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Banking on Blockchain Update: November 30, 2018

Canada in Focus

This week, one of Canadas leading luxury jewelry brands Birks announced that they will now accept bitcoin at selective stores across Canada. The company, who partnered with BitPay to allow customers to use its new payment option, launched the option earlier this month. Birks hopes this move will allow them to better serve their growing international customer base and be on the forefront of technology.

Canada-based mobile payments company Glance Technologies Inc. has published a press release indicating that they have added support for Bitcoin as a payment method. Users can pair cryptocurrency with their Glance Pay account, and then purchase Glance Dollars with Bitcoin. The in-house currency can be spent at merchants, which use Glance’s system, to accept payments.

In other news, the Canadian Securities Administrators are teaming up to determine whether and how much “abusive” short selling is taking place in the country’s capital markets. Officials were clear that these problematic companies are largely seen in emerging sectors such as cryptocurrency, cannabis, blockchain and mining.

KPMG issued a news release on Thursday indicating that in both Canada and around the world, companies are leveraging distributed ledger technology to provide faster and more secure transactions, streamline and automate back-office operations. For example, KPMG professionals have advised clients on a range of blockchain solutions – including a U.S. pharmaceutical company that will use blockchain to track where finished products are shipped.


On the World Stage

As Birks in Canada announced they are using bitcoin at selective stores, others are discussing how to use blockchain technology to guarantee the ethical provenance of a diamond. A number of jewelry industry heavyweights have recently adopted distributed ledger technology to track the movement of a jewel within its supply chain. Most notably, De Beers and Hong Kong giant Chow Tai Fook are adopting this technology.

In the U.S., the state treasurer for Ohio has announced that they are looking to accept bitcoin this tax season. The state has partnered with BitPay to become the first state to accept cryptocurrency for business tax. In the first phase, this option will only be available to businesses; companies can go to to enter their tax information and verify transactions with BitPay.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff met with members of VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange to discuss if bitcoin markets are ready for an exchange traded fund (ETF). This was the latest push by firms to seek a rule change which would allow for the country’s first bitcoin ETF.

Technology giant Asus is now letting gamers use the power of their graphic cards to earn a share of the profits in cryptocurrency mining. The company has partnered with a mining app provider called Quantumcloin to allow gamers to earn additional income. The partnership allows access to Asus graphic cards when they are not being used, and in turn the earnings will be paid out.

No Quiet on the Western Front

This week, on the “No Quiet on the Western Front” edition of Political Traction, Amanda is joined by Alex Shiff, a senior consultant with Navigator’s Vancouver office. He explains the scandal that threatens to topple the delicate balance of power struck by the NDP and the Greens, and the referendum that could finally usher in proportional representation in British Columbia. Then, we look at the topics gaining traction this week, including the unlikely alliance between Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they join forces to save jobs in Oshawa, and face off over Francophone affairs.

The Cannabis Beat

Over the past year we’ve been inundated with cannabis news. What was once a niche industry for the far corners of the Internet has since gone on to occupy dedicated real estate in our newspapers, television sets, radios and social feeds. On this episode of Legalized, Danielle sits down with Jay Rosenthal, co-founder and president of Business of Cannabis, a Canadian publication focused on news and analysis of the cannabis industry, and Megan Henderson, Executive Producer of The Growth Op – Post Media’s cannabis-focused media propertyto get their take on the cannabis beat.