Blockchain This Week – Singapore and CBDC, Digital Rupee Pilot, Datonomy, Web3 Alliances, GameStop’s NFT Marketplace

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Guardian Completes First Live Trades

The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that Project Guardian, its pilot initiative to explore DeFi in wholesale markets, has completed its first live trades. DBS, JP Morgan, and SBI Digital Asset Holdings conducted the live transaction with tokenized JPY and SGD.

Singapore Launches Two More Trials

The Monetary Authority of Singapore launched two more trials for the use of tokenization in trade finance and wealth management. Standard Chartered is leading the effort to explore the tokenization of trade finance assets. HSBC, UOB, and Temasek are involved in the second pilot.

Purpose Bound Money Pilots

Singapore’s monetary authority (MAS) also issued a whitepaper on a purpose built, tokenized form of digital currency as a part of its Project Orchid, a retail CBDC research. It is also running four pilot projects that involve some of the largest banks in Singapore.

MAS Approves Two Stablecoin Issuers

First, Paxos, the issuer of USDP stablecoin, secured a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to offer crypto products and services in the country. Circle, the company behind the USDC stablecoin, followed suit and received an in principle license to operate as a payments company in Singapore.

Project Mariana

The BIS Innovation Hub is launching Project Mariana, a new research initiative to explore using DeFi for CBDC trails for cross border payments. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, Banque de France, and the Swiss National Bank are also involved in the project.

Digital Rupee Pilot

The Reserve Bank of India commenced the wholesale digital rupee pilot that focuses on the “settlement of secondary market transactions in government securities.” Nine banks, including State Bank of India and HSBC, are participating in the trial.

Goldman’s Datonomy

Investment bank Goldman Sachs is working with MSCI and Coin Metrics to launch a digital asset classification system called datonomy. Datonomy aims to give crypto participants a standardized way to analyze the DeFi trends and track various crypto assets.

Open Metaverse Alliance

Open Metaverse Alliance (OMA3) officially commenced its operations this week. The aim of this alliance is to establish standards across metaverse platforms and is offering memberships across two tiers – sponsor and creator. It will be governed by a DAO and operate in smaller working groups focusing on various metaverse and web3 topics.

Decentralized Storage Alliance

Protocol Labs, the creator of Filecoin, announced a decentralized storage alliance that intends to help companies transition from Web2 to Web3. The founding partners include computer hardware and storage giants AMD and Seagate and consulting firm E&Y.

Web3 Domain Alliance

The Web3 Domain Alliance was also formed this week with the goal to address the challenges around domain fraud and naming collisions for web3 domains. Founding members include Unstoppable Domains and Polkadot Name System.

Fund of Funds Closes Shop

The so called fund of funds, Protocol Ventures, is reportedly closing down and will return investor cash in the first quarter of 2023. Protocol, which invested in firms, including Pantera and Multicoin Capital, is said to have lost over 90% in the last year.

NY Fed Completes Digital Dollar Trial

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has completed a successful trial of using the digital dollar for complex foreign exchange transactions spanning multiple blockchains. The results show that the clearing and settlement process, which traditionally takes two days, was completed in under 15 seconds.

GameStop’s NFT Marketplace Live

Video game store GameStop has launched its NFT marketplace. This platform, which is built on Immutable X, an Ethereum Layer 2 scaling protocol, will offer digital assets from various web3 games.

Japan’s DAO

Japan’s Digital Ministry plans to create a decentralized organization (DAO) to help the government to better understand how such autonomous entities work and analyze their limitations. It is also exploring issues such as the legality of the governance tokens used for digital voting.

Binance Processed $8B Iranian Trades

A review of data from Chainalysis shows that crypto exchange Binance has processed Iranian transactions worth $8 billion since 2018 despite US sanctions. Of which, $7.8 billion have been exchanged between Binance and Iran’s Nobitex crypto exchange. Binance claims that despite not being a US company, it has taken measures to limit exposure to the Iranian market.

Fidelity’s New Crypto Offering

Investment giant Fidelity has opened up a waiting list for Fidelity Crypto, though there is no launch date announced. Fidelity Crypto reportedly would offer commission free trading of bitcoin and ether along with traditional stock investments in one app for the retail investors.

Game of Thrones NFTs

Warner Bros., which owns the premium cable channel HBO, is releasing an NFT collection based on the characters from the popular series – Game of Thrones. The collection dubbed “Game of Thrones: Build Your Realm” will allow owners to buy customizable NFT avatars.

News Shorts

Digital assets platform Bakkt will acquire Apex Crypto from Apex Fintech Solutions for $55 million in cash, with another $145 million in stock to be paid if time bound financial targets are met.

Standard Chartered has made an undisclosed investment in Partior, the blockchain based wholesale trades payments network, and will become its “founding shareholder.”

Meta has integrated with the decentralized data storage platform Arweave to store NFTs from Instagram.

HUSD stablecoin sharply lost its dollar peg and dropped to $0.30 in a matter of hours earlier this week.

Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon faces a class action suit filed in a Singapore court on behalf of over 350 investors who claim to have lost over $57 million due to TerraUSD collapse.

Crypto regulation would be one of the top priorities during India’s year long presidency of the G20, which starts in Dec 2022.

South Africa’s Pick n Pay supermarket chain is allowing its customers to pay with bitcoin using any Lightning Network supported app.

Web3 Venture Financing

Crypto wallet Braavos raised $10 million in the seed round led by Pantera Capital to launch a self custody wallet on Ethereum scaler Starknet.

Crypto custodian RakkaR Digital secured $10 million in a seed funding round backed by a single investor, SCB 10X, a subsidiary of Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank.

Zebra Labs closed a $5 million funding round with Chinese gaming firm NetDragon and Japanese investor Sumitomo to support Chinese celebrities navigate through the metaverse.

DeFi infra platform Orderly has raised an undisclosed amount of funds via an agreement for future tokens from financial services group Nomura’s Laser Digital, which brings its valuation to $200 million.

NiftyApes, a lender who takes NFTs as collateral, raised $4.2 million in seed funding led by Variant and FinTech Collective.

Lingfeng Innovation Fund (LIF), a new VC fund by former Binance Labs executive Nicole Zhang, secured $20 million to invest in web3 startups.

Caitlin Long founded digital asset bank Custodia has raised $7 million from undisclosed investors, as per a filing submitted to the US SEC.

Web3 startup WalletConnect landed $12.5 million in what it calls an “ecosystem round” from investors, including 1kx and Union Square Ventures.

South Korean video game developer Wemade raised close to $46 million in a funding round participated by Shinhan Asset Management, Kiwoom Securities, and Microsoft.

Tharsis, the firm behind the Evmos blockchain, secured $27 million in a token sale round led by Polychain Capital.


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