Top Stories of Last Week
- Russia’s central bank reportedly to pilot its own CBDC at end of 2021, according to Bank of Russia’s head, Elvira Nabiullina. Central bank executive said pilot would be carried out with limited set of users at end of next year. Bank of Russia is currently receiving feedback on its report on digital ruble published earlier in October.
- Swiss National Bank and Bank for International Settlements plan to test CBDC in proof-of-concept stage by end of 2020, according to BIS official Benoit Coeure. BIS also plans to work with more central banks, including Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Bank of Thailand, to test cross-border usage of digital currencies.
- China’s central bank included digital yuan in latest version of proposed banking law, giving legal clarity to regulation of national virtual currency. Proposed law recognizes renminbi in both physical and digital form, and new version will essentially clear way for digital yuan to be one and only official yuan-pegged token in mainland China. Any other legal entity or individuals can not issue or sell tokens to replace circulation of renminbi.
- Cambodia officially launched central bank-backed digital currency “Bakong”, an initiative of National Bank of Cambodia. Bakong, which supports transactions in dollar and riel, is expected to help Cambodians make payments and transfer money between individuals using smartphones. Japanese financial technology startup Soramitsu Co was involved in designing system.
- Newly proposed rule changes from FinCEN and U.S. Federal Reserve would, if approved, drop transaction reporting threshold under international travel rule, including those made with cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Amendments would reduce threshold from $3,000 to $250 for funds transfers and transmittals of funds that begin or end outside United States. Document includes clarification to rules to ensure they are clearly applied to transactions involving cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
- Iran cabinet amended recent legislation on digital assets to allow cryptocurrency to be used for import funding by Central Bank of Iran. Change means legally mined cryptocurrency in Iran can only be exchanged if used to fund imports from other nations. Miners will supply cryptocurrency directly to CBI within authorized limit.
- Avanti Financial’s banking charter approved unanimously by Wyoming State Banking Board, becoming second chartered bank in state after Kraken Financial. Along with charter approval, banking board approved Avanti’s future issuance of Avit, a programmable electronic currency that’s redeemable at par with a U.S. dollar.
- JPMorgan created new blockchain unit called Onyx and also announced JPM Coin is ready for commercial use. Takis Georgakopoulos, global head of wholesale payments at JPM, said a large international technology company is already using JPM Coin for cross-border payments, although company’s name was not disclose. JPMorgan has also rebranded blockchain-based network called Interbank Information Network to Liink.
- ConsenSys announced collaboration with Societe Generale to carry out research on CBDC. Societe Generale – Forge, the bank’s digital assets arm, will provide technology and expertise as part of ongoing CBDC pilot efforts, whereas ConsenSys will be involved in looking at CBDC issuance and management, delivery versus payment and cross-chain interoperability. Societe Generale – Forge previously issued bonds worth millions of euros over blockchain, with one of initiatives involving France’s central bank.
- MicroStrategy President Phong Le said during firm’s earnings conference call that company is looking to add to its $521 million stash of bitcoin. Additionally, company’s BTC investment is estimated to be roughly $100 million in profit. 38,250 BTC holdings worth roughly $425 million at time of purchase in August were valued at more than $520+ million during recent price surge.
- SoFi’s application to establish new national bank granted conditional approval by Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, opening door for new bank to custody cryptocurrencies. SoFi Digital Assets was granted money transmission license as well as BitLicense by New York Department of Financial Services last year. OCC said preliminary approval is conditional pending thorough evaluation of all information available.
- DBS reportedly building digital assets trading platform, according to web page that appeared briefly, but was apparently posted in error and taken down shortly after. Details of DBS Digital Exchange were they would offer trading against Singapore dollar, HK dollar, Japanese yen and USD on four cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether and XRP. Exchange also offering tokenization services for businesses to raise funds by issuing digital forms of securities and assets, in addition to institutional grade custodian dubbed DBS Digital Custody.
- According to document obtained by Forbes, Binance Holdings Limited allegedly conceived of elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally deceive regulators and surreptitiously profit from crypto investors in U.S. 2018 document details plans for U.S. company dubbed “Tai Chi entity” as a strategic bait and switch. While the then-unnamed entity set up operations in U.S. to distract regulators, measures would be put in place to move revenue in form of licensing fees and more to parent company.
- Coinbase announced launch of Visa debit card in U.S. next year, opening up waitlist for U.S. customers with intent to distribute “in first half of next year.” Coinbase Card allows users to spend crypto funds directly from Coinbase accounts and card is accepted at any retailer that accepts Visa debit cards.
- FTX launched trading in fractional stocks offerings, tokenized products representing shares of global firms. Products were launched in partnership with German-licensed investment Firm CM-Equity and tokenization firm Digital Assets AG. More than one dozen equity, including fractionalized Tesla, Apple, and Amazon derivatives.
- INX Limited agreed to buy broker-dealer Openfinance Securities. INX will also acquire Openfinance’s alternative trading system, digital asset listings, client base and licenses. Terms of deal were not disclosed.
- MineSpot announced it is opening 160-megawatt mining venue in middle of Siberia that would be largest mining farm in Russia. Venue is located near Boguchany Dam in East Siberia near one of major hydropower plants in Russia.
- Figment, a crypto staking infrastructure provider, secured $2.5 million in Series A funding led by Bonfire Ventures, with participation from FJ Labs, XDL Capital Group, Leminiscap, BKCM, and Stephan Patnernot. Figment currently runs validator nodes for more than 30 blockchain networks and currently has around $200 million in assets staked to its validators.
- Social money startup Roll announced raising of $1 million from Fabric Ventures, IOSG, William Mougayar and others. Roll allows people with followings to create their own currency and define usefulness of that currency. Company reports that $500,000 worth of daily volume is moving through Roll system, which is now used by 250 creators.
- Bitt, a blockchain tech startup focused on central bank digital currency applications, sold another $8 million in equity to Medici Ventures, a subsidiary of Overstock. Deal gives Overstock controlling stake in company after Medici had invested $7 million across two earlier equity deals.
- Balancer announced it will be available via NEAR Protocol, an Ethereum competitor which promises reduced latency and fees compared to Ethereum. Native EVM support and NEAR Rainbow Bridge will make it easier to leverage speed and cost benefits of NEAR without rebuilding codebases and abandoning existing users.
- Audius retroactively distributed 50 million of its native AUDIO tokens to artists and listeners using platform. Audius seeks to reward content creators and listeners by using blockchain technology to increase transparency and reduce middle-men across musical supply chain. Distribution came alongside launch of AUDIO governance token on Audius mainnet.