Major US Banking Regulators Finish “Policy Print” and Release 2022 Crypto Roadmap

Major US Banking Regulators Finish “Policy Print” and Release 2022 Crypto Roadmap

Top US banking regulator said on Tuesday that banks must seek and obtain written permission from their bank supervisors before engaging in cryptocurrencies.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said that before taking on activities like providing custody services for crypto assets, banks must demonstrate they have appropriate risk management tools.

“I said the next few years will be the most important in the history of crypto policy,” commented Jake Chervinsky, head of Policy Blockchain Association. “Here’s proof: the major US banking regulators just finished a crypto “policy sprint” & say 2022 will be a big year. Get ready.”

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and OCC released a joint statement, saying that they see the potential opportunities presented by the emerging crypto asset sector, but at the same time, they recognize the risks for banking organizations, their customers, and the overall financial system.

To provide clarity, the agencies recently conducted a series of inter-agency “policy sprints” focused on crypto and are now providing a roadmap of future planned work.

The focus of the sprint work included developing a commonly understood vocabulary, identifying and assessing key risks, including considering legal permissibility related to potential crypto activities conducted by banking organizations, and analyzing the applicability of existing regulations and guidance.

The staff also reviewed and analyzed activities banks may be interested in, such as crypto asset custody, facilitation of customer purchases and sales of crypto, loans collateralized by crypto, activities involving payments and stablecoins, and those that may result in the holding of crypto on a banking organization’s balance sheet.

The agencies said they would also evaluate the application of capital and liquidity standards to crypto for US banks. In addition, they will continue to engage with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and other relevant authorities.

“Based on this preliminary and foundational staff-level work, the agencies have identified a number of areas where additional public clarity is warranted.”

As a result, the agencies have developed this roadmap for cryptocurrencies. Throughout 2022, they plan to provide greater clarity on whether certain crypto-related activities conducted by banks are permissible, compliance with existing laws and regulations, and expectations for safety and soundness.

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Author: AnTy

Balancer Labs Launches V2 With Promises Lower Fees, Higher Yields, and Easy Interface

Balancer Labs, a DeFi protocol operating on the Ethereum blockchain, said in a press release that its long-awaited V2 is live.

Balancer’s Governance Execution

The project, which has been one year in development, will see the automated market maker (AMM) switch its governance execution to a community multi-sig.

This will see new signers like Jake Brukhman of CoinFund, David Hoffman with Bankless, Alexander Langer of Inflection, and eight more signers forming the new community.

Alongside this, the upgrade comes with a new clean user interface to make it simpler for users to execute trades. Also, the V2 offering will see users enjoy lower gas fees, faster exchanges, and improved liquidity – major challenges the Ethereum network is hoping to address with its ETH 2.0 launch.

Speaking about the expected gas savings the upgrade will facilitate, Balancer Labs said users would enjoy a 40% gas reduction fee for simple swaps. They will also get a 53% gas reduction fee if they execute trades with internal balances.

Balancer Labs also noted that all liquidity pools would be managed within a single vault in the new V2.

However, Balancer Labs says users should continue using the V1 pool since it provides the best prices. This is until enough liquidity is moved to the new V2 protocol. The development team notes that once enough liquidity is in the latest version, all trades would be routed through its Protocol Vault so users will enjoy low gas costs and better pricing.

Concerning V2 liquidity mining, Balancer Labs said liquidity providers (LPs) would switch to a new and trustless program to mine its native token BAL. This will see LPs stake positions in different pools to receive BAL. Balancer said these pools are divided into three tiers, and each tier slot will be getting a fixed amount of BAL token per week.

DeFi Is Booming

In the run-up to its V2 launch, Balancer Labs highlighted the key contributions of a few industry players and said it had signed agreements with a few. Some of its launch partners are Gnosis which handled its user experience focusing on price, UX, and transparency. Others are Ocean Protocol, Element Finance, Aave, Gyroscope, PowerPool, Enzyme Finance, and Techemy Capital.

AMMs like Balancer Labs are hugely popular in the DeFi sub-sector, given their competitive prices and user-friendliness. In a new report by DeFi data aggregator DeFi Pulse, the UniSwap rival has racked up over $2.77 billion total value locked (TVL) in the last 90 days.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Swipe Founder Burns All His Allocated Holdings ($200M), Reduces SXP Supply by 17.5%

Swipe Founder Burns All His Allocated Holdings ($200M), Reduces SXP Supply by 17.5%

Ahead of the release of Swipe V2 white paper, Joselito Lizarondo, Swipe Founder & CEO who has also founded the BSC-based lending protocol Venus, shared his decision to burn all of his 60 million SXP.

10 million SXP tokens were already burned last year; the remaining are currently worth $229 million at a current price of $4.58 per SXP.

Lizarondo shared that he is still compensated in SXP, which he holds. Any SXP earned in revenue from now on will be held on the company’s balance sheet for a long period of time, said the CEO.

By burning his entire founder supply, the total supply of SXP has been reduced by 17.5%, with an end goal of having only 100 million SXP in supply. Currently, the maximum supply is 285 million, as per Coingecko. Lizarondo said,

“This benefits the Swipe token holders from a scarcity point of view and lets me focus on my health and working with the team to push our products successfully.”

Binance currently has a large portion of SXP that it received during the acquisition. These are unlocked and, according to Lizarondo, sitting on their balance sheet. The Team treasury, meanwhile, will remain under time lock monthly release.

The company is also introducing new tokenomics for the SXP token. SXP will serve as payment currency for services rendered to its partners and as a governance token for Swipechain Network and AMM.

Swipe is now focused on V2, which is the final version, and there will be no more changes.

Version 2 aims to create a bridge between crypto and commerce for business partners paid in SXP and build a fully cross-chain decentralized automated market maker (AMM) powered by SXP.

Swipe’s business API currently powers FTX Card and Binance Card.

It is also planning to introduce a Swipe Reward Token (SRT) to Swipe Swap.

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Author: AnTy

Digital Yuan Is Closing In On A Full Release As Major Institutions Start Using The CBDC

Digital Yuan Is Closing In On A Full Release As Major Institutions Start Using The CBDC

  • Alibaba’s Ant Group partnered with PBoC to develop China’s CBDC report.
  • The digital yuan could overpower the influence of WeChat Pay and AliPay in the future.
  • More institutions are adopting the CBDC as a form of payment.

Ant Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary by Alibaba, has been partnering with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) on the central bank digital currency, popular as CBDC, a report from South China for the past four years China Morning Post reads.

This information was revealed over the weekend at a Digital China Summit in Fuzhou. MYbank, a mobile fintech app by Ant Group, was the intermediary to distribute the digital yuan since 2017. Additionally, the central bank’s main research institute, China Digital Currency Institute, picked up the app in mid-2019 to choose consumers to spend, pay and receive the CBDC.

“Ant Group, together with MYbank, will continue to support the research, development, and trial of PBOC’s e-CNY,” a representative familiar with the matter commented.

The influence of the CBDC is unquestionable across China with the trials conducted over major cities are well received by the population. At the core of the growing adoption rates is the support of China’s large banks such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, HSBC, and the China Construction Bank, all of who have taken part in the trial phase of the digital yuan.

To further boost adoption, several large banks are promoting the use of the digital yuan in an upcoming festival on May 5th over the use of platforms such as WeChat Pay and AliPay. The banks are urging the population to download a digital wallet and purchase the digital CBDC, also known as e-CNY in a bid to make their payments “more convenient,” a representative said.

The continuous push towards a digital yuan controlled by the central banks will reduce the control and dominance private companies such as AliPay and Wechat have in mobile payments. To curtail big-company dominance in holding financial data, the Chinese government will launch a full public version of the e-CNY later in the year to battle with the private corporations.

All in all, big institutions have started embracing the CBDC as a form of currency boosting transactions within the country. JD.com, a China-based e-commerce company, announced Monday that some of their employees have started accepting to be paid using the digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) system.

Having participated in the DCEP trials, JD.com integrated the payment solution earlier this year in its business while paying some of its expenses using the digital yuan, a CNBC report stated

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Author: Lujan Odera

NFT’s Are All the Rage; Charmin to Release First-Ever Non-Fungible Token by a Toilet Paper Brand

NFT’s Are All the Rage; Charmin to Release First-Ever Non-Fungible Token by a Toilet Paper Brand

After Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Quartz, the toilet paper brand Charmin has joined the hot trend of launching NFTs as well.

Manufactured by Procter & Gamble, Charmin announced last week that they are rolling out their first-ever non-fungible token by a toilet paper brand because “Sometimes a better bathroom experience goes beyond the seat.”

Currently, there are six digital collectibles on sale on the NFT marketplace Rarible, with the bids on them ranging between 0.3 WETH to 1.25 WETH. As of writing, 1 WETH is worth $1,790.

Each of the virtual rolls comes with a physical display whose proceeds will be donated to Direct Relief.

Charmin is no stranger to joining the up-and-coming trends, as just last year, it released a Bluetooth-enabled robot that delivers toilet paper to the bathroom when users run out.

NFTs are all the rage right now, exploding in popularity this year as people spend millions of dollars on digital collectibles. Interest in NFTs, as per Google Trends, is now outpacing decentralized finance (DeFi) by a wide margin.

Just last week, Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes also jumped in by announcing a selection of NFT artworks and collectibles, which raked in $3.4 Million in a matter of 30 minutes. All of this NFT mania has the shares of the companies hopping on the NFT trend also enjoying an explosive performance.

Prices of shipping and logistics company Sino-Global Shipping America have risen over 300% this year. In recent weeks, the $123 million market cap company said it would accept BTC as payment and that it will launch an exchange for NFTs with e-commerce public chain CyberMiles.

Another company, pipe maker ZK International Group, said its subsidiary xSigma Corp would develop an NFT marketplace, resulting in its stocks surging, up 240% YTD.

One of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, collectibles, and others, auction company Sotheby’s is also working with anonymous digital artist PAK. “It’s still very early with crypto art in general,” said CEO Charles Stewart on NFTs. “This has the potential to bypass a lot of the traditional gatekeepers.

According to the crypto market, NFTs are just the beginning “as a new form of value storage and transmission.”

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Author: AnTy

Palm Beach Research Analyst, Teeka Tiwari to Release His Next Pick for Trillion-Dollar Crypto

Palm Beach Research Analyst, Teeka Tiwari to Release His Next Cryptocurrency Prediction to Hit A Trillion-Dollars

The analyst who picked Bitcoin (BTC) at $428 in 2016 is set to announce the next Trillion dollar cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency market faces one of its greatest bull markets in recent history as demand for cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and decentralized finance (DeFi) keeps growing. Bitcoin (BTC), the largest crypto, is trading at $58,823, as of writing, placing it at a $1.097 Trillion dollar market capitalization after a solid 948% growth in the past year.

Palm Beach Research Group’s Teeka Tiwari, a crypto enthusiast, and an analyst will be releasing his prediction of a new crypto will soon join Bitcoin in the Trillion dollar market cap bracket. In an upcoming webinar event, “Crypto’s Next Trillion Dollar Coin,” set to be held on March 31, 2021, at 8 PM ET, Tiwari will reveal the next cryptocurrency and “where he believes the real money will be made in the crypto boom of 2021”.

According to the Palm Beach Research Group website, Teeka’s shows and webinars in the past have helped investors make insane profits in crypto and he intends to create the same results for his followers in the upcoming webinar.

Teeka Tiwari is a former hedge fund manager and a Wall Street executive who has made a name among crypto circles. He has been a regular contributor to the FOX Business Network. He has appeared on FOX News Channel, CNBC, ABC’s Nightline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and international television networks.

Teeka was an early Bitcoin adopter, having bought his first Bitcoin at $428 in 2016 and calling a Trillion dollar market cap.

Investment analysis research firm, Palm Beach Research Group, offers retail and institutional clients a range of investment advice products (both paid and free), including the “Palm Beach Daily,” “Palm Beach Insider,” and “The Palm Beach Letter.” The company employs some of the top investment analysts from Wall Street and top financial firms globally.

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Author: Lujan Odera

NEM Group Launches ‘Interoperable’ Public Blockchain For Enterprise Users

Blockchain company NEM Group has announced the release of a new public blockchain called Symbol, per a press release today.

Symbol With Atomic Swap Capabilities

The project comes with enterprise-grade programmability and security. It will enable development teams and businesses to execute projects with minimal costs and without complexities.

Its hybrid chain structure layout will enable native compatibility with both public and private chain deployments, providing developers with the option of working with their preferred chain setup. Businesses would also be empowered to create permissioned ecosystems on private networks to store confidential information while still keeping in contact with public blockchains.

According to NEM, Symbol was created with interoperability in mind. The upgrade will see developers leverage on its state-of-the-art Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to easily integrate with existing systems and blockchains, making the shift much easier for them.

Symbol will also enable cross-chain atomic-swaps, allowing users to transfer digital tokens between the network and other blockchains. This is a major plus as atomic swaps allow users to send and receive data (usually a coin) without the presence of an intermediary.

NEM’s Symbol blockchain would also enable decentralized applications (DeFi), security tokens, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its network. This feature dubbed “mosaics” would enable creating custom tokens, shares of stocks, signatures, votes, and others. Each mosaic would operate on a unique identifier, making it easy for the network to monitor its use.

Speaking on the launch, NEM Group’s CEO David Shaw said Symbol’s development results from key learnings the company gleaned from its NEM NIS1 public network. Symbol takes this further by providing a simple blockchain enterprise solution focused primarily on building use cases in the wider blockchain ecosystem.

Symbol would also be introducing what it termed a “delegated financial authority” protocol which would enable on-chain, multi-layer, multi-signature accounts. This feature would greatly streamline business processes like payroll management, according to CTO of NEM Software Kristy-Leigh Minehan. Minehan also said Symbol aims to reduce the chasm between public and private blockchains in the ecosystem.

NEM Group Moves Into CBDCs With Symbol

During the launch, the blockchain technology company said it is already moving into the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) space announcing a partnership with LBCOIN– the world’s first blockchain-based digital coin collector issued by the Bank of Lithuania working on NEM’s platform.

LBCOIN first made a foray into the digital space working with NEM NIS1 in July 2020, with the Lithuanian apex bank issuing 4,000 LBCOIN, equaling 24,000 digital tokens and 4,000 physical collector coins. Symbol’s subsequent launch would see the digital coin collector migrate to leverage on the platform’s more sophisticated offerings.

The team says its NEM NIS1 protocol would still be operational catering to development teams, while its new Symbol blockchain would see enterprise-facing businesses.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Law Firm Warns That IRS Is Cracking Down On Coinbase Users Evading Taxes

David W. Klasing, a boutique Californian tax firm, had its Tax Law Office issue out a public release. This release warned investors that the US Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, is going to start a severe bout with users of Coinbase.

Time To Right Your Wrongs

The dual-licensed capital allowance specialist and tax lawyers of the firm state that IRS enforcement activity has begun to increase against Coinbase users, in particular, that fail to comply with the reporting and tax requirements.

The firm warned that tax evaders run the risk of serious criminal and civil trouble going down the line. Urging anyone that has failed, truthfully or otherwise, to report their virtual currency holdings in their past returns, they should correct this now. The same goes for anyone that had filed a misleading or otherwise incomplete picture of your respective cryptocurrency holdings. The firm stated that when the IRS mandates an audit or criminal tax investigation, it’s too late to make amends or use the voluntary disclosure program.

US Agencies Going Hard Against Coinbase Tax Evaders

In October, Coinbase had released a new transparency report, which the law firm claims must be a major wakeup call for the various users of the exchange. The report itself made it incredibly clear that both the Criminal Investigation Unit, the CIA, and the FBI, not to mention the IRS, are filing information requests with the exchange.

The uptick in the IRS doing enforcement activity against Coinbase users dodging tax, in particular, makes it clear that the exchange itself is now working closely with the federal authorities.

Coinbase Not Refusing IRS Demands

The firm noted that the data the IRS requested, as shown by the October report, makes it clear that the agency is expressly investigating these transactions and comparing it to its own taxpayer data. From there, it’s a simple matter of finding discrepancies and then hunting down those Coinbase users who thought it’d be easy to dodge the taxman.

As is already reported, the US courts seemed to be on the IRS’s side, upholding its authority when it comes to summoning comprehensive financial records and data as part of their respective investigations within Coinbase and its users.

Always An Agenda

It should be noted, however, that the tax law firm had a very clear agenda through doing this warning. At the end of its warning, it stressed the skill of its tax attorneys and CPAs, promising the best possible advice for any “errors” someone could have done in that position. Further promises range from preventing future “mistakes” and mitigating any damages for things that already happened.

As the crypto industry at large becomes more and more regulated, it’s a natural expression that taxation will become the norm. Make no mistake, this is a financial asset, and speculation could reap some serious rewards for those with their ears on the ground. As such, the government will demand its cut, as it demands it from any other booming industry.

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Author: Ali Raza

Ethereum 2.0 Devs Debate On The Legitimacy Of The Just-Launched ETH 2.0 Deposit Contract

Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain is nearing full mainnet release as developers announce an unconfirmed launch of the deposit contract. However, some developers have strongly warned against sending your ether (ETH) tokens to the contract before the official announcement from ETH 2.0 lead developers.

As the crypto social media world remains glued to the U.S. Presidential Election, Ethereum enthusiasts are rejoicing on the “possible” launch of the long-awaited Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract. Following the successful launch of the Zinken testnet, ETH 2.0 focused developers have continuously teased at the launch of Beacon Chain – Phase 0 – starting with the deposit contract.

A deposit contract was apparently posted on GitHub, gaining support from some developers on Ethereum as excitement levels across the community hit peak levels. No official announcement from the lead ETH 2.0 developers has surfaced yet.

The deposit contract will allow users to switch their “ETH 1.0” tokens to the proof of stake ETH tokens. This will lay the groundwork and foundation for users to start staking on the platform and earn rewards.

The contract was apparently posted from lead Ethereum Foundation developer Carl Beekhuizen’s GitHub account, making a case for the release of ‘v1.0.0 eth2.0-deposit-cli’. However, a section of the community has raised doubts on whether Carl’s account is hacked or compromised – with no other channel or developer reporting the release.

Despite the mainstream focus on the U.S Presidential elections, the Ethereum community still celebrated one of ETH 2.0 major steps to a full launch in 2020. A lead developer at ConsenSys, Ben Edgington, however, is cautioning users on sending their cash to the deposit smart contract yet stating the launch will be in the coming “hours.”

Afri Schoedon, a long time Ethereum contributor, previously stated the Beacon Chain would launch in November – a prospect that is increasingly looking to be true. Speaking to Coindesk, David Rugendyke, from ETH 2 staking DApp Rocket Pool cautioned the ETH community that the deposit contract would take a while, but it’s earing its mainnet launch soon. He said,

“This is a tool for generating keys needed for making deposits on the ETH2 deposit contract.

So it looks like they’re announcing this tool is ready to go for mainnet, at least that’s my take.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Working Group to Release FATF Travel Rule Whitepaper Framework For Sharing User Info

Leading crypto exchanges will release whitepapers in August that will detail a collaborative approach towards complying with the FATF Travel Rule. It has now been one year since this rule came into action with a recent review to assess progress on compliance. While it emerged that most Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) have yet to fulfill its requirements, this might soon change according to Coinbase’s CCO, Jeff Horowitz.

Speaking at the Global Finance Event last week, Horowitz confirmed that a project was indeed underway to ease the burden of compliance brought about by FATF guidelines. The anticipated whitepaper will introduce a framework that crypto exchanges can rely on to share data via P2P networks in a transparent manner. It will also highlight the ‘bulletin board’ which will be fundamental in the whole data sharing processes.

The board will allow network participants to share information such as addresses through a claim of the data by one of the parties. In doing so, the working group is optimistic that the participants will be able to share data via P2P networks as well as prevent hackers from compromising the ecosystem. Crypto news site, TheBlock, has since reported that other exchanges, including Bittrex, Kraken, and Gemini, are part of the group working on a solution to the FATF Travel Rule compliance.

Other Travel Rule Compliance Initiatives

The Travel Rule, which essentially requires any amount above $1,000 to travel along with the sender’s data, has undoubtedly put VASPs on toes to come up with cost-efficient solutions.

On this note, BitGo recently launched a Travel Rule compliance product through an extension of its internal APIs. The exchange’s clients have since been asked to provide additional information so that BitGo can, in turn, report this under the FATF guidelines as well as share the information with other VASP providers.

To make this possible, BitGo further upgraded its API’s to be compatible with the IVMS101 standard also launched to harmonize communication between VASPs for better compliance of the Travel Rule.

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Author: Edwin Munyui