October 27, 2015- In This Issue:



How American Express is 'Testing the Waters' of Bitcoin and the Blockchain
American Express, through its venture capital arm American Express Ventures, is looking to use its recent investment in bitcoin remittance startup Abra's $12m Series A as a way to more closely observe the digital currency industry and the technology behind it.

AmEx Ventures managing partner Harshul Sanghi told CoinDesk in a recent interview that, for the 165-year old company, it's too soon to predict how it might leverage the technology or what use cases might take shape.

"It's very, very early days for us, right? And ... we get to explore and see how the space is going to evolve," he said.

In the meantime, AmEx will "test the waters" through its work with Abra, and in return, provide resources and advice to the startup.

Philips Looks to Bring Blockchain Technology to Healthcare
Although details are currently scarce, a quick statement posted on blockchain-servicing engine Tierion's twitter account confirms that it now counts Phillips as a customer with the latter looking to explore the potential of blockchain technology with its successful healthcare arm.
Philips Healthcare is now among the growing list of companies around the world looking to tap into the applications of block chain technology.
Although the Dutch electronics maker is primarily known for its household products, Philips' largest business is its health-care division. It competes with the likes of General Electric and Siemens AG in the lucrative hospital scanner market and generated just over $10 billion in overall sales in 2013-2014, down 4 percent from the previous year according to the company's annual report.
Philips Healthcare's foray into looking at blockchain-based applications in its industry was publicized by a quick Twitter post by Tierion, a blockchain-based startup that aids businesses with blockchain solutions.
The move can be seen as an intriguing yet unsurprising one by Philips at a time when the healthcare market is experiencing a change on a global scale.
Customer Loyalty To Banks On Decline & Bank Executives Are Oblivious
Bankers are losing customer trust and loyalty as the industry fails create a personalized banking experience and inspire trust in customers. A recent IBM study demonstrated serious gaps between how banking executives feel they are doing and how their customers feel they are doing. 

62 percent of surveyed banking executives believe they offer "excellent customer service," although just 35 percent of retail customers agree therewith. 
The 27 percent gap poses an obstacle for banks who hope to foster customer loyalty into the future.  Merely 30 percent of customers feel they receive a personalized customer experience, with 45 percent of bankers claiming to believe they deliver such an experience.

Six Questions to Make Sense of the European Court of Justice Decision on Bitcoin VAT
In what can only be regarded as good news for Bitcoin, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) Thursday ruled that exchanging bitcoin should not be subject to VAT (Value Added Tax). The verdict, which is the climax of an Swedish court dispute that started back in 2012, applies to all 28 E.U. member states. VAT-law is complicated, however, and some reports on the verdict have been confusing so far.
Hopefully, the answers to the six questions below will help make sense of this ruling.

Does the ECJ decision mean that exchanging bitcoin falls outside of the scope of VAT?
Actually, no. Any dealing that consists of exchanging traditional ("fiat") currencies for bitcoin (or the other way round), is regarded as a service that is within the scope of VAT. More specifically, this refers to the exchangers' margin; the price difference between buying and selling from which an exchanger makes its profits.

China's Central Bank Cuts Rates, Again. More Bitcoin Adoption in the Offing?
The People's Bank of China, the authority as the Chinese Central Bank has cut its rates and lowered the minimum ceiling of cash reserves that banks must hold, in order to try and shake up some
activity to spur a slowing economy.

Reuters reports that it is the sixth time since November last year that China has slowed down on its monetary policy by slashing its interest rates in the face of stagnating growth and prolonged weak inflation.

The People's Bank of China announced that it would bring the one-year lending rate down to 4.35 percent, cutting one-quarter of a percentage point effective this Saturday. Similarly, the benchmark deposit rate would also be lowered down by the same amount, bringing it down to 1.5 percent.