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Blockchain This Week – Institutional Crypto Adoption

Fidelity Investments’ imminent Bitcoin fund launch

Fidelity Investments is one of the earliest traditional investment firms that have expressed tremendous interest in alternate investment options such as Bitcoin. This week, they proved their seriousness about Bitcoin yet again. Peter Jubber, the president and director of Fidelity digital funds, filed the paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a new Bitcoin-based fund. The details about the fund, however, is not yet revealed. But as per the Forbes report, minimum investment to join this fund is US $100,000, which would mean it is likely to be meant only for the institutional investors. 

China continues its foray into Blockchain

Beijing’s municipal government is trialing a Blockchain-powered directory that connects the city’s 50 departments and enables data sharing among these departments. They have partnered with Huawei, who is contributing its proprietary Huawei Cloud Blockchain to build this directory. This system aims at improving government services and supporting the city’s businesses. 

On Digital Yuan, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) clarified this week that the test run of the currency is currently limited to small retail transactions. The clarification put to rest several rumors around the scale and scope of recent digital currency pilots. While PBOC does not have any ambitious short-term plans for the digital coin, they do intend to use it at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. As per reports, the central bank does not have a rollout plan for the currency, yet they aim to launch it before the 2022 Olympics.

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is working with Blockchain-based supply chain firm Everledger and collaborating with the local diamond sellers to prevent diamond counterfeits. Using Blockchain, the customers who buy diamonds can now verify their origin and thereby receive only genuine gemstones. 

South Korean bank leveraging Blockchain for e-KYC

Very soon, potential customers of Shinhan Bank can open bank accounts with remote KYC verification via an app powered by ICON Blockchain. ICONLOOP, the technology arm of ICON, has partnered with one of the largest banks in South Korea to issue KYC compliance certificates. The technology firm will also allow the customers to use decentralized identities (DID) to open the accounts. 

Federal Banks and their growing interest in digital currencies

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, operating under the US central bank, revealed this week that they are evaluating more than 30 different Blockchain platforms to determine the one best suited for the digital dollar. The assessment is a part of the collaborative research work, which Boston Fed is doing with MIT, on the feasibility of a tokenized US dollar.

Meanwhile, the Bank for International Settlements, considered as a bank for all central banks, released a report on digital currencies (CBDC) this week. According to the report, the interest in CBDCs is growing among the digitized and innovative economies. However, many countries look at digital currencies as a complement to cash and not as a replacement to it.

Consensys and Quorum

In one of the significant developments this week, Brooklyn-based Blockchain technology firm, ConsenSys, has acquired Quorum, one of the popular enterprise Blockchain platforms developed by JPMorgan Chase. As more and more projects started leveraging Quorum, it became evident that a bank isn’t best suited to manage this large scale software project. ConsenSys plans to continue the work on Quorum and merge its existing protocol’s roadmap with that of Quorum. On the other hand, JPMorgan, which has now become a customer of ConsenSys, has made an undisclosed long-term investment in the tech firm.

Decentralized VPN reaches 1 million users

Tachyon Protocol, a Blockchain-based decentralized virtual private network launched earlier this year, has reported garnering over a million users. This app is now among the top five popular DApps and is available for Android, iOS, and macOS. As per the product website, this VPN allows users to bypass restrictions on the internet and enables free access to sites such as Facebook and Netflix via its P2P network without central nodes.

Mining rigs crackdown

Tavanir, Iran’s power company, has reportedly shut down 1100 crypto mining farms that were allegedly operating without proper licenses. According to Tavanir, these farms were consuming high levels of subsidized electricity. Local authorities rely on individuals to help them crack down these alleged illegal activities since Tavanir cannot solely detect all the illegal farms. Individuals contributing information leading to unauthorized mining activities supposedly receive rewards of sums close to $480.

Similarly, in China’s inner Mongolia, the local authorities have suspended electricity perks from over 20 bitcoin mining farms. This clampdown means these mining farms will no longer enjoy the discounts from the liquid energy marketplace provided by the state-owned energy trading company in Mongolia.

Save the environment by bitcoin mining

On the other hand, petroleum multinational Equinor has partnered with Denver based Crusoe Energy System in an attempt to reduce the natural gas that gets released to the atmosphere. As a part of the strategic partnership, Equinor will use Crusoe’s digital flare mitigation technology to convert the waste natural gas into electricity that will be used for crypto mining activities.

Renewable energy and Blockchain

Power Ledger, a Blockchain firm focused on electricity and environmental commodity trading, has developed a renewable energy certificate marketplace for SE Asia. On Aug 25, the Australian firm announced its imminent launch across Thailand. The project has been developed in collaboration with the Thai renewable energy firm BCPG.

Meanwhile, Japanese firm Ricoh announced this week that it is developing a platform that aims at making the renewable energy systems more efficient using Blockchain. This power management system is part of Ricoh’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 63 percent by 2030. It has also pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050.

And finally, LINE adds more products to its Blockchain arsenal

The messaging giant LINE has launched two products to the company’s Blockchain and crypto portfolio. It has released a development platform called LINE Blockchain Developers for decentralized apps and services. Additionally, it has launched a digital asset wallet, BITMAX, that allows users to manage all their digital assets in one place.

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