Crypto News Headlines (24-March-2022)

Stock and bond issuance, trading and settlement via blockchain technology will be tested in the European Union under a five-year pilot program approved by the European Parliament in Brussels.

Lawmakers hailed the pilot legislation Wednesday as putting the bloc at the “forefront of innovation.”

The measure was first proposed by the European Commission. It will give EU members the chance to test out new crypto applications that would otherwise be blocked by existing laws governing financial market infrastructure.

“It is not only vital to make existing financial legislation fit for digital, but also to show an openness towards new technology that could make financial markets safer and more efficient,” said Parliament member Johan Van Overtveldt, who negotiated the deal between Brussels and national governments that had been tentatively approved last year.

But Van Overtveldt, who previously served as Belgium’s finance minister, warned that crypto experiments that appeared to work on a small scale might still raise unexpected risks if they move beyond the pilot stage.

“What works in a limited testing environment does not necessarily work in a broader context,” he said, adding that lawmakers in the future would need to “thoroughly scrutinize the exemptions … before upscaling.”

On the morning that Russia went to war with Ukraine, Fadey woke up at 9am to a deluge of Telegram messages from friends asking him what was happening on the ground in the western city of Lviv. After a quick scan of the news, he realized his country was under siege. He decided to get out.

Fadey is 20 years old and asked to be identified by a pseudonym to protect his privacy, because there is conscription for Ukrainian nationals aged 18 to 60. Escaping duty on the frontline meant having to clear the border before officials had the chance to lock it down. To do that, he needed two things fast: A negative Covid test, and money. 

“I couldn’t withdraw cash at all, because the queues to ATMs were so long, and I couldn’t wait that much time,” Fadey told CNBC.

So he turned to bitcoin instead.

Krafton, a South Korean firm that specializes in developing and distributing video games, announced Wednesday that it signed a business deal with Solana Labs, the team building the Solana blockchain. 

Krafton and Solana Labs will collaborate on building games based on blockchain technology such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), in addition to jointly marketing, designing and investing in projects. 

“Through this cooperation, Krafton will acquire the insight needed to accelerate its investment in and output of blockchain-based experiences,” the firm’s head of web3 roundtable Hyungchul Park said in a statement.

Krafton earned over $1.57 billion in revenue in 2021, the firm self-reported in February of this year. Of that total, a game distributed by Krafton called Player Unknown Battle Ground (PUBG) Mobile — a free-to-play battle royale-style game — earned the firm $1.18 billion in revenue.

Krafton joins other game developers such as Square Enix and Ubisoft to eye blockchain-based gaming opportunities, despite opposition from traditional gaming channels like Steam.

Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, recently shared a novel proposal for the blockchain network. The upgrade is tagged EIP-4844 which is known as Proto-danksharding.

The EIP-4844 is an upgrade that is looking to help to improve the network by organizing large transaction data into smaller bits that could be easily handled.

Simply put, this upgrade would help decrease Ethereum gas fees and also help better its scalability features.

Understanding EIP 4844

Usually, sharding involves splitting data into lesser ones which are then allocated to unique database nodes. However, proto-danksharding (EIP-4844) is an entirely distinct sharding approach.

In this technique, the network now wants to “merge fee market” by allowing “only one proposer that chooses all transactions and all data that go into that slot.”

This Ethereum Investment Proposal also included the blob transaction feature. This form of transaction accepts and organises “blobs” of data to be maintained in the beacon-node for a brief period. EIP-4844 focuses on blob-carrying trades that cannot be conducted via the EVM.

Verifying a blob simply requires checking that the blob is available – that it can be downloaded from the network. The data space in these blobs is expected to be used by layer-2 rollup protocols that support high-throughput transactions.

It is pertinent to note that the EIP-4844 upgrade is not concerned with creating extra rooms for transactions; instead, It is focused on deploying more space for blobs of data. The purpose of EIP-4844 is not to access blobs as it is limited to testing If blobs are available and can be accessed from network L2 infrastructures like Arbitrum, Optimism, and others.

Legendary boxing champion Floyd Mayweather is taking another jab at the crypto space by launching a new NFT and Metaverse project called the Mayweverse.

The nonfungible tokens (NFT) will feature the likeness of Mayweather himself and provide various utilities and prizes for holders depending on the rarity of the item. Little more is known about the project at the time of writing other than that the Metaverse will contain a boxing gym.

The launch date and prices is yet been determined, but the hype for the project is growing rapidly. The Discord channel dedicated to the project already has over 5,000 members.

Mayweather’s involvement in this new NFT project is notable considering his sub-par record with crypto projects in the past. Mayweather promoted a high-profile crypto scam called Centra Tech which defrauded investors out of over $25 million in 2018. By 2019, Mayweather and co-promoter DJ Khaled were forced to pay $600,000 and $150,000 respectively for their parts in marketing the project.

Twitter personality Coffeezilla claimed that Mayweather is now “frantically deleting evidence of his last NFT scam,” in order to appear to be in good faith for the Mayweverse launch. Other projects he has promoted include Floyd NFT, Bored Bunny, and Bored BAD Bunny.

Creator monetization platform Joystream raised $5.85 million in its bid to create a decentralized online video site.

Digital Currency Group (DCG), Hypersphere, Defi Alliance and D1 Ventures led the round at a $60 million valuation, according to a press release. (DCG is the parent company of CoinDesk.)

Joystream seeks to act as a decentralized YouTube, according to Chief Marketing Officer Robert Neckelius. Creators can mint their videos as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Joystream blockchain, and each channel has its own native token. Consumers can invest in their favorite creator’s success, as well as take profits from their NFT sales on the platform.

It’s part of a broader crypto movement that aims to empower individual creators over corporations. While content stalwarts such as YouTube tightly govern how their creators make money (and grant them limited say in how the platform evolves) Joystream’s planned decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) would hand over the keys.

“Giving the stakeholders the tools required to decide, fund and direct the operation and evolution of the system is a much more durable approach, and one which is going to make it much more attractive for developers to build applications on top of Joystream,” said Bedeho Mender, CEO of the primary company building Joystream, called Jsgenesis.

Stargate Finance, a cross-chain protocol designed to assist users in transferring assets between different blockchains, has accrued over $1.9 billion in total value locked (TVL) in less than a week after launching.

Stargate markets itself as a liquidity transport protocol that allows users to transact native assets cross-chain, offering decentralized finance (DeFi) users the option of staking stablecoins in pools where they are paid out in the native Stargate token (STG).

The rapidly growing TVL is probably down to the “up to 26% APY” being offered farming stablecoin deposits.

By attracting nearly $2 billion in TVL at the time of writing, Stargate has cemented itself as one of the top 10 DeFi projects, according to comparative data from DeFi Pulse.

Stargate has a high-profile supporter in quantitative crypto trading firm Alameda Research CEO Sam Trabucco.

In a Twitter thread to his 150,000 followers, Trabucco announced that Alameda Research had purchased all available Stargate tokens (STG) that were auctioned off during Stargate’s launch on March 17.

The bill was introduced back on February 18th, but entered the spotlight today after El Salvador President Nayib Bukele expressed shock over it. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that the US Government would be afraid of what we are doing here,” he tweeted.

Though the bill doesn’t explicitly state ‘fear’, it does reflect a newfound wariness among politicians about how influential cryptocurrencies may be upon the world. In fact, one stipulation within section 2 calls to examine the “potential for reduced use by El Salvador of the United States dollar” in light of the Bitcoin law.

It would also require Federal departments to send a plan to Congress within 90 days for mitigating the effects of crypto legal tender adoption on the United States, by any country that already uses the dollar for such purposes.

Like so many authorities today, the senators even ask for an examination into how El Salvador’s crypto adoption might help countries like Russia evade U.S. sanctions. Yet unlike Elizabeth Warren’s bill on the subject, this legislation has Republican support behind it.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, recently applied for a trademark that would allow their logo to be used for crypto tokens and virtual exchange. This move indicates the company’s interest to venture into crypto and virtual products and services; which will as a result help build an ecosystem around their Metaverse.

The trademark application as announced by popular Metaverse and NFT trading Attorney, Michael Kondoudis representing Meta; is not only limited to the aforementioned, it also includes:

Financial trading

Currency trading

Blockchain software

Virtual currency wallets

Virtual currency exchange

Digital, crypto, and virtual currencies

Furthermore, the company applied for a total of 8 trademarks, which are listed above. However, these trademarks would allow Meta to use their logo on products and services related to them.

Although the application has been submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office since March 18, 2022; there has been no official announcement from the company regarding this. And the only available information is the one from Mr. Kondoudis’ tweet and also a press release on ExpertClick.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has teamed up with crypto custodian Fireblocks to mint a stablecoin pegged to the Australian dollar.

This is the first time a major bank has been involved in the creation of a stablecoin.

The bank created the stablecoin for Victor Smorgon Group, a large family office based in Australia, which plans to use it to trade on Melbourne-based exchange Zerocap.

“An ANZ issued Australian dollar stablecoin is a first step in enabling our customers to find a safe and secure gateway to the digital economy,” said ANZ Banking Services Portfolio Lead Nigel Dobson in a press release.

The Victor Smorgon Group said that transferring assets to Zerocap via a stablecoin took 30 minutes compared to the usual day or two for a fiat wire transfer.

Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks, said in a statement that he expects more banks to follow ANZ’s lead.

As a custodian and infrastructure provider, Fireblocks has worked with BNY Mellon, Siam Commercial Bank, Revolut, and