January 17,2023

New Stablecoin Backed By Gold To Be Launched Via Russia And Iran Collaboration

The Central Bank of Iran is reportedly collaborating with the Russian government to launch a new cryptocurrency backed by gold. The goal of the partnership is to develop a token of the Persian Gulf region which can be used as a reliable payment method for the purposes of international trade.

As per Alexander Brazhnikov, Executive Director of the Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain, the token will be issued in the form of a stablecoin that is backed by gold that also seeks to replace fiat currencies such as the US dollar, Russian Ruble, and Iranian Rial in cross-border transactions.

According to various reports, the new crypto would operate in an Astrakhan special economic zone, where Russia has already begun to accept Iranian cargo shipments.

Furthermore, Russian lawmaker Anton Tkachev emphasized that a joint stablecoin project would be feasible only after the digital asset market in Russia becomes fully regulated. After much back and forth, Russia has apparently promised to begin regulating cryptocurrency transactions this year.

Russia and Iran are two of several nations which have prohibited their citizens from using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and stablecoins like Tether to make payments. Simultaneously though, these two have also been working to adopt crypto as a tool for foreign trade.

January 16,2023

Crypto Education On The Rise As Market Begins Slow Road To Recovery

Educational adoption of Bitcoin and crypto-related courses has been steadily increasing alongside a gradually recovering market, with Texas A&M becoming the latest institution in the U.S to offer a Bitcoin course to its student body of over 74,000.

The announcement was made on January 13th by Associate Professor Korok Ray of the Mays Business School, who will teach the Bitcoin Protocol course to students in the College of Engineering and Mays Business School when the Spring Semester begins on January 17th.

According to crypto researcher Josh Cowell, a lack of high-quality crypto education is a key barrier in taking adoption to the next level. Having the right educational resources can hence certainly improve overall financial literacy, he said.

As such, the legal and regulatory implications of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are now being taught at several universities and colleges in the United States.

Professor Thomas Hook from Boston University recently announced that the law school now offers a course about crypto regulation course for students who have an interest in understanding how crypto-oriented lawyers and companies may best navigate regulatory uncertainties as they look to bring their products and services to market.

January 13,2023

ZK Proof Experiment Successful On ISS Thanks To Cryptosat And DoraHacks Collaboration

In a collaboration between crypto-satellite developer Cryptosat and global hackathon organizer DoraHacks, the first successful experiment to launch a ZK (Zero-Knowledge) proof system in space recently occurred onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

According to DoraHacks and Cryptosat, the experiment performed onboard the ISS showcased the capability of a satellite-based computation environment to successfully perform part of the trusted setup process required to use a ZK proof protocol.

According to Cryptosat, which is attempting to launch a constellation of cubesats into orbit and build out its satellite fleet, the success of the ZK proof experiment is a crucial component in demonstrating the efficacy of space-bound computational environments.

The procedure entailed sending pre-uploaded open source programs to the ISS through a secure link in order to generate a string file for the ZK proof-based voting program. Cryptosat has also already launched two mug-sized satellites, Crypto1 and Crypto2, the latter of which is currently being tested.

January 12,2023

El Salvador Continues To Make History By Introducing The Volcano Bond

El Salvador has just passed landmark legislation which will provide the legal framework required for a Bitcoin-backed bond, known as the Volcano Bond.

The Volcano Bond shall reportedly be utilized to pay down sovereign debt in addition to funding the construction of the proposed Bitcoin City. The bill was officially passed on January 11th, 2023, with 62 votes in favor and 16 votes against, and it will become law after President Nayib Bukele ratifies it.

The Volcano Bond will therefore enable El Salvador to generate capital to successfully create Bitcoin mining infrastructure as well as for the aforementioned purposes, according to Bitfinex.

The volcano descriptor is understandably derived from Bitcoin City, which is set to become a renewable crypto-mining hub that is completely powered via hydrothermal energy from the nearby Conchagua volcano.

As per Bitfinex, the city would function as a special economic zone, similar to those in China, offering tax breaks, crypto-friendly regulations, and other incentives to Bitcoin businesses for its residents. The bonds are expected to generate $1 billion for the country, with 50% of the proceeds going toward the construction of the special economic zone.

Moreover, the tokenized bonds would be denominated in USD, have a 10 year maturity date, and a 6.5% annual interest rate, as noted in the initial proposal.

Lastly, apart from those issued on Bitcoin, the bill also includes a legal framework for all digital assets which are not Bitcoin and establishes a new regulatory agency in charge of applying the securities law and deterring bad actors.

January 11,2023

What Is Chainlink and How Is It Currently Used?

Blockchains are designed to be highly secure and self-contained ecosystems, meaning they struggle along to connect with external resources like APIs and data services for real-world event verifications. This is where the oracle issue comes in, and its the primary barrier preventing everyday contracts operating on blockchain infrastructures. Fortunately, theres a way to jump over the issue by using hybrid smart contracts, which use oracles to retrieve off-chain data. The oracle forms a link to the outside world, but it also secures any data passed through. The most well-known oracle in the blockchain space is Chainlink, which is what we are here to discuss below.

What Is Chainlink?

Chainlink, which is currently priced at $5.96, is the most adopted oracle and is used by countless Defi solutions to secure billions of dollars. Instead of running one oracle network, Chainlink utilizes several parallel networks, which increases service capacity without causing cross-dependencies with external oracles.

The end goal for Chainlink is to allow developers to construct any number of oracles, for example, reputation services, payment penalties, multiple notes, data sources, and aggregation methods. The versatility of the solution has allowed for a number of use cases to emerge, which we have outlined below. However, you can learn more about Chainlink by following the link, where you will find a high-quality Chainlink abridged report.

Government Uses

The majority of society will rarely agree on a given topic, but thats not the case when it comes to creating a transparent world, where institutions have accountability. Blockchain has paved the way for new infrastructures to be built, which would track government processes and use smart contracts to eliminate tampering efforts. By using an oracle, these new tracking platforms can be linked to real-time data, which would avoid the need for centralized interpretations. The following are examples of oracle use cases within the government:

  • Voting. The 14th December 2021 vote, which saw Joe Biden take office, was shrouded in vote tampering claims - further highlighting how insecure the current vote system is. Blockchain provides a potential solution, where private keys are used to access voting and oracles are used to verify identification. Once votes are cast on the chain, they are encrypted and can never be hacked or changed.
  • Regulation. Governments have little control over blockchains in their basic form. However, oracles can be used to manipulate smart contracts and force government authorization before completion - read this case study for an example.
  • Certificates, Permits, and Deeds. Smart contracts can be utilized to add greater transparency to government issues certifications. Additionally, Chainlink can be used to ensure privacy when verifying identities, thanks to its acquisition of privacy-preserving oracle DECO.

 Identity and Authorization

Blockchains are inherently designed for anonymity, but there is a growing need for identity verification to be combined with blockchain solutions. By using Chainlink oracles, identity pools including government databases and social media profiles can be used to prove on-chain identities. This is essential for following government regulations - you can find useful examples below.

  • Biometrics. Smart contracts can be verified through biometrics, which is a popular feature on smartphones and other devices. Providing there's a reputable identity database, Chainlink's oracles can pull data on-chain.
  • E-signatures. Digital signatures are readily available through platforms like Adobe, but they are pretty easy to forge, especially as Adobe saves signatures for future applications. Chainlink oracles can improve Adobe and DocuSign processes, guaranteeing the security of e-signatures.
  • KYC/AML. Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering laws require additional features to be added to blockchain technology, especially where finance is concerned. Fortunately, Chainlink oracles can bring personal financial histories and identities into the blockchain, while staying 100% secure.

Utilities

Utilities like energy, internet, and water make the world turn, so there is no surprise blockchains and oracles can be used within this industry. Managing utilities is essential for the health of society, yet they currently rely on outdated infrastructures centered around business dynamics. However, through integration with smart contracts, utility management can move towards a more transparent and automated means of operation - see these use cases:

  • Water. The water network is monitored to ensure homes are constantly connected with a healthy supply. Using IoT devices, water consumption, and quality can be tracked remotely. If these devices are integrated with Chainlink, smart contracts could generate usage invoices, issue penalties, and release emergency funds.
  • Energy. Energy providers are responsible for maintaining electrical grids, but they are currently under fire amidst the rising bill costs. However, the Chainlink oracle can filter real-time usage metrics into smart contracts, which can issue penalties when households use more than projected or agreed. Blockchain-based energy market Dipole is already integrating Chainlink.
  • Internet. The majority of internet packages are based on fixed pricing, even though some people use much less data, which feels unfair. With the introduction of Chainlink, ISPs can monitor real-time usage and charge accordingly by applying smart contracts. This would work both ways, as customers wouldn nott have to pay for any downtime or insufficient services.
  • Emissions and Waste. smart contracts and IoT infrastructures have the ability to revolutionize the waste disposal industry. For example, Chainlink can measure waste in real-time and can trigger payments to regulatory bodies for over usage or unnecessary waste.
  • Credentials. Blockchain solutions are revolutionary, but they're open to proof of credential issues without external support. Using Chainlink, blockchain solutions can obtain information regarding sufficient funds, property keys, and much more. Once external criteria have been met, on-chain smart contracts will activate. 

Conclusion

Chainlink is the perfect connection for blockchain developers to reach external services while maintaining the integrity of high security and transparency. The parallel network infrastructure allows Chainlink to be used in practically any industry, and the areas discussed above barely scratch the surface. However, they provide a solid foundation for any developer looking for innovation with blockchain solutions. As more businesses realize the power of blockchain tech, Chainlink's application and value will explode, making LINK a worthwhile investment (some predictions place it in the region of $250 by the end of 2030).

January 10,2023

Hong Kong Could Become Crypto Hub In 2023 Despite A Harrowing 2022

FSTB (Financial Services & The Treasury Of Hong Kong) Secretary Christopher Hui first learned about crypto from friends who ran investment funds and invested in digital assets. Fast forward to today, he now focuses his attention on developing viable policies for the growing sector.

Hong Kong is currently testing an NFT offering, one of several pilots being run by the aforementioned regulator, including tokenizing green bonds and a CDBC known as the e-HKD.

In Hong Kong, crypto is currently regulated by several agencies. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is investigating stablecoins, while the Securities and Futures Commission is in charge of enforcement. The FSTB establishes a more macro-level approach to regulation.

Going forward, the approach appears to be to incorporate crypto into financial regulation and hopefully provide an opening of areas for discussion, like enabling crypto investment under the incoming regulatory framework, which was previously ruled out.

The attempt by Hong Kong to re-establish itself as a crypto hub comes after a year of market turmoil that witnessed the Terra and FTX crashes, VC funds be liquidated, and jurisdictions such as Singapore tighten crypto regulation.

January 08,2023

Mastercard Announces New Partnership With Polygon While Morgan Stanley Decides To Hold Bitcoin

Mastercard has announced that it will be launching its Artist Accelerator initiative on the Polygon blockchain. The program is intended to teach musicians how to expand their brands by minting NFTs, creating an online presence, and establishing a vibrant community.

Although Mastercard has not disclosed who shall be participating in the accelerator, the company has nevertheless stated that it will conclude later this year with a live-streamed artist showcase.

According to Mastercard, the goal is to create an interactive space for music content production, cooperation, and ownership by connecting artists globally with mentors in Web3.

The accelerator will also include a limited edition NFT known as The Mastercard Music Pass, which will reportedly provide holders with access to unique music educational materials, resources, and other physical and virtual experiences.

Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley revealed that it now holds Bitcoin on behalf of customers, with $6.5 trillion in AUM (Assets Under Management). As a result, the investment bank has allocated 3% of its assets to BTC. The goal is to provide passive investors with a chance to gain exposure to crypto.

January 08,2023

Back And Forth Between Cameron Winklevoss And Barry Silbert Worries Investors

Cameron Winklevoss, President and Co-Founder of digital currency exchange Gemini, recently issued Barry Silbert with a one week ultimatum for the latter to provide approximately $1 billion. Cameron accused the CEO of crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group (DCG) of undesirable tactics designed to damage his reputation, but insists he wants to resolve a complex lending dispute with the company that arose following the demise of FTX.

What happened?

Cameron Winklevoss released an open letter to Barry Silbert, the CEO of DCG, this past Monday, clarifying his side of an ongoing dispute with DCG and its subsidiary, Genesis Global Trading. Cameron set a short deadline for Silbert to publicly commit to fixing the situation which caused Gemini Earn to suspend withdrawals.

The Winklevoss twin accused Silbert of intentionally ignoring previous attempts to collaborate, insinuating that the DCG CEO hoped the issue would simply disappear if left alone. Moreover, Cameron claims that Silbert agreed to meet to discuss a proposal but did not show up. Winklevoss now demands that Silbert commit to reaching an agreement by January 8th, 2023.

What was in the letter?

Genesis Trading owes Gemini $900 million as a result of its previous partnership with Gemini Earn. The money, according to Cameron, belongs to the depositors associated with Gemini Earn. Cameron also claimed that DCG owes $1.675 billion to Genesis, its own subsidiary. He accused Silbert of knowingly diverting the funds to buy back shares, fund illiquid investments, and increase the NAV (Net Asset Value) of Grayscale funds rather than repaying third-party debt.

Silbert, for one, has denied that DCG borrowed the aforementioned sum specifically. He did not, however, deny that DCG owes Genesis money, and maintains that DCG has met all of its interest payment obligations.

Barry also claims that on December 29th, 2022, DCG delivered a proposal to Genesis but have yet to receive a response. Furthermore, some Grayscale funds have reportedly been trading at a significant discount to their NAV. The Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE), its second biggest, recently traded at a 60% discount to NAV. Meanwhile, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), traded at a 50% discount to its NAV.

What happens now?

Investors are concerned that the trust funds of Grayscale will be liquidated, potentially sending already vulnerable markets to even lower levels. Su Zhu, Co-Founder of 3AC, even took a shot at Gemini during the holiday season, accusing it of purposefully making it increasingly difficult for users to sue. In the bankruptcy case of 3AC, Genesis Trading has already filed a $1.2 billion claim.

As part of its efforts to resolve the dispute with Genesis, Gemini has formed a group of creditors. It hired Kirkland & Ellis as a law firm and Houlihan Lokey as an investment banker and financial advisor. Additionally, it is very possible that the threats in the letter will be insufficient on their own. Some Gemini Earn users, however, have decided to take matters into their own hands, as the lead plaintiffs have reportedly filed a class action lawsuit against DCG and Genesis, alleging that DCG tried to conceal insolvency details.

In the past, it was reported that DCG discreetly purchased the debt of 3AC to Genesis with a $1.1 billion promissory note due in 2033. Meanwhile, in a separate lawsuit, Gemini is accused of failing to register the interest-bearing accounts of Gemini Earn as securities. Interestingly enough, similar interest-bearing accounts offered by companies such as BlockFi and Voyager were deemed securities by US regulators.

January 05,2023

LG Partners Up With Oorbit And Pixelynx To Help Millions Of Users Access The Metaverse

LG Electronics, a South Korean technology conglomerate, has announced a new collaboration with cloud-based technology platform Oorbit and Pixelynx.

The goal is to construct a fully integrated music, gaming, and Web3 ecosystem and make the metaverse more easily accessible. The partnership will thus enable users to navigate interconnected digital worlds, concerts, and AI multiplayer games on their LG TVs, thereby simplifying interactions with the metaverse.

According to Pooya Koosha, Co-Founder and CTO of Oorbit, proprietary technology is the overarching framework which connects digital worlds and allows brands and developers to easily bring their experiences into the metaverse.

Therefore, Pooya added, the next step in making the metaverse accessible to all is to scale this technology for millions of LG TV customers.

Additionally, LG Electronics publicly modified its business development goals in March 2022 to include crypto and blockchain-oriented software. During its annual general meeting, LG also added two distinct crypto-related objectives, namely the development and sale of blockchain-based software as well as the sale and brokerage of crypto.

January 03,2023

New 26% Capital Gains Tax On Crypto Gets Approved In Italy

On December 29th, 2022, the Italian Senate approved its budget for 2023, which included a tax increase for crypto investors. This increase involves a 26% tax on capital gains regarding crypto-asset trading of more than 2,000 Euros.

Crypto assets are defined in the approved legislation as a digital representation of value or rights which may be transferred and subsequently stored electronically utilizing distributed ledger technology or anything similar. In the past, crypto assets in Italy were taxed as foreign currency, which meant lower taxes.

The bill also states that taxpayers will be able to declare the value of their digital-asset holdings as of January 1st and pay a 14% tax, a move designed to motivate Italians to declare their digital assets.

Elswhere, other budget law changes involve tax amnesties to lessen penalties for late tax payments, fiscal incentives for job creation, and a reduction in the retirement age. The changes additionally include tax breaks worth 21 billion Euros for households as well as businesses dealing with the ongoing energy crisis.

The new legislation comes shortly after the approval of the MiCA (Markets in Crypto Assets) bill on October 10th, which established a consistent crypto regulatory framework for 27 nations within the European Union. MiCA is scheduled to take effect in 2024.

January 01,2023

Tumultuous 2022 Wraps Up As 2023 Gets Underway, Meanwhile Crypto ATMs Continue To Skyrocket

Despite a turbulent year for the digital assets sector, the amount of crypto ATMs increased dramatically in 2022, according to new data.

The number of Bitcoin ATMs increased by a staggering 506% since January 2020, when there were just over 6,360 BTC ATMs, according to Coin ATM Radar, an ATM-tracking app. Moreover, the report finds that the Covid-19 pandemic aided market growth by increasing customer demand for advanced crypto ATMs.

Still, there were significant losses as well as crypto exchange trading volumes ended 2022 at their lowest level in two years. Last year, crypto prices also experienced a sharp decline, with Bitcoin trading around $16,000 in December in contrast to $47,000 in January.

Although 2022 had plenty of bad news, such as the collapse of Terra, FTX, Celsius, and 3AC, the community is hopfeul that 2023 will be the long-awaited break everyone is looking for and the eventual end of the bear market.

December 30,2022

2022s Long List Of Losses In Crypto

In 2022, crypto-based projects were subjected to a slew of devastating hacks and exploits, making it the worst year ever for securing digital assets.

Overall, the frequency of crypto hacks increased dramatically this year, surpassing a record $3 billion in total funds lost, a significant increase from the $2 billion lost to hacks in 2021.

As such, here are the biggest hacks of 2022 along with the amount of funds lost:

1. Ronin Network ($625 Million)

2. FTX ($400 Million)

3. Wormhole ($325 Million)

4. Nomad ($190 Million)

5. Beanstalk Farms ($182 Million)

6. BNB Token Hub ($120 Million)

7. Mango Markets ($114 Million)

8. Horizon ($100 Million)

9. Qubit ($80 Million)

The year demonstrated how blackhat or malicious hackers are employing increasingly sophisticated strategies to exploit flaws in decentralized applications, which, like any other piece of software, may contain bugs.

Security cases involving cross-chain bridges and DeFi protocols stood out among the major crypto heists of 2022, causing damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in individual exploits. Hackers gained unauthorized access to and stole crypto assets by exploiting vulnerabilities in smart contracts.

Needless to say, security will continue to be among the top goals for everyone as we prepare for what 2023 has to offer.
 








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