NHL Team, San Jose Sharks, to Accept BTC, ETH, DOGE, And Alts Next Season

Cryptocurrencies are gaining more adoption in the US despite growing calls for the regulation of the nascent industry. In a recent report, top sports franchise Sharks Sports & Entertainment is looking to wade into Bitcoin.

Bitcoin, Dogecoin Feature Prominently

In a Sports Business Journal report, National Hockey League (NHL) top seed San Jose’s Sharks would start accepting cryptocurrencies starting from next season.

Confirming the news, club president Jonathan Becher said that the team would be accepting cryptocurrencies majorly for large purchases like season tickets, corporate sponsorships, and suite leases of its home-ground, the SAP Arena.

However, Becher noted that the team would eventually add smaller purchases like merchandise and one-game tickets to its crypto payment option as time goes on.

Popular blockchain company BitPay has been tapped as the partner, and for now, the Sharks will accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Wrapped Bitcoin, and Dogecoin alongside five top stablecoins, including GUSD, BUSD, DAI, PAX, and USDC. Tether’s USDT was notably absent from the list.

The Sharks join a growing number of sports franchises who have looked at cryptocurrencies to enable more financial inclusion for its fan base.

Foremost in the space has been Mark Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks, who have become one of the nascent industry’s prominent supporters. Fellow National Basketball Association (NBA) team Sacramento Kings has also started accepting cryptocurrencies for team merchandise. Also, the Kings are currently exploring the idea of paying players with Bitcoin, according to a Forbes report.

The NBA has not been left on the crypto sidelines and has been the face of the emerging world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). With its partnership with blockchain company Top Shot, the NBA Top Shot online marketplace which sells in-game short clips has raked in over $700 million in NFT sales.

Major League Baseball team the Oakland A’s have also started accepting BTC and DOGE as payment for its full-season suites and game tickets.

Crypto Gaining Wave In The World Of Sports

Aside from cryptocurrencies being adopted by top sports franchises, business deals with industry players in the crypto space have also been welcomed.

Crypto-friendly US state Miami has been a vocal supporter of virtual currencies.

The Miami Heat recently signed a 19-year deal worth $135 million with crypto exchange FTX as a sponsor. This deal would see the home arena of the Heats changed to the FTX Arena.

It hasn’t stopped here, though, as more professional players are already warming to the idea of receiving their salary in Bitcoin. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Sean Culkin said in a tweet that he would be converting his $920,000 salary into BTC.

Football teams are also working with blockchain company Chiliz to stay connected to their fans during the pandemic with the Socios Fan App. Notable names are Premier League Champions, Manchester City, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and a host of others.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

What Exactly are the Implications of El Salvador Declaring Bitcoin a Legal Tender for Crypto

A “big win” for crypto, El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption has implications for the US and may result in a domino effect which seems to have started with Paraguay hinting at something “important” with BTC.

Over the weekend, Bitcoin Conference 2021 came to an end with the announcement that El Salvador is declaring Bitcoin a legal tender. The legislation will be introduced to make it the world’s first sovereign nation to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the U.S. dollar.

A legal tender is basically a form of money that is recognized as a satisfactory payment for any monetary debt, but there is no obligation on the creditor to accept the tendered payment.

Unlike China banning Bitcoin, sending the prices crashing, this news didn’t have any visual impact on the price. As trader Hsaka noted, “Price reaction to pre-announced announcements is rarely a function of the content of the said announcement.” As per him, it’s a pretty big win for the market, a “landmark moment.”

The market is actually still trying to understand what this means for the leading cryptocurrency. While some are extremely excited, many are dismissive, and others are hopeful.

Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador, took to Twitter to share that if just 1% of Bitcoin’s $675 billion market cap is invested in the country, that would increase their GDP by 25%.

As for Bitcoin, it “will have 10 million potential new users and the fastest growing way to transfer 6 billion dollars a year in remittances,” a big chunk of which is lost to intermediaries, he added.

The leading cryptocurrency would basically be doing what it set out to, banking the millions of unbanked and providing financial freedom to them. Bukele noted that 70% of El Salvador’s population doesn’t have a bank account and works in the informal economy. He said,

“Financial inclusion is not only a moral imperative, but also a way to grow the country’s economy, providing access to credit, savings, investment, and secure transactions.”

El Salvador has taken the route of Bitcoin to mitigate the negative impact of central banks, which control the supply of a currency.

“Small countries can now finally insulate themselves from the effects of dissolute monetary policy. Go Bitcoin to get to higher ground,” said Balaji Srinivasan, a former Coinbase CTO, and General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. While a “big move,” it needs to be seen how it will be executed, said Srinivasan, according to whom,

“Every country that’s not the USA or PRC will go crypto to retain sovereign transaction and communication channels. And so will tens of millions of American and Chinese citizens.”

This even has implication for the US because if El Salvador passes the legislation to recognize BTC as legal tender, the cryptocurrency would likely become “money” under the US commercial law as it defines money as “a medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign govt.”

Bitcoin proponent U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson also embraced the countries’ move on Twitter.

While in itself, this news may not individually impact Bitcoin in a big way, and it makes sense some are skeptical given that El Salvador’s GDP is smaller than Grayscale Investments’ AUM, this move can be the stepping stone for bigger things to come.

Not only is this likely to have Bitcoin treated as any other foreign currency by banks, but it could also create a domino effect with other countries to follow suit. Already, it seems to be having an effect with Paraguay hinting at Bitcoin adoption.

“As I was saying a long time ago, our country needs to advance hand in hand with the new generation. The moment has come, our moment. This week we start with an important project to innovate Paraguay in front of the world!” tweeted Carlos Antonio Rejala Helman, Deputy of the Nation. “The real one to the moon BTC & PayPal.”

Some skeptics are also pointing to the authoritarian direction Bukele has taken for their concerns about Bitcoins’ latest support. However, in a nation plagued by corruption and deadly violence, 39 years old Bukele is “extremely popular, with an approval rating of over 90% during his second year in office,” noted a Redditor who claims to be from El Salvador.

“The adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender is HUGE news for this country,” said the Redditor adding, “Most legislators have come forward saying they will back the bill.”

Additionally, much like Miami, which is working on becoming a crypto hub of the world, El Salvador is also working on attracting the masses by offering immediate permanent residence for crypto entrepreneurs. No property tax and no capital gains tax on BTC already works in its favor.

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Author: AnTy

City of Williston North Dakota Adopts Crypto Payments for Utility Services

Following mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies as a payment option, the City of Williston is joining a posse of US states accepting crypto payments.

Crypto Payment Cost-Effective

According to an announcement posted on its website, the North Dakota city said it would be accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option. However, this would be limited to utility bill settlements only.

But it says it has plans to enable other bill payments soon. The city will conduct quality assessments to know if there is market demand for crypto payment in areas like landfills, permits, and licenses before supporting them.

Speaking on the initiative, Finance Director Hercules Cummings said the state is exploring the digital payment method to keep pace with a fast-changing financial landscape. Cummings said that it is also trying to meet growing market demand for these services and cater to users of all types.

He noted that digital payment methods like cryptocurrencies brought about convenience, cost savings, and security. Cummings stated the affordability of crypto payments, noting that Bitcoin payments attracts1% transaction fee against 3% from other payment options.

The City of Williston has selected Bitcoin payment company Bitpay as a partner.

Aside from crypto payments, the City of Williston said it would also be accepting fiat, checks, credit card, and automatic payment methods. This will see them support consumer payment platforms like Google Pay and Apple Pay.

It is also planning to add PayPal and Venmo to its virtual payment methods.

Williston Joins The Crypto Payment Wagon

Despite what many crypto investors believe about the US crypto space, there is growing interest in the volatile asset class. Across major cities in the U.S, more government officials are turning to cryptocurrencies. One of such is Miami.

The City of Miami has been pro-crypto for a long time. Its principal, Mayor Francis Suarez, has committed to making the state a crypto haven for crypto startups.

To facilitate this initiative, Suarez proposed that municipal workers should be paid with cryptocurrencies. He also said the City of Miami should begin receiving tax payments in Bitcoin.

Suarez has also reportedly hired Miami’s first CTO for crypto Saif Ishoof who he said would provide “concierge services” for crypto startups coming into the state.

In Jackson, Tennessee, Mayor Scott Conger said the city is working on paying workers in cryptocurrencies. The municipality will also be mining Bitcoin and adding it to the city’s balance sheet.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets

Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets

Digital Financial services provider Tala has collaborated with VISA to make it easier for consumers to store, and use cryptocurrencies on a daily basis with USD Coin (USDC).

The collaboration will also involve Circle, the company behind USDC, and the Stellar Development Foundation that oversees the XLM cryptocurrency.

Tala Taps VISA For USDC Payments

According to a statement released by Tala, the fintech firm will provide access to USDC via its digital wallet.

The partnership with VISA will enable Tala to issue VISA cards linked to the wallet, thereby enabling customers to use their USDC balances anywhere they are in the world.

Tala’s mission of banking the unbanked will be aided through this partnership.

USDC is a stablecoin backed by the US dollar and governed by the Centre Consortium. It’s currently supported on the Ethereum, Algorand, Solana, and Stellar blockchains.

USDC 0.00% USD Coin / USD USDCUSD $ 1.00
$0.000.00%
Volume 2.21 b Change $0.00 Open $1.00 Circulating 14.38 b Market Cap 14.38 b
8 h Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets 1 d Solana Hits its First $1 Billion Milestone in Total Value Locked (TVL) 2 d Both Coinbase.com and Pro Now Support USDT, “Making Arbitrage Across Exchanges Faster”
ETH -1.11% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 3,488.63
-$38.72-1.11%
Volume 44.11 b Change -$38.72 Open $3,488.63 Circulating 115.77 m Market Cap 403.87 b
8 h Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets 9 h Bitcoin Dominance on a Decline for 8 Weeks Straight to Hit Three-Year Low 10 h Uniswap V3 Recording $265M in Liquidity and $70M in Volume After Going Live on the Ethereum Mainnet
ALGO 7.31% Algorand / USD ALGOUSD $ 1.55
$0.117.31%
Volume 518.51 m Change $0.11 Open $1.55 Circulating 2.98 b Market Cap 4.62 b
8 h Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets 1 w Tether’s Controversial Stablecoin, USDT, Is Launching on Coinbase Next Week 4 w Balancer Labs Has ‘Zero’ Involvement in Algorand; V2 Launch is the Sole Focus
SOL -3.45% Solana / USD SOLUSD $ 43.33
-$1.49-3.45%
Volume 390.86 m Change -$1.49 Open $43.33 Circulating 272.64 m Market Cap 11.81 b
8 h Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets 1 d Raydium (RAY) Alone Accounts for Nearly 90% of Solana Ecosystem’s TVL 1 d Binance Smart Chain (BSC) Is Feeling the Pressure of the Heightened Network Demand
XLM 6.11% Stellar / USD XLMUSD $ 0.65
$0.046.11%
Volume 4.8 b Change $0.04 Open $0.65 Circulating 23.04 b Market Cap 14.95 b
8 h Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets 3 d Due to Increased Demand, Social Trading Platform Firm eToro Now Supports DOGE 1 w Crypto ETP Issuer 21Shares Rolls Out Stellar And Cardano ETPs On Swiss SIX Exchange

Speaking on the new partnership, Shivani Siroya, Tala’s CEO and founder, said digital currencies have tremendous potential to open financial access and put more control directly into the hands of underbanked and underestimated people. Siroya said excitedly,

“We couldn’t be more excited that Visa, Circle, and the Stellar Development Foundation share our vision and want to work on a solution, not only for Tala’s six million global customers but for the billions more who can benefit.”

VISA’s crypto involvement has largely centered around Circle and its USD coin over the past few months.

In December, the credit card company partnered with Circle to drive USDC adoption into VISA’s network of digital wallets. The partnership saw VISA work with Circle to enable customers to send and receive USDC payments to businesses supported by VISA.

Founded in 2011, Tala is a California-based lending platform that has provided over $2 billion in credit to over 6 million customers in countries such as Mexico, the Philippines, Kenya, and India in the form of micro-loans.

The fintech company is focused on emerging markets and provides instant credit scoring, lending, and other personalized financial services all through its smartphone app, Tala.

The company raised over $200 million in funding, including a $110 million Series D in August 2019, from PayPal Ventures, RPS Ventures, and GGV Capital.

The partnership marks the first major crypto project for Tala, which recently expanded its product suite to provide a fuller scope of financial services to consumers in developing economies.

Stirring Stablecoin Use In Emerging Markets

Having seen the advent of cryptocurrencies being used for payments, especially Bitcoin, which an increasing number of companies has supported, it seems companies have also realized that there is a clear need for Stablecoin payments on blockchains as well. BTC -2.01% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 56,348.78
-$1,132.61-2.01%
Volume 69.3 b Change -$1,132.61 Open $56,348.78 Circulating 18.7 m Market Cap 1.05 t
7 h Georgia’s Apex Bank Considers CBDC, Calls For Partnerships 8 h Tala Partners With VISA To Drive USDC Adoption in Emerging Markets 9 h Bitcoin Dominance on a Decline for 8 Weeks Straight to Hit Three-Year Low

Some have argued that Bitcoin is too volatile to be used for payments. And with this, stablecoins are sought after since they help protect against currency fluctuations and foreign exchange (FX) conversion fees in international transactions.

Stablecoins brings the alternative of value-added risk management, cash management, onboarding, and more that are consolidated with existing fiat currency services.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Decentralized Exchange, Uniswap, Accounts for 80% of The Daily Active DeFi Users

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) recorded a marked year-over-year increase in adoption and usage across the board despite suboptimal user experiences such as UX and gas fees.

“Remember the Internet was slow, clunky & expensive once. L2s launching this year will make DeFi more accessible – faster, better, cheaper,” noted Santiago R Santos, partner at Parafi Capita.

Total value locked (TVL) in DeFi had a 75x growth to $43.5 billion. In terms of stablecoins, their supply grew ~7x to $43 billion YoY, while total borrowing volume across money markets has increased 100x to $9.9 billion.

As for the most popular DeFi protocol, decentralized exchanges (DEX) have seen a growth in their active users.

Over the past year, these active users have grown from a mere 3,000 to the current 67,000. Interestingly, Uniswap accounts for 80% of these daily users.

The popular DEX, which accounts for 60.4% of the total DEX weekly volume market share, recently announced that its much-anticipated V3 is coming in early May, with a special emphasis on increasing capital efficiency.

ThorChain (RUNE), a decentralized liquidity protocol, meanwhile, argues that with V3, Uniswap is making “LP’ing active” — “Active LPs are going to destroy the passive LPs. It’s going to return the edge to desks and bots.”

Another interesting facet of this upgrade is the use of Business Source License (BSL) 1.1, which restricts the use of V3 source code for two years. Another popular DEX SushiSwap, which is moving into lending, started as a fork of Uniswap.

While Uniswap (UNI) can really use the license against v3 forks, it comes “mostly, at a cost,” said Jake Chervinksy, General Counsel at Compound Finance.

“It’s crucial for DeFi protocols to be free & open-source software,” said Chervinsky noting that that is why most DeFi protocols are launched with fully open-source licenses like MIT, BSD, & GPL.

He explained how while people might think enforcing copyright rules against anonymous developers won’t be possible, making the licenses useless, that is not true.

Not only most dev teams aren’t fully anonymous, especially as a project succeeds, but developers aren’t the only viable target, Chervinsky said.

“US law also allows copyright holders to sue third parties for “contributory” copyright infringement even if they didn’t commit any infringing acts directly. Other theories of secondary liability may apply to third parties too,” including those who adopt, support, or use it such as exchanges, DEX aggregators, investors, LPs, and MMs.

Also, enforcement is not the only way; the threat alone is enough at times.

image1

This may come at a cost, though, as “it’s crucial for DeFi protocols to be free & open-source,” and many people in the sector also feel strongly about it, he said.

Still, “BSL 1.1’s two-year delayed conversion to GPL seems to strike a fair balance between creating a copyright moat & open-sourcing the protocol. Personally, I like it a lot, especially since UNI holders can accelerate the conversion at any time. Governance decides,” Chervinsky said, adding, “it’s an elegant bit of legal innovation for DeFi.”

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Author: AnTy

Total Value Locked in Binance Smart Chain Surpasses $15B; Brave Joins in with Wrapped BAT

To “dramatically inspire mass adoption and inclusive finance.”

Basic Attention Token (BAT), the native token to the privacy-focused browser Brave, has joined Binance Smart Chain and will be available on BSC as wrapped 34BAT, announced the team on Monday.

“Our hope is that BAT and Brave will take crypto mainstream and to make DeFi user-friendly for the mass market,” said Brendan Eich, CEO, and co-founder of Brave.

Brave browser has more than 25 million monthly active users (MAU) and over 9 million daily active users (DAU).

With this integration, BAT holders can now participate in BSC-based projects like DEX PancakeSwap and lending project Venus among many others. Xiaoguang Zhang, Binance Smart Chain Ecosystem Coordinator said,

“With this strategic integration … we will introduce seamless UX together for crypto users to access DeFi and Dapps in BSC and other blockchains, which will dramatically inspire mass adoption and inclusive finance.“

Currently, the browser supports both Ethereum and BSC through a configuration change in the wallet, but Brave is planning to preconfigure support for BSC later this year, allowing users to access the blockchain without the hassle of creating new wallets or downloading additional apps.

The low cost of BSC has been attracting a lot of users, particularly smaller ones priced out of the Ethereum network. This has resulted in the total value locked (TVL) in BSC exceeding $15 billion, as per BSCProject. However, it is nowhere near Ethereum’s $65 billion.

Recently, many popular DeFi projects like Alpha Homora, 0x, Matcha, and SushiSwap also deployed their contracts on BSC as part of the “multi-chain future.”

Brave, meanwhile, is further exploring the use of BSC to enable P2P tipping within the browser as Eich said, “We are especially excited by the low transaction fees and scalability” of BSC.

With over 3.8 million monthly transacting users and over 13 million Brave/BAT Rewards wallets, the team is planning to use the token to receive discounts and pay fees in an upcoming Brave DEX Aggregator.

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain Company Komodo Launches DEX for Dogecoin (DOGE) Swaps

Parody cryptocurrency Dogecoin seems to be gaining wide adoption as the crypto market surges.

Atomic Swaps Available On DogeDEX

In an announcement made on Wednesday, blockchain as a service (BaaS) solutions provider Komodo said its Doge decentralized exchange (DogeDEX) platform launched March 1 and has been received enthusiastically by Doge enthusiasts.

According to the company, the decentralized platform will enable peer-to-peer exchanges, or “atomic swaps” of the meme-based cryptocurrency. The service will be powered by its AtomicDEX engine for both desktop and mobile apps.

Atomic swaps enable the transfer of crypto-assets using smart contracts. Komodo also said its development team is incorporating fiat-on-ramps in the coming months, which will enable crypto purchases on the decentralized platform.

The Shiba Inu, the mascot representative of the Dogecoin, has become something of a fan favorite. Carving its niche and surviving on celebrity endorsements, Dogecoin has made a tear and gained a phenomenal 2,440% in the last 12 months or so.

One of the crypto-assets avid admirers is Tesla Inc.’s owner Elon Musk. His continued promotion has seen the once disregarded digital asset come into the limelight, and many popular figures have joined the DOGE train.

One of such is Gene Simmons of American rock band KISS fame. He has been joined by popular rap icon Snoop Dogg who has used his reputation to get a good thing going for the digital assets.

Dallas Mavericks billionaire owner Mark Cuban is the latest addition in a long list of admirers who have vocally supported the wide adoption of Doge.

His pro-basketball team, the Mavericks, now accepts Dogecoin from fans. The solution was incorporated by cryptocurrency company Bitpay making Dogecoin the second crypto accepted by the Mavs.

Speaking on the decision, Cuban noted that his basketball team had made 20,000 Dogecoins sales, and he sees the digital asset hitting a price point of $1 soon.

Breaking Through The Hype

Despite all the relative fanfare surrounding DOGE, crypto experts believe that the virtual currency lacks enough use cases to make any significant surge into the top ten brackets. According to them, DOGE’s narrative of being a joke currency needs to erode if it wants to stand a chance in a fiercely competitive crypto market.

Kadan Stadelmann, chief technology officer at Komodo, an open-source cryptocurrency platform and blockchain solutions provider, said that DOGE reaching $1 is nigh on impossible unless it hits Bitcoin-level-buy-ins in the nearest future.

According to Stadelmann, the relative ease of minting Doge tokens is a concern. Stadelmann drew attention to the fact that 10,000 tokens per minute, 14.4 million per day, and 5.2 billion per year of Dogecoins were many.

The massive roll-out of the coin could lead to inflation in the long-term, making a mockery of what cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin came to solve through its metered supply cap.

Johnny Lyu, CEO of cryptocurrency platform KuCoin, feels otherwise. According to Lyu, the growing attention DOGE is gaining from celebrity endorsements may likely see it being used for everyday transactions.

Lyu feels the relative ease and speed of sending value with the parody crypto-asset could stand it in good stead. He, however, noted that DOGE breaking into the top five anytime soon was out of the question.

The digital asset’s phenomenal rise may be appealing to Musk and Simmons, but Joel Edgerton feels very differently. According to the chief operating officer of crypto exchange bitFlyer, digital coins like DOGE are just fun to hold as they cannot solve real-life problems.

At press time, DOGE traded $0.056, up 1.7%.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

As Adoption Sets In, 60% of Crypto Investors Are Storing Funds On Exchanges: Binance

As Adoption Sets In, 60% of Crypto Investors Are Storing Funds On Exchanges: Binance

Binance’s latest report shows that most crypto owners are hodlers. The prevalence of Bitcoin hodlers could also lead to a liquidity crunch as traders’ demand rises.

The cryptocurrency market is getting more diverse. Many have had different preferences and reasons to stay in the market, with different facets and sub-industries available.

In a new report, top crypto exchange Binance shared details of the market’s status and how investors see digital assets in general.

Hodl, Hodl, Hodl

This week, the top exchange shared its 2021 Global Crypto User Index, a report showing crypto users’ perception of digital assets across the board. The report outlined a survey conducted between September 15 and October 25, 2020. Binance took responses from 61,000 crypto users across 178 countries and regions.

Most prominent in the report is the distribution of crypto users by reason. As Binance noted, the vast majority of crypto users are “hodlers.” Hodlers is a crypto term used to describe investors who purchase digital assets to keep long term. The poll shows that 39 percent of respondents are hodlers, followed by 28 percent who claimed to be keeping their cryptos to buy other cryptos.

22 percent of respondents said that they primarily use their digital assets for lending and staking, the latter of which has been prevalent in the past year. Only 11 percent of investors claimed that they use their cryptocurrencies for payments, showing that the asset class has yet to fulfill its potential as a viable payment method.

Solidifying Fears of a Liquidity Crisis

The prevalence of hodlers in the industry shows that a lot of investors are using their assets as a store of value. While many in the traditional finance space have criticized digital assets for their volatility, assets like Bitcoin have consistently delivered higher returns than their competitors.

However, having more hodlers in the industry also reinforces the fears of a possible liquidity crisis. Day traders have been left to fend for themselves, with Bitcoin in short supply. Earlier this month, Glassnode reported that 78 percent of the Bitcoin available in circulation is illiquid, with only 4.2 million tokens changing hands. Mining rig manufacturers are also working extra to push out new hardware to mine new bitcoins.

Last week, Reuters reported that mining companies had been running out of inventory as miners are working double-time to meet the increasing demand for Bitcoin. Bitmain, the industry’s top mining rig manufacturer, has maxed its production capacity and won’t have any inventory until August.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Thailand Excise Dept to Adopt Blockchain In 2021; Boosting Collection Efficiency

Blockchain technology sees significant increases in adoption, particularly from companies looking to leverage it and streamline their operations. Beyond companies, there has also been an increase in government blockchain applications. In Thailand, the official tax agency is hopping on the trend.

Streamlined Operations to Benefit the Bottom Line

The Thai Excise Department plans to use the blockchain to improve its revenue collection capabilities, the Bangkok Post reports.

Per the report, the move became necessary following the agency’s resolve to work on its tax collection modalities rather than increase taxes in a downturn.

Lavaron Sangsnit, the agency’s Director-General, says the agency could use the technology to assess tax liability for imported products and assess other government agencies’ revenue collection. Like other countries in Asia, Thailand is expecting a drop in income due to the impact of COVID-19.

The government projects a drop in tax revenues for 2020, with 530billion baht ($17.5 billion) expected to come in for the fiscal year. This marks a 3.3 percent reduction from the 548 billion baht ($18 billion) that it got last year. Looking to streamline operations and improve collection efficiency, the Department will now move into blockchain.

This isn’t the agency’s first foray into blockchain. Last year, the department developed a new, blockchain-based tax refund method for oil exporters. At the time, former Director-General Patchara Anuntasilpa said the system was one of the three changes that the agency planned to incorporate in the near future.

Patchara highlighted that the future tax refund system would require oil exporters to pay excise taxes and only claim refunds after they had shipped their products. With blockchain, the Excise Department would be better suited to inspect tax payments and shipping processes.

The Director-General added at the time that the Department was also working on using blockchain for the distribution of playing card licenses and annual fee payments for liquor and tobacco.

Collaborating With Other Departments

Now, with countries looking to get back on their feet following the coronavirus, Thailand is also making changes to its entire tax system. Going into the 2021 fiscal year, the Revenue and Customs departments are also expected to incorporate blockchain for their operations. The Director-General added that the technology could help thoroughly assess each government department’s revenue collection, integrating all that data into a single database.

Thailand is one of the most blockchain-friendly countries globally, with the technology seeing rapid adoption in both the private and public sectors. With banks focusing on improving cross-border payments and the government using the technology to streamline revenue collection, the Southeast Asian country is taking payment efficiency more seriously.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

With A Troubled Past, Are Cryptocurrency Cards Worth the Risk to Push Adoption?

Crypto debit cards were looked at as the next big move for broader crypto adoption and involvement of mainstream players like Visa in the issuance of a card that brought confidence to the industry. While the crypto debit card arena paints a rosy picture for a broader crypto use and adoption, the reality has been far from it.

In 2020 itself, the Wirecard scandal rocked the crypto world, given the firm promised real a breakthrough in the crypto debit card arena. However, the bizarre turn of events this June shattered all those hopes. The firm in June applied for insolvency over $2.1 billion missing from their accounts, which they later claimed never existed. Markus Braun, the former CEO of the firm, was accused of market manipulation.

While Wirecard’s fall came in as a shock, it was not the first firm to venture into the crypto debit card arena and fail. Back in 2018, WaveCrest, a worldwide digital payment solutions provider and a VISA member was asked to call back all the VISA prepaid cards that have been issued Visa later revealed that WaveCrest was not following the Visa’s membership regulations.

The Future of Crypto Debit Cards

The key players of the traditional market, i.e., VISA and Mastercard have both shown interest in expanding its reach and technology it offers. Recently Visa wrote a blog post titled Advancing our approach to the digital currency, where the firm expressed its desire to team up with various blockchain players and offer its customer base with a wide variety of technologies. The firm also expressed its desire to create a bridge between Visa’s network of 61 million global merchants and cryptocurrencies.

Mastercard, another prominent player in the debit/credit card industry, has expanded its current crypto program to help different payment solution firms to offer crypto payment cards. The firm recently partnered with Wirex to allow the firm to issue a digital payment card on its network.

Apart from these two mainstream players, even Paypal, which earlier made it clear that they won’t be offering any form of crypto service, has finally decided to join the digital asset bandwagon like many other naysayers. The payment processing giant has partnered with Venmo to offer a Bitcoin purchase option to its 265 million customers across the globe.

Apart from these mainstream traditional players looking to offer crypto payment card services, even major crypto players like Binance has announced its payment card called Binance card.

Looking at the interest of mainstream players along with mainstream crypto players, the crypto industry could see a surge of crypto card providers shortly.

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Author: Hank Klinger