MAY 29 DIGEST: US Govt Says Ross Ulbricht Owes Them Nearly $184M, Apple Mentions Bitcoin in Patent Application

U.S. government prosecutors have imposed a money judgment of almost US$184 million against Ross Ulbricht, Apple casually mentions Bitcoin in a new patent application, and more news.

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MAY 29 DIGEST: US Govt Says Ross Ulbricht Owes Them Nearly $184M, Apple Mentions Bitcoin in Patent Application

U.S. government prosecutors have imposed a money judgment of almost US$184 million against Ross Ulbricht, Apple casually mentions Bitcoin in a new patent application, and more top stories for May 29.

US Government Tells Ross Ulbricht He Owes Them Almost US$184M

US government prosecutors have imposed a money judgment against Ross Ulbricht, equal to US$183,961,921. They came to the total based on the transactional records from Silk Road showing the amount of the website’s illegal drug sales to be US$182,960,285, plus the value for fake identifications that equal US$1,001,636.

The government contends Ulbricht is liable for all transactions on Silk Road because of the structure of the site. They said:

“Silk Road automatically laundered all proceeds passing through its Bitcoin-based payment system, including by passing them through a ‘tumbler’ whose sole purpose was to obfuscate the source and nature of the funds. (…) Hence, Ulbricht is liable for a money judgment in the amount of all the criminal proceeds laundered through Silk Road, regardless of the extent he personally retained those funds.”

Apple Mentions Bitcoin in Patent Application

In a new patent application by Apple, the tech giant casually mentions Bitcoin. The patent, which covers a new method of provisioning credentials on electronic devices using a password communicated over verified channels, includes a technique to manage Bitcoin private keys.

The Bitcoin-related segment in the patent application reads:

“For example, ISD 152 may be a portion of NFC memory module 150 in which a trusted service manager ("TSM") or issuing financial institution may store keys and/or other suitable information for creating or otherwise provisioning one or more credentials (e.g., credentials associated with various credit cards, bank cards, gift cards, access cards, transit passes, digital currency (e.g., bitcoin and associated payment networks), etc.) on electronic device 100 (e.g., via communications component 106), for credential content management, and/or security domain management.”

ECUREX Becomes the First Crypto Exchange to Be Fully Compliant With the Swiss Banking Act

ECUREX GmbH announced that it has become the first digital currency exchange platform to be fully compliant with the Swiss Banking Act. This is particularly interesting because regulation of cryptographic currencies in Switzerland is stricter than in other countries, as it considers them equivalent to any other foreign currency. This means that the professional operation of crypto trading platforms constitutes financial intermediation with the requirement to comply with both the Banking Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. The CEO of ECUREX, Paolo Tasca, said:

“Switzerland probably has the most challenging regulatory environment for such a business and we are thrilled to be the first with a business model that allows us to operate here. (…) We think a stable regulatory environment is not only beneficial for us in the long-term, but also for our customers.”

Russia Blacklists Another Bitcoin Website, but BitNovosti Finds Workaround

Despite the recent court ruling that overturned a previous decision to block access to at least five Bitcoin websites, Russia’s supervision agency has blacklisted one of the country’s most popular Bitcoin-related websites, BitNovosti.com. In response, BitNovosti posted the following announcement on Vkontakte (Russia’s version of Facebook):

“Roskomnadzor has blocked access to our site in Russia. Of course, we can go to court and spend a lot of time trying to prove that this was done illegally and then wait until government officials remove the site from their blacklist. But we will not do this, especially since the proposed law to ban information on cryptocurrency is expected to pass in the Duma soon. Thus, the blocking of ALL Bitcoin-resources is only a matter of time.”

Russia Blacklists Another Bitcoin Website, but BitNovosti Finds Workaround

Tembusu Systems to Begin Implementation of Cryptocurrency Payments in June

Singapore-based blockchain solutions provider Tembusu Systems will begin trial implementation of its virtual currency payments using the flagship TRUST (Tembusu Reputation-based Universally Secure Transaction) system in June. TRUST uses blockchain-like technology, and allows users to make payments with different currencies, such as fiat and digital, as well as gold and silver. Andras Kristof, Co-founder and CEO of Tembessu Systems, said:

“TRUST is taking its first step into getting widespread adoption and integration with existing systems. We’re planning to try out several possible use cases with current payment systems in Singapore, and the success of this trial will see the use of digital currency payment systems being extended into real-world context.”

Italian Insurance Giant Will Invest €1.25B in FinTech Startups

Europe’s third-largest insurer Generali has announced it will indirectly invest €1.25 billion in emerging financial technology by 2019. The Italian giant, sensing what chief executive Marco Greco called a “revolution,” will work with a group of venture capital funds including Ribbit Capital to support startups in mobile payments technology and data analysis among others. Speaking on his industry, Greco said:

“This is an industry that has been lagging behind every other industry – it has been paralyzed. (…) Either you understand it and you move towards the forefront of change, (...) or this industry will disappear.”

Italian Insurance Giant Will Invest €1.25B in FinTech Startups

BitSpark Is Finalist of the 2015 Startup Challenge Showcase in Singapore

Attendees of SWIFT's Innotribe Startup Challenge, which attempts to bridge the gap between the financial services industry and tech startups, have selected five finalists from the Asian leg of the challenge to compete at Sibos Singapore in October. Among these finalists is crypto-financial services provider for the Asia-Pacific region, BitSpark, which pioneered with a blockchain powered end-to-end remittance service, in addition to a blockchain-auditable, feature-rich trading exchange.

Fabian Vandenreydt, Head of Markets Management, Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute at SWIFT, said:

"With a thriving ecosystem supporting innovation and startups, Singapore contributes to leading Asia in developing the fintech sector as a major engine of growth. It was a pleasure to welcome our semi-finalists in such an environment for the fourth consecutive year, and we now wish the finalists the best of luck for the Finale at Sibos later this year."

Google Acknowledges Circle’s Bitcoin Application at 2015 I/O Awards

Bitcoin wallet and provider Circle received an honorable mention at the Google I/O conference. Circle’s Android wallet application was the only finance app to make the “best in class” showcase, and the first-ever Bitcoin-related application to receive such an accolade. The Circle app allows for near-field communication transfers from phone to phone, security features, and free insurance covering of any loss of bitcoin in the event of a breach at Circle of digital or physical data storage.

Bitcoin.com Now Redirects to Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin.com, the domain name owned by Roger Ver, redirects to Bitcoin Magazine’s web page as of today. The domain name was recently the subject of a dispute between Ver and bitcoin exchange OKCoin, which rented it from Ver. According to Ver on Reddit, he is merely doing some data testing on where the traffic is most effective, however, indicating that Bitcoin Magazine has not entered into a new partnership with Ver regarding the domain name.

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