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Blockchain This Week – Blockchain Adoption Gains Momentum

COVID-19 and Blockchain

Track COVID-19 Test Results With Blockchain

The COVID-19 tests done at the Frankfurt airport are now backed by Iota Blockchain. Ubrich GmbH, a Blockchain-based tech company, is the facilitator of this Blockchain-driven Digital Corona Test Certificate solution. This solution reportedly allows verification of an individual’s COVID-19 test results while remaining compliant with the GDPR data protection standards.

Tourist Hotspot Introduces Contacts Tracking on Blockchain

Jeju Island, a popular travel destination in South Korea, has announced a Blockchain-based COVID-19 contact tracing solution. Iconloop, a Korea-based Blockchain firm, is the technology provider for this system, which is endorsed by the government of Jeju.

China and Blockchain

Chinese Bank Launches Digital Yuan ATMs

The state-owned Agricultural Bank of China has commenced a Digital Yuan pilot program. The bank customers can now avail this Digital Yuan ATM to deposit and withdraw their digital currency. They can also use this app to convert cash to CBDC and vice versa.

Hospital Bill on Blockchain

This week, a hospital in the Hainan province of China has successfully issued its first bill on Blockchain. The People’s Hospital of Chengmai County will also reportedly track invoices on Blockchain. 

BSN’s Ambitious “Network of CBDCs” Pilot

This week, China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) revealed an ambitious pilot. In the next five years, it aims to build a universal digital payment network that would support the CBDCs of several countries.  

US and Blockchain

US Navy to Track Weapons on Blockchain

This week, the US Navy awarded a US $1.5 million contract to SIMBA Chain. As per the deal, SIMBA will build a Blockchain solution for the Defense Logistics Agency. This system will determine the demand for critical military weaponry and would reduce disruptions in the engineering and maintenance operations.

Crypto Anti-Terrorism Bill

A bipartisan group of congress members have introduced a crypto anti-terrorism bill in the US House of Representatives. This bill comes in the backdrop of the disturbing news of crypto being used to fund the alt-right extremist groups that stormed the US Capitol last week. It recommends the creation of a task force to combat terrorist financing with cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin’s Crazy Swings

After galloping past US $40,000 and closing in on $42K, the price of Bitcoin tanked nearly $9,000. Earlier this week, the price reached a low of $32,300, wiping off $150 billion from the crypto markets. Some experts consider this drop as a price correction, often anticipated after a prolonged bull run. At the time of writing, one Bitcoin was worth $36,407.90.

Christine Lagarde Calls for Reining in Bitcoin

Meanwhile, this crazy swaying of Bitcoin price has alarmed the European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. In an interview, she deems Bitcoin as a “highly speculative asset” that facilitates “funny business.” She calls for the crypto to be regulated at the international level. 

Polkadot

Polkadot’s Surreal Growth

The DOT tokens of Polkadot, a Blockchain network promoting interoperability, have seen a significant uptick in the prices since the year began. Over the last week, the value has risen by 55.47 percent, according to Coinbase data. Experts cite several reasons for the uptrend – strong technical structure, growing interest in scalable Blockchains, and the DeFi craze.

Polkadot’s Community-Driven Overhaul

Furthermore, Polkadot announced a unique bounty program to revamp its platform design this week. The cross-chain interoperable network has hired the design agency Koto to lead the effort in redesigning the platform. What makes this exercise unique is that Koto will be basing all its decisions regarding the design using the inputs proposed and approved by the Polkadot community, who will participate in this bounty scheme. 

EOS Founder Quits the Firm

Dan Larimer, the co-founder and CTO of Block.one, the company behind the EOS Chain, announced his exit from the firm that he had built from the ground up. Following Larimer’s departure, the price of EOS fell by over 15 percent.

Anchorage Set to Become US’s First National Digital Asset Bank

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), often considered as a sympathizer of digital money, has granted its first digital bank charter. The crypto custodian, Anchorage, is the first crypto firm to have got the conditional approval for a national trust charter. 

Bakkt to Go Public 

The bitcoin custodian Bakkt is set to go public with an expected valuation of US $2.1 billion. The crypto firm has signed a deal to merge with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings. Consequently, the combined company called Bakkt Holdings, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

XRP – a Security or Not a Security?

While the US considers Ripple’s XRP as a security and has launched a lawsuit against the firm for selling the tokens as unlisted securities, several other countries contradict this opinion. The UK Treasury has deemed the XRP as a cryptocurrency.  Similarly, the Japanese Financial Services Agency affirmed that XRP does not meet the definition of a security under Japanese law. 

Though there is no consensus among the regulators on XRP’s status, its parent company, Ripple, has closed a deal with Malaysia’s Mobile Money and Bangladesh’s bKash to enable a remittance corridor between the two countries.

Cloudflare Unveils a Name Resolver for Distributed Web

Cloudflare, the ubiquitous web infrastructure provider, announced a name resolver for resolving the domain names of distributed systems such as Ethereum and IPFS. The blog post explains the technical challenges with using the regular DNS and the solution that Cloudflare’s offering presents. 

Social Platform IMVU Launches Digital Token

The 3D Avatar Social app, IMVU, has launched its VCOIN digital token this week. The social platform reportedly had obtained approvals from the US Securities and Exchange Commission late last year. VCOIN is an Ethereum-based ERC20 token. Users can buy goods and services on and off the IMVU platform with these tokens. They will also be able to convert tokens into cash. 

And Finally, Bizzare Things That Can Only Happen In The Crypto Universe

Have some extra Bitcoins lying around? You can now have two watering holes under your name!

Here is some good news for the crypto-enthusiasts who love their poison. Two New York City bars Could Be yours for ONLY 25 Bitcoin. The New York Post reported that Patrick Hughes, the owner of pubs Hellcat Annie’s and Scruffy Duffy’s, has put up these bars for sale. He is reportedly willing to sell them for 25 Bitcoin or 800 Ether.

$72 Million Prize to Find Buried Bitcoin Treasure

An IT engineer based out of the UK mistakenly threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins in 2013. These coins are worth close to £210 million (US $288 million) of bitcoin. He has been requesting the local government to allow him to search the local landfill for his device. This time around, he has a unique offer for the government of Newport, Wales. He has offered a reward of 25 percent of bitcoin that is worth close to US $72 million. He intends to donate this money to the Covid Relief Fund for the city’s residents.

Get the Password Wrong, Get Locked Out of Bitcoins Forever

A German-born San Francisco resident is on the verge of losing US $220 million worth of bitcoins. Stefan Thomas used a hard drive called an IronKey to hold the private keys to a digital wallet containing 7,002 bitcoins. Unfortunately, he lost the paper on which he had written down the password for the drive a long time ago. After ten failed attempts to crack the password, the contents of the disk will get encrypted forever. He has, so far, tried eight guesses and failed.

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