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who will win the digital currency war?

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Co-founder and managing partner at Electric Capital, Avichal Garg, is convinced the only way for the U.S. to catch up with China in the digital currency war is by embracing privacy-focused cryptocurrency.

According to Garg, the Chinese are already far ahead of the U.S. in the digital currency race – their DCEP, or Digital Currency Electronic Payment, is due to launch by the end of the year. That is why developing a US digital dollar might not be enough to compete, given the long time it will take to develop it.

“The Chinese system […] is going to be out in the market for 5 to 10 year before the U.S. gets its own alternative out.”

Instead of developing its own product, Garg argues, the U.S. government should support already established USD-based stablecoin initiatives such as USDT.

By easing regulation around these stablecoins – which are pegged to the U.S. dollar and are under U.S. jurisdiction – the U.S. will be able to use them as proxies to compete with China on the digital currency market.

“In 12 to 24 months, I think they could basically greenlight all of these crypto hybrid dollars.”

Still, Garg is convinced that the U.S. is likely to be defeated if it competes with China on the mere technology side. Ultimately, In order to gain a competitive hedge, the U.S. needs to offer what an authoritarian regime like China cannot offer, which is privacy-focused, censorship- resistant digital currency.

To do so, the U.S. should join forces with the crypto community and empower those crypto networks codifying democratic values.

“The best way for them [the U.S] to compete is to actually embrace the best features of cryptocurrency and really push these as sort of an offensive tool against the Chinese.” 

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Blockchain is still far from maturity, says China’s former IT minister

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Wu Zhongze, China’s former vice-minister for Science and Technology and a well-known digital economics expert, believes that blockchain technology is still quite young.

During an interview with The Paper, the former IT minister also stated that there was still “not much difference between where China and leading economies such as the United States and Europe” stand in terms of developing blockchain-based ecosystems.

Wu noted, however, that China has improved across a number of sectors that are necessary for blockchain development, including hardware manufacturing, platform and security services, industry investment, and financial development, adding:

“With the innovative development of blockchain technology and industry, its application is accelerating, and the scale of the industry continues to increase. This field is expected to become a new economic growth point in the future.”

In what he called the “rapid advancement” of China’s blockchain infrastructure, the former minister stated that distributed technology will bring new opportunities to integrate and develop new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, data centers, and the industrial Internet.

A recent report by Securities Daily explained how China’s publicly-listed companies spend the millions they have allocated toward blockchain R&D.

The study surveyed 23 companies in China who began working with blockchain back in 2016. Figures suggest that companies allocate an average 20% of their annual revenues toward such purposes. The majority of these funds are spent to further government-related solutions.



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Blockstack PBC changes its name to ‘Hiro’

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Blockchain software firm Blockstack PBC announced that it will be changing its name to “Hiro Systems PBC.”

Muneeb Ali, co-founder and CEO of Blockstack, told Cointelegraph that the team plans to focus on a narrower set of priorities once the stacks 2.0 mainnet launches — something they believe has the potential to unlock an “immense amount of value and possibility”:

“We’ll narrow our focus to building tools for developers that are building apps and smart contracts on Bitcoin. This is enabled by the fact that the ecosystem around Stacks has matured (…) With key functions being taken care of by other organizations, PBC will no longer need to spend the majority of its time at the ecosystem growth or pubic infrastructure (blockchain) layer.”

In a previous interview, Ali said that the best way to bring about a user-owned internet “is to anchor applications and smart contracts to the Bitcoin network in a way that uses Bitcoin as a reserve currency and its powerful blockchain as a security mechanism.”

In June, Algorand and Blockstack launched a joint open-source project to support the development of a smart contract language dubbed “Clarity.” Both companies claimed that existing smart contract languages are neither secure nor predictable enough to meet the growing needs of the emerging industry.



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South Korean telecom launches blockchain wallet for official documents

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The South Korean telecom giant SK Telecom has announced it will issue its first digital wallet for blockchain-powered digital certificate storage and management with the approval of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security.

According to NewsTomato, SK’s Wallet is compatible with the ministry’s own Government24 digital certificate initiative, which promotes the use of electronic certificate issuance and distribution systems in South Korea in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SK Telecom’s digitalized public certificates include copies of resident registration cards, health insurance qualification certificates, immigration certificates, among other documents previously issued on paper and signed by hand. They will be now issued through a mobile app backed by blockchain technology.

Certificates issued through the Government24 app can be received in the SK’s wallet and later submitted to public entities, financial institutions, and private companies as electronic documents.

In the initial stage, 13 types of certificates will be compatible with the wallet, but at the end of the year, SK Telecom plans to make it compatible with “a total of 100 types” of certificates, including tax-related documents.

Oh Se-hyun, head of SK Telecom’s Blockchain & Certification Business Division, argued that blockchain is an essential technology in a society that is “rapidly changing due to the need for non-face-to-face solutions where we need innovation in the process of submitting and processing certificates centered on paper documents and manual work.”

He also highlighted the security advantages that the technology could bring to such processes.

Recently, it was revealed that one million South Koreans have foregone their physical drivers licenses in favor of a blockchain-powered digital alternative used in conjunction with the PASS smartphone app.

This represents more than 3% of the entire driving population in South Korea, which sat at 32.6 million licensed drivers in 2019 according to Statista.



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