Blockchain This Week – World Bank Backs Carbon Fund, $300M Web3 Fund, Layoffs, Canceled Mergers, Regulatory Nods

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World Bank Backs Carbon Credits Fund

The World Bank’s International Financial Corporation (IFC) is collaborating with two nonprofit fintech companies to launch the Carbon Opportunities Fund. This fund intends to tokenize high quality carbon credits on the Chia blockchain. Aspiration, a sustainable finance company, and Cultivo, which uses tech to source land for regeneration projects, are fintech firms driving the funds’ strategy.

CoinFund’s $300M Web3 Fund

CoinFund, the investment firm that focuses on crypto ventures, has launched the $300 million CoinFund Ventures 1 fund. This venture capital fund aims to back early stage layer 1 blockchains, web3 gaming, and NFT companies.

Genesis Cuts Staff, CEO Steps Down

Crypto firm Genesis is laying off 20% of its 260 person workforce supposedly to reduce costs. Meanwhile, the firm announced that CEO Michael Moro is stepping down and COO Derar Islim would take over as interim CEO.

Crypto.com Fires More Employees

After letting go 5% of its workforce in June, the crypto exchange Crypto.com promised the remaining employees that their job was safe. Yet, it has reportedly laid off more employees, more than the first time. It was announced during the quarterly all hands call where the company leaders stated that they have no intention of going public with this news.

Crypto.com Gets Regulatory Nod

Meanwhile, Crypto.com got a regulatory nod from the UK’s FCA. This approval will allow it to offer services to UK customers in compliance with local laws and regulations.

Coinify To Operate in Italy

Crypto exchange Coinify has obtained approval from the Italian regulator, Organismo Agenti e Mediatori. Consequently, Coinify will offer crypto trading and payment services in Italy.

Revolut To Offer Crypto Services in Europe

The European digital bank Revolut has been granted approval to offer crypto services across the European Economic Area (EEA) by the Cyprus SEC. Hence, Revolut would be able to service 17 million customers in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Binance Garners Initial Approval

Crypto exchange Binance has earned the regulatory nod from Kazakhstan’s Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA). Yet, it needs to go through the entire application process before it can start operating in Kazakhstan.

Gate.io To Offer Custody Service in HK

Gate.io’s Hippo Financial Services has earned an operating license from Hong Kong authorities. Now, Hippo can offer virtual asset custodial services in Hong Kong.

Huobi Stablecoin Depegges and Pegs Back

Huobi crypto exchange’s HUSD stablecoin, which is issued by Stable Universal, briefly fell close to 15% and ended at $0.87 instead of a dollar peg. The HUSD team later confirmed that the stablecoin is back to $1. The issue, they say, was due to the closure of several accounts in a specific region due to legal requirements and included a market maker account. The fiat backed stablecoin lost its peg due to the time difference in banking hours.

Acala Loses Peg After Hack

The stablecoin of Acala, a DeFi platform running on Polkadot, lost its dollar peg and plunged to $0.009 this week. Hackers exploiting the misconfiguration of the iBTC/aUSD liquidity pool and minting 1.28 billion tokens is cited as the reason behind the depeg of aUSD. The stablecoin, however, came close to gaining back its peg when the community driven governance of Acala burned these erroneously minted coins.

Huobi To Stop Derivatives Trading in NZ

Huobi Global will stop offering derivatives trading services to New Zealand users starting next week. The services halted include coin margined futures and swaps and USDT margined contracts and options.

Hodlnaut Hold Not

Crypto lender Holdnaut announced massive layoffs and disclosed pending police proceedings in a blog post published this week. The firm has let go of 80% of its staff and cut interest rates to 0% APR. It claims to be working hard on a recovery plan and to stabilize liquidity. Meanwhile, it has also filed an application with the Singapore High Court seeking protection from creditors.

Galaxy Digital Abandons BitGo Deal

The crypto firm Galaxy Digital has backed off from its plan to buy crypto custody provider, BitGo. It has abandoned the $1.2 billion merger stating that BitGo has failed to facilitate its financial statements before the deadline of July. Meanwhile, BitGo has decided to sue Galaxy Digital, claiming that Galaxy owes it a $100 million breakup fee.

PrimeBlock Terminates Merger with 10X Capital

Bitcoin mining company PrimeBlock has shelved its plans to go public by terminating its plan to merge with 10X Capital Venture Acquisition (VCXA). The two firms ended their agreement that had valued PrimeBlock at $1.25 billion by mutual consent.

Celsius Debacle

Canadian pension giant, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, has written off $150 million, its stake in bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network. Meanwhile, Celsius has secured approval from a New York bankruptcy judge to sell its newly mined bitcoin to fund company operations.

Monero’s New Privacy Features

Monero, both a famous and notorious privacy coin, added new privacy and security features via a hard fork implemented over the weekend. This fork, which was completed at block 2,688,888, included ring size of 16, bulletproofs+, and view tags.

Crypto Firms Get Letter

The lawmakers in the US congress have sent letters to four crypto miners asking for details of the impact their mining operations are having on the environment. Core Scientific, Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital, and Stronghold Digital have received the letters.

Russia to Pilot CBDC in 2023

The Bank of Russia has provided an outline for launching the digital ruble. It plans to commence pilots of the real-world transactions with the CBDC in 2023. It is considering to test P2P and B2C transfers during the trials.

Ukraine Spent Crypto on Military

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, has released a report enumerating how the country spent the $54 million in crypto donations. Among others, $11.8 million was spent on drones, $6.9 million on armored vests, and $5.7 million on computer hardware and software. Another $5 million was spent on anti war media campaigns.

South Korea Bans Crypto Exchanges

South Korea’s authorities are closing down 16 crypto exchanges, which they accuse of operating in the country without registration. KuCoin, and DigiFinex, are among the 16 exchanges.

Jump Crypto to Revamp Solana

Jump Crypto, the crypto arm of TradFi firm Jump Trading Group, has been chosen by the Solana Foundation to revamp the core infra of Solana. In addition to building a new validator client, Jump intends to propose significant upgrades to mitigate frequent outages and improve throughput.

Tether Hires New Accounting Firm

Tether Limited, the firm behind the stablecoin USDT has hired BDO Italia as its new accounting firm. It has also promised to produce monthly attestation reports for USDT reserves. BDO Italia, meanwhile, revealed that Tether has reduced its commercial paper holdings by over 58% to $8.5 billion at the end of the last quarter.

Bitcoin Climbs and Then Plunges

Earlier this week, bitcoin surpassed the $25K mark for the first time since June and reached a high of $25,135.59. But amid a sudden sell off, the reason for which is still debated, the price plunged below $22K. Ether and other altcoins followed suit. At the time of writing, one bitcoin was worth $21,198.62.

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