Google Pays ‘A Lot of Attention To’ Crypto, Partners With Coinbase, BitPay
By Sead Fadilpašić
– Google has partnered with companies, including Coinbase Global and BitPay, to store cryptoassets in digital cards, while still having users pay in traditional currencies, Bloomberg reported, citing Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce. According to him, “crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to” and the company is looking to do more of these partnerships. Also, per the same report, Google has hired former PayPal Holdings executive Arnold Goldberg to run its payments division and set a new course for the business after it scrapped a push into banking.
– Rob Nichols, president of the American Bankers Association, said in a blog post that US banks are looking for ways to offer services that will allow their customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. However, many token platforms are doing business akin to traditional lenders, so they should be regulated as such, he argued.
– UFC heavyweight titleholder Francis Ngannou announced he will take half of his UFC 270 prize purse in bitcoin (BTC) via Cash App. The French-Cameroonian MMA fighter will take on the undefeated Ciryl Gane on January 23 and is set to earn a guaranteed USD 750,000.
- For the first time since 2019, USD coin (USDC) supply on Ethereum (ETH) surpassed tether (USDT) supply, reported on-chain analytics firm Coin Metrics. USDC supply on Ethereum is now over 40B, rising 10x from just 4B at the beginning of 2021. Tether is still the largest stablecoin by total supply though, with an additional USDT 39bn on Tron (TRX).
- UK inflation has jumped to a near-30-year high of 5.4%, driven higher by rising prices for food, furniture, clothes, and housing costs, reported The Guardian. This deepens the country’s cost of living crisis, and heaps pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates at its next meeting in February, following December’s surprise hike.
- Student loan and financial service provider Social Finance Inc. (SoFi) received conditional approval from the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to create a full-service national bank, provided the new entity does “not engage in any cryptoasset activities or services.”
- Crypto ATMs are being closed down in Singapore as the city-state moves to limit consumer marketing of crypto, per Bloomberg. Daenerys & Co., Singapore’s biggest operator of the machines, ceased its services to comply with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s request.
- The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is planning to tighten its rules on how cryptoassets are marketed. When the government brings the promotion of these “high-risk investments” under the FCA’s remit, the regulator plans to categorize qualifying cryptoassets as ‘Restricted Mass Market Investments,’ meaning that consumers would only be able to respond to cryptoasset financial promotions if they are classed as restricted, high-net-worth or sophisticated investors. The FCA is inviting feedback on its proposals by March 23.
- The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) plans to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) “in the near future,” the Iranian Labour News Agency reported. They cited the CBI Vice Governor for IT Affairs Mehran Moharamian saying the bank sees “cryptocurrencies” as a solution for resolving inconsistencies and for decentralizing resources.
- Bitstamp announced that it will become the exclusive crypto exchange partner of Guild Esports, a global teams organization and lifestyle brand co-owned by English former professional footballer David Beckham, with the signing of a three-year global sponsorship deal for GBP 4.5m (USD 6.14m).
- Binance said that it has joined the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), a nonprofit corporation focused on identifying, validating, mitigating, and neutralizing cybercrime threats. Binance claims it is the first organization from the blockchain and crypto industry to formally join the alliance.
- Gemini announced the acquisition of trading technology platform Omniex, which enables the exchange to publicly launch Gemini Prime, a crypto prime brokerage offering that has been supporting a select client base over the past year. Following the full rollout of Gemini Prime in Q2 2022, the integration of Omniex with Gemini’s existing custody, clearing, and over-the-counter (OTC) trading capabilities will simplify trading for institutional investors by providing a single point of access to multiple exchanges and OTC liquidity sources, among other benefits, they said.
- Digital asset platform Bakkt Holdings announced a partnership with the crypto lender Nexo (NEXO), to custody crypto assets in the Bakkt Warehouse, the company’s regulated custodian that allows for storage of bitcoin and ethereum.
Blockchain and DLT news
- Privacy infrastructure startup Nym Technologies said it has generated the first block for its Nym mainnet on the blockchain ‘Nyx’, as its next step towards its fully functional mainnet launch. The Nym team is now onboarding validators, including Dokia Capital, a16z-backed Figment, Chorus One, and Telco giant Swisscom, among others. Swisscom’s Digital Asset division is responsible for the pilot initiative, they announced.
- The Hedera Governing Council (HBAR) voted to purchase the intellectual property rights to the hashgraph consensus algorithm from Swirlds, Inc., the original creator of the hashgraph consensus algorithm and founding member of the Council. The members further made a commitment to make the code open source under Apache 2.0 license in 2022. The Council members also announced that the network code will be out of beta with the next mainnet upgrade.
- Movie theater chain AMC deployed exclusive “I Own AMC” non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to the more than 580,000 shareholders who registered via AMC’s Investor Connect portal by the December 31 deadline. The NFTs will be tradeable, but they also provide perks to holders, such as potential discounts and “other benefits.”
- British artist Damien Hirst’s first NFT collection is getting a dedicated price index courtesy of Chainlink (LINK). His NFT series called “The Currency” consists of 10,000 images with slight variations.
- Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain said it is starting a non-mining business unit called Argo Labs, in order to diversify its business. Argo Labs is focused on two key areas: network participation, which consists of providing infrastructure support, running nodes and validators, and staking innovative projects; and efficient deployment of crypto treasury assets, which includes supporting early-stage projects and participating in DeFi, NFT and metaverse.
- Brazil-based crypto asset manager Hashdex said it will launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF) following 12 decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens. The product will be listed on the Brazilian stock exchange B3 as of February, the company said.
- Blockchain gaming infrastructure creator Mythical Games has acquired cloud streaming platform Polystream.
- Blockchain institutional capital marketplace Maple Finance announced its acquisition of Avari, an undercollateralized lending protocol.
- NFT protocol Metaplex concluded a USD 46m token sale to support its strategic pivot into metaverse applications, co-led by venture firms Multicoin Capital and Jump Crypto.
- True Global Ventures 4 Plus (TGV4 Plus) Fund invested USD 5.7m and led the Series B round of USD 17m into Coinhouse, a company that has been providing crypto management and transaction services since 2015.
- IndiGG, the India subDAO of Yield Guild Games (YGG), secured USD 6m in funding to foster the play-to-earn movement in India.
- Carry1st, Africa’s major mobile games publisher, announced a USD 20m Series A extension led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Avenir and Google, and rapper Nas, among others. The round represents Andreessen Horowitz’s first investment in a company headquartered in Africa, they said.
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