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Ripple Listing Talks, Coinbase & PayPal, Tether’s Assets & Liabilities + More News

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Investments news

  • The Japanese financial giant and long-time Ripple partner SBI has alleged that Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen is eyeing a Coinbase-style stock market listing – and is already looking beyond its current legal struggles with the American Securities and Exchange Commission. In a recent call to investors – an audio translation of which was posted on the SBI website – an SBI executive stated: “After the current lawsuit, Ripple will go public. The currency wants to do that. Chris wants to do that.”
  • The South Korean regulatory Financial Supervisory Service will allegedly approve an application for a “digital asset” fund after a seemingly successful application from Hanwha Asset Management, one of the three biggest asset managers in the country – and the investment subsidiary of the Hanwha conglomerate. Per a report from Chosun, an unnamed “financial investment industry” insider stated that the fund is tentatively named “Digital Hero” and would be approved “on or around May 2.”
  • A new global crypto derivatives exchange, Globe Derivative Exchange (GlobeDX), has raised USD 18m through a funding round led by blockchain investors – Y CombinatorPantera CapitalDraper DragonRepublic CryptoOKExCMT Digital, and Wave Financial all participated in the round, said the press release.
  • WisdomTree, the exchange-traded fund and exchange-traded product (ETP) sponsor, has announced the expansion of its digital assets range with the launch of a physically-backed ethereum (ETH) ETP. The WisdomTree Ethereum ETP (ETHW) listed today on Börse Xetra and the Swiss Stock Exchange.

Exchanges news

  • Coinbase said it now allows its customers in the US to buy cryptoassets on this platform by using debit cards and bank accoutns linked to PayPal. “You can make a purchase up to USD 25,000 a day with your PayPal account,” the company said, adding that they’ll expand this new ability to more countries in the coming months.

Stablecoins news

  • The operators of tether (USDT), the dollar-pegged stablecoin, published another report from an independent accountant. The report was filed by Moore Cayman, and made note of the fact that, per its findings, Tether’s consolidated total assets “amounted to at least USD 41,017,565,708” on March 31, while its liabilities were lower, of which “USD 40,855,204,950 relates to digital tokens issued.”

DeFi news

  • In a conclusion to the reported exploit of Uranium Finance, a decentralized finance (DeFi) project on Binance Smart Chain (BSC), it was announced that the project will end and that no attempts to restart it will be made. According to the report, hours before the new v2.1 code was pushed or any announcements were made, the exploiter had already set the ground work including initializing a wallet which would later deploy contracts allowing them to exploit the system. “We’re not sure about whether this has been the direct consequence of a leak about the exploit from someone in our team, by an authorized third party that reviewed our codebase, or even a random dev who just happened to find the flaw,” they said. The primary goal is to recover the funds, while the two wallets holding USD 41m of BNB, BUSD, and USDT are still on BSC and under surveillance.
  • Polygon (MATIC), the Ethereum scaling project formerly known as Matic, has launched a USD 100m fund aimed at making DeFi more accessible to end-users. The fund, called #DeFiforAll, is geared towards scaling Ethereum and introducing new users to the various decentralized products and platforms available.

Mining news

  • Beijing is conducting a check on data centres involved in cryptocurrency mining to better understand their impact on energy consumption, Reuters reported, citing unspecified sources and a document. Crypto miners need to report the amount, and share, of power consumed by cryptocurrency mining, it added.
  • Canaan, a provider of supercomputing solutions, announced a long-term strategic partnership with Genesis Digital Assets, an industrial-scale Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm. Through the partnership, Genesis Digital Assets has signed contracts for Canaan’s next-generation A1246 AvalonMiner mining machines for the first and second quarters of 2021 valued up to USD 93.63m.

Adoption news

  • Social Finance Inc. is edging deeper into cryptoassets, allowing its customers to redeem rewards earned through the company’s app for bitcoin or ethereum, Bloomberg reported. Starting Thursday, clients can apply their 2% cash-back rewards on the SoFi credit card toward the two coins, it added, citing CEO Anthony Noto.
  • Web browser Opera has added native support for blockchain-based Internet domain name provider Unstoppable Domains. Without downloading a browser extension, users can now access decentralized websites hosted via InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) using Unstoppable Domains’ .crypto non-fungible token (NFT) addresses from Opera on any platform, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, or Linux, said the announcement. Users can also host their own decentralized websites, as well as own their digital identity with a .crypto domain name, and use it to build websites, share content, and more. To date, Unstoppable Domains has registered more than 700,000 blockchain domain names.

Regulation news

  • Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has warned investors that the crypto exchange Binance may have violated European securities rules with the launch of its stock tokens. BaFin said that the Binance stock tokens tracking the movement of shares in TeslaCoinbase, and MicroStrategy have been identified as “suspicious” and require a prospectus that wasn’t issued prior to trading. Violation of the prospectus can be punished with a fine of up to EUR 5m (USD 6.06m) or 3% of Binance’s annual revenue. This comes after the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said they were examining whether the exchange complied with securities rules over its launch of trading in stock tokens.

Blockchain news

  • As expected, on April 27, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States, has launched its first-ever digital bond issuance on the Ethereum blockchain, deploying this distributed ledger technology for the registration and settlement of digital bonds, in collaboration with Goldman SachsSantander, and Societe Generale. Per the press release, in a partnership with Banque de France, the payment of the issue monies from the underwriters to the EIB has been represented on the blockchain in the form of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The EIB said it believes that “the digitalization of capital markets may bring benefits to market participants in the coming years,” including a reduction of intermediaries and fixed costs, improved transparency, and faster settlements.

Tokenization news

  • Deutsche Börse and Commerzbank said they are entering a strategic partnership with fintech 360X to develop new blockchain-based digital marketplaces and ecosystems for existing real asset classes such as art and real estate. The assets will be made investable and tradable via tokenisation and fractionalisation, they said in an emailed press release.

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This Is What Jack Dorsey’s Cryptic ‘705742’ Tweet Might Mean

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A simple but cryptic tweet from Jack Dorsey, Founder and CEO of Twitter and payments firm Square, has sparked a debate about the meaning of the post, and whether the well-known Bitcoin (BTC) advocate has any BTC-related plans that have yet to be announced.

As pointed out by many users replying to the thread, the tweet, saying just “705742,” likely refers to a block number on the Bitcoin blockchain. A block with that number was indeed mined on Tuesday at 20:14 UTC, but it is still unknown what else is special about the particular block.

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Twitter users were quick to pull up the bitcoin block explorer to see if there was anything unusual about block 705742, which at that point had yet to be mined. However, little out of the ordinary could be found.

Others, meanwhile, joked that the number could be Dorsey’s “[end of year] price target for bitcoin,” or that it could be somehow related to “Moscow time,” – bitcoin slang for the value of 1 USD in satoshis.

Speculating further, one user on Reddit suggested that the block number could be the first block to be mined by a new mining system that Dorsey has proposed.

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“Maybe the first block that Square mined as part of their [research & development] for a potential public mining platform,” the user wrote, before adding that it looks like the wallet that received the block reward already has both in and outbound transactions worth almost USD 2bn. “Seems like a plausible volume for Square/Cashapp,” the user added.

However, according to various Bitcoin blockchain explorers, the block in question included 2,787 transactions and was actually mined by the BTC.com pool. Moreover, the block was mined almost an hour after the tweet was published.

In either case, as reported, the latest tweet from the Twitter CEO followed another thread from last Friday, where Dorsey said that Square is considering building “a bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon and open source.” 

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“Mining needs to be more distributed” and it “should be as easy as plugging a rig into a power source,” Dorsey wrote, asking his followers what the biggest barriers are for people who want to run miners.

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Facebook Finally Launches Digital Currency Wallet Novi but Senators Want to Close This Project

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Amid the Facebook Novi launch, some federal legislators want the social media giant to discontinue the project.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) has launched the pilot phase of its digital currency wallet Novi in the US and Guatemala using stablecoin Paxos. Facebook finally launches Novi and is going with Paxos’ USDP after its own native crypto Diem failed to secure regulatory approval. Furthermore, the social media giant heralded the pilot launch in a blog post on Tuesday.

Novi’s pilot launch is more than two years after it was first announced. The wallet will facilitate fast, secure, and free fund transfers between users via mobile smartphone apps. However, all users must register with government-issued identification.

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For now, Paxos’ stablecoin will serve as Novi’s transactional currency, while powerhouse exchange Coinbase will provide custodial services. According to David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Novi wallet, this pilot phase will, “test core feature functions, and operational capabilities in customer care and compliance.” Furthermore, it will test the viability of stablecoins as a valid and sustainable form of payment.

Facebook Launches Novi to the Disapproval of US Congress

Amid the Facebook Novi launch, some federal legislators are calling for the social media giant to discontinue the project. Senate Democrats addressed a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday questioning the company’s credibility with crypto. In their own words, Facebook “cannot be trusted to manage cryptocurrency”. The senators base this conviction on the social media company’s past inadequacies in handling cyber risks and keeping consumers protected. Signed by Senators Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, and others, the letter read:

“Facebook is once again pursuing digital currency plans on an aggressive timeline and has already launched a pilot for a payments infrastructure network, even though these plans are incompatible with the actual financial regulatory landscape — not only for Diem specifically, but also for stablecoins in general.”

Part of the Congress letter to Facebook further states:

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“We urge you to immediately discontinue your Novi pilot and to commit that you will not bring Diem to market.”

Facebook responded to the Senators’ query through a spokesperson for Novi, suggesting that the company would address the issues raised therein.

Facebook Has a Long-Running History with Federal Lawmakers over Its Operational Practices

In recent times, Zuckerberg and Facebook have locked horns more frequently with Congress. Back in 2019, Congress summoned the Facebook CEO to provide testimony on the Diem project (then called Libra). Zuckerberg’s summoning was the culmination of weeks of tussling, between Facebook and the federal lawmakers, who were skeptical of the project. In addition, the Zuckerberg hearing came just a year after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. This may have been another reason federal legislators were agitated against the company.

Another recent red flag raised against Facebook was earlier this month from whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee to testify on the threat Facebook posed to users. Some of these include the usage of Facebook itself and other affiliated services, such as photo and video-sharing behemoth Instagram.

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Australian Parliamentary Committee Sets Guidelines to Give Crypto Industry a Big Push

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Australia’s parliamentary committee on crypto-assets aims to bring concrete regulatory and policy changes to give a major push to the crypto industry in the country. The committee believes Australia needs a robust policy and regulatory changes to help it compete against the global leaders. The said committee released a draft report on 20th October outlining the need for encouraging investors and ensuring protection against frauds.

Some of the key recommendations in the draft report include,

  • Establishing a market licensing regime for Digital Currency Exchanges, including capital adequacy, auditing, and responsible person tests under the Treasury portfolio
  • Establishing a custody or depository regime for digital assets with minimum standards under the Treasury portfolio
  • Conducting a token mapping exercise to determine the best way to characterize the various types of digital asset tokens in Australia

Andrew Bragg, a senator from the conservative Liberal Party and chair of the committee said that the recommendations in the draft would help Australia set a new regulatory framework for the highly popular crypto industry which will, in turn, help Australia compete against the likes of Singapore and UK. He said,

“The draft recommendations are a big push to detail a cryptocurrency framework for Australia, which would allow us to compete with the U.K. and Singapore,”

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Crypto Market Has Become Too Big to Ignore

The Crypto market was primarily seen as a speculative ecosystem for the most past of its life, but that perception has changed quite fast over the past year. Governments have now realized that the crypto market has become too big to ignore as a fad. This is why the likes of El Salvador have made Bitcoin a legal tender, while Paraguay passed a law to legalize the use of Bitcoin and Ethereum in the financial market.

The United States’s policymakers who were adamant about keeping the crypto market at bay have finally approved the first-ever Bitcoin Futures ETF. This shows how the sentiment around the crypto market has changed as it became a $2.5 trillion industry again in October.

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