Blockchain This Week – AP to Launch NFTs, Dorsey’s Plans for Bitcoin, Cardano Achieves Green Goal

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Associated Press Hops on to the NFT Bandwagon

The Associated Press (AP) plans to launch its own photo NFT marketplace on January 31. Built on Ethereum scaling solution, Polygon, this platform will showcase Pulitzer winning photographs of AP.

Cardano Reaches Its Tree Planting Goal

Cardano Foundation CEO Frederik Gregaard announced on Twitter that the non-profit had reached its first goal of planting one million trees. The foundation is working with Veritree, who plants a tree every time a Cardano’s ADA is exchanged for a TREE token and tracks the tree using blockchain.

Jack Dorsey, a vocal proponent of Bitcoin, sent a note to the Bitcoin developers’ mailing list, where he announced a “Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund.” This non-profit initiative aims to provide legal defense to open-source bitcoin developers, who supposedly are more susceptible to yield to lawsuits. Its first task, Dorsey says, is to assist developers embroiled in the Tulip Trading Limited lawsuit.

Block Working on Bitcoin Mining Machines 

Three months after Block’s CEO Jack Dorsey disclosed that Block is considering building a bitcoin mining system, Block is putting up a team and a plan to realize the dream. Thomas Templeton, the GM of hardware at Block, took up Twitter to officially confirm the building of mining rigs that are cheaper, quieter, and more affordable to everyday users, which was also endorsed by Dorsey.

Bitcoin Slumped Below $40K

Bitcoin had a rocky start this week, with its price dropping below $40K, the first time since August last year. Similarly, Ether fell below $3,000, a level not seen since September 2021. Several factors, including unrest in Kazakhstan and the US Fed’s imminent hike in interest rates, are assumed to have contributed to the price slump. Both have marginally recovered since then.

Dogecoin to the Moon

The meme currency, Dogecoin, soared by 12%, following Elon Musk’s tweet of Tesla accepting Doge for merchandise. It reached a monthly all time high of $0.2 on Friday.

BOA Uplifts Solana

In a research note earlier this week, the Bank of America deemed Solana blockchain the “Visa of the digital asset ecosystem,” hailing its high transaction rates at low fees model. As a result, the price of its native token rose by more than 8%.

Iran Might Allow Crypto for Foreign Trade

Iran’s government authorities and central bank have reportedly given the green light to allow local businesses to pay their foreign partners with crypto. According to officials, they are finalizing the mechanism for the operations of the system.

Gap Treads Into NFTs

Gap has joined the growing list of apparel retailers venturing into the NFT space. Starting this week, it is launching an exclusive NFT collection on the Tezos blockchain. Dubbed Gap Threads, these NFTs follow a gamification model that lets collectors “unlock” the opportunity to buy an Epic rarity NFT. Owners of the Epic rarity NFT would also get a limited edition physical hoodie.

Grand Theft Auto Meets FarmVille

In a move to uncover “Web3 opportunities,” Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto, has acquired FarmVille-famed Zynga for $12.7 billion. Zynga had recently pivoted to building games that use blockchain and NFTs.

NFT-based Single Sign On

Unstoppable Domains has come up with a novel way to log on to applications without having to rely on third-party authentication services. It has launched “Utility NFTs” that use usernames with NFT domains owned by users to authenticate them.

Binance Setting Up Office in Metaverse

The US arm of the crypto exchange, Binance, is building an office in Portals, a metaverse built on the Solana blockchain. Portals platform recreates an urban environment with building and interactive rooms.

Disney Building Its Own Metaverse?

Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Chapek announced that Disney is ready for its own metaverse in the last earnings call. It is now revealed that Disney has obtained an approved patent for a “virtual world simulator” from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Visa Partners With Consensys for CBDC Enablement

Payments giant Visa is working with Consensys to enable Central banks to devise and offer CBDCs with ease. The banks can use Consensys’ Quorum blockchain to design the CBDCs and set up their governance rules. They can also leverage Visa’s CBDC payment module to connect digital currencies to the existing payment networks.

US Banks to Offer USDF

A group of US banks, several of them backed by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), have come together to launch USDF, its own stablecoin. This consortium sorts to address the concerns about the reserves backing the privately held and issued equivalents.

Wholesale CBDC Trial Concludes in Switzerland

Swiss National Bank (SNB), SIX stock exchange, and the Bank of International Settlement (BIS), in collaboration with five commercial banks, have completed a trial of wholesale CBDC settlement in Switzerland. This feat brings the country a step closer to issuing CBDCs for trade settlements within and across borders.

Rio Offers Discounts for Tax Paid in Bitcoin

Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes is considering allocating 1% of the city’s treasury reserves in bitcoin. While he plans to set up a working group, he is also mulling over offering additional discounts to citizens who pay their property taxes in bitcoin.

Now Files Crypto Tax With Ease

Utah based tax firm TaxBit has launched TaxBit Network that will enable clients of 20 partner crypto companies to access 2021 crypto tax forms at no charge. Companies, including Coinbase and Gemini, have joined hands with TaxBit, in an attempt to make it easier to file crypto tax.

Coinbase Acquires FairX

Crypto exchange Coinbase is buying the derivatives platform, FairX. After the completion of the acquisition, Coinbase would be able to offer crypto derivatives products in the United States.

FTX Launches VC Fund

Crypto exchange FTX has launched a $2 billion venture capital arm, FTX Ventures, led by Amy Wu, previously General Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. Wu said FTX Ventures is interested in Web3 gaming, as well as consumer and social Web3 applications.

Bottlepay Gets FCA’s Nod

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has approved NYDIG owned Bottlepay to carry out crypto related activities in the UK. Bottlepay has hence become the first network that runs on Lightning Network to get the green light from the UK’s financial regulator.

Simplify Files for Web 3 ETF

Simplify Asset Management has filed an application with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a Web 3 focused ETF. The fund “Simplify Volt Web 3 ETF” would track Web 3 companies that are anticipated to benefit from blockchain.

Ripple Wins a Ruling Against the SEC

A federal judge ruled in favor of Ripple this week when Ripple was granted access to the email regarding a speech by a former top SEC official, William Hinman, who had posited that Ether was not a security since it was sufficiently decentralized. The SEC had earlier declined to share the email with Ripple, claiming that it was a privileged document.

Tether Freezes Three Accounts

Stablecoin issuer Tether has blocked three Ethereum addresses, thereby freezing over $160 million worth of USDT. Tether revealed that it had blacklisted the addresses to comply with a law enforcement request but declined to provide any further details. 

Bitfinex Exiting From Ontario

This week, crypto exchange Bitfinex disclosed that it would stop serving customers in Ontario starting March 1. Though it has not revealed the reason, it has advised its clients to commence exiting their position in preparation for full closure in March.

And Finally, Wikipedia Faces An Outcry Over Crypto

Wikimedia, the non-profit behind Wikipedia, is facing strong opposition to its policy to receive crypto donations. Contributor Molly White claims that the foundation’s decision to accept crypto goes against its commitment to environmental sustainability.

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