All posts by Brenden Weber

Brenden Weber is a recent college graduate from the University of Iowa with a degree in Political Science and Philosophy. He is a writer in journalism and opinion pieces; podcaster in politics, philosophy, and cryptocurrency; and owns a small business in Salt Lake City Utah.

Amazon and Microsoft Embrace the Blockchain Future

A new wave of adoption is coming to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, notably from two major tech giants— Microsoft and Amazon— both of which are aiming to apply blockchain within their cloud computing arms.

In the case of Microsoft, the company recently announced Azure Blockchain Workbench. The new tools will be included in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace by aiming to provide developers with tools to implement the ready-to-use infrastructure for blockchain application solutions.

The press announcement discussed the pace in which these blockchain development tools are being embraced, stating that “Engagement in our preview program has been overwhelming. Since September, hundreds of customers and partners have joined the preview and used Workbench to create innovative solutions to shared business problems.”

The announcement also provided some insight into Azure’s future plans for more massive adoption:

“With the release of Azure Blockchain Workbench, we take another step towards making this technology more developer friendly. As we continue to learn with customers and partners, we look forward to extending its capabilities, open-sourcing more of its code and partnering with organizations to expand its usefulness.”

Even though Microsoft is making moves to embrace blockchain, founder Bill Gates has not had positive words for cryptocurrency. According to Cointelegraph, Bill Gates recently shared some critical comments of Bitcoin. “As an asset class, you’re not producing anything and so you shouldn’t expect it to go up. It’s kind of a pure ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment,” Gates said.

However Microsoft, in general, has been witnessing businesses increase their use of blockchain-based solutions and the corporate empire is looking to capitalize on the market opportunity.

Amazon’s recent efforts

Amazon, another major corporation at the forefront of the technology wave, is implementing a similar system to Microsoft’s. Amazon is introducing Amazon Web Services (AWS) blockchain templates, which will “provide a fast and easy way to create and deploy secure blockchain networks using open source frameworks.”

The focus of Amazon’s new tools is to allow developers to focus on building a blockchain application, potentially saving time, energy and resources spent on a manual setup of a blockchain network.

Both seem to have to a focus in mind of streamlining the process for businesses and developers to implement blockchain technology. This is likely to help promote a more massive adoption of the decentralized technology in various industries, such as app development and the financial industry with peer to peer transactions.

AWS vice president Jeff Barr alluded to these various possibilities in a recent post:

Some of the people that I talk to see blockchains as the foundation of a new monetary system and a way to facilitate international payments. Others see blockchains as a distributed ledger and immutable data source that can be applied to logistics, supply chain, land registration, crowdfunding and other use cases. Either way, it’s clear that there are a lot of intriguing possibilities and we are working to help our customers use this technology more effectively.

These recent moves show recognition of blockchain technology’s future. The money and effort being put forward by major corporations offer further supporting evidence that blockchain and cryptocurrencies have lasting potential.

Bank of England Releases Working Paper on Central Bank Digital Currency Models

Earlier this month, the Bank of England released a working paper that describes three different central bank digital currency (CBDC) models, providing an outline of how it would operate in the banking industry, as well as possible scenarios of risk and financial stability issues.

The three outlines construct models depending on the sectors with access to CBDC.

The Financial Institutions Model

This model reportedly limits access to banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs). This model is described as seemingly similar to reserve assets of the central Bank of England; however, there are differences including “broader access and different functionality and core purpose.”

Financial institutions would “interact directly with the central bank to buy/sell CBDC in exchange for eligible securities.” Regarding this mode, the BoE notes that “it is assumed that there are no institutions that provide an asset to households and firms that is fully backed by central bank money, even though this may be technically feasible, as indeed it is technically feasible today.”

The Economy-Wide Model

This model allows households and firms access to CBDC as well as banks and NBFIs. The paper notes that “CBDC can, therefore, serve as money for all agents in the economy,” although only banks and NBFIs would be authorized to “interact directly with the central bank to buy/sell CBDC; households and firms would be required to use a CBDC Exchange to buy and sell CBDC.

The paper mentions an alternative under this model in which households and firms could trade CBDC directly with the central bank.

The Financial Institutions Plus CBDC-Backed Narrow Bank Model

This model, like the Financial Institutions model, limits access to banks and NBFIs. However, “at least one institutional bank” would provide financial assets to household and firms serving as a “narrow bank” that provides assets to households and firms “fully backed by CBDC” but does not “extend credit.”

This model was put in place to “study the differences between direct and indirect access to CBDC by households and firms.”

Notably, the report concluded that CBDC does not lead to a contraction in bank funding, no adverse effects on private credit or on “total liquidity provision to the economy.” However, the report acknowledges further models and research are necessary for more concrete conclusions.

The Bank of England is not the only central bank exploring the use of CBDCs. ETH News recently reported on the Bank of Korea launching a task force to research CBDCs.

Cointelegraph reported that Norway’s Central Bank has been exploring similar options, noting that a “decline in cash usage” has prompted this exploration. Switzerland was another that recently requested a study on state-backed digital currencies.

The actual implementations of these CBDCs remain to be seen; it is becoming increasingly clear that this is only one of the many uses for cryptocurrency technology.

Poland Wants to Pay US $2 Billion for a Permanent Military Base

The Polish Ministry of National Defense is seeking a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland. According to Politico, a defense ministry proposal was obtained by a Polish news portal, offering $2 billion for a permanent military base.

The offer may be reflective of a recent meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on April 28th.

Defense News reported that Defense Minister Blaszczak said he was “an optimist regarding an increase of U.S. military presence in Poland.”

The US Department of Defense appeared to hold similar optimism regarding the talks. In a press release by the DOD, Secretary Mattis applauded Poland’s commitment to reach a defense spending level of 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product by 2030 as part of a NATO pledge, saying that “These contributions, along with your hosting of NATO’s 2016 summit in Warsaw, illustrate Poland’s deep commitment to collective security, a commitment that includes the purchase of a Patriot air and missile defense system last month.”

The Proposal

“This proposal outlines the clear and present need for a permanent U.S. armored division deployed in Poland, Poland’s commitment to provide significant support that may reach 1.5 – 2 billion USD by establishing joint military installations and provide for more flexible movement of U.S. forces. Together, the United States and Poland can build an even stronger bond one which guarantees the safety, security, and freedom of its people for generations to come,” the defense ministry document stated.

The document takes a further step to entice the US into an agreement of the terms, stating:

“To share the burden of defense spending, make the decision more cost-effective for the U.S. Government and allay any concerns for Congress in uncertain budgetary times.”

Politico reported that the Polish Defense ministry press office confirmed the “Proposal for a U.S. Permanent Presence in Poland” is legitimate and genuine. The defense ministry also confirmed the proposal was sent to Washington without the consent or knowledge of President Andrzej Duda, Poland’s commander in chief.


The report directly names Russia as a reason for the US military base proposal. Poland is likely responding to continued Russian aggression and influence in Ukraine’s Crimea region and Georgia that occurred in 2014.

Russia has opposed initiatives for US military expansion into Eastern Europe. However, Poland seems to be attempting to invite further US influence in their region regardless, in defense of Russian aggression.

“Poland is a steadfast ally of the United States and is committed to advancing our shared interests and values, which are increasingly being threatened by Russian interference. A permanent U.S. presence in Poland will ensure that both nations can continue to advance, strengthen, and protect these values and interests,” the report stated.

World’s Largest Diamond Retailer Joins De Beers Blockchain Platform

The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry is set to join the blockchain program Tracr, according to a press release recently released by De Beers Group. Signet Jewelers joins a project that aims to provide transparency, consumer insight, and efficiency throughout the industry.

According to Cointelegraph, Signet Jewelers is the number one diamond retailer in Canadian, American, and British markets. They made over $3.8 billion in diamond jewelry sales in 2017.

Bruce Cleaver CEO of gem giant De Beers Group, said:

We are delighted to welcome Signet to the Tracr pilot programme. Tracr is focussed on bringing the benefits of blockchain technology to the full diamond value chain – providing consumers with confidence, the trade with increased efficiency and lower costs, and lenders to the industry with greater visibility. Signet has deep insights into the needs of consumers, and our collaboration will ensure that consumers remain the focus of Tracr.

Signet joining the program will allow the Tracr team to complete the first digital link “all the way from diamond production through retail.” Both teams will work alongside each other to ensure jewelry manufacturers’ and retailers’ needs are met. The project will initially focus on “the tracking of diamond jewelry” and provide for smaller-sized goods.

Virginia C. Drosos, CEO of Signet Jewelers, said:

Responsible sourcing of diamonds has always been an integral part of Signet’s corporate ethos, and this will be further strengthened through our cooperation with Tracr. We are joining the Tracr pilot because we believe the project not only has strong potential to facilitate increased transparency and confidence within the industry, but it can also foster much-needed digital transformation.

Tracr provides a digital certificate for each diamond registered on the platform. Storing attributes and transactions aims to give consumers detailed information about their diamonds, allowing them to determine if the product is natural and conflict-free by tracking it across the blockchain.

In early May, De Beers Group announced its success of tracking 100 high-value diamonds along their Tracr blockchain platform, which the company noted is the first time that a diamond’s path has been digitally tracked from the mine to the consumer.

The diamond industries application of blockchain technology affirms the value and potential of the ledger technology, allowing for increased security and peace of mind. However, the diamond industry isn’t the only major sector to take notice.

Walmart has recently filed a patent for a blockchain based digital marketplace. Major banks piloted a successful blockchain-powered cross-border fund transfer that took a matter of seconds. A major fiat powerhouse has also taken notice: the Rockefeller family’s venture-capital arm has recently reported its move into cryptocurrencies.

Trump, on NFL Ruling, Suggests Kneeling Players “Shouldn’t Be In The Country”

NFL owners issued a new policy earlier this week, requiring players and team personnel to stand during the National Anthem. This ruling is in response to controversy last season in which some players chose to kneel instead of stand to protest cases of systemic oppression.

According to ESPN, the new policy mandates players ad personnel to stand during the anthem “if they are on the field during the performance,” but allows them “the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer.”

The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show respect for the anthem. That includes any attempt to sit or kneel, as dozens of players have done during the past two seasons to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Those teams also will have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction.

President Trump responded with support for the NFL’s decision to ban kneeling, saying on Fox & Friends that “I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

Trump also said he doesn’t feel responsible for the new NFL policy, noting that he thought it was the American people who pressed the league to make the new rule.

This isn’t the first time Trump has criticized NFL players kneeling during the anthem. In September 2017, Trump asked at a rally in Alabama, “wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—– off the field right now’?”

According to a statement released by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league acknowledged that kneeling players have been effective in alerting the public to social issues, noting that “the efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed.”

Goodell also stated that “we want people to be respectful of the national anthem…we want people to stand— that’s all personnel— and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe. But we were also very sensitive to give players choices.”

The vote was unanimous among owners.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long rebuked the new rule, claiming that it was based in fear:

New York Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson has reportedly balked at the new policy; according to a report from Newsday, Johnson told the publication that “his players are free to take a knee or perform some other protest without fear of repercussion from the team.”

“If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players,” Johnson said. “I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest. There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines. I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t. There will be no club fines or suspensions or any sort of repercussions. If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear.”

Dash Supporting Healthy Communities in Africa

Dash Africa is one of a several grassroots efforts coming from the Dash community. The grassroots efforts in places like Africa take community outreach to the next level while increasing awareness of Dash around the globe.

Dash Africa is supporting the Dash Leopards soccer team; they are working to enable a better life for kids in Africa through sports, education, and social activities. Thanks to Dash, soccer program founder Coach Ricardo— along with the other coaches— use soccer as a tool to help the players achieve comprehensive life skills.

The Dash Leopards program also offers tutoring to help children with their schoolwork. They’re learning about healthy food and nutrition and preparing snacks and smoothies prepared with fresh ingredients.

Dash Africa’s community outreach efforts have brought awareness of Dash to the African continent, a place where Dash can flourish due to Africa’s large numbers of unbanked individuals who could benefit from digital currency.

Cryptocurrencies like Dash are fit particularly well with countries dealing with continuous problems stemming from devaluation and corruption associated with fiat currency. Dash Force News notes that Zimbabwe has been dealing with hyperinflation of their currency since 2009 and at one point destroyed their currency altogether. In developing countries, many would prefer a decentralized, secure, and valuable currency than the insecure fiat alternative.

The Kuva project is another initiative funded by the Dash community; this project is working with Zimbabweans to use Dash as their currency, rather than foreign fiat currencies. With Dash, the people of Zimbabwe can now have a secure place to store value, cheaper transaction costs, and a more reliable way to transact.

Cryptocurrencies like Dash will be needed now more than ever in areas like Zimbabwe. CCN recently reported that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has “banned financial institutions in the country from processing cryptocurrency transactions for cryptocurrency traders and investors despite growing interest in digital monetary assets in the country.”

CCN further reported that “in order to safeguard the integrity, safety, and soundness of the country’s financial system, and to protect the public in general, all financial institutions are hereby required to ensure that they do not use, trade, hold and/or transact in any way in virtual currencies.”

As the central banking attempts to dictate how the people of Zimbabwe secure their money, efforts like Dash Africa, the Dash Leopards and the Kuva Project will be needed to not only raise awareness about alternative options and provide valuable programs for youth, but to help in freeing everyday transactions from centralized banking systems. Given that Zimbabwe has a history of an unstable currency and financial system, this step has become crucial.

Editor’s note: Dash Digital Cash is the exclusive sponsor of Reality Check and the Truth in Media project.

Dash Emerges In MMA Community With Sponsorship of Rory MacDonald, Chael Sonnen

With recent sponsorship of Bellator fighters Rory MacDonald and Chael Sonnen, the Dash network has made an impressive mark on the world of MMA.

Rory MacDonald is one of the world’s highest ranking MMA fighters, holding a 20-4 record following his victory over Douglas Lima for the Bellator welterweight title. He holds wins over UFC fighters including Demian Maia, Nate Diaz, BJ Penn, and welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

MacDonald submitted a proposal to the Dash treasury for funding of a $250,000 sponsorship, which passed with ease: 899 Yes to 233 No.

MacDonald represented his sponsor in full Dash apparel during his championship victory earlier this year. Vocal about his interest in cryptocurrency and its virtues, MacDonald has been active in the industry since 2014 after being introduced by his coach, Firas Zahabi. MacDonald said in a report for Dash Force News:

In 2014 I was introduced to Bitcoin from my coach Firas Zahabi the week I was fighting Tyron Woodley. Since then we have stayed interested in the cryptocurrency space, and it so happened that Dash’s Jeff Smith and Firas had connected over doing a project together with Dash. Since then Firas connected me and Jeff. Everything came together very organically as we worked on a proposal for my next fight sponsored by Dash. The community really rallied behind the idea and I believe this is just the start of the Dash takeover into the MMA community for cryptocurrencies.

According to Dash Force News, Zahabi has utilized cryptocurrency to overcome certain regulatory issues and launched a giveaway last year of $10,000 worth of Dash “to whomever could most accurately guess the exact outcome and time” of the momentous fight held between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.

MacDonald sees these sponsorships as just the beginning of long-term partnerships with the cryptocurrency community. He told CCN that “the exciting thing about the Dash budget system is that it’s a voting process, so we can make all kinds of different, unique ideas to pitch to the network…It could be the next wave of sponsorships pouring into the MMA community.”

Bellator has publicly noted its interest in cryptocurrency and Dash to fuel sponsorships, with Bellator CEO Scott Coker saying:

Cryptocurrency has definitely gotten people’s attention as of late and we’re thrilled to see Dash enter the MMA space with their sponsorship of Bellator welterweight Rory MacDonald. Exploring new categories and opportunities for integration has always been key to the growth and development of sports partnerships. We’re always open to new and exciting ideas, and cryptocurrency is something that we’d be interested in exploring to see if it was potentially the right fit for Bellator.

Fellow mixed martial artist Chael Sonnen also put forward a proposal to the Dash Masternode network worth 325 Dash ($162,023 USD). He proposed continuing to expand the Dash brand throughout the MMA community with his event connections and social media following.

The Dash sponsorship of Sonnen also easily passed, with 681 Yes to 156 No.

Sonnen has been an MMA fighter since the age of 19 and has fought in five different fighting leagues including the UFC. He’s faced off against the likes of Jon Jones, Rampage Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua, Anderson Silva, and Micahel Bisping. Sonnen is also contributor on ESPN and has appeared on The Jim Rome Show as well as Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. Sonnen bears a massive social media following, where he has more than 800,000 Twitter followers, over 381,000 Facebook followers and millions of views on Youtube.

Cryptocurrencies like Dash disrupt the conventional athletic sponsorship structure by allowing individuals to work directly with the source of their funding (Dash). Dash’s large treasury and Masternode voting platform make unique crypto marketing opportunities and sponsorships possible. Dash’s blockchain technology is set up to produce new coins every month, where 10% of those goes towards the treasury. Currently, the budget is around 6177 Dash, or about $2.7 million USD. This allows for the Dash investment ecosystem to build its brand in creative ways across a multitude of industries.

Editor’s note: Dash Digital Cash is the exclusive sponsor of Reality Check and the Truth in Media project.

Portsmouth: New Hampshire’s Digital Currency Hotspot

New Hampshire has become home to an impressive number of cryptocurrency-accepting businesses, with several businesses embracing the decentralized benefits of cryptocurrency by offering common payment options such as Dash, Bitcoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

You can find the hub of this movement in the town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is described as “Bitcoin Village.” A significant feature of this village is the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe, a store attracting customers from high-traffic tourist areas nearby with their unique crypto-related and liberty-centric goods. However, tourists quickly learn that they can’t purchase anything in the store with cash, which provides an opportunity for the proprietors of the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe to step in and educate newcomers.

The shop founders, Derrick J. Freeman and Steven Zeiler, have a mission to “change the money that people use.” In a Q&A with the Free State Project, Freeman said that “if customers come in, set up a free wallet on their phone, and leave, I’m happy that they took a step toward greater financial freedom. Success is people using cryptocurrency at stores other than our shop.”

Zeiler has also developed a system for local businesses to accept various cryptocurrencies as payment. is a new POS system spreading quickly and flourishing in the Portsmouth area.

“Like most people who use cryptocurrency, Steven and I have long dreamt of a physical retail shop that accepts cryptocurrency exclusively,” Freeman noted in the Q&A. “So, in a sense, this idea has been brewing for almost a decade. After years of waiting, we decided that if no one was going to do it, then it would have to be us. After deciding to open a crypto-only shop, the implementation was almost immediate.”

Freeman also discussed in the Q&A how the shop helps introduce new users and facilitate sustained use of crypto:

“In under five minutes, we help them (customers) download a digital wallet on their phone, turn their cash into crypto, and take payment. Everyone leaves feeling good. Most people have long been waiting to try bitcoin, but they’ve never had someone hold their hand while they do it. Those who don’t want to either don’t have the time or the interest. That’s to be expected. Not everyone wants bitcoin. Some people are perfectly happy with a money that funds wars and loses purchasing power every year.”

Freeman and Zeiler have had nearby businesses inquiring how to accept cryptocurrency. The Free State Bitcoin Shoppe provides a directory that lists a number of merchants accepting cryptocurrencies in the city, even specifying which forms of cryptocurrencies are accepted.

New Hampshire’s vibrant cryptocurrency community can be thanked in large part to the Free State Project, a liberty-minded movement of individuals looking to explore and work toward a free society. The movement has led to one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly places in the world, with a high acceptance and use of cryptocurrency among the Free State community of 4,352.

The New Hampshire cryptocurrency community played a critical role in the passing of a state law that exempts digital currency from the state’s money transmission licensing. Even though state regulators showed opposition, the bill passed due to strong grassroots support. The crypto supportive policy has attracted startup companies such as LBRY as well as Anypay.

A popular cryptocurrency to highlight within Portsmouth is Dash, which bears support from local businesses. According to DiscoverDash, there are 22 locations in the town accepting Dash. The entire state of New Hampshire has roughly 1.3 million inhabitants and features 54 Dash-accepting businesses, supporting a strong and active Dash-friendly micro-economy.

Joël Valenzuela, editor of Dash Force News, was recently featured on CNN illustrating living a cash-free life. Valenzuela is paid in Dash and is able to make nearly all his purchases with Dash, including primary living expenses like bills and rent.

However, CNN appeared unaware that Portsmouth is only the beginning of cryptocurrency adoption and more experiences like Valenzuela’s are likely to come about. Unlike local currencies like “Berkshares” and “Equal Dollars” which only hold value within their communities, cryptocurrencies like Dash hold value across the globe.

Editor’s note: Dash Digital Cash is the exclusive sponsor of Reality Check and the Truth in Media project.

Early Investor in Tesla, Hotmail, and Skype Says Bitcoin Will Be Bigger Than Internet

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper claims that Bitcoin could be bigger than the internet.

CNBC reported that Draper recently spoke at the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate presented in partnership with Manhattan Institute’s Adam Smith Society. Regarding the potential of cryptocurrency, he said:

“This is bigger than the internet. It’s bigger than the Iron Age, the Renaissance. It’s bigger than the Industrial Revolution….This affects the entire world and it’s going to be affected in a faster and more prevalent way than you ever imagined.”

Draper is known for his investments in Tesla, Hotmail, and Skype. However, when comparing those investments he said Bitcoin will be “bigger than all of those combined.”

Draper further claimed that Bitcoin’s value will hit $250,000 by 2022, and stated that “in five years you are going to try to go buy a coffee with fiat currency and they are going to laugh at you because you’re not using crypto….I believe that there will be a point at which you will no longer really want any of the fiat currency.”

Draper isn’t the first major investor to make bold Bitcoin predictions. John McAfee, founder of McAfee antivirus software and cryptocurrency advocate predicted in 2017 that Bitcoin would reach $1 million by the end of 2020.


Former Goldman Sachs partner and former Fortress Investment Group hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz predicted late last year that Bitcoin would reach $50,000 by the end of 2018. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey predicted that Bitcoin will become the world’s single currency over the next 10 years.

Financial Times Managing Editor Gillian Tett argued against claims of Bitcoin’s future domination during the debate, pointing out market volatility and criminal uses as issues preventing it from massive implementation in the future, although some have claimed that volatility will subside upon larger Bitcoin adoption.

Draper insisted he feels “more secure in my Bitcoin than I am in the money that’s sitting there in Wells Fargo.”

Draper told CNBC in December that he bought 30,000 Bitcoins in a 2014 auction and he is still holding those coins today. Those Bitcoins are worth close to $270 million based on current market prices.

Arguing alongside Draper during the debate was Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. He shared comparable confidence in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency security in general, saying:

“This has been hacked at more than anything in history and has never been defeated…Last I checked, banks get hacked too. And yeah, Bitcoin is used by unsavory characters. Last I checked, they used U.S. dollars too.”

Bitcoin is currently holding 38% of the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin’s value reached $20,000 in late 2017 and is currently just under $9,000 although this up from $4,400 in August 2017.

Yahoo Japan To Purchase 40% Stake in Cryptocurrency Exchange

Yahoo Japan recently confirmed they are buying a 40 percent stake in BitArg(ARG) Exchange Tokyo, as ARG announced it would accept minority stake capital participation from Z Corporation, an owned subsidiary of Yahoo Japan Corporation.

The exchange operator explained (translated):

“As a result of this capital participation, the Company will be able to utilize the service operation and security expertise of the Yahoo Japan Group, which will make it easier for customers to prepare for the start of the exchange service managed by the Company and to improve the operation after the commencement we will promote the provision of secure exchange services.”

This comes after another recent move by a major Japanese company, Monex Group Inc., announcing last week it would buy 100% of Coincheck Inc for $34 million. Yahoo Japan maintains a major tech presence in the country, ranking at #4 by user traffic and #40 globally. The launch of the newly developed exchange is planned for April 2019, with plans to make further investments through subsidiaries over the year prior to launch.

According to Yahoo Finance, “unofficial figures of the capital” are between $18.5 million and $27.8 million.

This recent move by Yahoo Japan does not come as a surprise, as in late March Nikkei reported on the company’s intentions to open a cryptocurrency exchange and plans to acquire a stake in BitARG Exchange.

These major corporate investments into cryptocurrencies also come after recent news of Japanese crypto exchanges closing because of the government’s regulations. Last April, the Japanese Financial Services Agency(JFSA) passed regulatory action requiring crypto exchanges to register with the agency, which is the same ruling that allowed for Bitcoin as payment.

Japanese citizens remain one of the leading locations for cryptocurrency involvement by the population. Coindesk reported that Japan’s Financial Services Agency(FSA) found that Japan has 3.5 million individuals that are trading with cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken Resists New York AG Inquiry

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will reportedly not comply with the New York attorney general’s recent inquiry searching for “key information” from over a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges.

The press release from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office stated:

As part of a broader effort to protect cryptocurrency investors and consumers, the Attorney General’s office sent letters to thirteen major virtual currency trading platforms requesting key information on their operations, internal controls, and safeguards to protect customer assets. As the letters explain, the Initiative seeks to increase transparency and accountability as it relates to the platforms retail investors rely on to trade virtual currency, and better inform enforcement agencies, investors, and consumers.

Attached to these inquiries was a questionnaire to provide information on six topics including “(1)Ownership and control, (2) Basic operation and fees, (3) Trading policies and procedures, (4) Outages and other suspensions of trading, (5) Internal controls, and (6) Privacy money and laundering.”

The statement required that the information requested to be completed and shared by May 1st. According to CNBC, Coinbase, the Gemini Trust, bitFlyer USA and other cryptocurrency exchanges indicated support for the inquiry.

However, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell shared a strongly worded response rebuking the inquiry. Powell took to Twitter to express his opposition to the AG inquiry, which he described as “insulting.”

[Related: Binance Announces Plans to Open Exchange In Malta]

Powell noted that Kraken is ordinarily open to helping and communicating with regulators. He criticized the New York AG’s office for being “tone-deaf” and called the state a “hostile” location for businesses including cryptocurrency-focused companies.

Powell highlighted a different option for New York to fulfill its need for information, adding, “If you want to talk to us, ask us for a phone call, fly yourself out to San Francisco, invite us for lunch at your office….But when is it going to be enough for New York? We did all this once already, and then you gave us the BitLicense.”

As Powell alluded to in his comments, Kraken halted operations in New York in 2015 after the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) introduced the controversial BitLicense. The New York ruling on the BitLicense has been referred to as a “Bitcoin Exodus.”

In a more extensive post published April 22, Powell explained Kraken’s viewpoints about regulation in detail. “Kraken’s recent response to the NYAG’s questionnaire should not be taken as an indication that Kraken is opposed to working with government,” Powell wrote. He went on to list ten specific issues he found with the agency’s request, including the deadline, the quality of the preparation of the inquiry, the confidentiality issues related to some requested information, and the “motives” of the NYAG. Powell’s post can be read in full here.

According to a report from MarketWatch, the AG’s office sent an email to MarketWatch claiming that “they have ‘enforcement jurisdiction over foreign businesses [meaning those based outside of New York] operating in New York.'”

SEC Chair Discusses Benefits of Cryptocurrency Regulations

Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton recently defended the agency’s regulatory initiatives while acknowledging the legitimacy of initial coin offerings (ICOs) during a talk at Princeton University.

CoinDesk reported that Clayton responded “absolutely not” to a question about whether ICOs are fraudulent, in relation to the agency’s recent regulatory actions against ICOs such as charging Centra Tech’s ICO with fraud.

Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farka of Centra Tech were charged with fraud after they raised $32 million by selling unregistered securities.

Clayton made remarks during his talk at “Cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings.” He made headlines during his last public statements when he said he believes that “every ICO” he has seen qualifies as a security.

Chairman Clayton contended that regulatory steps being taken by the agency could actually help the industry mature.

Clayton said to the attendees:

“Is the approach taken in Washington by the SEC adversely affecting distributed ledger technology in other areas? My quick answer is that my hope is that it’s actually helping – because this technology is being used for fraud and to the extent that it’s being used for fraud, history shows that government comes down harshly on that technology later.”

He continued, “I think if we don’t stop the fraudsters, there is a serious risk that the regulatory pendulum – the regulatory actions will be so severe that they will restrict the capacity of this new security.”

Currently, cryptocurrency regulations vary state by state and federal plans are not yet clear. However, one certainty is the SEC is not backing away from its plans for ICO regulations, although the Chairman of the SEC hasn’t wavered in his support for the future of blockchain technology.

Fmr. Mt. Gox CEO: “I Don’t Want This Billion Dollars” from Bankrupt Bitcoin Exchange

Mark Karpelès, the former CEO of defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, recently said he doesn’t want the 160,000 Bitcoin that will be left after creditors are paid.

The Japan-based Mt.Gox cryptocurrency exchange had been the largest in the world until its downfall; a February 2014 hack led to a loss of 850,000 BTC.

Karpelès explained the process of the Japanese bankruptcy law that will be giving him a billion-dollar payday in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, stating:

Japanese bankruptcy law has a particularly nasty outcome here, and I want to address this up front. As creditors claims were registered, those claims were registered in the valuation of Japanese Yen on the bankruptcy date. That’s the only way Japanese bankruptcy law can work (most bankruptcy laws around the world operate this way for that matter). This means that the claims can be paid back in full, and there will still be over 160,000 bitcoin and bitcoin cash in assets in the Gox estate. The way bankruptcy law works is that if there are any assets remaining after the creditors have been paid in full, then those assets are distributed to shareholders as part of the liquidation.

That’s the only way any bankruptcy law can reasonably work. And yet, in this case, it produces an egregiously distasteful outcome in that the shareholders of MtGox would walk away with the value of over 160,000 bitcoin as a result of what happened.

I don’t want this. I don’t want this billion dollars. From day one I never expected to receive anything from this bankruptcy. The fact that today this is a possibility is an aberration and I believe it is my responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen. One of the ways to do this would be civil rehabilitation, and as it seems most creditors agree with this, I am doing my best to help make it happen. I do not want to become instantly rich. I do not ask for forgiveness. I just want to see this end as soon as possible with everyone receiving their share of what they had on MtGox so everyone, myself included, can get some closure.

Under Japanese bankruptcy laws, most of the money received will go to Mt. Gox’s shareholders, the largest being Karpelès company Tibanne, which owns 88%.

Criticism of Karpelès and the board of trustees has surrounded the refund process used to reimburse creditors who claimed losses in the 2014 hack. The volume of selloffs was so large that some have speculated the sales unfairly influenced Bitcoin prices across the world.

Coin Telegraph reported on a statement released by the trustee in charge Mt. Gox estate, Nobuaki Kobayashi, he said:

“Please refrain from analyzing the correlation between the sale of BTC and BCC (BCH) by us and the market prices of BTC and BCC (BCH) based on the assumption that the sale was made at the time the BTC and BCC (BCH) were transferred from BTC/BCC (BCH) addresses that I manage, as such assumption is incorrect.”

The estate currently holds 166,3444 BTC. The sell-offs took place between December 2017 and February 2018. During that timespan, BTC has seen highs of 20,000 and lows of 5,900.

Even though the sell-off of 35,841 BTC in a three month period may not have been the sole cause of the recent market crash. Kobayashi’s move may have triggered a market trend that influenced other investors buying and selling positions.


Although the Reddit post lacked specific details, based on the last few months the process to pay back creditors is underway.

Google Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Browser Extensions

Google recently announced its ban on cryptocurrency mining browser extensions from the Chrome store, adding to their “crypto blackout,” as they also announced in the middle of March their plans to ban cryptocurrency ads.

Google announced on Monday that effective immediately, the Chrome Store will halt acceptance of extensions that mine cryptocurrencies. At the end of June, it will start removing existing browser extensions that enable mining. However, non-mining blockchain extensions are still allowed.

According to Coindesk, Google had previously allowed Chrome mining extensions that were exclusively for mining cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, that was not enough to prevent non-compliant extensions from participating in “cryptojacking.”

Cryptojacking has become more prevalent in recent months with the general rise of blockchain technology. The scheme itself is when adware, spyware, or an extension secretly uses a person’s laptop or mobile device to mine cryptocurrency. Wired has reported on this increasing cryptojacking issue, noting that “In theory, cryptojacking can be used for legitimate purposes, like raising revenue for a publishing platform or collecting funds for charitable causes.” However, the report highlighted that this technology has been illicit in practice, explaining that that “bad actors can use locally installed malware to steal a victim device’s computing power, embed miners directly into website to target casual web users without needing to install anything or hide miners in the most innocuous applets and tools.”

Google’s decision to enact a sweeping ban of cryptocurrency mining extensions was made because a majority of mining extensions submitted to the store failed their sole usage compliance. At least 90 percent of the mining extensions submitted by developers had reportedly failed Google’s compliance requirements. The Chrome Store extensions that slipped through the cracks received hundreds of thousands of downloads, with many of those users being unwittingly cryptojacked.

James Wagner, Google’s extensions platform product manager, told Wired:

The key to maintaining a healthy extensions ecosystem is to keep the platform open and flexible. This empowers our developers to build creative and innovative customizations for Chrome browser users…This is why we chose to defer banning extensions with cryptomining scripts until it became clear that the vast majority of mining extensions submitted for review failed to comply with our single purpose policy or were malicious.

Clandestine crypto mining malware has compromised systems in the past. In February, Coindesk reported Tesla’s cloud was hit by a cryptocurrency mining malware attack that siphoned off power from their cloud system. The UK was also hit by malware attacks on thousands of websites, including sites owned by the government.

John McAfee Selling Cryptocurrency Promo Tweets for $105K

John McAfee has become a celebrity face in the cryptocurrency world. In a recent tweet, McAfee has publicly taken this role further by announcing the formation of the McAfee Crypto Team.

McAfee is a well-known businessman and computer programmer who formed McAfee Associates 25 years ago. The company had great success with antivirus software, which led to Intel acquiring the company in 2010 for $7.68 billion.

[RELATED: Presidential Candidate John McAfee Talks to Truth In Media About the Drug War, Immigration, ISIS, Bernie Sanders and More]

McAfee’s Twitter feed is loaded with cryptocurrency discussion and promotional material. Multiple posts on many days feature tweets about crypto exchanges, altcoins, and Bitcoin. He is also known for mentioning Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and coins that he is supporting, which has led to allegations of his involvement in ‘pump and dump’ campaigns.

SAFEX spiked 92% hours after McAfee tweeted about them in December of 2017. Another promoted coin was BURST in late December, which saw a 350% gain.

Prior to announcing his new promotional marketing plan, McAfee has been silent about whether he is paid for his tweets, as a single positive Tweet to his 811,000 followers about a coin has at times resulted in dollars flowing into the specific cryptocurrency.

He has also been known for making some obscure cryptocurrency predictions, such as his Tweet about “eating his own d*ck” if proven wrong about his Bitcoin prediction of $1 million by 2020.


The McAfee Crypto Team website is confident and energetic about the influence McAfee has with his tweets, stating:

Within the cryptocurrency industry, nothing can match the power of a McAfee tweet. Frequently, a single tweet has resulted in more than a million dollars of investment into an ICO, and multiple currencies have increased more than 100% in price from a single tweet.

The team uses McAfee’s social media reach as its justification for the $105,000 price tag, calling it cheap when compared to other alternatives:

“Given Mr. McAfee’s price of $105,000 per tweet, the cost per investor reached is the least costly of any marketing avenue in the Crypto world. Considering only his own followers, the cost per investor reached is $0.13. Considering his reach beyond his own followers, the cost per investor reached is frequently less than a penny. This is orders of magnitude less than any other approach.”

The website used a poll conducted by McAfee in his tweets, where 50,000 followers contributed. The findings claim that:

“737,000 of his followers buy or sell cryptocurrencies at least once a month. 154,000 buy or sell cryptocurrencies daily.

380,000 have more than 25% of their total assets stored in cryptocurrencies. 259,000 have more than 50% of their total assets in cryptocurrencies.

518,000 have more than $3,000 already invested in cryptocurrencies. 224,000 have over $20,000 invested in cryptocurrencies. This las group alone represents, at a minimum, $4.48 billion in crypto investments.”

McAfee has received some negative feedback from his pay-to-play promotion. McAfee tweeted shortly after the website release about his process for choosing ICOs.

McAfee spoke with The Independent and explained that “I’m the only person in the crypto field that has openly divulged the outrageous amounts of money charged by crypto promoters.”

“It’s embarrassingly huge, but it’s true,” McAfee said. “I have been getting these fees for over six months. I decided to go public with it because I am an advisor to many of these companies and I know that I’m in the cross-hairs of the SEC [US Securities and Exchange Commission], so it is in my interests to prove transparency.”

McAfee also recently announced that he launched a Telegram group focused on chatting “about all things crypto,” and made sure to note that moderators in the group would ban its members upon any “pumping and shilling.”


Report: Several Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges to Close

Two Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have reportedly withdrawn applications with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA) amid the regulatory crackdown after Coincheck’s well-known $530 million NEM theft. These two new closures amount to five exchanges so far that have ceased operations in Japan since a law requiring exchanges to register with the JFSA went into effect earlier this year.

According to a Nikkei report, the cryptocurrency exchange operators Tokyo Gateway and Mr. Exchange are withdrawing their applications to register with Japan’s Financial Services Agency. On March 8th, the JFSA ordered both companies to improve their data security and other safeguards, which were found by the JFSA to be insufficient.

Ultimately, the JFSA order led to the exchanges withdrawing their previously filed crypto exchange applications, which is needed to launch domestic services, cease exchange operations and return clients cash and cryptocurrency holdings.

Coindesk reported that “Mr. Exchange posted on March 8 that it had received an order requiring it to beef up its internal protocols in the wake of the attack on Coincheck in late January. The incident resulted in approximately $533 million worth of the cryptocurrency NEM token being stolen.”

A law requiring cryptocurrency exchanges to register with the JFSA took effect last April, which is the same ruling that allowed the acceptance of Bitcoin as payment. According to Nikkei, “Sixteen have done so, while another sixteen were allowed to continue operating while their applications were under review.”

The Nikkei news outlet further reported on the JFSA probes:

These exchange operators are required to have data security and other systems on par with those at the 16 registered exchanges. But the FSA’s probes have so far found problems with corporate governance and internal controls. Some operators see little prospect of meeting with the agency’s standards.

CCN reported that on March 8th, the JFSA issued “month-long business suspension orders to exchange operators FSHO and Bit Station.” The regulatory team found major issues with cybersecurity practices and evidence of money laundering measures.

More application withdrawals are expected from crypto exchanges in Japan, as the JFSA is allowing exchanges to voluntarily close before being ordered to do so.

Leading crypto exchanges Binance had also been issued a formal warning from JFSA. Reports claimed that the JFSA planned to file criminal charges if Binance refused to cease operations in Japan, as “cryptocurrency trading services can only e offered in Japan by exchanges that are licensed by the JFSA or by those awaiting their license.”

In the midst of this regulatory conflict with Japan, Binance announced plans to open an office in Malta. “We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon,” Zhao said.

Telegram ICO Pre-Sales Raise $1.7 Billion

Messaging app Telegram has accumulated $1.7 billion through its initial coin offering (ICO) second-round presale event, reaching that mark after a staggering $850 million first raised in its first round. Public documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed the most recent figure.

The document submitted to the SEC reported that Telegram’s second sale raised $850 million from 94 investors. The document also stated the company’s intentions for the acquired funds, noting that “the issuers intend to use the proceeds for the development of the TON Blockchain, the development and maintenance of Telegram Messenger and the other purposes described in the offering materials.”

The document also included the intended purpose of the securities, stating the intent is to have “purchase agreements for cryptocurrency.” The filing was signed by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov.

Telegram was making headlines back in February during their first ICO pre-sale when the company raised $850 million from 81 investors. Coindesk reported then that Telegram had announced in January “that it intended to raise $1.2 billion via a sale of its own token known as grams.” After this most recent presale offering the company has surpassed their goal by $500 million.

The SEC filing also states that “the issuers may pursue one or more subsequent offerings,” which aligns with previous reports. The company has been expected to hold a third round of funding, and reports have varied regarding how much Telegram plans to raise in total.

[RELATED: West Virginia Launching Blockchain-Powered Mobile Voting System]

The offering is by far the largest sum gathered by an ICO offering to date. The next closest offering was a Tezos token sale, they raised $232 million last year.

An unofficial Telegram ICO whitepaper was leaked in January; according to that document, goals and problems the project hopes to solve were discussed, stating:

Bitcoin has established itself as the digital gold, and Ethereum has proved to be an efficient platform for token crowd sales. However, there is no current standard cryptocurrency used for the regular exchange of value in the daily lives of ordinary people. The blockchain ecosystem needs a decentralized counterpart to everyday money – a truly mass-market cryptocurrency.

Simply put, the ICO appears to be aiming to integrate P2P transactions on a massive scale. Societal integration of cryptocurrency being used for everyday transactions has been an issue facing blockchain technology.

The cryptocurrency being used in the network will be known as Telegram Open Network (TON) coins or Grams.

The whitepaper also included information on how these coins will be distributed after the ICO offering, stating:

“Four percent of the supply (200 million Grams) will be reserved for the development team with a 4-year vesting period. During the initial stage of active TON development, at least 52 percent of the entire supply will be retained by the TON reserve to protect the nascent cryptocurrency from speculative trading and to maintain flexibility at the early stages of the evolution of the system.”

The remaining 44 percent (2.2 billion Grams) will be sold according to a set formula. “The price of the first token to be sold will be approximately 0.1 USD,” the whitepaper stated.

Telegram has recently announced that their platform had 200 million active users. That amount of active users makes the potential for the TON cryptocurrency on its network something to watch.

West Virginia Launching Blockchain-Powered Mobile Voting System

West Virginia is test launching a mobile voting system powered by blockchain technology in its upcoming primary election on May 8th. The system will initially be available only for active-duty military registered voters and their “eligible dependents” in Harrison and Monongalia county.

The state is the first in the country to be testing a blockchain-backed voting system for a federal election, according to a recently released statement.

In the statement issued Thursday, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said:

Registered and qualified military voters that are currently deployed from participating counties are now able to vote on the secure mobile application and will continue being able to vote until polls are closed at 7:30 p.m. EST on Primary Election Day on May 8th. All that is needed for qualified, registered military personnel to cast their ballot is a compatible Apple or Android mobile device and an approved, validated State or Federal ID.

The goal of the project is to offer a more secure military mobile voting system that is verifiable, transparent, and more secure and accessible than the current system. A report from The Hill noted that while the new system is currently designated just for military voters, their spouses and children in Harrison and Monongalia counties, “the state plans to expand the program to all 55 counties in the upcoming November general election if the pilot proves successful.”

According to the voting project’s white paper, support for the project is coming from the Office of the Secretary of State of West Virginia, Voatz, Tusk/Montgomery Philanthropies, New America and the Blockchain Trust Accelerator. Voatz has recently been in the news for raising $2.2 million to prevent tampering in elections.

[RELATED: WATCH: Rep Backed By Securities Industry Says Cryptocurrency Undermines Gov’t. Control]

The Secretary’s office described the current system, noting that “the current absentee process for West Virginia military voters who are currently deployed can be cumbersome to complete. Finding solutions to ensure military personnel are able to vote has been one of the Warner’s priorities since taking office 14 months ago.”

The white paper listed benefits of a blockchain-based mobile voting system including being fast, auditable, and maintaining transparency as well as anonymity.

The paper further discussed issues with overseas ballot systems, stating that “absentee ballot systems previously offered to overseas military voters did not ensure anonymity, and many military voters were concerned their mail-in or faxed ballots may not be received in time, or may not be counted. The new mobile voting system resolves these concerns.”

Scott Warner, son of Secretary Warner, was the first active user of the mobile voting system. Since he is currently deployed in Italy he was able to test and provide feedback, saying:

The registration for this application was very easy to maneuver. It included an ID verification process that matched me to my ID. That gave me confidence that this mobile voting process was secure…when the ballot was made available, I just clicked through the names of the candidates. I hit ‘vote’ for the candidates I wanted to support. Then I used the thumb print Touch ID on my phone to verify who I was. That was it. Pretty slick!

The Secretary of State’s Office plans to expand this pilot program in the 2018 General Election in November to all 55 counties in the state. Once the system is successfully implemented.

In addition to the state testing a blockchain-powered voting system, the West Virginia House of Representatives recently made a move to establish a subcommittee to study the potential implementation of blockchain technology for state record keeping.

Reports: Bitfinex Planning Move to Switzerland

Europe is becoming the new go-to place for cryptocurrency exchanges looking for a new home. Coming after recent news that Binance is moving to the European island of Malta, it’s now being reported that Bitfinex is planning to relocate in Switzerland.

According to a recent article from Handelszeigung (an English translation by Iota News is available here), dozens of smaller cryptocurrency companies have settled in Switzerland in recent months. Switzerland has become a well-established crypto-hotspot, with the valley around the city of Zug becoming known as “Crypto Valley.”

Prominent businesses already stationed in Crypto Valley include Ethereum, Monetas, Bitcoin Suisse, Xapo, Shapeshift, ConsenSys, and Tezos, as well as other lesser known cryptocurrency projects.

Switzerland is becoming appealing for cryptocurrency-based companies because the country has a track record of having friendly business regulations and the country itself holding a stable financial position.

Jean Louis van der Velde, the head of Bitfinex reportedly confirmed these recent reports, stating: “We are looking for a new domicile for Bitfinex and the parent company iFinex, where we want to merge the operations previously spread over several locations.”

Handelszeigung reported that “there have already been several meetings with the State Secretariat for International Financial Affairs (SIF) and an exchange with Federal Councilor Johann Schneider-Ammann, the head of the Department of Economic Affairs.”

With regulations across the world appearing to tighten, companies have been on the move looking for countries with better track records. Bitfinex is not the only cryptocurrency exchange looking at Crypto Valley; in the last few weeks, Crypto Valley has received interest from exchanges in Asia, Europe, and Central America.

Crypto Valley is likely to experience the effect that tech giants such as Google had in Silicon Valley. By drawing in a major cryptocurrency company like Bitfinex, it could have a domino effect and allow the crypto business ecosystem to continue growing; having a major company in place would make the particular region more attractive to other related businesses.

This reported move by Bitfinex seems to follow a recent trend of cryptocurrency exchanges aiming for transparency and regulatory compliance; Bitfinex has explicitly expressed their intention of meeting all the requirements of Swiss regulators.

This follows Binance’s recent announcement of their goal to move an office to Malta as well as Poloniex, a US-based exchange that has recently expressed intentions to follow SEC regulations. This coming after another recent announcement of Poloniex being acquired by a Goldman Sachs-backed startup, Circle.

Ford Patent Seeks to Develop Car-to-Car Crypto Transactions

Ford has recently been awarded a new patent suggesting the U.S. automaker is looking to implement a token-based system to allow cars on the road to communicate with each other. This car-to-car cooperation is intended to reduce traffic as well.

The patent, named “vehicle-to-vehicle cooperation to marshal traffic,” was published Tuesday and awarded to Ford Global Technologies, LLC. A major focus of the patent is developing vehicle cooperation to alleviate traffic congestion.

The patent stated:

Traffic congestion occurs when one or more lanes of a multilane road are blocked, for example, because of a construction or an accident. The blocked lanes reduce the flow rate of vehicles through the section of the road with the blocked lanes. The reduced flow is compounded due to the psychology of human drivers who focus on their individual travel time preferences.

The patent discussed the use of crypto tokens to help facilitate the car-to-car communication and promote the flow of traffic with a “Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass” (CMMP) system. The CMMP system “operates with individual token-based transactions, where the merchant vehicles and the consumers’ vehicles agree to trade units of cryptocurrency (sometimes referred to as “CMMP tokens”).”

The patent further stated how these peer-to-peer driver interactions will help the flow of traffic:

The CMMP system operates with individual token-based transactions, where the merchant vehicles and the consumers’ vehicles agree to trade units of cryptocurrency (sometimes referred to as “CMMP tokens”). The CMMP tokens are used to validate and authorize a transaction in which, at consumer vehicle request, the merchant vehicles either occupy slower lanes of traffic themselves, or allow the consumer vehicle to merge into their own lane and pass as necessary.

The participating merchant vehicles gain CMMP tokens from the consumer vehicle. In some examples, the time allotted to the request of the consumer vehicle is based on the number of CMMP tokens chosen by the consumer vehicle to be spent at that particular time. For example, a driver of a consumer vehicle which is running late for an appointment may request to pass any participating merchant vehicles for a duration of 10 minutes on a particular road or highway for 60 CMMP tokens, at a rate of 10 seconds preferential access per token.

According to the patent, the token payments would act as an on-the-road credit and a mediator between drivers in the proposed system.

Although Ford hasn’t been straightforward with its plans for implementing blockchain technology, this patent indicates that it’s at least on their radar. A report from last July by Trustnodes further illustrated the vehicle manufacturer’s interest in blockchain with a blockchain-focused job posting that stated: “We are looking for a strategic thinker and researcher to lead and pioneer work in the branch of Blockchain technology applied to mobility use cases that would help deliver superior user experiences for our customers.” The listing is no longer available.