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  • Writer's pictureMike V.


Reuters: Jaguar Land Rover planning to allow helpful car drivers to earn cryptocurrency

Jaguar Land Rover, Britain's largest auto manufacturer, is testing software that will allow drivers of its cars to earn the IOTA cryptocurrency as a reward for sharing data. The company is developing what it calls "smart wallet" technology to be installed in its automobiles. This would reward Jaguar car drivers with IOTA coins for actions such as enabling their vehicles to automatically report useful data, such as traffic congestion or potholes to navigation providers or local authorities. Drivers could also earn rewards if the car participates in a ride-sharing program, Jaguar said. The tokens earned could be used to pay for tolls, parking and charging for electric cars. The overall goal was to "achieve zero emissions, zero accidents, and zero congestion," the company said. Global car companies are exploring blockchain applications, figuring out different ways in which they can leverage the technology to suit their different needs. Blockchain, the system powering cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, is a shared database that is maintained by a network of computers connected to the internet. The IOTA token is based on a distributed ledger technology that enables people and machines to transfer money and data without any transaction fees. "The smart wallet technology ... can be easily adapted into all new vehicles," Dominik Schiener, IOTA co-founder. "IOTA wants to enable interoperability with all these different players. So there is no Jaguar coin, no BMW coin, but one universal token for this machine economy," he added.

US Income Tax Payers Can Now Get Refunds in Bitcoin

Income tax payers in the U.S. now have the option to receive their federal and state refunds in bitcoin. Blockchain payments processor Bitpay, saying that the firm has partnered with U.S.-based taxation services provider Refundo for the service.

Bloomberg: E*Trade Is Close to Launching Cryptocurrency Trading

E*Trade Financial Corp. is getting ready to let customers trade cryptocurrencies on its platform. The firm will start by adding Bitcoin and Ethereum, and will consider adding other currencies in the future. E*Trade would be one of the largest securities brokerages to allow crypto trading. It will enter into a competitive market with startups like Coinbase Inc., which have made names for themselves as go-to places for such transactions. Closely held Coinbase reached a valuation of $8 billion in 2018 and projected sales of $1.3 billion. Fintech startup Robinhood, most recently valued at $5.6 billion, has also added cryptocurrency trading as a way to woo high net worth customers. The arrival of E*Trade could help to legitimize cryptocurrency trading for investors.

JPMorgan Continues to Explore Blockchain

On April 21, it was revealed that JPMorgan Chase (JPM), the United States’ largest bank with over $2.62 trillion in assets, is planning to widen the use of its blockchain system.

JPM is adding new features to its Interbank Information Network (IIN), which is now used by more than 220 banks across the globe. With the JPM Coin launched earlier this year, it seems that the U.S. financial institution is increasingly betting on blockchain, pushing crypto closer to mainstream adoption. Dimon “If it is cheaper, effective, works, and secure, then we are going to use it. The technology will be used, and it could be used to transport currency.” At Davos, Dimon voiced his updated, more optimistic opinion on blockchain. “Blockchain is a real technology — it’s just a database we can all access that’s kept up-to-date.” JPM’s experiments with blockchain date back to 2016, when the banking behemoth published a white paper for Quorum, its private blockchain platform built on the Ethereum protocol. Quorum was created as part of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA), of which JPM is one of the founding partners. It has been adopted by Pfizer and Genentech as well as Microsoft Azure, among others. It has also been tested with a number of high-profile players, including National Bank of Canada and Goldman Sachs. In March 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced that it was considering making Quorum an independent entity in a bid to attract more partners that could be reluctant to deal with JPM directly if they are competitors of the bank.

JPMorgan Chase Senior Executive Becomes CEO of Blockchain Precious Metals Firm

Blockchain-powered precious metals platform Tradewind has appointed an ex-JPMorgan Chase executive as its new CEO. Michael Albanese, who previously worked as the bank’s Global Head of Agency Collateral Management and Global Head of Securities Clearance, will take over Tradewind’s operations immediately. Those currently include the management of the company’s flagship metals market, which employs blockchain to streamline custody, trade and security of precious metals. “Michael is a leader with significant experience working with corporations, creating capital-efficient products, operating at scale, and delivering value to shareholders,” Blake Darcy, Executive Chairman of Tradewind.

2,000 More US Grocery Stores Enable Bitcoin Buying at Coinstar Machines

Supermarket kiosk chain Coinstar is expanding the footprint of its bitcoin-buying service to more than 2,000 locations in 19 different states. The service, through a partnership with blockchain startup Coinme that offers individuals the ability to convert cash into bitcoin, has expanded from an initial 70 machines to 2,100 different kiosks. While the partnership initially enabled kiosks in Albertsons and Safeway stores, customers can now access the buying option in Jewel, Shaw’s and Save Mart locations. Coinstar CEO Jim Gaherity said in a statement that his company saw an “extremely positive” response to the initial announcement in January 2019. The company imposed a $2,500 limit.

Nike Files Trademark Application in the US for ‘Cryptokicks’

Nike has filed a trademark application for the phrase “Cryptokicks,” a document filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows. The footwear application describes offering crypto wallets and “downloadable mobile applications for providing access to crypto collectibles, crypto art and application tokens” — as well as operating an online marketplace featuring footwear and clothing. Nike sets out plans for “providing a digital currency or digital token for use by members of an online community,” and enabling transactions to be completed using “unconventional currency systems.” Nike wants to reserve the Cryptokicks name for providing “online blogs in the field of crypto collectibles” and offering online computer games such as scavenger hunts, treasure hunts and obstacle courses.

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