Credit card giant Visa is delving into cross-chain interoperability for digital asset transfers with the announcement of a Universal Payment Channel.
On Sept. 30, Visa’s Global CBDC Product Lead, Catherine Gu, wrote that the company’s research and product teams are working on a new blockchain initiative called Universal Payment Channel (UPC).
The cross-chain interoperability hub will connect different DLT networks to facilitate transfers of digital assets.
Gu used the example of splitting a bill between friends using different types of money, such as a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and a stablecoin like Tether. She described it as a kind of universal adaptor for money:
“Think of it as a “universal adapter” among blockchains, allowing central banks, businesses, and consumers to seamlessly exchange value, no matter the form factor of the currency.”
Visa to Settle Cryptocurrencies?
Visa is confident that digital currencies will be a part of daily financial life in the future. The payments giant is also confident that there will be more CBDCs launched, even if the United States is still dragging its feet on that front.
Visa’s UPC aims to connect all of these newly released CBDCs and stablecoins in one cross-chain platform to enable seamless transfers. The UPC hub would connect dedicated payment channels between blockchains such as CBDC networks for different countries or vetted private stablecoin networks.
Gu also pointed out that there were certain transaction speed advantages that Visa could offer over existing public blockchains that are much slower, though she didn’t name names. The new platform would act as a layer 2, processing transactions off the main chains.
“UPC’s specialized payment channels would be established off the blockchain and leverage smart contracts to communicate back with the various blockchain networks, delivering high transaction throughput securely and reliably and improving speeds overall.”
The UPC solution aims to serve as a network of blockchain networks, she added, “adding value to multiple forms of money movement, whether they originate on the Visa network, or beyond.”
There was no mention of the ability to transfer cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, but the infrastructure laid out would most likely permit it. Visa referred to BTC as digital gold earlier this year and is clearly eager to be a part of the space.
Cardano Partner COTI Launches Visa Debit Cards
In a related development on Sept. 30, digital fintech platform COTI announced new products that will provide Visa debit cards and bank accounts to users.
In July, Visa approved the first debit card that would allow Bitcoin payments for the Australian market.
Grayscale predicts metaverse gaming market could reach $400 billion
Revenue generated from blockchain-based metaverse games could reach $400 billion in 2025, according to a report published on Thursday (25) by digital asset manager Grayscale. The company estimates that the new market, leveraged by NFTs and metaverses like Decentraland, could reach $1 trillion in revenue a year in the long term.
According to Graysacele in the publication entitled ‘The Metaverse, Web 3.0 Virtual Cloud Economies’, the metaverse is a market opportunity that is still emerging. “The metaverse is in its early days”, says an excerpt from the document, which highlights that many important elements have yet to take shape.
Web 3.0 is understood as the new generation of the internet, that is, decentralized, which is aligned with the metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTS) and the ‘play-to-earn’ modality (play-to-earn), is revolutionizing several sectors, such as e-commerce, media and entertainment, even real estate, says the report.
Grayscale highlighted revenue of $180 billion noted last year and revenue generated in the last quarter of this year, estimated at $8.2 billion. Of that amount, the report says, at least $1.8 billion came from Web 3 and blockchain game-based economies.Graph with revenue generated by decentralized platforms (Image: Reproduction)
To make the estimates more clear, Grayscale took, for example, the economics of the play-to-earn game in Decentraland’s metaverse, powered by the MANA token, which has gained millions of users globally.
Another point, the report says, is interest in the potential of the new ecosystem by big companies that are focused on Web 3.0, like Facebook, which last month announced its new name, Meta.
“At this inflection point, other leading Web 2.0 technology companies likely need to start exploring the metaverse to stay competitive, and the spotlight has spawned a new wave of investment in this emerging cryptoeconomy category,” says an excerpt of the document.
On the metaverse concept, the authors defined it as “interconnected, experiential 3D virtual worlds where people located anywhere can socialize in real time to form a comprehensive, user-owned internet economy that extends so far into the digital world as for the physical world”.
Regulation Is Coming, These Blockchain Projects Are Ready
Over the last couple of years, blockchain technology and the DeFi applications that it supports have spread far and wide.
From collateralized lending to yield farming, liquidity pools to fractional ownerships via NFTs (non-fungible tokens), the DeFi ecosystem offers way better returns than traditional finance (TradFi).
The expansion of the DeFi sector has been so rapid that most governments and regulators worldwide found themselves unprepared.
Until recently, financial regulators have primarily been trying to catch up to the evolving technology.
Ever since the US SEC issued its investigative report on “The DAO” in 2017, concluding that “investment contracts” offered via DAOs or self-executing smart contracts should be treated similarly to traditional financial instruments, progress towards a more permanent DeFi framework has been limited.
Enter, Caroline A. Crenshaw, Commissioner of the United States Securities & Exchanges Commission (SEC). Through her latest opinion piece, “DeFi Risks, Regulations, and Opportunities,” the SEC Commissioner urged decentralized finance (DeFi) participants to comply with all applicable securities law regulations voluntarily.
Acknowledging the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the new regulatory framework for DeFi, Crenshaw reaffirmed SEC’s previous announcements, highlighting that “old and existing” laws that apply to securities can and will be applied to blockchain-based financial products and solutions.
The SEC Commissioner also touted dApps (decentralized apps) and DeFi protocols, calling them a “disruptive and beneficial financial innovation” while pointing out the transparency problems in DeFi due to on-chain pseudonymity.
The article goes on to clarify that within the US, multiple federal authorities, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Justice (DoJ), and the SEC, can exert jurisdiction over different aspects of the DeFi ecosystem.
Commenting on the problems of on-chain pseudonymity as pointed out in the article, JD Gagnon, CEO of BENQI, notes, “It’s a really tough one, but I do generally agree that some form of market gatekeeping to protect less educated individuals might be a good thing.
It’s probably why we’re seeing a strong push to get all Centralized Exchanges to perform strict KYC checks as most of these exchanges are usually fiat off-ramps for exploits or hacks.”
He continues, “But it should also be noted that overregulation may potentially hurt innovation, which has been a key driver for growth in most countries. It’ll be interesting to see how pseudonymity is handled as most honest pseudonymous individuals choose to go that direction because of regulatory implications towards them for being involved in crypto/DeFi.”
With the SEC Commissioner urging DeFi participants to collaborate with regulators and help come up with a more refined regulatory framework that works for all.
Let’s take a closer look at some blockchain projects that offer better security within DeFi while ensuring compliance with regulatory policies.
KYC-Compliant DeFi Pools For CeFi Institutions
Founded in 2018, Alkemi Network bridges centralized finance (CeFi) to decentralized finance (DeFi). The platform has developed an institutional-grade liquidity solution for financial institutions and investors, allowing them to access “professional” DeFi and earn yields on a range of Ethereum-based assets.
Using Web3 technology, Alkemi removes the hurdles for CeFi institutions to enter the world of DeFi. Alkemi Earn (Earn), the platform’s KYC-permissioned digital asset pools, guarantees institutions with compliant access to participate in a trusted-counterparty environment of allow-listed users.
Alkemi Network also offers “institutional-grade” reporting, advanced risk management features, and multi-sig wallet functionality to support institutional adoption further.
With the SEC concerned about on-chain pseudonymity, Alkemi emerges as a possible solution that follows KYC and AML guidelines and ensures that CeFi institutions can seamlessly portal into the DeFi ecosystem. The platform has already made a name for itself, closing a $4.6 million funding round with over $32 million TVL (total value locked) in its network.
Alkemi Network is working together with a consortium of industry leaders, including Shift Markets, LedgerPrime, JST Capital, Autonomy Capital, Validation Capital, Kronos Research, and many more.
Military-Grade Secure Crypto Vaults For Institutions
With the total value locked (TVL) in DeFi inching closer to $300 billion, there has been an increasing number of targeted cyberattacks on several DeFi platforms. As such, the need for robust security solutions is at its peak.
While several promising Web3 projects aim to secure the DeFi ecosystem, Prosegur Crypto, the digital asset custody solution of Prosegur group, has introduced an end-to-end security solution for the safekeeping of digital assets, especially for institutions.
Prosegur is one of the most prominent names within the International Security industry.
The platform has operated for more than four decades across 26+ countries, managing upwards of $400 billion in assets in the traditional financial (TradFi) world.
Owing to the legacy of Prosegur, its latest crypto-security product, Crypto Bunker, is said to be the most secure and advanced crypto asset custody solution for the institutional market.
By design, the Crypto Bunker offers a multi-layered asset protection model based on the 360-degree inaccessibility concept.
This means that Prosegur has implemented more than a hundred security measures in six integrated security layers while considering all possible risks revolving around the custody chain.
Crypto Bunker makes use of two unreachable environments, with the custody mechanism’s core being completely offline storage.
At the same time, it uses an air-gapped HSM (Hardware Security Module) to store the private keys. Furthermore, the platform ensures no single point of failure by using a secure multiparty computation (MPC).
Play-to-earn blockchain game token fires 400%; understand
With the growing wave of blockchain games in the play-to-earn mode, that is, ‘play to win’, several platforms are emerging on the tail of the success Axie Infinity, whose token used in the purchase of the NFTs, the AXS, has already valued 100,000% since its listing on Coinmarketcap just over a year ago.
New similar projects are born every day, both created in the Ethereum network and in the Binance Smart Chain and in other decentralized networks. But most can’t even shift into first gear and many are also hits or used to pump and dump.
In this fashion, however, a platform emerges that has gained prominence, at least in the valorization of its cryptocurrency, lately. The GALA, for example, Gala Games’ native token — created on the Ethereum network — has tripled in price in recent days — was 400% appreciated at its highest peak.
But what is Gala Games? Doing a brief search on Youtube is a fact that many people have been playing their modalities for at least six months. According to the company, Gala Games, which was also listed on Coinmarketcap just over a year ago, is a decentralized platform where games can be created in NFT. “The simple game mechanics that even those who are not very familiar with blockchain technology can enjoy”, says an excerpt explained on the website.
About one of the Gala Games-specific NFTs, the site explains: “A CraneBot is a completely separate ERC (Ethereum) token from Gala Games, which does not have the ability to take it off the player. This means that if a player is banned from playing Town Star, they still have any items they bought and don’t have to worry about losing anything.”
First Gala Games game
According to Gala Games, the first game produced in its ecosystem is called Town Star, whose structure rewards the top 100 players with GALA. But there are already other games created in space.
The project’s goal is also to own at least 50,000 nodes over time, a group that says yes or no to the projects. At the time of the text, there are 16,000 of them, according to the company, which bears the name of the American Eric Schiermeyer, already known in the gaming business.
‘GALA’ is understood as “a non-refundable utility token that will be used as a means of exchange between participants in the Gala Games ecosystem”, says the site, meaning it is not an asset that can be exchanged for cash, but which can be sent and traded on an exchange.
Other numbers shown on the site refer to player growth and NFT sales. According to the platform, there are already 1.3 million users and around 26 thousand NFTs sold, with the highest value traded at US$ 3 million.
playing town star
To explain a little of the game, let’s take Town Star as an example, which allows you to either play to win or not, just choose one of the modes. It’s a farm simulation where you start with no investment.
In videos on Youtube, the report saw many players say that it is better to practice in the modality without play-to-earn and then go on to competition. Right after creating an account in the game, a map will appear that reveals where each player is in the world. Then choose a location, name it and start the game. Earn rewards in GALA who complete daily tasks.
In play-to-earn mode, the player needs to collect virtual money while building their space and developing it, buying or earning items. He’ll need to start producing fuel so he can drive into town to buy supplies. He can also earn income by selling wood or even a cake.
It’s important to build a place close to rivers, and even more important to be as close to a city as possible so you don’t have to travel too far in search of supplies. To maintain the space, it is necessary to pay the local labor force. A farmer, for example, can charge R$10 per hour of work and a woodcutter R$50. Everything needs to be conquered, grain by grain.
Token Gala (GALA)
The GALA, the token that powers Gala Games, gained 400% in value in a week before undergoing a major correction. To give you an idea, according to Coinmarketcap data, the market value of GALA a week ago was just over US$ 867 million and now it is US$ 2.5 billion.
At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency has appreciated around 10% in the last 24 hours, trading at an average of US$ 0.43. The accumulated gain since last week is still approximately 300%.
Be careful not to be careful
Games in NFT open up great possibilities for gains, but also for irrecoverable losses, as it is often not known who is behind the decentralized projects. Another point is that many of them are pump and dump schemes or simply created to fool the unwary.
This Monday on Twitter, for example, the CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao (CZ), when asking “what to list?” on the platform, received a flurry of recommendations, most of them projects linked to decentralized NFT gaming platforms.
Therefore, when choosing a blockchain game it’s important to read up on the project and do research to see if the platform is up, is it resilient, it’s stable, and if the rewards are true.