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Mastercard Continues Forming Key Strategic Partnerships Moving Towards Web3
Mastercard is continuing to form key strategic partnerships in 2022 as the company looks to strengthen its position in the coming Web3 era. As such, Candy Digital, Immutable X, Nifty Gateway, The Sandbox, MoonPay, and Mintable are among the most recent partners for the payment processor.
Ever since Mastercards partnership with Coinbase was established in January, which enables customers to buy NFTs from the cryptocurrency exchanges new marketplace, the company is now reportedly attempting to bridge the gap between creators and customers by eliminating the requirement for buyers to own crypto in order to purchase the latest NFT.
Mastercard produced its first NFT in September 2021, based on the prestigious football coach and global ambassador, Jose Mourinho. This NFT was subsequently awarded to a U.K. Mastercard customer during a sweepstakes competition.
In related news, Mastercard also filed a trademark application with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) in April, thereby further highlighting the companys intention to provide payment services and digital spaces to its customers within the metaverse going forward.
Lastly, although Mastercards goal is to allow NFT purchases to occur without the use of cryptocurrencies, customers buying the NFTs will still require a crypto wallet to successfully store the non-fungible tokens.
PayPal Confirmed Its Customers Can Now Transfer Crypto To And From Paypal Wallets
PayPal has confirmed that its customers can now transfer crypto to and from their personal wallets, with the company stating that it will actively support native cryptocurrency transfers between PayPal and various other wallets and exchanges going forward.
The new feature was reportedly consistently ranked by users as being among the most requested enhancements to PayPal's cryptocurrency services, according to company representatives.
As such, users can now withdraw crypto assets to cryptocurrency addresses, hardware wallets and third-party exchanges using the new service. Furthermore, the service additionally enables users to deposit crypto into their PayPal accounts and send the digital assets to anyone of their choosing, be it friends, families, colleagues, and so on.
Right now, support is available for the following PayPal-supported assets: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC), with more expected to be listed before long. Nevertheless, many see this as a vital step towards mainstream crypto adoption and are hopeful that PayPal's new service will be successful.
New Policies Being Made By The White House To Address Crypto Mining Energy Consumption
The Biden administration is reportedly designing new policies geared toward reducing the energy intake and emissions footprint of Bitcoin (BTC) and various other PoW (Proof-of-Work) crypto assets.
To that end, the Principal Assistant Director of Energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Costa Samaras, offered an in-depth look into the upcoming policies, pointing out that its important, if this is going to be a part of the countrys economic framework in any significant way, that the new framework and policies are advanced responsibly and work towards minimizing general emissions.
White House forced to take action as crypto industry continues to rise
President Biden has been routinely asked about his approach to cryptocurrencies and what kind of regulations his administration is planning to implement going forward. For the most part, he said that the main priority will be to try and understand these digital assets, which also include NFTs, in order to design effective and fair regulatory policies which can provide some semblance of control and safety without stifling creativity and technological innovation.
With that in mind, the President signed an executive order on March 9th, 2022, detailing certain timeframes, mostly within a 120 to 180 day period, during which numerous reports would be published with help from various other government institutions which can then collectively make an effort to understand the broader crypto market and community.
New policies for a new digital age?
The Energy Department, which sets several of the emissions standards that are likely to be discussed as part of the new policies, has not yet commented on the issue of PoW-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
According to Samaras, there is a clear need to consider what the appropriate policy responses would be in a world that has shifted to PoS (Proof-of-Stake), or one which has some continuous mix of both PoS and PoW. This is because, he continued, PoW is designed to be energy-intensive, but it also bolsters security. Samaras is not entirely wrong either, as the upcoming Ethereum Merge will see the worlds biggest altcoin shift from PoW to PoS, thereby further illustrating the Principal Assistant Directors point.
Following the timeline of the aforementioned executive order, a report aimed at uncovering emissions, pollution, energy efficiency for various consensus mechanisms, and the potential rejuvenation of fossil fuel focused mining techniques is scheduled to be released this August.
There have been numerous reports of noise, local pollution, and older fossil generators restarting in communities, and these are not insignificant loads by any means, Samaras said. In any case, crypto mining has been a cornerstone of the industry for a long time, but with all the attention being given to the environmental impact of these mining efforts, many in the space are actively making the change to PoS, with Ethereum being the biggest example of this.
Free NFT, Crypto And Blockchain Domains To Be Provided To Abu Dhabi Women Via New Partnership With Unstoppable Domains
As part of the countrys continuous efforts to become the blockchain and crypto hub of the world, Access Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio) have now teamed up with Unstoppable Domains, a Web3 identity platform and NFT domain name provider, to offer free crypto domains to all women residing in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) capital.
The initiative aims to encourage more women to learn about and eventually partake in Web3, a burgeoning space where only 5% to 7% of all participants are women, and only 12% work in blockchain-oriented fields.
Women empowerment in the UAE
Women of Web3, a dominant force of disruptive female tech experts and entrepreneurs from the U.S exploring the UAE as a gateway of sorts for global expansion, recently announced the new initiative as part of a delegation visit to Abu Dhabi. Access Abu Dhabi, a Maven Global Access program powered by Adio, hosted the delegation. In a nutshell, the program aims to empower different kinds of minorities as well as women-owned businesses in a fast-growing country where women already own 50% of small and medium-sized businesses.
The initiative is also important because women and minorities have traditionally not been given the same kind of treatment and opportunities as men in the region, but the countrys current leadership looks to change all that and instill a feeling of diversity while adopting a relatively progressive attitude as it looks to attract foreign investment and workers.
As the country intensifies its efforts to transform itself into the Middle Easts crypto and blockchain hub, the UAE is ensuring that the required resources and funds are available to motivate active participation in the Web3 space by women from all communities. To that end, a key pillar of blockchain technology which has contributed to its popularity is its ability to provide access that extends beyond financial and geographical barriers that previously excluded many different groups.
Free domains as inclusion continues to be a top priority
According to Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, acting-director general of Adio, the collaboration with Unstoppable Domains to offer free crypto domains to all women in Abu Dhabi encapsulates the nations promise of inclusion while providing opportunities for private sector involvement in a rapidly evolving space.
Moreover, the project has the potential to be a life-changing opportunity for Abu Dhabi women to capitalize on Web3 prospects. In contrast to Web2 domains, which are leased for specified periods via third-party brokers, it provides women with a decentralized web address as well as digital identity which grants them comprehensive control over their data and information within a space that only they own.
The SVP of Unstoppable Domains and Founder of Unstoppable Women of Web3, Sandy Carter, expressed her delight that Abu Dhabi is spearheading the mission to bring Web3 opportunities to numerous women living in the Middle East.
She went on to say that giving free crypto, NFT, and blockchain domains to all of these women is indeed essential and Abu Dhabi is ensuring that women will be included in greater numbers within the overall Web3 ecosystem for future generations as well. She concluded by exclaiming that the overwhelming support from Adio and Maven Global Access demonstrates that Abu Dhabi is actively working towards building a more inclusive and decentralized future instead of just making false promises.
Japans Parliament Passed New legal Framework Governing Stablecoins
This past Friday, Japans Parliament passed a new legal framework governing stablecoins in a historic move, thereby providing a safety net of sorts for investors in the aftermath of last months TerraUSD collapse, which resulted in innumerable losses across the entire crypto market and community.
Although the new law will be administered in a years time, Japan is nevertheless among the first major economies to pass a stablecoin-specific law. After the aforementioned Terra disaster, many became increasingly concerned about the future of stablecoins and the wider crypto industry in general.
As such, the bill clarifies the definition of stablecoins, which are now considered as virtual money and are therefore mandated to be linked to the Yen or any another legal tender, therefore allowing holders to redeem them at face value.
Moreover, only licensed banks, registered money transfer agents, and trust companies can issue stablecoins from now on. The bill makes no mention of asset-backed or algorithmic stablecoins, as stablecoins are infact not listed on Japanese exchanges.
The bill was designed by Japans FSA (Financial Services Agency) in late 2021 and was accepted by the House of Councilors a few months ago in March, 2022. Most recently, the House passed the bill after a majority vote during the plenary session.
Goldman Sachs In Negotiations With Crypto Exchange FTX
Goldman Sachs is reportedly in negotiations with cryptocurrency exchange FTX to combine some portions of their derivatives businesses.
FTX is one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, spearheaded by CEO and founder Sam Bankman-Fried. At the moment, it provides crypto trading to U.S investors via its FTX.US division, and the exchange also recently obtained a licensed derivatives exchange in the country as well.
Goldman Sachs is among the various FCMs (Futures Commissions Merchants) presently in discussions with FTX. Commitments to integrate with FTX might include trading futures directly, onboarding clients and serving as an on-ramp to the exchange in addition to supplying clients with capital top-ups.
The Role RAIL Plays Within the RAILGUN Ecosystem
Any properly decentralized project needs a method by which decisions are made. After all, a project must progress toward its original vision and goal. RAILGUN has a governance token called RAIL for its Ethereum deployment that allows holders to vote on proposals that determine the future of the project. The launching and distribution of RAIL was a critical step for the governance of RAILGUN, the most advanced privacy and anonymity system in cryptocurrency.
What Role does RAIL Play?
RAIL decentralizes the decisions that influence the direction and operation of the RAILGUN project. No centralized governing body controls RAILGUN. This means that in order to have a high degree of certainty that RAILGUN can remain functional and operational for a long period of time, the core operations have to be outsourced to the community.
A common way of outsourcing governance within the cryptocurrency world is to issue a governance token. This governance token can be used to vote on proposals such as changing the fees RAILGUN uses, or by adjusting the incentive model for staking RAIL. Each blockchain RAILGUN has deployed on has its own governance token, so decisions can be made that benefit each unique chain.
In order to participate in governance, RAIL must be owned and staked. Users have incentives for staking RAIL, such as receiving airdrops of governance tokens for new deployments. In future, fees generated by the RAILGUN system will also be received by stakers.
Although RAILGUN started on Ethereum, it can easily be deployed on any blockchain running an EVM, as well as on other smart contract-capable chains. As RAILGUN expands to other blockchains, airdrops mean users who are staking RAIL are rewarded.
Users who stake RAIL have also been entitled to receive RAILGUN NFTs in future airdrops. Since NFTs are an aspect of cryptocurrency that are here to stay, this is also a powerful incentive for staking beyond participation in governance.
In a future update, RAILGUN will be able facilitate the anonymous transfer and sale of NFTs. This is yet another use case of the configurability of RAILGUN as a system that enables privacy within cryptocurrency platforms.
Governing RAILGUN with RAIL
RAILGUN is ultimately run by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) made up of holders of RAIL. The developers of RAILGUN have no special privileges that can overrule the governance decisions of the DAO. This is in line with the principles of decentralization and helps to ensure the soundness of the incentive structure behind RAILGUN.
It is in the best interest of the DAO to promote the use and proliferation of the RAILGUN privacy system itself. For example, the DAO might issue grants for the development of key features that will enhance the system as a whole. Alternatively, they may decide to decrease fees to use the system in hopes of making the service more accessible to users. The DAO has the reins.
The Future of RAILGUN
The RAILGUN project seems likely to become the go-to on-chain privacy preserving service. Any transaction that can be made on-chain can leverage RAILGUN to preserve the privacy of the parties involved. As more use cases, transaction types, and applications get developed across the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the usefulness of RAILGUN naturally expands alongside it.
Similarly, as privacy, censorship, and user security continue to make mainstream headlines, demand for the RAILGUN privacy system will only increase. Needless to say, privacy is core to the usefulness of the internet, and RAILGUN is the most advance system providing it today.
Find out more on the RAILGUN Twitter, Medium and dedicated Telegram Channels:
MoonPay And ZEBEDEE Partner Up To Offer Seamless Bitcoin Buying And Selling Features
ZEBEDEE, a crypto gaming fintech, and MoonPay, an international crypto payments infrastructure supplier, have revealed the incorporation of MoonPay's services into the ZEBEDEE app for the purposes of Bitcoin (BTC) gaming. Thanks to the integration, gamers can now top up their BTC balance with debit or credit without exiting the application.
Gaming and crypto, a match made in heaven?
The worlds of cryptocurrency and gaming are rapidly combining as the two sectors prove to be a perfect match. This is not a new idea by any means, as Play-To-Earn (P2E) has been popular for quite a while and many projects in this space such as The Sandbox (SAND) utilize this concept even now. As such, with more than 3 billion gamers worldwide, introducing cryptocurrencies such as BTC into games is a viable and profitable approach to expand mainstream crypto acceptance while simultaneously offering players with a relatively simple, straightforward, and safe experience.
MoonPay, according to ZEBEDEE CEO Simon Cowell, has therefore reportedly built an exceedingly effective, quick, and seamless solution for anybody to purchase or sell BTC. The skills they offer are a fantastic fit for what ZEBEDEE intends to do, he continued, which is mainly to create a frictionless experience for consumers to begin utilizing crypto for gaming without it seeming like a burden or having to deal with external platforms like crypto exchanges.
A new partnership?
The collaboration between the two firms is still in its early stages, with the initial launch allowing ZEBEDEE users in the United States to purchase Bitcoin using credit and debit cards as aforementioned. This shall eventually be expanded in the near future to include other nations and currencies, in addition to providing the option to trade BTC and receive cash directly into the users bank accounts.
Moreover, although MoonPay offers similar services to a variety of companies, the collaboration with ZEBEDEE is unique in that it is all BTC on the Lightning Network, which is a second layer on top of the blockchain that allows for instantaneous and almost zero-fee transactions but has historically been difficult for various non-technical and novice users to effectively use.
MoonPay currently operates in over 160 countries and is trusted by more than 450 prominent wallets, apps and websites. Ivan Soto-Wright, its Co-Founder and CEO, stated that the ZEBEDEE project is a fantastic example of how cryptocurrencies and gaming can come together to drastically expand access to Web 3.0. He went on to say that the solution being offered by ZEBEDEE is just the beginning, and that the team is looking forward to introducing easy and accessible BTC purchasing and selling functionalities to millions of players worldwide before long.
JPMorgan Prioritizes Digital Assets Over Real Estate, Believes BTC Is Undervalued Right Now
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. is reportedly prioritizing digital assets over physical ones such as real estate from now on, with some of the banks experts claiming that cryptocurrencies, hedge funds, and other virtual assets such as NFTs have already replaced real estate in many peoples eyes in terms of being the preferred asset class going forward.
In related news, the bank claims that Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at a discounted price right now and that an eventual bull run could happen sooner rather than later. Additionally, JPMorgan has also just started using blockchain for collateral settlements in both lending and trading.
Move over real estate
In a statement issued to investors sent this past week, the bank also indicated that it is substituting real estate with digital assets like cryptocurrencies as its primary alternative asset class, alongside hedge funds, noting possible lagged repricing regarding real estate, private debt and private equity. Usually, alternative assets are considered to be investments which are not cash, bonds or stocks.
Moreover, the aforementioned experts also feel that the overall trajectory for venture capital funding will be critical in assisting the industry escape a situation akin to the crypto winter which followed the ICO bubble from 2018 to 2019. However, due to the current state of the market, it remains unclear as to which direction the crypto sector will go as far as the immediate future is concerned.
Is BTC currently undervalued?
Of course, the main cryptocurrency on everyones radar is the flagship crypto itself, Bitcoin. Although the current price is nowhere near its all time high following the recent Terra disaster, hope still remains for a potential comeback. At any rate, JPMorgan experts are optimistic about the future of the crypto sector provided that venture capital financing continues to flow. In fact, a VC company named Andreessen Horowitz recently disclosed a $4.5 billion investment in crypto firms in order to take advantage of the market slump in which we find ourselves.
Still, it is worth noting that JPMorgan, like many other traditional financial institutions, was not always supportive of crypto. Notwithstanding CEO Jamie Dimons scathing condemnation of BTC, JPMorgan has nonetheless begun providing crypto-related services to its clients. As a matter of fact, CEO Dimon slammed Bitcoin back in 2017, even going as far as calling it a blatant scam. Last October, he stepped up his attack, declaring the digital asset as worthless. However, he continued, because the banks customers were adults and due to the rapidly increasing interest in crypto, he chose to let the clients make their own decisions despite all of the associated risks.
Binance Registered In Italy
As part of the world's biggest crypto exchanges ongoing European expansion, Binance Italy has been successfully registered as a digital asset service provider with OAM (Organismo Agenti e Mediatori), Italys regulatory organization in charge of administering the listings of financial agents.
After being labeled as unlawful by the financial authority CONSOB last July, the exchange may now legally provide crypto services in Italy. In 2021, Binance was also barred from providing derivatives to Italian nationals.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that clear and effective regulation is required if crypto is to truly become mainstream. He also mentioned that Binance is grateful to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the OAM for their work in defining and controlling the essential conditions for complete transparency as far as operating in Italy is concerned.
The decision comes only weeks after Binance received regulatory permission from the AMF in France, in addition to licenses in Bahrain and Dubai, as part of its continuing worldwide expansion and development.
eBay Drops First NFT Collection of NHL Star Wayne Gretsky
eBay has officially announced its first NFT drop via a series of tokenized items depicting National Hockey League (NHL) star Wayne Gretsky, which went live on May 23rd, 2022.
The NFT collection features animated Gretsky variants based on Sports Illustrated magazine covers. They are available in four distinct rarity levels: Green (299 tokens), Gold (199), Platinum (99), and Diamond (15 tokens).
The collection is currently available for purchase on eBay's marketplace, but the limited edition Gold, Platinum and Diamond tiers valued at $25, $100 and $1,500, respectively, have since been sold out.
The collection was reportedly created in collaboration with environmentally conscious NFT platform OneOf, which enables several energy-efficient blockchains to deliver sustainable NFT collections.
eBay's VP of Collectibles, Electronics, and Home Dawn Block remarked that NFTs are transforming the collectibles industry and that the company is actively working towards introducing non-fungible tokens to mainstream collectors worldwide.
Portugal Rejects Crypto Taxation
Portugals Assembleia da República recently rejected two bills which aimed to tax Bitcoin (BTC) and various other cryptocurrencies. Sapo, a local news outlet, revealed that the bills were introduced by Livre and Bloco, two left-wing parties with limited presence in the Portuguese Congress.
Portugals ruling Socialist Party, which controls the parliamentary assembly, has yet to introduce any legislation in the country despite the fact that Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Medina made a statement not too long ago according to which crypto would reportedly be taxed in the near future.
Now though, the Portuguese Parliament ultimately rejected the idea to tax BTC and other altcoins. Lastly, in comparison to the existing capital gains tax rate of 28% on financial investments, the country has an effective capital gains rate of 0% regarding cryptocurrencies for the time being.