Blockchain This Week – World Devours 0.2% Less Energy, Starbucks and Polygon, Trudeau Bristles Over Crypto, Billion Euro Web3 Fund

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Ethereum Moves Away From Proof of Work

The Ethereum blockchain, which since its inception was using resource intensive proof of work consensus, has now officially transitioned to proof of stake. The much anticipated “Merge” event occurred around block height 15,537,391 this Thursday, Sep 15

World Energy Consumption Reduced by 0.2%

Ethereum co-founder claims that the move to proof of stake has reduced the Ethereum blockchain’s energy usage by 99.988% and CO2 emissions by 99.992%. He says, consequently, the global energy usage has gone down by 0.2%, making the Merge one of the most massive decarbonization events ever.

Markets’ Lukewarm Response

The crypto markets were less than ebullient for the “Merge.” Twenty four hours before the merge, the price of Ether was buoying at $1,600, which dropped 9% following the proof of stake transition. At the time of writing, an Ether was worth $1,439.29

Emerging Signs of Centralization

In hours following the Merge, close to 40% of Ethereum’s blocks were added only by two entities – Coinbase and Lido, defying the narratives of the developers, who had touted the shift as a defeat to centralization. According to Martin Köppelmann, co-founder of Gnosis, 420 of the 1,000 blocks were built by the two players, who are also among the seven entities that own more than two-thirds of the stake in the network.

Opera Supports MetaMask

In a run up to The Merge, the crypto friendly browser Opera announced that it now supports third party wallets such as MetaMask

EthereumPoW Launches

EthereumPoW, the proof of work fork of the now transitioned Ethereum network, launched immediately following The Merge. The network, however, was mired with troubles, as several users complained of their unsuccessful attempts to access the servers or link to a crypto wallet. The problem, it seems, was that the Chain ID of the platform, provided for crypto wallet MetaMask to sign transactions, was incorrect, thereby resulting in failed transactions.

Blockchain For Aid Tracking

Dario Nieto, a senator from the city of Buenos Aires, has introduced a bill in Argentina’s parliament that proposes to use blockchain to make social aid payments. He argues that blockchain would bring transparency to this system, which is riddled with intermediaries pilfering money from social campaigns.

Mass Balance Sustainability on Blockchain

Sustainability startup Circularise and International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) are working on a blockchain pilot with ten firms. This goal is to test a public blockchain based system for auditing the data integrity for mass balance certification of chemicals and plastics.

OpenWallet Initiative

The Linux Foundation revealed its plans to form the OpenWallet Foundation (OWF). The aim is to open source digital wallet development, including crypto wallets. This initiative has already garnered support from the tech sector.

eKrona Source Code

Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, and the crypto firm Nahmii AS have released the source code for the sandbox built to trial digital Krone. The prototype is being built on the Ethereum network.

Trudeau Bristles Over Crypto

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rebuked the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, for his advice to people that they can “opt out” of inflation by investing in crypto. He argued that such a comment is not “responsible leadership.”

Crypto Firms Prohibited From Offering Crypto Services

Thailand’s SEC has banned crypto firms from offering crypto staking and lending services. According to the press release, this decision was made to protect consumers from the risks associated with crypto lenders.

New Rules for Digital Wallets

The Central Bank of Argentina has issued new compliance rules for operators of digital wallets in the country. As per the new regulations, customers of crypto wallet providers are considered financial users who will have the same protections as banking and other traditional financial users.

Luxury Hotel Accepts Crypto

Palazzo Versace, a luxury hotel in Dubai, has enabled crypto payments, allowing its guests to settle their bills using bitcoin, ether, or BNB coin. It also plans to add the crypto option to its online platform, hence letting the guests pay for gift vouchers with crypto.

Huobi Delists 7 Privacy Coins

Crypto exchange Huobi will entirely delist seven privacy centric digital currencies on Sep 19. Huobi has already terminated trading and deposits for these coins, which include the more popular Monero and Zcash. It cites complying with regulations as the reason for this decision.

Starbucks’ NFT Platform

Coffee chain Starbucks is launching an NFT platform on Ethereum scaling network Polygon. Named, The Starbucks Odyssey, this program plans to dole out and sell digital stamps that unlock perks such as exclusive merchandise and access to private events.

Ford In Metaverse?

Automotive giant Ford has filed 19 trademark applications. They include Ford branded NFTs, its own NFT marketplace, and virtual models of its cars.

WazirX’s Assets Unfrozen

Crypto exchange WazirX revealed that India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) had unfrozen its accounts because of its “active cooperation” with the local authorities.

Arrest Warrant For Terra’s Do Kwon

A South Korean court has issued an arrest warrant against Do Kwon, the co-founder of Terraform Labs, the issuer of the controversial Terra stablecoin, and five others. They are charged with violating the Capital Markets Act.

Algorand Seeks Legal Resort

The Algorand Foundation is seeking legal help to reclaim $35 million that it had deposited in stablecoin USDC with the embattled crypto lender, Hodlnaut.

Fintech Startup TrueLayer Trimming 10% of Staff, Citing Challenging Market Conditions

About 45 employees will be laid off from the firm, which was valued at over $1 billion a year ago.

Citing “challenging market conditions,” 

Bolt Axes Wyre Deal

Payments firm Bolt Financial has scrapped its planned $1.5 billion acquisition of crypto infra provider Wyre by mutual agreement. Instead, Wyre will add its one click checkout feature to Bolt’s customer platform.

BitGo Sues Galaxy

Crypto custody firm BitGo has filed a lawsuit against crypto financial services company Galaxy Digital. It is seeking more than $100 million in damages and alleges that Galaxy has intentionally breached their $1.2 billion merger agreement. 

Earn Crypto by Browsing

Adtech startup Slice has integrated bitcoin’s lightning network into its web browser extension. As a result, people using Slice’s free extension on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Brave browser get a chance to earn bitcoin for viewing ads. This feature uses Zebedee’s tech.

$70M Art Auction to Fund NFTs

The William S. Paley Foundation has enlisted Sotheby’s to auction 29 of the 81 pieces of the art collection worth close to $70 million. This art collection that includes works of Picasso and Renoir is a part of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. The proceeds will go to expand the museum’s digital presence and possible purchase of NFTs.

FTX Goes “Wonky”

A volatile market following the release of higher than expected CPI numbers brought in a number of issues to people accessing crypto exchange FTX. People were complaining of API outages and intermittent screen refreshes. FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried confirmed that the problem was fixed in an hour.

Northzone’s Billion Euro Web3 Fund

London based venture capital firm Northzone has launched a 1 billion Euro fund that targets crypto and fintech startups. According to Northzone partner Wendy Xiao Shadeck, Web3 is a core sector for the firm.

GCP and BNB Collaborate

Binance Chain (BNB) and  Google Cloud (GCP) are collaborating to support the growth of the Web3 ecosystem. Together, they plan to offer core infra, cloud credits, and mentorship for Web3 startups.

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