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Blockchain This Week – World’s View on Crypto and CBDC, Volcano Bonds on Blockchain, Green Mining

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Deutsche Bundesbank Conducts DLT Securities Settlement on Blockchain

The German federal bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, successfully completed testing a project that coalesces traditional finance with Blockchain tech. The pilot, done in partnership with Deutsche Börse Group and the German Finance Agency, did not require a CBDC. Instead, the securities transactions used the real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) and were recorded on Blockchain. 

Jamaica’s Imminent CBDC Trial

The Central Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) announced this week regarding its CBDC pilot. The trial will run on its fintech regulatory sandbox from May to December this year. BoJ has chosen Ireland-based eCurrency Mint as its technology partner.

Digital Yuan as a Backup

Speaking at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) seminar, Mu Changchun, the director of Digital Currency Research Institute at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), said that China’s digital yuan would be a “backup” to Alipay and WeChat. He suggested if “something bad” were to happen to Alipay or WeChat Pay, it could harm China’s financial system as both together constitute 98 percent of the mobile payments. Hence, PBoC’s digital yuan is a necessary backup payment option.

Japan’s Experiments With CBDC

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) has launched a committee as it plans to experiment with CBDC. The central bank, nonetheless, stressed that it has no plans to issue a digital currency at the moment. The initial phase of the experiment is scheduled to commence in April.

India’s Tussle With Crypto Continues

First, the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs announced this week that the government is amending existing regulations on companies’ required financial disclosures. As per the new rules that will come to effect from Apr 1, the firms that have traded or invested in digital currencies during the last financial year have to delineate the profits and losses incurred on the crypto transactions.

Second, according to an unfounded report, Indian authorities are mulling on blocking the IP addresses of exchanges and companies that operate in the crypto space.

And finally, amid all the uncertainties, a prominent crypto exchange Coinbase intends to set up its shop in India. It plans to “house some IT services, including engineering, software development, and customer support operations in India.” Coinbase expects to open a physical office eventually in India, however momentarily, all its hires in India would work remotely.

Nigeria’s Clarification on Their Crypto Stand

Last month, it was reported that the Nigerian Central Bank had ordered the financial institutions to shut down all accounts associated with crypto trading. It was construed as an attempt to stifle the use of cryptocurrencies in the African nation. This week, however, Deputy Governor Adamu Lamtek clarified that the bank had never banned cryptocurrencies, nor are they discouraging people from using them. Instead, according to Lamtek, the central bank is only prohibiting crypto transactions in the banking sector.

Bitcoin – A Substitute for Gold, Not US Dollar

Jerome Powell, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, reiterated his stand on crypto this week. He considers Bitcoin as too volatile to be money as it is backed by nothing. It is an asset for speculation and not much as a means of payment. He said, nevertheless, it could be a substitute for gold rather than for the US Dollar.

Brazilian Stock Exchange Approves Crypto ETFs

The Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) approved two ETFs that will trade in crypto this week. These are the first approved crypto ETFs in Latin America. One of them is 100 percent Bitcoin, while the other is composed of five cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin.

OKEx Closes Shop in South Korea Citing Regulatory Hurdles

The crypto exchange OKEx is withdrawing from South Korea. It has been cited that the new AML laws would make it difficult to operate. As per the announcement, OKEx is suspending its services from Apr 7.

AMD to Not Dissuade Crypto Mining on Their Graphics Card

The processor manufacturer AMD asserted this week that it is not going to add any inhibiting software on its graphics cards to restrict its usage for crypto mining activities. This clarification comes at the heels of its competitor Nvidia’s decision to install a limiter on some of its chips to prevent them from being used in mining Ether. Nvidia reportedly added the software heeding to the complaints of the gamers who believe mining demand is causing a shortage of graphic cards.

Proof of Presence

IoTeX, a privacy-focused platform for IoT, is proposing the idea of using device location to ascertain data authenticity. The device, named Pebble Tracker, will capture the information, including its location, the ambient temperature, and air quality. This data is recorded and used in scores of Blockchain-based applications. One prominent use case is verifying the temperature of COVID-19 vaccines throughout their supply chain journey.

Ronaldo Rewarded With Crypto Tokens

The Portuguese professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is now the first soccer player whose career achievements have been rewarded in crypto. Ronaldo, who plays as a forward for Serie A club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team, received 770 JUV tokens. Each one represents the goal he scored during his career. JUV is the official Juventus fan token that is worth US $15.26 per token.

Dorsey’s Tweet Garners US $2.9 Million

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, sold his first-ever tweet as an NFT for US $2,915,835.47. It culminated a two-week bidding war between Sina Estavi, the CEO of Bridge Oracle, and entrepreneur Justin Sun on Valuables, a platform for trading tweets as NFTs. Dorsey, as promised, converted the proceeds into Bitcoin and donated it to GiveDirectly, an organization working on addressing the needs of the African poor.

Justin Sun Buys US $6M Beeple

The crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun bought a piece of digital art by Beeple for US $6 million at the CarbonDrop auction of NFTs. CarbonDrop raised a cumulative US $6,662,954 from the three-day auction. The proceeds go to Open Earth Foundation, the climate accounting project from Yale University.

Tracking the NFT

NFT provenance, the proof of its origin, adds a significant value to the authenticity of the token. Third Millennia, a Blockchain firm founded by William Shatner of Star Trek fame, has partnered with Mattereum, a London-based digital twin trading platform, for an initiative that focuses on recording and tracking the provenance of the physical objects tokenized as NFTs.

A TV Show Episode as an NFT

A comedy series – Hold on for Dear Life (HODL) – reflecting the lives of crypto entrepreneurs is in development at Beacon Pictures, an independent production company. The show is created by an anonymous crypto insider who goes by the name “Suhh Toshee”. The scripted TV series about crypto is also funded by it. Additionally, the producers are also planning on releasing an entire episode of the show as an NFT.

Times of Crypto

Times magazine featured in this week’s crypto news. The 98-year-old publishing house listed a job posting for a Chief Financial Officer. The expectation from the candidates is, among others, “Comfort with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Alongside, it is dabbling in the NFT space as well. This week, Times announced that it is auctioning three NFTs inspired by some of its most iconic magazine covers. The NFTs will be sold on SuperRare, a digital art marketplace.

Buying Tesla With Bitcoin

Elon Musk, the self-anointed Technoking of Tesla, announced this week that now the customers can buy a Tesla with Bitcoin. He added that the payments in Bitcoin would be retained as crypto and not converted to fiat money.

Microsoft Contemplating Crypto Payments for Xbox

Technology giant Microsoft reportedly is considering adding Bitcoin payments to its Xbox online store. In a Reddit post on r/XboxSeriesX, Microsoft has put up a survey asking the Xbox users if they prefer to use Bitcoin as an online payment option. 

Microsoft’s ION Digital ID Network on Bitcoin

Microsoft launched the ION Decentralized Identifier (DID) network on the Bitcoin mainnet. It is a layer 2 network that uses Bitcoin’s blockchain to create digital IDs for verifying identity online. According to Microsoft, such a platform will enable users to authenticate themselves without having to remember passwords or use emails or phone numbers.

Robinhood to Go Public

Robinhood Markets, a trading platform for traditional and cryptocurrencies, has filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public. It has submitted a draft registration Form S-1 with SEC with a proposed public offering of its common stock.

Green Bitcoin Mining

Argo Blockchain, based out of the UK, announced its partnership with DMG Blockchain Solutions to launch a Bitcoin mining pool powered by clean energy. Terra Pool will initially consist of both Argo’s and DMG’s hashrate, and is generated by hydroelectric resources.

And Finally, a Blockchain-Based Catastrophe Bond

The Danish Red Cross is floating a bond backed by Blockchain technology that aims at providing relief in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. Red Cross is partnering with several humanitarian aid organizations and working with Blockchain tech by Replexus, a platform for insurance risk securitization. It plans to raise around US $3 million and focus on ten active volcanoes around the world.

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