South Korea Advances CBDC Pilot Project: Jeju, Busan, and Incheon Selected as Test Regions

South Korea is advancing its efforts to implement a central bank digital currency (CBDC) by narrowing down three potential regions for a pilot project. The Bank of Korea has identified Jeju, Busan, and Incheon as candidates for the private target CBDC test bed, excluding the country’s capital, Seoul, according to a report from a local South Korean media outlet on July 31, 2023.

The pilot project aims to explore the issuance and distribution of the CBDC, and the Bank of Korea plans to select one of the aforementioned regions for experimentation. The process will include testing payments and distribution at a public level and securing franchises that can accept payments via CBDC. An official at the bank stated, “The CBDC electronic wallet app will allow not only local residents but also many civilians, such as tourists to [partake].”

The regional closed tests of the CBDC will be similar to the current local currency scheme in place in various regions of South Korea. This local currency scheme was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic as a basic income and relief payment solution. Jeju, Busan, and Incheon currently issue and distribute their local currencies, known as “Tamranjeon,” “Dongbaekjeon,” and “Incheon e-Eum,” respectively.

An official from a commercial bank in Korea reported that the choice was greatly inclined to Jeju, which has the second-largest population, as the number of eligible citizens in Busan is “so large that the Bank of Korea is burdened in many ways.”

The CBDC initiative in South Korea has been part of a broader exploration in recent years, with the country working on the project since at least 2020. Multiple banks in South Korea have also released information that they are conducting research on stablecoins as CBDC alternatives for efficiency purposes.

The local currency scheme has fewer technical barriers to overcome compared to CBDCs, according to the report. The pilot project’s success could pave the way for a more comprehensive implementation of CBDCs in South Korea, aligning with global trends in digital currency development.

Previously, South Korean electronics giant Samsung has joined forces with the Bank of Korea to cooperate on new CBDC research, including offline CBDC payment technology. This collaboration aims to enhance payment security and explore innovative solutions for digital currency utilization.

The South Korean CBDC pilot project represents a significant step in the country’s digital currency evolution and reflects the growing interest in CBDCs worldwide. 

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /

Yuga Labs Acquires Roar Studios to Expand Metaverse Vision

Yuga Labs, the web3 company known for its association with Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), CryptoPunks, Meebits, 10KTF, and Otherside, has announced its agreement to acquire Roar Studios, a firm at the intersection of gaming, social media, and the metaverse with deep technology and AI roots. The announcement was made on July 31, 2023.

Key Details of the Acquisition

Roar Studios’ Contribution: Roar Studios is the developer of ROAR, an immersive media experience that allows artists and fans to connect, collaborate, and compete in real time. The platform combines innovative proprietary technology with established MMO game and platform systems, creating an experiential, semi-autonomous music and entertainment world.

Integration with Yuga Labs: As Yuga Labs develops Otherside, its ambitious, interoperable metaverse, the Roar team will contribute their innovative technology, specialized expertise, and leadership. The acquisition aligns with Yuga’s vision of creating new ways for communities to connect and express themselves.

Leadership Changes: Eric Reid, Founder and CEO of Roar Studios, will join Yuga as the General Manager of Otherside. He will be responsible for evolving the vision and leading the development and production of the platform.

Yuga Labs’ Background: Yuga Labs has been shaping the future through storytelling, experiences, and community in the web3 space. Since their launch in April 2021, they have made headlines for releasing IP licenses to their NFT holders, acquiring rights to other top collections, and making web3 history with Otherside. In March 2022, Yuga Labs raised a $450M seed round at a $4B valuation.

Statements from the Companies

Daniel Alegre, CEO of Yuga Labs, stated, “Roar Studios has redefined what it means to experience media content in the metaverse. Roar’s dedication to creative content creation and social connections will accelerate our execution of our bold vision for Otherside and Yuga’s ecosystem more broadly.”

Eric Reid added, “Our team’s mission is to empower players to create and be social in a community-driven, open media experience, so our work fundamentally aligns with Yuga’s larger web3 metaverse strategy. When Daniel and Mike Seavers opened the door for us to contribute to Yuga’s paradigm-shifting approach to content and immersive experiences, we jumped at the opportunity.”

The acquisition of Roar Studios by Yuga Labs signifies a strategic move to enhance Yuga’s metaverse offerings and leverage Roar’s technological innovations. By integrating Roar’s immersive media experience and aligning with Yuga’s web3 metaverse strategy, the collaboration aims to redefine the way media content is experienced in the virtual world. The addition of Eric Reid to Yuga’s leadership team further strengthens the company’s vision for Otherside and its broader ecosystem.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / / / /

Grayscale Submits Comment Letter to SEC Regarding Spot Bitcoin ETF Application

As Grayscale Investments awaits a decision from the DC Circuit in their lawsuit to convert GBTC to a spot bitcoin ETF, the legal team at Davis Polk has submitted a comment letter to GBTC’s pending 19b-4 filing. This also includes seven other spot bitcoin ETF filings with newly-proposed surveillance sharing agreements (SSAs).

The comment letter, submitted recently, encapsulates Grayscale’s rationale for why the SEC should approve all spot bitcoin ETF applications. The firm remains encouraged by the increased momentum around these filings, underscoring the continued maturation of the bitcoin spot market and reinforcing the belief that American investors should have access to spot bitcoin ETFs in the US.

Grayscale argues that the SEC is already in a position to approve spot bitcoin ETFs, given its previous approval of bitcoin futures ETFs. With third-party studies showing a 99% correlation between Bitcoin’s spot and futures markets, surveillance of the CME bitcoin futures market should suffice to protect against potential fraud or manipulation in the underlying spot bitcoin market.

While Grayscale does not view the introduction of an SSA with a spot bitcoin market as the sole solution for getting spot bitcoin ETFs approved in the US, the organization continues to support efforts that enable investors to access the crypto ecosystem. Grayscale applauds progress that brings more oversight to centralized crypto markets and commits to taking necessary action to convert GBTC to an ETF.

Grayscale emphasizes that the SEC’s actions related to bitcoin ETFs should be made in a fair and orderly manner. As a disclosure-based regulator, the SEC should provide issuers with feedback or guidance consistently and equitably, without picking winners and losers.

Grayscale believes that for the benefit of Bitcoin, the market, and investors, all spot bitcoin ETF applications should be approved simultaneously. This approach ensures American investors are protected and have access to their choice of bitcoin investment vehicles.

With nearly one million investors across all 50 states owning GBTC, Grayscale stresses that GBTC’s conversion to an ETF would return billions of dollars in value to these investors. The firm will continue to advocate for the approval of spot bitcoin ETF applications, emphasizing that there is no reason to keep GBTC investors from the spot bitcoin ETF they deserve.

Grayscale uses the term “ETF” to refer to exchange-traded investment vehicles, including those required to register under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as well as other exchange-traded products not subject to the registration requirements of the ’40 Act.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /

CoinFund Appoints Dilveer Vahali as Head of Venture Legal to Drive Legal Deal Strategy

CoinFund, a leading web3 investment firm, has announced the appointment of experienced transactional attorney Dilveer Vahali as Head of Venture Legal on July 31, 2023. Vahali will be responsible for driving CoinFund’s legal deal strategy and execution, and will serve as a resource to CoinFund’s nearly 90 active web3 venture investments.

Dilveer Vahali brings a decade of experience in advising on M&A, venture capital investments, and other transactional law matters. He previously served as the General Manager and Lead Counsel at TCG Crypto, where he led deal execution, strategy, and operations. Before joining TCG, Vahali was a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, focusing on mergers & acquisitions, private equity, and corporate governance. He began his career as a financial analyst in Citigroup’s Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions group.

CoinFund, co-founded in 2015 by Jake Brukhman and Alex Felix, is one of the world’s first cryptonative investment firms. The firm recently closed a $158M Seed IV Fund in July 2023, following a $320M early-stage web3 venture fund CoinFund Ventures I in August 2022, and an $83 million seed stage fund Seed III announced in July 2021.

In the past two months, CoinFund has announced investments in various technology platforms, including Cloudburst Technologies, Gensyn, Giza, Neutron, and Superstate. The appointment of Vahali signifies the continued growth and sophistication of CoinFund as an organization.

David Pakman, Managing Partner and Head of Venture Investments at CoinFund, said, “As CoinFund enters its 9th year, Dilveer’s appointment signifies the continued maturation and sophistication of CoinFund as an organization. In a complex and novel legal environment, Dilveer’s cryptonative expertise and experience will be invaluable to drive deal execution.”

Dilveer Vahali expressed his excitement about joining CoinFund, stating, “I look forward to supporting our investment strategy working closely with Stewart, David, Jake, Alex, and the rest of the investment team, and lending my expertise to support CoinFund’s mission to champion the leaders of the new internet.”

Stewart Eichner, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of CoinFund, emphasized that Vahali’s skills and experience would benefit both investors and portfolio companies.

This appointment comes at a critical time for CoinFund, reflecting the industry’s maturation and the need for seasoned professionals to provide effective advice in the rapidly evolving crypto and web3 space.


Tagged : / / /

Worldcoin Faces Investigation by Germany’s Regulator

The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision has initiated an investigation into the Worldcoin crypto project, a new initiative that requires users to provide iris scans in exchange for a digital ID and potentially free cryptocurrency, according to Reuters. The investigation, which began in November 2022, is probing the large-scale processing of sensitive biometric data.

Worldcoin, launched last week with the ambition to create a new “identity and financial network,” has already seen 2.1 million sign-ups, primarily during a two-year trial period. The sign-up process involves a shiny spherical “orb” that scans faces in various locations, including France, Germany, and Spain.

The German regulator’s president, Michael Will, has expressed concerns about the project’s use of new technology to process sensitive data on a vast scale. Questions have been raised about the suitability of these technologies for transferring financial information, and whether users have provided explicit consent based on clear and sufficient information.

Worldcoin’s network is described as “privacy-preserving” on its website, with assurances that personal data is stored in encrypted form. The Worldcoin Foundation, a Cayman Islands-based entity, has publicly stated its compliance with European Union rules and pledged cooperation with governing bodies regarding privacy and data protection practices.

However, privacy campaigners have voiced concerns over the wide-scale collection and storage of biometric data, fearing potential increases in surveillance or targeted actions against specific demographic groups.

Several European supervisory authorities have also shown interest in Worldcoin. France’s privacy watchdog has commented that the legality of Worldcoin’s data collection appears “questionable,” and Britain’s data regulator has announced plans to make inquiries into the project.

The investigation is led by the Bavarian state regulator due to the presence of a German subsidiary of Tools For Humanity, the company behind Worldcoin, in the region.

The Worldcoin project represents a novel approach to identity verification and financial networking but has clearly raised significant legal and ethical questions. As the investigation continues and more authorities express interest, the crypto community and privacy advocates alike will be watching closely to see how these concerns are addressed.

But the scrutiny in Germany is not the only challenge Worldcoin faces.

Worldcoin underwent comprehensive security audits conducted by Nethermind and Least Authority, beginning in April 2023. The audits covered areas such as correctness of implementation, secure key storage, resistance to attacks, and data privacy. Out of 26 items identified, 24 were fixed, one was mitigated, and one was acknowledged.

Despite these measures to enhance security and privacy, the project’s coin WLD launch on July 25, 2023, was met with immediate criticism. French and UK authorities questioned the legality of Worldcoin and considered investigating potential violations of data protection laws, adding to the growing list of concerns surrounding this ambitious project.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

Crypto Trends: Weekly Inflows and Outflows in Altcoins, North American Markets, and Investment Products

As of the half-year mark, cryptos have witnessed inflows just under US$0.5 billion, according to a recent report by CoinShares.

93% of the outflows were from long-Bitcoin investment products, while short-Bitcoin saw its 14th consecutive week of outflows, totaling US$3.1 million. This trend suggests that investors have been taking profits in recent weeks, though the sentiment for the asset overall remains supportive.

Altcoins, excluding Ethereum, experienced inflows amounting to US$3 million in the past week and US$19 million over the last eight weeks. Cardano, Solana, and XRP led the way with inflows of US$0.64 million, US$0.6 million, and US$0.5 million, respectively.

The North American region, encompassing the US and Canada, saw a significant outflow of 11 billion dollars. In contrast, Switzerland and Sweden recorded outflows of US$3.2 million and US$2.6 million, while Germany welcomed inflows of US$5 million.

Digital asset investment products witnessed minor withdrawals totaling US$21 million last week. Trading volumes stood at a modest US$915 million, a marked decrease from the US$1.5 billion weekly average of the previous year. The broader Bitcoin market experienced US$16 billion in trades on trusted exchanges last week, a decline from the US$52 billion weekly average observed this year.

Ethereum and Avalanche saw minor outflows totaling US$1.9 million and US$0.4 million, respectively.

The data reflects a mixed sentiment in the digital asset market, with a noticeable shift towards altcoins and a reduction in trading volumes. The continuous outflows from long-Bitcoin products and the regional variations in investment flows provide insights into the current market dynamics.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / /

The Sandbox Q2 2023 Report: 59% Increase in NFT Mints, 52% Rise in Primary Sales, 15% Fall in Revenue in Q2

The Sandbox, a leading gaming metaverse, posted a mixed performance in the second quarter of 2023, according to a report released by Messari. The platform saw a robust 59% QoQ increase in NFT mints, primary sales were up 52% QoQ, and active buyers grew 22% QoQ. However, total revenue fell 15% QoQ, despite a 30% increase in non-LAND primary sale volume and an 18% rise in ESTATE volume.

The SEC’s lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance, where SAND was classified as a security, could herald a new era of crypto regulation in the U.S. A recent court ruling on XRP adds complexity to the regulatory scenario.

The Sandbox announced collaborations with brands like Paris Hilton, Warner Music, and others. The roadmap includes new features such as self-publishing experiences by the end of Q3 2023 and the ability to create and rent ESTATEs in Q4 2023.

Daily SAND staked grew 5% QoQ, but fell as a percentage of the circulating supply by 2% QoQ. SAND’s fully diluted valuation hovered between $2.1 billion and $1.1 billion, ending the quarter at $1.22 billion.

Despite facing a tough quarter marked by a fall in revenue, staking rewards, and SAND price, The Sandbox continued to facilitate new partnerships and grow in key areas. The platform faces regulatory uncertainty but is positioned for potential growth.

The Sandbox is a gaming metaverse where players and creators can monetize 3D assets and experiences via NFTs. Initially launched as a 2D mobile game in 2012, it rebranded as a 3D metaverse game in 2018.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

SEC Nigeria Issues Warning Against Investing with Binance; Declares Operations Illegal

Binance has been strongly advised against by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria. The Commission ruled that Binance’s actions and operations in Nigeria are unlawful in a statement.

The official circular states that the platform for Binance, which can be accessed at, is “neither registered nor regulated by the Commission.” The SEC has so warned the investing public in Nigeria that dealing with Binance or any other organization that is making similar solicitations is done at their own risk.

Investments in crypto-assets have a significant degree of risk, according to the Commission, and there is a chance that they might lose all of their value. Investor safety is the SEC’s first priority, and it has warned the investing public to exercise caution when purchasing goods and cryptoassets from companies that are not registered with or authorized by the Commission.

The circular also ordered any platform providers conducting such solicitations to “immediately stop soliciting Nigerian investors in any form whatsoever.” also regulatory measures pertaining to the operations of such operators and associated platforms would be updated, the Commission also said. It promised to work with other Nigerian regulators to provide more direction in this area.

This warning is issued at a time when cryptocurrency regulations are tightening up throughout the world. The SEC’s decision to deem Binance’s activities in Nigeria unlawful emphasizes the need of abiding by local laws and the necessity for investors to use care when doing business with unregulated businesses.

The Commission said that “Any member of the investing public dealing with the entity, making such solicitation, is doing so at his/her own risk.”

To prevent possible risks and losses, investors and stakeholders are recommended to be informed and follow the rules set out by regulatory authorities.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / /

Astar Network (ASTR) Announces Tokenomics 2.0 with Enhanced Burning Mechanism

Astar Network, a leading blockchain platform in Japan, has unveiled its Tokenomics 2.0 strategy, focusing on creating sustainable growth for its native token, ASTR. The announcement comes on the heels of the network’s recent integration with Fireblocks, a digital asset management platform, to boost secure DeFi access for over 650 banks and financial institutions.

The network, which already burns 80% of transaction fees, has expressed its intention to increase the amount burned through a new mechanism called DApp Staking Burning. The process will categorize projects that are part of dApp staking into tiers based on their value to the network. The higher the value, the more support they receive from the community, with great developers still receiving more rewards.

However, each tier will have a limited number of open slots. If some slots are unfilled, the rewards normally given to those slots will be burned instead. As stated in the official tweet, “Unused rewards will be burned… gone forever!”

By rewarding the most valuable projects and burning the rest, Astar aims to build a thriving and sustainable future for ASTR holders, stakers, and developers.

The announcement follows the integration of Astar Network with Fireblocks on July 27, 2023. This collaboration allows over 650 banks and financial institutions to tap into Astar’s thriving DeFi ecosystem, as well as trade, swap, and lend digital assets on Astar via Fireblocks.

Astar Network has rapidly become a preferred choice in Japan, supporting the popular Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) environment and the addition of WebAssembly (WASM), transforming it into a multi-chain platform.


Tagged : / / / / /

Binance Secures First Operational MVP License from Dubai’s VARA

Binance has achieved a milestone by becoming the first crypto exchange to receive an Operational MVP License from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). This license enables Binance to offer regulated virtual asset exchange services in Dubai, affirming its commitment to compliance and collaboration with local regulators.

The Operational MVP License was granted to Binance’s Dubai subsidiary, Binance FZE, and allows the exchange to offer services approved by VARA, including exchange and broker-dealer services. These services are initially available to institutional and qualified retail investors in Dubai.

The issuance of this license follows Binance’s successful attainment of a provisional MVP license in March 2022 and a preparatory MVP license in September 2022. VARA has now permitted Binance to operate two licensed activities: virtual asset exchange services and virtual asset broker-dealer services.

The progression from the Provisional License to an Operational MVP License means eligible users in Dubai can now access authorized services, including the ability to safely convert virtual assets to fiat, under VARA-designated standards compliant with the Financial Action Task Force.

Richard Teng, Head of Regional Markets at Binance, commented, “We are honored to be the first exchange to be granted an operational Minimum Viable Product License by VARA — a result of over a year of due diligence, collaboration, and consistent demonstration of responsible intent.”

The UAE’s embrace of blockchain technology has created a thriving industry with security and innovation at its core. Binance’s achievement in securing this license sets a precedent for positive collaboration in the rapidly-evolving financial technology landscape.

Alexander Chehade, Binance Dubai’s General Manager, noted, “With this operational MVP license, all users onboarded through this platform can expect access to a trusted and regulated service that prioritizes security alongside compliance with highly specialized, tier-one virtual asset regulations under VARA.”

While Binance has achieved success in Dubai, it has faced regulatory challenges in other countries. Binance withdrew its license application in Germany after BaFin denied the application. The exchange has also withdrawn license applications in Austria, the Netherlands, and Cyprus.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /
Bitcoin (BTC) $ 44,224.85 4.56%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,278.09 1.16%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 73.33 1.41%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 249.68 0.02%