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This Week in Bitcoin: Central Banks Urge Caution as Private Sector Dives in

Beware bitcoin, says Armenian Central Bank

While a study by the central bank of Barbados considered the value of bitcoin as a reserve currency, central banks around the world have not adopted a universally positive approach. The central bank of Armenia advised citizens to avoid digital currencies such as bitcoin. “According to Armenian legislation, virtual currencies, including bitcoins are not considered electronic money. This in view [sic], the regulator calls on citizens to refrain from using them, given the absence of clear-cut approaches on this issue in international practice,” the central bank said in a statement to a regional news service.

Microsoft adds blockchain services to Azure

Extending blockchain support beyond Ethereum, Microsoft added Eris Industries, Factom, and CoinPrism as partners for its upcoming blockchain-as-a-service marketplace option, to be formally launched next year. Ripple is also a reported candidate. “Factom was excited when Microsoft approached us to participate in the Azure platform. Integration was simple and seamless, and in Q1 2016 anyone can install Factom as part of their cloud offering,” said Factom CEO Peter Kirby.

Blockchain securities gain SEC approval

Overstock’s plan to issue stock over the blockchain through its t0 platform has been approved by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, opening the way for consumer availability. While timing remains unclear, CEO Patrick Byrne told Wired “You can assume it’s high on our list of priorities for 2016.”

McKinsey report predicts stages of blockchain adoption

Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company predicted blockchain technology will “dramatically reshape the capital markets industry” in a report titled “Beyond the Hype: Blockchains in Capital Markets.” The report cites irreversibility as a potential roadblock requiring broad industry cooperation.

“The full potential of blockchain technology will only be realized through cooperation among market participants, regulators and technologists and this may take some time.” It remains unclear how the incorporation of reversibility as a blockchain feature could co-exist as a differentiated innovation from legacy databases.

Kenyan Central Bank in bitcoin warning

Citing a lack of regulation and legal tender status, Kenya’s central bank warned the public against the use of bitcoin and other digital currencies. “These types of government-issued warnings are always amusing because they act as if their own monopoly legal tender is the paragon of safety and stability while simultaneously ignoring the actual, real consumer benefits of Bitcoin,” said Jon Matonis, former Executive Director of Bitcoin Foundation.


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