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Wyoming Introduces a Bill Aiming to Define Virtual Currencies as Money

A bill meant to clarify the classification of digital assets has been introduced in Wyoming.

A bill meant to clarify the classification of cryptocurrencies has been introduced in the U.S. state of Wyoming Jan. 18, according to the official state legislature website.

The bill places crypto assets into three categories: digital consumer assets, digital securities and virtual currencies. The bill defines assets falling in any of those three categories as intangible personal property and grants virtual currencies the same treatment as fiat money.

The proposed bill also authorizes banks to “provide custodial services for digital assets consistent with this section upon providing sixty (60) days written notice to the commissioner.”

The drafted legislation also lets banks serve as qualified custodians in accordance with regulations put in place by the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC).

Wyoming has recently seen a surge in blockchain- and crypto-related legislation entering its legal system. As Cointelegraph recently reported, a bill allowing corporations to issue blockchain-based tokens that represent stocks was introduced in Wyoming on Jan. 16.

Also, news recently broke that Wyoming has passed two new house bills that aim to foster a regulatory environment conducive to cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation.

On a more local level, the state has also shown interest in implementing blockchain technology for government administration. In December, the Wyoming county of Teton announced a new partnership with online retailer Overstock that targets land records.

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Crypto Platform Tron Hires Former SEC Attorney as First Chief of Compliance

The ex-SEC attorney David Labhart will also act as co-general counsel for the platform.

Blockchain platform TRON has hired a former United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) supervisory attorney as its first chief compliance officer. The company has revealed this to Cointelegraph in a press release on Jan. 9.

David Labhart, who previously worked as an attorney for the U.S. regulator, will also take on the role of co-general counsel at the company.

TRON, along with its associated TRX token, has built a major presence over the past year, in part due to the continued, and at times controversial, publicity efforts centred around CEO Justin Sun.

Designed to offer an alternative platform for decentralized applications (DApps) to Ethereum, TRON celebrated its one millionth user account last month.

TRX has risen 6.4 percent in the past 24 hours according to CoinMarketCap data, making it the best daily performer in the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap.

Evolving regulatory compliance obligations remain an issue for cryptocurrency entities serving both the U.S. and most other major markets. As Cointelegraph reported, some businesses such as crypto exchange Bittrex have opted to split their operations in order to segregate U.S. users, who are bound by different rules.

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American Economic Association Holds Presentations on Crypto, Blockchain

The American Economic Association’s annual meeting will see authors of four academic papers on crypto announce their findings.

The American Economic Association (AEA) will host four dedicated presentations of cryptocurrency and blockchain research today, Jan. 4, as part of its ongoing annual meeting.

The session, dubbed ‘Blockchain and Tokenomics,’ will cover four academic papers from various sources.

It will be hosted by the academic group the Econometrics Society and chaired by Lin William Cong, assistant professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The AEA is a major entity within the sphere of United States economics and beyond, and publishes the well-known journal the American Economic Review.

The appearance of an event dedicated to the cryptocurrency sphere as well as blockchain is notable for the organization, a sign of the technology’s ever increasing mainstream presence.

The four papers for the Jan. 4 session are titled ‘Decentralized Mining in Centralized Pools,’ ‘Cryptocurrencies: Stylized Facts on a New Investible Instrument,’ ‘A Theory of ICOs: Diversification, Agency, and Information Asymmetry’ and ‘Tokenomics: Dynamic Compensation for Decentralized Contribution.’

Covering a range of phenomena peculiar to crypto, the second paper, for example, examines how altcoins can net returns for investors and to what extent these are correlated with Bitcoin’s (BTC) performance.

Mining, the topic of Cong’s own paper, is also a pertinent subject under current conditions, as the Bitcoin price declines late last year spelled a period of intense upheaval in the sector.

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US Senator Reports to Jail Pending Verdict in Cryptocurrency Fraud Case

Prosecutors allege Senator Michael Williams lied about the disappearance of crypto mining equipment worth $300,000.

A Georgia state senator has reported to jail over allegedly lying about the theft of cryptocurrency mining equipment worth $300,000, The Guardian reported Dec. 27.

Republican Michael Williams, who originally reported the alleged theft in May, made a false police report and gave a false statement, court documents claim.

Williams had said servers with a value of $300,000, which had been used to mine unnamed cryptocurrencies, had disappeared from his office premises, local daily news outlet Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Dec. 20.

Prosecutors are considering the possibility that the theft never took place, and last month Williams was indicted by grand jury on three counts and subsequently handed himself in to custody.

A full verdict has yet to surface, however, with the accused and his attorney waiting on prosecutors’ evidence.

“Right now, our position is Mr. Williams did not do this,” the attorney, A.J. Richman, said Dec. 26 quoted by another local outlet Gainesville Times. Richman added:

“We’re not really apprised of their evidence yet. They haven’t disclosed that. I’m sure they will soon, but at this point, we don’t know what it is they’re saying other than what the indictment says.”

Williams had previously co-sponsored a cryptocurrency payments bill for the Georgian Senate, while his campaigns were marked by a pronounced anti-immigrant policy featuring a “deportation bus” referring to Mexican immigrants that drew considerable condemnation.

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Major American Magazine Time Column Reports About Bitcoin’s Liberating Potential

Mainstream newspaper Time published an article illustrating the liberating potential of Bitcoin, especially in countries with oppressive governments.

Bitcoin (BTC) has a substantial liberating potential, American mainstream newspaper Time reports on Dec. 28.

The aforementioned article claims that “speculation, fraud, and greed in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry have overshadowed the real, liberating potential of Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention.”

According to the article’s author, Bitcoin “can be a valuable financial tool as a censorship-resistant medium of exchange.”

Alejandro Machado, a cryptocurrency researcher at the Open Money Initiative, reportedly said that the fee on a wire transfer from the United States to Venezuela can be as high as 56 percent.

To circumvent such conditions, Venezuelans have reportedly turned to cryptocurrency, receiving Bitcoin from their relatives abroad. The main alternative is to wire money to Colombia, withdraw and bring cash to Venezuela, which according to the article, “can take far longer, cost more, and be far more dangerous than the Bitcoin option.”

Times suggests that Bitcoin is a good way to protect oneself from fiat currency inflation. Venezuela is prime example of that, with the inflation of their native currency projected to top 1 million percent. But there are also other similar examples, like Zimbabwe, where former president Robert Mugabe “printed endless amounts of cash.” But the author points out:

“His successors can’t print more Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin is also, according to the article, a tool to evade mass surveillance in places like China. That being said, as Cointelegraph reported in March, according to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, Bitcoin isn’t optimal for avoiding government coercion, and he believes that the world needs a better option.

Times also points out the advantage given by the inability of governments to censor transactions or freeze Bitcoin wallets. In fact, Cointelegraph reported in April that WikiLeaks’ Coinbase account has been suspended due to a term of service violation.

Still, nobody can prevent WikiLeaks from using cryptocurrency wallets where the organization controls the private keys. In fact, WikiLeaks is still accepting cryptocurrency donations and also added support for Snowden’s favorite crypto Zcash in August 2017.