JPMorgan Chase Introduces New Product To Rival ChatGPT.
The banking giant recently filed a trademark application for a new generative AI tool known as IndexGPT with the US Patent and Trademark Office, indicating their intention to utilize it in various business areas such as advertising, business consulting, and finance-focused software solutions which also includes crypto based offerings.
The decision to develop IndexGPT aligns with the perspective of CEO Jamie Dimon, who has previously expressed a keen interest in AI. Dimon previously mentioned that the company already has more than 300 AI use cases in production, covering areas like risk assessment, marketing, customer experience, and fraud prevention.
While numerous technology giants are eagerly adopting generative AI tools across different sectors, Apple has taken a different approach by imposing restrictions on the use of ChatGPT and similar tools. This decision was prompted by concerns about the potential compromise of sensitive data. An internal document highlighted specific restriction by Apple on the usage of Copilot, an AI tool owned by GitHub that automates software code writing.
ERC-6551 Can Turn Any NFT Into A Wallet
The ERC-6551 protocol has introduced token-bound accounts, enabling individual NFTs to function as a wallet of sorts. This innovation was discussed by Benny Giang, the co-founder of Future Primitive and the renowned CryptoKitties NFT collection.
The concept behind this development originated from a collaboration between Giang and streetwear designer Jeff Staple called Sapienz. They sought to reimagine the future of storytelling, streetwear, and fashion through profile pictures (PFPs).
By assigning each NFT its own smart contract account or wallet, which became ERC-6551, a breakthrough was achieved. According to Giang, all NFTs on the Ethereum mainnet, from CryptoKitties to the latest projects, now possess their own account addresses capable of holding various tokens.
Token-bound accounts endow NFTs with two significant properties. Firstly, they can own assets, including ETH, USDC, and other NFTs. Secondly, they can participate in social governance. As Giang explains, NFTs can become signers on multisig transactions, possess their own ENS sub-domains, and engage in voting on proposals.
Giang metaphorically describes this as granting NFTs a passport, providing users access to diverse functions like bank accounts and voting. Taking it a step further, Giang suggests that incorporating AI into NFTs could infuse them with personalities, allowing them to tweet and execute on-chain actions.
Ultimately, Giang views this as a natural progression for human interaction and digital interfaces, facilitating deeper engagement and interaction among users worldwide.
Binance Officially Enters NFT Lending Sector Via Ether Loans
Binance has finally made its entry into the NFT lending space by introducing a new feature on its NFT marketplace. Users can now borrow cryptocurrencies by using NFTs as collateral.
Initially, the feature supports borrowing ETH against blue-chip NFTs such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC), Azuki, and Doodles. The current interest rate for NFT loans stands at 7.91% per annum, and the loan-to-value ratio ranges from 40% to 60%. Notably, there are no gas fees or Ethereum transaction charges associated with these loans.
Binance launched its NFT marketplace in June 2021 and plans to add support for Ordinals (Bitcoin NFTs) in addition to the existing blockchain systems of Ethereum, Polygon, and BNB Chain.
This move follows the recent introduction of Blend, an NFT lending protocol by the NFT marketplace giant, Blur. Blend allows lenders to determine their own interest rates and loan-to-value ratios, showcasing its rapid growth and potential to revolutionize the lending landscape.
In other news, Binance also recently gained its first Southeast Asian license from Thailand as the team gets ready to launch a new Thai crypto exchange in late 2023.
Crypto Exchange License Applications Will Soon Be Accepted By Hong Kong Securities Regulator
Starting June 1st, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) will begin accepting applications for licenses from cryptocurrency exchanges. The SFC has issued guidelines that prohibit the offering of crypto gifts aimed at incentivizing retail investments, including airdrops. It has also stated that stablecoins should not be allowed for retail trading until they are regulated.
According to the latest consultation on policy recommendations, licensed virtual asset providers will be allowed to serve retail investors as long as they assess the overall understanding of the investors and associated risks. The SFC sought public feedback on its initial policy recommendations in February before finalizing them.
The guidelines place the responsibility on platform operators to conduct thorough due diligence, emphasizing that meeting the minimum requirement of being included in two acceptable indices is not sufficient for listing a cryptocurrency for trading.
Under the new rules, crypto exchanges must also maintain a minimum capital of $640,000 (USD) at all times. They are also required to submit reports on available and required liquid capital, a summary of bank loans and credit facilities, and profit and loss analyses to the SFC on a monthly basis. In addition, approved tokens on regulated exchanges must have a 12-month track record.
The SFC mentioned that it will separately consult on the inclusion of derivatives, which are crucial for institutional investors. Regarding the implementation of the travel rule by the FATF, which involves sharing information on crypto transactions between financial institutions, the SFC will accept delayed submission of required information until January 1st, 2024, if immediate submission is not feasible during the virtual asset transfer.
Ledger Defends New Recovery Feature Despite Ongoing Backlash
Ledger, the renowned cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer, recently introduced a new Bitcoin (BTC) key recovery feature, aiming to provide users with an additional layer of convenience and security as it will reportedly enable them to back up their private keys so that they may be recovered if lost.
However, the introduction of this feature has not been without controversy, as experts and critics raise doubts about its safety and effectiveness. More importantly, it is indicative of how Ledger may have violated the trust of its user base with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Safety or violation of trust?
When it comes to user satisfaction and building trust, being technically correct is not enough. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of addressing user concerns and striking a balance between security and convenience, as while the new feature may be useful in the long run as far as Ledger is concerned, the crypto community remains unconvinced and feels betrayed.
Since then, Ledger has responded to the criticism and concerns expressed about their new wallet recovery service. The company talks about the specifics and how it intends to help users recover lost or inaccessible Bitcoin keys. Despite the controversy, Ledger defends the implemented security measures and emphasizes their commitment to protecting user assets.
Still, experts have expressed concerns about the security of the new Bitcoin key recovery feature. They evaluate the technical aspects while also examining potential vulnerabilities and risks associated with the recovery process. Twitter user foobar told his 132,000 followers to stop using Ledger hardware wallets as soon as possible, claiming that the company has shown nothing but gross incompetence and wild misunderstanding of their own purposes. Similarly, Polygon Labs CISO Mudit Gupta informed his 61,000 followers that the new recovery feature is a horrendous idea and that no one in their right minds would support it.
What comes next?
While it is optional, the new feature will split the private keys of the users into three encrypted fragments which would be stored by three different companies, including Ledger. Users who once trusted that it was next to impossible for their private keys to ever leave their Ledger devices are understandably livid with this new feature, as they believe it defeats the purpose of having a hardware wallet in the first place.
As to why Ledger would do this, the official statement was that the feature will make it easy for anyone to own crypto by eliminating the confusing and complicated terminologies and processes associated with private keys and crypto wallets. Nevertheless, many believe that this is indeed a violation of trust and numerous Ledger users are now shifting to alternative options like Argent and Trezor.
Crypto Regulations Discussed Ahead Of Upcoming G-7 Summit
G-7 finance ministers reportedly held discussions on the regulation of cryptocurrencies prior to the upcoming Japan summit. The representatives expressed their commitment to adhering to the standards established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding crypto assets and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
FSB will be providing final recommendations by July 2023 and pledged to implement effective regulatory frameworks for crypto assets and stablecoin arrangements in accordance with the appropriate guidance and standards established by standard-setting bodies (SSBs).
Many also expressed their support for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its efforts to expedite the global implementation of the travel rule, which mandates the exchange of information on fund transfers between financial institutions both domestically and internationally.
Everyone involved is eagerly awaiting the progress report by the FATF on the travel rule implementation due to the increasing threats posed by illicit activities like money laundering and terrorist financing, among others.
Furthermore, the IMF will be providing its own recommendations on CBDCs, to be published later this year and discussed during the upcoming summit. The G-7 consists of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, with additional representatives from the European Union, Australia, India, and other jurisdictions invited to participate in the event.
Governments Can Now Issue CBDCs Via New Ripple Platform
Ripple has introduced a new platform that enables governments to issue their own digital currencies in the form of CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies). With this announcement, Ripple looks to continue its innovative solutions for digital payments and cross-border transactions.
On May 18th, the launch of the Ripple CBDC Platform took place, which leverages the same blockchain technology used in the XRP Ledger (XRPL). The platform empowers central banks, financial service providers, and governments to holistically manage and customize the entire life cycle of fiat-based CBDCs, including transactions and distribution.
The new platform facilitates inter-institutional settlement and distribution operations for financial institutions utilizing CBDCs. It also enables global central banks to issue both retail and wholesale digital currencies. The capabilities are also exemplified through the e-HKD pilot, a CBDC program initiated by the central bank of Hong Kong (HKMA). Additionally, Ripple is working with Fubon Bank in Taiwan to develop a solution for real estate asset tokenization and equity distribution.
The CBDC platform offers four key features, namely Ledger technology, Issuer, Operator, and End-User Wallets. The platform builds upon the Private Ledger function, which was initially introduced by Ripple in 2021 for CBDC issuance.
James Wallis, VP of Central Bank Engagements and CBDCs at Ripple, expressed confidence in the platform and its ability to address challenges faced by central banks and governments while developing strategies for CBDC implementations. Ripple is also collaborating with several central banks to help establish it as a trusted partner in this space.
Supreme Court Sides With Crypto To Push SEC Out
Many crypto businesses are hoping that a new US Supreme Court doctrine will set a legal precedent that could theoritically force the SEC to step aside, however federal regulators remain skeptical.
In a decision issued last June, the Supreme Court sided with states challenging the authority of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The institution had decided to adopt a formal doctrine that actively seeks to limit the power of federal agencies.
According to the doctrine, Congress should not delegate deciding the fate of extraordinary cases involving matters of significant political and economic impact to federal agencies such as the EPA or SEC.
In its April 2023 response to the Wells notice issued to the exchange by the SEC, Coinbase talked about how the agency has no authority to make crypto decisions unilaterally, especially when it comes to token classification.
In response to the request made by Coinbase for more regulatory clarity in the crypto space, Gary Gensler claimed that this industry has more than enough information to operate within the legal framework of the country.
Gensler further stated that many cryptocurrencies have been non-compliant in the past, and that the SEC has issued rules defining what it means to be an exchange, a broker dealer, an advisor or custody asset, and how to register a securities offering.
Those rules exist, Gensler continued, before saying that there is nothing about crypto or any new technology for that matter which would make it incompatible with pre-existing public policies.
Traders Remain Optimistic Despite BTC Ordinals Coming Under Scrutiny
There is an ongoing heated debate amongst Bitcoin developers regarding the censorship of a new type of transaction called Ordinals BRC-20s. This development has also had a significant impact on the mining of Bitcoin, causing transaction fees to surpass the mining reward for the first time in years.
Ordinals BRC-20s are a new type of transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain that allow for the creation of smart contracts on top of the Bitcoin network. These transactions can also enable other blockchain platforms to interact with Bitcoin. However, some developers are concerned that these transactions may be harmful to the overall health of the Bitcoin network, leading to a debate amongst developers on whether or not to censor them.
Ordinals, which require significantly more computing power to process than standard Bitcoin transactions, have been causing mining fees to skyrocket. This has led to concerns among some experts that mining fees may become prohibitively expensive for small-scale miners, causing centralization in the mining industry.
These concerns have led some Bitcoin developers to advocate for a spam filter to be put in place to limit the number of Ordinals transactions being processed on the network. Some have even suggested that all Ordinals transactions be blocked until a solution can be found to mitigate their impact on mining fees.
Despite the controversy surrounding Ordinals, many remain optimistic. Ordinals could help Bitcoin maintain its status by allowing for the creation of more complex smart contracts and enabling interoperability with other blockchains.
Cardano Looks To Take 2023 By Storm As Hydra Gets Launched
Cardano (ADA) is a blockchain platform that is rapidly gaining global popularity due to its focus on scalability, security, and interoperability. Most recently, the Cardano Foundation CEO, Frederik Gregaard, provided some insight into some potential use cases, wherein he envisions a future where Cardano will play a key role in areas such as supply chain management, digital identity, and DeFi.
What has Cardano accomplished lately?
Speaking of DeFi, a new platform called Empowa has been launched on the Cardano network, aiming to tackle the housing crisis in Africa. Empower is a DeFi platform that provides affordable housing loans to low income families in the country, and is fully powered by Cardano.
In addition, Cardano has a scalability solution known as Hydra which recently went live on its mainnet. Hydra is a layer 2 scaling solution that can handle a high volume of transactions per second without compromising the security and decentralization of the Cardano network. This could be particularly useful as Ethereum gas fees continue to surge and people look for an alternative.
What comes next?
Cardano Founder and Ethereum Co-Founder Charles Hoskinson has often gone on record to say that true decentralization is the only solution the world desperately needs and that Cardano has and always will work in this direction. Ultimately, the focus on scalability, security, and interoperability is making it an attractive platform for developers and entrepreneurs who want to build decentralized applications with practical use cases.
With the launch of Empowa and the rollout of Alonzo, Cardano is certainly showing that it possesses the potential to become a major player in DeFi and smart contract spaces going forward. The implementation of Hydra will further solidify its position as a scalable and secure blockchain platform.
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.
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