Blockchain This Week – Weather on Blockchain, CBDC, NFT, and Metaverse Ecosystem Grows

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Weather data provider AccuWeather launched its node on Chainlink this week. As a result, weather data is made available to blockchain apps, allowing developers to create new products based on weather information.

Tether is Myanmar Shadow Government’s Official Currency

Myanmar’s shadow government, the National Unity Government (NUG), has recognized Tether stablecoin (USDT) as its official currency. According to NUG’s Finance Minister Tin Tun Naing, USDT would be used for “domestic use to make it easy and speed up the current trade, services, and payment systems.”

Meanwhile, in the US, Tether has been hit with a class action suit with plaintiffs claiming that the company’s practices are immoral and oppressive.

Ukraine’s CBDC Experiment

Ukraine’s central bank and the Ministry of Digital Transformation are endorsing the CBDC pilot running on the Stellar blockchain. The trial, experimenting with the digital version of hryvnia, is carried out by fintech firm Bitt and TASCOMBANK.

France Completes Final Leg of CBDC Trial

The Banque de France has successfully completed the final leg of its wholesale CBDC pilot. In the final test, the French central bank tested the end-to-end lifecycle of a digital bond in collaboration with other partners, including HDBC and IBM.

Kazakhstan Uses Corda for CBDC Pilot

The National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) is using R3’s Corda platform for its digital tenge trial. The bank considered Corda due to the confidentiality and traceability that the product offers.

Exidio’s dVPN

Exidio has launched a decentralized virtual private network (dVPN) on the Sentinel blockchain. dVPN enables users to earn money by hosting the nodes and lending excess bandwidth.

Robinhood To Use Chainalysis to Monitor Crypto Trades

Trading platform Robinhood will use crypto tracing firm Chainalysis’ KYT software to monitor crypto trades and flag potentially suspicious activity. It plans to meet the compliance requirements in the upcoming crypto wallet.

Wells Fargo and HSBC Bank Plan To Use Blockchain

Wells Fargo and HSBC Bank announced their plans to use a blockchain to settle foreign exchange transactions. The banks will use a shared ledger built on HSBC’s proprietary technology to process US and Canadian dollars, Pound, and Euro transactions.

Tezos ETP Launches on German Exchange

ETC Group has launched Tezos based exchange traded product (ETP) on Deutsche Börse XETRA, bringing XTZ, the native token on the Tezos blockchain, to EU investors.

AscendEX Hacked

This week, crypto exchange AscendEX suffered a breach of one of its hot wallets that resulted in a loss of close to $77 million. AscendEX announced that the safe assets have been moved to cold wallets and that the impacted users would be fully reimbursed.

Vulcan Forged Suffers a Breach

Vulcan Forged, a gaming and NFT platform running on Polygon, was hacked with the hackers getting hold of 96 user wallets and stealing over 4.5 million PYR, the native token of the project. Vulcan, which suffered a loss of over $140 million, announced it would reimburse all users with funds from their treasury.

90% Of Bitcoin Mined

As of this week, 90% of the maximum 21 million bitcoins have been mined. Though 18.89 million bitcoins are on the market right now, the last bitcoin will not be mined until February 2140. But, at the same time, the price of bitcoin dropped below $50K to around $47,000.

Binance Withdraws License Efforts

Binance’s Singapore entity announced its plans to stop its efforts to obtain a crypto license to operate in Singapore. Consequently, it said, existing users should close their accounts by February 13, 2022. 

H&R Block Sues Block

Tax firm H&R Block has filed a complaint against Block, formerly called Square, for infringing upon its brand. H&R Block claims that the logos and names of the two are too similar, enough to confuse the clients. 

UNICEF to Launch NFTs to Connect Schools

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is launching an NFT collection to mark its 75th anniversary. The collection, named Patchwork Kingdoms, will launch in January. The proceeds will go to fund UNICEF’s projects, including the Giga Initiative that aims to connect every school to the internet.

L’Oréal Paris’ Empower Women NFTs

Fashion brand L’Oréal Paris is launching an NFT collection on OpenSea, themed on initiatives that empower women. The proceeds from the initial sales will go to the artists, while 50% of sales in the secondary market will go towards L’Oréal’s philanthropic campaign, Women of Worth.

Michael Jordan Hops on NFT Bandwagon

Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan and his son Jeffrey Jordan are launching a web3.0 fan engagement platform – HEIR. HEIR, which has raised $10 million in seed funding, will run on Solana and launch in 2022.

FTX To Pay For NBA Sponsorship

Crypto exchange FTX is reportedly paying close to $10 million to secure a sponsorship deal with the NBA team Golden State Warriors. As a result, the Warriors will give FTX brand presence and NFT rights.

Nike Places Another Foot in Metaverse

Shoe and apparel company Nike takes another step into the metaverse with its acquisition of RTFKT Studios. RTFKT is a digital art studio that creates NFTs based on sneakers on the Ethereum blockchain.

Adidas’ NFT Collection

Another sportswear company Adidas also launched its first Originals NFT collection, this week. Adidas has partnered with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney, and Punks Comics for this NFT drop.

Melania’s Vision

The former first lady of the US, Melania Trump, announced her plans to sell a painting of her eyes, dubbed “Melania’s Vision” as an NFT on her platform running on Solana with payment services from a crypto startup MoonPay. Both companies, though, immediately distanced themselves stating that they did not seek out any partnership with the former first lady. 

Rarible on Tezos

NFT marketplace Rarible is now integrated with the energy efficient Tezos blockchain. Tezos is the third platform, after Ethereum and Flow, to support Rarible.

SK Square Wants Metaverse Presence

The investment arm of SK Telecom, SK Square, is seeking all its portfolio companies to have a metaverse presence. According to its managing director Huh Seok-Joon, customers in the future would interact with companies via metaverse. And hence the business needs to evolve into this space.

Playing With Bored Apes

Blockchain games developer Animoca Brands is partnering with Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) to develop and launch a blockchain game that will feature BAYC’s hugely popular Bored Ape NFTs. The game is slated for the second quarter of 2022. 

HBAR Foundation and MetaVRse Bring Metaverse to Hedera

HBAR Foundation, which aims to grow the Hedera ecosystem, and MetaVRse, a web-based design platform, are collaborating to bring metaverse applications to Hedera Hashgraph. MetaVRse intends to make it easier for metaverse developers to access the necessary tools. And HBAR Foundation will provide the financial and organizational support needed.

Shopverse

Shopping.io, an e-commerce platform that allows users to buy goods from several online portals using crypto, is expanding its presence into the metaverse. It is launching an NFT collection, Shopverse, that will enable customers to experience virtual shopping in a shopping mall inside the realms of the metaverse.

Doge for Merch at Tesla

The Times’ Person of the Year 2021, Elon Musk, tweeted, announcing that his EV company Tesla will allow customers to buy merchandise with Doge. Immediately following the news, the price of Dogecoin surged close to 20%.

$200 Million Web3 Fund

Polygon Network and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm Seven Seven Six has created a $200 million fund to invest in social media and web3 projects. Polygon will also provide the infrastructure for the projects that are backed by this initiative.

Regulated Stock Exchange for Security Tokens

Crypto company Tokenise is launching a regulated stock exchange for tokenized assets. The bourse for security tokens will be set up in Barbados in the first quarter of 2022 and would require investors to go through the KYC and AML checks.

Swiss Bank to Launch Crypto Exchange

Overwhelmed by the crypto rush, Switzerland’s online bank Swissquote is considering opening a dedicated crypto trading platform. The bank intends to launch the exchange in the first half of 2022.

Sun Leaves Tron for Grenada

Justin Sun announced that he is leaving the Tron network to focus on the legalization of crypto in Latin American countries. To that effect, he is becoming the ambassador of the Grenada government to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

And Finally, Robinhood’s Crypto Gifts Program

Trading platform Robinhood announced the imminent launch of its “Cryptocurrency Gifts Program.” Users will be able to gift as little as $1 worth of bitcoin, ether, dogecoin, and many more, to their loved ones.

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