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Blockchain This Week – CBDC, Ethereum in Space, Mining Council, Polygon, Carbon Neutrality

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Several Countries Experimenting with CBDC

South Korea Seeks Technology Partner

South Korea’s central bank is looking for a technology supplier to build a pilot platform for its national digital currency. The Bank of Korea launched a bidding process this week. The CBDC trial is scheduled to run from August to December this year.

South Africa Explores Retail CBDC

The South African Reserve Bank plans to explore the possibility of a CBDC that can be used for retail transactions. It would analyze the regulatory, security, policy, and risk management requirements and technologies that can play a significant role in the CBDC development.

Indonesia Takes on Digital Rupiah

Bank of Indonesia, the country’s central bank, announced its plans for a national digital currency. Governor Perry Warjiyo revealed that the digital rupiah would become a legal payment instrument in Indonesia and regulated in a similar fashion as cash or card transactions. 

Riksbank Forges Partnership to Test e-Krona

Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, has partnered with one of the country’s largest banks, Handelsbanken. Handelsbanken will work with the central bank to test how e-krona could be used as payment instruments in the real world.

Billionaire Investor Invests in Polygon

Mark Cuban revealed that he finds the layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution Polygon promising and hence made an undisclosed investment. In recent days, Polygon is becoming popular with the DeFi projects that are looking for a respite from the exorbitant transaction fees of the Ethereum network. 

Analyze Polygon Transactions Using Google BigQuery

Polygon and Google Cloud are teaming up to give Polygon users better visibility into the Blockchain network’s data. Polygon’s data can now be uploaded to Google data warehouse service, BigQuery. Analytics built on top of it can be leveraged by the users to monitor gas costs, contracts, and applications on the Polygon network.

Running Ethereum Node in Space

SpaceChain, an open source satellite network SpaceChain announced two imminent missions aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. The first, slated for June 3 and in partnership with space services company Nanoracks, will launch SpaceChain’s “space node.” This node will eventually be installed at the International Space Station and will join the Ethereum network from space. 

Marathon Digital’s Carbon Neutral Datacenter

Marathon Digital Holdings, a Bitcoin mining company based out of the US, aims to achieve 70 percent carbon neutrality in its mining operations. To do so, it has entered into a binding letter of intent to build a new datacenter that will use more environment friendly power sources. It will work alongside Compute North, another mining company, which will house close to 73,000 of Marathon’s Bitcoin miners as part of a new 300-megawatt facility in Texas.

Blockchain to Track Plastic Recycling

Asahi Kasei Corp. is launching Blue Plastics, a digital platform to trace plastic recycling using Blockchain. It has partnered with IBM Japan, Toyama Environmental Improvements, Mobius Packaging, and Lion. 

Fund to Offset Carbon Emissions of Bitcoin Mining

This week, the crypto asset fund manager One River filed a carbon neutral bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This ETF aims to provide a fund that offsets carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin Mining Council

A Bitcoin Mining Council spearheaded by Michael Saylor and Elon Musk has been established to address the energy consumption of the Bitcoin network. This council aims to promote transparency in energy usage among the miners & accelerate sustainability initiatives worldwide. Several crypto firms, including Galaxy Digital, Hive, and Argos Blockchain, are part of this council.

Chile to Track Renewable Energy Consumption on Blockchain

Chile’s national power grid coordinator, CEN, has launched a program called Renova to track each MWh of renewable energy from its generation to its consumption on Blockchain. It aims to give its users, including the ore miners of the copper-rich nation, to show their green credentials for the consumed clean energy.

Hong Kong Media to Preserve Protest Archives on Blockchain

Hong Kong media coverage of 2019 protests is set to be erased as reportedly ordered by the government. Several media houses, however, are increasingly turning to the LikeCoin Blockchain network to permanently preserve the protest archives. 

Banks in Nebraska to Offer Crypto Custody

Nebraska, a state in the midwestern United States, signed a crypto-friendly law this week that would allow state-licensed banks to offer crypto custody services. This bill was drafted by the crypto firm Telcoin and introduced by Republican state senator Mike Flood.

Gold Backed NFT

Digital wallet provider Lohko and technology firm Mattereum are collaborating to launch NFTs backed by gold. These NFTs that have carbon offsets associated and represent various denominations of gold are listed on Ethereum-based NFT marketplace OpenSea. Each token ascertains full legal rights to its holders, who can redeem the underlying physical gold bar.

Dfinity’s $223 Million Developers Fund

Dfinity Foundation launched a CHF 200 Million ($223 million) program that will award developer grants to teams that are building dapps, tooling, and infrastructure on Dfinity’s Internet Computer. Meanwhile, several in the crypto space have raised concerns over Dfinity’s alleged “total control” over the Network Nervous System, the backbone of the Internet Computer. They are also wary about the potential issues with users’ handing over their private data to the network for creating their “single internet identity.”

AllianceBlock and Hedera Hashgraph Collaboration

AllianceBlock, a globally compliant, blockchain-agnostic, decentralized capital market that aims to bridge traditional and decentralized finance, announced a collaboration with enterprise-focused DLT, Hedera Hashgraph. These firms are joining hands to advance global finance through DeFi solutions. Furthermore, AllianceBlock launched AllianceBridge, a product that will use Hedera Consensus Service to create verifiable and ordered log of transaction messages. AllianceBlock also plans to add Hedera Token Service into its decentralized identity solution.

Russia to Lift Crypto Payments Ban Partially

Pavel Krasheninnikov, chairman of the Russian Duma’s Committee on State Building and Legislation, revealed this week that the Russian government is considering allowing conditional crypto payments instead of a blanket ban. Amendments to the current legislation are being worked out that would, for instance, legally allow paying in crypto only if all involved parties agree as per their contract.

Chinese Bitcoin Miners Halt Operations

Several Bitcoin mining pools announced their plans to halt operations in China following the impending crackdown on the crypto mining activities by the Chinese authorities. Over the last weekend, Huobi Mall stated that it has stopped selling mining rigs and is suspending its mining operations. BTC.TOP plans to shift its base to North America. Similarly, HashCow is ceasing buying new mining rigs tentatively.

Meanwhile, the Energy Regulatory Office of the Chinese province of Sichuan confirmed that it would meet on June 2 to discuss the implications of the crackdown on the mining activities prolific in the region.

Inner Mongolia’s Tougher Crypto Crackdown

The government of Inner Mongolia is doubling down on the crypto crackdown. As per the proposed ruling, those who engage in crypto activities would be blacklisted from the country’s social credit system and banned from foreign travel. They could also face suspension of their business operations. Furthermore, the internet firms, cloud service providers, and even internet cafes that were engaged by the miners would also be penalized.

Iran Halts Crypto Mining

Iran is grappling with power shortages due to scant rainfall. Hassan Rouhani, the country’s president, ordered all crypto mining operations to cease until September 22 to reduce the load on the national power grid.

Attacks on Binance Smart Chain Continues

Bogged Finance, a DeFi platform running on Binance Smart Chain (BSC), was drained of $3 million in a flash loan attack earlier this week. The Bogged Finance team managed to thwart the attack within 45 seconds or 15 blocks and claim that their customers’ funds are safe.

Similarly, another DeFi protocol on BNC, BurgerSwap, suffered a flash loan attack where it lost close to $7.2 million. The perpetrators created their own fake coin, formed a trading pair with BURGER, the native token of BurgerSwap, and eventually changed BURGER’s price.

Ripple to Facilitate Real Time Payments

BankDhofar, Oman’s second-largest bank, has joined the payments network RippleNet. Consequently, BankDhofar customers can use the bank’s app to transfer up to 1,000 rials ($2,600) to their accounts in India’s IndusInd Bank in real-time.

Entertainment Agency Joins Theta Network

Top entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has joined Theta network as a council member. It will run a validator node in Theta’s Blockchain-based video delivery network and will contribute to governing the system. 

DocuSign and Clause Agreement

DocuSign announced this week that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the IP rights and hire the team from Clause. Clause works on a concept called “smart agreements” that incorporate computer code and smart contracts that bring the static “pictures of paper” to life. 

And Finally, World’s First Genomic NFT

Professor George Church, co-founder of Nebula Genomics and the first human to have his genome sequenced, is collaborating with artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Akon. Professor Church will auction his genome as the world’s first genomic NFT on Akon’s NFT platform, AkoinNFT. Nebula will use Oasis Labs’ Parcel SDK and Oasis Blockchain network to safeguard the underlying genomic data sold as the NFT.

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