Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Major crypto payments provider BitPay said that it will soon allow all BitPay invoices to be paid from any bitcoin wallet or exchange and has already begun a phased rollout. According to the company, the ability to accept bitcoin payments from any wallet will “greatly expand” their potential to grow sales and acquire new customers.
- A prominent economist believes that the Venezuelan government has a long-term plan to replace the fiat bolivar with the country’s own oil-backed Petro cryptocurrency, per Criptotendencias. Asdrúbal Oliveros, economist and the director of Ecoanalítica, stated that the state may be looking to phased in the Petro as a bolivar replacement in the “medium term.”
- London-based fintech firm Mode, backed by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, has launched its Bitcoin banking mobile iOS app, available to users globally, except in the USA. The press release states that once users are whitelisted, they can buy bitcoin with bank cards or via a bank transfer, which is then safeguarded through digital asset custodian BitGo.
- Capital markets platform iSTOXgraduated from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. The platform says that ICHX Tech Pte Ltd, the Singapore-based operator of the iSTOX platform, has been approved by MAS as a recognized market operator (RMO) and a capital markets services (CMS) licensee, making iSTOX the first capital markets platform using distributed ledger technology (DLT) to feature integrated issuance, custody, and trading of digitized securities to be approved and licensed by a major regulator.
- The U.S. Marshals Service is auctioning BTC 4,040.5 (USD 37 million) on February 18. According to the press release, the participants must register by February 12 and make a deposit of USD 200,000 before bidding.
- There has been a breakthrough for South Korean crypto exchanges, with the country’s “big four” trading platforms all successfully renewing their real-name banking contracts. Per Chosun, Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit and Coinone all agreed fresh six-month deals with their existing banking providers – despite an “anxious” wait, and heightened Know-Your-Customer compliance requirements. Real-name banking guidelines are currently non-compulsory, but many major banks are refusing to offer services to exchanges that allow anonymous trading.
- COSS, a Singapore based cryptocurrency exchange trading both crypto and fiat pairs, will be acquired by an undisclosed partner. The exchange says that the collaboration started as a round of fundraising and ended in a full acquisition. The new team now owns complete stake in the company. In January, COSS said that it will deny its 200,000 customers from accessing to around USD 2 million worth of funds for the following three to four weeks while its site undergoes maintenance.
- Mexican regulator the Financial Intelligence Unit will begin regulating cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, reports media outlet Razon. The regulator says that exchanges will now have to comply with a range of anti-money laundering and Know-Your-Customer protocols. They will also be legally obliged to report on the details of crypto transactions of USD 2,990 or above.
- The central Bank of Japan (BOJ) has announced that it will hold a public debate on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins later this month. The BOJ has conceded that stablecoin projects could improve payments networks, but says that money laundering, cybersecurity, data protection, and consumer protection risks remain. Coin Post also reports that the ruling Liberal Party will put forward a CBDC proposal, which will require the government to issue an official response.
- The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) will begin a music blockchain-powered copyright management pilot project with five major music publishers, reports Nikkei’s XTech. The pilot will begin in mid-February and will run until mid-March. The JASRAC says that Japanese music giants like Sony are already building “blockchain infrastructure.”
- Block.one, the publisher of the EOSIO blockchain software announced a USD 200,000 challenge for developers to solve one of the industry’s biggest problems: how to scale the transformational technology for mainstream use, says the announcement. For this first challenge, developers will be asked to run Solidity Smart Contracts within an EOSIO Smart Contract.
- Acoer, developer of blockchain-enabled applications, is helping its healthcare and life sciences clients to track and visualize the Coronavirus outbreak with its HashLog data visualization engine. The announcement explains that the Coronavirus HashLog dashboard is built to interact in real-time with Hedera Hashgraph, the enterprise-grade distributed public ledger, enabling its users to understand the spread of the virus and trends over time, from a wide set of public data, including data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Research firm Gartner says that by 2023, organizations using blockchain smart contracts will increase overall data quality by 50%, but reduce data availability by 30%. Per the firm, when an organization adopts blockchain smart contracts, they benefit from the associated increase in data quality. However, governance frameworks for blockchain participation, or the terms and conditions within the smart contract, can dictate the availability of the data generated from the smart contract transaction, from none to limited to unlimited, which could leave participants in a worse position than if they did not participate in the blockchain smart contract process, says Lydia Clougherty Jones, senior research director at Gartner.