Not bad for SA’s first Blockchain news site that started 6 months ago. 😉
While we didn’t get first place, we did win Runner Up in both of our entered categories: Best Business Blog and Best Science & Technology Blog. A very special mention to all of you for voting! With thousands of Blogs from around the country entering the awards, we would never have achieved the Top 3 blogs (in both categories) had it not been for the many votes we received from you, the valued Global Crypto community.
We have a whole bunch of significant news to report on this week, including Blockchain Africa 2019 which kicks off next week.
So grab a cup of coffee, put your headphones on, and get reading…
JP Morgan Announces JPM Coin
Things could not have started better for the crypto community this year. A Wells Fargo bank outage, a little price rally, and Jamie Dimon basically about-turns on his2017 comments. Ok, sure, Dimon says he regrets calling Bitcoin a fraud, but this story was bound to be food for the wolves. Besides the 2018 “regret announcement”, Dimon’s JP Morgan have announced they will launch a Blockchain-empowered digital value exchange for the movement of institutional funds. In a press release on Valentine’s Day (can the irony get any better?), JP Morgan said they believe Blockchain is the best technology to allow for instantaneous payments, and thus created a “stable coin” backed by their US Dollar reserves for immediate transfer of value between their corporate clients.
Ok, not quite “far away”, yet… But Wells Fargo found themselves deep underwater last weekend when a smoke detector in one of their server facilities caused a nationwide outage of – get this – all their banking systems! ATMs, online banking, card processing, you name it – it couldn’t be done if you were a Wells Fargo customer. The bank is America’s fourth largest by assets, and as American Banker reports, despite their size, this is a third serious glitch in a series of technical issues they have had in a year – with this specific outage lasting two full days.
The outage highlights the opportunities for true internet currencies, and as Billy Bambrough writes, the crypto community were having a field day with this one.
Coinbase Partner “SHIFT Card” Closes Operation
While the crypto community knocks big banks, the crypto payments industry took its own knock this week. Shift have announced that they will shut down operations. Shift, a US debit card manufacturer, partnered with Coinbase back in 2015, and have enjoyed much of the crypto debit card limelight since. But this announcement, made with a sudden email, casts doubt on the robustness of the industry in America. Some are speculating that VISA, Shift’s payment processor, had increased their fees and nullified Shift’s business model. But Shift’s website seems to indicate a pivot toward white-labeled card manufacturing – perhaps a bit of both? Shift cardholders will have until 11 April 2019 until their cards become unusable.
Africa’s biggest Blockchain conference, now in its fifth year, kicks off next week in Jo’burg! Happening at The Wanderers Sports Club on Thurs 28 Feb and Fri 1 March, the team behind the event have once again produced elite speakers in the industry, including:
Brian Behlendorf (Executive Director at Hyperledger)
Anrich Daseman (Senior Fintech Specialist at the South African Reserve Bank)
Charlene Chen (COO of BitPesa)
Michael Glaros (Principal PM for Azure Blockchain, Microsoft)
Tanya Knowles (Chair of the SA Financial Blockchain Consortium)
Farzam Ehsani (CEO of VALR)
The Cape Town iteration happening on Wednesday 6 March will feature many of the same speakers, but with the addition of a few more, including:
Helen Zille (Western Cape Premier)
Beverley Schäfer (Minister of Economic Opportunities, WC)
Nezaam Joseph (Chief Economist of the WC Government)
Simon Dingle (CEO of Inves Capital)
Riccardo Spagni (aka FluffyPony on Twitter – Lead Maintainer of Monero Project)
Llew Claasen (Exec Director at Bitcoin Foundation)
We have one ticket left in our giveaway! This ticket could be for Jo’burg or Cape Town, depending on your preference. And to win, simply head over to Twitter and tweet a reason (or many) why you deserve a ticket! You need to tag @BlockchainZA – @Global Crypto_ and the hashtag #BAC19 to qualify. We’ve even made it easy for you, just click this button to complete your sentence on Twitter.
If you don’t want to risk missing out on the competition, Blockchain Africa are discounting tickets until the end of this week:
Elon Musk Calls Bitcoin Brilliant, Calling Crypto Better Than Paper Money
Ark Invest recently had the privilege of Elon Musk on their podcast (we’re working on that!), and in it they couldn’t help but broach the subject of cryptocurrency. While at first apprehensive, Musk eventually got serious, saying that Bitcoin’s structure is quite brilliant, and that crypto is a far better way to transfer value than paper money, which is going away. He also said that as someone focused on sustainable energy, he hopes to see the problems of crypto’s energy requirements solved. CCN have the full story, with a link to the podcast.
Is Satoshi Back?
Craig Wright has once again been making quite a fuss this week, writing to the CFTC that he is willing to state under oath that he is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto. But on a subsequent public blog post by Wright, a user made some intriguing comments to actually claim to be the real Satoshi. And while the user left a link to his Twitter account, and his writing doesn’t seem to align with other confirmed writings of Satoshi, he does seem to know some intricate details about the real Nakamoto. Perhaps he is simply a well-educated Bitcoin enthusiast? Or has the real Satoshi Nakamoto finally come out of hiding to put to bed Wright’s claims? Research for yourself by checking out the original Blog comment on the user’s Twitter feed here.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, has often been praised as a figurehead for Bitcoin advancement, but his liking to cryptocurrency seems to have gone up a notch in 2019. With a spate of tweets about Bitcoin so far this year, this Quoted Tweet comes in response to a suggestion for tipping people with Satoshis. And it shows just how serious Jack is about advancing Bitcoin adoption: