Blockchain This Week – BlockFi, Tradelens, Digital Rupee, Web2 Meets Web3, Red Cross Explores Tokenized Aid

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BlockFi Files for Bankruptcy

Crypto lender BlockFi has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It claims it has over 100,000 creditors and assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion. BlockFi also has close to $355 million stuck in FTX. Meanwhile, BlockFi has sued Sam Bankman Fried over his Robinhood shares that he allegedly had used as loan collateral with BlockFi.

TradeLens Winds Down

Shipping giant Maersk and IBM’s blockchain based shipping solution, TradeLens, which launched in 2018, will go offline by the first quarter of 2023. Rotem Hershko, head of business platforms at Maersk, stated that though the system was viable, it could not reach the level of commercial viability necessary to sustain it as an independent business.

Digital Rupee Pilot

India’s central bank, the RBI, has started testing its retail CBDC, the digital rupee. Initially, the trial will be run in four cities – Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Bhubaneswar with four banks – SBI, ICICI, Yes, and IDFC First. Digital coins will be issued in the same denominations as their fiat counterparts and traded between a pre-selected group of customers and merchants.

Brazil to Regulate Crypto Payments

Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies passed a new bill that would regulate the use of crypto as means of payment. It means banks in the country could offer crypto payment services soon under the supervision of Brazil’s central bank.

Web3 Layoffs

Crypto exchange Kraken has laid off 1,100 employees, constituting 30% of its workforce. Meanwhile, despite being valued at $1.5 billion last year, digital collectibles firm Candy Digital has let go of over 100 employees, or roughly half of its staff. At the same time, Mexico based crypto exchange Bitso has fired an undisclosed number of employees, about six months after showing the door to 80 of them.

Web3 Startups Join Stripe

Blockchain based music streaming platform Audius, NFT platform Magic Eden, and crypto wallet provider Argent have partnered with fintech titan Stripe. These firms plan to integrate Stripe’s fiat to crypto onramp service for instant crypto settlement.

Fidelity Retail Crypto Accounts

Asset management firm Fidelity has commenced crypto trading for retail investors this week. These crypto accounts reportedly allow users to trade bitcoin and ether commission free.

Red Cross and Blockchain

The International Committee of the Red Cross is testing tokenized aid distribution to help those in conflict zones. Red Cross would provide a “stable utility token,” which will be valued similarly to a stablecoin. The beneficiaries need a crypto wallet developed in partnership with Partisia Blockchain to receive the tokens.

Porsche NFT

Carmaker Porsche is launching its NFT collection in January 2023. This collection includes 7,500 customized art pieces of Porsche 911 and will be available on its official marketplace.

Goldman Sachs Launches GS DAP

Goldman Sachs launched GS DAP, its digital asset tokenization platform. It will be used to issue, register, and settle several types of digital assets. Using this platform, the European Investment Bank (EIB) issued €100 million in digital bonds.

Trademark Web5

Earlier this week, Jack Dorsey’s crypto focused unit TBD announced its plans to trademark “Web5” to prevent any confusion over the use of the term. TBD, however, retracted its decision hours later, presumably owing to “the voice of the community.”

SBF’s Prime Time Apology

Against his lawyers’ advice, FTX’s former boss Sam Bankman Fried (SBF) gave a live interview with the New York Times’s Andrew Sorkin. “We messed up big,” said SBF while admitting the lack of oversight. Yet, he denied any willful wrongdoing and claimed he didn’t ever try to commit fraud.

House Committee to Investigate FTX

The US House Financial Services Committee will investigate the FTX collapse on December 13. The hearing is titled “Investigating the Collapse of FTX, Part I.” It would reportedly also probe how the collapse has impacted the broader crypto ecosystem.

Web3 Shorts

Japanese social media company LINE plans to shut down its crypto exchange Bitfront. Instead, it wants to focus on its native blockchain and token.

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital plans to acquire high security crypto custodian GK8 from bankrupt crypto lender Celsius.

Decentralized lending protocol Aave suspended lending markets for Ethereum based 17 tokens and stablecoins following a recent massive short position on Aave’s CRV market, which resulted in a bad debt of $1.6 million.

Watch brand Timex plans to release 500 Bored Ape watches and their NFTs to BAYC and MAYC club holders.

Crypto exchange Kraken has agreed to pay $362,000 to settle the Treasury Department’s charges for violating US sanctions by allowing transactions with Iran.

Web3 Venture Financing

Institutional staking platform Kiln has raised $17.6 million in a round funded by ConsenSys and the venture arm of Kraken.

Digital asset market maker Keyrock has secured $72 million in a Series B funding round led by Ripple.

Meanwhile, Polychain Capital led a $25 million Series A funding round of the web3 CDN platform Fleek.

Web3 cybersecurity startup Cyvers raised $8 million in a seed round led by Elron Ventures.

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