with empowering the infrastructure of the blockchain technology with the help of government and private sector.”

Daliri believes that Iran’s goal should be to collaborate with other countries to develop emerging technologies such as blockchain. He believes that blockchain technology, in particular, provides significant advantages that other technologies do not offer. He also believes the technology’s downsides are limited.

Iran’s interest in blockchain shouldn’t be surprising, considering that back in July the Iranian government stated that it is looking into issuing a digital currency for the country. However, there does not appear to be any developments on the digital currency since the announcement.

International sanctions have forced Iran to find alternative methods of banking, due to the fact that multiple banks and exchanges are now no longer willing to conduct business with the country and its citizens. A digital currency would alleviate some difficulties that the sanctions have placed on the country.

Coinbase Launches Cryptocurrency Conversion Feature

According to a Coinbase’s blog, Coinbase is launching a new feature on its platform for customers called “Convert” as part of the company’s “12 Days of Coinbase”. The feature will allow users of Coinbase to convert one cryptocurrency into another cryptocurrency quickly and cheaply.

Customers can convert either online or through the Coinbase iOS app or Android app. Initially, customers will be able to convert between Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, 0x, and Bitcoin Cash. Coinbase’s “Pricing and Fees” page explains how much it’ll cost to do a cryptocurrency conversion:

Coinbase charges a Spread of one percent (1.00%) for Digital Currency Conversions. However, the actual Spread may be higher or lower due to market fluctuations in the price of Digital Currencies on Coinbase Pro between the time we quote a price and the time when the order executes

Coinbase stated that it will soon roll out this feature to 34 different countries, and will gather customer feedback to improve and iterate on the feature. The end of the blog post states that the ultimate goal of creating this feature is for a “easy-to-use, highly secure, and trusted experience…to make crypto more accessible to everyone”.

Hong Kong Might Implement Stricter Cryptocurrency Laws

According to CCN, the Hong Kong Securities and Exchange Commission (SFC) wants to create stricter cryptocurrency laws. These stricter laws would be in response to the various money laundering crimes and cybersecurity crimes that being enabled with cryptocurrency in Southeast Asia.

Compared to the rest of China, Hong Kong has relaxed laws on cryptocurrency. However, this might soon change. The Hong Kong SFC has declared that if an investment fund’s portfolio is 10% or more digital assets, then the investment fund must obtain a license.

Although Hong Kong SFC has warned for several months now about impending tighter cryptocurrency laws, some people aren’t convinced. Daisuke Yasaku from the Daiwa Institute of Research believes that more regulations will be damaging to the industry, stating:

“The cost of regulations will be high. The requirements of the SFC initiative may prove too burdensome for some operators.”

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