Blockchain This Week – CBDC Experiments, Binance Woes, Crypto Partnerships, NFT Auctions

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Vietnam Plans to Pursue a CBDC

The government of Vietnam reportedly has instructed the State Bank of Vietnam to launch a pilot to explore the national digital currency. The country’s central bank has two years to research, develop, and test the digital currency. 

Bank of France Carried Out Fifth CBDC Experiment

Earlier this week, the Bank of France revealed that it had carried out its fifth experiment with CBDC back in March this year. Several financial institutions such as BNP Paribas, CACEIS Bank, Euroclear were involved in the trial that was carried out on Blockchain firm LiquidShare’s Blockchain. The test involved the issuance and settlement of both listed and unlisted securities using Blockchain.

Bank of France Carries Out CBDC Trial With Singapore

In another experiment, the Banque de France (BdF) tested a cross-border CBDC transaction with Singapore. It marked the first use of a smart contract based, automated liquidity pool for the digital EUR/SGD currency pair. The transaction was executed on Quorum Blockchain.

Jamaica’s Imminent CBDC Trial

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) announced this week that its much-awaited but delayed CBDC experiment would start in August. Several financial institutions will take part in this pilot that will run from September to December and then gradually move to its full fledged launch.

Binance’s Regulatory Fallout Continues

Barclays Bans Customers From Using Their Cards on Binance

The UK-based Barclays has issued an advisory to its customers who have used the bank’s credit and debit cards on Binance this year. It has informed them that the bank is prohibiting all payments to Binance effective this week. This decision follows the UK FCA’s announcement that Binance is not allowed to conduct any regulated financial activities in the country.

Banco Santander Stops Payments to Binance

Similarly, the Spanish bank, Banco Santander, is stopping its customers from making payments to Binance. The bank is taking this action following similar bans imposed by several UK banks after last week’s FCA announcement.

Binance Suspends SEPA Transfers

Single Euro Payments Area or SEPA transfers allows users to make direct money transfers to anywhere in the European Union and to a few non-EU nations. Binance users supposedly received a notice from the crypto exchange about the suspension of SEPA transfers. This move seemingly is again a result of the regulatory hurdles that Binance is facing in several countries, including the UK.

Binance Beefs Up Its Compliance Office

Meanwhile, the beleaguered crypto exchange is doubling down on its effort to build a strong compliance team. It recruited the former OCC Acting Comptroller, Brian Brooks, as CEO of Binance.US in May. It has now added a former Californian financial regulator, Manuel Alvarez, as Binance.US’s chief administrative officer.

Additionally, Binance has hired Jonathan Farnell, former director of compliance at eToro, as the exchange’s new director of compliance.

Wyoming, First US State to Legalize DAO

The US state of Wyoming granted legal status to American CryptoFed, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), this week. As a result, American CryptoFed became the first legally recognized DAO in the US and Wyoming, the first state to legalize DAOs.

Crypto.com Can Offer Payment Services in Malta

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has granted an electronic money institution (EMI) license to the crypto exchange Crypto.com. As a result, Crypto.com can issue credit and debit cards and enable bank transfers in Malta.

NFT Sale of an Andy Murray Victory Moment

An NFT, representing the moment when Andy Murray won Wimbledon in 2013, was sold for $177,777 at the auction held on the WENEW Blockchain platform. The buyer, however, will not own the copyright of the video of the moment. Instead, they will receive a small digital screen to display that video, two tickets to the Wimbledon 2022 men’s finals, a chance to play tennis with Murray, and signed souvenirs.

MLB’s NFT Auction

Major League Baseball (MLB) will auction a physical 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers World Series Champions ring as part of its NFT drop. The winner will get the ring and a chance to throw the first pitch at the Dodgers home game. The auction, to be held on Galaxy Digital’s Candy.com, will open on July 12 until July 15.

UFC’s Multi-Year Partnership With Crypto.com

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has signed a ten year, $175 million partnership with crypto exchange Crypto.com. Consequently, crypto.com will be UFC’s global fight kit partner. Its branding will appear on every UFC fighter’s uniform. 

Boston Celtics’ Partnership With Socios.com

A prominent NBA team, Boston Celtics, announced a partnership with a Blockchain-powered fan influence & rewards app this week. Socios.com will serve as the presenting partner of the team’s website. It will use Celtics marks and logos for its marketing activities.

Anthony Hopkins’s New Movie as an NFT

Hannibal star Anthony Hopkins’s new movie, Zero Contact, will launch as an NFT on the Vuele NFT platform. This film, produced entirely virtually in 2020, focuses on five characters from different parts of the world connected only to stop tech genius Finley Hart’s (Hopkins) invention that could potentially end life on earth.

Tetra Trust Becomes Canada’s First Regulated Crypto Custodian

Canadian crypto custody market was previously limited to the US and unregulated Canadian custodians. This week, a Canadian startup, Tetra Trust, announced that it had received a letter of registration from the Alberta government. As a result, it became the first regulated custodian native to Canada.

Coinbase Offers Crypto Incentives to Lure Talents

The crypto exchange, Coinbase, is looking to fill its newly launched Indian hub with a “world class community” of talent. It is, hence, offering an incentive of $1,000 in crypto to the recruits, with an intent that they will use it to learn about crypto.

EY Launches Nightfall 3 to Ease Ethereum Issues

Accounting firm EY has released Nightfall 3, a layer two protocol to address the network congestion and astronomical transaction costs of the Ethereum network. Nightfall 3 uses zero knowledge proofs and groups transactions as rollups to reduce the number of transactions on Ethereum.

Vaccine Chain on Blockchain

Indian IT subsidiary of Mahindra Group, Tech Mahindra, is teaming up with a Blockchain startup StaTwig on VaccineLedger, a Blockchain to track vaccines. According to the IT firm, VaccineLedger would improve transparency and prevent issues such as the distribution of expired vaccines and counterfeiting.

Cryptopia Former Employee Pleads Guilty

A former employee of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange based out of New Zealand, Cryptopia has pleaded guilty to charges of stealing close to $250,000 in crypto. This former employee, who has interim name suppression, admitted two charges – theft by a person in a special relationship and steal more than $1000 – in front of the Christchurch District Court judge. This unnamed employee had copied Cryptopia’s private keys on a USB storage drive and uploaded them to their personal computer.

Bitcoin Banco Group Members Arrested in Brazil

The federal police in Brazil have arrested Bitcoin Banco group’s members and its leader – businessman and self-proclaimed “Bitcoin King,” Claudio Oliveira. The police have accused them of embezzling over $300 million of funds. The arrest was a culmination of a three year, 90 officers involved investigation dubbed Operation Daemon.

Bitcoin.Org Hit By a Ransomware Attack

Cobra, the pseudonymous operator of Bitcoin.org, tweeted earlier this week that the site was hit by an “absolutely massive” DDoS attack. The attackers have reportedly demanded 0.5 Bitcoin ($16,830.55 at the time of writing) to restore the services and operations.

Spanish Congress Approves Crypto Focused Anti-Fraud Law

The Spanish Congress has approved the anti-fraud law that mandates Spanish citizens to disclose their crypto holdings even outside the country. The new law also dictates severe fines for citizens who fail to share this information with authorities.

China’s Central Bank Shuts Down A Firm Allegedly Crypto Involvement

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has shut down a software company over its alleged involvement in virtual currency transactions. The central bank also issued warnings to all organizations ordering them not to provide any services for any crypto related businesses.

Monobank to Allow Clients Trade Crypto

Monobank, a mobile bank in Ukraine, revealed its plans to enable its clients to buy and sell cryptocurrency using a new banking card by the end of July. The bank also intends to add integrations with an undisclosed crypto exchange shortly.

Argentina Lawmaker Wants Employees to Be Paid in Crypto

Argentinian congressman José Luis Ramón presented a bill that allows employees and service providers to receive their entire or partial salary in crypto. As per Ramón, as a result, “Argentines can strengthen their autonomy and preserve the purchasing power of their remuneration.”

US Senator Gives SEC July 28 Deadline to Figure Out Crypto Regulations

Crypto skeptic Democrat senator Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to Gary Gensler, the Chair of US regulator SEC seeking answers regarding crypto regulations by July 28. She stated that the SED must “use its full authority to address these risks, and Congress must also step up to close these regulatory gaps.”

Square to Build Bitcoin Hardware Wallet

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Square, announced on Twitter about Square’s plans to build a Bitcoin hardware wallet. As per Dorsey, the wallet would be designed entirely in an open ecosystem and in collaboration with the community. 

And Finally, Honduran Farmers to Access Global Markets With Blockchain

Heifer International, a global nonprofit with a focus on ending poverty, has teamed up with tech giant IBM to improve the livelihood of farmers of Honduras. Small-scale coffee farmers operating in traditional ways incur an average 46–59% loss in sales. But, those buying cocoa through the COPRANIL cooperative and Chocolate Halba in Honduras, both of which buy cocoa from farmers in Heifer Honduras’ Chocolate4All project, will be able to trace their cocoa journey using IBM’s Food Trust Blockchain. As a result of increased visibility, the farmers can secure higher prices for their produce and access global markets.

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