Banking Circle Adopts USDC as Currency on its Payment Rails

Banking Circle, an European Union (EU) regulated payments bank has announced that it has integrated the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin into its payment rail.


According to the startup, the integration of the stablecoin will help facilitate conversion from fiat currencies which is critical for Banks and Payment providers as the Web3.0 market evolves.


Banking Circle said its addition of USDC will help to cut the necessary IT infrastructure as well as the capital base for outfits that want to adopt digital currency-backed payments. The firm believes it is occupying a position whereby it can adequately democratize finance for the benefit of all.


“Digital assets are likely to be the ‘leveller’ for the global economy in years to come with potential to remove the friction that is inherent in conventional currencies”, explained Mishal Ruparel, Head of Virtual Asset Services, Banking Circle. “It’s critical, therefore, that Banks and Payments providers have the ability to process certain types of cryptocurrencies in the same way they do fiat currencies. With an already established reputation as an innovator in payments, it’s a natural next step for Banking Circle to add stablecoins.”


Banking Circle said on its website that it wants to cut down cross-border transactions that typically take 5 days and cost 50 Euros to as little as 5 seconds and 50 cents. With the current advances in the payments industry today, USDC comes off as its best bet for achieving this goal of speed and low cost.

The integration of USDC will also receive more patronage from fintech firms in the European Union, considering the fact the stablecoin’s issuer, Circle now has a Euro-backed version of the token which it launched recently. Additionally, the approval of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory framework will also grant users and entities more confidence to integrate and transact with the stablecoin across the board.

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South Korean Car Dealer Launches NFTs to Reduce Paperwork Costs

Han Sung Motor, a South Korean imported car dealer, has rolled out non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to offer customers a secure and convenient experience based on the option of checking car details using their smartphones.


Therefore, the company sees the NFTs as a stepping stone toward minimizing paperwork costs. Ulf Ausprung, Han Sung Motor CEO, noted:

“We will continue actively integrating digital systems in the future to increase brand familiarity and immersion among millennials and Gen Z.”

By digitizing its system, the auto dealer intends to follow an emerging global trend and appeal to the younger generations by creating “fandom.”


Therefore, the NFTs will comprise texts, videos, and pictures certifying ownership of the digital warranty for second-hand cars bought at Han Sung Motor. Ausprung added:

“Han Sung Motor will continue to digitize different sectors and will actively launch ESG campaigns to communicate with customers in their 20s and 30s.”

The NFTs developed by blockchain firm Alman Co. seeks to revamp the auto dealer’s operations by acting as a digital warranty. 


Non-fungible tokens are blockchain-based digital assets whose value is pegged on their uniqueness, given that they are non-divisible and must be bought as a whole. 


As a result, NFTs are different from typical crypto tokens because of fungibility. A fungible token can be exchanged for another, whereas an NFT cannot be based on its finite nature.


Therefore, these traits create intrinsic value for NFTs because of their limited supply.


Meanwhile, Etihad Airways recently revealed plans to release its first NFT collection aimed at boosting travellers’ satisfaction levels, Blockchain.News reported.


The NFT collection would comprise 2,003 limited-edition collectibles, including Etihad’s Manchester City FC and Greenliner-themed aircraft and was expected to open the doors to future metaverse merchandise. 

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Tron Founder Justin Sun Wants to Spend $5B to Save Distressed Crypto Firms

Tron blockchain founder Justin Sun is as empathetic about the current crypto firms that are distressed as he is willing to bail many out.


While there has been no news of Tron bailing out any crypto firm thus far, Sun said he is willing to commit as much as $5 billion to save distressed crypto outfits.

Sun confirmed the $5 billion funds it is willing to spend on to The Block after he tweeted that he is “friends with everyone and are always ready to serve,” a response to a Twitter user who said firms are forgetting Sun as a deep pocket crypto founder at par with the likes of Changpeng Zhao of Binance and Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX Exchange.


According to Sun, quite a number of troubled crypto startups have approached his establishment for help, adding that Tron has tapped the services of an Investment Bank to help in advising the startups to fund. He refused to name the bank it is working with due to the Non-Disclosure Agreement between both parties but said its core interests lie in projects that have a large user base.

“Our interest is platforms with a large user base,” Sun said. “Both CeFi [centralized finance] and DeFi [decentralized finance] platforms.”

Sun also noted that the companies he would be willing to bail out must have what it takes to withstand the rigors of the due diligence process that must be conducted. Sun believes the ongoing onslaught in the digital currency ecosystem is almost over with the targeted build-up of what is now necessary.

“I think currently the de-leverage process is passed the worst time. So we just need to clean it up and move forward. I don’t think [the] market will be super bullish, of course,” he said.

While Binance’s Changpeng Zhao believes not all projects are worth saving, the likes of BlockFi and Voyager Digital have recently received credit facilities from FTX Derivatives Exchange.

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Bitcoin Looks Set to Make the Highest Weekly Surge Since March

Bitcoin (BTC) has been sluggish for the past couple of weeks, but this might change because it is on course for its highest weekly gain since March.

This trend change can be attributed to a risk appetite surge in global markets coupled with the recent resignation of Boris Johnson as the UK prime minister. 


Bitcoin was up by 13.5% in the last seven days to hit $21,630 during intraday trading, according to CoinMarketCap.


Garry Krugljakow, the founder of the GOGO protocol, acknowledged:

 “There’s too much uncertainty. I will say, however, that Bitcoin has held up rather well in comparison to a lot of other assets. And looking back on this bear market, people will likely remember it as Bitcoin showing its true strength to the world.”

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The Federal Reserve (Fed) has adopted the strategy of raising interest rates to tame runaway inflation, with the latest increase of 75 basis points (bps) being the highest since 1994. 


This approach has been undertaken based on the high inflation rate on American soil, which stood at a 40-year high.


Nevertheless, this has been detrimental to Bitcoin because of the bearish trend triggered. For instance, Bitcoin nosedived below the psychological price of $20,000, a scenario not seen since December 2020, based on the latest interest rate hike.


With inflation cooling, Marcus Sotiriou believes the Fed will become less aggressive, which will be advantageous to the crypto market.


The GlobalBlock analyst noted:

“The only Bitcoin bottom signal for me is persistent data showing us that inflation is convincingly inflecting down. This should result in the Federal Reserve becoming less aggressive with their monetary policy, and therefore provide confidence that the liquidity crisis in the crypto market is over.”

Meanwhile, Johnson’s resignation gave Bitcoin bullish momentum, given that the leading cryptocurrency retested mid-June levels.


Johnson resigned in a week marred by turmoil in British politics as various ministers quit based on a slew of scandals. Therefore, Johnson’s authority was eroded, which typically paralyzed the UK government.

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GameStop Sacks CFO, Lays Off Multiple Employees in A Fresh Turnaround Plan

GameStop, the largest video game retailer worldwide based in Texas, US, has sacked its Chief Financial Officer, Mike Recupero, and laid off several employees across departments. The layoffs, which were announced by the video game retailer through an internal memo to employees, are part of an aggressive turnaround plan, GameStop said.

Recupero, who joined GameStop about a year ago, was sacked as the firm considered him not “the right culture fit” and he was “too hands off” – meaning that he appeared to put more responsibility in the hands of team leaders and was much less present in the team’s day-to-day activities.

According to sources familiar with the events, GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen was the one who triggered Recupero’s sacking. The company has therefore said that Diana Jajeh, the Chief Accounting Officer at GameStop, will now become the new CFO. 

The job cuts are on the side of the company’s corporate section rather than its retail stores. Those with knowledge of the matter said that the layoffs are aimed to reduce bloat as GameStop now focuses on investing in other areas.

The brick-and-mortar retailer has been making attempts to reinvent itself to catch up with the videogame industry which is largely moving online.

GameStop hired Mr. Cohen last year to lead the company’s turnaround initiative. The firm also brought fresh corporate leaders such as former Amazon executive, Matt Furlong, as its CEO, and another Amazon executive, Mike Recupero, as its Chief Financial Officer. Since the beginning of last year, GameStop hired more than 600 corporate staff.

In the memo sent to employees on Thursday, GameStop CEO Furlong stated that the firm has to take bold commitments as it invests in its digital future.

“This means eliminating excess costs and operating with an intense owner’s mentality. Everyone in the organization must become even more hands-on and embrace a heightened level of accountability for results,” Furlong said.

In a recent GameStop earnings call, Furlong said the firm has embraced efforts to refresh its brand and drive growth. He disclosed that the company has developed a redesigned app, attracted new users to its rewards program, and employed staff with backgrounds in e-commerce and blockchain gaming. He further said that GameStop plans to launch a marketplace for nonfungible tokens (NFTs) towards the end of this year.

Crypto Winter Concerns

Towards the end of May this year, the video game retailer launched a digital asset wallet for sending, receiving, and storing cryptocurrencies and NFTs ahead of its plans to launch an NFT marketplace later this year. The self-custodial Ethereum wallet is now available for download from GameStop’s website.

GameStop jumped into NFT pursuits at a time when crypto and equities markets collapsed as a result of interest rate hikes to contain soaring global inflation. The current economic crisis has left the NFT market collapsing, with NFTs sales and active wallets dropping massively.

The NFT market and other blockchain-associated assets like cryptocurrency are facing difficulties with the ongoing market crash, as their monetary values have significantly evaporated.

GameStop is not the only firm that recently announced job cuts. Last month, prominent crypto companies laid off thousands of employees as they prepared to brace for a long crypto winter.

Coinbase cut 1,180 staff (about 18% of its workforce) and withdrew job offers. BlockFi laid off a fifth of its employees, Gemini fired 100 employees and Singapore-based reduced its workforce by 5%, about 260 people. These major firms recently downsized their workforce, citing cost reductions and the need for increased efficiency.

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Russia Mulling the Idea to Build a Crypto Platform on the Moscow Stock Exchange

Russian lawmakers are mulling the idea that the government could create a cryptocurrency trading platform that will be an offshoot of the Moscow Stock Exchange. 


Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market revealed this in a Press Conference, noting that affiliation with the Moscow Stock Exchange will give the platform a soft landing to carry out transactions with digital assets.

Russia’s relationship with the cryptocurrency ecosystem has been bitter-sweet for quite a while, with the nation entering 2022 with the plan to ban digital currency-related activities. Things took a twist with the breakout of the war in Ukraine, and with the ensuing sanctions from major Western economies, Russia has backpedaled on its anti-crypto position over the past few months.


The plans to hinge any possible crypto exchange on the Moscow Stock Exchange is such that the new offshoot can comply with the relevant rules laid down by regulators including the Central Bank of Russia.


“Of course, there should be a crypto exchange, which, again, is created according to the strict requirements of the Central Bank. I admit that this is a division of the Moscow Exchange,” Aksakov said during the press conference. “And this unit, which will work within the framework of a respected organization with great traditions, accustomed to actively interacting with the Central Bank, in my opinion, will best of all cope with the task of carrying out operations with cryptocurrency.”


Russia’s bullish moves into the digital currency ecosystem have been more visible over the past few months with the country’s bank, VTB complementing the first-ever commercial paper tokenization reported by Blockchain.News back in June.


While there has been no confirmation as to the new crypto trading platform nor is there a time when it might go live, the move reiterates another attempt by Russia to explore a financial system that can alleviate the pains of its current financial sanctions on its citizens.

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Binance Taps Operating License from the Bank of Spain

Binance cryptocurrency exchange has received the license to operate in Spain through its subsidiary in the country, Moon Tech Spain SL.


As announced by the exchange, the application for the permit was made back in January this year, and approval was granted on July 7.


With the new license, Binance said it would be able to operate as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) in the country, with the ability to offer crypto asset exchange and custody services in Spain in compliance with the requirements of its central bank’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) rules.


In addition to overseeing its AML and CTF compliance measures, the Bank of Spain is legally obligated to regulate the compliance of the local entity and its directors with the commercial and professional honorability requirements.


“Effective regulation is essential for the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies,” said Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, “We have invested significantly in compliance and introduced AMLD 5 and 6 compliant tools and policies to ensure that our platform remains the safest and most trustworthy in the industry. Moon Tech’s registration in Spain is an acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment of our teams to providing a platform that places user protection above all else.” 


That the Bank of Spain granted Binance this license is a feather in the exchange’s cap seeing it has previously been reprimanded by the regulator for operating in the country illegally. Infact, Binance got a lot of those sanctions last year, particularly from European Union countries, most of whom it is now working to appease.

The exchange is deepening its friendship with UK regulators and has also received licenses to operate in Italy and France respectively. Outside of the EU, Binance’s influence has stretched to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and even Kazakhstan where it met with government officials to collaborate on helping to introduce progressive regulations that can bolster its advancement into the digital economy.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 26,566.12 0.11%
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