Shanghai Using Permissionless Blockchain to Pilot the Use of RMB for Cross-border Payments

Shanghai Using Permissionless Blockchain to Pilot the Use of RMB for Cross-border Payments

Conflux’s permissionless blockchain will be used to test the digital RMB for cross-border payments in Shanghai’s Lingang Pilot Free Trade Zone.

In July, China’s central bank has approved the Lingang Pilot Free Trade Zone to test the free capital inflows and outflows.

In January, the Shanghai government invested $5 million in the network.

“Conflux public blockchain will pilot the use of the RMB offshore stablecoin for cross-border payments as part of Shanghai Free Trade Zone initiative- the renminbi is China’s official currency, while the Yuan is the unit of the currency,” noted Conflux Network.

In response to the news, the token of the network CFX pumped 170% to $0.736 over the weekend. But since then, CFX is down about 39% to trade at $0.451 on Monday. The coin is also down 72.4% from its all-time high of $1.70 from six months back.

The state-owned Shanghai Maritime University will conduct the experiment, and Conflux established the Shanghai ShuTu Blockchain Research Institute. The research center will also explore developing blockchain standards for trade and shipping.

The People’s Bank of China has been conducting trials for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) since April of last year but has recently started testing it in cross-border applications.

The PBOC actually aims to launch the CBDC by the 2022 Winter Olympics. Earlier this month, speaking at the China Digital Finance Forum, deputy governor Fan Yifei said e-CNY test runs have shown “great potential” though there were some issues that “need to be solved.”

By mid-July, 21 million individuals were using the digital yuan, and the trial had reached 34.5 billion yuan ($5.3 billion) in transactions.

Two months later, about 140 million people have used China’s digital yuan app thanks to the collaboration between the central bank and Chinese shopping platform Meituan. As a result, almost all the residents in nine major Chinese cities can download the app and start using it.

New features in the form of programmability through smart contracts and sub-wallets to facilitate online digital currency payments to participating merchants have also been added to the app recently.

Besides working with tech giants for the digital yuan, China is also developing gadgets like bracelets, wristbands, and smartwatches to support digital yuan wallets.

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Author: AnTy

AVAX Hits A New ATH as 3AC and Polychain Lead $230M Investment to Accelerate DeFi on Avalanche

AVAX Hits A New ATH as 3AC and Polychain Lead $230M Investment to Accelerate DeFi on Avalanche

“I consider AVAX to be crucial in turbocharging EVM DeFi for both builders and users,” said Su Zhu, CEO of Three Arrows Capital.

Avalanche blockchain has raised $230 million in a private sale, sending the AVAX token surging.

In response, the $14.2 bln market cap coin AVAX hit a new all-time high on Thursday at $68.34 and, as of writing, is trading around $64.5, up 1,650% YTD

The private sale, which was completed in June, was led by Three Arrows Capital and Polychain. Other participants in the investment included CMS Holdings, Dragonfly, R/Crypto Fund, Collab+Currency, Lvna Capital, and a group of angel investors and family offices.

Emin Gün Sirer, founder and CEO of Ava Labs, described this as the “largest investment” into the Avalanche ecosystem to date.

“I’m thrilled to see so many people realizing the power of Avalanche’s technology and community, and the opportunities for exponential growth.”

Su Zhu, co-founder, and CEO of Three Arrows Capital, shared his excitement to co-lead the $230 million investment in Avalanche, saying,

“I consider AVAX to be crucial in turbocharging EVM DeFi for both builders and users, the Ava Labs team to be incredibly innovative and passionate, and the community to be the fastest-growing.”

The Avalanche Foundation, which is behind the Avalanche blockchain, will be using the proceeds from the token sale to support and accelerate the rapid growth of decentralized finance (DeFi), enterprise applications, and other use cases on the public blockchain.

Focused on speed and low transaction cost, this layer 1 blockchain is an Ethereum competitor much like Solana (SOL) and is also EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible.

As we reported recently, to allow the transfer of assets from Ethereum (ETH) to the Avalanche blockchain, the team launched a bridge, and $1.3 billion has already been transferred to Avalanche using this.

It also supports several popular blockchains such as Tether (USDT), USDC, SushiSwap (SUSHI), Chainlink (LINK), and The Graph (GRT).

“Just a year after mainnet launch in Sept. 2020, and Avalanche is still just getting started with countless live projects organically flourishing and Avalanche Rush on the way. There’s no signs of slowing down progress toward fast, low-cost, and easy-to-use DeFi applications.”

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Author: AnTy

NFT Leader Dapper Labs Partners With Google To Scale Its Operations On Flow Blockchain

NFT Leader Dapper Labs Partners With Google To Scale Its Operations On Flow Blockchain

Google is finally getting into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) via a partnership with NFT leader, Dapper Labs.

Announced on Tuesday by Forbes, search engine giant Google announced a strategic partnership with the fourth largest NFT blockchain studio, Dapper Labs, with an aim to support the development of new Web3 products and services, such as NFTs. The partnership is the first for Google in the NFT space, showing the massive strides the digital asset industry has taken in 2021.

Google and Dapper Labs signed a multi-year partnership with Google Cloud, acting as the network operator and providing the needed infrastructure to boost the growth of Flow blockchain, Dapper Labs’ main network. The partnership paves the way for developers on FLOW, who can now connect Flow access nodes at a lower latency due to Google Cloud’s infrastructure.

Speaking on the strategic partnership, vice president of Google Cloud North America, Janet Kennedy, stated,

“This new evolution of consumers reimagining their relationship, their ownership of digital assets, digital collectibles—this is just the very beginning. We’re really excited about the work that Dapper Labs is doing and that we’re providing that infrastructure and security for them.”

Through the partnership, Google aims to provide a developer-friendly environment for blockchain services. According to Kennedy, node operators on Flow will be free to use any hardware they wish, including Amazon Web Services, but promises to streamline the process making it easier for developers to integrate Google Cloud services and its software.

Since the start of 2021, Dapper Labs, the creator of popular NFT collections such as NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, has grown its user base exponentially, with the collective NFT sales records reaching a high of $680 million since its launch in September 2020. Currently, the platform ranks fourth in NFT sales, only lagging behind OpenSea, Axie Infinity, and CryptoPunks.

With the partnership with Google, Dapper Labs aims at reaching a billion users in the coming year as they scale NFT collections lines running on the FLOW blockchain.

Despite the recent tumble in NFT sales since hitting all-time highs in August, Google sets its eyes on building the future of Web3 products and services on its cloud service.

“This new evolution of consumers reimagining their relationship, their ownership of digital assets, digital collectibles—this is just the very beginning.”

“We’re really excited about the work that Dapper Labs is doing and that we’re providing that infrastructure and security for them.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Jack Dorsey’s Square Chooses Non-Aggression Patent Pact With OIN Membership

Continuing in its stride to engender the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in general, payment facilitator Square has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN).

Square To Engender OSS Growth

In a Tuesday release, Open Invention Network (OIN) – an organization focused on ensuring open-source software (OSS) – announced the recent addition of Square to its community.

According to OIN, Square’s interest in the foundation shows that it is committed to patent non-aggression in OSS.

The cross-licensing platform boasts major backers like Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Sony, Toyota, and SUSE, enables community members to access patented tech inventions without paying and without the lawsuit.

Commenting on its decision in a Bloomberg special, the US payment giant noted that the step was necessary to avoid the legal challenges that almost toppled the smartphone industry some years earlier.

“We’re in just such a rapid time of growth, so many amazing things are happening without patents,” counsel at Square Max Sills noted.

“We want to avoid long-drawn-out legal battles.”

Square is not new to patent alliances and is a front-runner in the blockchain industry’s first Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) formed a year ago. Similar to OIN, member platforms and companies promise not to go the legal route if a fellow member peruses their technology.

Crypto big wigs like Coinbase, Kraken, ARK Investment, SatoshiLabs, and several others have pledged their support for the initiative with the foundation solely focused on engendering blockchain technology.

Square Leaning Towards Crypto, Especially Bitcoin

Although Square has been forthwith in its intent to enable a blockchain-driven society of the future, principal founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has been leaning more on the top premier digital asset. A Bitcoin maximalist, Dorsey has not been shy in publicly supporting the high volatile asset and has added Bitcoin to Square’s corporate treasury.

Not satisfied, the social media owner of Twitter has also sought to engender enterprise adoption via conferences, with the most popular being the B-Word which took place last month.

Also, Square is reportedly weighing up launching a Bitcoin decentralized exchange (DEX) platform. According to the payments giant, users will choose from multiple payment options and exchange their traditional fiat for Bitcoin.

The DEX platform is expected to be managed by the company’s Bitcoin division called TBD. Commenting on the company’s DEX plans, project lead Mike Brock noted that stablecoins – digital assets meant to track fiat currencies – would play a crucial role in supplementing payments on scaling solutions like the Lightning Network.

Also, Square is planning to build a Bitcoin hardware wallet. Following a tweet by head of product development Jesse Dorogusker on making Bitcoin custody more mainstream, Dorsey retweeted with a short reply that Square will build a Bitcoin hardware wallet.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Gnosis Safe Joins the List of NFT Supported Wallets On Apple’s AppStore Blacklist

Gnosis Safe Joins the List of NFT Supported Wallets On Apple’s AppStore Blacklist

Apple Inc. has continued to keep tight reins on its platform. This has seen it bar several crypto wallets from hosting non-fungible tokens (NFTs) not purchased using Apple’s in-app purchase system.

New Update Flagged As ‘Inappropriate’

Apple is launching a series of world-class smartphones, but users may find it hard to access their favorite digital collectibles. This follows a report by the head of product development at Gnosis Safe, Lukas Schor.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Schor alleged that the iPhone manufacturer was barring it from hosting non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the latest release of the Ethereum-based crypto wallet.

According to him, the tech company took offense after discovering that the new Gnosis Safe update will support user-owned NFTs, a feature Schor says has been in operation for some months already.

In response to the new update, Apple said it does not support apps, especially crypto wallets that display NFTs that cannot be purchased inside the app store. Further clarifying its position, Apple termed such apps that facilitate purchases except for its nominal Apple Pay platform as “inappropriate” and advised Gnosis Safe to revise its NFT functionality or risk being delisted.

A resubmission with a clearer update description still received a rebuff from the privacy-centric smartphone manufacturer. Per Schor, Apple maintains its position that NFTs can only be purchased from its App Store.

NFTs are digital certificates that show the owner of a particular virtual asset and can come in various forms. For now, the arts and creative industry have keyed in on the blockchain-based digital arts with NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) pieces selling for millions of dollars. This has seen popular decentralized applications (dapps) and NFTs supporting platforms like Ethereum and Solana spike value.

Also, online NFT marketplaces like OpenSea have recorded over 76,000% year-to-date (YTD) increase in NFT sales, with the platform crossing the $3 billion mark in transaction volume in early August.

Apple Actions Raising Questions

Apple’s strong stand has raised a long-debated question on its strong-handed tactics on apps that operate in the App Store. Gnosis Safe is not the only crypto wallet provider getting the boot from the company.

Other notable defaulters are Trust Wallet which said it would not support its Dapp browser on iOS 6.0 in its latest release. The company cited compliance with the platform’s laid-down rules. Another victim is imToken wallet which also removed a list of featured Dapps for iOS users citing the App Store guidelines as the reason.

However, Gnosis Safe will not go down without a fight, and Schor says the company plans to resolve the issue with the App Review Board. He also noted that Apple might not be a good vehicle for the rapidly-growing Web3.0 wave.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Spruce Partners with Etheruem & ENS to Improve Online Identity Verification

Spruce Partners with Etheruem & ENS to Improve Online Identity Verification

Applications for blockchain technology remain diverse, with different companies coming up with impressive ideas on integrating the technology.

One novel approach comes from Spruce – a decentralized identity software firm. The company is now working on improving identity verification, and it recently got backing from the Ethereum Foundation.

Work to Begin in Earnest

Earlier this week, Spruce confirmed in a press release that it had secured a partnership with the Ethereum Foundation to help build its decentralized identity verification system. The company would work with the Ethereum Foundation (EF) and Ethereum Name Service (ENS) to develop a secure sign-in module built on the Ethereum blockchain.

Spruce’s network had been selected after the EF and ENS submitted requests for proposals in July. The companies had sought developers who would build a secure sign-in package using Open Authorization (OAuth) – an open standard for access delegation that is frequently used to grant websites or applications access to Intenet users’ data.

As Spruce explained, it will focus on giving users more control of their data. This way, they hope to offer an alternative to big tech companies and platforms, which are notorious for data harvesting. The company added that the EF is the perfect partner, thanks to its user base that runs into the millions. Ethereum is also the largest community of developers in the crypto space, so Spruce has many resources at its disposal with this backing.

Spruce added that it would work closely with the ENS and EF to ensure that its solution is compatible with the Ethereum blockchain’s standards. Success with their project will empower millions of Ethereum users to control their digital identities and seamlessly access the web.

The first step will be user research and building specifications drafts. Core development work is expected to begin shortly.

More Use Cases for Ethereum

Identity management has become a significant focus for the blockchain space. Allowing people to seamlessly access the web while controlling their data could be one of the biggest ways that the industry disrupts traditional tech, and Ethereum has had a major role to play in that.

In July, Numio – a layer-two scaling solution, raised $1.25 million in funding to push into decentralized finance (DeFi). As part of the company’s expansion, Numio will also be building on its identity management system. The system uses zkProofs to let users verify their identities on third-party platforms without sending any identity documentation.

Numio’s authentication solution uses public-key cryptography, which is heralded as more secure than the Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) used by platforms like Authy and Google Authenticator.

Operations like these are some of the reasons why the Etheruem blockchain remains an incredibly important part of the crypto ecosystem. Ethereum’s profile has risen significantly over the last year, and there has been a lot of talk about its token – Ether – flipping Bitcoin to become the most valuable cryptocurrency.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Chainlink (LINK) Blockchain Oracle Goes Live on Solana (SOL) Devnet

Chainlink (LINK) Blockchain Oracle Goes Live on Solana (SOL) Devnet

The Solana ecosystem has been making some expansion plays recently as it hopes to sign on more developers and create an enabling environment for crypto projects.

The blockchain has successfully integrated Chainlink – the most popular blockchain network oracle in its recent round of integrations.

Offering Real-Time Price Data to Developers

Blockchain oracles are third parties that are integrated into blockchains to feed them live information. They serve as bridges between a blockchain network and the real world, offering off-chain data to smart contracts and expanding their scope of operation. When it comes to blockchain oracles, none quite measures up to Chainlink.

Chainlink has become especially popular in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space for providing accurate real-time data metrics to protocols. Now that it is live on Solana, the latter appears to have taken another bold step towards being a hub for DeFi. According to a tweet from Chainlink, the protocol’s Live Feeds are now able on the Solana blockchain, making it easy for Solana developers to access the data.

In a separate announcement, Solana explained that the Chainlink price feeds could be used in most DeFi apps, allowing developers to save time and money by leveraging on its offering. Solana already reports sub-second updates, capturing the volatility in crypto prices. With Chainlink now in the picture, the blockchain would become even more accurate.

Anatoly Yakovenko, founder and CEO of Solana Labs, explained that this integration would be especially beneficial as it combines a high-quality oracle with a high-speed blockchain network. This integration, as he explained, could take DeFi to the next level.

Meanwhile, the recent integration is only available on the Solana devnet. Mainnet deployment is expected to be complete in the last quarter of the year.

Expanding to Accommodate DeFi

The integration between Solana and Chainlink has been months in the making. Late last year, Raj Gokal, the operations chief at Solana Labs, confirmed that they were working on integrating Chainlink’s oracle as a standard across all decentralized applications (dApps) running on the blockchain. Gokal said,

“By doing so, Dapps will get secure access to all the inputs and outputs they need while avoiding the major pitfalls with trying to deploy self-made oracles, such as long time delays, additional expenses, and even fatal security flaws.”

The Chainlink news is only the second major oracle-related development coming from Solana. Earlier this week, Pyth Network – a cross-chain, decentralized data oracle built on Solana – went live. The oracle had only been available on Solana’s devnet for a while, but today, a full mainnet launch is expected to occur.

Pyth is already gaining some traction, with backing from several organizations – including top crypto exchange FTX. With a mainnet launch, developers will integrate its real-time market data into their DeFi protocols.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

BIS and Hong Kong Regulator To Launch Green Bonds on the Blockchain

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) is continuing its focus on blockchain technology.

In its new initiative, the agency’s Innovation Hub has partnered with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) to examine the possible impacts of tokenized green bonds.

Using Blockchain to Help the Planet

Also known as climate bonds, green bonds are fixed-income instruments linked to environmental and climate change solutions. They are usually asset-linked and backed by the balance sheet of the issuing entity. So, they tend to carry the same credit ratings as their issuers’ debts.

In its announcement, the BIS introduced Project Genesis, a collaboration with the HKMA to launch a prototype digital infrastructure. The project is expected to enable sustainable investments while examining the transparency of proceeds allocation. The agencies believe that blockchain-based bond tokenization will allow investors to buy small denominations of the assets, thus boosting investment.

Besides spurring investment, the tokenized green bonds will also allow investors to track environmental output in real-time. The objective is to help companies meet regional and global environmental standards.

Along with the BIS and HKMA, the tokenized green bonds project is in sync with several other partners. These include GFT Technologies Hong Kong, Swiss-based Digital Asset, the Liberty Consortium, and SC Ventures – the venture capital arm of British banking giant Standard Chartered.

These companies will deploy permissioned blockchains to assist the project. At the same time, Hong Kong-based start-up Allinfra will provide tracking data to help the partners monitor the projects’ real-time environmental impact.

The head of the BIS Innovation Hub Hong Kong Centre, Bénédicte Nolens, explained that the partners would enable investors to provide liquidity for safe government bonds that will go to a good cause by simply downloading an app. Thanks to blockchain capabilities, tracking the bonds and their performance will be transparent.

BIS Looks to Bring CBDCs to Life

Project Genesis will start with design thinking workshops, although development teams are already working on sprints to build the prototypes. Results will be published in Q4 2021.

The launch of the blockchain-based green bonds is the latest blockchain-based affinity for the BIS, which has primarily focused more on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Last month, the BIS and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – published a statement at the G20, arguing that CBDCs are a requirement for global financial developments.

In the joint report, the agencies explained that a cross-border network of CBDCs, which will be underpinned by effective global cooperation and efficient technology, will help the world’s economy.

Amongst other things, the agencies criticized the current cross-border payments system, which remains boggled by long transaction times and high costs as several intermediaries need to process transactions before they are verified. Several intermediaries work across different time zones and banking processes, and corresponding isn’t so easy.

The BIS isn’t just talking but has taken steps to achieve this goal.

In June, its Innovation Hub joined the Bank of France and the Swiss National Bank to test a wholesale CBDC. The project, named “Jura,” will also receive participation from several private companies, led by financial services giant Accenture. Other names include UBS, Credit Suisse, and blockchain giant R3.

The experiment will use two wholesale CBDCs – one pegged to the franc and the other pegged to the euro. Per the report, the exchange will involve exchanging financial instruments against each of the CBDCs via a delivery versus payment settlement structure. Settlement on both sides of the transaction will also be conducted in banks domiciled in both countries.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Compliance Platform Shyft Begins Mainnet Deployment with Binance, Deribit, Tether & Other Exchanges

Crypto Compliance Platform Shyft Begins Mainnet Deployment with Binance, Deribit, Tether & Other Big Exchanges

The project has initiated the phased deployment of Veriscope, which will help VASPs determine the difference between honest transactions and data attacks to comply with FATF’s Travel Rule.

As the cryptocurrency industry gets bigger and bigger and gains mainstream adoption, it is also attracting the attention of regulators who want the crypto-related businesses to implement know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) rules.

As we have seen with major players FTX, Binance, and BitMEX, crypto businesses are increasing their regulatory efforts.

And taking another step toward this is cryptocurrency exchanges BitMEX and Deribit, which has joined crypto compliance platform Shyft. Its Veriscope solution already has Binance, Tether, Huobi, Bitfinex, and many more virtual asset service providers (VASPs) as its clients.

The crypto compliance platform’s Veriscope solution uses smart contracts to identify exchange addresses and privately share KYC data. This solution provides an answer to the problem of discovering who a counterparty VASP is to a transaction, which is not an easy task, said chief compliance officer Malcolm Wright in a statement.

“The Veriscope solution provides for an answer to this problem that causes the least customer friction, whilst at the same time respecting data privacy, data consent, and security to the greatest extent.”

Shyft, which was launched on mainnet a couple of months back, is currently beginning its phased deployment of a decentralized approach to AML rules from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

FATF’s ‘Travel Rule’ guidance requires VASPs and other service providers to report information about customers who are sending and receiving funds over a certain threshold in an attempt to counter money laundering and terrorist financing.

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Author: AnTy

Congressman Reintroduces Bipartisan Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act to Redefine Money Transmitters

Congressman Reintroduces Bipartisan Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act to Redefine Money Transmitters

The redesigned bill aims to provide a “safe harbor” for developers and blockchain services providers in the wake of the infrastructure bill discussion.

U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.) reintroduced the bipartisan Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act to clarify crypto investors by clarifying that non-custodial crypto service providers are not money transmitters.

This redesign aims to remedy the concerning proposed guidance from Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that threatens to stifle blockchain innovation in the US and send it overseas.

This year, the FATF issued draft guidance to expand the definition of virtual asset service provider (VASP) to include the developers or operators of a DeFi platform even if they have no interaction with users.

As such, with this reintroduced Act, Congressman Emmer wants to remove developers and service providers like miners from having to register as money transmitters because they never custody consumer funds.

“Blockchain service providers need clear rules of the road to be able to develop and invest in the United States.”

“It’s imperative that we provide the framework for this technology to thrive, without being limited by outdated rules and overregulation.”

Tom Emmer (R-Minn.)

Last month, Emmer also reintroduced a separate bill called the Securities Clarity Act, that instead of treating crypto assets as securities, would treat them as commodities.

The Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act basically aims to provide a “safe harbor” from all the licensing and registration for developers and certain blockchain services providers, reads the bill.

“The re-introduction of the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act is extremely timely in the wake of the cryptocurrency and infrastructure bill discussion that recently took place.”

Darren Soto (D-Fla.)

This bill is endorsed by the Coin Center, the Blockchain Association, and the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

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Author: AnTy