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Digital Currencies Added To Texas Bill Of Rights
Texas legislators recently voted to amend their Bill of Rights to include digital currencies, allowing individuals to own, keep, and use digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
The lawmakers overwhelmingly supported the amendment, possibly indicating how they feel about digital currencies in general. Only two lawmakers voted against it, with 139 voting in favor.
The amendment was included in a bill introduced by State Representative Giovani Capriglione, titled Bill HJR 146. Individuals will now have the right to use a mutually agreed-upon medium of exchange, such as digital currencies, tokens, or cash, for contracting goods and services and trading.
According to the bill, no government will prohibit or hinder the ownership or holding of any amount of form of money or other currency going forward.
The Texas Bill of Rights, like the US Bill of Rights, protects fundamental rights like free speech, religion, and the press. However, the Texas Bill of Rights includes state-specific provisions such as the right to a speedy trial and the right to possess and carry self-defense weapons.
The Texas Constitutional Enforcement group commented on the development, saying that including digital currencies in the Texas Bill of Rights is critical in protecting the financial privacy and well-being of the citizens.
Exchange-Held Bitcoin To Be Confiscated By UK Authorities
UK tax authorities will reportedly soon have the power to seize Bitcoin held on exchanges. The measure is part of a new amendment to the United Kingdom Finance Bill, which seeks to strengthen the government and its ability to recover taxes owed by individuals and companies.
If the amendment is passed, tax authorities will be able to issue an order to freeze digital assets held on cryptocurrency exchanges, making it easier for them to recover unpaid taxes. This power will be similar to the ability to freeze funds held in traditional bank accounts.
The amendment has been welcomed by tax experts who believe it will help combat tax evasion in the cryptocurrency space. However, some industry experts have raised concerns about the potential for abuse of power, especially if there is no clear evidence of wrongdoing. Comparisons to the US SEC have also been made in this regard.
The HMRC (HM Revenue And Customs) already possesses the authority to seize funds from bank accounts when people refuse to pay taxes which would put them under the eye of debts authorities. However, the organization is thinking about broadening this capability to also include online payment accounts like PayPal.
In a separate consultation paper, the HMRC discussed the possibility that this could include company cryptocurrency wallets if the use of digital currencies as a method of making online payments becomes increasingly widespread.
Public Trust In Banks Reaching Critical Lows As Economic Recession Continues
According to a recent Gallup survey conducted in the US, public trust in banks has declined significantly due to recent high-profile financial institution collapses and record setting inflation levels.
The survey, which polled at least 1,000 respondents in April, revealed that almost half of the participants were worried about their money in banks, with nearly 20% indicating they were extremely concerned.
It is worth noting that the poll was conducted after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank but before First Republic Bank failed in late April. Republicans, lower-income adults, and individuals without a college degree expressed more concern about the safety of their money in banks or other financial institutions than their counterparts.
Gallup noted that the current level of concern is similar to that of the 2008 financial crisis when several financial institutions that were believed to be too big to fail collapsed. In a separate report, the Hoover Institution think tank suggested that if half of all uninsured savers withdrew all of their cash, 186 American banks would be at potential risk of impairment.
Meanwhile, another report in the UK cited research published by Stanford University banking expert Amit Seru, estimating that over 2,315 US banks are currently holding assets worth less than their liabilities.
Can Bridge Exploits be a Thing of the Past deBridge Thinks so
For all of the beautiful things the world of crypto is building towards, its not without its setbacks. From the UST depeg, FTX and more, there are more than enough ways to get the rug pulled from under your feet. For every opportunity to make life changing gains, there is something lurking around the corner to take it all back. Crypto is truly still the wild west, at least for now. In recent years, hackers have been able to exploit protocols and get away with billions in TVL. One thing is for sure, in order to drive further liquidity into this ecosystem, institutions have to be ensured that the protocol liquidity they provide will not get drained by malicious actors. Many players in the space are working to build stronger moats around these huge swaths of TVL, but what if there was a better way?
2022 was a Bad Year for Bridges
Before we dive into the potential future that deBridge have envisioned, I think its important we take a look at how we ended up here. In the last 2 years, bridge exploits have amounted to over $2.5 billion in losses. In February of 2022, Wormhole suffered a $350 million exploit. Just a month later the Ronin bridge fell victim to a $650 million exploit as well. Both of these hacks were similar in nature. The hackers targeted the huge pools of liquidity that allow these bridges to facilitate the movement of assets across chains.
Bridge Exploits by Volume
If you are new to crypto, the idea of 1 billion dollars being hacked and stolen in the span of a month probably sounds ridiculous, and you would be right. But how is this even possible? Its important that we understand how bridges work and why they are important to the broader crypto ecosystem before we can answer that.
How do Bridges Work?
Lets take Wormhole for example. Wormhole is a decentralized, universal message-passing protocol that connects to multiple blockchains. Wormhole allows different blockchains like Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Solana, Polygon, and Avalanche to communicate with each other. Crypto has an interoperability problem. Assets and liquidity on one blockchain may not be used on another blockchain. You can't just send USDC from the Ethereum network to Solana. But this is why bridges exist. Some protocols use bridges like Wormhole in the background giving the user a better experience. Wormhole works by holding a large amount of liquidity from multiple chains. This is what we call TVL (Total Value Locked). A user can deposit assets from one chain, and receive the corresponding assets on another. Wormhole acts as the messenger between blockchains, and the escrow service that allows all of this to happen. Unfortunately there are 2 problems with conventional bridges like Wormhole:
They are slow
They are enticing for hackers to exploit
Portal Bridge powered by Wormhole
Most cross chain bridges take around 20 minutes to complete these transactions, which is much too long in the world of crypto. But worst than that, because they need huge amounts of TVL to ensure large cross chain swaps without high slippage, hackers are constantly trying to exploit them because the reward for doing so is HUGE.
deBridge has the Solution
deBridge is a cross-chain interoperability and liquidity transfer protocol that has truly decentralized frameworks. It also used the classical approach of locked liquidity and wrapped assets, and has processed 110k+ transactions from over 60k unique users earning $180k+ in total fees to date. But did the team at deBridge stop there? No! The team has made the courageous move to continue to innovate and they have built a new solution that can alleviate the issues plaguing traditional bridges to date.
Recently, the deBridge team has announced the deSwap Liquidity Network (DLN). DLN is a cross-chain value transfer protocol built on top of deBridge, introducing an all-new liquidity on demand approach that solves the challenges of the classical continuously locked liquidity model.
By removing the need for locked liquidity, DLN can enable all of this for end-users and protocols that integrate with deBridge low fees, 0 slippage, faster settlement and cross chain limit orders. DLN is a trustless network where anyone can generate sustainable rewards on idle liquidity, without token incentives! Market makers, quants, protocols, DAOs, and anyone holding on-chain liquidity can join for an additional monetization channel.
deSwap Liquidity Network will enable limitless, zero slippage transfers of value across chains with 0 TVL, enabling secure and efficient transfers of value and messages simultaneously, powered by deBridge. Oh yeah! Did I mention that you can trade ANY asset on one chain for any other asset on another? Its like a mix of Wormhole and Uniswap all in one!
In Conclusion: The end of Bridge Exploits is Near!
The idea that bridges need locked liquidity to operate seamlessly may be looked upon in the future as one of the many silly decisions that the crypto industry as a whole decided to explore. DLN allows for institutions to earn fees on cross chain swaps (putting their liquidity to work) without the need to lock up their assets and risk them to an exploit. Users get quicker swaps for cheaper. Its a win-win for everybody except you hacker-man! It looks like we already have the solution and now we just need to get the (cross-chain) message out! I have been using deBridge for all my cross-chain swaps to date, and if you are looking for a more seamless experience you should give them a try!
Disclaimer: I am an investor in a deBridge private round.
Could A New Global Reserve Currency Replace The Dollar
De-dollarization is the process by which countries may end up abandoning the United States Dollar (USD) in international trade and transactions in favor of other currencies. For the moment, the USD is the reserve currency which is globally used in the trading of oil and other important commodities. China and Russia, on the other hand, have been at the forefront of the de-dollarization trend, exploring alternative currencies and new financial institutions that operate outside the dollar-dominated global financial system.
The United States Vs China
China has been developing its digital currency for nearly a decade with the goal of eventually replacing the USD. As countries seek to reduce their exposure to the risks and fluctuations associated with the USD, de-dollarization trends are gaining traction. In fact, many economists have advocated for the creation of a viable digital currency to serve as the new reserve currency on a global scale.
On that note, CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) have the potential to play an important role in the future of global trade and settlements. Several central banks are already collaborating with the Bank for International Settlements on the mBridge wholesale CBDC platform, which allows financial institutions to conduct large-value wholesale transactions. CBDCs may help to address some of the inefficiencies and risks in traditional payment systems as more countries adopt them, though they do have their own share of issues which cannot be ignored.
What comes next?
China is pushing for greater use of its own currency, the Yuan, in international trade and investment, which could challenge the USD in terms of dominance in global transactions. Meanwhile, Southeast Asian countries are following suit and discussing de-dollarization efforts to mitigate the risks associated with the current reserve currency.
The BRICS nations, which consist of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, are also actively cooperating in areas where mutual interests align. As a matter of fact, these nations want to launch a new global reserve currency known as the BRICS Currency with the explicit purpose of challenging the petro-dollar and supposedly giving it a taste of its own medicine.
These recent developments point to a changing landscape in international finance, as countries seek to reduce their reliance on the United States Dollar and increase their use of alternative currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Even if only a fraction of the liquidity is directed towards cryptocurrencies, the de-dollarization trend is expected to boost them in the long run. In any case, the fact remains that an increasing number of countries are shifting away from the US financial system and toward digital assets and self-sustainment.
United States Probing Possible Russian Involvement In Binance
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into Binance for yet another possible use of alleged criminal activity. This time, US authorities are investigating Russian involvement in the platform to avoid financial sanctions.
Russia has allegedly been moving money through Binance since being sanctioned in 2022 for invading Ukraine. Thus far, US authorities have been unable to determine whether Russia used the platform or if someone inside Binance assisted the country in evading sanctions. In this regard, the DOJ is conducting two investigations into the crypto company, one of which is being led by the criminal division.
The criminal investigation into the crypto exchange may result in the company and top executives being charged with anti-money laundering violations. The company is currently in discussions with the DOJ and US authorities to resolve these allegations, which include whether US adversaries are using it to avoid sanctions.
Could The SEC Be Changing Its Mind On Labeling Digital Assets
On May 3rd, the United States SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) took a small step back in regulating the crypto sector by removing what would have been its first official definition pertaining to digital assets from its latest hedge fund rule.
The definition was initially included in the 2022 proposal to overhaul mandatory disclosures for hedge funds, but it was removed in the final rule approved by the commissioners. The agency stated that the commission and staff are continuing to consider this term and are not adopting digital assets as part of this rule at the time.
Although the SEC continues without a formal definition for digital assets, it remains a constant topic in the speeches of Chair Gary Gensler and other SEC officials. The agency has made other recent policy moves to include crypto into existing rules.
The original proposed definition for digital assets in the latest hedge fund rule was not extensive or controversial, describing it as using distributed ledger or blockchain technology and including so called virtual currencies, coins, and tokens. Unsurprisingly, the industry has often criticized the SEC for not defining digital assets and for withholding regulatory clarity, which has led many investors to take their business elsewhere.
Santander Brasil Exploring Usage Of Tokenization Platform
The proposed method will focus on facilitating the negotiation of ownership titles for real estate and vehicles. It involves payment on delivery, where payment for the property occurs at the same time as the transfer of ownership to the buyer.
Santander Brasil aims to streamline the current bureaucratic process of real estate and vehicle transactions, which it sees as a barrier to negotiations, by using its new solution.
Through the tokenization of assets, customers can quickly and easily exchange the asset for digital currency in their account without the need for paperwork and other unnecessary bureaucracy. Santander has also presented the concept of creating vehicle NFTs for transit authorities to register and trade between people, along with the concept of NFTs for real estate.
The bank has tested two DLTs to reduce bureaucracy in negotiations, one compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine and the other more private. If implemented, this platform has the potential to revolutionize the real estate and vehicle market, allowing negotiations to take place 24/7. A marketplace can also help buyers and sellers seek liquidity for their assets.
Mastercard Introduces Web3 Solution To Improve User Verification Standards
The solution, which was announced on April 29th, is known as the Mastercard Crypto Credential. The company stated that it is creating a viable method for Web3 and blockchain service providers to help protect transactions between users, which would be verified as per Mastercard standards.
As such, users will be given a unique identifier regarding their Mastercard Crypto Credential, which will reportedly allow them to instantly verify that an address they wish to send money to has been vetted by Mastercard and has been operating in accordance with company standards.
The solution is additionally designed to support compliance via the exchange of essential metadata, which is required to meet regulations, Mastercard explained, before further indicating that this should greatly reduce the possibility of funds being permanently lost.
Even if malicious individuals manage to slip through the cracks to get a unique identifier, Mastercard can swiftly cancel their verification if they are found to be engaging in illegal activity.
The solution was developed in collaboration with a large number of collaborators. Mastercard has already partnered with crypto wallet providers Bit2Me, Lirium, Mercado Bitcoin, and Uphold and has collaborations with Aptos, Avalanche, Polygon, and Solana too. Lastly, Mastercard will also be relying on CipherTrace'to help verify addresses as well as support Travel Rule compliance for cross-border transactions.
Robinhood Connect Will Permit Access Via External Crypto Wallets
On April 27th, Robinhood announced a new feature which will reportedly enable users to access its crypto features via external applications. The team launched a non-custodial (or self-custodied) iOS wallet to a select group of users in January 2023, with availability for the app being extended in March 2023.
According to an official press release, the feature shall be added to two crypto wallets first, namely the Solana wallet known as Phantom and the multi-coin wallet called Exodus. The feature will also be gradually expanded to other applications in the coming months.
As per the press release, Robinhood Connect will enable users to fund their respective Web3 wallets while utilizing various other dApps without having to log into their Robinhood Crypto account. Users will therefore be allowed to access their Robinhood credentials and avoid additional steps, streamlining the entire process.
Lastly, according to several reports, the Connect functionality will permit users to trade assets through the crypto exchange feature provided by Robinhood.
OnChain Fund Launched On Polygon By Franklin Templeton
Franklin Templeton, one of the biggest asset managers in the world, has announced that its OnChain Nasdaq-listed United States Government Money Fund (FOBXX) shall utilize Polygon to be further in sync with the rest of the digital ecosystem going forward.
The asset manager has a long history with cryptocurrency. It launched a digital asset venture fund a couple of years ago and began digitizing shares for a money market fund on the Stellar blockchain back in 2019.
FOBXX is the main crypto product provided by Franklin Templeton that invests in U.S. government securities, cash, and repurchase agreements. It has more than $270 million in AUM (Assets Under Management) at the moment. It is also the first fund registered in the United States to use blockchain technology for handling transactions and documenting share ownership.
Expanding the influence of the FOBXX to Polygon allows the fund to be further compatible as previously mentioned, particularly via an Ethereum based blockchain, said Roger Bayston, Head of Digital Assets at Franklin Templeton.
Colin Butler, the Global Head of Institutional Capital at Polygon Labs, added that Franklin Templeton is a pioneer when it comes to tokenizing assets. As such, investors can purchase FOBXX shares and store them in digital wallets using the Benji Investments mobile application.
Russia Becomes The Second Largest Bitcoin Miner In The World
According to a new report by the Russian news publication Kommersant, the country has completed its first ever rise to second place regarding Bitcoin (BTC) mining due to regulatory confusion in the United States. Kommersant also states that, like the United States, Russia faces regulatory uncertainty in the cryptocurrency and mining industries.
As noted by Bitriver CEO Igor Runets, the American mining sector is facing headwinds from rising electricity prices, lower profitability, tax issues, and overly leveraged mining companies.
The Biden Administration has proposed levying a tax equal to 30% of the cost of electricity utilized for digital asset mining operations. If passed, the tax would go into effect next year and would be gradually phased in, with a 10% rate in year one, 20% in year two, and 30% in year three.
Elsewhere, Binance silently lifted restrictions imposed on Russian citizens and residents over a year ago. After the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia following its attack on Ukraine in March 2022, Binance announced that it would no longer accept deposits from Mastercard and Visa cards issued in Russia along with any Mastercard and Visa deposits made from Russia.
However, users can now deposit Russian Rubles, Euros, British Pounds, and other currencies using bank cards issued in Russia. Earlier this month, it was reported that Binance removed limits for accounts with balances greater than 10,000 Euros for Russian users. The exchange has thus far not issued an official statement on either of these changes.