The category of "utility token" might become reality after all, if a bipartisan House bill succeeds in exempting tokens from securities laws. Meanwhile, the SEC has announced that digital currency and token regulation are major 2019 priorities, and Bloomberg has broken a story about Facebook's internal development of a remittance token, which would presumably benefit from legislative clarity.
Lawmakers look to change SEC’s 72-year-old securities definition to exclude cryptocurrencies
"Two congressmen are introducing a bill Thursday that would exclude digital currencies from the decades-old definition of a security. The legal definition might seem like an insignificant change, but it has become a heated issue for those in the industry who say the law is outdated for a digital asset class. The 'Token Taxonomy Act' — a bipartisan effort by Reps. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio and Darren Soto, D-Fla. — defines a 'digital token' and clarifies that securities laws would not apply to cryptocurrencies once they become a fully functioning network."
Digital Assets, an SEC Priority
Facebook Is Developing a Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp Transfers, Sources Say
"The company is developing a stablecoin -- a type of digital currency pegged to the U.S. dollar -- to minimize volatility, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal plans. Facebook is far from releasing the coin, because it’s still working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin, the people said. Facebook has long been expected to make a move in financial services, after hiring former PayPal president David Marcus to run its Messenger app in 2014. In May, Marcus became the head of the company’s blockchain initiatives, which haven’t been discussed publicly in detail. Facebook has been on a hiring spree, and now has about 40 people in its blockchain group, according to employee titles on LinkedIn."
ConsenSys plans to spin out most of its startups, and it’s going to mean layoffs
"Layoffs are coming to ConsenSys, the Ethereum-focused startup incubator and blockchain technology conglomerate. According to sources at the company, ConsenSys is quickly spinning out startups that it previously supported, which will drastically impact its workforce and leave an uncertain fate for one of the blockchain world’s most ambitious and well-funded startups."
Beta launch of Denryu System — the easiest way to experience Bitcoin micropayments via Lightning Network
"HashHub, the Tokyo-based blockchain incubation hub, beta-released 'Denryu System' to enable a simple and smooth experience for receiving bitcoin micropayments via Lightning Network. Denryu has already been integrated on SaruTobi, a popular game series of the Bitcoin community and a user can claim micro-tips on Lightning Network with ease just by playing the game."
Short Paper: An Empirical Analysis of Blockchain Forks in Bitcoin
"In this paper we provide an empirical analysis of the announcement and propagation of blocks that led to forks of the Bitcoin blockchain. By analyzing the time differences in the publication of competing blocks, we show that the block propagation delay between miners can be of similar order as the block propagation delay of the average Bitcoin peer. Furthermore, we show that the probability of a block to become part of the main chain increases roughly linearly in the time the block has been published before the competing block. Additionally, we show that the observed frequency of short block intervals between two consecutive blocks mined by the same miner after a fork is conspicuously large. While selfish mining can be a cause for this observation,other causes are also possible. Finally, we show that not only the time difference of the publication of competing blocks but also their propagation speeds vary greatly."
Announcing Zap Desktop 0.3.0-beta
"With Zap 0.3.0 users will notice a new home screen, or what we like to call, the Launchpad. The Launchpad allows you to create, manage, and configure multiple wallets; neutrino light client wallets, remote nodes and BTCPay Server instances all supported in one simple and clean interface."