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Blockchain This Week – Green Initiatives and a High Profile Platform Launch

Apple Co-Founder Launches Efforce, a Company to Facilitate Funding for Green Initiatives Leveraging Blockchain and Crypto

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has launched Efforce, a company that enables investing in green projects with Blockchain and its native WOZX token. The company aims to “democratize” the US $250 billion market for energy efficiency projects. Here is how it works. You would go to the HBTC or Bithumb exchange, use your Tether (USDT) to buy WOZX. Yes, you cannot buy WOZX with fiat, but only using the Tether token that is paired with it. And, WOZX is at present listed only on the HBTC and Bithumb crypto exchange. You can then head to the Efforce Blockchain-driven energy platform and use your the purchased WOZX to invest in carbon offset projects such as reforestation, renewable energy, etc. The platform tracks the energy efficiency of these projects. The carbon credits earned by the users by investing in these ventures would be returned to the investors.

The token reached a market cap of $950 million in its first 13 minutes of trading on the HBTC platform. The price of the currency also catapulted more than 3000 percent within a week into trading. What started at $0.10 beginning of this week was, at the time of writing, cruising at $3.04, according to CoinMarketCap.

Twitter Founder’s Square Pledges for Green Mining

The payments firm Square announced the Bitcoin Clean Energy Investment Initiative on Tuesday. This initiative is the latest push by the company that pledges to go carbon neutral by 2030. Square is committing US $10 million to promote other companies that use renewables to power the Bitcoin mining rigs. According to its CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, cryptocurrency will eventually be powered entirely by clean energy, thereby eliminating its carbon footprint. Square has also partnered with Watershed, a company that drives climate programs.

Libra Diem Cannot Catch a Break

Last week, the beleaguered Libra Association announced that it would rebrand itself as the Diem Association. It was the latest attempt to earn itself some favorable glances from the regulatory authorities across the globe. However, this endeavor hit a roadblock this week, when a namesake London-based FinTech firm threatened it with a lawsuit over the use of the Diem name. The co-founder of the original Diem company, Chris Adelsbach, stated that while he was intimidated by the prospect of a legal battle with Facebook, he is determined to protect his brand based on the legal advice he has received. 

Mainstream Financial Institutions and Crypto

German Bank Announced Its First Crypto Fund

The German bank, Hauck & Aufhäuser, announced its first crypto fund – the HAIC Digital Asset Fund I, this week. Launching Jan 1, 2021, the fund will reportedly cover 85 percent of the crypto asset market. It will target institutional investors looking to invest in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, and Stellar. The minimum investment would be 200,000 Euros.

World’s Leading Business Intelligence Firm Invests in Bitcoin

MicroStrategy, the world’s largest publicly traded business intelligence firm, announced this week that it plans to invest the net proceeds from US $400 million securities into Bitcoin. The firm delineated its plans to issue 400 million in convertible notes while investing the earnings from the sale into Bitcoin. The firm will also pay half-yearly interest to the holders of these notes until Dec 2025.

Japan’s SBI Teams up With Swiss SIX Exchange to Launch Crypto Services in Singapore

At the Singapore Fintech Festival held this week, the SBI Digital Holdings and SIX Digital Exchange announced their joint endeavor to launch a crypto platform in Singapore. As per the report, the venture will target institutional clients. It will offer a wide variety of services such as issuing, listing, trading, and custody of digital assets and cryptocurrencies. The platform is anticipated to go live by 2022, subject to regulatory approval from authorities in Singapore.

Standard Chartered Bank Enters Crypto Custody Space

Standard Chartered, one of the reputed banks based in the UK, announced its plans to launch the cryptocurrency custodial services for institutional investors. It will be partnering with the US-based investment management firm Northern Trust. The custody offering, called Zodia, will be going through the registration and approval process in the UK and is expected to commence its operations in 2021. Initially, it will support Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

One of the World’s Oldest Bank Issues Stablecoins

The German Bankhaus von der Heydt (BVDH) bank revealed this week that it is working on the first ever direct issuance of a stablecoin. The bank is partnering with Bitbond, a technology provider for tokenization and digital asset custody services. This stablecoin will be issued on the Stellar Blockchain. 

Singapore’s Largest Bank Sets up Crypto Exchange Division

DBS, the largest bank in Singapore, is launching a new cryptocurrency exchange division called DBS Digital Exchange. The venture is supported by SGX, Singapore’s largest derivatives and asset exchange. SGX owns a 10% stake in the crypto platform. The platform will serve only the institutional and accredited investors who will be able to trade in Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, and Bitcoin Cash.

A 169 Year Old Insurance Giant Invests in Bitcoin

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. is investing $100 million in bitcoin and buying a $5 million equity stake in NYDIG, an institutional bitcoin provider. With this investment, MassMutual intends to seek a measured yet meaningful exposure to an increasingly digital world.

DeFi Comes to Cardano

A decentralized e-commerce platform called Bondly is going to be the first DeFi solution to run on the Cardano Blockchain. The release is slated for Feb 2021. Dubbed the Goguen rollout, it will allow building Dapps on the platform and enable integration of DeFi projects to the Cardano ecosystem.

Crypto World Wants Pardon for the Silk Road Founder

Several familiar faces of the crypto space are urging the US President Donald Trump to grant pardon to the Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. Silk Road was an online black market notorious as a platform to trade illegal drugs. It was one of the first darknet markets operated as a Tor hidden service. While many see Ulbricht as a perpetrator who deserves to be punished, some consider that he has sufficiently paid for his crimes. On Twitter, the petition to save Ulbricht was led by Jason Williams from the Morgan Creek Digital Assets and Peter McCormack of the What Bitcoin Did podcast fame.

Victims of the Cryptopia Hack Can Now Claim Their Investment

Grant Thorton LLP, the tax and advisory firm, the official liquidator of the defunct crypto firm, Cryptopia, announced this week that the customers affected by the crypto company’s 2019 hack can start their claims process. New Zealand based Cryptopia became the victim of a severe hacking incident in early 2019 that resulted in it losing US $16 million.

And Finally, Crypto Comes To BBC

World renowned broadcaster, BBC, has now entered into the NFT foray with Doctor Who: Worlds Apart. BBC, along with Reality Gaming Group, launched a collection of the Doctor Who trading cards. Doctor Who is one of the oldest and most loved television series, loved by fans worldwide. The tokens represent the 200 hand-drawn artwork covering several characters, objects, and scenes from the iconic show and span the show’s 57-year history.

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