Digital Gold

The Royal Mint is offering digital gold with American derivatives exchange CME Group to offer digital gold using a blockchain. The new product is called Royal Mint Gold and will give the buyer a digital record of gold in Royal Mint’s bullion vault.

RMG will be available sometime in 2017, and as much as $1 billion worth of gold is to be offered.The costs for to purchase the product is much less than normal because the buyer pays little to nothing in terms of management fees and storage charges.

Additionally, RMG holders will be able to convert to physical as they choose. The block chain itself is similar to the one offered by bitcoin and should substantially do away with middlemen.

The downside to all this is that the gold is currently stored at RMG and one needs to exercise the digital record in order to purchase the gold.
For those who want to take delivery, the digital record stand s in the way.

Evaluating Smart Cities by M.I.T.

MIT is evaluating smart cities. The Senseable City Laboratory studies smart cities and takes an omni-disciplinary approach

It talks to designers, planners and social scientists among others. Senseable also speaks to governments, citizens and disadvantaged communities.

The Lab is readying and making available tools that will teach us how cities are learning and evolving. But we are not told that much of this evolution includes machines that can spy on people.

This is the problem. Articles about efforts to define smart cities that don’t include ubiquitous spying are missing the point.

Delaware to Have Blockchain Law

Delaware is will soon have a blockchain law, though the process is in the early stages. A piece of legislation would change the state’s General Corporation Law to allow for blockchains.

The Delaware Blockchain Initiative is supported by Symbiont, and 2017 is the year that it is supposed to happen. The bill states, “Amendments to Sections 219, 224 and 232 and related provisions are intended to provide specific statutory authority for Delaware corporations to use networks of electronic databases (examples of which are described currently as ‘distributed ledgers’ or a ‘blockchain’) for the creation and maintenance of corporate records, including the corporation’s stock ledger.”

According to law firm Richards, Layton and Finger, the bill is will need more support from the Corporation Law Section and also need introduction to the Delaware General Assembly (the state’s legislature). However it could happen as soon as August.

Beijing Wants Blockchain Standards

Huo Xuewen, secretary of Beijing’s Municipal Bureau of Finance wants greater blockchain standards, and said so in a speech during a fintech conference. Xuewen talked about the popularity of blockchain when it came to performance and insisted there ways that can make blockchain far more useful.

Such moves can also get rid of illegal financial activities, he said. He included P2P loans denominated in digital currency and pyramid schemes in his talk on potential criminal activity.

His comments were made not long after China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, became more insistent about ways that domestic bitcoin exchange would have to behave. China’s “Big Three” bitcoin exchanges, suffered from a withdrawal freeze and updated money laundering procedures as part of the process.

Additionally Huo mentioned China-s work on its own digital currency, though many think that it will include inflation which many digital currencies are designed to guard against once they are fully issued.

The bottom line here is that China is following a procedure that gradually squeezed out private currencies and substitutes one generated by the central bank instead. The trouble for China is that people can still use private currencies if they really want to. The struggle in China is starting but has many years to go before it ends, if ever.

Factom Building Mortgages

Factom is building a mortgage-based solution, Factom Harmony operate with DigitalVault, which produces a comprehensive, unalterable document catalog.

Factom’s mortgage products make unique solutions for every aspect of the mortgage experience. The Factom Harmony Audit Room allows people to audit files and do everything else necessary to complete and follow a mortgage.

The entire procedure is a significant cost saver and will have an impact on how mortages are created and followed. Unfortunately, Factom is working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to secure records. It is only further testimony to how deeply embedded regulations have become in society.

Americans Are Running Away From Cities

Why are so many people leaving? It’s not something talked about a lot but it’s happening. California is just one example. But the populations of lots of large cities are shrinking.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported on big city populations. Chicago was the biggest loser, then Detroit and Baltimore. Chicago’s Cook County had a loss of more than 66,000 people.

Libertarian pundit Doug Casey explains. “In the U.S. right now, there seems to be so much antagonism it’s almost like pre-Civil War. There is actually hatred in the U.S. at this point. It used to be the Republicans and Democrats could disagree, but they could have a civil conversation about a difference of opinion. Now, it’s active hatred between these two groups. This is not going to end well.”

A coming financial collapse may trigger an actual war. “It’s going to come down eventually. I am worried about that, but we are in a situation where the country seems like it is just before a civil war. It will be more serious than just a financial collapse, and it is likely to be set off by a financial collapse.”

Smart city technology is supposed to make things better but in many ways it makes things worse. More and more cities are regulating car and truck travel in ways they haven’t before. And so much of what goes on in smart cities is starting to be criminalized.

Cameras are to be found on every street corner and in appliances as well. The FBI director has declared that privacy is dead. Smart cities are billed as the next gigantic improvement and in some ways they are. In fact many smart city improvements are helpful to people.

But increasingly, large parts of what smart cities do has been criminalized to catch supposed bad guys. And the definition of a criminal these days is so broad that it can include almost anyone.

Here at BlockCityNews we are all for many of the improvements being made in smart cities, but we are no fans of all the intelligence operations being built into them.

Bloomberg Thinks Bitcoin Is Criminal

A Forbes columnist believes the “chilling realization,” that bitcoin is only popular because it is helps people do illegal things.

“On the contrary – the only reason bitcoin has value to anyone is because of the underlying value as a medium of exchange for lawbreakers. If we could flip a switch and eliminate all illegal uses of Bitcoin, there would be nothing left of the cybercurrency.”

This is the opinion of Jason Bloomberg, the president of an analyst firm that proclaims itself as ‘the first and only industry analysis and advisory firm focused on agile digital transformation.’

The opinion piece has counter arguments as well, but these are mostly drowned out by subheadings like ‘Tax Evasion Merely the Nail in Bitcoin’s Coffin.’

He writes, “[The IRS] subpoena is but the latest skirmish in a years-long war against criminals who have been leveraging Bitcoin for a wide variety of nefarious purposes.”

Regulating Blockchain Takes Care

A senior executive at one of the world’s largest international financial services company has said that authorities should respect blockchain, not regulate it .

Justin Chapman, head of market advocacy and innovation research at Northern Trust, was quoted as saying, “A database has never been regulated, and we need to be really careful [about doing that].“ Blockchain regulation is a popular idea. The European Commission is moving toward regulation as are other authorities.

The Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney stated that regulators will need to keep watching blockchain because of emergent risks. He added that in this way, governments aid in setting up a system for a new age.

Of course government doesn’t have to create a new system for a new age. Government doesn’t have to do anything and a new age will still arrive.

Governments need to help build a new system in order to control the system, not to “build it.” And government at the top level is based in large part on central banking.

The goal of regulators is to control cryptocurrences and then to make sure they remain inflatable.

Politics Enters Blockchain

Congressman David Schweikert wants to tell people about the reality of blockchain, that it is good for a lot more that financial operations. He is co-chair of a recent startup called the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. He and fellow co-chair, Democratic Representative Jared Polis of Colorado created it due to curiosity about blockchains.

“Members of Congress are starting to get visits from people that are doing things with the blockchain and talking about it,” says Polis. “They are interested in learning more, and we hope to provide the forum to do that.”

Blockchain is easy enough to explain. It is basically ledger-like – a decentralized record keeper that may be available to anyone for updates and other use. It is not simply for bitcoin but has a staggering amount of uses when you begin to understand it.

In fact it can change industry almost entirely if you simply let it be. But unfortunately there is already a lot of bureaucratic interference in the creation and implementation of blockchains.

Perianne Boring, founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, says “We don’t need any new legislation from Congress yet, though—that could stifle innovation even more. What Congress should be doing is educating themselves on the issues.”

Actually you simply need Congress to stay out of it. The reasons Congress is interested has to do with taxes and other kinds of control.

Unfortunately, blockchain gives Congress the ability to build regulation from the ground up. This is neither necessary nor advisable. And yet it is coming. The war has just begun.

Walking Is Key

Americans want to walk locally if they can. 56 percent of millennials and 46 percent of baby boomers are looking to live in neighborhoods where walking is preferable to driving.

Millennials are not big fans of auto-oriented, housing. They are happier with increased diversity. Yet there are not enough villages like this. The problem once again is government and rules and regulations that limit the type of product available.

Older low-rise buildings with retail on the ground floor and housing on top are preferable, and interestingly this sort of habitat was popular before cars and builder changed the complexity of housing.

Fewer people want to live in suburbs these days. Baby boomers and millenials prefer to live in mixed use environements. Some developers believe the government needs to become involved.

But mostly government needs to reform regulations already on the books. This has to happen if people are going to live in the kinds of environments they seek.