Blockchain This Week – Crypto Lures Government and Celebrities Alike

This week, a lot of events happened in the Blockchain world. Here are a few abstracts of the week’s developments in the cryptocurrencies and Blockchain space.

Italian Banks gung-ho for digital euro

Earlier this week, Italian Association of Banks (ABI) expressed their interest in working on European Central Bank-backed digital currency. ABI has over 700 banks under its purview. It believes this innovation has the potential to revolutionize money. 

Now buy bitcoins at your nearest 7-11 stores

Buying bitcoins has never been this simple. On June 22, LibertyX, one of the earliest launchers of bitcoin ATMs, announced that users with LibertyX mobile app can now walk into any of the 20,000 retail outlets including 7-11 stores, scan a barcode, pay some cash, and buy up to $500 worth of bitcoins with ease.

Citizen-services vouchers on Blockchain

One of the Chinese cities, Nanjing, is issuing vouchers to its citizens, which they can exchange for food and transportation. These vouchers, which are part of the COVID-19 stimulus package, are tracked on Blockchain.

Blockchain soccer

Sports and entertainment industry have shown considerable interest in tokenizing the moments which their fans cherish. This gesture is incredibly rewarding to both fans and the industry. FC Barcelona, the Spanish soccer team, is the latest in this foray. They launched FC Barcelona Fan Token (BAT) this week, which will allow the token holders to vote in football club polls, receive rewards including VIP guest seating at matches, and opportunities to meet the team’s players. The $1.3 million tokens sold out in less than two hours and generated nearly $2.5 million in trade volume in less than one day of trade. 

Read comics, Earn bitcoin

In yet another innovative act, a webcomic named Bulltardia is hiding 12 keys leading to a chest containing $1000 worth of bitcoin in its comics series. A comics books fan interested in solving complex puzzles will be able to find the keys for a seed phrase that will unlock a wallet containing 0.1 bitcoin.

Paypal’s crypto venture

There are reports which suggest Paypal is going to facilitate direct buy and sell of cryptocurrencies using Paypal wallets. It is not yet clear what cryptocurrencies will be supported or when or if the service will be available. But, Paypal seems to be quietly working on ramping up its new Blockchain Research Group with job postings in San Jose and Singapore.

A gateway to track complaints against law enforcement

Police misconduct has been in the news for some time now. Startling revelations of persistent impunities by law enforcement have come to light in recent days. People who face such atrocities fearing reprisals will not report the crimes. Some activist coders are planning to change this. They have developed an Ethereum and IPFS based system that the civilians and police officers can use to lodge complaints anonymously

U.S Homeland Security and Blockchain

Of late, Blockchain is garnering a lot of interest among the governmental agencies. The U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling startups for ideas on how Blockchain can help address a few key issues. U.S Customs and Border Protection are looking for Blockchain-based solutions to improve food and natural gas supply chain and to handle customer e-commerce shipments. In addition to these, DHS is also looking at Blockchain for a more secure alternate solution to Social Security Numbers. 

U.S Supreme Court rules against SEC’s handling of crypto

The U.S Supreme Court, in its ruling, has qualified the SEC’s authorities to impose fines on cryptocurrency firms. The SEC is now not allowed to levy fines that exceed the profit earned from illicit activities. Additionally, any fines collected will be awarded to victims of these illegal activities. This judgment, even though widely lauded, is considered a little too late for many recent crypto-targets of the SEC.

Congestion is good!

Transferring the stolen crypto stash to other accounts is a well-known means of money laundering. A Chinese-based crypto Ponzi scheme’s efforts to move stolen crypto-tokens to dozens of wallets were, however, throttled as the transfers could not qualify for the block due to their low transaction fees.

An uncensorable browser

This week saw the launch of a private and uncensorable web browser – HandyBrowser. This browser is aimed to provide access to the internet without any restrictions using the distributed Handshake network. 

Blockchain voting is a go!

In recent times, there has been an uptrend in exploring voting solutions using Blockchain. Sanseito, a Japanese political party, is using Blockchain to connect its party members and supporters spread across the globe, and collect their votes in a transparent way. The party looking for ways to take their decision process online, found Blockchain as the best digital voting system. 

Blockchain voting is a no-go?

On the other hand, things were not looking up for Russian Blockchain-based voting systems. Residents of Moscow were to record their votes for a referendum on Blockchain between June 25 and June 30. It, however, did not turn out so well. Some systems reported three times more the number of voters, while some people were able to vote more than once.  

Wirecard – A cautionary tale

It is yet another example that highlights the importance of vetting the crypto-businesses before engaging with them. Wirecard, a Visa equivalent of the crypto-world, recently revealed that some of its employees were purposefully inflating the company’s revenue, which has resulted in a $2.1 billion hole in the company’s books. Now Wirecard has filed for insolvency. A ban is imposed on the company’s operations by the U.K regulator. Crypto.com and TenX, the two companies that offer cryptocurrencies via Wirecard, claim that the customers’ funds are safe. Crypto.com plans to refund its customers within the next 48 hours.

Big Firm investment into crypto

A lot of tech giants are increasingly becoming interested in crypto-space. KPMG, one of the big four accounting firms, has recently launched a cryptocurrency platform. The objective is to bridge the gap between traditional data and crypto-assets.  

A Digital Identity week

This week saw many blockchain-based digital identity solution launches. A group of 17 Chinese firms, including Baidu and Tencent Cloud, launched a distributed digital identity alliance. This group will focus on the current state, advantages, and applications of decentralized IDs. Next, South Korean SK Telecom launched a Blockchain-based drivers’ license verification app. This Pass app allows verification of the user’s license for a variety of services. Finally, Venezuela plans to add bitcoin as a new payment option for citizens applying for Venezuelan passports.

And finally, “Warp Speed, Mr.Crypto”

Digital tokens continues to allure the celebrities of the entertainment industry. William Shatner, famous as Captain Kirk from the classic Star Trek series, is the new kid on this block. Soon, many personal memorabilia belonging to Shatner will be available in the digital form on the soon-to-be-launched WAX Blockchain. The tokens can be bought, sold, and traded on WAX Blockchain.

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