Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
The European Investment Bank plans to price EUR 100m (USD 121m) of two-year notes in an inaugural sale of so-called digital bonds that will be registered on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, Bloomberg Law reported, citing an undisclosed person familiar with the matter. The sale is managed by banking giants Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander, and Societe Generale. In the meantime, ETH hit its new all-time high today, reaching USD 2,664 (per Coingecko). At 16:09 UTC, ETH still trades at USD 2,664 and is up by 6.5% in a day and 23% in a week. The price is up by 55.5% in a month and 1,252% in a year.
- The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said that banks and licensed moneychangers can use cryptocurrency mined by authorized miners in Iran to pay for imports, according to the Financial Tribune. Lenders and moneychangers have reportedly been notified about the regulatory framework for crypto payment. No further details were announced. These mining operations are officially permitted by the Iranian state as an industrial activity and require operators to secure a license from the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade. The measure proposed by the CBI and the Ministry of Energy in October 2020 required licensed cryptominers to sell the coins they mine directly to the CBI.
- Major crypto exchange Binance said it aims to launch its own non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace in June. The marketplace will debut with two main venues: a “Premium Event” category for the most sought-after collaborations, and a “Trading Market” that allows everyday users to create NFTs at minimal cost. Binance NFT will share the same account system as Binance.com, allowing users to access the marketplace alongside their other ecosystem offerings.
- Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has paid some employees with the digital yuan as the country’s central bank looks to expand the scope of its use, CNBC reported. The company has participated in the previous trials of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) conducted by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). JD.com said it used the digital yuan to pay salaries for some of its employees in January, as well as to make payments to other businesses.
- Major crypto exchanges in South Korea have warned of a sharp rise in crypto-related fraud, with fraudsters posing as exchange officials in an attempt to dupe unsuspecting investors out of their fiat and crypto funds. Per KBS and YTN, Upbit has reported that its own fraud hotline and help center has intercepted 61 cases of fraud since December last year, with some 80% of cases involving bogus listing scams. Korbit also claimed that recent fraud cases involving criminals posing as members of its staff had robbed investors out of “thousands of dollars.”
- Microsoft Defender for Endpoint has expanded its use of Intel Threat Detection Technology beyond accelerated memory scanning capabilities to activate central processing unit (CPU)-based cryptomining machine learning (ML) detection, said the press release. By leveraging Intel Threat Detection Technology, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint gains full stack visibility to detect advanced threats, such as cryptojacking, and can remediate the attacks before the user’s PC is affected, it added.
- Securrency, a blockchain-based compliance tools provider for banks and financial institutions, has raised USD 30m in a Series B funding round. The round was backed by asset manager WisdomTree Investments, State Street, U.S. Bank, and Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala Investment and Falcon Edge Capital, among other investors. Securrency said it will use the funds to launch new products, including “compliant decentralized finance (DeFi) and other powerful products” in the coming year. They will also expand internationally – Securrency said they’ve applied for licenses to establish the business in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial center in the capital city of the UAE.
- In addition to its strategic investment in Securrency, U.S. Bank, part of the seventh largest banking institution in America, U.S. Bancorp, said it will offer a new cryptocurrency custody product in partnership with an unnamed sub-custodian. The American Banker reported that the bank said it is responding to demand from institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies that see cryptocurrencies as an asset class in which they would like to be invested. Also, the U.S. Bank National Association has been selected as the custodian of cash and cash equivalents of NYDIG’s bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), should it be approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- ZenGo, the crypto mobile wallet for retail investors, announced a USD 20m Series A round led by Insight Partners with participation from Distributed Global (in partnership with Temasek Holdings) and Austin Rief Ventures, as well as existing investors Benson Oak Ventures, Samsung Next, Elron, Collider Ventures, FJ Labs, and others. ZenGo plans to use the funds to expand its set of financial services, including a VISA payment card, and a bigger set of choices for on-ramp, off-ramp, trade and savings options, as well as to expand support for assets and chains.
- The chat app operator Line is set to rebrand its Japanese crypto exchange and wallet services, the firm’s blockchain arm LVC announced. The exchange, formerly named Bitmax, will now be known as Line Bitmax, with the Bitmax Wallet renamed Line Bitmax Wallet, in an effort to create a clearer tie to the popular chat app brand. The wallet and exchange’s official logos have also been changed. The firm said that it would “continue to provide various services using blockchain technology,” and hinted that it would seek to further integrate its crypto business operations with its chat app and other Line-associated services.
- IBM Japan will start work on a blockchain-based recycling project with the domestic chemicals giant Mitsui Chemicals. IBM Japan announced that its cooperation with Mitsui, a Nikkei 225 firm that specializes in petrochemicals, basic chemical products and functional polymeric products, would involve creating a traceability system for plastic-based materials. Mitsui added that the new platform would “ensure traceability throughout the resource life cycle,” encompassing “raw materials like monomers and polymers,” as well as “the manufacturing, sales and use of products.”