Bitwise Files With the US SEC for a Physically Held Bitcoin ETF

Cryptocurrency index fund provider Bitwise Asset Management has applied with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch a new Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), according to a registration form published today, Jan. 10.

According to the form, Bitwise’s proposed ETF will track the Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index, the value of which is “calculated based on the prices of bitcoin that the Index Provider derives from bitcoin price transactions occurring on cryptocurrency exchanges.” According to a press release accompanying the newly filed form, the firm’s proposed Bitcoin ETF reportedly differs from other previously proposed Bitcoin ETFs in that it draws prices from a variety of crypto exchanges, with the aim of better representing the market.

Bitwise’s Bitcoin ETF reportedly also differs from other applications in that it would require “regulated third-party custodians to hold its physical bitcoin.”

In the firm’s press release, John Hyland, Global Head of ETFs at Bitwise declared:

“Having a regulated bank or trust company hold physical assets of a fund has been the standard under U.S. fund regulation for the last 80 years, and we believe that is now possible with Bitcoin.”

As Cointelegraph reported in July, Bitwise had filed with the SEC to launch a crypto ETF tracking the Bitwise HOLD 10 Private Index Fund, a basket of ten cryptocurrencies. To press time, a decision from the SEC is still pending.  

An ETF is a security that tracks an asset or a group of assets and is traded the same way in which stocks are on an exchange. As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has denied that it is considering allowing Bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

The crypto industry has long awaited the approval of a Bitcoin or generally crypto ETF by U.S. regulators, since a number of firms have applied to launch such products in the country. In December, the SEC further postponed its decision on a Bitcoin ETF by investment firm VanEck and blockchain company SolidX on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE),  setting the new deadline for Feb. 27, 2019.

Also in December, an SEC commissioner said “not to hold your breath” waiting for a Bitcoin ETF, speaking at the Digital Asset Investment Forum held in Washington.

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Factom Files Patent for Validating Documents on the Blockchain


Factom (FCT) has filed a new patent today with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that allows verification of documents on a blockchain with multiple digital signatures

The patent comes during a frenzy of blockchain patent applications from other incumbents, including IBM, Mastercard, and Walmart.

Auditing Digital Documents with Multi-Signatures

The patent claims the concept:

“Authentication of electronic document is based on multiple digital signatures incorporated into a blockchain. Structured data, metadata, and instructions may be hashed to generate the multiple digital signatures for distribution via the blockchain. Any peer receiving the blockchain may then verify an authenticity of an electronic document based on any one or more of the multiple digital signatures incorporated into the blockchain.”

As one of the leading blockchain projects in data integrity and compliance, Factom is building on their platform’s offerings for governments, businesses, and non-profits.

Factom blockchain

The patent describes a process for peers to verify digital documents with various types of digital signatures. Additionally, multiple signatures of different types (e.g. metadata or instructions) can be used on a single document. The robustness of the signature verification builds on the Factom’s goal of eliminating data tampering in business settings.

As described in the patent, the concept helps ensure that a document has retained its integrity through its entire life-cycle. This is important as documents are transferred across the internet among stakeholders.

The new patent is in tune with Factom’s mission statement:

“People and institutions today solve hard problems through the utilization of Factom’s Blockchain. We see a future world where fraud, corruption, and forgery are a thing of the past. We believe in keeping private data private and securing the world’s wealth because privacy and possession of property are basic human rights.”

Factom’s History

Factom faced struggle with garnering partnerships and clients during its early phases. However, since 2014, it has found a foothold in its niche. As CCN reported, Factom saw a huge boost when Microsoft announced that it would be integrated into its Azure cloud platform. Factom also partnered with the Chinese government to build a “smart city” where Factom’s technology would be used to audit city infrastructure.

Gaining clients who need cheaper auditing methods for infrastructure, records, and documents has been a constant goal for Factom. They provide different products to achieve this goal.

As Factom’s patent shows, blockchain technology continues to gain interest from major players in finance, retail, and governments. This period is a race for them to grab as many patents as possible in the march to adoption.

Images from Shutterstock

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World’s Number Four Telecoms Provider Files Blockchain Contract Storage Paten

The world’s fourth-largest telecoms provider, Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), has filed a patent for using blockchain tech for contract agreement, according to a U.S. Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) release on July 19.

NTT’s patent application writes that a problem with contracts on blockchain is that each transactions “contains only the electronic signature of the sender” as the “evidence of contract agreement by the receiver is not left in the transaction.”

The patent suggests a “simple, possible way to solve this problem is to, for example, include the electronic signatures of all the involved parties in one transaction.”

Details of the patent describe an invention with the objective of “leav[ing] the evidence of a contract on a blockchain” using one digital signature for each transaction among the involved parties. The patent document continues that the second objective is to “maintai[n] credibility” throughout this process.

NTT’s patent proposal is one of several to have already surfaced from major corporations this week. As Cointelegraph reported July 18, both Mastercard and Bank of America have also released documentation for blockchain-based inventions.

The global telecoms industry meanwhile looks set to benefit significantly from blockchain in the next five years. A report released earlier this month highlights how the technology could contribute almost $1 billion in value to the sector by 2023, from just $46 million today.

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Wells Fargo Files Patent for Tokenization System to Protect Sensitive Data

San-Francisco-based bank Wells Fargo has outlined a patent for a tokenization system that would protect data, according to a filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) July 17.

The newly published application details a system in which any type of data element — whether a document, graphic, or database value — could be located, accessed, and protected by means of tokenization.

Tokenization, as the patent filing outlines, uses encryption methods to process an originally unrestricted data element into a corresponding restricted token that can subsequently only be retrieved — or ‘detokenized’ — by a specified user. The system harnesses cryptography to bind specific values to data under an authenticated digital signature.

The tokenized system can thus be used to both control access and confidentiality, authenticate data origins, and maintain data integrity by detecting any undue modifications to an element.

Wells Fargo explains that tokenization can be used to protect data “even when it is stored in a publically accessible environment, such as the cloud, within a blockchain…in a flexible way that is file and data element neutral”:

“Unlike the limited, anonymous signatures supported by existing systems, this tokenization manifest supports single signers, multiple signers, or co-signers to store information publicly without loss of confidentiality of any sensitive content.”

The proposed system would furthermore flexibly allow content owners or managers to select a desired output for tokenization — which can be used for any file in part or in its entirety — and select how it will be manifest for restricted users, e.g. through blurring, randomized text, or blacking out.

Just last month, Jeremy Allaire, Co-Founder & CEO of payments company Circle spoke at MoneyConf Dublin of an unprecedented “crypto-revolution,” suggesting that global society is “at the beginning of a tokenization of everything” that will extend to “every form of value storage and public record.”

While evidently embracing the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies for its own purposes, Wells Fargo has recently moved to prohibit its customers from purchasing crypto using credit cards issued by the bank due to perceived investment risks.

The bank was nonetheless an early pioneer of the first-of-its-kind international freight shipment to China back in 2016, in what was the world’s first reported interbank trade using a blockchain system.

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