Blockchain This Week – Ethereum Merge Delay, Quantum Computing, Dorsey’s Tweet

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Ethereum Merge Postponed

The merging of the Ethereum 1.0 network with Ethereum 2.0, which was initially slated for June this year, has been reportedly delayed until the second half of 2022. Meanwhile, Ethereum developers are using shadow forks where they replicate mainnet data and configurations onto the testnet and test features before deploying the code to the primary network.

DTCC Collaborates on CBDC

The clearing and settlements firm, Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) is working on “Project Lithium,” a CBDC trial, in collaboration with the Digital Dollar Project. This pilot focuses on exploring the value a CBDC brings to the financial services industry.

Fidelity To Offer Two ETFs

Asset management company Fidelity Investments plans to offer two ETFs for investors looking to put their money in metaverse and crypto. The Fidelity Metaverse ETF (FMET) would invest at least 80% of its assets in securities included in the Fidelity Metaverse Index. Meanwhile, the Fidelity Crypto Industry and Digital Payments ETF (DIG) would have a similar exposure to companies related to crypto and blockchain.

Bank of Canada Brings Quantum Computing to Crypto

Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, has teamed up with a startup Multiverse Computing, to simulate scenarios where crypto and fiat currency can coexist using quantum computing. The results are already showing as Multiverse Computing’s model was able to evaluate more than one octillion possible scenarios in 30 minutes, a feat that takes a regular PC longer than a human lifetime.

Indian Crypto Trades Dwindle

Since the enforcement of a 30% capital gains tax on crypto trades, the crypto trading volume in India has seen a significant drop. The trading on WazirX dropped by 72%, CoinDCX by 52%, and ZebPay by 59%. Furthermore, MobiKwik, a commonly used payments service on Indian crypto exchanges, has halted its services, citing unclear regulations. Also, several crypto exchanges, including the recently launched Coinbase, have suspended INR deposits via Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system for the same reason. 

Iran Bans Crypto, To Pilot CBDC

This week, Iran’s deputy minister of communications, Reza Bagheri Asl, emphasized that the country will not recognize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Iran announced rules for issuing crypto rial, Iran’s CBDC, whose pilot phase is imminent.

Portugal Bank Gets a Nod To Offer Crypto Services

Portugal’s central bank, Banco de Portugal, has granted a license to Bison Bank to become the first crypto bank in the country. Consequently, Bison Digital Assets, the crypto subsidiary of Bison Bank, will offer custody and exchange services to the customers.

Buterin Is a Citizen of Montenegro Now

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has been granted citizenship of a Southeast European nation, Montenegro. Montenegrin authorities believe that collaborating with members of the crypto community will help develop the country’s economy, attract investments, and create new jobs in crypto.

MineHub and TradeWaltz Collaborate

MineHub Technologies announced its partnership with TradeWaltz Inc. to combine their blockchain platforms and enable seamless integration of the mining and metals supply chains with digital trade services in Japan. This announcement comes on the heels of a successful trial of a copper ore import trade executed by Sumitomo Corporation.

Hogan Lovells’ Blockchain Based DriveChain

The law firm Hogan Lovells launched a blockchain enabled tech platform DriveChain, which supports summarizing, automating, or generating reports on any document or contract. It has also acquired its first client, BNP Paribas Real Estate.

Kelly Launches NFTs for Ukraine Support

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has released an NFT collection, Dreams Out of This World, on OpenSea. These 3,333 pieces of artwork mark the International Day of Human Space Flight. All the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Global Empowerment Mission, a nonprofit that is providing aid in Ukraine.

Binance Gets In Principle Nod

Crypto exchange Binance has obtained in principle approval from Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA). It permits Binance to operate as a broker and dealer of digital assets in Abu Dhabi.

Nexo’s Crypto Card

Digital asset manager Nexo has partnered with Mastercard and DiPocket to issue a crypto card in selected European markets. With this card, users can access a crypto credit line instead of spending their crypto at merchant outlets.

Mastercard Files Metaverse and NFT Patents

Mastercard has filed 15 trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These patents cover a wide range of products, including NFT enabled multimedia, e-commerce and payments in metaverse, and NFT marketplaces.

MLB’s Dynamic NFTs

Major League Baseball has partnered with digital collectible company Candy Digital to turn baseball memorabilia into NFT collectibles. For this baseball season, Candy Digital will release NFTs that include 720 featured players whose stats will be updated daily. Each NFT will have distinct versions and rarity levels – Core, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary.

NBA Files for Four Trademarks

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has filed for a series of NFT related trademarks earlier this month. The filings that were made public this week cover NFT authenticated basketball memes, virtual game tickets, trading cards, and other collectibles. 

Shoes That Show Price of Bitcoin

A Swedish startup Bitrefill has teamed up with NBA star Spencer Dinwiddie to create what they call a “super silly” pair of sneakers called Bitsneaks. Bitsneaks has an LED display along with 3G connectivity and displays the live price of bitcoin. The shoes are worth $41,000. These sneakers come with a shoebox that has a full bitcoin node that shows bitcoin mempool and even mines bitcoin.

Blockchain.com Signs Deal with Dallas Cowboys

Crypto firm Blockchain.com has signed a deal with NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and is now the exclusive digital asset partner of the football club. As a result, Blockchain.com is getting a TV, radio, and signage presence alongside having its own club space inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

BlackRock and Fidelity Fund Circle

This week, Circle, the issuer of USDC stablecoin, managed to secure $400 million in a funding round. The investors include asset managers BlackRock and Fidelity, among others. Among them, BlackRock intends to extend its strategic partnership with Circle and explore capital market applications for USDC.

Mozilla To Bring Back Crypto Payments

Mozilla, which had earlier this year decided to stop crypto donations, has reversed its stance and is now open to accepting crypto. There is, however, a difference. Mozilla is planning on considering only proof of stake based cryptocurrencies as it deems PoW based ones as significantly increasing its GHG footprint.

Trader Buys Tokens From Coinbase Listings Before Made Public

Hours before Coinbase revealed the latest tokens it is planning to list on its exchange, a user seems to have gone on a shopping spree and purchased $400,000 worth of only those tokens, hinting that this trader had some sort of insider knowledge. The crypto in the user’s wallet is now worth more than %572,000, a 42% rise from the time of purchase.

Ronin Hack

Weeks after the $622 million in crypto hack, Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis has launched a $1 million bug bounty program for white hat hackers to “encourage responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities” in the Ronin network.

Meanwhile, the wallet address that was identified as behind the Ronin network hack has been added by the US Treasury to its sanctions list, tying it to North Korea’s Lazarus Group.

Griffith Gets 5+ Year Prison

Former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy for violating international sanctions when he went to Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2019 for a crypto conference. This week, he was sentenced to 63 months in prison and levied a fine of $100,000.

The First Ever Tweet

Beleaguered crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi who last year bought the NFT of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet for $2.9 million, had listed the NFT for resale at a price of $48 million. Unfortunately, the highest bid the NFT managed to garner was $280. Estavi has decided to hold on to the NFT for now.

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