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Amazon and 4 Others to Work on Digital Euro Prototype, White House’s ‘Comprehensive Crypto Framework’, Hong Kong’s Scam Warning + More News

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Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

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CBDC news

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) said it will collaborate with five companies to develop potential user interfaces for the digital euro: CaixaBank and Worldline will be working on peer-to-peer online payments, EPI and NEXI on point of sale payments initiated by the payer, and Amazon on e-commerce payments. The aim of this prototyping exercise is to test how well the technology behind a digital euro integrates with prototypes developed by companies. It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023 when the ECB will also publish its findings.

Regulation news

  • The US White House has today released a “First-Ever Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets” outlining the conclusions and recommendations of various federal agencies after six months of studying the crypto industry. Among other points, the recommendations include strengthening the US’s role as a global crypto frontrunner by encouraging private-sector innovation and cooperation on an international level. The framework containing the recommendations is broken down into the following sections: “Protecting Consumers, Investors, and Businesses,” “Promoting Access to Safe, Affordable Financial Services,” “Fostering Financial Stability,” “Advancing Responsible Innovation,” “Reinforcing Our Global Financial Leadership and Competitiveness,” “Fighting Illicit Finance,” and “Exploring a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).”
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Gary Gensler said that many cryptoasset firms need to register their tokens with the agency, reasserting that “the vast majority” of the approximate 10,000 crypto tokens are securities. “Given the nature of crypto investments, I recognize that it may be appropriate to be flexible in applying existing disclosure requirements,” he said in his testimony before the US Congress. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Gensler also said that proof-of-stake (PoS) cryptoassets could be securities under the Howey Test.
  • South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) governor Lee Bok Hyeun said he disagrees with the view that crypto cannot be seen as financial investment products or securities. He also stated that he assisted local prosecutors in designating Terra-LUNA tokens as securities, according to local media.

Legal news

  • Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee says he has reported a suspicious online cryptocurrency platform to police for further action, the South China Morning Post reported. On Friday, he warned members of the public not to be duped by bogus investment schemes after his image and made-up quotes were used in a bid to lure people to an online trading platform.
  • The troubled Celsius Network said that at the October hearing they “hope to advance discussions regarding the reopening of withdrawals for certain of our Custody and Withhold account holders with the other stakeholders.” The company, which is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, has asked the court for permission to sell its stablecoin holdings in order to generate liquidity to help fund its operations, according to new court filings. A hearing is scheduled for October 6 in New York. Its stablecoin holdings amount to approximately USD 23 million.
  • The auction for the assets of bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital Ltd. began Tuesday in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported. The winning bid or bids will be revealed in a hearing scheduled for September 29, though they could be disclosed sooner, it said, citing a company spokesperson.

Web3 news

  • Infura, the Web3 Application Programming Interface (API) provider from blockchain technology company ConsenSys, today announced its plan to launch a decentralized infrastructure protocol to complement the existing offering. The decentralized protocol will be “a community of highly engaged infrastructure providers participating in an open source ecosystem that can together overcome the limitations of the existing marketplace,” said the press release. Qualified infrastructure providers can now apply to an early access program to be a participant in the new protocol.
  • Unicorn Growth Capital, an Africa-focused venture fund investing at the intersection of traditional finance (TradFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi), and EchoVC, a technology-focused, early-stage venture capital firm for underrepresented founders and underserved markets, have announced a partnership with the Celo Foundation. Per the press release, the partners will support the growth of Web3 projects across Africa through newly dedicated Celo ecosystem investment funds.

Politics news

  • El Salvador’s bitcoin (BTC)-supporting president Nayib Bukele said he plans to run for another five-year presidential term in 2024, despite the country’s constitution prohibiting candidates from serving two terms in a row. Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings downgraded El Salvador’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) to ‘CC’ from ‘CCC’, saying that the country’s “tight fiscal and external liquidity positions and extremely constrained market access amid high fiscal financing needs and a large USD800 million external bond maturity in January 2023 make default of some sort probable.”

Blockchain news

  • Cardano Foundation announced that it partnered with Georgian National Wine Agency. The blog post said that the duo, in collaboration with the Bolnisi Winemakers Association and Scantrust, will create a solution on the Cardano (ADA) blockchain to “ensure the quality and authenticity of Georgian wine.” The four partners will develop a shared, scalable platform that is cost-effective for winemakers and increases customer engagement, they said.
  • StraitsX, a Major Payment Institution licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), announced native XSGD & XIDR on the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain, with Polygon becoming StraitsX’s third officially supported blockchain, after Ethereum (ETH) and Zilliqa (ZIL). StraitsX users are able to transfer and mint XSGD & XIDR (Polygon) directly from their StraitsX accounts, while XSGD & XIDR transferred to StraitsX accounts can be converted back to SGD, they said.

Payments news

  • Open software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecommerce platform BigCommerce announced a strategic partnership with BitPay and CoinPayments to deliver crypto payment solutions to BigCommerce merchants in select countries. By expanding its crypto ecosystem, BigCommerce opens up opportunities for its merchants to offer payment options, broaden market share, tap into a new customer base, and accelerate international growth through innovation, they said. 

Investment news

  • Investment firm Valkyrie has added USD 73.56m in fresh capital to two of its crypto-focused trusts, according to the filings with the US SEC. The Valkyrie Tron Trust has raised nearly USD 49.8m, while the Valkyrie Avalanche Trust raised USD 23.8m.

Exchange news

  • Binance recently partnered with the Philippines’ Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC) under the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to share its insights and experiences in preventing cybercrime using blockchain forensics with various law enforcement agencies, said the press release. The seminar was designed by Binance and conducted by the company’s Asia Pacific Head of Intelligence and Investigations, Jarek Jacubcek.
  • Gemini has promoted Christopher Mariadason, who joined the exchange as the head of program governance in June of last year, to the post of the chief compliance officer, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a Gemini spokeswoman. Before joining Gemini, Mariadason worked for more than eight years at American multinational investment management and financial services company Morgan Stanley

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