French Multinational Bank to Launch a Digital Euro Pilot Using Tezos Blockchain

Blockchain firm Tezos has been selected to spearhead the French central bank’s digital currency pilot program, one of a kind in Europe.

Societe Generale – Forge, a tech startup founded by French investment bank giant Societe Generale, has opted for Tezos to spearhead the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program.

The French central bank Banque de France selected Societe Generale – Forge in July after a successful review of applicants in development of a CBDC to ease interbank settlements. France is carrying out an experiment to become the first European country to launch a digital Euro.

Tezos is a peer-to-peer public blockchain that has features such as on-chain governance, capacity to verify smart contracts as well as consensus algorithm that is primed on proof of stake. The blockchain platform comes with a vibrant ecosystem inclusive of research and development offshoot dubbed Nomadic Labs that is located in Paris and will play a vital role for the CBDC piloting. Nomadic Labs President, Michel Mauny explained about the deal:

“The Tezos project, strengthened by its technical capabilities, its adaptability, and its strong community, is already present in various projects, both in France and abroad. We are especially pleased to see this technology selected by Societe Generale – Forge, and to reaffirm, once again, that the quality and expertise of our engineering is rewarded.”

Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Banque de France’s governor, in December last year said that he was optimistic that France will be the inaugural European country to offer digital currency. The governor explained that the central bank is exploring how technology can be leveraged in enhancement of the financial markets more so when it comes to interbank regulations.

Although France seems to be on the forefront in development of a CBDC, other European countries such as Italy, Netherlands and Lithuania are also exploring the idea of CBDC. Additionally, the European Central Bank is also working on trials although details remain scanty.

Currently, Tezos is only one of the handful public blockchain platforms participating in development of a CBDC that could culminate to a digital euro.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Algorand To Record Chess Player Data And Ratings For FIDE Online Arena on Its Blockchain

The official online Body of Chess has selected Algorand’s blockchain platform to record FIDE Online Arena World Chess Player’s data, which would include ratings and titles of players updated in real-time. People would be able to view the details of the online chess tournaments with a click of a button.

FIDE was founded in 1942, and it acts as a governing body for the sport of Chess and also responsible for creating various international chess tournaments. Fide Online Arena is the server which is often used to host official online tournaments and world champions where participants can earn global ratings and titles.

Silvio Micali, the founder of Algorand, also played a game of Chess against grandmaster Sergey Karjakin as the inaugural game for the FIDE Online Arena, and was recorded on the Algorand’s blockchain and broadcasted via World Chess.

Ilya Merenzon, CEO of World Сhess, commented on the decision to move to blockchain stating that it would bring more transparency in record keeping. He said:

“It’s exciting to continue bringing innovation to Chess. The advent of digital games on the internet made Chess more popular than before, and now we can’t wait to further explore blockchain innovation for digital Chess.”

How Algorand’s Blockchain Would be Utilized?

The Official online body of Chess aims to use Algornad’s blockchain to store game results and verify player’s ratings in a way that cannot be manipulated or altered. World Chess would also make use of the blockchain ledger to develop new reward systems and offer incentives to players in using the internal currency.

Blockchain-based ledger would help World Chess to explore the extents of blockchain technology, and they would also like to examine various aspects of the nascent technology.

Sean Ford, COO of Algorand, called their association with World Chess as a historical event and believe the blockchain technology would not only help World Chess to create a robust system for record-keeping but also help in mainstream adoption of the decentralized tech. He said:

“This historical moment brings the blockchain community one step closer to mainstream adoption, as a widely popular competitive game like chess leverages distributed ledger technology to serve as the official record for the trust of millions of online chess players and fans.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

ConsenSys Codefi Staking Service Launches Institutional Testing Ahead of Ethereum 2.0 Launch

Binance and Huobi exchange are part of a six-institution team selected by leading Ethereum developer, ConsenSys, to test the upcoming ETH 2.0 staking service. The testing period will allow the developers to find the best iterations to enable the institutions to successfully conduct staking on Ethereum’s upcoming upgrade.

ConsenSys launches testing for Codefi Staking

ConsenSys backed, Codefi Staking project announced the release of its first ETH 2.0 staking-as-a-service platform to six institutions including Binance,, Huobi Wallet, Trustology, MaxiPort, and DARMA Capital. This is the first release of its kind with the platforms expected to return feedback on several components during the testing phase.

ConsenSys developers, led by enterprise-focused, PegaSys, built the Codefi Staking platform coding in Java programming language using Teku.

Speaking on the launch of the test phase, Tim Lowe, the project manager of the Codefi staking platform, expects feedback on users’ responses on the payments of rewards on the amount staked in ETH or fiat fee, custodial services’ security protocols once the ETH 2.0 proof-of-stake (PoS) launches, and finally the ease of API integration on the platform.

‘Enterprise focused platform’

The Codefi Staking platform is focused on providing a powerful ETH 2.0 staking platform to blockchain-based enterprises such as exchanges, custodial services, hedge funds, etc. Lowe believes ETH 2.0 holds a lot of potential, given the current demand for such services. Lowe said,

“I think anybody who is holding any crypto assets and is aware of Ethereum generally is starting to look at Eth 2.0 and staking. It’s still early but the interest is there across the board.”

The pricing is yet to be set for the institutions waiting to use the platform as a SaaS, Time Lowe said. However, the price will not be their selling point, Lowe explained;

“From a staking point of view, we are not going to be the cheapest, but we’re also not going to be the most expensive.”

Is Custodial staking good for users?

Codefi’s platform focuses on exchanges and custodians but some sections of the community believe better options are available. Binance currently offers staking services for a number of PoS coins including Tezos, Algorand, and Cosmos without the need to own a whole node.

The Codefi staking service is only focused on Ethereum staking, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Binance founder said. He hopes to replicate the user-friendly features on its staking such as “low fee staking or minimum staking amounts” into Ethereum staking. Speaking on Codefi’s test phase CZ said,

“Users deserve the rewards that their coins can earn them. With the eventual launch of Ethereum 2.0, we are excited to support staking for all of our ETH holders on Binance.”

Exchanges and custodians offer users a direct gateway into staking while allowing the use of assets to trade and transact without affecting the staking rewards.

Mirko Schmiedl, founder and CEO of Staking Rewards, however, holds a negative view on leaving the exchanges to fully control your staking. In addition to not having control over the governance decisions, “it’s not possible to store a staked asset on Binance and then use it as collateral in BlockFi or Maker to take out a loan,” Mirko said.

This increases the centralization of power over certain blockchains to exchanges beating the purpose of PoS governance systems.

‘Codefi staking rewards to come in two years’

Codefi Staking will be integrated into Ethereum’s “intermediate phase” allowing users to earn staking rewards before the official launch of ETH 2.0.

As the Eth 2.0 is in preparation to launch, an intermediate phase (“ETH 1.5”) will be adopted to ease the transition from the Ethereum 1.x version as the PoS system cannot be directly compatible with the old proof of work system. This phase of moving from ETH 1.x to ETH 2.0 will take approximately two years.

The rewards gained during the intermediate phase will be accessible to the users only upon the launch of the Ethereum PoS network.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum Wallet App, Argent, Rolls Out of Beta Mode; Using Guardians Not Seed Phrases

Argent, an Ethereum wallet app which has been available in its beta version for a selected few customers is all set to make a public launch on both Android and iOS platforms, reported TechCrunch.

The Ethereum wallet app has also secured seed and Series A funding round from notable investors such as Firstminute Capital, Index Ventures, Creandum and Paradigm, raising a total of $16 million. The wallet is supposed to have excellent security features as well as seamless compatibility with Ethereum’s popular Defi platforms.

Argent is a non-custodial wallet where the user has full access to, and control over their keys. The wallet app also promises to offer a smooth and easy to use experience for its customers, keeping all technical complexities such as managing the seed phrase behind the curtains.

In general non-custodial wallets and even hardware wallets, which are supposedly one of the most secure forms of crypto wallets available, require the users to separately note down the seed phrase on a piece of paper and then keep it safe to recover the wallet. This process can be confusing and complicated for the users who are new to the crypto space, and thus Argent aims to eradicate this complexity.

Argent, instead of using a seed phrase, introduces a new concept called ‘Guardian.’ A Guardian could be another hardware wallet device or even a metamask account. The user can confirm their guardians via an email or a text message, and when they lose access to their Argent wallet, they can recover it via their guardian account or device.

The Guardian would not just be there for recovery. An Argent user can do a lot of other things with their Guardians: like setting a transaction limit or even locking your account in case the user loses their phone.

Argent aims to become an integral part of the growing Ethereum ecosystem and support everything associated with the ecosystem. The wallet app has been created, keeping the ease of use as the primary focus.

Apart from hiding complexities involved in setting up a crypto wallet, the wallet would also cover the transaction fee, so that the user doesn’t have to worry whether their transaction would be processed. Defi is the latest trend of the crypto space; the wallet app will integrate dozens of Defi protocols and platforms to make it quick and straightforward to use the defi ecosystem as well.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Shyft Network To Help Top Crypto Exchange Binance Comply With FATF’s Travel Rule

The world’s largest crypto exchange platform, Binance, has selected Shyft Network, the public blockchain protocol, to help with the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) requirements.

The Shyft Network was initially developed as a peer-to-peer solution for players within the cryptocurrency space to adhere to international compliance requirements within the stringent FATF ‘travel rule’.

Before Shyft, There was no Infrastructure in Place

Samuel Lin, the Chief Compliance Officer at Binance, stated that before the development of the Shyft platform, there was no other infrastructure that companies could use to fulfill the FATF’s rules where it related to cryptocurrencies.

In 2019, the FATF published fresh guidance directed towards Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) which will come into force by the end of June this year.

This new travel rule requires VASPs to conduct a thorough Know Your Customer (KYC) process and to share that information during transactions.

Former FATF executive, Rick McDonell, now Shyft’s top advisor, stated that the new deal will allow the crypto industry to evolve and interact more effectively with regulatory agencies.

McDonell also suggested that other exchanges should follow Binance’s lead in addressing compliance requirements, especially the FATF new travel rule.

Brave New World? What Shyft Aims to Accomplish

The Shyft Network aims to support crypto startups in adhering to an industry-wide solution to the FATF’s new requirements.

The firm is encouraging crypto businesses to utilize its suite of solutions like identity passporting, data attestation infrastructure as well as database bridging.

Shyft’s open-source technology was developed to adhere, not only to the FATF’s guidelines but also to GDPR legislation by the European Union.

The network aims at leveraging decentralized networks in establishing a set of safe data sharing values which can be used in various jurisdictions.

The new deal comes just months after Binance became a victim of extortion through hacking, with the perpetrator successfully stealing a large portion of KYC data from the platform. The firm aims at addressing these limitations within the industry, and partnering with Shyft was the partnership to accomplish this.

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Author: Joseph Kibe