Dec 9, 2018

Federal cryptocurrency bills and other crypto news this week

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Ohio continues its efforts to attract cryptocurrency entrepreneurs with $100 million in new funding for startups, but that's not all of the important industry news this week.

Catch up quick: U.S. congressmen introduced bills to protect from cryptocurrency price manipulation, Venezuela will sell oil for Petro cryptocurrency in 2019, and a new document shows that the U.S. government is interested in tracking privacy coins.

U.S. congressmen introduce bills to protect from cryptocurrency price manipulation (Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., website)

  • Why it matters: The bills aim to address two critical issues: price manipulation, which has been one of U.S. regulators' biggest concerns, and whether U.S. regulations are enabling innovation compared to other countries. These are only the latest efforts in Congress to get regulatory clarity and move the digital currency industry forward.

Venezuela to sell oil for Petro cryptocurrency in 2019, says Maduro (CoinDesk)

  • Why it matters: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has been pushing the country's cryptocurrency, the Petro, which is pegged to its oil and mineral reserves. Maduro's plan to move all oil sales to the cryptocurrency is an attempt to sidestep U.S. sanctions on the country.

U.S. government interested in tracking privacy coins, new document shows (CoinDesk)

  • Why it matters: Documents from the Department of Homeland Security show the agency wants to find ways to track digital tokens specifically designed with heightened privacy features in case of illegal activities. The agency's interest isn't a surprise — several years ago, federal agents analyzed bitcoin transactions to catch corrupt colleagues.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected more than 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. N.Y. has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 41 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: U.K. PM "stable, improving" in intensive care

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff" in the intensive care unit of London's St. Thomas' Hospital, where he is being treated for the coronavirus, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden told the BBC Thursday.

Zoom in: The update comes as ministers meet to discuss whether to extend the United Kingdom's lockdown and after the country's health officials reported Wednesday the highest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths — 938, taking the total to over 7,300. London Mayor said Wednesday the U.K. is "nowhere near lifting the lockdown," with the virus not expected to peak there until next week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 56 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,484,811 — Total deaths: 88,538 — Total recoveries: 329,876Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 432,132 — Total deaths: 14,817 — Total recoveries: 23,906Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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