British Bitcoin (BTC) exchange, CoinCorner has inked a strategic partnership with the Seed Group, a company of the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum to offer residents of the United Arab Emirates an avenue to transact in digital currencies.
As announced by the Seed Group, the partnership will involve CoinCorner setting up a trading platform that UAE residents can easily access to conduct Bitcoin and crypto-related transactions. Founded in 2014, CoinCorner is a trading outfit regarded as an early pioneer in the crypto trading space.
“The collaboration will help propel our business interests and goals in the MENA region through the group’s support and a strong base of regional connections. We are committed to making Bitcoin transactions the “new normal” in the UAE with the help of our unique solutions facilitating instant and frictionless payments,” said Danny Scott, Co-founder, CoinCorner.
On the part of the Seed Group, the family office will use its influence to help promote the integration of CoinCorner’s entry into the UAE and the surrounding regions. Building on its ultimate focus of helping to power growth in the UAE, Seed Group will also help CoinCorner to reach the right audience in a mutually beneficial way.
The United Arab Emirates is adjudged as one of the most proactive countries because it concerns digital currencies’ growth and related advances. The country is ranked as the third biggest market in the Middle East, with a transaction volume of $26 billion. The country has the right legislation and has started attracting top-profile crypto firms to its shores.
In a related move, Binance Exchange entered into a strategic alliance with Dubai’s Virtuzone to enable residents to pay for everyday items using digital currencies. Besides Binance, other exchanges are jostling to take a share of the market in the UAE, and many have already been granted the operational license.
A longstanding crypto price manipulation case between Tether and Bitfinex and some of its users may be turning against the stablecoin firm as the presiding judge has ordered the firm to provide evidence of the USDT backing of its reserves at the time.
With the case dating back to 2019, Bitfinex, and iFinex, Tether’s parent company, both denied the fact that they were falsely inflating the USDT reserves at the time to manipulate prices.
In their defense, they told the judge for the case is baseless and that it should be thrown out, considering the fact that they had already provided sufficient documentation to both the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in their previous enforcement actions against it.
With their defence and earlier permission to withhold the documents, Katherine Polk Failla, the judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York believes providing the required documentation is important to bolster the Plaintiff’s argument and, as such, ordered the defendants to produce it.
While it is unclear whether iFinex and Bitfinex kept the right records to present to the District Court, the company has actually been more transparent with its attestation reports detailing the composition of its reserve.
This new approach to transparency came with the settlement reached with the Office of the New York Attorney General (NYAG) back in February of last year. The company paid the sum of $18.5 million to the regulator and was made to pledge to publish regular updates of its reserve backing, as well as, blocking New York residents from using its products.
While Tether was notably not anticipating a judgment like this, the company recently tapped the services of BDO Italia as the primary attestator for its USDT reserves. With BDO ranked as the fifth largest accounting firm in the world, many consider the move as one of Tether’s most ambitious to gain the trust of regulators around the world.
British fintech giant Revolut is deepening its foothold in the United States and has announced the addition of 29 new tokens to serve its customers.
The tokens, which include Avalanche (AVAX), Solana (SOL), and Dogecoin (DOGE), are an avenue for the company to compete for the growing market share in the country.
“Today, we’ve more than quadrupled our token portfolio to give our customers access to a much more diverse crypto offering,” Revolut global business head for crypto Mazen Eljundi said in the announcement, adding that exchange services on its platform are commission-free up to $200,000 a month.
Revolut is exploring avenues to compete with its counterparts in the US, including Gemini and Kraken, amongst others. The trading firm is also mulling the plans to add more tokens to the suite should it get the needed greenlight from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).
To offer more valued added services in the long run, Revolut also hopes to launch staking services to complete its generous no-commission trading offering.
Revolut is primarily a fintech firm but is growing strategically as a crypto payments firm. Besides its ambitious push into the US, the firm announced the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange offshoot in Singapore earlier in August. The Singapore move came after the firm tapped the in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
As part of its entry into new markets, education and proper awareness are crucial to the company as it looks to offer its services in a socially responsible way.
“We plan to provide educational features in the coming months to help customers better understand the trends and risks associated with cryptocurrency,” said Deepak Khanna, head of wealth and trading at Revolut Singapore, “We believe the regulatory strengths in Singapore and proactive industry engagement are key to serving clients with the highest standards.”
In complement, the firm launched the Learn and Earn campaign featuring Polkadot in July and it is open to all users.
Blockchain-based data analytics platform, Messari has announced the successful completion of its Series B funding round in which it pulled $35 million.
The round was led by Brevan Howard Digital and enjoined participation from top investors, including Morgan Creek Digital, Samsung Next, FTX Ventures, and existing investors Point72 Ventures, Kraken Ventures, Uncork Capital, Underscore VC, Galaxy, and Coinbase Ventures.
Coming off as one of the most favoured data analytics platforms serving the crypto ecosystem nowadays, Messari landed $21 million in a Series A round in early August from investors led by Steve Cohen. The August round valued the company at $300 million.
As announced, the new funds will be used to bolster its growing team and fast-track the development of new products.
“We’re excited to welcome a remarkable group of investors as partners in our next phase of growth,” said Ryan Selkis, Messari’s Co-founder & CEO. “We are committed to providing investors, crypto enterprises, and token communities with the tools they need to participate in the crypto economy. This new funding will help us grow our team, expand internationally, and invest in new data offerings and tools that complete our market-leading product suite.”
In its growth track, Messari confirmed that it has launched two new products, including Protocol Metrics and Data Apps. As explained, Protocol Metrics will enable the customers of the data research platform to “compare assets across multiple networks through transparent data standardization and analyze the health, growth, and usage of a protocol.”
The Data App platform is ideal for users who want access to customized data sets. Messari said the release of the Data App platform would be in Beta at launch and that it will release the demo for both products at its forthcoming Mainnet 2022 summit. The summit started on Wednesday and will end on Friday, the 23rd.
Countries in the Central & Southern Asia and Oceania (CSAO) region received more than $900 billion in crypto value from July 2021 to June 2022, according to Chainalysis released on Wednesday.
The report about cryptocurrency growth and adoption made CSAO region the third largest cryptocurrency market in the world.
The report further identified CSAO as the home to seven of the top twenty countries in this year’s index analysis: Vietnam (1), the Philippines (2), India (4), Pakistan (6), Thailand (8), Nepal (16), and Indonesia (20). The report further identified India, Thailand, and Vietnam as the countries that are leading the CSAO region in cryptocurrency value received in the last year.
India received $172 billion in cryptocurrency value from July 2021 through June of this year. Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and Singapore follow close behind, with each receiving more than $100 billion. However, less engaged with cryptocurrencies are Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan and Oceanian island nations like the Maldives.
According to the report, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and play-to-earn games make up a significant portion of crypto holdings and web traffic in the CSAO region. 58% of web traffic from CSAO IP addresses to crypto services in Q2 2022 was NFT-related, and another 21% was to the websites of play-to-earn blockchain games.
Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines are some of the countries with high web traffic to NFT marketplaces. A large portion of that NFT-related traffic appears coming from players of blockchain games. While NFT-related websites account for a majority share of web traffic in almost every CSAO country, most of these countries have witnessed huge amounts of the share going to blockchain games and entertainment.
This clearly explains why CSAO is a hub for innovation in blockchain-based entertainment. For example, game-centric blockchain developers Polygon and Immutable X are headquartered in India and Australia. And Axie Infinity and STEPN, the two largest play-to-earn games, are operated in Vietnam and Australia, respectively.
Key Drivers for Crypto Adoption
Chainalysis further identified factors such as play-to-earn (P2E) games, remittance payments, regulatory concerns, and bear markets as the key drivers that influence the level of cryptocurrency adoption in these countries.
High penetration of play-to-earn (P2E) games in the CSAO in countries leads to high crypto activities in the region. An estimated 25% of Filipinos and 23% of Vietnamese citizens have played a play-to-earn game, and at one point, players based in the Philippines made up 40% of Axie Infinity’s playerbase.
Massive remittance markets have been seen in various CSAO countries. For instance, in Vietnam and the Philippines, remittance inflows account for 5% and 9.6% of their respective country-wide gross domestic products. Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh each have $20+ billion in remittance markets, and blockchain-based payment providers are beginning to disrupt traditional intermediaries.
Crypto regulatory concerns might have dampened crypto activities in Indian and Pakistani, but not the pace of innovation in the countries. Recent regulatory developments may help explain why Indian and Pakistani fell from the second and third highest adopters of cryptocurrency globally, respectively in 2021, to the fourth and sixth highest adopters in 2022.
Lastly, the bear market is considered to have been responsible for the decline of traffic to websites related to subjects like decentralized exchange contracts in recent quarters.
Emerging Markets Leading Global Adoption
Chainalysis, which recently helped US regulators recover $30 million in funds stolen from the Ronin Bridge, last week released a global crypto adoption index report that confirmed the above analysis. Last week’s Chainalysis report showed that while global adoption slowed down due to the impacts of the crypto winter, emerging markets have appeared to be on fire in terms of adoption as they surpass high-income nations.
Emerging markets are in the forefront. Chainalysis data showed that lower-middle-income countries such as Vietnam, Philippines, Ukraine, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Morocco, Nepal, Kenya, and Indonesia hold positions in the top 20 countries in terms of global crypto adoption, with Vietnam holding position one.
Upper-middle-income countries like Brazil, Thailand, Russia, China, Turkey, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador have also appeared on the list. The US and the UK are the only representatives of high-income countries within the index.