Nov. 4th: FATF Releases Guidance on Global Digital IDs
This is your daily roundup for Monday, November 4, 2019. FATF releases guidance on global digital IDs, Microsoft launches Azure Blockchain Tokens, and thousands of BitMEX users fall victim to an email privacy breach.
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FATF Releases Guidance on Global Digital IDs
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has published its draft guide on digital identity, for governments, regulated entities and other stakeholders to enforce AML and CFT regulations. FATF listed a number of questions acting as “areas of focus,” requesting private stakeholders to provide feedback via email by Nov. 29, 2019. The guidance specifically lists distributed ledger technology (DLT) as a tool that can aid in the growth of digital ID networks.
Due to the rise of stablecoins across international financial systems, the organization also stressed the importance of digital identity in payment systems, which could be used to identify stakeholders in stablecoin-related transactions. The 77-page draft guidance further details many issues related to digital ID systems, including their reliability and independence, and how they might be used in performing customer due diligence.
BitMEX Email Privacy Breach
BitMEX says its email privacy breach last week was due to failed internal processes, exposing thousands of emails from users on the exchange on Nov. 1. In order to overcome email server restrictions on bulk emailing, BitMEX built an in-house system to handle the rendering and sending of emails. To expedite the process, the exchange’s email systems API was changed at the last minute, but did not undergo the typical checking process.
As a result, user emails were exposed via carbon copy (CC). The exchange says it stopped further batches of emails being sent out upon recognition of the issue. In response to the leak, BitMEX says they employed password resets and human review on endangered accounts. BitMEX deputy chief operating officer Vivien Khoo says no personal data or account information beyond email addresses was exposed.
China Bitcoin Mining Update
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a top-level economic planning agency under China’s State Council, published a new finalized catalog for guiding industry restructuring that will take effect starting Jan 1, 2020.
In the final version, the agency removed bitcoin mining or other virtual currency mining activities from the initially proposed category of industries that should be eliminated from China. The initial draft released in April classified “virtual currency mining, such as the production process of bitcoin” under the category to be eliminated, recommending local governments to phase out bitcoin mining.
The removal from the catalog is positive news for bitcoin as it’s estimated that China’s miners account for half of bitcoin’s global hashing power.
BCSC Seizes Einstein Exchange
The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) announced today that it had filed to take control of Einstein Exchange after the platform said on Oct. 31 that it planned to shut down its operations within the next 60 to 90 days. According to a court filing, Einstein owes its customers $12.4 million USD.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia granted the BCSC’s order and appointed accounting firm Grant Thornton as interim receiver to take control of the exchange’s assets. Grant Thornton was also authorized to take possession over any of Einstein’s properties and assets and could use forced entry if necessary. The accounting firm entered and secured the premises of Einstein Exchange on Nov. 1.
According to the BCSC, the commission received a number of complaints from customers who were unable to access their assets on Einstein Exchange.
Microsoft Launches Azure Blockchain Tokens
Microsoft has announced it’s new Azure Blockchain Tokens platform at the Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. The platform allows businesses to choose from a growing set of token-building templates that conform to the Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI) – a standards push and enterprise consortium spearheaded by Microsoft principal architect Marley Gray.
Gray stated “We are creating a platform in the cloud where any token within the TTI framework can snap into place. So you can build applications where you want to use tokens with, for example, Dynamics, SAP, applications in the Office suite or some other business automation process.”
Azure Blockchain Tokens are interoperable with IBM, R3, and ethereum variants. The platform is being released alongside a host of example tokens including a Hyperledger Fabric FabToken built by IBM, a Santander BOND token, and a REWARD token from Intel and ConsenSys.