Blockchain This Week – Crypto Goes Mainstream

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JPM Coin and JP Morgan Onyx Blockchain Unit Launch

This week, JP Morgan Chase, one of the world leaders in financial services, launched its first commercial-use stablecoin – JPM Coin. As per reports, the bank intends to leverage the digital currency extensively for cross border payments. Additionally, the firm has announced a separate and dedicated business unit – Onyx – with a focus on digital currency and Blockchain technology. This division will be headed by Umar Farooq as the CEO and will have over 100 employees.

Avanti Wins a Bank Charter 

Joining the ranks of Kraken this week is another digital assets management company – Avanti. On Oct 28, the Wyoming State Banking Board voted unanimously, 8-0, to grant the financial institution approval to operate the new crypto-friendly bank under the name Avanti Bank and Trust. Besides, the new bank is also permitted under the charter to promote its Avit coin, intended to modernize USD payments. The bank plans to commence its crypto bank services to customers in early 2021. But initially, it will limit the facilities to high minimum balance accounts.

Visa’s Plaid Acquisition Under DoJ Radar

Meanwhile, the credit card service provider Visa’s foray into crypto space is under scrutiny. Visa had revealed its US $5.3 billion Plaid acquisition in January this year. This week, this acquisition has initiated an antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice (DoJ.) The DoJ has filed a petition with the US District Court of Massachusetts. As per the petition, Bain & Company, the consulting firm behind this acquisition, withheld important documents demanded by the department. As a result, the US authorities have taken legal action against the consulting firm to obtain the necessary documentation on the acquisition.

Binance’s Alleged Elaborate Scheme to Evade the US Regulators

This week, Forbes reported about the existence of a 2018 document that allegedly details a strategic scheme for deceiving regulators, created by some senior Binance executives. The document obtained by Forbes purportedly outlines the plan of setting up an unnamed US company dubbed the Tai Chi entity, in an allusion to the Chinese martial art. This entity aims to start operating in the US to distract regulators with feigned interest in compliance. Meanwhile, the aim was to put up measures to move additional revenue to the parent company, Binance. Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, the CEO and founder of Binance, retorted in a series of tweets asserting that the accusations are incorrect and that the document itself is not legitimate. 

Bitcoin Continues to Make News

Bitcoin price continues its rally this week. The price has been over US $13K for most of the week. It is holding at US $13,623.85 at the time of writing. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin network has slowed down and resulted in a large number of unconfirmed transactions. The number was as high as 100,000 on Oct 27. 

However, in intriguing news on Bitcoin, on Oct 27, someone anonymously sent bitcoins amounting to US $1 billion from a Xapo wallet but paid only US $3.54 in transaction fees. Two transactions were minutes apart, sent from the same wallet to two different addresses in amounts of 45,671 and 43,185 bitcoins each.

Cambodia Launches Blockchain-Powered Banking Platform

Cambodia has officially launched an inter-banking network leveraging Blockchain on Oct 28. Bakong, the platform for digital money transactions, was established under the initiative of the Cambodian national bank. As per the report, Bakong is not a CBDC, but a payment and money transfer service enabled through banks and other financial institutions.

Cuban Underground Bitcoin Network

According to an Oct 26 report by Cuba’s new agency, the country has found a new means to circumvent the sanctions imposed by the US government way back in 1962. As per the report, anyone who wants to send payments to Cuba has to buy Bitcoin and send them through Cuban crypto exchange BitRemesas. Cuban crypto users bid for the best price of the coins through WhatsApp or Telegram. After finalizing the deal, the parties agree on a time and date to trade Cuban pesos for Bitcoin. One intriguing element in this legally questionable trade is that the traders often endure long bike journeys to complete their trade transactions.

Iran Allows Using Crypto for Imports

Meanwhile, similarly burdened Iran has also purportedly turned towards cryptocurrencies. As per reports, the country’s cabinet has amended the legislation to allow the Iranian Central Bank to fund the imports with cryptocurrencies. The revision would mean that legally mined crypto in Iran can only be exchanged if used to pay for imports from other nations.

Tracking Crypto Tax in Real-Time

Tyler Winklevoss, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, announced this week that his firm is partnering with tax firm TaxBit. According to Winklevoss, the TaxBit software will enable the users to track the tax they will incur for their crypto trades in real-time. Accordingly, the customers of the crypto exchange can increase their tax refunds and lower their tax liability.

Artists and Music Lovers Gets Rewarded in Crypto Tokens

With an objective to increase transparency and reduce middle-men in the music industry, the music streaming platform Audius has decided to leverage Blockchain. This week, the company retroactively distributed 50 million native AUDIO tokens to artists and listeners on its platform. The distribution came alongside the launch of the AUDIO governance token. Audius distributed a total of five percent of the token’s initial one billion supply to its top 10,000 artists and fans. 

And Finally, a Phone With Integrated Wallet for Chinese CBDC

This week, Huawei announced that its forthcoming HuaweiMate 40 smartphone series would have an integrated hardware wallet that supports China’s digital yuan. As per the announcement, the users will also be able to transfer funds by just touching their devices together, even when the phones are offline – all these while the users remain anonymous.


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