Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and Digital IDs

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

The city of Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley, will invite its residents to take part in an experimental blockchain-based vote. They are expected to share opinions on several questions of local importance, including the fireworks display during the annual Lakeside Festival and the use of digital IDs to borrow books and pay parking fees. This and other fintech and crypto-related stories from the Alpine nation and other corners of Europe are featured in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief.   

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: POT Saves World, Coinbase Pumps ETC, Binance Wants EUR

Zug Experiments with Blockchain-Based Vote

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsAuthorities in the Swiss city of Zug plan to ask local residents to participate in a consultative blockchain-based vote this month utilizing the city’s electronic ID system. They will be able to vote via their smartphones by downloading and installing an app. The experimental vote will be held between June 25 and July 1. Citizens will be asked if they are in favor of setting alight fireworks during the annual Lakeside Festival, and whether they think digital IDs should be used to borrow books from the library, pay parking fees, and for identification on regular referendums.

According to Swissinfo, the results of the vote will be non-binding. Nevertheless, the initiative, which aims to test whether blockchain can be used on a broader scale, highlights again the positive attitude of Swiss authorities towards cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology. The canton of Zug, dubbed Switzerland’s Crypto Valley, has become home to many fintech startups and even established crypto companies like the Chinese giant Bitmain, which has opened an office there.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsFor some time now, Zug has been accepting cryptocurrency payments for municipal services, including company registrations using bitcoin and ether. The city introduced its eID system to provide citizens with digital access to council services. The pilot phase of the project started last fall. The system is based on blockchain technology.

New Swiss Body to Simplify Capital Markets

In another example of Switzerland’s serious approach to fintech innovations, leading representatives of the country’s financial, technological, academic and legal sectors have recently formed the new Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) to facilitate the use of blockchain in financial markets. In a press release, they noted that “the blockchain technology has the potential to reduce the complexity of the capital markets system and lower the barrier of entry for startups.”

According to CMTA’s founders, the lack of legal certainty is slowing and can potentially compromise development in the field. They hope to facilitate access to funding for new businesses by defining a set of industry-supported open standards. These should ultimately contribute to value creation throughout the economy said Jacques Iffland, CMTA’s chair and partner at Lenz & Staehelin, the largest Swiss law firm.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

Swissquote Bank Ltd, a leader in online banking, and Temenos, which specializes in banking software, are also behind the initiative. CMTA promises to work to create toolkits that can be used by new or established companies, businesses and startups to access funding and raise capital securely and efficiently, using new technologies and leveraging digitalization. The association is based in Geneva.

Irish Blockchain Startup Delivering Aid to Refugees Raises €1m

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDsAn Irish startup, using blockchain to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid, has raised an estimated €1 million from investors, according to industry sources quoted by The Irish Times. The Dublin-based Aid:tech is working in refugee camps, often in hotspots like the Middle East. On Wednesday, Enterprise Ireland and SGInnovate, the venture capital arm of the Singaporean development authority, announced simultaneous investments in the Irish company. This is the first time both state-backed organizations have allocated funds to support a blockchain business, the Irish daily notes. Amsterdam-based Blue Parasol Investments and Tin Fu Fund, a closed private equity fund managed by Shenzhen Capital Group, also took part in the funding round.

Aid:tech aims to increase transparency in the distribution of aid, welfare, remittances, donations, and healthcare services through digitizing their delivery using blockchain technology on its platform. According to the company, only a fraction of the estimated €306 billion (~$360 billion) transferred each year by non-governmental aid organizations is currently delivered via transparent systems which, the startup claims, are extremely expensive to administer. The blockchain technology employed by the Irish firm would allow all international aid to be accounted for, including the distribution of medicine, food and other essentials, the publication details.

Government-Backed Platform to Promote Ireland as a Blockchain Hub

In an attempt to highlight Ireland’s capabilities in the blockchain ecosystem, authorities in Dublin have launched a new government-backed platform. Blockchain Ireland, founded in partnership with a young company called Consensys, aims to create conditions for greater cooperation between startups working in the sector, both on national and international level. The platform was launched by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group and backed by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Department of Finance, leading members of the country’s blockchain industry and representatives from a number of academic institutions.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Zug Tests Blockchain to Decide on Fireworks and IDs

The online platform is a source of useful information about the Irish blockchain ecosystem. It will be used to promote the country as a blockchain hub by highlighting the Irish technology sector and business environment which turn Ireland into an ideal location for blockchain-enabled business, Silicon Republic reports. The services it will be offering include providing information on setting up a new company and support for blockchain projects in Ireland. Its activities, however, will stretch beyond Irish borders. Blockchain Ireland will be working to develop the European and international blockchain ecosystem as well.

What are your thoughts on today’s topics in Bitcoin in Brief? Let us know in the comments below.


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Colorado Proposal Aims to Allow Cryptocurrency Donations for Campaigns

Colorado Proposal Aims to Allow Cryptocurrency Donations for Campaigns

The state of Colorado is considering giving political candidates the ability to raise funds using cryptocurrencies. This week the Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, presented the proposed guidelines and officials are looking for commentary from Colorado residents.

Also read: “Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing

Colorado Secretary of State May Allow Politicians to Accept Cryptocurrencies for Campaigns

Colorado Proposal Aims to Allow Cryptocurrency Donations for CampaignsColorado is a state that is well known for testing new laws and guidelines like allowing recreational cannabis throughout the state. This week politicians from the Rocky Mountain state are considering allowing political candidates to accept bitcoin and other forms of digital assets. Secretary of State Wayne Williams proposed the new rules in a draft submitted on May 16, 2018. The proposal states:  

A committee may accept contributions in cryptocurrency, up to the acceptable limit for a cash or coin contribution. The amount of the contribution is the value of the cryptocurrency at the time of the contribution. The committee must report any gain or loss after the contribution as other income or receipts.

Crypto-Campaign Acceptance: An Accounting Nightmare

In an interview with the Denver Post Suzanne Staiert, Colorado’s deputy secretary of state explains the proposal going through is likely to happen. “The FEC is doing it now,” Staiert details. “So we are just going along for the ride.”

However, the FEC advisory’s guidelines are making the accounting process more difficult explains the deputy. The FEC advisory laid out how the organization thinks committees should deal with the accounting aspects of accepting cryptocurrencies. “It’s going to be an accounting problem, potentially, for campaigns who want to use it,” Staiert further noted.

Colorado Proposal Aims to Allow Cryptocurrency Donations for Campaigns
Back in 2014, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, from Boulder Colorado accepted $2,000 worth of BTC for his campaign. Polis thinks politicians who hold cryptocurrencies should also declare their holdings.

U.S. Politicians Have Already Accepted Cryptocurrencies in the Past for Campaigns

A Colorado state official already has accepted donations in Bitcoin Core (BTC) back in 2014 as U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder accepted $2,000 worth of BTC that year. Other bureaucrats have accepted BTC in the past for political campaigns as well such as Rand Paul and Gary Johnson. Further, news.Bitcoin.com recently reported on the largest BTC donation given to a candidate so far this past December. The Republican U.S. Senate candidate Austin Peterson accepted roughly 0.284 BTC which at the time was worth over $4,500 USD.

The Colorado Secretary of State is asking state residents to comment on this issue before officials come to a decision on the matter.

What do you think about the state of Colorado allowing politicians to accept cryptocurrencies for political campaigns? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.


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Tipping Point Gala Accepts Crypto Donations, Raises $14 Million

Tipping Point Gala Accepts Crypto Donations, Raises $14 Million

A gala held by Tipping Point, a non-profit organization that seeks to invest in efforts aimed at breaking the poverty cycle in the San Francisco Bay Area, has raised more than $14 million USD. The gala comprises the time that Tipping Point has accepted cryptocurrency donations, with the event being attended by the respective chief executive officers of Coinbase, Ripple Labs, and Pantera Capital Management.

Also Read:  A Brief History of Hidden Messages in the Bitcoin Blockchain

CEOs of Cryptocurrency Companies Attend Tipping Point Gala

Tipping Point Accepts Crypto Donations at Gala, Raises $14 MillionTipping Point has raised over $14 million during a gala in San Francisco that saw the non-profit accept cryptocurrencies for the first time. As such, the event saw attendance from many leading figures from the cryptocurrency sector.

“It’s great to see in the Bay Area because this is all about making sure that wealth is getting to people who need it most, and this helps lubricate that goal,” said Chris Larsen, the chief executive officer of Ripple.

“It’s a productive and worthwhile application from a nonprofit that’s driven by some of the most innovative minds in San Francisco,” said Dan Morehead, the CEO and founder of Pantera Capital Management.

“I think a lot more charities will be accepting crypto in the future,” said Brian Armstrong, the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase.

Donors Give ‘Crypto Gifts’ at Gala

Tipping Point Accepts Crypto Donations at Gala, Raises $14 MillionTipping Point spokeswoman, Marisa Giller, has indicated that all “crypto gifts” received will be converted into fiat currency and spent within the next financial year. Cryptocurrency donations were encouraged through a page in the event’s programme hosting QR codes facilitating donations in the form of BTC, ETH, and XRP.

“Trust me, no one is doing this in New York yet,” auctioneer Lydia Fenet stated of the cryptocurrency donations accepted by Tipping Point.

Cryptocurrency Drives Innovation Among Charities

The cryptocurrency revolution has inspired numerous innovative fundraising efforts on the part of charities and non-profit organizations.

Tipping Point Accepts Crypto Donations at Gala, Raises $14 MillionIn recent weeks, Unicef Australia launched The Hopepage – a website that the company states will “allow Australians to provide help and hope to vulnerable children by simply opening the page while they are online.” The Hopepage uses Authedmine, an opt-in version of Coinhive’s API to divert donors’ computing power to mining XMR on behalf of the organization.

News.Bitcoin.com also recently covered ‘eat BCH’, a charity using Bitcoin Cash donations to relieve hunger among Venezuelan children and citizens.

Have you ever donated cryptocurrency to a charity, organization, or random stranger on the internet? Share your experiences in the comments section below!


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Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin

Authorities in the state of Wisconsin have discussed the adoption of guidelines regarding cryptocurrency contributions to political campaigns, as requested by the Libertarian Party. Other states, like California, have urged politicians not to accept bitcoin donations. Kansas is the only state prohibiting such contributions. The Federal Election Commission allows crypto donations to campaigns for federal office. 

Also read: Majority of US States Have Taken a Stance on Bitcoin and Blockchain

Libertarians: The Question Is Not “Whether” but “How”

The Wisconsin Ethics Commission held on Tuesday a public hearing on a request from the state’s Libertarian Party regarding the adoption of guidelines for crypto contributions to political campaigns. The party’s chairman, Phil Anderson, wants to know how such donations would be counted toward the limits set by the state in dollars.

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin“Digital currencies, such as bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum, are more and more widely accepted as currency and as stores of value,” the libertarian said, quoted by the La Crosse Tribune. “The Chicago Board Options Exchange offers a futures market for bitcoin. Corporations and governments are weighing in on not ‘whether’ to address cryptocurrencies, but ‘how’,” Anderson wrote in the request.

David Buerger, staff counsel for the commission, admitted he is not yet aware of any instances in Wisconsin in which cryptocurrency contributions to state campaigns were given or accepted. Libertarians are among the stronger supporters of bitcoin. The idea of a decentralized cryptocurrency, not controlled by a central authority or bank, is in line with their political views and opposition to government control over the national currency.

During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners suggested that if digital currencies were counted as a monetary contribution, crypto donations would be subject to the $100 limit applicable to cash contributions. Larger donations must be made by a credit card or a bank check.

Only One State Prohibits Crypto Donations

The question of cryptocurrency contributions to political campaigns is one of many crypto-related issues that have been addressed differently in each state. For example, California has issued a warning against such donations. The Fair Political Practices Commission in the Golden State urged campaigns not to accept digital coins because their transactions are considered “virtually impossible to trace”. Last year Kansas became the first state to ban bitcoin contributions. According to its ethics commission, cryptocurrency is “too secretive”.

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin

Most US states have adopted some crypto regulations according to a recently published report by the Brookings Institution. The attitude towards cryptocurrencies, however, varies significantly between different jurisdictions. On national level, crypto contributions to campaigns for federal office were approved by the Federal Election Commission. In 2014 FEC said they should be treated as “in-kind donations” and “noncash items”.

Politicians Taking Bitcoin

The popularity of bitcoin among American politicians seems unaffected by recent market volatility. A growing number of political candidates are accepting cryptocurrencies to fund their campaigns. Republican Andrew Hemingway, the youngest gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire, was the first to do so in 2014, as reported by CNBC. Hemingway, also a tech entrepreneur, said he decided to accept crypto contributions after many of his supports asked if they could donate bitcoin.

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in BitcoinAustin Petersen, Republican candidate from Missouri, received 24 bitcoin contributions while running for Senate. He is also the beneficiary of the largest crypto donation worth $4,500. Democrat Patrick Nelson, running for Congress from New York, is accepting cryptocurrency contributions through the payments provider Bitpay. “We’re a 21st century campaign and as such we embrace new technologies like bitcoin,” he tweeted. Democratic candidate for Congress Brian Forde of California and Republican Kelli Ward running for the Senate from Arizona are also taking bitcoin donations.

The first candidate for the White House to do the same was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who ran for the Republican nomination at the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paul has in the past stated that the US government should adopt a “hands off” approach to controlling money. His campaign accepted bitcoin donations worth up to $100. That’s the maximum amount for individual contributions in cryptocurrency, as set by the Federal Election Commission.

What do you think about bitcoin contributions to political campaigns? Share your views in the comments section below.  


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Church in Zürich Accepts Donations in Bitcoin, BCH, Ether, Ripple and Stellar

Church in Zürich Accepts Donations in Bitcoin, BCH, Ether, Ripple and Stellar

While some mainstream media sources will have you believe that bitcoin is only used for buying illicit drugs, contracting hitmen and laundering money, the truth is that it is being used for so much more than that – just like fiat currency. The latest example is a religious body that now allows members to donate using cryptocurrency.

Also Read: U.S. Rating Agency to Issue Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Grades Wednesday

Swiss Bitcoin Church

Church in Zürich Accepts Donations in Bitcoin, BCH, Ether, Ripple and StellarICF Zurich, an evangelical church from the largest city in Switzerland, has begun accepting voluntary offerings from its parishioners using cryptocurrency. According to its website, the church accepts donations directly via bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), ripple (XRP) and stellar lumen (XLM).

“Digital currencies and the blockchain technology will change our daily lives more and more in the next years,” the spokesperson of the church, Nicolas Legler, told Swiss news agency Idea. “Cryptocurrencies will be implemented, be it Bitcoin or other currencies controlled by the State. We are convinced that this technology will soon belong to our daily lives. Twenty years ago, no one would have believed that internet would determine our lives so much,” he added.

Church in Zürich Accepts Donations in Bitcoin, BCH, Ether, Ripple and Stellar
“We also accept donations in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple and Stellar Lumen.”

Preaching to the Young

Church in Zürich Accepts Donations in Bitcoin, BCH, Ether, Ripple and StellarAccording to an evangelical European news portal, this church is known for its use of all kinds of new technologies in its worship services and has many young members, some of which “are increasingly using this way of doing financial transfers.” This explains the choice of accepting cryptocurrency now, as the invention has taken a strong hold on early adopters in Switzerland, as it can help the church appear innovative and relevant to them.

We should also note that this is just another example of how young people are changing the donations practice. A couple of notable other examples include Pineapple Fund, the $86 million bitcoin charity which contributed towards developing MDMA as a treatment for PTSD, scalable healthcare in Nepal, combating elephant poachers, testing universal basic income in Africa, and much more; as well as Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative to help fund 100 schools in developing countries.

Is bitcoin acceptance an effective way of reaching young believers? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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