Facebook’s Blockchain Lead Responds to Lawmakers’ Concerns About the Libra

David Marcus, Facebook’s blockchain lead, responded to Congressional concerns in an open letter, assuring them that Facebook won’t have access to personal financial information through Libra.

Multiple U.S. lawmakers in both the House and the Senate expressed concern about Facebook’s involvement with Libra, calling for the social media giant to answer questions about its blockchain project. Marcus sent his letter to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, addressing the specific questions the committee posed in May. Then again, Marcus sent a similar letter to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters, who called for a moratorium on Libra development last month.

In these letters, Marcus said Libra transactions would not include any personal data but rather know your customer and anti-money laundering information will be processed by wallet providers, and because the Libra blockchain is open source, third party developers can build their own digital wallets.

However, Marcus also wrote that Facebook’s subsidiary Calibra as Facebook’s representative in the governing Libra Association will hold some consumer financial data. Still, Marcus assured lawmakers that Calibra will not share information with Facebook or other parties without customer consent. (Neutral)

Samsung Made Ethereum Blockchain SDK Beta for the Latest Galaxy Smartphones

Samsung made the beta version of its blockchain SDK for the Ethereum blockchain available to partner developers. The kit provides additional tools for dApp and blockchain mobile development on the latest Galaxy smartphones.

Furthermore, the company announced the beta version of its blockchain software development kit (SDK) is available for partners who request early-access to the tools. The kit represents the next step in Samsung’s push to enable Ethereum functionality on its Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, S10 5G and the Galaxy Fold smartphones. In May, Samsung said it would also expand crypto features to budget phones in its lineup.

The thing is that the SDK provides developers with ways to manage user accounts, authorize digital signatures for transactions, and manipulate transaction data. The kit also allows developers to link to external cold wallets, such as Trezor or Ledger devices, as well.

Those who gain partner status with Samsung also gain additional features from the kit. Partners will have access to a “blockchain specialized browser” for web dApps, which will allegedly have features to facilitate easier crypto payments—and, tools for easily estimating fees using live crypto exchange rates.

Ultimately, partners will be able to fetch transaction history from Samsung’s “blockchain proxy node.” It’s unclear whether Samsung is running its own Ethereum node or using a service provider.

In the end, these features will help reduce the cost of building dApps on supported mobile devices, said Samsung. This move follows other crypto-related developments from Samsung.

According to the company, the official version of the blockchain SDK will be announced by the end of 2019. Developers who want early access to beta can request partnership status with Samsung. (Positive)

New York Attorney General Fights Dismissal Motion in Bitfinex

The office of the New York Attorney General (OAG) has claimed that crypto exchange Bitfinex and stablecoin firm Tether have been operating in New York into 2019.

The OAG has submitted these documents to fight Bitfinex and Tether’s motion to dismiss the case, a motion filed in May. Bitfinex argued that the case should be thrown out because they were not operating their businesses in New York, noting that the OAG had appealed to the Martin Act in bringing their case against the defendants, which is a securities and commodities law specific to New York State.

Now, the OAG submitted almost 30 documents that allegedly demonstrate that the defendants have, in fact, been operating in New York.

In an affirmation against the case dismissal, Assistant Attorney General Brian Whitehurst discussed the details of the exhibit documents, some of which have been redacted. Some of these documents purport to show that the defendants have been in business in New York all the way up to 2019. Whitehurst writes:

“The OAG’s investigation has determined that in January 2019, Bitfinex opened a trading account with a New York-based virtual currency trading firm. Compiled at Exhibit R are redacted versions of email communications between this firm and Respondents from January 2019. These documents do not appear to have been produced to the OAG by Respondents following the Court’s order directing production of materials relevant to personal jurisdiction.”

Whitehurst also filed an official memorandum entitled “Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Respondents’ Motion to Dismiss and For an Immediate Stay” with a full argument against the motion. In this document, Whitehurst writes that the OAG has shown twice that the Martin Act is applicable to the case, saying that the defendants’ “ties to New York are many and deep.” (Neutral)