Blockchain This Week – Nomura’s Crypto Unit, SWIFT’s CBDC Experiments, Norway’s CBDC Sandbox, CloudFlare’s Ethereum Nodes

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Nomura Opens Crypto Unit

Japan’s investment bank Nomura is reportedly launching a crypto subsidiary that will staff 100 people by the end of 2023. This unit would offer institutional investors exposure to crypto, DeFi, and NFTs.

SWIFT Tests Linking CBDCs

SWIFT is collaborating with Capgemini to conduct a series of experiments to link various domestic CBDCs and achieve seamless cross border payments using digital currencies. According to Thomas Zschach, Chief Innovation Officer at SWIFT, frictionless interaction between all the world’s CBDCs is critical to fully realize their potential.

Cloudflare To Run Ethereum Nodes

Internet services firm Cloudflare is considering running validator nodes of the Ethereum network as a part of its web3 focus strategy. The company states that running Ethereum nodes would offer more geographic decentralization and add infrastructure decentralization to the network.

EY Launches Supply Chain Tracking on Polygon

Ernst & Young (EY) has launched its EY OpsChain Supply Chain Manager in beta on Ethereum scaling Polygon network. The new product combines product tracing with inventory management and intends to handle various choke points of supply chains.

Shopify Partners With Crypto.com

Shopify has teamed up with Crypto.com to extend its crypto payment options to merchants using its platform. The sellers on Shopify can enable their customers to pay in 20 digital tokens by offering the Crypto.com Pay feature.

Getty Images to Launch NFTs

Getty Images plans to launch a collection of NFTs representing 465 million images, including 135 analog photos. The NFTs will be minted on the Palm blockchain and sold on the Candy Digital marketplace.

Nigeria’s SEC Declares Digital Assets Are Securities

In a new rulebook released early this week, the Nigerian financial regulator has clarified that digital assets are securities and hence come under the purview of the SEC. The registered crypto exchanges are required to get a no objection certificate for each traded asset and have to be fair and transparent with their fees. Those seeking a license to operate have to have a working capital and post a fidelity bond.

Another Algo “Stable” Coin Loses Its Peg

At the heels of the Terra collapse, DEI, another algorithmic stablecoin, has lost its dollar peg. The stablecoin from DeFi protocol DEUS Finance dropped to an all time low of $0.517 and was trading at $0.59 at the time of writing.

Tether Cuts Commercial Paper Backing

In its latest assurance report, Tether, operator of the stablecoin USDT, has disclosed that it has reduced the exposure to unsecured commercial paper by 16.8% and has instead increased its holdings in cash. As of March 31, Tether has $82 billion in reserves, of which 86% were cash and cash equivalents, and the rest included $4 billion in corporate bonds, $3 billion in secured loans, and $5 billion in other investments.

Investigations, Lawsuits, and Resignations

Following the Terra fallout, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) have launched “emergency” inspections into local crypto exchanges to ensure investors are better protected. Meanwhile, South Korean law firm LKB & Partners is suing Terraform Labs founders Do Kwon and Daniel Shin and filing to have Do Kwon’s property seized. At the same time, Terra’s in-house legal team – General counsel Marc Goldich, chief corporate counsel Lawrence Florio, and regulatory counsel Noah Axler – has resigned.

Portugal Mulls Crypto Tax

Since 2018, Portugal has considered crypto as a means of exchange and not as investment, thereby levying 0% capital gains tax and hence earning the moniker “Tax Haven.” Those days seemed to be numbered, as the country shifted its stance with the Minister of Finance Fernando Medina announcing that soon the crypto assets would be subjected to a 28% tax.

Norway Selects Nahmii

Norges Bank, Norway’s central bank, has selected Ethereum Layer 2 protocol, Nahmii, to host a sandbox for the country’s CBDC. Nahmii aims to build and manage the sandbox and train the bank’s users and partners on CBDC.

44 Countries Meet in El Salvador to Talk Crypto

Late last week, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced that the country would be hosting 32 central bankers and 12 financial authorities from 44 countries this week. The agenda was how Bitcoin would drive the digital economy leading to the financial inclusion of the unbanked.

Australian Bank Pauses Crypto Trading Trial

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank(CommBank) has halted the launch of its crypto trading service, following the swift collapse of TerraUSD and resulting market chaos. CommBank states that though crypto space is promising, it needs more regulations as the sector is highly volatile.

Grayscale Launches “Future of Finance” ETF

This week, Grayscale Investments listed its new Grayscale Future of Finance UCITS ETF (GFOF) on the London Stock Exchange, Borsa Italiana, and Deutsche Börse Xetra. The ETF is based on the Bloomberg Grayscale Future of Finance Index (BGFOF), which tracks companies that have a crypto footprint.

Coinbase Forms Crypto Think Tank, But Pares Hiring

Crypto exchange Coinbase has created Coinbase Institute, a think tank for crypto and web3 research and discussions. On the other hand, it has slowed hiring, adducing the current downward market trend as a reason to reevaluate its staffing strategy.

A16z Launches Web3 Gaming Fund

The VC firm Andreesen Horowitz (a16z) has launched a new fund that will invest $600 million in the startups in the gaming sector, including those in web3 and metaverse space. A16z aims to fund projects such as gaming studios and those offering gaming infrastructure.

FTX Stocks

FTX US has unveiled a new product, FTX Stocks, which allows customers to fund their accounts with USDC alongside bank transfers. Additionally, a select few US customers can also buy stocks and ETFs within FTX’s crypto app, making FTX US the first crypto company to offer equities on its platform.

Robinhood Building Non Custodial Wallets

Robinhood has announced that it is building a non custodial wallet that will give users complete control over their private keys to their crypto assets. The wallet, expected to be live by the end of the year, would also let customers trade and swap crypto with no network fees and allow them to access DeFi services and store NFTs.

Binance Supports Optimism

Crypto exchange Binance has added support to trade ether on Ethereum scaling network Optimism. At the moment, Binance supports only deposits, with withdrawals to commence once sufficient liquidity is achieved.

Universal Music on LimeWire

LimeWire, a yesteryear peer to peer music sharing service, will soon launch an NFT marketplace dedicated to music on the Algorand blockchain. This week, it announced that it has signed up Universal Music Group as its customer, who will use the platform to enable its artists to release NFTs.

UnicornDAO Raises $4.5 Million

UnicornDAO, launched in March 2022, has raised $4.5 million this week. The funding round was led by ConsenSys Mesh and Yuga labs. UnicornDAO, whose mission is to support marginalized artists in web3, intends to use this money to support artists who identify as women or LGBTQ+.

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