Blockchain This Week – Threat of Evergrande, Twitter Tips, Bhutan Selects Ripple, Bitcoin.Org Hacked

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Evergrande and China Threaten Crypto Markets

Billions of dollars in crypto got wiped out due to two reasons — property giant Evergrande’s looming collapse and China’s latest crypto ban. Earlier this week, several prominent cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ether, plummeted by over 6% and 9%, respectively, when news of Evergrande defaulting on their debt sent shockwaves across the global markets. Over a billion dollars worth of crypto futures was liquidated.

The crypto markets have recovered since, and most currencies have managed to pull through their losses.  But, yesterday, the markets crashed again when the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) imposed further restrictions on crypto transactions. China’s central bank banned financial institutions from offering crypto services and intends to prosecute anyone facilitating such trades. As per analysts, crypto markets lost $188 billion within just three hours of China’s announcement.

El Salvador Buys the Dip

When the markets turned red following the Evergrande debacle, the president of El Salvador was busy buying the dip. President Nayib Bukele revealed on Twitter that the country had bought 150 more Bitcoin, raising its latest stash to 700 Bitcoin worth close to $31 million.

Twitter Rolls Out Tip Jar

Twitter announced that it has begun wheeling out the “Tips” feature that allows users to tip content creators in Bitcoin or cash. Those who use Twitter’s iOS app can edit their profile to connect to third-party tipping services. Twitter reportedly will not take any cuts. Furthermore, it plans to add authentication support for NFTs soon.

PayPal’s “Super” App

PayPal’s much anticipated “super app” that includes crypto features went live this week. Besides supporting fundamental crypto wallet capabilities, this application offers a “PayPal Savings” service in collaboration with Synchrony bank. Users can earn up to 0.4% APY with no monthly fees or maintain a minimum balance. Furthermore, the new features include gift cards, rewards, and offers, all of which are accessible through the same app.

Times’ NFT Launch Clogs up the Network

The Times published an NFT collection of 4,676 tokens that provided token holders with unfettered access to the Times website until 2023. The “TIMEPieces” series was priced at 0.1 Ether per piece and sold out in minutes. At the same time, it slowed the Ethereum network, and transaction fees shot up. Some customers allegedly paid four times the price of NFTs to have their purchases validated on the site.

Snoop Dogg’s NFT Plans

The rapper Snoop Dogg has been featured significantly in crypto news recently. First, he revealed that he is Cozomo de’ Medici, an internet figure who owns millions of dollars worth of NFTs. Now, he announced his partnership with the metaverse project “The Sandbox.” He plans to recreate his mansion in the Sandbox metaverse and give his fans the pleasure of attending parties in his virtual palace with a “Snoop Dogg Private Party Pass.”

Bitcoin Carbon Footprint Will Not Skyrocket 

The New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) has published its “Bitcoin Net Zero” research paper. The report finds that energy consumption or the carbon emissions of the infamous Bitcoin mining will not exponentially increase in the coming years. NYDIG estimates, the emission would amount to only 0.9%, and electricity use would be 0.4% of the global total.

Bhutan Selects Ripple for CBDC Pilot

The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), Bhutan’s central bank, has chosen Ripple as its trusted partner to pilot the digital form of the ngultrum, the country’s native currency. According to the statement, Ripple’s dedication to sustainability was a crucial reason why Bhutan, which claims to be the only carbon-negative country in the world, went with it.

Nexi Possibly Contributing to Digital Euro Design

Speaking at the Money 20/20 conference, the CEO of Italian payments giant Nexi, Paolo Bertoluzzo, said that Nexi is working with the European Central Bank on the design of the digital Euro. He also considers CBDC could be a “force” in the evolution of digital payments.

Hackers Hijack Bitcoin.org

Cobra, the pseudonymous operator of web portal Bitcoin.org, claimed that the website was “compromised” this week. The hackers allegedly replaced the site with a Bitcoin “double your money scam.” As per vx-underground’s Twitter feed, the scammers supposedly made away with over $17,000.

DeFi Bridging Protocol Suffers a $12 Million Hack

Cross-chain DeFi interoperability protocol pNetwork suffered a breach where the hackers got away with 277 pBTC tokens worth nearly $12 million. The attackers purportedly exploited a flaw in the pNetwork’s code and siphoned off the money from the platform that runs on Binance Smart Chain.

Vee Finance Suffers $35 Million Hack

Within ten days of its launch, Vee Finance, a DeFi protocol running on Avalanche Blockchain, has endured a hack with the attackers running away with close to $35 million. The platform that claimed to have $300 million in digital assets locked has lost over 8804.7 Ether and 213.93 Bitcoin.

US Treasury Department Sanctions Crypto Broker Suex

The US Treasury Department stated it would impose sanctions on the crypto broker firm Suex OTC, based out of the Czech Republic and Russia, for allegedly allowing hackers to access crypto sent as payment for ransomware attacks. It also hinted at additional sanctions for the companies that facilitate ransomware payments.

Kentucky Bans Celsius

The Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions’ securities division has issued a cease-and-desist order against crypto startup Celsius Network. The regulator claims that Celsius has failed to disclose to its customers what the crypto firm does with its clients’ money and if the customers are protected under the state’s securities protections.

Coinbase Wins $1.36 Million US Homeland Security Contract 

The US Homeland Security has signed a $1.36 million deal with crypto exchange Coinbase. As per the contract, Coinbase will offer the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bank analytics software built for Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Binance Bows Down

Bowing down to the tremendous pressure from regulators across the globe, the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance announced that it would become a central entity. Since its launch in 2017, Binance has had no known headquarters but has been serving globally. As a result, it has struggled to obtain regulatory clearances to operate.

Furthermore, Binance would end its token futures and options for its Australian customers in December to be in line with compliance efforts. Similarly, it has updated its KYC requirements for Australian users who must now complete a verification process to access its products and services.

Burger King Hops on to the NFT Bandwagon

Burger King has teamed up with NFT marketplace Sweet to launch its “Keep It Real Meals” NFT campaign. As a part of this initiative, over six million burger king meal boxes will don QR codes that would unlock a digital collectible when scanned. Customers stand a chance to win scores of rewards, including free whopper sandwiches for a year.

Nader Al-Naji A.k.a Diamondhands

The creator of the contentious social networking site BitClout who went by the name “Diamondhands,” disclosed his identity. It turns out that he is Nader Al-Naji, a 29-year-old Princeton graduate who raised and then returned $133 million for a crypto startup called Basis. This week he also revealed a Blockchain called “DeSo,” short for Decentralized Social, which has backing from several investors, including Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz.

Solana Blames Bots for Last Week’s Breakdown

Solana, which initially said “resource exhaustion” caused its services to go down last week, now has switched the blame to a deluge of transactions allegedly triggered by bots. In the postmortem report, Solana considers that last week’s disruption was a “Denial of Service Attack.”

Kava Labs Launches $185 Million Fund

Kava Labs, the company behind the DeFi network Kava, has launched a $185 million Ignition Fund. It aims to support DeFi initiatives, including faster onboarding of new projects onto the Kava ecosystem.

And Finally, Blockchain to Combat Bike Thefts

The bike manufacturer Colnago has turned to Blockchain to fight thefts and counterfeiting of bicycles. It has partnered with Italian firm MyLime and will link the RFID tags developed by MyLime to the bike frames. Next year, these tags will serve as digital passports with the information about the bikes recorded on Blockchain. This initiative will be unveiled on September 26 with a cycle ridden by Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar at the UCI Road Racing World Championship in Belgium.

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