Crypto News Headlines (25-April-2022)

The South Korean electronics and smartphone maker Samsung is reported to have participated in Series A funding which raised $25 million for a Korea-based metaverse startup, Doubleme. The round was led by Coentry Investment and NH Investment.

According to a Techinasia report, the startup, which was founded in 2015 by Albert Kim, Michael Kuczynski, and Heeyoung Kim, will use the funds raised for product development, marketing and hiring purposes.

Doubleme also aims to commercially launch a Twin World metaverse platform that supports artificial reality devices later in the year, the report added.

Twin World, which was launched in November 2020, allows users to create an artificial reality experience in any physical location. Since its launch, the platform has generated about $4.5 million in revenue from its paying customers that are found across 17 cities.

This year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing got mixed reviews, for a range of political, economic, and cultural reasons.

But the debut of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) at the Olympics is being hailed as a success.

While many Chinese sports fans were cheering Olympic skier Elieen Gu’s success while watching at home, fans in Beijing were using e-CNY to buy snacks or stuffed animals of Olympic panda mascot Bing Dwen Dwen.

Could other nation’s soon look to China’s example before launching their own CBDCs?

China has been developing its own for a long time. In 2014, the central bank began to study a digital currency issuance framework and key technologies, and in 2019, the central bank began to vigorously promote the research and development of digital currency.

The European Union has agreed new laws to curb targeted online ads, remove illegal content and impose supervision and sanctions on the largest internet platforms.

In an all-day meeting Friday that ended in the early hours of Saturday morning, lawmakers, governments and the European Commission finalized provisions for the Digital Services Act (DSA), one of a range of laws intended to bring big tech companies like Apple and Meta to heel.

First proposed by the commission in December 2020, the DSA aims to restrict the ability of social networks, app stores and content-sharing platforms to target ads. It also requires sites to take down illegal content. The commission will have the power to inspect the algorithms of the very largest sites and search engines – those with over 45 million European users – and to impose fines as high as 6% of annual worldwide turnover.

Stripe has explained that the organisation was exploring directions over how to utilise crypto based platforms for broader access. Now, Twitter users will be able to use the platform to accept their earrings in crypto. Funds collected from monetising products like Super Follow and Ticketed Space are already been paid to the creators via Connect.

As per the blog, now creators can choose to get paid out to a cryptocurrency wallet. The payment platform will be handling all the crypto related operations. Stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, USDC will be used to hand out payments as many users may like to hold to dollars. USDC is the second largest stablecoin. It is the 5th biggest cryptocurrency with a total market capitalization of over $49.8 Billion.

Jeremy Allaire, co-founder of Circle, expressed that Stripe going for USDC is a big signal of things to come in the future. Circle pay also believes that the stablecoin will unlock a huge potential for internet commerce.

Crypto exchange Kraken has received a Financial Services Permission (FSP) license from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to operate a regulated exchange platform in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The ADGM is a free zone for financial companies to set up shop in the UAE capital and provide services to users within the region. Kraken would service the needs of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as per a release shared with CoinDesk.

Kraken met all approval conditions from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM to operate as a Virtual Asset Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, the release said.

Kraken says it is the first to receive a full financial licence from ADGM and aims to provide seamless access to cryptocurrencies through regulated funding, trading, and custodial services in dirhams (AED).

Grayscale has renewed a months-long push to persuade the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve converting the crypto investment firm’s $40 billion Bitcoin Trust into an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

ETFs bundle securities like stocks or commodities, and allow investors to buy shares of these bundles without owning the assets directly. There are two main types of Bitcoin ETFs: Bitcoin futures (derivative contracts that speculate on the price of the cryptocurrency), and Bitcoin spots (which operate on Bitcoin’s current price).

Grayscale is seeking to create the latter, a Bitcoin spot ETF. It would be the first of its kind: Though the SEC has thus far approved four Bitcoin futures ETFs, it hasn’t approved a single Bitcoin spot ETF. (Neither Grayscale nor the SEC immediately responded to requests for comment from Decrypt.)

Two executives of Skybridge Capital — founder Anthony Scaramucci and director John Darsie — talked about the firm’s crypto outlook in an interview with Bloomberg ahead of SALT, a global thought leadership forum, this week.

Scaramucci explained that almost half of Skybridge’s asset under management is linked to crypto assets, including bitcoin, the Algorand protocol, Ethereum, and publicly traded, crypto-related stocks.

Noting that his firm expects the crypto focus to triple its assets under management from $3.5 billion to $10 billion, he said:

We feel so strongly about this opportunity that we’ve adapted and repositioned the firm to eventually be a leading cryptocurrency asset manager and adviser.

“For us, we think the cryptocurrency markets represent tremendous growth,” he noted.

Darsie, director of business development at Skybridge Capital, commented:

We obviously are extremely bullish on the sector.

Tinkering with the Metaverse has become a trend among major brands and companies. This time, it has caught the attention of two of the largest automakers globally, Nissan and Toyota.

On April 22, Japanese automakers Nissan and Toyota announced their entry into the Metaverse to offer new virtual experiences to their users, organizing digital events and building virtual customer service offices.

According to the Japanese newspaper Nikkei Asia, both companies seek to innovate in the Metaverse, offering immersive exhibitions of their cars through the use of virtual reality (VR), all this thanks to their partnerships with the video game developer startup VRChat.

Wholesale banks have been on the sidelines for the start of the “digital assets revolution,” missing out on almost all the $4 billion to $5 billion in revenue that corporate and institutional clients generated last year, Morgan Stanley said in a research report dated April 12.

The primary hurdle for the banks, which serve corporate clients rather than individuals or small organizations, has been the lack of a clear regulatory framework, analysts led by Betsy Graseck wrote. Still, greater regulation may not be a panacea, as that might encourage more direct participation from institutional investors, leaving the banks still on the sidelines.

Nevertheless, wholesale banks have several advantages over “crypto natives” that may give them a chance to catch up as regulation transforms the market, according to the note.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong talked about Apple’s crypto policy in an episode of the Superteam podcast, which aired last week. Superteam is a podcast that explores the web3 ecosystem in India.

Commenting on Apple’s anti-crypto policy, he detailed: “You try to get your app in the App Store and Apple ejected it and then they had this competing one that got approved … it’s a black box.” The Coinbase boss elaborated:

Apple so far has not really played nice with crypto. They’ve actually banned a bunch of features that we would like to have in the app, but they just won’t allow it — so there’s potential antitrust issues there.

Armstrong added: “There’s going to have to be crypto-compatible phones that I think could actually become quite popular in the future, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.”