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Blockchain This Week – A Square Deal

Jack Dorsey’s Square Invests One Percent of Its Assets in Bitcoin

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is a known crypto-advocate. His company Square, Inc., has been foraying into the crypto-space for a couple of years. However, this time, it took a step forward when the company invested US $50 million of its funds to purchase 4,709 bitcoins. It amounts to one percent of the company’s assets. According to Square, cryptocurrency is an instrument of economic empowerment and provides a way for the world to participate in a global monetary system, which aligns with the company’s purpose.

Blockchain Initiatives Across the Globe

China

In an effort to promote digital currency, the city of Shenzhen, in partnership with the country’s central bank, is giving away 10 million digital yuan (US $1.5 million) to its citizens. The money will be distributed to 50,000 people through a lottery. Each recipient will receive 200 renminbi, which they can spend at any of the 3,389 merchants in the city’s Luohu district from Oct 12 to 18. According to the authorities, this money cannot be transferred to others, and any unspent amount will be taken back after Oct 18.

Recently, it was revealed that about 40 Chinese notaries are using Blockchain to manage their cases. They have handled over 3,000 trials using Hui Cun, a Blockchain-based notary platform that launched in January this year. The notaries primarily use Blockchain to store pictures and videos that serve as essential proofs for the litigations.

And finally, despite the overwhelmingly positive response to the adoption of Blockchain, Chinese authorities still consider privacy as a potential problem with the use of the technology. One such instance came to light last week when Chinese officials aired their privacy concerns about Cn-Healthcare, the country’s first Blockchain-powered hospital set to launch next year.  

South Korea

On Oct 7, the South Korean central bank announced that it would start a virtual pilot for the country’s CBDC next year. As per the report, the Bank of Korea will create a virtual environment by using blockchain technology and test whether our CBDC can be used for real-world transactions.

Meanwhile, BMW Korea is set to become the first branch of the BMW Group to trial a Blockchain-enabled rewards program – BMW Vantage. The rewards program uses Blockchain technology to allocate and track tokens for the customers. Customers can earn reward points by purchasing the BMW vehicles or by using the BMW app with gaming and social features. They will be able to pay or get discounts on services using the earned points.

Japan

On Oct 9, the Bank of Japan released a document outlining its approach for a Japan focussed CBDC. As per the report, the central bank will begin its first of the several testing phases in 2021. The first phase will include the development of a test environment where digital currency will function as a payment instrument.

France

This week, inhabitants of Verneuil-sur-Seine commune in France voted on a road planning project using the Avosvotes app built on the Tezos Blockchain. Residents can voice their opinions on a road bypass between the towns of Orgeval to Les Mureaux near the Seine River using the Blockchain-based voting system

Egypt

COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the Egyptian economy into recession. Contrarily it has also resulted in increased Bitcoin trading in the country. As per estimates, unemployment in Egypt significantly grew in 2020 with more than half a million Egyptians have lost their jobs this year. Alongside, flexibility of working from home, reduced working hours, and restrictions on venturing out of homes, has encouraged several Egyptians to invest their spare time in Bitcoin trading and mining. In 2020, an estimated 16,000 Egyptians have joined the Bitcoin Egypt community.

Crypto Crimes

KuCoin Saga

KuCoin story continues this week as well. Johnny Lyu, the CEO of the company, revealed this week that they are able to identify the suspects behind the hack and have substantial evidence against the perpetrators. He also stated that the exchange has been able to recover US $204 million of the $281 million stolen in crypto last week. On Oct 7, the crypto exchange announced that it is partly resuming the deposit and withdrawals since the hack.

Meanwhile, the eccentric millionaire, the brain behind Ghost privacy-focused cryptocurrency, John Mcafee, has been arrested in Spain and is waiting for extradition to the US. On Monday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a suit against McAfee for purportedly promoting ICOs without disclosing that the ICO issues were paying him, which is a violation of the US securities law.

Blockchain and Green Initiatives

Blockchain to Help Corporates Offset Carbon Emissions

Professional services firm KPMG announced this week a patent-pending Blockchain solution that aims to help companies trace, measure, report, and offset their greenhouse gas emissions. As per KPMG, the platform – Climate Accounting Infrastructure – is intended to be an indelible record of carbon emissions on Blockchain. 

Meanwhile, the MOBI working group led by Honda and GM revealed global standards for using Blockchain to create distributed EV charging networks. The design specifications explain how the charging systems can better utilize green energy. The standards also talk about vehicle-to-grid integration and tokenized carbon credits. 

And Finally, Crypto for Congress

On Oct 5, all members of the US Congress received a US $50 campaign contribution in Bitcoin from the Chamber of Digital Commerce PAC. It was a part of an initiative called Crypto for Congress. Furthermore, the Chamber of Digital Commerce is providing online training, a toolkit, and other necessary resources to all the members to help them engage with the crypto ecosystem.

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