Blockchain This Week – OpenSea, Visa, Kickstarter, MicroStrategy, Reddit, Novi, Crypto Donations for Toys

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Kickstarter To Start Crowdfunding Platform on Celo

Kickstarter, the funding platform for creative projects, aims to create an “open, collaborative, and decentralized future.” To begin with, it is developing an open source protocol to create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality. This protocol is built on environment conscious Celo blockchain. Eventually, Kickstarter plans to switch its existing website to this new system.

Visa Offers Crypto Advisory Service

Payments giant Visa formed a global crypto advisory group that will work alongside the firm’s consulting team to advise banks on their crypto strategy. It will also help banks build their own crypto teams.

Novi Launches WhatsApp Crypto Trial

Novi, the crypto initiative of Meta (formerly Facebook), launched a crypto pilot in collaboration with WhatsApp for a “limited number of people in the US.” According to Novi’s head of product, Stephane Kasriel, this trial will allow some people in the US to send and receive crypto using Novi on WhatsApp, “making sending money to family and friends as easy as sending a message.”

OpenSea Hires Lyft CFO, Plans To Go Public

This week, NFT marketplace OpenSea hired its first chief financial officer – Brian Roberts, who was earlier the CFO of ride sharing app Lyft. Roberts plans to raise more money for the thriving platform and also hinted at an imminent IPO.

Chainlink Labs, behind the oracle service with the same name, announced that former Google CEO and advisor Eric Schmidt has joined the company as a strategic advisor. Schmidt is tasked to assess Chainlink’s performance and advise on the potential opportunities.

Reddit’s Community Points Tokens

Reddit announced its Community Points beta program that enables Reddit users to earn tokens for subreddits. Its website reports that contributors can use these crypto assets to buy community features, including special memberships and awards.

MicroStrategy Buys More Bitcoin

Within weeks since its last purchase, the business intelligence firm MicroStrategy has made one more investment in bitcoin. The company has added 1,434 coins this week, bringing its total stash to 122,478 bitcoin.

BitMart Loses $196 Million

Crypto exchange BitMart, suffered an attack earlier this week, with the hackers making away with close to $200 million in crypto. CEO Sheldon Xia revealed that a stolen private key to two hot wallets caused BitMart to lose $196 million. He also announced that BitMart would use its own reserves to compensate the affected users. And finally, three days after the hack, BitMart resumed Ether deposits and withdrawals.

VivoPower’s Solar Powered Crypto Mining

A renewable energy service provider, VivoPower, plans to launch a crypto mining business via its subsidiary Caret. Caret, which owns solar projects across the US, will contribute 206 MWDC of solar sites in Texas. The new venture will be named Caret Decimal, and Caret’s contribution would be in exchange for $20 million equity in Caret Decimal.

Iceland Puts Energy Cap on Bitcoin Mining

Iceland is facing heavy demand for renewable energy that has resulted in the country capping energy supplies to some industries, including bitcoin mining. Landsvirkjun, the chief utility provider, is reportedly reducing supplies to aluminum smelters, data centers, and bitcoin miners.

Solana’s DDoS Attack

Solana network was reportedly hit by a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack this week. Though the network was temporarily clogged leading to longer time for token distribution, the platform remained online.

CIA Working on Crypto Projects

CIA Director William Burns disclosed earlier this week that the intelligence agency is working on a number of crypto focused projects. He stated that crypto could have an enormous impact on everything, including ransomware attacks.

BIS and Central Banks of France and Switzerland Complete CBDC Trial

The Bank of France, the Swiss National Bank, and the Bank of International Settlements have successfully concluded their trial of using a wholesale CBDC in cross border payments. The banks revealed that CBDCs have proved effective for international settlements.

Gibraltar Uses Blockchain for Government Services

The government of Gibraltar is partnering with crypto firms Bitso and IOVlabs to add blockchain technology to its eGovernance systems. In the first phase, it plans to allow its citizens to store state issued credentials on the blockchain. In early 2022, it also intends to integrate various services to enable their seamless access to the people.

China and Hong Kong Enter Second Phase of CBDC Trials

Mu Changchun, the director of the Digital Currency Institute of PBoC, said that China and Hong Kong are in the second phase of testing cross border transactions using digital yuan. In this phase, PBoC will work on linking China’s digital currency system with Hong Kong’s interbank digital payments network, Faster Payment System (FPS).

Coinbase Plans To Integrate With Ledger

Crypto exchange Coinbase is teaming up with Ledger hardware wallets to give its users an option for self custody. In the first phase of this integration, starting early 2022, the Coinbase wallet browser extension will connect to the Ledger wallets, followed by the integration of the Coinbase mobile app with the hardware wallets.

Crypto Life Card

Hardware wallets specialist Ledger is launching a crypto debit card, Crypto Life, for its customers in the US and some European countries. The cardholders will be able to pay crypto at more than 50 million retailers and online stores.

Fidelity and Nexo Collaborate

The crypto assets lending firm Nexo is partnering with institutional crypto custody service Fidelity Digital Assets. They will collaborate to launch a suite of products that provide institutional investors with more offerings in crypto. 

Chainalysis Adds Lightning Network Support

Blockchain data analytics platform Chainalysis will add support to layer two Bitcoin protocol, Lightning network, in February 2022. As a result, the KYC software of Chainalysis will be available for companies processing crypto payments using Lightning nodes.

Craig Wright To Pay $100 Million Compensation

A federal jury found Craig Wright, who claims to be bitcoin’s inventor, did not have any partnership with late computer forensics expert Dave Kleiman. The court, however, ruled that Craig owes Kleiman’s company, W&K Info Defence Research, $100 million as compensation for conversion

Avast Buys Evernym

Cybersecurity firm Avast has acquired digital identity startup Evernym for an undisclosed amount. Avast considers Evernym’s SSI technology vital to its goal for creating decentralized digital identities.

A Roller Coaster Ride

Last weekend saw a steep drop in the prices of Bitcoin and Ether, and the crypto market lost over  $400 billion. Bitcoin fell below $50K and Ether slumped below $4K. Earlier in the week, the prices recovered with Bitcoin floating in the lower 50’s and Ether at around $4,300. But later in the week, the prices once again tumbled when China’s real estate giants Evergrande and Kaisa defaulted. The prices have marginally improved since then.

Binance Trying To Win FCA’s Nod

Crypto exchange Binance, which was categorically dismissed earlier this year by the UK regulator FCA, is again attempting to gain a license to operate in the UK. CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao stated that the company is making a number of substantial changes in the organization and product offerings to that effect.

Binance Seeks To Expand in Indonesia

Binance is also reportedly discussing crypto opportunities with PT Bank Central Asia (BCA) in Indonesia. BCA is controlled by Budi and Michael Hartono from one of the richest families in Indonesia and state owned, PT Telkom Indonesia.

FreeRossDAO

The FreeRossDAO, a newly formed DAO, has quickly managed to raise funds sufficient to buy Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht’s Ethereum NFTs. These NFTs were launched as a part of a fundraising effort to free him and prison reform initiatives.

Pepsi’s NFT Collection

Pepsi has launched a genesis collection of NFTs dubbed “Pepsi Mic Drop.” These 1,893 unique NFT collectibles were created in collaboration with Vaynernft and are hosted on micdrop.pepsi.com. The waitlist for a wallet started yesterday, and those approved will be able to mint their Pepsi NFTs on December 14.

And Finally, Crypto Donations for Toys

The fintech company Unbanked is facilitating crypto donations for Toys for Tots, a program run by the US Marine Corps. Donors can use Unbanked to donate crypto, which will be used to collect and distribute toys to disadvantaged children.

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