The top news in the last 24 hours are shown below:

BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik Terminates His Hunger Strike

The alleged operator of the infamous BTC-e exchange, Alexander Vinnik, has terminated his hunger strike more than 80 days after he started the protest against his detention in Greece. Vinnik’s condition is serious, and he needs specialized medical attention to recuperate.

State Treasurer: Ohio Companies Now Paying Tax in BTC

Treasurer in the U.S. state of Ohio Robert Sprague has revealed that at least two companies have paid their taxes using bitcoin since the state launched its cryptocurrency payment platform in December. Sprague did not disclose details about the amount or companies involved, citing confidentiality.

Digital Currency Donors and Crypto-Backed Endowments Fuel Higher Learning

Digital asset holders and organizations have been donating funds to many well-known universities. These days a slew of famous colleges like Stanford, MIT, Cornell, Puget Sound, and Princeton all accept digital currency donations or have high-net-worth crypto backers funding these schools. On the flip side of higher education, many of the world’s prestigious universities also offer elective courses that teach blockchain technology.

Thailand Greenlights Japanese Exchange to Operate 4 Crypto Businesses

The Thai government has issued four licenses to a new crypto exchange. Before this, only existing exchanges that were in business before the country’s crypto regulation took effect were approved. The first licensed new exchange in Thailand is a subsidiary of a regulated Japanese exchange, Bitpoint.

Markets Update: Altcoins Gain on BTC

The recent bounce in the value of many leading cryptocurrencies relative to fiat currency has comprised the first bullish action in several months. Since bottoming out during the third quarter of 2018, many leading altcoins have made significant bullish moves against BTC.

Latin America’s Biggest Investment Bank Partners Gemini to Launch Its Own Security Token

BTG, the largest investment bank Brazil, is going to launch its blockchain-based security token backed by distressed real estate assets. According to the announcement made by the bank, its security token will be known as ReitBZ, and it is said to be backed by the bank and distressed real estate assets in Brazil.

Is $1,000,000 for Bitcoin Real? IBM’s VP of Blockchain Jesse Lund Thinks It Is

Mr Lund notes that if we continue to focus on the utility of Bitcoin (BTC), its price will surely surge northwards creating much higher liquidity to be considered by big organizations. He adds, that if Bitcoin is to touch $1 million price, “then Satoshi is on value parity with the U.S. penny”. In this case, the whole network will have a huge $20 trillion liquidity.

Ripple’s xRapid Beats SWIFT as It’s Becoming Obsolete, Says Mercury FX CEO

Besides faster and low-cost global transactions, the CEO praises the ease of use of Ripple’s xRapid solution in making cross-border payments. Moreover, he also compared xRapid with the traditional SWIFT banking solutions adding that the latter will soon become obsolete. Constance said: “we started to hear about blockchain technology it wasn’t a big leap of imagination to realize how perfect this evolutionary technology would fit with payments”.

Parity Developer Afri Schoeden Leaves Ethereum Development Following Controversial Tweet

Recent controversy has seen Afri Schoeden, the release manager at the blockchain infrastructure company Parity Technologies, leave all Ethereum projects. Specifically, this stems from a tweet by Schoeden, which criticized the Serenity – also known as ”Ethereum 2.0” – upgrade.

Stanford Researchers Develop Privacy Mechanism for Ethereum Smart Contract

Researchers from Stanford University and Visa Research have developed a privacy mechanism for Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts. A paper describing the mechanism was published on Stanford University’s Applied Cryptography Group website on Feb. 20.

Blockchain Company CasperLabs Appoints Ethereum Researcher Vlad Zamfir as Lead Architect

Blockchain protocol research and development company CasperLabs has appointed Ethereum Foundation researcher Vlad Zamfir as lead consensus protocol architect, a Medium post by the company reveals on Feb. 22. Vlad Zamfir infamously stated in March 2017 that Ethereum is not safe, scalable and is an immature technology while urging the community to not rely on it for critical applications when it’s avoidable.