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January 27, 2022

On the web

MoonPay Rolls Out Credit Card Checkout Tool for NFT Purchases

The Block

“MoonPay, the crypto unicorn fuelling NFT mania, is now offering a service that will allow punters to buy digital art and collectibles with cash. MoonPay’s clients — which span big brands to NFT marketplaces — can now use a new checkout tool to give users the option of buying NFTs using debit and credit cards, as well as payments made through Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, SEPA, Faster Payments, wire transfers, open banking payments and ACH transfers.”

January 26, 2022

Top Post

Mark Zuckerberg’s Stablecoin Ambitions Unravel With Diem Sale Talks


“The controversial cryptocurrency project that Mark Zuckerberg once defended in front of Congress is unraveling after regulatory pressure.  The Diem Association, a cryptocurrency initiative once known as Libra backed by Meta Platforms Inc. , is weighing a sale of its assets as a way to return capital to its investor members, according to people familiar with the matter. Diem is in discussions with investment bankers about how best to sell its intellectual property and find a new home for the engineers who developed the technology, cashing out whatever value remains in its once-ambitious Diem coin venture, said the people, asking not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public.”

January 21, 2022

On the web

Facebook owner Meta dives into NFT digital collectibles craze


“Meta is working on plans to allow users to create and sell non-fungible tokens as Facebook’s parent company seeks to join the rush of companies trying to capitalise on the digital collectible craze.  Teams at Facebook and Instagram are readying a feature that will allow users to display their NFTs on their social media profiles, as well as working on a prototype to help users create — or mint — the collectible tokens, according to several people familiar with the matter.”

January 18, 2022

On the web

Walmart Is Quietly Preparing to Enter the Metaverse


Walmart appears to be venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. The big-box retailer filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, the company said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.”

On the wires

Making It Easier for Everyone to Buy NFTs

“As an important step in this mission, we’re excited to announce today that we’re partnering with Coinbase to let people use their Mastercard cards to make purchases on Coinbase’s upcoming NFT marketplace . We’re working to make NFTs more accessible because we believe tech should be inclusive. When more people are included in new technologies, it spurs innovation, helps economies grow and expands choices for consumers.”

January 14, 2022

On the web

Why Brazilians Are Turning to Stablecoins Like Tether


“Amid record inflation and a constant devaluation of their local currency, Brazilians are turning to cryptocurrencies and, in particular, stablecoins as never before. According to Receita Federal, the Brazilian tax authority , between January and November 2021, locals traded $11.4 billion in stablecoins and almost tripled the total traded in 2020. Stablecoins also traded $10.8 billion in bitcoin last year.”

January 12, 2022

On the web

Powell Says Private Coins Could Compete With Fed Digital Dollar


“There’s room for privately issued stablecoins to exist alongside a possible central bank digital currency, according to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.   The Fed plans to publish a report on digital currencies in the coming weeks, Powell said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday. The central bank hasn’t said whether it plans to launch its own digital dollar akin to efforts underway in other counties such as China. The Fed and other U.S. watchdogs have previously said stablecoins need more regulation and should be issued by banks.”

PayPal Poses Big Threat to Banks in Race to Develop Stablecoins

American Banker

“The stablecoin market is growing rapidly — and every new stablecoin issuer from the tech sector puts pressure on banks to dive in. PayPal is considering issuing its own stablecoin with a working name of PayPal Coin. PayPal’s initiative comes as the Facebook-affiliated Diem stablecoin approaches launch. Technology and government initiatives have driven the value of the stablecoin market up to about $140 billion — seven times higher than two years ago.

On the wires

USDF Consortium™ Launches to Enable Banks to Mint USDF Stablecoins

“The USDF Consortium™ (the Consortium), an association of FDIC-insured financial institutions, launched today with a mission to build a network of banks to further the adoption and interoperability of a bank-minted stablecoin (USDF™), which will facilitate the compliant transfer of value on the blockchain, removing friction in the financial system and unlocking the financial opportunities that blockchain and digital transactions can provide to a greater network of users. The Consortium’s founding bank members include New York Community Bank (NYCB), NBH Bank, FirstBank, Sterling National Bank, and Synovus Bank. Figure Technologies, Inc. and JAM FINTOP are also founding members and will facilitate and promote the adoption of USDF. The Consortium looks to significantly grow its membership of FDIC-insured banks through 2022 and beyond.”

January 7, 2022

Top Post

PayPal Explores Launch of Own Stablecoin in Crypto Push


PayPal Holdings Inc. is exploring the launch of its own stablecoin as part of its cryptocurrency push, according to the company, which confirmed the development after evidence of the move was discovered inside its iPhone app…Evidence of the company’s exploration into building a stablecoin was first discovered in PayPal’s app by developer Steve Moser and shared with Bloomberg. Hidden code and images show work on what is dubbed a “PayPal Coin.” The code indicates such a coin would be backed by the U.S. dollar. A PayPal spokeswoman said that the images and code inside of the PayPal app stemmed from a recent internal hackathon — an event in which engineers team up to quickly explore and build new products that may never see a public release — within the company’s blockchain, crypto and digital currencies division. That means the ultimate logo, name and features could change in its public product form.”

January 6, 2022

On the web

CBB, ALBA, Bank ABC and Onyx by J.P. Morgan Complete Test With Blockchain Based JPM Coin System


“Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain:- As part of the Central Bank of Bahrain’s (CBB) vision to improve customer experience for safe and efficient settlement solutions, the CBB has today announced the successful completion of a test with Onyx by J.P. Morgan’s JPM Coin System.  This is a first of its kind test of JPM Coin System in the region. The test enabled Bank ABC to initiate real-time payments for Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA) to benefit ALBA’s counterparties in the United States, leveraging JPM Coin System, a permissioned system that serves as a payment rail and deposit account ledger, enabling participating entities to transfer US Dollars held on deposit with J.P. Morgan.”

January 5, 2022

On the web

Tether Froze Over $1 Million Worth of USDT Last Week

The Block

“Stablecoin issuer Tether froze over $1 million worth of USDT last week, according to on-chain data. The amount is significant, given it belongs to a single blockchain address. Tether called the “AddedBlacklist” function on December 30 to block this address within this transaction. This address now won’t be able to move the frozen funds. When Tether blacklists an address , it freezes the USDT balance of it, as The Block has reported previously.”

January 3, 2022

On the wires

Exploring Tokenised Assets: Collaborative Innovation in Action | SWIFT – The Global Provider of Secure Financial Messaging Services

“Working with Clearstream, Northern Trust, SETL and others, SWIFT plans experiments in Q1 2022 to explore how it can support interoperability in the development of the tokenised asset market. Relative to cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, the current market capitalisation of tokenised assets is small but momentum for these digital assets is expected to accelerate rapidly in the coming years. By some estimates, volumes could reach some 24 trillion USD by 2027 .”

December 20, 2021

On the web

Treasury Says New Law Only Way to Fully Contain Stablecoin Risks


“The U.S. Treasury’s top official for financial oversight said government regulators need action from lawmakers to adequately protect investors — and the wider financial system — from risks posed by stablecoins. “If Congress does not enact legislation, the regulators will try to use what authority they have,” but they will be left without sufficient oversight powers, Nellie Liang, the Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg News, referring to what agencies can do without congressionally mandated authority.”

December 17, 2021

On the web

U.S. Regulators Raise Concern With Stablecoin Digital Currency

Wall Street Journal

“Top U.S. financial regulators said they are prepared to take action to address risks to the financial system posed by stablecoins, but first are pushing Congress to enact comprehensive legislation providing oversight of the form of digital currency. The rapid growth of digital assets, including stablecoins—digital currencies pegged to national currencies like the U.S. dollar—is “an important potential emerging vulnerability,” regulators on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, or FSOC, said in their annual report released Friday. The report noted highly volatile prices and the potential for fraud as possible risks in the space.”

December 16, 2021

On the wires

ConsenSys Partners With Mastercard | ConsenSys

“Today, ConsenSys , the leading Ethereum software company, announced the launch of ConsenSys Rollups, to provide enterprise-grade scalability to leading financial organizations and others, addressing the key challenge of scalable applications on the Quorum tech-stack. ConsenSys leveraged the expertise of Mastercard’s engineering team to design the ConsenSys Rollups solution.”

December 14, 2021

On the web

Stablecoins Steal the Limelight From Subdued Bitcoin


“As bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, struggles to recover after a massive crash, regulatory and private sector focus has turned to another part of the digital currency world: stablecoins. The past week saw Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) pilot its stablecoin payments wallet , while the world’s largest payments processor Visa (V.N) launched a crypto advisory service and said stablecoins, might become the medium of exchange rather than cryptocurrencies.”

On the wires

Circle Launches USDC on Avalanche to Drive DeFi Adoption

Circle , a global internet finance firm that provides internet-based payments and financial infrastructure to businesses of all sizes and principal operator of USD Coin (USDC), today announced native support for USDC on the Avalanche public blockchain- an eco-friendly, decentralized smart contracts platform empowering the next generation of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) with low fees and near-instant finality.”

December 9, 2021

On the web

WhatsApp Launches Cryptocurrency Payments Pilot in the US

The Verge

“WhatsApp has launched a new pilot that lets a “limited number” of people in the US send and receive money from within a chat using cryptocurrency. The feature is powered by Novi, Meta’s digital wallet that launched as a pilot six weeks ago , with payments made using Pax Dollars (USDP) , a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar issued by Paxos. The news was announced by Novi’s incoming head Stephane Kasriel and WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart . According to Novi’s website , sending a payment works much like sending any other attachment in WhatsApp. You access the feature via the paper clip icon on Android or the + icon on iOS, and then select “Payment” from the menu that appears.”

On the wires

JCB and Datachain Start Demonstration Experiment to Build a “Digital Currency Exchange Platform”

“JCB Co., Ltd., Japan’s only international payment brand, and Datachain has started a demonstration experiment on interoperability between different blockchains(*1) to build a “digital currency exchange platform”…As the first stage of the joint research, JCB and Datachain, which has expertise in interoperability technology, have been discussing the technical usefulness of a method for interoperability between different blockchains that does not rely on the trust of a third party (the Relay method *2), aiming to acquire the ability to exchange between digital currencies. Now, in collaboration with Datachain, JCB has started a demonstration experiment of interoperability between different blockchains to build a “digital currency exchange platform.”

December 8, 2021

On the web

The Decentralization in DeFi Just an Illusion, BIS Says

Banking Dive

“The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), in its Quarterly Review published Monday , encouraged policymakers to step in and regulate decentralized finance (DeFi) before it potentially picks up steam and becomes more heavily linked with the traditional finance market.The report cited high leverage, liquidity mismatches, interconnectedness and the absence of shock-absorbing capacity traditionally offered by banks as major vulnerabilities plaguing the DeFi ecosystem, and grounds for regulation.”

December 2, 2021

On the web

Senate Banking Chair Queries Crypto CEOs

Payments Dive

“Brown is asking companies to describe the processes customers must undertake when purchasing, exchanging and redeeming stablecoins for U.S. dollars — and any related limitations. He also wants data — particularly, how many coins each company has issued, how many have been redeemed, and the details of any reviews or studies the companies have conducted on how redemption levels have affected each currency. Brown is requesting responses by Dec. 3. In his letter to Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, Brown said the company’s ability to provide information that can clarify the basic operational features of USDC, the stablecoin it operates, “is critical to improve the understanding of digital assets.”

November 30, 2021

On the wires

Shinhan Bank to Conduct Stablecoin International Remittance PoC on Hedera Network, in Partnership With Major Multinational Bank

Shinhan Bank , the leading bank in South Korea, today announced that it has completed the development of a proof-of-concept, with a global megabank outside of Korea, built on the Hedera network, leveraging stablecoins and focused on international remittances. Utilizing the Hedera Token Service (HTS) and Hedera Consensus Service (HCS), the project aims to test the issuance and distribution of stablecoins, applied to a financial use case that typically suffers from high fees, longer waits, and the absence of tracking features.”

November 29, 2021

On the web

Why New York Community Bank Is Minting Stablecoins

American Banker

“For Andrew Kaplan, the chief digital and banking as a service officer at New York Community Bancorp, the reasons to make his bank the first to mint a new stablecoin called USDF were clear. The bank has begun working with Figure Technologies to issue a stablecoin, a digital asset that is always equal to a U.S. dollar, that runs on a blockchain Figure developed called Provenance. As lenders and investors buy and sell loans and other assets on Provenance, the use of the USDF stablecoin lets them settle those transactions instantly. New York Community Bank and Figure hope other banks will join their network, and also issue and honor the stablecoin.”

November 24, 2021

On the web

US Region to Get Blockchain-powered Local Digital Currency


“Consumers in the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts in the US will soon be able to make in-store and online purchases and carry out person-to-person transactions using a digital version of the BerkShares local currency. Users of the digital BerkShare will be able to download a mobile app, link it to their bank account and then transfer funds to set up and load a digital wallet with the currency which they can use to make purchases at the 400 businesses currently supporting BerkShares in paper form.”

October 19, 2021

On the web

Facebook’s Novi Taps Paxos, Coinbase Ahead of Diem Rollout


“Facebook’s Novi wallet is ready to launch – but it won’t be launching with the Diem (formerly Libra) stablecoin. Novi, Facebook’s digital wallet subsidiary, will go live in the U.S. and Guatemala in a pilot program, allowing users to start trading the Paxos Dollar (USDP), the social media giant announced Tuesday. Crypto exchange Coinbase will provide custody services for the program. Users can purchase USDP through Novi, and Novi will deposit the funds with Coinbase, according to a Coinbase blog post.”

September 13, 2021

On the web

Central Banks Must ‘Roll up Their Sleeves’ and Urgently Speed up Their Work on Their Own Digital Currencies Before Crypto Upends the Current Financial System, the BIS Says


“The Bank for International Settlements is urging central banks to crank up their efforts in developing their own digital currencies while the current financial system is still in place, because stablecoins and cryptocurrencies are already a reality. Benoit Coeure, who is head of the BIS Innovation Hub, said central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) should be easy to use, low cost, convertible, offer instant settlements, continuously available and offer a high degree of security, resilience, flexibility and safety.”

August 23, 2021

On the web

Visa Buys a CryptoPunk As It Takes First Steps Into ‘NFT Commerce’

The Block

“Payments technology company Visa announced Monday that it has bought a CryptoPunk as it enters into the world of non-fungible token (NFT) commerce. Visa bought CryptoPunk 7610 , one of 3,840 female punks, for around $150,000 last week. CryptoPunks are considered the original NFTs, launched in 2017 by Larva Labs. These are a collection of 10,000 pixel art images of misfits and eccentrics.”

August 5, 2021

On the web

Digital Currency and Payments, and the ‘Last Mile’ for the Unbanked

Wall Street Journal

“Individuals and households without bank accounts are largely excluded from digital forms of payment, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Many digital platforms like Venmo, PayPal and Cash App require funds to be transferred from bank accounts, creating a last-mile problem for the unbanked, the report noted. Lawmakers have discussed several options for helping consumers without bank accounts, including mandating that bricks-and-mortar stores accept cash. “Central bank digital currency—much discussed in the press these days—might provide a second means of payment that represents a direct obligation…”

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