Blockchain This Week – Bitcoin is Now a National Currency, Mastercard Bets Big on Crypto, FTX NFT, Green PoS Network

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El Salvador, World’s First Nation Where Bitcoin Is a National Currency

A Bumpy First Day

On Tuesday this week, El Salvador became the first country to make Bitcoin a legal tender. This historic feat was, however, marred by technical glitches and protests. Initially, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele complained that the government backed crypto wallet, Chivo, was unavailable on Apple and other platforms. Once the app turned up on popular app stores, it proved incapable of handling the steep surge in user registrations. The app had to be unplugged to add capacity. Meanwhile, over a thousand skeptics of this Bitcoin adoption held a protest in front of the country’s Supreme Court.

El Salvador Stocks up Bitcoin

A day before Bitcoin became its sovereign currency El Salvador started stocking it up. On Monday this week, President Bukele announced that his government had bought 200 coins. Within a few hours, additional 200 Bitcoins were purchased, taking the count to 400. After Bitcoin became the legal tender in El Salvador, its price dropped from above $50K to below $43K. President Bukele, taking advantage of the dip, tweeted, “Buying the dip. 150 new coins added.” 

McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut – Front Runners in Accepting Bitcoin

McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut have already started accepting Bitcoin as payment at their outlets in El Salvador. McDonald’s has added OpenNode’s lightning payments into its payment network to enable anyone to pay with Bitcoin by scanning a QR code on a paper receipt. Meanwhile, several videos emerged online that show Starbucks and Pizza Hut accepting Bitcoin.

Money Transfer Companies Stand To Lose Millions

Money wiring services such as Western Union and Moneygram could lose close to $400 million in commissions if crypto wallets become popular in El Salvador, a report claims. El Salvadorans receive close to $6 billion from their family abroad every year, with money wiring services charging for each transfer. If Bitcoin wallets such as Chivo are used more, money services providers could lose their commissions.

Ukraine Legalizes Bitcoin

This week, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to legalize crypto in the country. As a result, crypto exchanges are allowed to operate in Ukraine. The Ministry of Digital Transformation penned this legislation, that while makes crypto legal, denies them the status of a sovereign currency.

Panama Mulls Over Regulating Crypto

Congressman Gabriel Silva introduced a bill in the parliament of Panama seeking to regulate the use of crypto in the country. He aims to make Panama “a country compatible with the digital economy, blockchain, crypto assets, and the internet.”

FTX Launches NFT Marketplace

The crypto exchange FTX launched an NFT marketplace this week. FTX’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried announced the launch by asking his Twitter followers to make their own NFTs on the platform. This marketplace is open for the US and non US users and supports trading across Ethereum and Solana Blockchains. Also, a “test” NFT minted by Bankman-Fried garnered ​​$270,000 in a sale.

SOL Hits An All Time High

Following the launch of the FTX NFT marketplace that supports NFT trading on the Solana network, the price of SOL, the native currency of Solana, reached a new all time high. This week, SOL enjoyed close to a 50% bump in its price and hit an all time high of $207.85

Cardano’s Nosedive

Last week, the price of Cardano’s native ADA token shot up following the release of the smart contracts functionality on its testnet. This week, for the same reason, it fell steeply. After seeing several issues with the much anticipated feature, critics condemned the platform as incapable of handling DeFi. As a result, ADA fell sharply to $2.04.

Market Corrections Take a Toll on DeFi Tokens

This week’s crypto market correction saw a drop in the prices of many cryptocurrencies. But it seems the DeFi tokens were hit the hardest. Several of them, including Aave, Uniswap, and Chainlink, have lost over 20% of their value as the market correction continues.

A Study To Find the Most Energy Efficient PoS Network

This week, University College London (UCL) released a research report that compares six proof of stake based platforms. The objective is to find out the most energy efficient network among Ethereum 2.0, Algorand, Cardano, Polkadot, Tezos, and Hedera Hashgraph. From the analysis, Hedera Hashgraph has emerged as the winner with the lowest energy consumption.

Mastercard’s Crypto Masterstroke

Earlier this week, Mastercard revealed that it has agreed to buy CipherTrace, a crypto intelligence company. As a result, Mastercard will be able to track over 900 cryptocurrencies. Details of the acquisition are yet to be disclosed.

China Pilots Green Energy Trading on Blockchain

China’s macroeconomic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, has given the nod for testing green energy trading on Blockchain. Now, two national grid operators, the State Grid Corporation of China and China Southern Power Grid Corporation will set up two trading centers for the pilot. One of the centers will operate in Beijing, while the other in Guangzhou.

IWA Merges With GBBC

The InterWork Alliance (IWA), a non-profit organization focusing on tokenization and Blockchain standards, is merging with the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), the global industry alliance for Blockchain. According to the announcement, IWA will become an initiative of the GBBC, and its members will be part of GBBC.

SEC Threatens to Sue Coinbase

The crypto exchange Coinbase disclosed in its blog that the US regulator SEC gave it a Wells notice regarding its planned “Lend” program. Coinbase says it has been in discussion with the SEC for the last six months about the new product called Lend that would pay stablecoin owners 4% interest on their savings. Notwithstanding, Coinbase claims the regulator has now surprisingly threatened to sue them without telling them why. Due to the likely lawsuit, Coinbase shares dropped over 11%.

SEC Sues Rivetz

The US regulator SEC seems to be chasing down crypto firms one by one. This week, it sued now-defunct crypto mobile wallet startup Rivetz over its 2017’s $18 million ICO, which it claims was an unregistered security offering. The SEC also alleges Rivetz’s CEO Steven K. Sprague used some of the money as a bonus to self and to buy a house in the Cayman Islands.

NYDIG Teams Up With MVB Bank

NYDIG, the Bitcoin focused fintech company, announced its partnership with MVB Bank, a Banking as a Service provider. NYDIG will make its Bitcoin services available on MVB’s platform, allowing MVB Bank to offer a complete solution covering both fiat and crypto.

Algorand Foundation Sets up $300 Million Fund

The Algorand Foundation launched a 150 million ALGO (US$300 million) fund. It aims to use this money to support the development of DeFi applications such as exchanges and NFTs on the Algorand network.

Cover and Ruler Shut Shop

DeFi insurance provider Cover and its lending sibling Ruler are closing the operations after their developers quit the struggling projects. As a result, the price of both platforms fell steeply in the crypto markets.

Polygon Adds Privacy

Ethereum’s layer two network Polygon has integrated with privacy tech provider Mina Protocol. As a result, the privacy features of Mina will be added to Polygon.

SIX Gets Approval for Crypto Exchange

The Swiss stock exchange SIX has got regulatory approval to launch a digital assets exchange. The Swiss financial regulator FINMA has authorized SIX to offer trading and custody of digital assets.

Balancer and WallStreetBets

The DeFi protocol Balancer announced a partnership with WSBDApp, the Blockchain based trading platform of the founders of WallStreetBets. WSBDApp will soon launch decentralized ETPs on Balancer’s platform and intends to expand its DeFi footprint with this collaboration.

And Finally, UK Post Office Offers Crypto

Starting next week, the UK Post Office will allow users to buy crypto via its EasyID app. People can purchase crypto vouchers from the crypto exchange Swarm Markets on this app. They can then redeem the vouchers for Bitcoin or Ether on Swarm’s platform.

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