Japanese Art Commission Platform With Over 1.5M Users is ‘Very Interested’ in Accepting Crypto

Japanese Art Commission Platform With Over 1.5 Million Users Is ‘Very Interested’ in Accepting Crypto as Payment

Japanese artwork commissioning service Skeb took to Twitter to share that it won’t be joining the non-fungible token (NFT) mania.

Last week, Skeb said that it has “no plans to issue NFTs,” and if it does, these digital artworks will belong to the creators. If they issue NFTs to clients, this will be the proof of “I requested it,” but the company noted NFTs can shift ownerships and that “will be meaningless.”

Non-fungible tokens are unique assets stored on a digital ledger that uses blockchain technology to establish a verified and public proof of ownership, and this year they have exploded into popularity and usage, recording more than $10 billion in sales.

“NFTs are now heating up as targets for investment, and creators may be issuing them without fully understanding how they work. It is also important to note that the ownership of NFTs is not in sync with the ownership of arts associated with them,” wrote the company on Twitter.

Skeb further said that NFTs are like museum memorabilia, and they should not be associated with copyrights or real properties. “NFTs should not be used as proofs of ownership of them,” it added.

As of Sept. 25, the company’s total number of registered users exceeded 1.5 million.

While not interested in NFTs, Skeb is “very interested” in using cryptocurrency as a payment method. This payment method will allow them to “keep the freedom of expression without any influence of credit card companies.”

This makes sense given that the platform accepts Visa and MasterCard but can’t accept PayPal as the payment giant doesn’t provide support to them. PayPal actually started offering crypto buying, selling, and storing last year, while Visa and MasterCard have also become crypto-friendly. This year, Visa also joined the NFT trend by buying a CryptoPunk and recently announced an NFT program to help creators.

“It isn’t that Skeb does not accept PayPal. It is that PayPal denied Skeb,” wrote the company on Twitter earlier this year.

As such, the company is actually currently having internal discussions regarding how it can be involved with cryptocurrency.

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Author: AnTy

Consensys, R3, eCurrency, Diem & Other Banking, and Payments Giants to Help BoE with CBDC

BoE Selects Consensys, R3, eCurrency, Diem Association & Other Banking and Payments Giants to Help with its CBDC

This week, the Bank of England announced the membership of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) Engagement and Technology Forums.

The creation of the groups was first announced in April this year alongside the CBDC task force to explore the potential of a UK CBDC.

Besides gathering input on all technical aspects and engaging stakeholders, the Technology Forum will help the bank understand the challenges of designing, implementing, and operating a CBDC.

The list published by the central bank includes some notable names from the world of payments and financial technology.

Members of the Engagement Forum include executives from HSBC, Starling Bank, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank, NatWest Group SWIFT, PayUK, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Google, Facebook’s Diem Association, and many others.

As for Technology Forum, the members are Monzo, Spotify, Stripe, Amazon Web Services, IBM, R3, eCurrency, Consensys, Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), and the Project Lead of Blockchain & Digital Currency at World Economic Forum.

The Technology Forum met for the first time in late September, and the Engagement Forum will have its inaugural meeting later in the year, it said.

“The Forum will have an important role in helping the Bank and HM Treasury understand the practical challenges of designing, implementing, and operating a CBDC.”

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Author: AnTy

Lloyds to Auction off Vehicles from Mad Max FURY Road Film, Crypto Accepted

Lloyds to Auction off Vehicles from Mad Max FURY Road Film, Crypto Accepted

Mad Max Amplifier On Sale For Cryptocurrencies To “Outrun The End Of Civilisation”

The repurposed military truck from Mad Max: Fury Road is now up for an auction.

Titled “High Octane Offers – Expressions of Madness Invited,” the Doof Wagon includes a 4-piece Taiko drum section and a wall of amplifiers strapped on to it. The vehicle is a MAN KAT1, usually implemented by military forces to carry missile systems.

“Blown, super-turbo charged and armed to the teeth with weaponry and War Boys, the machines that outran the end of civilisation have been unearthed in the greatest barn-find ever recorded,” reads its description.

The Doof Wagon, along with other vehicles from the movie, is going up for auction on 26 September 2021 under Lloyd’s Auctioneers And Valuers.

According to the conditions of sale, this “truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to own the entire set of “survivors of the apocalypse that was the filming of FURY ROAD” explicitly mentions that it is accepting cryptocurrencies as payment.

“Payment can be accepted in any currency, including cryptocurrencies as we outrun the end of civilisation.”

Just last week, AMC Entertainment Holdings CEO Adam Aron had said that by the year-end, the theater chain would accept Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for ticket purchases.

This week, Aron also ran a poll asking if they should also add the meme coin Dogecoin (DOGE) to the list of cryptos accepted by them. With more than 77% votes in favor, people want AMC to accept DOGE as payment too.

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Author: AnTy

AMC Entertainment to Accept Bitcoin, Ether, and other Cryptocurrencies as Payment

AMC Entertainment to Accept Bitcoin, Ether, and other Cryptocurrencies as Payment

AMC Entertainment chief executive Adam Aron has said that AMC Theaters will accept Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), for online ticket and concession payments.

“Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know @AMCTheatres has announced we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash,” tweeted Aron on Wednesday.

Earlier last month, during the company’s earnings, call for the period ended June 30, 2021, the CEO had revealed that they plan to accept Bitcoin as a payment for movie tickets and concessions by this year-end.

At the time, Aron also shared that over the past six months, he has been learning about blockchain and cryptocurrency. Additionally, he said they were “intrigued” by potentially lucrative business opportunities for the company if they “intelligently pursue further serious involvement with cryptocurrency.”

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Author: AnTy

Cuba May Authorize Bitcoin Payments for Local Transactions

Cuba May Authorize Bitcoin Payments for Local Transactions

The Central bank of Cuba has announced its intentions to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies in commercial transactions across the country.

Government Agencies Barred From Using Crypto

The Cuban Central Bank (BCC) said in a resolution that the bank must duly authorize the use of Bitcoin in commercial transactions. The new regulation emphasizes that cryptocurrencies may be authorized to be used “for reasons of socio-economic interest.”

However, the BCC noted that government administration agencies are not permitted to use cryptocurrencies in transaction settlements except authorized by the central bank.

Additionally, the bank has established rules to license institutions handling cryptocurrencies in the country. According to the resolution, firms that use virtual assets for operations related to financial, exchange and collection or payment activities must now be licensed to operate.

The BCC also made it clear that financial institutions and other legal entities can only use virtual assets within their sector and with interested members of the public.

However, the BCC also showed off its skepticism regarding digital assets by warning consumers about the risks of virtual money. The bank issued a disclaimer, cautioning users to refrain from investing or transacting with virtual assets due to the volatility issues surrounding the nascent industry.

The BCC also pointed out that cryptocurrencies risk being used to finance criminal activities due to their anonymous nature.

Therefore the bank said that whoever gets involved in these transactions would ultimately bear any civil, criminal, or liabilities involved.

Cubans Turn To Cryptocurrencies

The popularity of cryptocurrencies in Cuba has grown remarkably in the country. The decade-long economic embargo placed by the US alongside the rapidly increasing coronavirus cases has led to thousands of citizens switching to crypto to send money across to loved ones.

The US sanctions against Cuba led to international banks and transfer companies avoiding the island, making remittances difficult for its over 1.7 million citizens. For instance, the world’s largest money transfer service, Western Union, suspended US dollar transfers to Cuba last year.

Reuters reports that countries like Vietnam and Mexico have called on the US to lift this longstanding trade embargo on Cuba but to no avail.

The Central bank’s new resolution indicates that Cuba finally recognizes cryptocurrencies in the country as a legal means, and this is a welcome development. The new cryptocurrency regulations come after citizens staged anti-government protests on the island last month.

Thousands of Cubans had protested against the economic crisis and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and curbs on civil liberties.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Facebook’s Digital Wallet Novi ‘Ready To Come To Market’ Having Secured Approvals In The US

Facebook, whose Payments system is already being used in more than 160 countries in 55 currencies, is beating Twitter, which plans to integrate BTC Lightning Wallet in every account. Meanwhile, Ethereum co-founder is skeptical of both the social media giant’s plans in the crypto space.

“Novi is ready to come to market,” wrote social media giant Facebook’s David Marcus in a blog post. Novi is a digital wallet that is tied to the Diem blockchain-based payment system.

Facebook’s stablecoin project Diem, previously named Libra, was first introduced in June 2019 with the original plan to be backed by a wide mix of fiat currencies and government debt. Now, it’s meant to launch as a stablecoin backed by only the US dollar.

But it ran into resistance from global regulators leading to its rebranding as Diem. In his blog post, Marcus reported the increased obstacles the project has been facing, which is yet to be launched.

Marcus, the former PayPal chief hired by Facebook in 2018 to lead its blockchain efforts, said on Wednesday that the global payments system is flawed, being too slow and too costly, among other things, and they can fix it. And Novi can play an instrumental part in that, he said.

“Change is long overdue. It’ll happen one way or another,” said Marcus, the co-founder of Diem Association, a non-profit consortium overseeing the development of Diem stablecoin.

“We feel that it’s unreasonable to delay delivering the benefits of cheaper, interoperable, more accessible digital payments.”

Marcus noted that they are seeking necessary regulatory clearances and have already secured licenses and approvals for Novi in nearly every state in the US. “We will not launch anywhere we have not yet received such clearances,” he added.

He further said the Diem Association is currently engaged in dialogue with US and global regulators and has addressed every legitimate concern raised so that it can build high-quality and compliant stablecoin with extensive consumer protections.

The Time is Now

Novi, previously called Calibra, is designed to allow users to add money to their wallets that would be converted to a Diem digital currency which then could be sent to others worldwide. But for now, Novi would only start with offering fiat currency within the digital wallet but still, “it would bring people a lot of value,” Marcus said.

Marcus further noted that Facebook is already ‘an actor’ in the payments industry. It has enabled over $100 billion in payments volume in the last four quarters while being used in more than 160 countries for payments in 55 currencies.

“I strongly believe if there was ever a chance to create an open, interoperable protocol for money on the internet and truly change the game for people and businesses around the world, it is now.”

Much like Facebook, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is working on bringing payments to his social media platform. Last week, Dorsey said he is using “Lightning to enable a currency for the internet” by allowing every account on Twitter to link to a Bitcoin Lightning Wallet.

“FB beat twitter to the punch again. And jack owns a crypto currency focused payments company,” tweeted @IamNomad, a cryptocurrency market maker.

However, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is skeptical of both Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s big plans in the cryptocurrency space.

Commenting on Dorsey’s plans to create a new business focused on decentralized financial services using Bitcoin (BTC), Buterin said in an interview with Bloomberg; it doesn’t really have the functionality to do that as it was designed largely to be a “currency of the house.”

This is unlike Ethereum, which allows one to directly put ETH or Ethereum-backed assets into these smart contracts where arbitrary conditions govern how those assets get released, “Jack is basically going to have to create his own system that enforces those rules,” he said.

As for Zuckerberg’s plan to turn Facebook into a “metaverse company,” Buterin pointed to a “huge amount of mistrust” about the social media platform; as such, he recommended Zuckerberg to build on the existing blockchain instead.

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Author: AnTy

AMC Planning ‘Serious Involvement’ in ‘Burgeoning’ Crypto, To Accept Bitcoin by End of 2021

AMC Planning ‘Serious Involvement’ in ‘Burgeoning’ Crypto, To Accept Bitcoin by End of 2021

“Many of our new shareholders also are quite enthusiastic about cryptocurrency,” said the CEO of AMC, with around $1.8 billion in cash and around $2 billion in liquidity.

AMC Entertainment (AMC) is planning to accept Bitcoin as a payment for movie tickets and concessions by the end of the year, said the company’s CEO on an earnings call for the period ended June 30, 2021.

The company aims to become the first theater chain to accept cryptocurrency as a payment option with this move.

Adam Aron, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer shared the plans on Monday while talking about it being high time for AMC to start playing on offense again. And crypto is part of this strategy, as he noted, “Many of our new shareholders also are quite enthusiastic about cryptocurrency.”

The first step towards this is having information technology systems in place to accept BTC online at all of its US theaters.

“I’ve had to learn more in the past six months about blockchain and cryptocurrency than I learned about it in the entire decade before that,” and this increased knowledge has given him the “confidence” to go with this move, said Aron.

But this is not all; while the company has no firm plans in place yet, they are all set to explore the crypto space.

“We also are in the preliminary stage of now exploring how else AMC can participate in this new burgeoning cryptocurrency universe, and we’re quite intrigued by potentially lucrative business opportunity for AMC if we intelligently pursue further serious involvement with cryptocurrency.”

The popular meme stock company is also ready to take part in the gaming opportunity, with the President of Epic Games being a member of the AMC Board of Directors.

“I cannot even count the number of times already that our shareholders have asked us to reach out and partner with GameStop. We’re on the case. More to come.”

In its Q2, 2021 results, AMC actually beat the expectations with loss narrowing at 71 cents than the 91 cents expected and reporting revenue of $444.7 million higher than $382.1 million expected. But the CEO said their journey through the pandemic isn’t finished, and they are “not yet out of the woods.”

AMC said 22 million guests visited its theaters during the second quarter, an increase from 7 million in Q1 but far off of the all-time quarterly record of 97 million tickets sold by AMC in Q2 2019.

“We are not taking a victory lap … We are still losing money; we are still burning cash,” Aron said during the earnings call.

“But we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

As of June 30, AMC had around $1.8 billion in cash and around $2 billion in liquidity available. The company avoided bankruptcy when its theaters were shut last year because it was able to raise cash, in part due to a “meme stock” frenzy.

The retail meme mania has sent the company’s shares surging, which are currently trading at $33.80, halved since the $72.62 peak in early June but still up from about $2 at the beginning of this year.

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Author: AnTy

Fast-food Restaurant Chain Quiznos Starts Accepting Bitcoin In Partnership With Bakkt

Fast-food Restaurant Chain Quiznos Starts Accepting Bitcoin In Partnership With Bakkt

Sandwich Shop Quiznos has teamed up with digital asset marketplace Bakkt Holdings to allow their customers to pay with the cryptocurrency.

Quiznos will be using Bakkt App, the digital wallet service of Bakkt, to roll out the new crypto payment options in the coming weeks at several of its selected locations across Denver, including “the high-traffic Denver airport location.”

Partnering with Bakkt will allow them to accept BTC directly at the point of sale and enable quick and seamless transactions, said Mark Lohmann, President of REGO Restaurant Group, which owns Quiznos, in a statement.

“As we continue our digital transformation journey and respond to mobile and millennial consumer demand for alternative and cryptocurrency payment options, we are excited to offer yet another accessible way for customers to buy a meal.”

Customers will have to download the Bakkt App, buy BTC, and use it to purchase their Quiznos meal. They will also get $15 worth of BTC as a reward.

While starting with just a few locations, if the pilot performs well, this new capability can potentially be expanded to additional Quiznos locations across the country as well.

Through this partnership, “we are… bringing bitcoin utility to the mainstream consumer market,” said Sheela Zemlin, Chief Revenue Officer at Bakkt.

The crypto firm launched its consumer app recently, and at the end of March, the Bakkt App was released for iOS and Android. Initially, it supported about 200 different brands, including Best Buy, Starbucks, Fiserv, and others.

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Author: AnTy

Dash Releases App for Retail Commerce Payments Using DASH Token

Dash Releases App for Retail Commerce Payments Using DASH Token

The developers of the DASH cryptocurrency have launched a retail-focused app that will help customers to spend the cryptocurrency at retail and online shops across the United States.

In a press release shared earlier this week, the blockchain-based payments network confirmed that its app – called DashDirect – will help improve commercial payments and, most importantly, grow adoption for the asset.

DashDirect – Payments With DASH Made Easy

As the release explained, DashDirect will allow customers to shop at over 155,000 physical store locations and 125 online platforms across the United States.

Some big names – including Home Depot, BestBuy, Chipotle, and Staples – are part of those that will allow the service’s use. Speaking to news sources, Marshall Greenwood, DashDirect’s chief executive, explained that it will also offer sizable savings on products purchased through its interface.

As the executive explained, DashDirect is a non-custodial app. By leveraging Dash’s payment technology, the app will offer instant, low-cost payment capacities – especially for crypto micro-transactions.

So customers will be able to hold and control their DASH tokens from the app. It will also include a tipping feature and a dashboard for users to track their savings and expenses.

Greenwood pointed out that all users have to do is enter the amount of money they would like to pay on DashDirect. Immediately, the platform calculates a discount of up to 12 percent. Greenwood added that the primary objective is to make it as easy to spend DASH as it is to spend the dollar – whether physically or online. But, with DASH offering efficient and low-cost transactions, customers will enjoy impressive savings that aren’t available with the American fiat.

The CEO also pointed out that they are expanding their partner retailers, languages, and customer support.

Dash Working on Seamless Payment Integration

DashDirect is the latest in Dash’s efforts to boost adoption of the asset and optimize payments. Back in January, the Dash Core Group announced several updates to its smartphone app and the DashPay smartphone wallet.

DashPay is a social crypto payments wallet with human-readable addresses. As the January announcement explained, the development work for v0.17 of the app had been moved to the testnet phase. The Dash Core Group had been looking towards releasing the app before 2020, but delays in employment had pushed the work back.

Dana Alibrandi, the Head of Product at Dash, explained that DashPay is the biggest deployment of the Dash Platform. Its release will mark the biggest milestone in Dash’s long-term ambition for mainstream adoption.

With v0.17 now in testnet, Dash is looking towards v0.18 and some additional items on its agenda. The upgrade will feature more protocol involvements for light clients and greater functionalities for its Android and iOS apps.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Central Bank CBDC’s Could Enhance Cross Border Payments: BIS, IMF, World Bank at G20

Central Bank CBDC’s Could Enhance Cross Border Payments: BIS, IMF, World Bank at G20

While Central banks seem to be focusing more on the domestic use of cross-border networks of central bank digital currencies (CBDC), the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) believes CBDCs should be used beyond borders.

CBDC Proposed At G20

In a report published alongside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the BIS proposed a cross-border network of CBDCs to the G20.

Although cross-border networks are usually criticized for their high cost, low speed, limited access, and insufficient transparency, the global finance triumvirate believe CBDC could change that.

The report analyzed how CBDCs could facilitate enhanced cross-border payments through integration and cooperation. This includes basic compatibility tests and finding common ground between various national efforts in order to reap the full benefits of digital currencies.

The report then dwelled on the importance of interoperability between CBDCs since various CBDCs would roll out at different paces in several jurisdictions.

“If different jurisdictions’ CBDC projects are coordinated effectively, the clean slate presented by CBDCs might be leveraged to enhance cross-border payments,” the paper explained.

While no central bank has launched a CBDC yet, most CBDC studies and development efforts from the apex banks have been largely focused on domestic use and not cross-border payments.

When central banks were asked earlier this year whether they were thinking of exploring CBDCs’ cross-border use, the majority said no.

The survey which was carried out in the first quarter of 2021 with 50 central banks as participants showed that most central banks have not yet taken a firm position on the CBDC issue.

While more than 25% were considering allowing retail CBDC use by non-residents, 14 and nearly 20% said that they are not yet considering this but may do so in the future. Only 8% of the central banks initially considered allowing cross-border retail issued CBDC, while others said they might do so in the future.

Central Banks Exploring CBDCs

Several central banks around the world are currently working on studying or developing pilot tests for digital fiat. Different countries seem to have taken different approaches to CBDCs in terms of design, research, and development efforts.

China’s digital yuan is still leading the game. The country has distributed more than 200 million yuan in digital currency as part of pilot projects across the country. It has conducted trials of its digital currency across different provinces, including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan, and Chengdu.

China also intends to test its digital yuan with foreign athletes and visitors during the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held in 2022.

Many countries have also piloted CBDCs for cross-border use. This includes France, Switzerland, Singapore, and Bahrain among others.

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Author: Jimmy Aki