August Crypto News: Grayscale, Coinbase, X, Seba & More

Here's our roundup of the most interesting crypto developments from August. Staying true to our ethos, we spotlight the positive progress in the crypto world, offering an optimistic yet grounded perspective on the expanding role of cryptocurrencies in our everyday experiences.

Federal Court Pushes SEC to Reassess Grayscale's Bitcoin ETF Proposal

The U.S. legal system has taken a pivotal step in the crypto investment domain. A federal court has instructed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to reexamine its earlier denial of Grayscale Investments' initiative to transform its Bitcoin Trust into an ETF.

This move might herald the debut of the U.S.'s first spot bitcoin ETF. The court emphasized the need for the SEC to elucidate its decision-making process, especially when other similar bitcoin futures products have received approval.

Grayscale perceives this development as a potential game-changer for American crypto investors.


Coinbase Unveils Base Blockchain and Acquires Stake in Circle

Base: New Chapter for Public Companies in Crypto

Coinbase, the renowned crypto exchange, has embarked on a groundbreaking journey with the official launch of its Base blockchain. This initiative marks a pivotal moment for public companies, showcasing their capability to operate their own distributed networks in the crypto space.

Base, which had been under developer testing, is now open to the general public, indicating Coinbase's strategic vision to diversify its revenue streams. Beyond just operating its blockchain, the company eyes potential earnings from innovative applications built atop Base. To amplify the launch, Coinbase has introduced the "Onchain Summer" campaign, collaborating with corporate powerhouses, including Coca-Cola.

Base functions as a “layer 2” blockchain, intricately built on the Ethereum framework and utilizing the prowess of the OP Stack software from the acclaimed layer 2 network, Optimism.

Source 1, Source 2

Circle: USDC Broadens its Blockchain Integration

Coinbase has also secured a minority stake in Circle Internet Financial. This development coincides with the dissolution of their joint venture, the Centre Consortium, which previously governed the USDC stablecoin. Circle will now independently manage the issuance and governance of USDC. Additionally, USDC is set to integrate with six new blockchains, expanding its reach to a total of 15.

The specifics of Coinbase's stake in Circle remain undisclosed and no cash transaction was involved in the deal. This move comes amidst evolving dynamics in the stablecoin market, with major players like PayPal introducing their own stablecoin. Coinbase envisions a broader role for USDC, encompassing areas such as foreign exchange and cross-border fund transfers.


Elon Musk's "X" Secures Licenses for Payment Processing, Including Cryptocurrency

Elon Musk's revamped social media platform "X" (previously known as Twitter) has successfully acquired money transmitter licenses in seven U.S. states, with the latest addition being Rhode Island. While these licenses encompass crypto payment processing, they also cater to broader payment services akin to PayPal and Venmo.

Musk has previously alluded to integrating crypto functionalities on "X" and has expressed ambitions for the platform to evolve into an 'everything app.' The licenses, which also include those from states like Arizona, Michigan, and Missouri, suggest Musk's intent to facilitate nationwide payment processing.

This move aligns with Musk's vision of a blockchain-based social media platform integrated with payment capabilities.


Swiss Crypto Bank Seba Gains Preliminary Approval for Hong Kong Operations

Switzerland-based crypto bank Seba has secured an approval-in-principle from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, marking a significant stride in its global expansion efforts. This preliminary approval paves the way for Seba's Hong Kong subsidiary to obtain a full license, allowing it to engage in crypto-related and traditional securities transactions.

This move aligns with Hong Kong's recent regulatory changes, introduced in June, aimed at drawing more firms to the region. Seba's CEO, Franz Bergmueller, expressed the bank's commitment to fostering the responsible growth of the digital assets sector in collaboration with Hong Kong's financial regulators.

Established in 2018, Seba has previously secured licenses in Switzerland and Abu Dhabi and has raised nearly $250 million to fuel its global outreach.


London Stock Exchange Group Ventures into Blockchain-Powered Digital Markets

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has announced plans to develop a digital markets business powered by blockchain technology. This move aims to modernize the trading of traditional financial assets by leveraging the benefits of blockchain.

While the focus isn't on cryptocurrencies, LSEG sees the potential in blockchain to enhance security, accessibility, and efficiency in asset trading. The group is optimistic about rolling out this initiative within the next year, pending regulatory approvals.

Source's Meteoric Rise: A Glimpse into the New Social App's Potential and Concerns

The decentralized platform has stirred the crypto community with its innovative approach to social networking. Built on Coinbase's Base network, the app allows users to tokenize and sell "shares" of their online presence. Within a day of its beta release, it amassed a trading volume of 4,400 ETH, roughly $8.1 million.

Despite its success, the platform's origins and future plans are still in question. We look forward to following developments as they arise.

Source 1Source 2

At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, Fionna Brennan, Kate Bell

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

July 2023 Crypto News Roundup: PayPal’s New Stablecoin & More

Here's our recap of the most captivating crypto updates from July and the beginning of August. True to our mission, we focus on positive strides in the crypto realm, providing an upbeat yet realistic viewpoint on the growing presence of cryptocurrencies in our daily lives.

PayPal Introduces Ethereum-Based Stablecoin

Global payment leader, PayPal, has taken a significant step into the cryptocurrency realm by announcing the launch of its Ethereum-based stablecoin, named PayPal USD (PYUSD). This initiative is noteworthy as PayPal becomes the pioneering major financial entity to introduce its own stablecoin.

Designed to initially cater to its U.S. clientele, PYUSD will offer a range of functionalities, including the seamless transfer of the stablecoin between PayPal accounts and specific external digital wallets. Additionally, it can be employed for transactions or for conversions to and from other cryptocurrencies that PayPal supports.

The responsibility of issuing PYUSD has been entrusted to the New York-based Paxos Trust. They will ensure that the stablecoin is anchored by assets like U.S. dollar deposits and short-term Treasuries.

The company has future plans to roll out PYUSD on its widely-used Venmo application.


Ether Futures ETFs Gain Momentum with Multiple SEC Filings

Six firms have approached the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with applications for Ether (ETH) futures-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This surge in interest follows the recent trend of bitcoin spot ETF applications.

Volatility Shares, known for its Bitcoin Strategy ETF, was the first to file on July 28. If approved, their Ether ETF could debut on October 12.

The crypto community's anticipation around these ETFs grew after major players like BlackRock showed interest in spot-bitcoin ETFs. Grayscale, a key player in the crypto industry, advocates for simultaneous approval of all spot bitcoin ETFs to ensure a level playing field.


Hong Kong Grants Crypto Licenses to HashKey and OSL

Hong Kong has taken a progressive step in its cryptocurrency regulations by awarding its first-ever crypto exchange licenses to HashKey Exchange and OSL Digital Securities Ltd. This move paves the way for these platforms to cater to both retail and professional investors.
Previously, both entities held licenses under an older system, which may have streamlined their recent approvals.

HashKey aims to leverage this license to expand its reach to retail users, while OSL Digital Securities has already started offering bitcoin and ethereum trading options for retail investors. This development underscores Hong Kong's evolving position as a potential cryptocurrency hub.


Tether's Reserves Surge in Q2

Tether, the company behind the USDT stablecoin, reported an excess of $3.3 billion in reserve assets for Q2, ensuring the backing of its stablecoins. The attestation, validated by BDO Italy, revealed Tether's exposure of approximately $72.5 billion to U.S. Treasuries. Additionally, the company's bitcoin holdings saw a rise in value, reaching $1.67 billion by the end of June. Remarkably, Tether's operational profits surpassed $1 billion for the quarter.


Securitize Expands Tokenized Securities in Europe

Securitize, a blockchain-focused firm, has initiated the issuance of tokenized securities in Europe, representing equity in the Spanish real estate investment trust, Mancipi Partners. These securities will be tokenized on the Avalanche blockchain, with secondary trading expected to commence in September.

This development follows the approval from Spain's General Secretariat of the Treasury and International Finance, allowing Securitize to introduce digital asset securities under supervised "sandbox" conditions. After the six-month sandbox phase and subsequent approval from the European Union Pilot Regime, Securitize intends to broaden its tokenized securities offerings across Spain and the EU.

The firm is the first to issue and trade such securities in both the U.S. and Europe under the EU's new digital assets pilot regime.


Significant Win for Crypto: Ripple Labs Achieves Partial Victory in SEC Case

In a recent legal development, a U.S. judge ruled that Ripple Labs Inc. did not breach federal securities laws by selling its XRP token on public exchanges. This decision marks a significant win for the cryptocurrency sector and led to a surge in XRP's value, which increased by 75%.

The victory was only partial as the judge determined that Ripple's sales of XRP worth $728.9 million to sophisticated investors constituted unregistered securities sales. However, Ripple's CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, still hailed the ruling as a significant triumph for both Ripple and the broader U.S. cryptocurrency industry.


Crypto Venture Capital Firms Secure Over $100 Million for New Crypto Asset Funds

Polychain Capital, a blockchain-centric venture capital firm, has successfully raised approximately $200 million for its fourth crypto venture fund. The firm aims to amass a total of $400 million for this fund, aligning with its earlier filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Amidst this fundraising, Polychain, which manages assets worth around $2.6 billion, has also made changes to its research team to refine its investment focus.

In other news, New York-based VC firm Coinfund has secured $158 million in its recent fundraising round, emphasizing its commitment to early-stage crypto startups, especially those integrating with artificial intelligence. Coinfund has expressed its commitment to enhancing crypto infrastructure and promoting decentralization.

Despite the broader market's retreat from crypto investments after significant setbacks in 2022, both firms remain optimistic, believing that the current environment allows for more thoughtful and discerning investment decisions.

Sources 1: Polychain, Source 2: Coinfund

Google Play Embraces NFTs in Apps and Games

Google Play has updated its policy to permit developers to integrate digital assets, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs), into their applications and games. Joseph Mills, Google Play’s Group Product Manager, expressed that this change would enhance traditional games with user-owned content and incentivize user loyalty through unique NFT rewards.

Developers choosing to offer tokenized assets must clearly indicate the presence of blockchain-based elements within the app. Reddit, which has gained traction with its Avatar NFTs, collaborated with Google on this policy update. The revised guidelines emphasize user trust and prohibit the promotion of potential earnings from in-app play or trading, aligning with Google Play's existing policies on gambling.

This move reflects Google's evolving stance towards Web3, with the company recently allowing decentralized apps like ArDrive Mobile and Axie Infinity: Origins on its platform.

Google Play anticipates testing the new experiences by late summer, with a full rollout expected later in the year.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, Fionna Brennan, Kate Bell

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

June 2023 Crypto News Roundup

This is our roundup of the most interesting crypto news from June and early July. Consistent with our mission, we aim to spotlight the brighter aspects of the crypto sphere, offering optimistic yet grounded perspectives on how cryptocurrencies are integrating into our everyday experiences.

BlackRock CEO Hails Bitcoin as 'Digital Gold', Spurring Cryptocurrency Surge Following ETF Application

In a recent turnaround of views, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has described Bitcoin as a digital equivalent of gold. Fink, who once labeled Bitcoin as an "index of money laundering," made these remarks during a Fox Business interview.

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager overseeing $9.5 trillion, recently lodged an application for a Bitcoin ETF with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This move has been influential in driving a surge in Bitcoin's value, pushing it to a 12-month peak as institutional investors flock to the cryptocurrency sector.

Fink stated, "I do believe the role of crypto is digitizing gold, in many ways," suggesting its potential to serve as a hedge against the significant financial challenges that a single country may face.


Bitcoin ETF Boom on the Horizon? Major Financial Firms Seek SEC Approval Amid Optimism

Prospective investors in Bitcoin could soon have an abundance of options if US regulators lessen their resistance to Bitcoin-tied exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Major finance corporations, such as BlackRock, Fidelity, and Invesco, have put forth applications to offer US "spot" Bitcoin ETFs physically backed by Bitcoin. Although the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has previously dismissed these products over concerns of volatility and potential manipulation, the recent BlackRock application has raised optimism among investors that the SEC may soon drop its long-standing opposition.

ETFs represent a broad family of exchange-traded products within a $7 trillion industry, with both crypto-native and major Wall Street firms trying to launch ETFs that hold actual Bitcoin. While several futures-backed crypto funds are available, the SEC hasn't approved any applications for spot Bitcoin ETFs, which are touted as potentially widening participation in the cryptocurrency sector. Unlike futures, which are contracts to buy or sell an asset at a later date, spot Bitcoin transactions involve direct buying and selling of the cryptocurrency.

With BlackRock's application for a spot Bitcoin ETF, there's been a fresh wave of speculation that the SEC might finally approve this type of investment product.


South Korea Fortifies Crypto Investor Protection with Comprehensive New Bill

South Korea's government has made strides in safeguarding cryptocurrency investors by approving a comprehensive crypto bill. The National Assembly recently ratified the Virtual Asset User Protection legislation, targeting unfair trading activities and enhancing investor protection in the crypto realm.

This new bill amalgamates 19 prior crypto-focused bills into one comprehensive law that establishes a clear definition of digital assets and outlines penalties for illegal trading practices such as market manipulation and use of undisclosed information. Crucially, it applies the Capital Market Act to cryptocurrencies with a securities nature.

Under the new legislation, Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) are obliged to safeguard user deposits and provide insurance coverage. These steps aim to fortify investor protection against potential risks like cyber-attacks and system failures.


UK Cryptocurrency Trading Gains Legal Status under New Financial Services and Markets Act

The United Kingdom's reform bill, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, has officially become law with the Royal Assent from King Charles, as announced by a government press release.

The law now classifies cryptocurrency trading as a regulated financial activity. This amendment to the Financial Services and Markets Act delineates crypto assets as "cryptographically secured digital representation of value or contractual rights," thereby treating them as regulated financial entities.

The process of Royal Assent is the final procedural step that transforms a bill into an Act of Parliament, following the consensus of lawmakers. Prior to this, the bill had obtained the approval of Parliament's upper house on June 19.


Swift and Chainlink Partner with Major Financial Institutions to Test Blockchain Integration for Asset Transfers

Swift and Chainlink are poised to commence trials with top-tier financial institutions, including BNP Paribas, ANZ, and BNY Mellon. The initiative is focused on leveraging Swift's infrastructure to facilitate the transfer of tokenized assets across multiple blockchain networks.

With the involvement of significant market players such as the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Citi, Clearstream, Euroclear, and Lloyds Banking Group, this endeavor underscores the rising acceptance and potential of blockchain technology in traditional financial services. A successful outcome could catalyze a wider incorporation of blockchain into the global finance ecosystem.


Volcano Energy to Invest $1bn in Bitcoin Mining Farm Powered by Renewable Energy in El Salvador

El Salvador-based Volcano Energy plans to invest $1bn in a Bitcoin mining farm in a new public-private initiative. It will be used to establish a 241MW renewable energy project located in Metapán, Santa Ana, capable of generating 72MW of wind energy and 169MW of photovoltaic solar energy. Volcano Energy is focusing on renewable sources for its operation.

Starting with an initial investment of $250m from notable Bitcoin industry leaders, the project will power the Bitcoin mining farm, which is expected to initially boast a computational power of over 1.3 exa hashes per second (EH/s). Cryptocurrency entity Tether, known for its dollar-pegged digital currency, has also confirmed its participation in the venture.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, Fionna Brennan, Kate Bell

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

May 2023 Crypto News Roundup

We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting industry news from the month of May. As always, our goal is to focus on the sunny side of the crypto world by sharing positive (but realistic) insights as to how crypto is manifesting in our daily lives.

Digital Asset, Microsoft, Goldman, and Deloitte Launch Privacy-Enabled Blockchain Network Aimed at Financial Institutions

A conglomerate of firms in the finance and tech space, including Microsoft and Goldman Sachs, are launch partners for a new blockchain network called the Canton Network aimed at financial institutions. The network will be privacy-enabled and interoperable, allowing the synchronization of previously siloed financial markets.

Testing will begin in July, and the network will offer extensive privacy controls, aiming to service the scale and performance required by major financial institutions. Participants include BNP Paribas, Cboe Global Markets, Paxos, Digital Asset, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Deloitte and others.


Tether to Buy Bitcoin for Stablecoin Reserves Using Realized Profits, Reveals $1.5B in BTC Holdings

Stablecoin issuer Tether has announced a new investment strategy focusing on bitcoin as part of its plan to allocate profits for stablecoin reserves. Tether revealed 1.5 billion in BTC holdings and the company will use about 15% of realized profits from investments to regularly buy bitcoin, adding the tokens to the reserve surplus. The company will custody its own BTC stash without any third-party custodians.


Worldcoin Raises $115M in Series C Funding Led by Blockchain Capital to Support Development and Grow Ecosystem

Blockchain Capital has led a $115 million Series C funding round for Tools for Humanity, the technology firm behind Worldcoin. The funding will be used to support research and development for Worldcoin's alternative to CAPTCHA.

The technology allows applications to quickly identify the difference between humans and bots. This will address the ongoing issue of bots in blockchain and cryptocurrency projects.

Worldcoin is a co-project of Sam Altman, who is also the CEO of OpenAI.


EY Unveils Ethereum-Based Platform for Tracking Carbon Emissions and Credits

Professional services firm EY has launched an Ethereum-based platform designed for enterprises to track their carbon emissions and carbon credit traceability.

The platform is currently in beta mode and is available on the EY Blockchain SaaS platform. The system uses carbon emission tokens created by the InterWork Alliance, a standards body that is supported by Microsoft and is part of the Global Blockchain Business Council of which EY is also a member.


Tokenized Securities on Ethereum, Polygon, Gnosis Reach $225M Market Cap

The market capitalization for tokenized stocks and bonds on the blockchain has crossed the $220 million mark across six projects, according to a dashboard by Dune Analytics. The trend of tokenization, which involves issuing financial securities on the blockchain, is progressing rapidly; the only challenge that may obstruct its growth is unclear regulations.


Bitcoin Addresses Holding 1 BTC or More Passes 1 Million, Reports Glassnode

Bitcoin wallet addresses that hold one or more whole BTC have now exceeded a million, according to Glassnode data.

As the value of Bitcoin plummeted by over 65% last year, the number of addresses with one BTC or more surged. The biggest spikes were observed during a market crash in June and as a result of the FTX collapse on November 11.


Revamped Nintendo Game Boy Can Now Function as a Bitcoin and Ethereum Hardware Wallet, Thanks to Crypto Startup Keyp

Crypto startup Keyp is developing an offline cryptocurrency storage solution using Game Boy consoles. The console has been optimized by the small developer team at Keyp and renamed the Game Wallet.

Keyp is pitching it as more than just a hardware wallet with a Game Boy cover; the Game Wallet is intended to be a brand new console cartridge featuring random quests and interactions with NPCs that generate seed phrases through gamification.


Ordinals Craze Spreads to Litecoin and Dogecoin, Boosting Network Activity

The popularity of Ordinals, a project that uses the Bitcoin network to "inscribe" assets onto a blockchain, has spread from Bitcoin to Dogecoin and Litecoin. By creating NFTs and meme tokens with the same protocol used for BRC-20 tokens, the craze has led to high network fees and increased daily transaction totals.

This rapid growth in activity has seen all three chains reach recent all-time peaks. Inscribers have transformed Litecoin and Dogecoin with this trend, introducing meme coins to these unfamiliar places.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, Fionna Brennan, Kate Bell

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

April 2023 Crypto News + Consensus Upcoming Trip 

Before diving into our monthly roundup of crypto news, we’re looking forward to seeing many of you at Consensus in Austin, Texas this week! We’ll have a booth April 27 & 28, 2023 and will be delighted to connect with you, so please reach out to schedule a meeting to discuss your web3 directorship needs for your Foundation/DAO or Fund.

As always with our news roundup, our goal is to focus on the sunny side of the crypto world by sharing positive (but realistic) insights as to how crypto is manifesting in our daily lives.

Ethereum's Shapalla Upgrade Results

Ethereum's highly anticipated Shapalla upgrades have gone live, allowing users to withdraw their cryptocurrency for the first time.

The upgrades were implemented on April 12th and include upgrades to the network's execution and consensus layers, enabling withdrawals from the Beacon Chain. This marks a significant milestone in Ethereum's development, as stakers responsible for securing the blockchain network can now withdraw their crypto for the first time, more than two years since staking first went live.

The Shapella upgrade is seen as a game-changer by many in the industry, positioning Ethereum for sustained growth and success. The transition to Proof of Stake consensus from Proof of Work has reduced the network's energy consumption by 99.9% and new ETH issuance by over 90%. The upgrade also marks Ethereum's first major upgrade since The Merge and is expected to introduce vital functionality to the network and drive growth in the Ethereum ecosystem.


EU Parliament Approves Groundbreaking MiCA

In an historic move, the European Union's lawmakers have passed a new licensing system for cryptocurrencies. The Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) law was approved by an overwhelming margin of 517-38, with 18 abstentions. This makes the EU the first major jurisdiction in the world to introduce a comprehensive crypto law.

In addition, the European Parliament voted 529-29 in favor of the Transfer of Funds regulation, which aims to combat money laundering by requiring crypto operators to identify their customers. The regulation was supported by 14 abstentions.

The decision comes after a heated debate, during which lawmakers approved plans to require crypto wallet providers and exchanges to obtain a license to operate in the EU. They also mandated stablecoin issuers to maintain sufficient reserves tied to other asset values.

These rules will come into effect from next year and the European Securities and Markets Authority is expected to draft secondary legislation under MiCA soon.


Coinbase Expands Globally With New Bermuda License

Coinbase Global Inc (COIN.O), a major U.S. crypto exchange, has announced that it has been granted a license to operate in Bermuda, as part of its plans to expand its reach globally. Coinbase is also in discussions with financial regulators in Abu Dhabi about a potential license.


Amazon Set to Launch In-House NFT Marketplace Featuring Top Crypto Creators

According to reliable sources, Amazon is putting the finishing touches on its in-house NFT initiative, which is set to feature digital collectibles from top crypto-native creators like Beeple and Pudgy Penguins. The Amazon NFT marketplace will run on a private and permissioned blockchain controlled by the e-commerce giant, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) being a major contributor.

While an exact launch date is yet to be confirmed, sources have revealed that Amazon has inked a number of partnerships for the launch that have been kept under tight wraps. The private blockchain powering Amazon's digital collectibles is gas-less and read-only and imposes strict restrictions on NFT creators, partners, and eventually, customers after the launch.

Customers should expect day-one partnerships with Beeple and the creators of Pudgy Penguins, while sources have also specified that Artifact Labs and Proof Collective will be involved.


Societe Generale's Crypto Arm Launches Euro Stablecoin on Ethereum

SG Forge, Societe Generale's crypto unit, has announced the launch of a new stablecoin called EUR CoinVertible. The new asset, which is pegged to the euro and built on the Ethereum blockchain, will be available only to institutional investors who have undergone rigorous Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks.

According to a press release, EUR CoinVertible aims to bridge the gap between traditional capital markets and digital assets. It’s being touted as the first stablecoin based on a public blockchain to be issued by a subsidiary of a global systemically important bank (G-SIB).

The stablecoin is designed to cater to the increasing needs of clients, including settlement assets for on-chain transactions, solutions for corporate treasuries, cash management, cash pooling, on-chain liquidity funding, and refinancing solutions. It will also serve the purpose of intra-day liquidity needs.

SG-Forge announced that EUR CoinVertible is fully compliant with banking, legal, and regulatory standards. The asset follows the open-source interoperability and securitization framework of the Compliant Architecture for Security Token (CAST). The stablecoin has also undergone auditing by professional services network PwC.


Bitcoin White Paper Uncovered in Apple’s System Files

An independent blogger, Andy Baio, has discovered a Bitcoin white paper buried in Apple’s system files. Labeled as “simpledoc.pdf,” the file contains Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for a decentralized cash system based on a public ledger. The 9-page file appears to be present in all modern versions of macOS Catalina or later, buried in an obscure folder.

Baio stumbled upon the white paper while trying to fix his printer. He noticed a “Virtual Scanner II” device that he had never seen before in the Image Capture after recently upgrading his macOS. Upon googling for “Virtual Scanner II,” he found virtually no references to it online, except for an old Twitter thread in which the files are located on the filesystem.

Baio wrote about the discovery on his Waxy blog, which was first reported as a subtle nod to the world’s oldest blockchain on Nakamoto’s 48th birthday.


Pepe-the-Frog-Themed Memecoin PEPE Surges Over 240% in Four Days, Making Early Buyers Millionaires “on Paper”

PEPE, the most memeable memecoin, took the crypto world by storm in April. Its creators referred to the crypto bear market and rival dog-themed memecoins Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, declaring that "the dog days are over."

Early investors found themselves sitting on impressive paper profits, with some turning $250 into $1 million in just four days, as in the case of a recent transaction that exchanged 0.125 ETH for 5.9 trillion PEPE tokens.

However, liquidity issues could make it challenging for investors to realize the profits. Market analyst Grzegorz Drozdz has pointed out that selling the tokens could take up to a comical ‘46,200 years’, assuming non-declining demand. Trying to cash out too soon could lead to a price collapse, just like in previous cases.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, Fionna Brennan, Kate Bell

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

February & Early March 2023 Crypto News Roundup

Fundraising, Coinbase, Uniswap, UK Digital Pound, Amazon, Polygon, and more… 

Previously published weekly, we’ve now moved to a monthly schedule with our roundup of crypto news. As always, our goal is to focus on the sunny side of the crypto world by sharing positive (but realistic) insights as to how crypto is manifesting in our daily lives.

Fundraising News

Polychain Capital - $400 million

Polychain Capital, a leading investment firm in the cryptocurrency sector founded by Olaf Carlson-Wee, is reportedly in discussions to raise $400 million for their fourth fund. Polychain is recognized as one of the most successful investors in the crypto industry and has a strong track record of backing winners.


10T Holdings - $1 billion

Dan Tapiero of 10T Holdings is targeting a $1 billion capital raise for a crypto-focused fund by the end of Q3, 2023, and has the backing of prominent investors including hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard. The private equity startup, called 1RoundTable Partners, is seen as a natural evolution of 10T Holdings' investment strategy. 


Yield Guild Games - $75 million

Yield Guild Games (YGG), a leading web3 gaming platform, is moving into the venture capital arena with an inaugural target fund of $75 million expected to be named the YGG Ventures Fund. The fund aims to invest in early-stage token and equity allotments in web3, gaming studios, and supporting infrastructure.

The fund's investment committee includes Gabby Dizon, Li Xu, and Jeff Holmberg, who will oversee strategy and day-to-day operations, and manage a team of gaming analysts. Li Xu has also been appointed as a director of YGG Ventures.


Abu Dhabi Initiative to Back Web3 Startups - $2 billion

Abu Dhabi's proposed tech ecosystem, ‘Hub71’, will be a $2 billion initiative to support blockchain-based startups and Web3 technologies in the Middle East. The Hub71+ Digital Assets ecosystem will offer access to various programs and potential corporate, government, and investment partners. The initiative aims to promote startup growth in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East, and global markets, as well as support companies moving to the region.

Source 1, Source 2

Worldcoin - $120 million 

Worldcoin, the ambitious cryptocurrency project that uses eyeball-scanning technology, is reportedly seeking a lead investor to raise up to $120 million. According to sources, the startup founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is in discussions with major investors, including sovereign wealth funds, to fundraise at a $3 billion valuation. The round is anticipated to be a sale of equity plus token warrants. 


Coinbase News

Launch of Base

Coinbase has announced the launch of Base, a Layer 2 (L2) network dedicated to providing a secure, low-cost, and developer-friendly way for building decentralized apps (dapps) onchain. The Base network aims to serve as both a home for Coinbase’s onchain products and an open ecosystem accessible to anyone, anywhere. The platform hopes to assist in the onboarding of the next one billion users into the cryptoeconomy. The chain will be progressively decentralized over time, with the entire project incubated in Coinbase. The platform will not be issued with a new network token. Developers can start building on Base today by visiting the official website.

Source 1, Source 2

Web2 Experience To Web3 With WaaS

Coinbase has announced the launch of a wallet-as-a-service product aimed at crypto companies that have struggled to offer a more user-friendly experience for customers. The new offering is designed to provide an easier, more familiar "Web2" experience for users, making it simpler for them to create crypto wallets with usernames and passwords. The move is part of a wider push from Coinbase to "onboard the next billion users" to the world of crypto. The move is in response to wallets that can be tough for less tech-savvy users to manage, requiring them to remember complex seed phrases to access their accounts.


Uniswap Self-Custody Crypto Wallet

Uniswap Labs, the major DeFi platform, has developed a self-custody crypto wallet, taking UniSwap another step closer to being a one-stop-shop within the crypto ecosystem. However, its launch is pending Apple's approval for the App Store. The wallet is specifically built for iPhones and has already faced several denial reasons, delaying its release. 

Uniswap has recently diversified its focus from being a decentralized crypto exchange to expanding its services to other areas of the crypto industry. Once approved, 10,000 people will be able to download the wallet via Apple's beta testing program.


UK Bank of England Launches Digital Pound

The Bank of England, UK's central bank, has launched its digital pound project, which ‘ has the potential to create a new form of money and payment system’. The digital currency would be exclusively issued by the central bank, with households and businesses being able to store it in a digital wallet accessible via smartphones or cards. 

A statement by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, and Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey highlighted that ''A UK central bank digital currency – a ‘digital pound’ – would be a new form of digital money for use by households and businesses for their everyday payments needs." 


Amazon NFTs 

Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce platform, is apparently gearing up to offer its customers the ability to buy NFTs (non-fungible tokens) tied to real-world assets that are delivered straight to their homes, according to sources. The company is said to be planning to notify all US-based Amazon Prime customers of the development once the initiative is to go live. Shoppers will be able to use their credit card to make purchases as they would with any other Amazon order. 

The launch date for this service is currently uncertain, with sources suggesting a launch by May at the latest.


Polygon Zero-Knowledge-Powered ID Protocol

Polygon, the fast-growing scaling solution for Ethereum, has unveiled its zero-knowledge-powered ID protocol. The protocol utilizes advanced cryptography technology known as zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) to maintain the privacy of the users on the blockchain. 

With this launch, Polygon announced that developers can now use its ID system for their users to verify their identity without exposing their personal information. Polygon's ID system will allow users to perform KYC verification in a decentralized manner while ensuring that their personal data is secure. 

The launch partners of Polygon's ID protocol include popular platforms like The Sandbox and Collab.Land. It's expected to be the cornerstone for the development of many other blockchain-based enterprise applications going forward.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, James Hutchings, Kate Bell

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NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

In The News: Sberbank, Bitcoin Ordinals, Damus

Following this weekly newsletter, our crypto and web3 news is transitioning to a monthly roundup. Check out our top stories for the week…

Sberbank to Open Up DeFi Platform to 110 Million Customers by May

Sberbank is said to be launching a DeFi platform on Ethereum before May of this year. Users will be able to access it via the MetaMask wallet.

Sberbank's Product Director said the network is currently in closed beta testing, with open testing starting March 1. He added that DeFi could replace traditional banking services in the future.

Sberbank already has a license to issue and exchange digital assets. It has 110 million customers and one million corporate clients.

Source 1, Source 2

A new form of NFTs built on Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s previously rocky relationship with NFTs could be changing with the introduction of new Bitcoin-based NFTs called Ordinals.

Back in 2014, the first blockchain-based ‘NFTs’ were created on Counterparty, a Bitcoin protocol. Two of the most popular collections were Spells of Genesis and Rare Pepes. However, there’s been debate as to whether the Bitcoin blockchain was being misused with some users and developers feeling it was a poor use of Bitcoin resources.

Ordinals is a brand-new NFT protocol which provides an innovative way to store NFTs on Bitcoin. These NFTs are fully on-chain, rather than a link to an external website which is true for the majority of NFTs found on other blockchains. Storing on-chain is also up to 7x cheaper on Bitcoin than on Ethereum’s base layer.

An issue surrounding the ability to have NFTs on the Bitcoin protocol is the nature of the fungibility of bitcoins themselves. The fungibility of Bitcoins means that each one can be used interchangeably and separating them is relatively complex. Ordinals presents an innovative and unique way to attempt to overcome this issue. The process attempts to identify the order in which the coins were mined to create something akin to an identity for each individual satoshi (where a satoshi to a Bitcoin is similar to a cent to a dollar).

The creation of this ‘identity’ of each satoshi means that in some ways they can be perceived as non-fungible, which allows for a different value to be ascribed to one over another depending on what else might be ‘attached’ to it. The most common use case to date for NFTs are images, often forming part of limited number collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club or CryptoPunks.

It is still early days for the use of Ordinals and time will tell if there is significant adoption in a community that has historically been less enthusiastic about the use of the Bitcoin protocol for NFTs.


Twitter Alternative Damus Quickly Hits 10K Beta Testers

Damus, a censorship-resistant social network with end-to-end private messaging, has gone live on the Apple App Store. It's based on the decentralized networking protocol Nostr, which gained popularity in December after Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, donated $300K to its creator.

Damus has integrated a Lighting Network widget to make Bitcoin payments and tips, and Dorsey shared the announcement on Twitter, calling it a “milestone for open protocols.”

After first struggling to get approvals, once approved on the Apple App Store Damus hit 10,000 beta users.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, James Hutchings, Kate Bell

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

Uniswap, MakerDAO, Doodles & More

This week’s news includes interesting stories from Uniswap, MakerDAO, Doodles, and a new FOSTERVERSE…

Uniswap to Expand Reach by Launching on BNB Chain

Uniswap, the leading decentralized exchange globally by trade volume, will be making its first ever deployment on a network other than within the Ethereum ecosystem.

BNB Chain is a major competitor to the Ethereum ecosystem. A record-breaking 25 million UNI tokens have been mobilized by 0xPlasma in an on-chain governance poll, with 80% of voters choosing to deploy Uniswap's v3 decentralized exchange on BNB Chain.

Ilia Maksimenka, the CEO of 0xPlasma Labs wrote, “This proposal will authorize 0xPlasma Labs to deploy the Uniswap v3 Protocol to the BNB PoS Chain on behalf of the community.”


MakerDAO News

MakerDAO Community Supports Move to Invest $100 Million in Yearn Finance

MakerDAO, the issuer of the Dai stablecoin, has proposed to deposit $100 million of USDC stablecoin into a Yearn Finance-managed vault. The proposal has since been approved. The vault has a limit of $100 million and is expected to generate an estimated $2 million in yield annually for MakerDAO.

This partnership, proposed by Yearn, a yield aggregator, in November 2022, requires an executive vote for final approval. Executive votes are the last step in Maker's Governance process and are used to enact technical changes to the Maker Protocol.

The move is part of MakerDAO's strategy to generate income from its reserves by partnering with both centralized and decentralized entities.


Paxos To Invest $1.5B In MakerDAO Through USDP Stablecoin Deposit

Also interesting in MakerDAO news, Paxos is looking to invest up to $1.5B of its USDP stablecoin into Maker's Peg Stability Module (PSM). This module, which is part of the Maker protocol, stores reserves that back its DAI stablecoin and allows users to exchange it with other stablecoins such as USDC and GUSD without paying any fees.

Maker, which was launched in 2017, has over $6.91B of assets stored in its smart contracts.

Source 1, Source 2 

Doodles News

NFT project Doodles has become a major player in the Ethereum NFT space. It’s identified with its eye-catching pastel style that has generated more than $550 million in total trading volume for the 10,000 piece collection.

Doodles Acquiring Golden Wolf Animation Studio

Doodles is acquiring animation studio Golden Wolf, which has worked on ‘Rick and Morty’ as well as projects for Disney. This is the latest example of consolidation in the web3 market.

The move will also launch a joint venture called Active Ingredient, in partnership with creative studio Psyop. This venture will focus on creating blockchain and AI tools and techniques for brands, filmmakers and producers. Psyop is investing in Doodles as part of the deal, though the size of the deal is still unknown.


Doodles 2 Coming On The Flow Blockchain

Doodles also recently revealed that their much-anticipated Doodles 2 project will be released on the Flow blockchain, widely recognized for its sports-related NFTs such as NBA Top Shot and NFL All Day.

This project was initially announced at an NFT NYC event last June. While maintaining the same pastel, cartoonish style of the original Doodles, this series is expected to comprise millions of NFTs instead of the 10,000 avatars of the first series.

Doodles 2 will let NFT holders endlessly customize their avatars, including personalized facial expressions, clothing, accessories, and more.


Pedigree to Launch Virtual Fostering For Real Dogs on Decentraland

Pedigree’s FOSTERVERSE aims to raise funds for animal shelters and encourage people to give pets a home in real life.

Pet food maker Pedigree is bringing virtual pets to the metaverse in an effort to reduce real-world pet homelessness. The FOSTERVERSE activation will allow users to foster virtual dogs on Decentraland.

Users will be able to choose any available dog from the pet adoption site ‘Adopt a Pet’ and also donate to the Pedigree Foundation to help pets needing adoption.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat.

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, James Hutchings, Kate Bell

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

Crypto Wallets, Secure Hardware Wallets, Stablecoin & More Crypto News

This week’s news includes announcements about the Robinhood Wallet, National Australia Bank’s new stablecoin, 1inch Network’s new hardware wallet, the World Economic Forum’s new metaverse experiment, and more…

Robinhood Reaches 1 Million Users With Its Newly Launched Crypto Wallet

Robinhood has announced the launch of the Robinhood Wallet, a smartphone app that allows users to swap and transfer crypto and view owned NFTs.

The app has been slowly rolled out to over 1 million users who have been waitlisted since September, when it was first released in beta to 10,000 customers. The app uses Polygon, an Ethereum sidechain, to offer swaps without network fees.


National Australia Bank Launches New Stablecoin

National Australia Bank (NAB) is launching a fully backed stablecoin called AUDN. The stablecoin will launch on the Ethereum network as well as Algorand, a smart contract platform similar to Ethereum.

NAB plans to launch the stablecoin sometime mid-year and it will be backed one-to-one with Australian fiat. The money will be held by the NAB and the stablecoin will primarily be used as a settlement token between multiple transacting parties, known as atomic settlement.

AUDN could initially be used for carbon credit trading, overseas money transfers, and repurchase agreements, according to NAB.


1inch Network Introduces Secure Hardware Wallet for DeFi Users

1inch Network, a popular decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregator, is expanding its ecosystem with the launch of its own multi-coin hardware wallet. Supported by a grant from the 1inch Foundation, the crypto wallet is expected to go on sale later this year.

1inch Network will allow users to swap tokens on the Ethereum (ERC-20), BNB Chain (BEP-20), Avalanche, Fantom, and Polygon networks, and more.
Hardware wallets, also known as cold storage, are physical devices that store users' private keys in a secure offline environment, making them the best option for securely storing cryptocurrencies.


The World Economic Forum Launches Innovative Metaverse Platform to Address Global Issues

A working prototype of the Global Collaboration Village was unveiled at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2023. This metaverse is designed to be a purpose-driven space for organizations to come together and work on the world's most pressing issues.

Participants from around the world joined the Forum (WEF) for its first interactive, multilateral session in the metaverse and 80 leading organizations contributed to the village's development. The World Economic Forum is held in partnership with Accenture and Microsoft.


Flashbots seeks up to $50 million at a billion-dollar valuation

Flashbots, a leading MEV organization in the crypto space, is looking to raise between $30 million and $50 million at a $1 billion valuation. The organization is taking an unconventional approach to fundraising, conducting a reverse-pitching process where prospective investors must make the case for why Flashbots should accept their funds.

Paradigm, who was the lead investor in Flashbots' seed-stage fundraise in 2020, is reportedly leading the investment round.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our Linkedin page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat. 

Connect with us individually on Linkedin: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, James Hutchings, Kate Bell  

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation. Follow Autonomous on Linkedin.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)

A Week of Partnerships and Investments in Crypto & Web3

This week’s news includes announcements from Ava Labs, Amazon Web Services, Société Générale, MakerDAO, Huobi, Solaris, and more…

Ava Labs and Amazon Web Services Team Up on Node Deployment

Avalanche (AVAX), the native token powering the Layer-1 blockchain of the same name, has been given a boost by way of Amazon with a partnership between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Avalanche development studio Ava Labs. This partnership allows developers to launch Avalanche nodes directly within AWS in support of their dApps. (dApps refers to a decentralized application that can operate autonomously, typically through the use of smart contracts.)

The move, which is geared towards enterprises and institutions eager to work with blockchains, will expose the Avalanche platform to more than 100,000 partners in 150 countries.


Société Générale Takes $7 Million Stablecoin Loan from MakerDAO

Société Générale, a French multinational investment bank and financial services company, has minted $7 million in the dai stablecoin from its issuer MakerDAO. This is the first instance of a withdrawal from the MakerDAO vault since its approval last year, which has a debt ceiling of $30 million.

The financing for the lending vault originated from the firm putting up home loan bonds worth $40 million as collateral. It’s an interesting illustration of how traditional finance players can use decentralized finance to open up new borrowing opportunities.


Huobi and Solaris Introduce Crypto-to-Fiat Debit Card in the EU

Huobi, a cryptocurrency exchange, and Solaris, a European financial services provider, have announced a Visa-approved crypto-to-fiat debit card program, which will allow Huobi users to use their digital assets globally. The program has been approved by Visa and will be available to users in the European Economic Area (EEA) beginning Q2 2023.

The EEA is made up of the 27 European Union member countries, along with Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.


UAE Investing Groups Establish Fund to Advance Web3 Technologies

Venom Foundation and Iceberg Capital are joining forces to invest $1 billion into a variety of web3 applications. The “blockchain-agnostic” Venom Ventures Fund, based in Abu Dhabi, will focus on investing in innovative protocols and Web3 dApps, as well as DeFi, banking services, and gaming.

Seasoned investor Mustafa Kheriba who will be joining the fund’s leadership team said in the statement, “Even though the blockchain industry is witnessing a steep correction in prices, we believe that builders will continue to build and innovate.”


Miss Universe Contestant from El Salvador Carries Bitcoin Staff

As part of the Miss Universe 71 National Costume Show held earlier this week, El Salvador's representative, Alejandra Guajardo, wore a Bitcoin-themed outfit designed by plastic artist Francisco Guerrero. The ensemble featured a large staff displaying Bitcoin's logo at the tip and a colón adorned with cocoa beans strapped to her back.


At Marfire, we offer tailor-made web3 solutions. We invite you to follow our LinkedIn page and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’d just like to chat. Connect with us individually on LinkedIn: Oliver Bell, Edward Noyons, James Hutchings, Kate Bell 

Also visit Autonomous Limited, our affiliated company providing services to your DAO/Foundation.

NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)