Six Central Banks to Assess Potential Cases For Digital Fiat + More News

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.

Adoption news

  • A central bank group will assess potential cases for central bank digital currencies (CBDC). The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Sveriges Riksbank, the Swiss National Bank, and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have created a group to share experiences as they assess the potential cases for CBDC in their home jurisdictions. Per the press release, they will assess CBDC use cases, and economic, functional and technical design choices, including cross-border interoperability, as well as the sharing of knowledge on emerging technologies.
  • Grayscale Investments, the major digital asset manager and sponsor of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, today announced that the Registration Statement on Form 10 that it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on behalf of the Trust has been deemed effective. The Trust is solely and passively invested in bitcoin, enabling investors to gain exposure to bitcoin in the form of a security while avoiding the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping Bitcoin directly. Now, the company claims it is also the first digital currency investment vehicle to attain the status of an SEC reporting company.
  • Colombian bitcoin peer-to-peer transactions went up by 25% last year, claims Paxfulper a report from La Republica. The company says that more than 30,000 P2P transactions were made on its platform in 2019 in deals whereby the seller was based in Colombia. Paxful has recently sealed a deal that will see its Virtual Kiosk offering integrated with Binance for use on the latter’s trading platform. (Learn more: P2P Bitcoin Trading: Bisq & Paxful Grow, LocalBitcoins Slips)
  • South Korea’s Youngsan University is to open its own blockchain research center. The center will be the first of its kind in the southwest of the country. Yonhap reports that the university has private-sector backing, with software developer Wego Company donating some USD 30,000 worth of research equipment.
  • South Korean blockchain game developer Supertree has accrued Series A investment worth USD 2.6 million, reports Decenter. The developer’s investors include both domestic and international players, with the investment arm of Japan’s SBI Group named, along with major South Korean gaming giants such as NC Soft and Netmarble. Supertree says it will use the investment boost to buy the rights to popular games and develop its own blockchain gaming technology.
  • Spanish bank Santander has reaffirmed its pro-blockchain stance, reports El Periodico. The bank says it recently conducted a pilot test, issuing a USD 22.2 million bond at the end of last year, calling the deal a “real transaction with the bank as seller and buyer.” The company stated that its next “natural step for the future” would be to offer “a similar product to the financial market.”
  • Iceland-based Monerium, holder of a European Economic Area (EEA) e-money license, has entered into a non-exclusive partnership with Algorand, a developer of a decentralized digital currency and transactions platform, in order to support the Algorand protocol in 2020 with Monerium’s programmable and redeemable e-money, says the press release.
  • Multinational brewing firm and Budweiser-owner AB InBev discussed at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday its partnership with U.S.-based BanQu to develop a distributed ledger system using blockchain to increase transparency in the supply chain. They have developed a system using blockchain to help small farmers prove that they are the company’s suppliers, allowing them to open up bank accounts and develop a line of credit, writes Yahoo Finance UK.
  • DigixDAO has voted to liquidate its USD 64 million treasury, which means returning all ether (ETH) to initial coin offering (ICO) investors. The voting on the so-called Project Ragnarok is finished, with 54 votes cast. What will follow is the execution of a contract, unstaking and giving back 0.19 ETH per DGD. Digix said it is against the dissolution, hence it abstained from voting.

Mining news

  • Georgia has begun shutting down illegal mining operations in the country, reports Sputnik. Crypto mining has thrived in the nation, where electricity prices are notoriously cheap. However, national energy provider Energo-Pro Georgia says it cut off power supplies to an unregistered Bitcoin crypto farm in the highlands of the western Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. Georgian law stipulates that miners must notify energy companies of their crypto plans – and pay significantly higher prices for their energy bills.
  • The U.S.-based mutual fund giant Fidelity is looking to hire a Bitcoin mining engineer to scale its operations. According to a job posting on the company’s website, the role will be part of their mining team and will be responsible to design, build, and maintain the infrastructure to run and scale the business.

Exchanges news

  • Japanese crypto exchanges Zaif and Fisco will begin suspending their services on January 24 ahead of a planned integration, per an official tweet. Fisco bought Zaif after crippling hack forced former Zaif operator Tech Bureau out of the market, and Fisco has been looking to merge the two platforms, and hopes to have its new fully integrated offering open by February 12.
  • Bitfinex has launched a sub-account feature that allows users of the exchange to set up multiple trading accounts within one master account, in order to meet institutional demand to deploy more complex crypto trading strategies.

Regulation news

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) denied banning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in the county. The Economic Times reports that it has seen a copy of a 30-page affidavit that the RBI had filed in the Supreme Court, saying that RBI has not prohibited “VCs (virtual currencies)” in the country, but that it has directed the entities regulated by it to not provide services to those persons or entities dealing in or settling VCs, and that it has been able to ringfence the entities regulated by it from being involved in activities that pose reputational and financial risks along with other legal and operational risks, the bank reportedly said.
  • The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) said in a submission published on Tuesday that under a new proposal regarding the rules governing digital wallets, APRA’s role would be to oversee wallets that are widely used as a means of payment and store significant value for a reasonable amount of time, such as, potentially, Facebook’s Calibra. The proposal outlines recommendations for a new regulatory framework for stored-value facilities from the Council of Financial Regulators, which includes the Reserve Bank, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the federal Treasury.