WEF Launches Coalition to Deal with Climate Change through Web3.0

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has established a Crypto Sustainability Coalition to investigate the capability of Web3 in tackling climate change.

In a statement, the WEF noted that blockchain tools would propel transparency in the worldwide carbon credits market, whereas crypto mining would trigger renewable microgrids through off-peak demand and decentralization.

Since the adoption of technologies like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchains, and cryptocurrencies in Web 3.0, members of the coalition will find out how they can boost social and environmental agendas.

The coalition also seeks regulatory clarity that enhances Web3 innovation, propels financial inclusion, and protects consumers.

Brynly Llyr, World Economic Forum’s head of blockchain and digital assets, noted:

“I am excited about the work we are expecting from the Crypto Sustainability Coalition. An important and unique aspect of web3 is that it uses technology to support and reward direct community engagement and action.”

Llyr added:

“This means we can coordinate the work of many individuals directly with one another, enabling collective action without centralized control – a powerful accelerator for grass roots action.”

The Crypto Sustainability Coalition consist of 30 partners hosted by the WEF as a public-private initiative. Its primary areas of concern include Web3’s potential for climate action, energy usage, and “on-chain” carbon credits. 

Some partners include Solana, Circle, NEAR Foundation, PlanetWatch, University of Lisbon, eToro, Crypto Council for Innovation, and Sustainable Bitcoin Standard. 

Moreover, the coalition will come up with best practices and tangible action on how Web3 technologies can positively impact communities most affected by climate change. The report noted:

“The coalition’s wider aim is to foster a broad education campaign on what Web3’s potential and capacity look like, to better inform governments on how they regulate these technologies and incentivize investment and research into their development.”

Meanwhile, a report by Chainlink Labs and Tecnalia noted that blockchain technology could help fight the climate crisis through smart contracts, Blockchain.News reported. 

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FV Bank Partners with Circle for Instant USDC Deposits and Conversion

FV Bank, a global digital bank, has partnered with Circle to enable instant and automatic USD Coin (USDC) conversion into USD upon deposit.

Per the announcement:

“FV Bank customers will now be able to receive USDC directly into their bank account, and have the funds instantly converted into USD at the moment of receipt.”

Circle is a global financial technology and the USDC issuer. Therefore, the strategic integration seeks to minimize the friction experienced during settlements, making money transfers faster. 

As a result, FV Bank users will be able to present invoices in USDC to international clients.

Miles Paschini, FV Bank CEO, stated:

“It was imperative for us to work with a stablecoin issuer who has an excellent track record and whose values align with our own.”

He added:

“We look forward to growing our working relationship with Circle, as we collaboratively help bridge the traditional financial system with the world’s leading blockchains to unlock further growth in the digital asset sector.”

Circle’s treasury services and transactions are emerging as a stepping stone toward a frictionless value exchange, prompting a new generation of commerce applications and financial services. 

Arcane Research had predicted that the USDC would dethrone Tether (USDT) at the top stablecoin seat in October. The market insight provider noted:

“At the end of Q2, the total stablecoin supply sat at $151.3 billion, down $35.1 billion, or 18.8%, over the last quarter, the largest quarterly drawdown in the history of stablecoins. It is predicted that the market value of USDC will surpass USDT in October.”

USDT is one of the leading stablecoins with a market capitalization of $67.98 billion at the time of writing, and USDC comes second with a value of $49.95 billion,according to CoinMarketCap

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Covalent Rolls Out Educational Program to Bridge Skills Gap in Web3

Covalent, a Web3 data provider that is backed by Binance Labs and Coinbase Ventures, launched a program aimed at bridging the data analytics skills gap for workers in Web3. 

Since data is considered as the new oil, the program dubbed Data Alchemist Boot-Camp will provide education related to data analytics in the Web3 and blockchain spaces. Per the report:

“The new Data Alchemist Boot-Camp expands Covalent’s existing Alchemist program but is geared toward skills development for accessible, data-rooted jobs. The need for analytical skills is rapidly growing, as user-controllable data is exploding under Web3 and decentralization.”

Through the program, Covalent intends to help recruit and train 1,000 workers for the Web3 and tech sectors. Therefore, the Web3 data provider seeks to support data analytics, which will spur more growth in the blockchain space.

Ganesh Swami, Covalent’s CEO, pointed out:

“There is a real need for individuals who are experts in this new cross-section of data and blockchain. We want to help train these future leaders to quickly fill these new roles in the near-term. This boot-camp is how we try to spark change in an excited and rapidly growing community.”

The program will equip learners with crucial blockchain business analytics, with a chance to earn $2,000 after tackling curriculum-based challenges. The first class is scheduled for October 19, 2022.

Brandon Rochon, a Covalent data scientist, stated:

“We believe that everyone deserves equal access to education and well-funded opportunities to explore career paths in Web3. The Alchemist Program has allowed us to expand these opportunities, while providing an environment to explore and learn alongside their peers in a way that is engaging, accessible and effective.”

Likewise, Crypto exchange KuCoin announced a $100 million “Creators Fund” to enhance the Web3 ecosystem and support early-stage non-fungible token (NFT) projects in sports, arts, GameFi, and celebrities, among others.

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Russia to Permit Partial Bitcoin Mining

Despite the back-and-forth stance on crypto in Russia, serval Russian departments have reached a consensus that Bitcoin (BTC) mining should be legalized in areas rich in electricity.

“Let them earn money,” the chair of the Congress finance committee said.

Crypto experts in Russia have joined hands and developed a working group aimed at creating a standard for energy-efficient and successful cryptocurrency mining in the nation. 

Once in place, the standards will play an instrumental role by offering investors enhanced hardware uptime. Per the report:

“It is anticipated that this will also make it possible to correctly calibrate ventilation systems, keeping in mind factors such as humidity, season, area, and the specific place where a cryptocurrency mining unit is situated.”

The standard will also incorporate a more scientific approach where computer modelling will consider speeds and pressures. 

The crypto journey on Russian soil has not been smooth sailing based on previous calls for the sector to face a blanket ban. 

Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) went on the offensive, hinting that crypto-related activities should be abolished.

Through a report dubbed “Cryptocurrencies: Trends, Risks, Measures,” the apex bank drew a close comparison between the nascent world of crypto and Ponzi schemes, stipulating that both had similarities, Blockchain.News reported. 

Nevertheless, Russian tech and political oligarchs aired their disapproval of the blanket ban.

Pavel Durov, CEO and founder of Telegram, stipulated that the technology underpinning digital currencies was making lives easier from finance to art. He added that despite the urge by Federal authorities to regulate digital currencies, a crypto ban would be likened to “throwing the baby out with water,” as the move would not stop unscrupulous players as intended.

Therefore, the latest development is a change of tune by the Russian administration pertaining to cryptocurrencies.  

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FTX to Raise up to $1 Billion at $32 Billion Valuation: Source

Crypto exchange FTX is raising as much as $1 billion at a valuation of around $32 billion, according to CNBC, citing people with knowledge of the discussion.

Reportedly, negotiations are ongoing and confidential, and the company will raise as much as $1 billion in order to keep the previous valuation of $32 billion, but conditions could be changed, according to sources.

As reported by Blockchain.News on Feb 1, FTX Derivatives Exchange has concluded its Series C funding round, which raised $400 million to increase its valuation to $32 billion. Current existing investors include Singapore’s Temasek, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, and Tiger Global.

FTX.US, a subsidiary of FTX in the United States, just completed its $400 million fundraising to hit an $8 billion valuation.

Over the past six months of last year, FTX has raised a total of $1.8 billion from venture capital firms, cementing its position as one of the most liquid trading platforms in the world. Back in October last year, when the company closed its Series B-1 funding round, it was valued at $25 billion.

FTX Ventures has announced that it intends to use its investment arm to acquire a 30% stake in crypto venture capital firm Skybridge Capital.

Founded in 2019 by former Wall Street quantitative trader Sam Bankman-Fried, the trading platform has become one of the most active cash flow exchanges.

FTX’s revenue has grown from $89 million to $1.02 billion in 2021, about 1,000% increase. The company reported an operating income of $272 million, up from $14 million a year earlier. The trading platform posted a net profit of $388 million last year, up from $17 million a year earlier.

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S. Korean Regulators Oppose Busan’s Regulatory Measures for Attracting Foreign Crypto Exchanges

South Korean financial authorities expressed their opposite stance against Busan City to provide special regulatory support for partners to establish digital asset exchanges, local media outlet Money Today reported Thursday.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) under the Financial Services Commission of South Korea said judicial risks, investor risks and money laundering risks exist in cooperation with foreign cryptocurrency exchanges that will cause reverse discrimination against local cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

 “If Busan City unreasonably rushes to establish a digital asset exchange, it may be criticized for saying that the referee (government) acts as the player (operator) before the disciplinary system advises.

On Aug. 26, the South Korean city of Busan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, which will help the local government to establish its own exchange or the Busan digital asset exchange.

Busan city government also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FTX on August 30 and Huobi Global on September 14, agreeing to cooperate in establishing digital asset exchange. The city of Busan has pledged to provide administrative support for these overseas exchanges to enter South Korea.

However, South Korean financial authorities warned that Chinese coin exchanges such as Binance or Huobi Global are currently under investigation by foreign regulators, such as U.S. regulators the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently investigating whether Binance violated securities laws.

The financial regulators pointed out that South Korea will be criticized for cooperation projects with such “flawed companies”. 

All three exchanges named are headquartered in the famous tax havens of Malta and the Bahamas; if these exchanges first operate in South Korea or establish a joint exchange with Busan City, there will be a high risk of money laundering.

The administration is concerned there may have a possibility that Chinese coin exchanges would invade the business field of South Korean exchanges if securities token trading through South Korean exchanges is allowed.

South Korean crypto exchange Coredax also objected to the local city government decision, saying it would hinder the development of crypto assets in the country and deepen foreign dependence.

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Celsius May Repay Customers With Wrapped Assets

Executives at Celsius Network are proposing to pay back customers by issuing new wrapped assets to trade on other platforms, a new leaked recording revealed.

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In the recording posted by Tiffany Fong, Celsius’ leader Nuke Goldstein, co-founder and CTO, appears to explain the firm’s proposal to repay Earn customers more in-depth.

Fong is a Celsius customer and public figure credited with posting the previous leaked all-hands meeting recording.

According to The Block, the plan is to funnel Celsius’ remaining funds allocated to repaying customers into wallets. Following that, the company will then issue wrapped tokens – known as Cx tokens – to represent the ratio of how much the firm owes to how much it has on hand.

Wrapped tokens will be available for customers to redeem, or they can wait for a larger payout when additional revenue hits. The firm stated that as Goldstein pointed to incoming mining, staked ETH revenue and other coins that may become liquid.

“So the more you wait, there’s a better chance that the gap will be closed,” he said on the recording. “However, you can always redeem.”

Along with redemption, customers will also have a choice to trade the wrapped tokens on other venues, Goldstein said. Users will be able to withdraw their tokens and go to Uniswap or other platforms and allow the market to price the tokens, he said. 

According to Fong, she had obtained the new recording on Sept 1, prior to receiving the leaked all-hands meeting recording.

In another recording which was released two weeks ago, CEO Alex Mashinsky detailed a plan to revive the company, code-named Kelvin, at a company all-hands meeting.

The creditor committee confirmed that Mashinsky had met with them and presented a proposal. The creditor committee represents the interests of customers and creditors in the bankruptcy process.

Celsius entered Chapter 11 proceedings in July after it suspended withdrawals, citing “extreme” market conditions. The case is currently before the court.

The firm disclosed that three of its corporate entities held $23 million worth of stablecoins. While the company currently owns 11 different forms of stablecoins, it did not disclose which ones.

According to a court document, the bankrupt crypto lender on Sept 15 filed a request for bankruptcy court permission to sell its stablecoin holdings to fund its Chapter 11 cases.

The New Jersey-based firm intends to sell its current and any future stablecoins it may receive, as needed, to generate liquidity to fund its operations, Blockchain.News reported.

If the presiding Judge Martin Glenn, the chief U.S. bankruptcy judge, approves the motion, then the sale proceedings would primarily pay for Celsius Network’s operations.

A neutral third party has been set up in another development to examine Celsius’s finances.

The move was approved by a US bankruptcy judge in the Southern District of New York in early September, following a request from the Justice Department, securities regulators, and representatives of creditors.

Celsius did not object to the examination from a neutral third party.

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OpenSea Adopts Scarcity Tracking Tool OpenRarity

OpenSea has adopted OpenRarity – a scarcity tracking tool that allows buyers to check the rarity of a specific non-fungible token (NFT).

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Following the adoption, OpenRarity will help OpenSea to remove opacity as to how rare certain features in an NFT are. It will also further eliminate the use of third-party NFT scarcity tracking tools.

Other popular NFT projects that have used OpenRarity are Pudgy Penguins, Cool Cats and Moonbirds. 

All of these NFT collections have between 8,888 to 10,000 NFTs within their collection made from algorithmically generated images, according to The Block, and “some of the features in these NFTs are found within less than 1% of the collection, such as a pillowcase on its head in the case of Pudgy Penguins or a robot face for Cool Cats.”

Rarity plays a vital role in the NFT sector as it can dictate the value of the item. A potential buyer these days usually seeks to understand the rarity of an NFT even before the NFT’s purchase history or who it’s currently owned by.

Prior to incorporating OpenRarity, OpenSea – the world’s biggest venue for trading NFTs – had displayed some rare characteristics of an NFT, to be sure. For instance, in the case of Moonbirds #520, users can see that 3% of owls in the 10,000 NFT collection also have Lincoln hats.

However, only through OpenRarity was it possible for users to now know that Moonbirds #520 is the 7,073 rarest of the collection. 

Additionally, OpenSea has also made changes to its platform, aside from adopting OpenRarity. 

The NFT marketplace has made changes to augmenting how it does airdrops, such as adding a more prominent description of how much a creator’s fee is following a debate on NFT royalties. It has also vowed to only support proof-of-stake NFTs on Ethereum following The Merge.

According to Blockchain.News, OpenSea has also revealed its new policy governing the handling of stolen digital arts and general theft on its platform. 

OpenSea said its previous allowance to apply police reports only on escalated reports on stolen NFTs will no longer be the case, but rather, the police reports will be treated equally for all reports of NFT thefts respectively.

“Based on your input, we’ve already called to adjust elements of how we implement our policy. First, we’re expanding the ways we use police reports: we’ve always used them for escalated disputes, but they’ll now be used to confirm all theft reports,” the NFT marketplace said.

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Jesse Powell to Step Down from Kraken CEO

Jesse Powell, co-founder of crypto exchange Kraken, is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer. Kraken said on Wednesday that Dave Ripley, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, will replace Powell as the new CEO.

According to Kraken, the transition is set to occur within the next few months after the firm finds a replacement for Ripley. Powell will remain at the company as chairman of Kraken’s board. The company revealed that Powell intends to spend more of his time focusing on the company’s products, user experience, and wider industry advocacy.

The outspoken Powell, an early Bitcoin advocate who founded Kraken in 2011, has denied that several company-related controversies prompted his decision to step down as CEO. He told Bloomberg media that he informed Kraken’s board of his upcoming departure over a year ago. “As the company has gotten bigger, it’s just gotten to be more draining on me, less fun,” Powell told Bloomberg.

Kraken stated that Ripley, who joined the exchange after it acquired his startup in 2016, was selected following a thorough internal and external search over the past year.

Powell has been at the center of several controversies facing the firm this year. In March, Kraken was one of a few crypto exchanges that avoided an outright ban of Russian accounts unless ordered by the State Department to do so. Powell said the exchange was within the legal sanctions requirements, but indiscriminate bans were unfair to average Russians, who might not support the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In June, Powell posted inflammatory messages about race and gender on the company’s Slack. During that time, he questioned employees’ use of preferred pronouns and engaged in a lengthy discussion about whether men are inherently more intelligent than women. Some employees raised complaints, and Powell released a company culture document outlining what he described as Kraken’s libertarian values. He told workers that if they disagreed with the document, they should quit, and some did.

In response to a report by The Times media on Kraken’s internal conflict, Powell tweeted in July that he was returning the company “back to dictatorship.”

In July, Kraken came under spotlight when the Treasury Department launched investigations against the company for breaking U.S. sanctions. Kraken was suspected of violating U.S. sanctions by allowing users in Iran, Syria, and Cuba to trade crypto assets on its platform, disregarding government bans on engaging in business with the three countries.   

Kraken was founded in 2011 by Powell and Thanh Luu as one of the first major exchanges for investors to buy and sell digital assets in the US.

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SocGen Introduces Digital Asset Service for Firms to Develop Crypto Funds

Societe Generale Securities Services (SGSS), the third-largest French bank by market cap, announced on Wednesday a new digital asset service designed for asset management firms wishing to develop innovative professional funds based on cryptocurrencies.

The French investment bank has continued expanding its clients’ crypto custody services. This new service will enable the asset managers to offer crypto funds in a “simple and adapted” manner within a framework that is compliant with European regulations, Societe Generale said.

Many investors want to integrate cryptocurrencies into their portfolios. Increasing number of asset management firms are therefore looking to create new ranges of solutions invested mainly in digital assets.

Societe Generale has introduced a new crypto service that enables asset management companies to act as crypto fund custodians, valuators, and liability managers.

The new service has been adopted by French asset management company Arquant Capital SAS, which is launching a range of funds investing in cryptocurrency, beginning with two products based on Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and derivatives.

David Abitbol, Head of Societe Generale Securities Services, talked about the development: “This solution provides Arquant Capital with an innovative structuring that allows us to scale our offering and focus on creating value for our clients.”

Societe Generale Group is already recognized as an expert in crypto assets with its subsidiary Societe Generale FORGE. The investment bank, therefore, continues developing its services related to digital assets to meet the needs of its customers.

Since 2019, FORGE, an integrated subsidiary of Societe Generale, has been offering several native security token issuances deployed on blockchain for several institutions, including the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) €100 million digital bond issued in 2021.

Through FORGE, the investment bank offers a range of capital market products to institutional clients under a native security token format on Tezos and Ethereum.

New Opportunities in The Digital Assets Space

In recent months, there has been a prevalent trend among French banking heavyweights moving to offer crypto-related services to their clients as demand increases.

In July, BNP Paribas (BNP), France’s largest bank, entered the crypto custody space via a partnership with Swiss digital asset safekeeping firm Metaco.

In April, French bank Delubac & Cie obtained a registration license to offer digital assets services (the purchase, sale and custody of crypto-assets) to institutions, companies, and individuals. The license enabled the bank to offer three crypto-assets which include Tezos, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, as well as plans to include access to staking and tokenized assets such as NFTs in the service offerings.

Many banks are edging towards crypto custody to respond to the increased demand from investors for cryptocurrencies.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 26,245.03 0.49%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,599.16 1.00%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 63.51 0.62%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 226.68 6.45%