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Blockchain This Week – Binance, CBDC Challenge, Robinhood IPO, USDC

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Binance and Regulators

Binance Exits Ontario

One of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, Binance, has announced that it will no longer provide services in the Canadian province of Ontario. Binance’s decision comes due to the regulatory pressure on digital asset trading platforms operating in Ontario. As per the updated terms of use on the exchange’s website, Ontario has become a restricted jurisdiction.

Japanese Regulator Issues Warning to Binance and its CEO

Japan’s Financial Services Agency issued a warning to Binance Holdings and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, late last week. As per the notice, Binance has been operating in Japan without official registration.

UK Regulator Issues Consumer Warning Against Binance

Similarly, the UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has issued a consumer warning. The regulator states that Binance Markets Limited is not permitted to undertake any regulated activity in the UK. It is due to the lack of prior written consent of the FCA.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Binance users complained that they were unable to withdraw or deposit in pound sterling from Binance’s Faster Payments network. But on Wednesday, Binance confirmed that services are back up.

Thai SEC Files Criminal Complaint

This week, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a criminal complaint with the Economic Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police (ECD) against Binance. The SEC claims that Binance is operating an unlicensed business in the country and has failed to respond to an earlier warning.

Singapore’s Regulator to “Follow Up”

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s financial regulator, said that it is closely watching the regulatory developments surrounding Binance. It is currently reviewing the crypto exchange’s application for a license to operate in Singapore and plans to “follow up” with the local subsidiary Binance Asia Services Pte. shortly.

Ukrainian Law Puts CBDC On Par With Cash

Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada passed the legislation for regulating payment methods this week. This new law mentions the future CBDC briefly but considered it as equal to cash and electronic payments.

A Competition to Tackle Unresolved CBDC Challenges

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched a CBDC competition. The participants are given 12 unresolved challenges in the CBDC space and are asked to come up with unique solutions. For this contest, MAS is partnering with IMF, ADB, UNCDF, UNHCR, UNDP, OECD, and World Bank.

Robinhood Files for IPO

This week, the trading platform Robinhood has filed a preliminary prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its IPO. As per the prospectus, close to 9.5 million customers have traded $88 billion of crypto on the platform in Q1. It has over $12 billion in crypto assets under custody, and 34% of its revenue has come from Dogecoin.

Crypto Firms Withdraw License Bids in the UK

Thirteen crypto firms withdrew their applications for the license to operate in the UK this week. The intense security of the crypto firms by the UK’s financial regulators is proving difficult for these companies, and hence more than 60 firms have given up on their attempts to register since June.

HSBC Goes Live on UAE’s KYC Blockchain Platform

This week, HSBC went live on the United Arab Emirates’ KYC platform that is powered by Norbloc’s Fides KYC Blockchain. HSBC is the fourth founding member to go live on the network. Financial institutions can use this network to fasten the onboarding of new customers by sharing the necessary KYC information.

Saudi Aramco Invests in Blockchain

The oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco is venturing into Blockchain space via its entrepreneurship arm, Wa’ed. Wa’ed is investing $1.5 million in IR4LAB, one of Saudi’s Blockchain tech providers. IR4LAB will use the money to develop its DocCerts solution that would help recruiters winnow fraudulent cases in job applications.

Iran Grants Crypto Mining Licenses

Despite banning mining operations citing lack of electricity, Iran’s Ministry of Industry has granted licenses for 30 crypto mining farms to operate. Six of them are issued to companies in the Semnan province, four to those in Alborz, Mazandaran, East Azarbaijan, and Zanjan. Only one firm in Tehran has been given the permit.

Korea’s Large Bank Joins Blockchain

One of South Korea’s largest banks, Shinhan Bank, has joined the governing council of Klaytn, a public Blockchain network developed by Ground X, an arm of South Korean social media company, Kakao. Shinhan plans to use Blockchain to foster the growth of the country’s fintech ecosystem.

Russia Starts CBDC Trial

The Russian central bank launched a digital ruble pilot this week. Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, and Alfa bank are participating in the trial. The aim is to enable a seamless transition from one form of the ruble to another.

German Institutions Can Invest in Bitcoin

A new law dubbed the Funds Location Act came into force in Germany this week. As a result, thousands of institutional investment funds can now invest in Bitcoin and other crypto assets for the first time. Fund managers can allocate up to 20% of a Spezialfond – funds limited exclusively to institutional investors – to crypto assets.

Now Buy USDC with Fiat Money on Crypto.com

The crypto platform crypto.com has partnered with Circle, the developer of USDC. As a result, users can transfer their fiat funds to Circle using the crypto.com app. They will receive USDC at a 1:1 conversion ratio within the app. This feature is available in 30 countries.

USDC Expands to Ten More Blockchains 

Centre, the consortium behind USDC, the second biggest stablecoin by market share, announced that they are enabling the members to issue USDC on ten more platforms. USDC was first launched on Ethereum in 2018 and was implemented on Algorand, Stellar, and Solana in 2020. According to the Centre, in the coming months, USDC will be available Avalanche, Celo, Flow, Hedera, Kava, Nervos, Polkadot, Stacks, Tezos, and Tron.

Coinbase’s Crypto Savings Account

Crypto exchange Coinbase is launching a crypto savings account that lets users earn 4% APY by lending their USDC. This product offers lower returns than others commonly issued by other crypto firms because it reportedly does not lend to “unidentified third parties.”

TP ICAP Announces Crypto Trading Platform

TP ICAP, the world’s largest interdealer broker, is launching a crypto trading platform along with two crypto custodians, Fidelity Digital Assets and Standard Chartered. The platform is awaiting approval from Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), UK’s financial regulator. It will launch later this year and offer Bitcoin trading initially, followed by Ether later.

Tom Brady & Gisele Bündchen’s Long-Term Partnership With FTX

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen have entered into a long-term partnership with the crypto exchange FTX. Tom and Gisele will each be taking an equity stake in FTX and will both receive crypto. Tom will serve as an Ambassador for FTX, and Gisele will be FTX’s Environmental & Social Initiatives Advisor.

Polygon Announces Avail

Ethereum network scalability solution Polygon announced the launch of a “general-purpose, scalable data availability” Blockchain solution called Avail that will target standalone chains, sidechains, and Layer-2 solutions. It uses technological solutions such as erasure coding to combat data encoding frauds and provide highly available data.

Bitcoin Hash Rate Decreases

As a result of China’s crackdown on crypto mining, Bitcoin’s mean hashrate has fallen to 94 EH/s earlier this week. It is the lowest since May 2020, and as per Glassnode’s estimates, it could drop a further 25%.

Bitcoin.org Ordered to Take Down Bitcoin Whitepaper

London’s High Court has asked Cobra, the pseudonymous creator of the Bitcoin.org website, to stop hosting its copy of the Bitcoin whitepaper. nChain’s Chief Scientist Craig Wright, who claims to be Satoshi Nakomoto, had filed a copyright infringement suit against Bitcoin.org. As per Ontier LLP representing Wright, the judge had no option but to rule the default judgment as Cobra chose not to show up in the hearing.

650 US Financial Institutions to Offer Bitcoin Trading

New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), a tech subsidiary of Stone Ridge and enterprise payments provider NCR, are collaborating on a Bitcoin initiative. As a result, 650 banks and credit unions in the US will soon be able to offer bitcoin trading to their customers through their mobile applications.

World Wide Web NFT Garners $5.4 Million

British auction house Sotheby’s auctioned an NFT representing 9,555 lines of source code of World Wide Web written by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The auction concluded on Jun 30, and the NFT ended up fetching $5.4 million.

Nigerian Educational Institution to Accept Crypto

New Oxford Science Academy in Nigeria’s Kano state announced that it would be accepting crypto as payment for school fees. The academy’s owner justified this move claiming that it is in line with the changing global trends.

And Finally, Ecofriendly Oil Wells

Beyond Oil™, a company that aims to transition the energy sector from fossil fuels to more sustainable green energy, launched the Solar Oil Project this week. This Blockchain powered initiative focuses on recycling the ecologically hazardous abandoned oil wells that produce less than five barrels of oil every day. SOAX and SOPX tokens represent the oil extracted and issued to users.

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