Blockchain and Bitcoin round-up: 23 January 2018
Movement and motion. Blockchain and Bitcoin always causing commotion. Here’s another round-up – featuring Kleros taking a chance, BitFlyer landing in Europe, and Nordea in the mood for banning.
Kleros, whose name means “chance” in Greek and is related to the Kleroterion, which was a stone randomisation device used in democratic processes in ancient Greece, has introduced a new decentralised autonomous organisation built on the Ethereum blockchain that will act as a dispute resolution layer “for virtually any product or service”.
The firm, which turns to history again, says that in the Late Middle Ages, rapid expansion of global trade routes created the need for an international set of rules that could be applied internationally for merchants. This resulted in the creation of Lex mercatoria (merchant law) to provide fast arbitration and reliable enforcement for an age of growing international trade. Kleros is now seeking to do the same today. Its plan is to build a justice protocol for the internet by using smart contracts on the blockchain, whose underlying technology and “trustless” nature would be able to be adjudicated by any court. Dispute resolution and arbitration will be built into transactions and recorded on the blockchain. Users will be able to select their preferred arbitration service at the moment of doing a transaction. The company has a working minimum viable product and plans to release its protocol onto the Ethereum Mainnet in Q2 2018. It says the project is completely open-source, owned by no one, and is “intentionally not backed by any institutional investors”. Dr. Federico Ast is the CEO of Kleros and a graduate of Singularity University – a Silicon Valley think tank.
Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange BitFlyer has launched into Europe. It was granted a Payment Institution (PI) licence to operate in the European Union and says it has now become the first Bitcoin exchange to be regulated in Japan, the US and Europe. According to the company, it facilitates 25% of worldwide Bitcoin exchange volumes – and over $250 billion in virtual currency was traded on its platform in 2017.
In this European move, the company is initially targeting “professional, high-volume traders”; and its product offering is the BTC/EUR pair. It plans to add support for other virtual currencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Bitcoin Cash later in the year. The company’s European base will be at The Luxembourg House of Financial Technology Foundation (LHoFT).
Cryptocurrencies can’t get love all the time. That’s life. Nordea has forbidden its 31,000 employees from trading in cryptocurrencies. “The risks are seen as too high and the protection is insufficient for both the co-workers and the bank,” a Nordea spokeswoman told Reuters.
It adds that employees who currently own cryptocurrencies will not be forced to sell them, although recommended to do so. The bank says the ban will be imposed from 28 February.