Top Stories of Last Week
- Central Bank of the Bahamas announced Sand Dollar, the state-backed virtual currency, is now available nationwide to all 393,000 residents of The Bahamas, the first country in world to officially roll out a CBDC. Sand Dollar transfers are made by mobile phone and residents of The Bahamas can use digital currency at any merchant with a Central Bank approved e-Wallet on mobile device.
- Larry Dean Harmon, the Helix and Coin Ninja founder who was arrested for allegedly mixing bitcoin for criminals, fined by prosecutors at FinCEN for $60 million in civil penalties. Harmon’s bitcoin mixing services allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars in crypto for darknet markets including Abraxas, Agora, Hansa, Hydra, and Wall Street Market.
- Spain’s central bank is fast-tracking research on digital currency‘s design and economic implications of CBDC as per four-year strategic plan, where researchers will consider design proposals and analyze digital currency’s financial and systemic risks for Spain. Research will carry through end of 2021.
- Spanish National Police arrested operator of cryptocurrency arbitrage firm Arbistar 2.0 in crackdown on platform that investors allege to be massive bitcoin Ponzi scheme. Santiago Fuentes was taken into custody in Tenerife and charged with financial fraud and money laundering. Fuentes’ site serves around 120,000 users, which according to blockchain investigations firm Tulip Research have invested over $1 billion in total.
- U.S. Travel Rule Working Group (USTRWG), a group of twenty-five U.S.-based virtual asset service providers, have come together to publish white paper on industry-wide solution to travel rule compliance that proposes hub through which they can identify customer information and use point-to-point communication channels to transmit data. Solution will be rolled out in phases, first admitting only U.S.-based VASPs to network to act as both governance and technology mechanism for compliance by controlling who may join.
- Consortium led by EY Hanyoung, along with Samsung SDS and Naver Corporation’s LINE, reportedly bid for country’s CBDC pilot project. If awarded, EY Hanyoung will be in charge of CBDC’s design processes, while Samsung SDS and LINE will provide system architecture support.
- PayPal and its social payments platform Venmo set to offer crypto buying and selling, with crypto to be solely offered on PayPal to start, with Venmo slated to follow in 2021. PayPal obtained conditional license from NYDFS by collaborating with Paxos Crypto Brokerage, which will handle regulatory, technological and liquidity aspects of crypto features. Paypal also reportedly exploring acquisitions of cryptocurrency companies including BitGo, with whom they have allegedly been holding talks with, and could even reach a deal within weeks.
- ConsenSys developer Ben Edgington published unofficial update that predicts ETH 2.0 beacon chain genesis will happen within six to eight weeks and that launch of V1.0.0 release candidate deposit contract address should be announced this week. Deposit contract allows ETH to be sent between Ethereum and ETH 2.0, and is one of few remaining updates needed to facilitate roll-out of ETH 2.0 phase 0.
- LINE reportedly building platform for development of blockchain-based CBDCs, aiming to support development of customized CBDC and discussing application of platform with several central banks in major Asian countries. LINE executives did not disclose countries that are considering platform’s application.
- Fintech investment fund managed by Lombard Odier Investment Managers reportedly seeking out companies focused on tokenization after launching strategy in May and amassing $250 million in assets. Jeroen van Oerle, global fintech equities portfolio manager for fund, said particular focus on companies involved in process of tokenization has already led group to investments in undisclosed consultancy and software company.
- Binance Jersey announced closing of exchange, with all deposits to be disabled on Oct. 30, trading ceasing on Nov. 9, and shutdown expected on Nov. 30 where all accounts become inaccessible. Binance Jersey provided fiat-to-crypto exchange for users trading in euros and pounds. Growth of services on Binance.com extinguished rationale for Binance Jersey as distinct exchange.
- Bitstamp introduced insurance policy that covers theft and other losses of user funds held on platform. Insurance policy will be provided by Paragon International Insurance Brokers in coordination with Woodruff-Sawyer. Policy applies to digital assets that are held at exchange both on and offline, and covers number of crime-related circumstances including employee theft, loss while assets are stored at any premise, loss in transit, loss caused by computer fraud or funds transfer fraud, and losses related to legal fees and expenses.
- European crypto exchange LGO and brokerage Voyager are merging, enabling Voyager to expand into Europe. As part of merger, LGO will sunset institutional exchange business and transfer remainder of assets to Voyager. Additionally, the firm’s respective tokens will merge as well, with a new Voyager token to be minted which will allow VGX and LGO token holders to swap into new token.
- Bixin Ventures allocating $100 million fund with all proprietary capital denominated in USDT for purpose of fostering infrastructure projects that aim to scale up DeFi.
- Crypto security startup Curv announced Franklin Templeton and venture capital investor Illuminate Financial Management as new investors, bringing firm’s total amount raised to $30 million. Previous investors include Commerz Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and Digital Currency Group.
- CasperLabs raised $14 million in private token sale led by Digital Strategies and participation from ZB Global, Gate.io, Consensus Capital and Cluster Capital. Platform aims to solve scalability trilemma of achieving scalability, decentralization and security, as well as build platform on which developers can build and operate decentralized applications.
- O(1) Labs, the team behind development of Mina Protocol, raised $10.9 million in strategic investment round co-led by Three Arrows Capital and Bixin Ventures, with participation from HashKey Capital, NGC Ventures, and Fenbushi Capital, among others. O(1) Labs plans to build developer community for Mina blockchain in Asia.
- DASH announced partnership with StakeHound, enabling Ethereum DeFi users to earn rewards with StakedDASH by building bridge that will allow DASH holders to generate additional yield through DeFi applications while at same time continue receiving staking rewards.
- Rapper MF DOOM announced partnership with digital art platform Illust Space in creating and putting 11 augmented reality masks up for auction in form of NFTs. Masks are inspired by DOOM’s signature mask and Illust Space said purchasers will be able to wear them in AR via company’s web app.