Blockchain This Week – London Fork, US Infra Bill, Google’s Ad Policy, Crypto and Climate

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Ethereum’s London Fork Goes Live

To the uninitiated, this fork has nothing to do with the capital of England. This week, Ethereum’s much anticipated yet controversial code upgrades, dubbed “London,” went live. It brought in five improvement proposals – EIP 1559, 3554, 3529, 3198, and 3541 – aimed to improve the network’s performance and user experience.

EIP 1559

The most debated one among the five is EIP 1559 that changes the way gas prices are set today to an algorithmically derived price. Furthermore, it brings in block size variance, where the maximum size can go up to double the current volume during peak times. The most controversial one, however, is the reduced transaction fees to the miners. Now the miners are more dependent on the block rewards.

Google’s Crypto Ad Policy Comes to Effect

Internet giant Google announced its ad policy for crypto businesses back in June. This week, the policy has come to effect. According to the new rules, crypto exchanges and wallets can serve ads on Google if they meet the internet behemoth’s criteria. It states that the crypto services either have to be registered as a financial services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or have to be a federal or state chartered bank.

UN Chooses Unique NFT Platform

The United Nations has chosen NFTs as a soldier in its fight against climate change. It has selected the NFT platform Unique Network as a lead tech partner for DigitalArt4Climate, which is its latest initiative to combat climate change. DigitalArt4Climate program encourages young artists’ to create artwork that inspires people to find better solutions for the environment.

SkyBridge Buys 38K Tons Worth Carbon Credits

Carbon consciousness has seen a gradual increase among those who deal with crypto. Global investment firm SkyBridge Capital has bought and retired tokens representing 38,436 tons of carbon. In partnership with the environment platform solutions Moss.Earth, SkyBridge conducted this transaction that offsets close to all the carbon footprint of Bitcoin held in its product offerings.

Bvlgari Uses Blockchain to Track Donations

Everyone, including high-end jewelry brands, is swiftly adopting Blockchain. This week, Bvlgari announced that they plan to issue a digital certificate to track the donations made on purchases of its Save the Children collection on Blockchain. Bvlgari has been donating $89 for every sale of jewelry in this collection to the Save the Children charity since 2009.

Who is a “Broker” According to the US Infra Bill?

It is the debate that gathered steam this week about the proposed crypto regulations in the US Infrastructure bill last week. Several lawmakers, including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), objected to the broad definition of who a crypto broker is in the law. As per them, such a nebulous description would affect parties such as miners and wallet developers. Following these objections, the senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who wrote this rule, submitted an amendment that now excludes the miners and crypto hardware and software providers.

NFT Enthusiasts Burn $1.5 Million Worth of Ether

A notable consequence of the Ethereum network upgrade this week was the “burning” of 525 Ether during an NFT minting event. COVIDPunks, mask-wearing CryptoPunks, riding on the coattails of its popular originals, was launched this Thursday, with the timing coinciding with the Ethereum’s London fork. Within an hour, all 10,000 NFTs were sold, but the minting process offered a strong proof of the newly introduced feature of Ethereum upgrade – the ETH token burning when close to $1.5 million worth of Ether was destroyed to mint these NFTs. 

Australia’s Crypto Exchange Launches a Crypto Card Backed By Mastercard

Mainstream payment processors are now increasingly supporting crypto transactions. In yet another such feat, Mastercard is enabling Australia’s crypto exchange CoinJar, to issue a crypto card. Users can use their CoinJar card to buy, sell, or spend 30 different cryptocurrencies on the platform with Australian dollars.

Wells Fargo Now Offering Crypto Services

Meanwhile, another mainstream and crypto bonding is taking shape. Wells Fargo, one of the prominent asset management companies in the US, has reportedly started offering crypto services to its wealth management clients. Back in May, the wealth manager had revealed its preparation to give professionally managed crypto solutions to their clients.

JPMorgan Chase Testing Waters with Bitcoin Fund

The American investment bank JPMorgan Chase has reportedly pitched a bitcoin fund of its own to its private bank clients. It has teamed up with NYDIG, the crypto arm of asset management firm Stone Ridge, to offer this fund.

Coinbase Expands Its Apple Pay Integration

The crypto exchange Coinbase has been offering a pay-using-Apple Pay option to all its customers who had added their Coinbase debit card to their Apple Pay wallet. This week, Coinbase made this service flexible to its users. Now, Coinbase customers can use even their non-Coinbase Mastercard or Visa debit cards linked with Apple Pay when they use Apple Pay to buy or sell crypto on the platform.

Sverdlovsk Court Asks Sberbank to Unlock Their Crypto Client’s Account

One of Russia’s largest banks, Sberbank, had blocked its client Pavel R’s cards and access to the bank platform, citing unusual transactions linked possibly to money laundering as the reason. Despite Pavel submitting the necessary documents that showed the sale of crypto on various exchanges, the bank refused to lift the ban. Pavel, a resident of Revda in Sverdlovsk Oblast, appealed to the Sverdlovsk Regional Court, which this week ordered the bank to restore its client’s accounts and cards.

Venezuela Might Offer Crypto Loans to Farmers

Venezuelan government seems to be considering crypto as a promising alternative to its sovereign currency, Bolivar, which is currently in free fall. In a cabinet meeting, President Maduro talked about granting loans to the local farmers in crypto. He also stated these loans would have low interest rates to benefit farmers.

New York Explores Blockchain to Combat Land Deed Fraud

Land titling on Blockchain is being extensively explored. In one such example, the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) is thinking about investigating how Blockchain can be used to prevent deed fraud in land records. It is collaborating with Medici Land Governance (MLG) to develop a proof of concept.

Spain’s Bill for Crypto Mortgage Payments

Partido Popular (PP), one of the opposition parties in Spain, has introduced a bill that would allow homeowners to pay their mortgages with crypto. Meanwhile, the real estate sector would be able to invest in mortgage pools with cryptocurrencies. The draft law also proposes to create a national crypto assets council to analyze the implications of using crypto and Blockchain in Spain.

Uruguay Proposes Legalizing Crypto Payments

Uruguayan senator Juan Sartori has introduced a new draft law in the country’s senate that proposes legalizing and regulating crypto payments. He also plans to recommend issuing government licenses to digital asset service providers.

BSV Suffers 51% Attack

Bitcoin SV (BSV) encountered a 51% attack this week, where some miners took control of more than 50% of the network. As a result, multiple versions of BSV Blockchain existed at one point in time. The one, however, that was successful as per Coin Metrics was a 14-block reorg. According to some reports, over 570,000 transactions were wiped out. Meanwhile, Bitcoin Association for BSV recommended that node operators invalidate what they claim to be the fraudulent chain.

Russia’s Watchdog to Monitor Crypto Wallets for Illicit Payments

Russia’s federal financial monitoring service, Rosfinmonitoring, is looking to track crypto wallets that are used for illegal activities. To that effect, it has selected RCO, an IT company backed by a firm affiliated with one of its largest banks Sberbank, to build this tracing platform.

Illegal Mining Rigs Confiscated in Abkhazia

Two crypto farms in the Ochamchira district of Abkhazia were powering their rigs by connecting illegally to the power grid. This week, officials from the local power distribution company, Chernomorenergo, confiscated 82 mining units belonging to these crypto operators.

“Next Gen Visualization Tools” for Monero Tracing

Crypto compliance firm Ciphertrace announced that it now has enhanced visualization tools for tracing Monero transactions. The company claims that it now can follow the flow of funds in reverse from the point of interest to its source.

And Finally, ATM Manufacturer Bonds With Crypto Software Provider

And that’s a match made in heaven! NCR, one of the prominent names among the ATM & PoS machine makers, has dabbled into crypto space. This week, NCR agreed to acquire cryptocurrency software provider LibertyX in an all-stock deal worth $73 million. Consequently, there is a chance that sometime in the future, your ATMs next door or self-checkout unit at your local supermarket might natively support crypto payments.

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