August 4, 2015- In This Issue:


Bitcoin's Slow Journey To The Mainstream Takes An Important Step

The topics of technology and tax go together so regularly these days that it comes as quite a jolt to see politicians advocating for cutting out taxes that are reportedly hampering an increasingly influential segment of the industry. 


But that's exactly what will happen when the Senate Economic References Committee makes public its recommendations from an extended review into the treatment and regulation of Bitcoin and other digital currencies this week. 


By recommending the government amend the definition of money in the GST Tax Act to include digital currencies, it will effectively bring the controversial Bitcoin crypto-currency one step closer to mainstream financial integration.


It would bring Australia into line with the UK, which has set itself up to be a leader in the burgeoning financial technology, or Fintech, scene, and herald a more progressive approach to a currency that has long been associated with money laundering and drug trafficking.

Visa Europe's Initiative: The 'Apple App Store' For Bitcoin Startups

Visa Europe's Collab, the company's digital innovation initiative, has begun searching for bitcoin startups within the digital payments scene with the hopes of creating "an Apple App Store" of Bitcoin startups.


Bitcoin companies qualified for its program called "a religion of a 100-day sprint proof of concept" will become a part of Visa's proof of concept stage, where they will be given opportunities to test their platforms and technologies at Visa Europe.


Visa Collab


IBTimes interviewed Steve Perry, chief digital officer and the founder and co-creator of Visa Europe Collab about Visa's general focus in the cryptocurrency. Perry stated:


"We have just started to meet some startups in blockchain. We still haven't put any into proof of concept yet. They are under non-disclosure agreements."

Deutsche Bank Backs Blockchain Technology For Revolutionising Banking

The technology that underpins systems of virtual currency could be used to speed up the processing of payments and help banks meet regulatory reporting obligations in a more efficient way, Deutsche Bank has said.


Daniel Trinder, Deutsche Bank's global head of regulatory policy, highlighted the benefits the company foresees in using distributed ledgers and blockchain technology in the financial system in a response to the European Securities and Markets Authority's (ESMA) consultation on virtual currencies and distributed ledgers (4-page / 259KB PDF).


"Whilst the technology associated with distributed ledgers is still in its infancy (albeit evolving very quickly) we believe that it presents a potential opportunity to realise a number of important benefits including: more stable and resilient systems, faster processing of transactions and lower costs for bank customers," Trinder said. "There is also scope for this technology to be deployed by banks to make their operational and reporting process flows more efficient and secure and to meet regulatory requirements, including know your customer and anti-money laundering registries and surveillance."


Trinder said that it is important that the risks in the technology are "understood and mitigated where appropriate". He said that regulators and industry must engage in "ongoing dialogue" and that there should be "no precipitous move" to regulate the use of distributed ledger or blockchain technology in financial services. This would "ensure that there is an appropriate balance between allowing for innovation and exploration of the applications of this new technology and managing risks", he said.

How 3 Central Banks & The Financial Elite Embraced Bitcoin For One Day

July 31 saw participants such as the World Bank and other financial elite from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan gather in Argentina and Brazil to witness the potential of Bitcoin and blockchain technology, particularly for the Latin American region.


Much enthusiasm


The place, Argentina and Brazil; the day, July 31; the spectators: representatives from JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Santander, Itáu, Cielo (Brazil's largest credit card processor), the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank, Deloitte and the Central Banks of Argentina, Brazil and Chile, among many others. Indeed, the Bitcoin event gathered about 250 people from the banking industry led by the very reputable Pinheiro Neto, a superstar Brazilian law firm who advises all these financial giants in addition to Brazil's Government and Central Bank.


This is the first time the Latin American banking establishment has attended a bitcoin conference and with such enthusiasm, as sources from Pinheiro Neto confirm the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Participants such as the World Bank are now very interested in contributing to the development of Latin America and the rest of the world through its member IFC (International Finance Corporation); a group which invests and collaborates with the private sectors of emerging economies to foster development.


In Argentina, the event was hosted by the Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires in its Parque Patricios auditorium as the local policy makers are interested in digital currency.

Not only banking firms were spectators, as the event was streamed to 11 bitcoin communities, from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, México, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay and even... Slovakia. In addition, English was used to overcome language barriers.