Coinbase’s Apolitical Approach, Blockchain-Based Health Passports, Fighting Crypto Crime and Overcoming Sanctions

In this edition:

  • Coinbase Officially Takes an Apolitical Stance
  • Blockchain Health Passports Emerge in Singapore
  • Crypto-Extremists Ring Busted in France
  • Maduro Wants to Fight Sanctions With Crypto

Ahoy, my fellow Anchorians! I hope that seas and winds were kind to you this week. It’s never easy to pick the most important news pieces for you but… the things we do for love. Be that as it may, the gods of crypto rewarded us with some interesting events nonetheless. 

The entire community is talking about the recent Coinbase’s open letter but that’s not all there is – blockchain innovations, fighting crypto crime, and politics. Should be fun, eh?

I know that you are here for the news and not for my blabbering, so I’ll just ease your sorrow; without further ado, we are diving into the jubilee 60th edition of our traditional Weekly Crypto Roundup. Enjoy your reading!

Coinbase Officially Takes an Apolitical Stance

This week surely was marked by Brian Armstrong’s (Coinbase CEO) open letter to the crypto community explaining that the company wants to ‘’avoid political and social distractions’’ and focus on its core mission and, well, business as usual.

‘’Everyone is asking the question about how companies should engage in broader societal issues during these difficult times, while keeping their teams united and focused on the mission. Coinbase has had its own challenges here, including employee walkouts. […] In short, I want Coinbase to be laser focused on achieving its mission, because I believe that this is the way that we can have the biggest impact on the world.’’

The thing is – many employees are disagreeing with Armstrong’s decision. The CEO said that anyone who doesn’t share this vision of Coinbase’s future can submit their decision until October 7th to begin the process of severance, if that’s what they prefer.

Perhaps the best comment on this occurrence came from Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, who said: ‘’Bitcoin (aka “crypto”) is direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusionary financial system which negatively affects so much of our society. Important to at *least* acknowledge and connect the related societal issues your customers face daily. This leaves people behind.’’

Checkmate. If your mission is to change the current financial system, then there is an unavoidable touch of ideology there. Equality for all is an old ideological principle and stands at the core of every societal and political reform.  Being apolitical and pro-crypto hardly goes hand in hand. 

Nevertheless, as a CEO, Brian Armstrong sure has the right to shape his company’s policy. He mustn’t forget, though, that being apolitical only means you are perfectly satisfied with the way things are. And that’s okay, not everyone should be ‘’slaying dragons’’, but then call things the way they are – profit above all. Honesty may earn you some respect, at least.

Blockchain Health Passports Emerge in Singapore

By mrjo_7, Freepik

I promise this one is much more practical and less passionate. Breathe out!

Blockchain continues to be the hero of these turbulent times, this time in the Far East and a very tech-friendly country – Singapore. Of course, this is not the first time this Asian country has deployed blockchain technology in public administration.

Government-owned investment firm SGInnovate and Singaporean startup Accredify came up with a concept of a blockchain-based digital health passport to improve health data collection and surveillance. This pilot study began in May when it was first tested, too. 

All the data is stored in a digital wallet – COVID-19 discharge memos, swab results, immunity proof, and vaccination records. In this manner, every citizen of Singapore could have a permanent digital medical record available at any moment. Pretty useful, right?

The official statement from SGInnovate said: “Digital Health Passport leverages blockchain technology to generate tamper-proof cryptographic protections for each medical document. Users can automatically verify the digital records via a mobile app and present it to officials via QR code, for a quick and seamless verification process.” 

It’s always amazing to see infinite blockchain use cases utilized for good – this year has so far perfectly illustrated our level of unpreparedness when it comes to global disasters. Luckily, blockchain brings efficiency and cost-reduction to various sectors and industries, all while making things more available to everyone. 

Crypto-Extremists Ring Busted in France

While people who disapprove of crypto often like to say cryptocurrencies were made to ease the business for criminals, we all know this simply isn’t true. However, now and then, we learn about new cases of crypto/blockchain misuse. Every true crypto enthusiast will salute criminals being brought to justice, and that’s exactly the case this time.

French authorities have arrested 29 individuals linked to funding extremists in Syria using cryptocurrencies. By ditching the cash for crypto, terrorists were hoping to achieve full anonymity for financing violent attacks in Damask and the rest of Syria.

‘’Since 2013, the main method of financing jihadis had been via cash sent to people in countries neighboring Syria. That evolved into a more sophisticated, less visible system as surveillance tightened.’’

It is believed that, in the last few years, hundreds of thousands of euros have been sent to jihadists in this manner. Nevertheless, the French government finally put a stop to this last week. 

According to ABCNews, the prosecutor’s office said that dozens of people in France constantly and anonymously bought cryptocurrency coupons worth 10 to 150 euros ($11 to $165) which were later sent to Syria and then cashed. 

With the emergence of BTC, inevitably came alternatives to already-existing financial institutions and the system as a whole. By utilizing crypto for good, we prove this type of revolution was justified and necessary. Be a bright example!

Maduro Wants to Fight Sanctions With Crypto

By natanaelginting, Freepik

Oh, Venezuela, what would we do without you? In the last Crypto Roundup, we talked about this Latin American country’s initiative to regulate crypto mining, but (un)expectedly – we meet again in the 60th edition, too.

For years, Venezuela has been facing international sanctions, coming from the US’ directive. This resulted in hyperinflation of national fiat currency and a major economic crisis. Cryptocurrencies came as a perfect solution to this issue and Venezuela introduced Petro in 2018, a national cryptocurrency pegged to the country’s reserves of crude oil and minerals. Petro was and remains a mystery to all of us crypto enthusiasts, but this clearly isn’t the end of a long love story between President Maduro and cryptocurrencies.

By introducing a new anti-sanctions bill, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro talked about crypto as a solution: “The anti-sanctions bill is the first response […] to give new strength to the use of Petro and other cryptocurrencies, national and global, in domestic and foreign trade, so that all cryptocurrencies of the world, state and private, could be used. This is an important project that is under development.”

One thing is certain – you can’t blame Venezuela for the lack of trying. After Christmas bonuses in Petro and generally promoting foreign investments in crypto, we can safely say there is no country more eager to deploy cryptocurrencies than Venezuela. Not in a top-down manner, anyway. 

Final Thoughts

Congratulations, my fellow Anchorians, you’ve read it all once more. I sincerely hope this 60th edition was enjoyable for you and, of course, that you learned something new.

Politics and money are always intertwined, and crypto is no exception to this rule. Countries, organizations, companies, and individuals will always look out for the most efficient solution to their hurdles. The instruments, however, are never to be blamed, but the wrong intentions.

Anyhow, until we discover what the next week has in store for us, as usual, I wish you fair winds and the following seas!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not legal, accounting, or financial advice. I am not a lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor. I am not registered as an investment adviser with any federal or state regulatory agency. The Information should not be construed as investment or trading advice and is not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any cryptocurrencies.