Crypto News Headlines (05-May-2022)

Solana Pay will facilitate transaction requests between merchants and users with a feature that went live on the protocol this week, according to a post by Solana developers.

Developers added the transaction request feature to allow merchants to provide customized transaction links to users, such as unique non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or virtual gifts.

The merchant receives the wallet address in the request and can respond with a customized transaction for the customer. This means any Solana transaction would allow interactive requests between a checkout app and a mobile wallet.

“Merchants and brands can create dynamic experiences that send tokens, invitations, and gifts to customers,” the post reads. They could range from the minting of unique NFTs, customized discounts and tokenized loyalty programs.

Private Banks in Argentina are starting to see the value of offering cryptocurrency services to their customers amidst a crypto boom in the country. Brubank, an all-digital financial institution licensed by the country’s central bank, has reported it is now offering cryptocurrency purchase services in its app. The bank announced this new functionality on social media when answering an inquiry from a customer about the new options on the platform.

Brubank stated:

Yes, we already have crypto! It is a functionality that is being progressively enabled for all our users. When you have it enabled you will be able to view it by entering ‘Investments’ from the app.

Brubank chose to offer only four cryptocurrencies on its platform, listing BTC, ETH, and two stablecoins: USDC and DAI.

Argo Helios, a Texas-based subsidiary of London Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain, has secured a $70.6 million loan from NYDIG to buy more mining rigs.

The new loan follows the March announcement of a $26.6 million loan from NYDIG, which the company borrowed at an 8.25% interest rate, bringing the total amount borrowed from the New York-based investment manager to $97.2 million.

According to an SEC filing, the agreement breaks the funding into eight separate loans, each with a 12% interest rate and two-year term. The first $19 million is available on April 29, another $24 million at the end of May, $10 million at the end of June, and the remaining $17 million at the end of July.

A fourth straight week of outflows for digital asset investment products amounted to $120 million.

The outflows of the week ending April 29 brought the total of the four-week streak to $339 million, according to the latest CoinShares report.

While close to the $467 million witnessed during a similar run at the beginning of the year, the report added that it did not reflect the same bearishness.

For instance, last week’s outflows were almost negligible at $7 million. The report also noted how they had been fairly evenly split between Europe, with 59%, and the Americas, with 41%.

Largest outflows since June

As is typical, bitcoin-based investment products experience the majority at $133 million. The report highlighted it as the largest single week of negative flow since June.

Gucci’s past efforts into Web3 have culminated with the brand accepting 12 cryptocurrencies at a few select stores, with a wider rollout planned for the future.

The Italian high-end fashion label Gucci has announced it will begin accepting cryptocurrency payments by the end of the month in five of its United States stores, with plans to extend the service to all of its 111 stores in North America.

Gucci will accept 12 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC), Litecoin (LTC), Shiba Inu (SHIB), Dogecoin (DOGE) and five U.S. dollar stablecoins, according to Vogue Business.

Customers paying with crypto in-store at the pilot locations in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas will be sent an email with a QR code to pay via their digital asset wallet. Employees have started to undertake training and education on crypto, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3 in preparation for the launch.

Marathon Digital (MARA), one of the largest publicly traded bitcoin miners and “hodlers” of the coins it mines, said that it may consider selling some of the bitcoins it holds, but won’t likely do it in the near-term.

“We may purchase or sell bitcoin in future periods as needed for treasury management or general corporate purposes,” Marathon CFO Hugh Gallagher said during an earnings conference call, although he added that any sale is not imminent.

“I’ll say we don’t really have an intention to do that [sell bitcoins] in the near-term,” he said, noting that the company is also looking at several other options for financing, including term-loans, revolver loans, equipment financing and an at-the-market equity offering.

Dubai’s digital assets regulator, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), has established its metaverse headquarters (HQ) in the virtual world of The Sandbox, a statement from the regulator has said. The regulator said its objective for setting up the metaverse HQ is to ensure VARA “is accessible to its industry in their environment.”

VARA is also expected to help facilitate engagement between virtual asset service providers (VASPs), industry influencers, and global regulators. According to the statement, by making this move, the Dubai regulator is signaling a willingness to make the Emirate “the world’s Virtual Assets Capital.”

Maintaining Dubai’s Lead

In remarks following the announcement, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, said:

“Dubai maintains a leading position at the forefront of technological transformation. We have exceeded the role of an early adopter to become an innovator and participant in shaping the future of this technology. Today, VARA joins the metaverse to become Dubai’s – and the metaverse’s – first government authority, ushering in a new era in which [the] Dubai government utilises modern innovations to extend its services and regulatory power to audiences in an open technological expanse, without constraints or borders.”

The Bitcoin hash rate hit another all-time high and the 105,000th block since the last halving was mined, marking the halfway to the next halving.

Bitcoin (BTC) marks a milestone mining journey on Thursday, crossing the halfway point on the way to its next halving. 

In Block number 735,000, mined at approximately 10:29 UTC, Bitcoin crossed the halfway point to the next halving. The block was mined by Poolin, earning 0.16215354 BTC ($6,402.45) in fees. 

Halvings occur every 210,00 blocks, and May 5 marks the cross-over point into the second leg of 105,000 blocks. For some Bitcoiners, such as Samson Mow, the Bitcoiner pioneering Bitcoin nation-state adoption, the halving is a reminder to stack more SATs:

The halving cycle is a unique device that envelops the Bitcoin issuance rate. As the Cointelegraph Cryptopedia explains, “As a result of the halving cycle, the supply of available Bitcoin decreases, raising the value of Bitcoins yet to be mined.”

Bitlocus – a global emerging fintech company based in Lithuania – announced on Thursday that it has partnered with Estonia-based fintech company Striga, which develops tech infrastructure for crypto companies, to roll out crypto-friendly debit cards for its customers across the European Economic Area and the globe.

Bitlocus said that the crypto-enabled debit cards will enable its clients to use their cryptocurrencies to buy goods and services just the way they spend traditional currencies where Visa is accepted globally. Backed by the Visa network, the Bitlocus card platform connects with people globally as well as over 70 million merchant locations worldwide.

Bitlocus mentioned that the cards will allow its customers to spend their crypto funds on POS (Point of Sale) devices, make online purchases, and withdraw cash from ATMs.

Payment processors Visa and Stripe have halted services for cards issued by Bankoff, the online banking platform informed clients on Tuesday, May 3. In a notice, a copy of which was posted on social media, the company explained that the suspension was due to the increased number of active users and transactions from Russia.

“It means our cards are no longer supported for any offline and online payments,” the Bankoff team elaborated. The neobank also revealed that its funds in a U.S. account had been frozen, assuring customers it’s currently working to restore access to the money.

Representatives of Bankoff have confirmed the development to Forklog. The crypto news outlet added in a report that some users who deposited cryptocurrency to their accounts have complained they were been unable to withdraw their balances as well.