Blockchain This Week – Visa’s Universal Payments, Volcano Mining, Internet to Poor, Tokenized Medical Research

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Visa’s Universal Payments Platform

The payments giant Visa has released a whitepaper in which it ponders a platform that allows seamless interactions between different blockchain networks. This “Universal Payments Channel” aims to provide interoperability between CBDCs and other stablecoins.

Verifone To Support Crypto Payments

Payments platform Verifone has partnered with crypto payments provider BitPay to enable crypto payments. As a result, customers can use crypto to pay on payment terminals and eCommerce sites that use Verifone.

San Jose’s Initiative for Low-income Households

Helium Blockchain and the City of San Jose, California, have teamed up to fund internet access to low-income families via crypto mined from Helium wireless hotspots. Accordingly, this initiative will use the Helium tokens mined to give $120 worth of prepaid gift cards to over 1,300 households that they can redeem to pay for broadband services. 

Volcano-Powered Bitcoin Mining

Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, disclosed via a tweet that the state-run Bitcoin mining operation had mined 0.00599179 bitcoin, close to $269. This mining rig is powered by the geothermal energy generated by volcanoes

Tokenized Ecosystem for Medical Research

A blockchain startup Triall launched a utility token TRL to streamline clinical trials and the development of new vaccines. It has already raised over two million USD in its pre-sale campaign.

A Million Dollar Gas Fees

A transaction that should have fetched a fee of $5 ended up costing $23.7 million. It happened when $100,000 worth of Tether was transferred on DEX DeversiFi. Since then, the exchange has confirmed that the erroneous fees were an internal issue, and the miner who received the funds has returned them.

Nigeria’s eNaira Site Goes Live but Defers CBDC Launch

The main website for Nigeria’s CBDC, eNaira, went live this week. The launch of the actual CBDC, slated for Oct 1, was, however, postponed, supposedly to prevent it from clashing with the events planned for the country’s Independence Day celebration. 

BoE Reveals CBDC Forum Members

The Bank of England announced the members of its engagement and technology CBDC Forums. The 26 members include representatives from PayPal, Spotify, R3, Visa, and Mastercard. 

Deposit Paychecks Directly in Crypto

Crypto exchange Coinbase announced its plans to allow its customers to deposit their paychecks directly into Coinbase. Coinbase aims to help its clients to more easily make regular crypto trades, spend on Coinbase Cards, earn crypto rewards, and more. It says that it is working with several companies to “enter the future of payroll.”

R3 Reveals DeFi Plans

Enterprise-focused DLT network R3 is now seeking to dabble into decentralized finance. During its annual developer summit held this week, R3 announced its plans to launch a DeFi network and token dubbed Obscuro. R3 insists that it would be a proof-of-concept, and the actual release would be subject to regulatory approvals.

Algorand Virtual Machine

This week, Algorand released an upgrade that aims at making it easier for the developers to create smart contracts on the platform. It launched Algorand Virtual Machine (AVM) that also boosts the computing power of the applications developed on Algorand.

Filecoin Gives $5.8 Million to Snowden’s FPF

Filecoin group granted $5.8 million to Edward Snowden’s Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF). The FPF that aims to protect journalists’ freedom of speech will use this grant to improve its SecureDrop tool by incorporating a “zero-trust architecture.”

Binance Doubles-down on Compliance

Crypto exchange Binance plans to add stringent measures in an attempt to alleviate the ire of regulators. Starting October 26, its Singapore-based users will not be able to fiat deposit services, buy crypto using fiat, among others. Alongside, it has hired Tigran Gambaryan and Matthew Price, former special agents from IRS-CI, to bolster its compliance and security team.

Alibaba To Stop Mining Equipment Sales

In order to be compliant with PBoC guidelines, China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has said it will stop selling crypto mining machines on its platforms from October 8. It states that the “global crypto regulation instability” also contributed to its decision.

Huobi Suspends User Registrations For China?

Meanwhile, Huobi seems to have suspended new user registrations for Mainland China. The option to select mainland China is no longer available on Huobi’s registration page. This move is supposedly related to China’s crackdown on crypto trading.

29 Crypto Exchanges Can Operate in South Korea

The crypto exchanges in South Korea were mandated to get certified and submit a report to the country’s financial regulator by September 24 to continue operating in the country. Among the 66 exchanges, 29 managed to survive, while 37 of them faced closure.

Facebook To Build Metaverse “Responsibly”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed his plans to spend $50 million over the next two years to build metaverse – responsibly. He believes in a future driven by metaverse and plans to be scrupulous in partnerships and investments.

Griffith Pleads Guilty

In a twist in the tale, Virgil Griffith, the Ethereum advocate jailed for allegedly violating US laws by traveling to North Korea, has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy. His sentence hearing is scheduled for January next year, and if convicted, he could serve 63 to 78 months in prison. 

Kraken Settles Charges

Crypto exchange Kraken has agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle charges with the CFTC. The CFTC found Kraken in violation of the Commodities Exchange Act when it offered crypto services without required registrations from June 2020 to June 2021.

Iran Stock Exchange Head Resigns

Ali Sahraei, who headed the Tehran Stock Exchange, resigned from his post this week following the discovery of crypto mining rigs in the building where the exchange is housed. The bourse had initially denied the allegations when it was reported by the local media outlets.

Bitfinex Halts Trading

Crypto trading platform Bitfinex supposedly suffered an outage this week that halted trading over two hours. Though the exchange is fully operational now, no information on what caused the issue has been released.

CoinJar Gets UK Approval

The UK subsidiary of Australia’s crypto exchange CoinJar has received a nod from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate in the UK. Now, it is seeking similar approval from Australian regulators.

SEBA Bank To Offer Crypto Services

The Swiss regulator FINMA has granted permission to Switzerland-based SEBA bank to act as a crypto custodian bank. Accordingly, SEBA is now allowed to offer digital assets to Swiss mutual funds.

BitBay Passes Estonia’s Audit

Crypto platform BitBay has obtained the license to operate in Estonia. It has successfully navigated the country’s tough regulations by adhering to strict AML and KYC practices.

Tajikistan’s CBDC on Fantom

Fantom Foundation is partnering with Tajikistan’s OJSC Orienbank to explore developing the CBDC on its blockchain. After this pilot, both entities will seek the approval of the nation’s central bank for a country-wide rollout.

Chile Sets up CBDC Team

The Central Bank of Chile has set up a team to explore the possibility of a CBDC. The team is expected to present a white paper early next year stating the goals and requirements for developing a digital currency.

Ripple’s $250 Million NFT Fund

This week, Ripple announced its $250 million fund during its XRPL developer summit. Ripple aims to foster the development of NFTs on its platform, and the grant will be used to explore new use cases.

NFTs for NFL

The American football associations, NFL and NFLPA, have teamed up with Dapper Labs to bring NFTs to American football fans. NFL’s NFT marketplace will run on Flow blockchain and perhaps launch during the current NFL season.

DC Doles Out NFTs

In an attempt to drive the user registrations for its upcoming FanDome event, DC Comics has plunged into the NFT space. DC announced that those who register for FanDome could receive a free NFT representing comic book covers of DC’s superheroes, minted on Palm blockchain.

And Finally, No Time To Die

MGM and EON Productions are celebrating the release of the latest Bond movie, “No Time To Die,” with the launch of an NFT collection. They have partnered with NFT platform VeVe to officially launch the first digital collectibles for the James Bond franchise.

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