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Trump bans Chinese payment apps, including AliPay and WeChat Pay

The trade war with China homes in on the country’s thriving digital payments industry.

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With just two weeks left in office, President Donald Trump has sent out a new executive order targeting Chinese payment apps. 

The Tuesday order bars United States citizens or people located in the U.S. from using nine Chinese payment apps. It continues the White House’s earlier efforts to cut off the U.S. market from Chinese-owned apps like TikTok. Yesterday’s order repeats earlier concerns of data collection by the Chinese Communist Party:

“The continuing activity of the PRC and the CCP to steal or otherwise obtain United States persons’ data makes clear that there is an intent to use bulk data collection to advance China’s economic and national security agenda.”

The apps targeted are AliPay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay and WPS Office. The executive order takes effect in 45 days, by which time Trump will already be out of office. Given that his earlier order to get ByteDance to divest from TikTok was stonewalled in court while he was still in office, there’s not a ton of reason to believe that Trump will get his way here. 

As of publication time, Biden’s transition team had not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment as to whether the new administration plans to see Trump’s order through. 

The focus on payment apps is particularly significant. Recent moves from the U.S. national security apparatus have definitely indicated concern over China’s payments systems, particularly a central bank digital currency with a database accessible by the CCP.

Many in crypto as well as the broader tech industry have warned of a cold war in technology between China and the U.S., including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and several leaders of Ripple Labs. While the situation between the two countries is obviously tense, both Facebook and Ripple were seeing serious investigations by U.S. regulators concerned about their operations when they made those arguments, somewhat deflating the effect of their patriotism. 

While the barriers between the private and public sectors are murkier, China’s treatment of the private companies that Trump is targeting is already pretty bad. Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba that owns AliPay, recently fell afoul of the Chinese government. Xi Jinping is said to have personally put the clampdown on Ant Group’s aborted initial public offering, since which time Alibaba’s stock has slipped and the founder of both, Jack Ma, has disappeared

Another giant of Chinese tech, Tencent, owns three of the entities targeted by Trump’s order: QQ Wallet, Tencent QQ and WeChat Pay. While Tencent has avoided Ant Group’s high-profile brushes with the CCP, China’s much-anticipated central bank digital currency may well be an effort to muscle in on the business of the country’s impressive fintech sector. 

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/trump-bans-chinese-payment-apps-including-alipay-and-wechat-pay

Blockchain

Pawtocol CEO Karim Quazzani on New to the Street

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Pawtocol is a global online community of pet lovers who are disrupting the pet industry by leveraging blockchain technology while monetizing data about their pets.

Pawtocol

Data is aggregated from IOT devices like our Blockchain Dog Tag, vets and more. Users maintain full control over the data about their pets

Pawtocol CEI(ETN) CEO Karim Quazzani dicusses the latest developments with Jane King on New to the Street

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ABOUT US
Exploring the Block profiles Blockchain Technologies and Companies. Exploring the Block produces multi-part series following the goals and achievements of the companies we follow and invite our audience to track the growth and challenges these companies face. Each series provides personal look at the company through the eyes of the CEO or company executive as they discuss their goals, roots and products with our experienced team of anchors/journalists to provide our viewing audience with who, what, where, when and why about the companies you want to learn about.

New To The Street profiles public companies, advertises and markets their products and services, and provides business news. New To The Street paves the way to the latest financial issues, offering a blend of business and financial services news reporting and in-depth interviews relating to new products, economic analysis and public company profiles. New to the Street is produced by FMW Media Works Corp.

FMW Media
FMW Media Corp. operates one of the longest-running U.S and International sponsored programming T.V. brands “NewToTheStreet,” and its blockchain show “Exploring The Block.” Since 2009, these brands run shows across major U.S. Television networks. These TV platforms reach over 540 million homes both in US and international markets. Developing 2-additional shows “TheBestinNY” and “The Ultimate Listing0”

Source: https://exploringtheblock.com/pawtocol-ceo-karim-quazzani-on-new-to-the-street/

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Nebraska senator introduces bills to allow state banks to custody crypto

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A Nebraska state senator has proposed new crypto-friendly legislation which could see his state become the next regulatory safe haven for FinTech firms.

Sworn in just two weeks ago, Republican Mike Flood today introduced the Transactions in Digital Assets Act and Adopt the Nebraska Financial Innovation Act to the state’s 107th Legislature.

The two bills lay out guidelines for state banks to be able to custody digital assets in addition to creating financial institutions dealing in digital assets for which Nebraska would provide “charter, operation, supervision, and regulation”. The measures would also give local courts the jurisdiction to hear claims “in both law and equity relating to digital assets.”

The proposed legislation will likely move to committee before a general file in the state legislature, where Republican lawmakers currently outnumber Democrats almost two-to-one, 32 to 17.

The proposed bills also aim to address the problem of major banks in the United States discriminating against businesses and individual customers using crypto.

“The rapid innovation of blockchain and digital ledger technology, including the growing use of virtual currency and other digital assets, has resulted in many blockchain innovators and consumers being unable to access secure and reliable banking services, hampering development of blockchain services and products in the marketplace,” states the second bill.

“Many financial institutions in Nebraska and across the United States [refuse] to provide banking services to blockchain innovators and customers and also [refuse] to accept deposits in United States currency obtained from the sale of virtual currency or other digital assets.”

Flood, who previously served as a member and speaker of the Nebraska Legislature until 2013, said he planned to introduce bills intended to make his district a FinTech hub. In a meeting of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee last Wednesday, the state senator described cryptocurrency as a market with “great opportunity” for Nebraska.

“This is the future,” said Flood. “To be on the cutting edge of [crypto], I think, is good for us. We need to be a leader in FinTech. We in Norfolk have as much right to this new market as any other place in America.”

Under the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, state laws can often be independent of, or even contradictory to federal laws. One example of this in the crypto space is exchanges such as Binance U.S. having to go state by state to legally make its services available to U.S. residents.

Last July, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that federally chartered banks would be allowed to provide custody services for cryptocurrency. Though the measures Flood proposed would not be needed for federally chartered banks in Nebraska, the proposals seemingly attempt to extend this benefit to state-chartered banks.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/nebraska-senator-introduces-bills-to-allow-state-banks-to-custody-crypto

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Some institutional investors taking profit as Bitcoin retraces

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A new report from crypto fund provider CoinShares has indicated that some institutional investors have been realizing profits during BTC’s recent consolidation.

CoinShares’ weekly digital asset flows report identifies $85 million in outflows from institutional crypto products this past week, asserting the data suggests “some investors are continuing to take profits after [BTC’s] strong price appreciation.”

The report noted the rising (trade-weighted) U.S. dollar, stating the USD index “is typically inversely correlated to Bitcoin prices,” and could explain why some investors are taking profits at the current levels.

The firm also identified modest outflows from Ethereum-derived investment products, with $3 million leaving the markets.

Despite the profit-taking, institutional inflows remain strong, with $359 million flooded into crypto investment products this week. Institutions still appear almost single-mindedly focused on BTC, with Bitcoin products representing all but 1% of the week’s total capital flows.

CoinShares notes that crypto inflows have returned to their pre-Christmas levels, following the 97% drop over three weeks seen after the holiday break. Daily volumes are currently up more than 450% year-over-year.

Institutional products currently represent 6% of combined Bitcoin volume — down from 14% at the start of the month.

Much has been lately of the growing institutional appetites for crypto, with major global companies recently filling their treasuries with BTC.

After hosting more than 11 million BTC worth of futures trade in 2020, Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced last month that it plans to launch cash-settled Ethereum futures contracts in early February, pending regulatory approval.

On Jan. 20, Ninepoint Partners filed its final prospectus for a Bitcoin Trust conditionally approved by the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/some-institutional-investors-taking-profit-as-bitcoin-retraces

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