Blockchain This Week – Indian Banks, Media Mughals, MicroStrategy, El Salvador, World Wide Web, Titan

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15 Banks Form Indian Trade Finance Consortium on Blockchain

Fifteen banks have formed a new entity that will use Blockchain technology to process letters of credit for domestic transactions in India. The new company, Indian Banks’ Blockchain Infrastructure Co Pvt Ltd (IBBIC), includes ten private sector banks, four public sector banks, and a foreign lender. This platform will also verify Goods and Services Tax (GST) data using invoices and e-way bills. It will speed up transaction processing time and eliminate the risk of fraud.

MicroStrategy’s Increasing Bitcoin Appetite

This week, the business intelligence firm, MicroStrategy, made two strategic Bitcoin investment decisions. First, it is investing up to $488 million of the $500 million bond sale proceeds in Bitcoin. Next, it plans to sell over $1 billion worth of stocks to buy even more. As of last week, MicroStrategy has 92,079 Bitcoin that is being held by a newly formed subsidiary, MacroStrategy LLC.

El Salvador and Bitcoin

CABEI to Help El Salvador

The government of El Salvador is seeking help from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) to implement Bitcoin as a legal tender in the country. In response, CABEI announced that it would form a technical advisory group for the El Salvador Bitcoin bill.

El Salvador Mulls Over Paying Wages in Bitcoin

Rolando Castro, the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare in El Salvador, has proposed that the employers pay their workers in Bitcoin. He has discussed this matter with the officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy. It would, however, mean overhauling a 2001 law that mandates that the salaries are only paid in US Dollars or Costa Rican Colónes.

World Bank Refuses to Support El Salvador’ Bitcoin Strategy

The World Bank said it had refused a request from El Salvador to help implement Bitcoin as legal tender. The World Bank provides grants and technical assistance to countries planning large financial initiatives. It has cited Bitcoin’s lack of transparency and its environmental impact as reasons for its refusal.

Tesla Might Accept Bitcoin

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted earlier this week that when he sees a “confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage” in Bitcoin mining, Tesla would resume accepting Bitcoin payments. He further confirmed that Tesla had sold only 10% of its Bitcoin holding to ensure that it can be “liquidated easily without moving market.”

Crypto Bank Run

A crypto bank run of sorts caused Iron Finance’s Titanium (TITAN) token to crash from $64.04 to near zero in 24 hours. According to Iron Finance’s post mortem report, a few big holders selling their TITAN tokens led several panicked users to start redeeming IRON and selling their TITAN. Iron Finance compared this situation to all bank account holders running to withdraw their money from the bank that would cause the bank to collapse. One of the prominent victims was Mark Cuban, who confirmed that he “got hit like everyone else” but did not disclose the value of his loss.

Chinese Banks Enables Digital Yuan – Cash Conversion

The Industrial and Commerce Bank of China has become the first bank in the country to enable the conversion between digital yuan and cash. People can visit any of the over 3,000 ATM locations in Beijing and withdraw yuan in exchange for their digital currency. They can also deposit money and convert it into digital renminbi. Agricultural Bank of China, or AgBank, also has provided similar features at over 10 ATMs in Beijing. 

Chinese District Trial CBDC Wage Payments

China’s Xiong’an New Area is experimenting with using digital yuan to pay some workers. It is partnering with People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the reform and development bureau of Xiong’an’s management committee and using Blockchain Fund Payment Platform for the project.

Indian Government Might Favor Crypto Regulation Instead of Ban

The Indian government reportedly no longer plans to ban cryptocurrencies. Instead, it will most likely classify Bitcoin as an asset class. Moreover, a crypto regulatory bill may be up for discussion during the Monsoon Session of Parliament. 

Blockchain to Stop Forced-Labor Goods

The Australian Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade Committee report recommends exploring Blockchain technology to help prevent importing forced labor goods from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and other parts of China. As per the committee, new technologies including Blockchain can empower companies and governments to efficiently and effectively trace their supply chains.

DeFi to Crowdsource Solar Panels for Africa

Energy firm Energy Web has partnered with Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) solar and mini-grid solutions provider ENGIE Energy Access. Together, they will develop a Decentralized Finance (DeFi) system to provide crowdfunded loans for solar installations in Africa. The micro-investors who stake Energy Web Tokens on this platform will earn returns on the money invested. 

Mark Cuban Invests in Decentralized Climate Marketplace

The billionaire investor, Mark Cuban, has joined dClimate, a decentralized marketplace for climate data, as an investor and strategic adviser. Cuban’s investment amount and its terms are, however, unknown at the moment.

Sygnum Bank and DeFi

Sygnum Bank, based out of Switzerland, which already offers stablecoin services, is now launching custody and trading facilities for Defi tokens. It plans to include Aave, Aragon, Curve, Synthetic, Uniswap, and 1inch network tokens.

Cross Border Payments Network on Algorand

Six Clovers, a fintech infrastructure provider, is launching a cross border payments platform on Algorand Blockchain. This network will use regulated stablecoins and enable banks, merchants, and payment providers to transact globally. The initiative is led by two former PayPal employees and one from Ripple.

BIS Launches Innovation Hub in Scandinavia

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) launched an innovation hub in Scandinavia with four Nordic central banks – Danmarks Nationalbank, Central Bank of Iceland, Norges Bank, and Sveriges Riksbank. It will focus on CBDCs, Open finance, cybersecurity, and green finance.

US Political Parties and Crypto

This week, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) announced in a FinTech Task Force hearing that she is forming a working group that includes Democratic House members. She said that the group would engage with regulators and experts to understand the minimally regulated crypto industry better.

Meanwhile, the Republicans’ campaign arm will start accepting contributions in cryptocurrencies. The National Republican Congressional Committee, however, will convert the crypto donations into fiat using BitPay services.

Docker Changes Its Free Tier Policy to Combat Crypto Mining Exploits

Docker, the container-based Continuous Integration (CI) solution provider, announced some changes to its free tier offering to address the issue of illegal crypto mining activities. It stated that the “autobuild” feature that is often misused by malicious actors, would not be offered as a part of its free services.

Travala Launches Decentralized Rental Service

Travala.com launched a decentralized vacation rental service, Dtravel. It is a network governed by house owners and guests together – via the Dtravel Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). Payments are made with Travala’s native TRVL token. 

Nornickel Intends to Teach Investors About Digital Assets

Nornickel, the metal producer, is launching Exchange Traded Commodities (ETCs) on nickel and copper at the London Stock Exchange and Borsa Italiana. The customers who buy these ETCs will also receive digital tokens in addition to the traditional certificates. Nornickel believes that metal-backed tokens will teach institutional investors about digital assets. These tokens will be issued by Atomyze, Nornickel’s tokenization platform built on Hyperledger Fabric. 

Fox and CNN Enter NFT World

Fox Entertainment and its animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment, are channeling $100 million into a creator fund to expand its emerging NFT business. Fox also launched its NFT marketplace Blockchain Creative Labs to engage and reward its fans. 

Similarly, CNN has launched an NFT project, “Vault by CNN: Moments That Changed Us.” It includes NFTs tokenizing several moments from its 41-years history and a vault to buy and store the NFTs.

And Finally, World Wide Web Source Code as an NFT

Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first web client and server in 1990 while he was at CERN. It formed the basis for the Internet as we know it today. The 9,555 lines of World Wide Web source code written between 1990 and 1991 will now be tied to an NFT and auctioned at Sotheby’s from June 23 to June 30. The winning bidder can access the source files and will receive a letter from Berners-Lee, along with a 30 minutes video created by a graphic designer that shows the code being written.

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