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.
- U.S.-based banking giants Citigroup and Goldman Sachs conducted the first equity swap on a new blockchain built using tools originally designed for Ethereum. Forbes reports that this was a total return swap in which one bank agreed to make a payment based on the returns of an underlying asset and the other based on a set rate, and it involved only the two counterparties, but another thirteen are waiting in the rafters.
- Australia’s national strategy for use of blockchain has finally launched, with a focus on the opportunities the technology presents to industries such as wine, banking and finance. Per the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, the five-year blockchain roadmap would lay the groundwork for researchers, start-ups and policymakers, and is another important step on the way to helping improve the nation’s productivity. The blockchain strategy and roadmap were first announced in March 2019.
- The Metro de Caracas will accept payments in the Venezuelan state-issued Petro token, per media outlet Venezolana de Televisión. The government says that it will allow citizens to make crypto payments via the state-developed e-pay app, the Carnet de la Patria. The metro serves the capital and has a daily ridership of around 2.5 million passengers.
- Saramin, one of South Korea’s biggest job search platforms, has signed a blockchain deal with startup IconLoop, reports Newsis. The HR specialist says it wants to make use of blockchain-powered digital ID solutions to be used in conjunction with its recruiting services.
- The Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea has issued 828 recent graduates with blockchain-powered graduation certificates, also in conjunction with IconLoop reports News1. The university, which also has its own blockchain department, says the move is a historic first, and makes POSTECH “the first educational institution in South Korea to issue blockchain-certified degree certificates.”
- The Beam cryptocurrency project presented their roadmap update for Q1 2020. The blog post by Beam Foundation says that they will launch a family of products that will serve as a foundation for the Beam Confidential DeFi (decentralized finance) Ecosystem as the first of its kind in the space, while a number of additional changes are planned, including: Atomic Swap marketplace leaving Beta; displaying exchange rates to fiat and selected cryptocurrencies in the Beam Wallet; the instant payments technology Laser Beam to eventually enable instant immediate payments, micropayments and “streaming” money use cases; wallet auditability; privacy, security and usability enhancements, and more.
- A Monument has been created to honor Li Wenliang, a whistleblower of China’s coronavirus outbreak, in the form of a smart contract on Ethereum with source codes taking the shape of a monument. Li was a doctor at a hospital in Wuhan and one of the eight people who warned their colleagues about the magnitude of the disease before the local authorities warned the public. He was silenced by the police. Li died yesterday of the same disease he had warned others about at the age of 34.
- Dragon Payments Limited, formerly known as London Block Exchange Limited, said it has been placed into Compulsory Liquidation. A winding-up order was made against the Company on 31 January 2020 and Paul Cooper and Paul Appleton, both of David Rubin & Partners, were appointed Joint Liquidators on 4 February 2020 by order of the Secretary of State.
- Japanese crypto exchange Coinage has announced that it will appoint Kiyohiko Nishimura, the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), to its advisory board, per Hedge Guide. The former BOJ executive is also an emeritus professor at the University of Tokyo, and a former government advisor on economic policy.
- Binance hired Iskander Malikov as the new Director of Fiat, Europe and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). Per the exchange, Malikov will primarily serve in establishing new fiat-to-crypto channels and gateways in regions throughout Europe and CIS and expanding existing ones within Binance’s key markets, while also developing new strategic business initiatives and partnerships across these regions. Prior to Binance, Iskander served as Chief Operating Officer at TradingView, a financial platform for traders and investors.
- WisdomTree, the exchange-traded fund (ETF) and exchange-traded product (ETP) sponsor, announced that the WisdomTree Bitcoin ETP is now available in euro (WBTC) and USD (BTCW) trading currencies, following the listing of a euro-denominated Bitcoin ETP. The physically-backed Bitcoin ETPs are listed on SIX Swiss Stock Exchange.
Digital fiat news
- A group of Japan’s ruling party lawmakers said that the country should prepare to issue digital currencies and to propose discussing the topic at this year’s G7 meetings, in order to counter China’s move to issue a digital yuan, Reuters reports, citing the group’s leader Akira Amari, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and former economy minister. Towards these goals, Japan should work in close coordination with the United States, Amari said.
- California-based, blockchain-enabled commercial payment platform Paystand has raised USD 20 million in the second round of funding from DNX Ventures, Battery Ventures, Epic Ventures, Commerce Ventures, and Wildcat Ventures, while existing investors include BlueRun Ventures, Leap Global Partners, Cervin Ventures, and Serra Ventures. According to the announcement, the funds will be used to modernize commercial payments and make paying a corporate bill as easy as making a consumer payment with a mobile app.
- The Tokyo High Court has overturned the verdict of a Yokohoma court that fined a man for including a Coinhive crypto mining plugin on his website back in 2018. Prosecutors had equated the man’s actions with distributing a virus or other malware – a decision that has now been overruled, per Chunichi.
- Russian companies are twice as likely to fall victim to cryptojacking attacks than firms based elsewhere in the world. Per a report from media outlet Kommersant, Check Point data has revealed that cybersecurity threats in Russia mainly come from domestic or American hackers. And the data shows that 13% of all cyberattacks on Russian companies have made use of XMRig mining software, which uses victims’ hardware to mine Monero tokens.