What’s happening in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies? A lot, as the events in July and August 2021 indicate!
Heroic efforts to defeat a pandemic, geopolitical uncertainties, economic turbulence, soaring aspirations, and innovations define our recent experiences. Emerging technologies like blockchain increasingly solve challenges. They also create new opportunities. A lot happened recently in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Join us, as we review some of the key events.
Stakeholders want clarity on crypto in the recent infrastructure bill passed by the US senate
The US Senate recently passed HR 3684. This bipartisan bill provides for nearly $1 trillion in funding for infrastructure projects. It covers roads, bridges, and other major infrastructure projects.
The bill tightens the rules for businesses handling cryptocurrencies. It mandates greater reporting requirements for brokers. Entities conducting transactions involving digital currencies need to report them to IRS if the transaction value is over $10,000.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses want clarity in the language of the bill. They and some senators say that the term “broker” shouldn’t include software developers, transaction validators, and node operators. These stakeholders want only the intermediaries to be categorized as brokers.
They believe that the broad scope of the term “broker” could adversely impact technological innovations in the crypto space. Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania senator termed the cryptocurrency tax reporting mandates as “flawed” and “unworkable”.
Art enthusiasts can now see blockchain-based digital art in Vancouver
Vancouver Biennale, a Canadian public art exhibition organization has enabled art enthusiasts to cherish blockchain-based digital art. The organization has installed Voxel Bridge, a blockchain-based AR (Augmented Reality) experience. It has installed this on the south side of the Cambie Street Bridge, a well-known bridge in the city.
Jessica Angel, a New York-based artist has created this 1,800 square meter art object. Angel has created this using AR and blockchain. This art installation uses a large two-dimensional vinyl mural too. Creative Art enthusiasts will be able to experience this on their Android and iOS devices. They can view this until spring 2023.
PayPal will soon offer crypto trading in the UK
PayPal, the global payments platform will soon offer crypto trading services in the UK. Dan Schulman, the CEO of the company indicated this in July.
Schulman commented that PayPal has done very well in the crypto trading space. He indicated that PayPal might offer crypto trading services in the UK as early as August.
Schulman revealed that PayPal is strengthening its crypto trading platform incrementally. The company is working on open banking integration. Schulman also indicated that PayPal is working on integrating DeFi (Decentralized Finance) tools and smart contracts into its offerings.
Crypto investments in Germany could increase as new laws came into effect in August 2021
A new law in Germany came into effect on 2nd August 2021, which will boost investments into cryptocurrencies. Institutional funds in Germany can now hold up to 20% of their assets in the form of cryptocurrencies.
Pension funds in Germany will now likely show greater interest in crypto. The new concerns itself with Spezialfonds, i.e., special funds in Germany.
Spezialfonds in Germany manage approximately $2.1 trillion in assets at the time of this report. Only institutional investors like pension funds and insurers can invest in Spezialfonds. Observers believe that investments in cryptocurrencies might increase by as much as $415 billion.
A French fund manager launched an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) that tracks the price of Bitcoin
Melanion Capital, a French derivatives fund manager has launched an ETF that tracks the price of Bitcoin (BTC). The ETF is called the Melanion BTC Equities Universe UCITS.
The company launched this ETF under UCITS (Undertakings for the collective investment in transferrable securities). UCITS is an umbrella term for investment funds that are regulated in the EU.
The new ETF tracks the price of Bitcoin at a correlation of up to 90%. It uses beta weighing to close the gap between Bitcoin and equities. Cyril Sabbagh, the head of this ETF believes that the fund enables investments in Bitcoin while mitigating risks like loss or piracy.
Mossad, the intelligence agency of Israel wants to hire a cryptocurrency expert
The secret world of intelligence now needs crypto experts. Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel is looking for an expert in the world of cryptocurrencies.
The company has published a job listing for this. It wants a suitable candidate with expertise in the world of fintech and eCommerce. Furthermore, the candidate needs considerable experience and expertise in cryptocurrencies.
Mossad wants the expert to lead, initiate, plan, and execute systems development activities. It hasn’t divulged any more information. That’s understandable, given the areas of operation of Mossad!
The People’s Bank of China cracks down on illegal crypto firms
The crackdown on crypto continues in China. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has recently announced actions it took against 11 companies operating in this sector.
Reports in Chinese state-run media indicate that the recent crackdown was initiated by the Shenzhen branch of the PBoC. The bank found that 11 companies had engaged in illegal crypto trading.
Reports indicated that the PBoC acted to rectify these companies. These reports didn’t disclose the names of the companies. Furthermore, they didn’t disclose the nature of the punitive actions. However, the reports indicate that the PBoC plans to launch a pilot project to educate consumers about the risks of illegal crypto trading.
The Bank of Korea selected a technology partner for piloting its CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency)
The Bank of Korea, the central bank of South Korea is making progress in the pilot program for its CBDC. It recently chose Ground X as the blockchain technology provider for this project. Ground X is a subsidiary of Kakao, the Internet giant in the country.
The central bank had floated a tender to select a principal technology supplier for this project. Ground X won this contract in July. ConsenSys, a well-known American blockchain company will work with Ground X and Bank of Korea in this project.
The CBDC project of the Bank of Korea will use solutions like ConsenSys Quorum and ConsenSys Codefi. Other Kakao affiliates like Kakao Bank and Kakao Pay will participate in this project too.
The securities regulator in Australia cautions citizens about unregistered crypto businesses
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has recently cautioned investors about unregistered crypto businesses. ASIC is the regulator in the country for securities and investment instruments.
It has asked investors to exercise care when they come across entities without the required licenses offering financial products. ASIC has asked Australian citizens to make crypto investments via licensed financial institutions only. These institutions should have an Australian Financial Services License, and they should comply with the AML (Anti-Money Laundering) regulations in the country.
ASIC stated that it has received numerous reports from Australian citizens. It talked about significant losses after investors traded in various crypto financial products. ASIC also expresses concerns about losses that occurred due to excessive leverage and unfair liquidations.
The world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies is going through a crucial phase. Technological innovations are making blockchain and crypto more valuable. However, regulatory uncertainties and foul plays remain key challenges. Watch this space for more important news.