Amazon Preparing to Launch a ‘Digital Currency’ Project in Mexico

Amazon’s grip on the internet economy appears to be coming for currency next, with the e-commerce giant preparing to launch a “digital currency” project in Mexico.

The yet-to-be-announced project, which Amazon sketched out across a series of recent job posts, appears to be an effort to keep lucrative Prime customers eternally plugged into Amazon’s platform.

“This product will enable customers to convert their cash in to digital currency using which customers can enjoy online services including shopping for goods and/or services like Prime Video,” one job post said of Amazon’s “new payment product.”

Amazon’s Digital and Emerging Payments (DEP) division intends to roll-out the product in Mexico first, the posting said. A second job posting hints the product appears to be broadly aimed at emerging markets. Amazon is hiring software development engineers “at all levels” to staff up for launch.

The DEP team and Amazon did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

It is not clear how much Amazon’s planned foray into digital currencies has in common with “Amazon Coins.” That 8-year old virtual currency initiative allows owners to transact in Amazon-issued cash across web games.



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Japanese Conglomerate Taps Blockchain for Plastics Supply Chain Traceability

Marubeni has inked a partnership deal with Circularise in a bid to tap the latter’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) solution for the tracking of materials in its chemicals and plastics supply chain and ensure its partners adhere to sustainable practices, according to a blog post on February 9, 2021.

Plastics on the Blockchain 

According to experts, plastics are one of the most destructive materials that have been manufactured by humans, as it takes hundreds of years for them to degrade when disposed of, coupled with the fact that they contain various carcinogenic and toxic chemicals, including antimony trioxide, phthalates, mercury, bisphenol, cadmium and more.

Now, as part of efforts to foster sustainability and transparency in the industry, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni is forging alliances with Circularise,  a Dutch blockchain company that claims to be focused on helping stakeholders across supply chains to trace raw materials from source to end products.

As stated in a blog post, the partnership deal will see Circularise integrate blockchain technology into Marubeni’s supply chain to facilitate sustainable raw materials sourcing to Japan, while also maintaining the privacy of sensitive data.

Building a Sustainable Society 

While the project has a global scope, the team says it plans to first trial the initiative with Marubeni’s Japanese clients, and if successful, Circularise and Marubeni will weigh the possibilities of floating a joint venture in Japan, to scale the blockchain-based sustainability solution.

Commenting on the project, Terumasa Watanabe, Senior Operating Officer, the Head of Plastics Business at Marubeni reiterated that he firmly believes that Circularise blockchain technology has the potential to provide visibility and enable improved decision making when it comes to sustainable raw material sourcing.”

Circularise, which secured a EUR 1.5 million grant from the European Union in September 2020, says it has been developing its blockchain platform since 2016 and the system has the ability to enable tamper-proof trail of audit for raw materials, while also maintaining confidentiality where necessary.

“By working together Marubeni and Circularise will contribute to the realization of a sustainable society and over the years put all supply chain actors in the position to implement circular economy practices at scale,” added Jordi de Vos, the Founder of Circularise.

Thanks to its immutability property, a vast array of players in various industries are now adopting blockchain technology. As reported by BTCManager on February 3, 2021, Rio Tinto, a leading metals and mining corporation integrated blockchain technology into its operations.

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Ethereum, WETH Now Settling More Value Than Bitcoin

In brief

  • Average daily ETH and WETH transfers of value over the last 30 days equal $13 billion, over 40% more than Bitcoin’s $9.2 billion.
  • Including transactions in dollar-pegged stablecoins USDC and DAI, transfers were nearly 80% above the value of BTC’s network.
  • Even native ETH transfers are now nearly equivalent to transfers on Bitcoin’s network.

Ethereum long trailed Bitcoin as the top blockchain network for transferring value, but those days could be in the past as ETH and WETH transactions have surpassed Bitcoin and begun to pull away in recent weeks.

Average daily transaction value of ETH and Wrapped ETH (WETH) over the last 30 days has grown to more than $13 billion compared to just over $9 billion for Bitcoin, according to data compiled by Money Movers and provided by CoinMetrics. (At one point, ETH alone briefly surpassed Bitcoin.)

Ethereum value transfers began outpacing Bitcoin on January 24 and have been extending that lead ever since, now settling over 40% more value per day on average. It’s another indication that Ethereum could have a leg up on Bitcoin as a functional digital currency suited to the everyday needs of casual users and hardcore traders alike.

Wrapped Ethereum allows the value of native ETH tokens to be traded alongside other ERC-20 tokens that are built on the Ethereum protocol. Ether tokens came before the introduction of the ERC-20 standard, so WETH was developed as a straightforward way to use the value of the native ETH tokens on the flourishing network they helped create. But the value of transactions made in WETH or native ETH are effectively identical, as both are methods of using Ethereum to send value from one place to another.

Adding the value of transactions via dollar-pegged stablecoins USDC and DAI to the Ethereum network increases the gap even further, with nearly 80% more dollar-denominated value being transferred compared to Bitcoin over the last 30 days. 

It’s a testament to the growing promise of a Turing-complete blockchain such as Ethereum to process large transactions without intermediaries such as banks. The network can leverage the strength of dollar-pegged stablecoins and a suite of innovative ERC-20 tokens offering new financial primitives like governance tokens or liquidity provider pools.

Even without WETH, stablecoins, or any of the thousands of ERC-20 tokens being traded daily, value transfer from native ETH transactions is nearly equivalent to Bitcoin (about 90%) over the last 30 days. Compare that to a year ago, when native ETH was seeing just 13% the value traffic of Bitcoin, and it’s easy to see how much things have changed. Perhaps one year from now, we could be looking at a new king in the crypto economy.


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Ethereum killers and layer-2 tokens rally despite 5% Bitcoin price drop

On Feb. 10, Bitcoin (BTC) price pulled back 5% from its newly established $48,220 high and a number of altcoins also underwent slight corrections. 

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows Bitcoin has declined 4.96% since yesterday’s highs and currently trades at $44,900.

The pullback to the $45,000 level could simply be the result of traders taking recent profits from Bitcoin and altcoins as the rally appeared to be losing momentum around the $48,000 level.

A recent announcement from JPMorgan analysts saying that they don’t expect to see any large firms follow Tesla’s recent $1.5 billion Bitcoin purchase could have caused jitters among some investors but data from Grayscale Investments shows most institutional investors are keen to learn more about investing in BTC.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

A bit of positive news came from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who doubled down on his support for the crypto sector by donating $1 million to Coin Center, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group. Dorsey also revealed that Twitter is exploring the option of how it could pay employees in BTC.

Congestion and high transaction fees on the Ethereum network have put a spotlight on layer-2 and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible protocols as projects and traders alike flood to Matic (MATIC) and Avalanche (AVAX).

This steady inflow of funds to each project resulted in price rallies of more than than 200% over the past week.

AVAX/USDT vs. BNB/USDT vs Matic/USDT price growth 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Binance Coin (BNB) has also seen significant price appreciation in recent days, reaching a new high at $148 on Feb.10. The move to a new all-time high comes as the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) grows in prominence and competes with Ethereum and DeFi platforms.

Traditional markets dip after setting new all-time highs

The three major stock market indices established new record-highs in today’s early trading hours before falling under pressure to close the day mixed.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ spent most of the day in the red and despite a late surge closed down 0.03% and 0.25% respectively while the Dow was able to hold bears off and finish up 0.20%.

While there was no specific news prompting market pressure, all three indices have seen surging prices during the first week of February, so a modest pullback is expected in a normal market cycle.

Bitcoin’s correction weighs on altcoins

A new wave of selling hit the crypto market just as traditional markets closed and the top-25 altcoins fell under pressure.

Notable exceptions to the bearish downturn include Cardano (ADA), which is currently up 28.11% and trading at a price of $0.892, and AVAX which is up 85.39%and trading for $58.26.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Celo (CELO) is also put on a strong showing, up 40% to trade at $5.00 while The Graph (GRT) has seen its price spike 26% to a new all-time high of $1.26.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.37 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 61.3%.