News Headlines (12th MAR 2024)

Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) gave back gains after a 25% rally last week, falling as much as 6%, as bitcoin (BTC) hovered above the $71,500 mark on Tuesday.

Data shows that other major tokens ether (ETH), Solana’s SOL, BNB Chain’s BNB, and Cardano’s ADA were little changed in the past 24 hours. XRP led the pack among crypto majors with a 10% in the past 24 hours. The gains came amid a technical development announcement that would help developers provide better applications and services to users.

The CoinDesk 20 index (CD20), a liquid index of the twenty biggest tokens minus stablecoins, rose 0.73%.

The immense popularity of Bitcoin Ordinals and new meme coins minted on the world’s top blockchain has brought a coalition of Bitcoin developers together to cooperatively formalize the underlying BRC-20 fungible token standard.

The coalition—the newly formed Layer 1 Foundation—announced its new governance body on Monday, focused on ensuring trust and transparency around the protocol and calling it crucial for future growth.

“We invited all of the biggest BRC-20 indexers to become partners… and to publicly agree to operate within this particular standard of procedure and governance resolution that we wrote and set forth as operating principles for BRC-20 governance,” Layer 1 Foundation Vice President Isabel Foxen Duke told Decrypt in an interview.

Thailand’s financial regulator has adjusted relevant regulations to allow investments in U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for professional investors, according to local media.

The Bangkok Post reported today that Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has permitted asset management firms to launch funds for investing in U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs available for institutional investors.

Pornanong Budsaratragoon, the SEC Secretary-General, stated in an interview with a local newspaper that there have been requests from asset management firms to permit them to invest in crypto assets. Budsaratragoon emphasized, “but we need to consider carefully whether to allow asset management firms to invest in digital assets directly due to the high risk.”

MetaMask, one of the most popular non-custodial crypto wallets for the Ethereum blockchain, is reportedly testing an entirely onchain payment card, issued by Banx, which will run on Mastercard’s payments network.

According to a Monday report from CoinDesk, citing promotional materials related to the card and a testing platform that the publication reviewed, the MetaMask/Mastercard payment card would be “the first ever truly decentralized web3 payment solution.”

As per the marketing materials, users would be able to use the card to spend their crypto on making everyday purchases at any venue where cards are accepted.

Worldcoin, a “globally inclusive identity and financial network” founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has failed to defend its operation in Spain through legal action. The company filed an injunction against the local regulator’s order to cease data collection in the country, but the court declined to grant it.

On March 6, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) issued a temporary order prohibiting Worldcoin from data collection in the country for three months. The AEPD intends to use this period for investigating complaints that users in Spain aren’t able to withdraw consent and that Worldcoin has allegedly collected data from minors.

According to PANews, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has announced the launch of a stablecoin issuer sandbox. The sandbox aims to convey regulatory expectations to institutions interested in issuing fiat-backed stablecoins in Hong Kong and collect feedback on proposed regulatory requirements. Applicants must have a genuine intention and reasonable plan to develop stablecoin issuance business in Hong Kong. The proposed operations under the sandbox will be conducted within a limited scope and under controlled risk, with the list of participants to be published and updated on the HKMA website.

Crypto proponents are considering extending the applications of this technology to reach other markets. Anatoly Yakovenko, co-founder of Solana Labs, considered the application of cryptocurrency technology as a disruptor of the mobile app store duopoly, in which Google and Apple reap benefits for providing the means for users to acquire software for their phones.

Yakovenko stated that, as meme coins, loot boxes had no real value. However, Yakovenko remarked there was a $100 billion mobile gaming market behind these, and that the app store duopoly collected 30% of this revenue to show a list of the top ten apps in each platform.

Yakovenko stressed:

There is a tiny outside chance that crypto rails can grow fast enough and different and weird enough that they can disrupt the duopoly business models.

Two senior executives of Binance, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, have been held against their will for the past two weeks by Nigerian authorities, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Wired.

The executives appear to have been detained due to the accusations brought on against the crypto exchange by Nigeria. In the past few weeks, reports have emerged that the African country has demanded $10 billion from Binance in penalties for enabling some $26 billion of untraceable funds to be processed in the nation.

The developers at Gnosis Chain deployed a version of the Dencun upgrade on the network, activating type 3 blob transactions on the sidechain to help further scale dapps.

Content-based platform Blob.Fm was the first Gnosis Chain dapp to make use of blobs on the network.

Gnosis Chain, formerly known as xDai Chain, operates as a sidechain alongside Ethereum and is overseen by GnosisDAO. It has a total value locked of over $320 million, hosting dapps like Balancer, Spark, Aave, Aura and others.

“Dencun is activated. Now you can use blobs to scale Gnosis or post funny pictures using,” said Stefan George, co-founder of Gnosis Chain.

  1. VanEck Lowers Bitcoin ETF Fees to Zero, Undercutting BlackRock

VanEck is waiving sponsor fees for its spot Bitcoin ETF, the New York-based investment firm said in a updated prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

“We listen to our clients and understand the importance of continually reassessing our fee structures to align with their expectations and the dynamic nature of the market,” Kyle DaCruz, VanEck Director of Digital Assets, told Decrypt. “This fee waiver reflects our dedication to providing competitive investment opportunities that meet the needs of investors, and we believe it may encourage even more investors to explore the potential of Bitcoin as part of their investment strategy.”