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Card Operator Discover Joins Blockchain Trade Group

Global payments giant Discover Financial Services joining the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC) to boost the group’s mission of blockchain education and advocacy.

Joining the CDC’s executive committee as a full member, the firm, which operates the Discover Card, will “join the Chamber’s efforts to educate, promote and accelerate the adoption of blockchain technologies worldwide,” the organization announced Tuesday.

Discover’s payment rails operate in more than 185 different countries, making it one of the “largest card issuers in the United States,” according to a press release.

Perianne Boring, president of the CDC, said her organization was “thrilled” to welcome the new member, adding that it “is really a sign of the maturation of the blockchain industry, in that one of the largest companies is getting involved and I think it’s a positive sign.”

Discover and the CDC have previously worked together on a code-a-thon, she told CoinDesk, adding that the payments firm “started increasing their interest and their operations in the blockchain space, so it was kind of an organic relationship that formed.”

As a fully-fledged member of the group’s executive committee, Discover will work “with industry and government” in promoting the space, which is at present something of a legal gray area.

“The biggest policy issue that the blockchain technology ecosystem is facing today is regulatory uncertainty,” Boring explained.

She continued:

“With the plethora of regulators from the [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] to the [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] to [the Office of Foreign Assets Control], all of these regulatory bodies are taking their approach to the industry and there’s no central point of contact. No one knows who has jurisdiction over what.”

To compound the issue, state-level legislatures and regulators are developing their own rules, which is creating a patchwork system across the U.S., she said. Continuing to advocate for clarity in the regulatory space should help bring a more uniform approach, Boring said.

Discover’s membership of the CDC will help “strengthen our community,” Boring said. “It’s really telling that you have a regulated financial institution getting involved in such a public way.”

Discover card image via Shutterstock

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Blockchain Advocacy Group Launched in Wyoming

A new blockchain advocacy group headquartered in Wyoming includes a former state governor, the major of its current state capital and the CEO of Overstock.com among its founding membership.

The Wyoming Blockchain Coalition was announced on Tuesday, aimed at advancing use of the technology within the state. The group intends to lobby for eased regulatory burdens and the creation of a more business-friendly environment for blockchain companies.

Past moves on the part of some Wyoming lawmakers suggests the group might find a warm reception. In January 2016, a group of lawmakers released a bill which sought to make it easier for companies seeking to offer cryptocurrency exchanges to operate. At the time, it was framed as an effort to win back firms that had departed previously because of the regulatory environment there.

Those supporting the effort are also seeking to advance public-sector applications of the tech as well.

“The mission of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition is to educate Wyoming citizens about the power of blockchain technology to cut costs, streamline administrative processes and spur entirely new businesses in Wyoming.” David Pope, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

Among the group’s  listed backers are former Wyoming governor Jim Geringer, current Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, Symbiont chairman and president Caitlin Long, and two deans from the University of Wyoming, among others.

Wyoming welcome sign image via Shutterstock

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Global Blockchain Business Council Expands European Foothold

The Global Blockchain Business Council is ramping up its presence in Europe.

Announced today, the technology advocacy group co-founded by blockchain services firm Bitfury Group will host a blockchain-focused summit at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday in conjunction with Eva Kaili, a parliament member from Greece.

At the event, the council will brief members of the EU parliament and representatives from the European Commission on the challenges and solutions offered by blockchain technology.

Launched in January at the annual World Economic Forum meetings, the group serves as a forum for educating government and business leaders on blockchain – a mission emphasized by Kaili in statements accompanying the unveiling.

Kaili said:

“Forums like this pave the way for comprehensive collaboration between the private sector and regulators that will enable innovative platforms and smart solutions to be developed – maximizing the potential that blockchain technologies can offer.”

In context, the conference is also the latest sign that EU governing bodies have taken an interest in the technology, holding hearings, commissioning research and exploring blockchain use cases.

The common market’s open approach to the technology will have important tailwinds for blockchain’s development and acceptance, noted Jamie Smith, chief executive officer of the advocacy group.

“The EU is the world’s largest economic bloc and among the most important regulatory and rule setting bodies in the world, and its position on blockchain technology will have deep implications across all 28 EU member states,” she said.

As part of today’s news announcement, the council also revealed it has finalized its incorporation in Geneva, Switzerland.

Royal Palace, Brussels, image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.