After the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has finished its technical assessment on the country’s markets, the Central Bank of Jordan is one step closer to taking the next step that is necessary to launch a retail central bank digital currency. This action was necessitated as a consequence of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conclusion of the research that they commissioned (rCBDC). In order to give assistance in the development of a CBDC feasibility study the previous year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sent a mission to the bank that lasted for a combined total of three months and lasted for the whole of the preceding calendar year. During the course of the preceding calendar year, this mission was carried out. On February 23rd, the research was made available to the public by the International Monetary Fund.
An investigation on the current condition of the retail payment sector in the country was carried out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the months of July and September 2022. After looking at their data, they came to the conclusion that the market was “extremely linked.” According to the findings of the study, the nation has a high smartphone penetration, and there are two non-bank payment service providers (PSPs) that provide goods that are “generally accessible and appropriate.” Additionally, the country has a large number of people who own smartphones. In addition to this, a sizable portion of the population of the nation has a computer and access to the internet.
Despite this, a rCBDC would expand people’s access to financial services by making them available to them even if they do not have telephones. This would make it possible for more people to benefit from these services. Because of this, it will be feasible for a greater number of individuals to make use of these services. There are a few other ways, besides those already mentioned, in which a rCBDC may be of aid to the domestic payment system. These include decreasing the costs associated with transferring money internationally and making the infrastructure of a rCBDC accessible to payment service providers (PSPs).
Solana Spaces has decided to close its two Solana (SOL)-themed, community-oriented retail shops in New York City and Miami at the end of this month. These stores are situated in both cities respectively. This decision was taken as a result of the fact that the physical shops did not bring in as many new users as was first anticipated when they were first opened.
Solana Spaces announced the news through a tweet on February 21, which also contained a message from the shop’s founder, Vibhu Norby, explaining the many factors that contributed to the decision to close the stores.
Norby, who founded Solana Spaces in the early part of 2022, explained that the company had reached a “inflection point” with the stores, which prompted them to shift their investment focus to “DRiP,” the firm’s brand-new nonfungible token artwork airdrop platform. This move was prompted by the fact that the company had reached a “inflection point.” Norby also said that he was the one responsible for establishing Solana Spaces in the first place.
“While our stores onboard between 500 and 1,000 people per week, DRiP onboards that same number EVERY DAY,” Norby noted, explaining why the firm opted to shift its investment priority. “While our shops onboard between 500 and 1,000 people per week, DRiP onboards that same number EVERY DAY.” “While our shops bring on between 500 and 1,000 customers every week, DRiP brings on that same number every single day,”
Norby stated that the decision to close the stores, which are located in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami and the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan, was made “a few weeks ago,” and that they would “sunset” at the end of the month of February. Both of these neighborhoods are in the city of New York.
Because the two stores in New York and Miami did not open their doors to the general public until the end of July and August, respectively, the ambitious endeavor was only operating for a relatively little period of time.
The cryptocurrency exchange known as Huobi Global is now in the process of applying for a license in Hong Kong, which comes at a time when the Chinese special administrative region is mulling over potential licensing and regulatory changes that would enable it to work with retail clients.
The new regulatory framework, which stipulates that cryptocurrency exchanges must register with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, would make it possible for the exchange to extend its service offerings to include the city. According to a thread that was started on Twitter by Justin Sun, Huobi intends to launch a new exchange in Hong Kong that will be called Huobi Hong Kong and would cater mostly to high-net-worth people and institutions.
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) only just made the new Hong Kong licensing proposals available for public comment, and the new regulations are scheduled to take effect in June. As soon as suppliers of financial services heard about the impending adjustments, they began making preparations to participate in the upgraded system in December.
During an interview with Nikkei Asia, Sun said that Huobi may raise the number of employees working out of its Hong Kong office from 50 to 200 this year. He said that the move was prompted by Hong Kong’s favorable position on cryptocurrency as well as the prospect of retail sales.
In January, Huobi said that as part of the firm’s reorganization after Sun’s acquisition of the company in October, they would be laying off twenty percent of its workforce. The cryptocurrency exchange said in February that it would “strategic and product modifications” be the reason why its Huobi Cloud Wallet will be discontinued in May.
According to Nikkei Asia, Huobi is reportedly looking into the possibility of relocating its headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong.
Huobi is also working to extend its service offerings in a number of other locations. It was revealed in January that the company is going to create a crypto-to-fiat debit card supported by Visa. Customers of Huobi who live in the European Economic Area will be able to use this card everywhere Visa is accepted. It is anticipated that you will be able to purchase that card around the second quarter of this year.
Popular sneaker maker Nike has started the “licensed NFT” wars by taking an online reseller called StockX to court for trademark infringement or sale of unlicensed nonfungible token (NFT) sneakers.
According to a Reuters report, Nike has filed a lawsuit against the reseller in the New York Federal court demanding an undisclosed amount in damages and a halt of sales on such virtual collectibles. StockX reportedly started selling Nike sneaker NFTs in January and promised buyers they can redeem the real-world version of the sneakers in the near future.
Nike in its 50-page complaint claimed StockX has sold nearly 500 NFT sneakers with the Nike branding which has dented their reputation and legitimacy. The shoemaker brand also alleged the NFT sneakers were being sold at inflated prices with very “murky terms of purchase and ownership.”
StockX is a popular online reseller estimated to be worth $3.8 billion and the NFT sneakers because of which it is facing the lawsuit is still online. The collection is called ‘The Vault’ comprising of 9 premium Nike sneakers and deals with NFTs tied to their real-world asset.
Related: From art to gaming: The biggest NFT trends of 2021
Nike claimed NFTs are a way for brands to interact with their customers, but some of the players in the market are trying to “usurp the goodwill of some of the most famous trademarks in the world and use those trademarks without authorization to market their virtual products and generate ill-gotten profits.” The shoe-maker is set to launch its own NFTs collection later this month in association with recently acquired art studio RTFKT.
NFTs popularity has made it a primary PR and marketing tool for brands and celebrities. However, as with any popular use case in the decentralized world, NFTs have reached a point of exploitation. Apart from Nike, there have been several other lawsuits around NFTs involving big brands and celebrities. Pulp Fiction’s film production company Miramax sued the director of the film Quentin Tarantino for selling NFTs of the movie, calling it copyright infringement.
It’s another shake-up for the finance industry as Montreal-based Bitcoin (BTC) startup Shakepay raised $35 million from investors. The fresh funding from the United States-based venture capital firm QED Investors values the company at $251 million.
Founded in 2015, Shakepay allows Canadians to buy and sell BTC and pay their friends. It also supports the purchase of Ether (ETH).
The startup aims to use the funds to consolidate growth, focus on bringing on additional products to market such as the recently launched Shakepay Visa Prepaid Card, and expand the team.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, ShakePay CEO Jean Amiouny said:
Shakepay’s seen demand boom for adopting Bitcoin and we’re really excited about this raise to be able to offer more Bitcoin products to our fellow Canadians.”
The funding supports a swathe of encouraging stats for 2021. The company surpassed $6 billion in total volume reaching more than 900,000 customers last year.
According to the Shakepay blog, the company reached 1% of Canada’s population, or 380,000 people, in March last year and 2% of the population in November. The company grew its userbase by 381% in 2021.
Canada is increasingly becoming pro-Bitcoin. A recent survey showed that 62% of Canadians want to get paid in crypto by 2027, while a Bitcoin ETF launched in Canada late last year.
For Shakepay, it’s all about retail adoption, as the group seeks to make “it easy for Canadians to buy and earn the soundest money to ever exist: Bitcoin.”
Related: Canadian restaurant chain reports earning 300% gains on BTC investment to weather pandemic
Jean Amiouny illustrated the company’s vision in the official announcement:
With our Series A funding, Shakepay is excited to welcome QED Investors, who have deep experience in the financial technology industry, and who will support the continued growth of Shakepay’s vision to be a leader in financial applications that help Canadians achieve financial wealth through investing in bitcoin.”
As crypto prices recover after a slump last week, Pascal Gauthier, CEO of crypto wallet firm Ledger, addressed questions relating to the state of the crypto market.
In an interview taken by CNBC at the Crypto Finance Conference in St Moritz, Switzerland, Gauthier said the situation panning out with Bitcoin (BTC) comes as no surprise. The retail trend is prominent and it’s “always the same.” He explained:
“The number of addresses with the minimum number of BTC is actually growing compared to the number of whales. There is a profound retail trend everywhere in the world; they trust Bitcoin more and more. It’s the people that will push the price up.”
Recent data from on-chain market intelligence provider Glassnode supports the claim. The number of BTC addresses with a non-zero balance is at all-time highs, topping out just short of 40 million.
An insightful metric, the non-zero balance number offers a sitrep of Bitcoin adoption. More addresses infer more users are entering the Bitcoin network, a telltale sign that retail is on the march.
Related:Bitcoin wallet addresses created in November inched toward 1 million
On altcoins, Gauthier supplied a note of consternation about projects that have recently outperformed Bitcoin. He suggested that this year could be a year of consolidation for some cryptocurrencies:
“Last year they (cryptocurrencies) were projects coming into the light; this year they have to deliver in terms of applications running on top of these protocols.”
Gauthier said that Solana (SOL) has a good value proposition for nonfungible toekns, and is in a good place to compete with Ether (ETH). While some of the top 10 protocols enjoyed wild price speculation and price increases in 2021, the market anticipates “good things from these protocols.”
He concluded with a steadfast rule for blockchains: “The token of a blockchain is the security of that blockchain. The more expensive the token, the more secure the blockchain.”
Ledger hardware wallet currently supports over 50 different protocols. France’s first crypto unicorn, Leger will launch a crypto debit card over the next three months. It will undoubtedly tap into its crypto experience in order to compete with the likes of Mastercard, who are also introducing crypto-linked cards.
Adam White, the president and founding executive of digital assets company Bakkt, is leaving the firm after three years.
In a Thursday post on Twitter, White said next week would mark his departure from Bakkt, where he has served as both chief operating officer and president. White joined Bakkt after leaving Coinbase in 2018, where he worked as a vice president and general manager. The Bakkt president did not reveal what his next move would be, or whether he would continue to work in the crypto space.
“I’ve loved working at intersection of crypto + markets and good to see the industry finding the balance between innovation & regulation,” said White. “Lots of work still to do here but never been more optimistic about the future.”
After a great 3+ years at bakkt, next week will be my last
I’ve loved working at intersection of crypto + markets and good to see the industry finding the balance between innovation & regulation. Lots of work still to do here but never been more optimistic about the future
— Adam White (@WhiteAdamL) December 23, 2021
Launched in 2018 by the Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE, Bakkt has seemingly had a slower rollout than many in the space expected. The platform initially aimed at the institutional adoption of crypto before shifting to retail-focused apps and institutional-facing Bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts. In addition, leadership at the firm has regularly changed hands, with CEOs ranging from PayPal veteran Mike Blandina, former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, and ICE executive David Clifton.
Related:Record-high Bakkt Bitcoin delivery exposes institutional frenzy for BTC
In October, Bakkt went public with a merger via a special purpose acquisition company, VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings. Shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BKKT for $9.45 at launch and surged to more than $30 later that month. At the time of publication, shares of BKKT are trading for $9.06.
Bitcoin (BTC) staged an impressive recovery after dropping to its three-month low of $42,333 on Dec. 4, rising to as high as $51,000 since.
The BTC price retracement primarily surfaced due to increased buying activity among addresses that hold less than 1 BTC. In contrast, the Bitcoin wallets with balances between 1,000 BTC and 10,000 BTC did little in supporting the upside move, data collected by Ecoinometrics showed.
“Bitcoin is still stuck in a situation where small addresses are willing to stack sats [the smallest unit account of Bitcoin], while the whale addresses aren’t really accumulating,” the crypto-focused newsletter noted after assessing the change in Bitcoin amounts across small and rich wallet groups, as shown in the graph below.
Ecoinometrics further asserted that the situation for Bitcoin is “not ideal,” suggesting that the BTC price may end up resuming its decline in the absence of influential buyers.
Bitcoin’s downside target sits near $42K
Ecoinometrics’ bearish outlook appeared as Bitcoin grappled with the Federal Reserve’s policy decision on Wednesday to reduce its bond purchases by $30 billion every month to unwind them down by April next year entirely.
The $120 billion a month stimulus program was instrumental in sending the BTC price from below $4,000 in March 2020 to $69,000 in Nov 2021. And now that the liquidity threatens to go away, with lending to become costlier as the Fed prepares for three rate hikes next year, many fear that it would hurt investors’ appetite for risk assets like Bitcoin.
Bitcoin price briefly popped above $49,000 after the Fed FOMC meeting confirmed at least three interest rate hikes and some adjustments to the current market supporting practices in 2022. https://t.co/TpTX7tGmYL pic.twitter.com/lXw47icZmB
— Cointelegraph Markets (@CointelegraphMT) December 15, 2021
Mike Novogratz, chief executive officer of Galaxy Digital Holdings, admitted that Bitcoin might feel “pain ahead” but anticipated that its price would not fall anywhere beyond the $42,000-support.
“$42,000 is at a pretty important level, and low 40s should hold,” the crypto billionaire told Bloomberg TV in an interview Tuesday, adding:
“So much money is pouring into the space, it would make no sense that the crypto prices would go much below that. If you’re long, it feels painful, but it’s probably healthy.”
Bitcoin accumulation stronger among retail
In reality, unique wallets holding more than or equal to 1,000 BTC have been declining all across 2021, with data from Glassnode showing its number dropping to 2,147 from 2,475 since Feb. 9.
In contrast, the number of unique wallets holding at least 0.01 BTC (around $485 at current exchange rates) rose in 2021, from 8.46 million to 9.39 million year-to-date.
Meanwhile, addresses holding at least 0.1 BTC (~$4,855) surged from 3.12 million to 3.30 million in the same period, indicating that “fishes” played a key role in pumping the Bitcoin price from around $30,000 to as high as $69,000 this year.
One more piece of evidence showing that retail investors have been bullish on Bitcoin, came from addresses that hold at least 1 BTC.
Related: Analysts expect Bitcoin trend change after Fed lays out its 2022 roadmap
These wallets decreased in quantity in the first half of 2021 as the BTC market grappled with the China ban and other negative news, but started increasing the second half as El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as its legal tender.
The number of Bitcoin wallets with at least 1 BTC also kept rising during the BTC price correction from $69,000 to $42,333 in the November-December session, signaling accumulation. It reached a seven-month high on Wednesday just as Bitcoin underwent a rebound to $50,000 from its weekly low near $46,000.
On-chain analyst Willy Woo also spotted retail accumulation rising to levels seen after the March 2020 crash, which led to Bitcoin’s two-year-long bull run.
Additionally, Bitcoin’s momentum indicator that preceeded its price breakout to $69,000 earlier this year is also hinting at a potential BTC price breakout ahead.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Nike is taking another step into the metaverse by acquiring RTFKT Studios, a virtual sneaker and collectibles startup.
While the deal is already being seen by many as Nike’s way of saying “Just Do It” to the Web3 era, it’ll also likely signal to NFT startups and legacy clothing brands alike that the world of virtual fashion will further heat up in 2022.
Founded in 2019, RTFKT has becoming increasingly popular with sneaker and Web3 enthusiasts, and has gained momentum during the NFT boom that began earlier this year. In February, the startup released several virtual sneaker designs in collaboration with the artist Fewocious and quickly made more than $3 million buy selling more than 600 pairs that can’t even be worn in the physical world. In March, it partnered with Atari on a limited edition Atari-themed virtual sneaker. And just last month, RTFKT partnered with the artist Takashi Murakami on an NFT auction to sell 20,000 3D avatars that are a part of the CloneX collection.
Terms were not disclosed, but Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement that the deal “accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture.”
“We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand,” Donahoe said. “Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
Nike and rival Adidas have both invested in Web3 topics in recent months. In September, Nike built a Nikeland experience and virtual showroom inside of the popular game Roblox. (Long before that, Jordan Brand collaborated back in 2019 with Fortnite.) In November, Adidas confirmed a new partnership with Coinbase and the crypto-enabled virtual platform The Sandbox. And earlier this month, Adidas expanded its NFT collaborations by announcing new partnerships with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Punks Comic and Gmoney. Nike has also filed multiple trademarks and patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have its logo used in the form of virtual footwear, clothing, headwear and other products and apparel.
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Since starting RTFKT in 2019, cofounders Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev have raised $9.5 million, according to Crunchbase, including an $8 million seed round with participation by Andreesen Horowtiz and Shrug Capital. In a joint statement with Nike, Pagotto said Nike “is the only brand in the world that shares the deep passion we all have for innovation, creativity and community.”
“This is a unique opportunity to build the RTFKT brand and we are excited to benefit from Nike’s foundational strength and expertise to build the communities we love,” Pagotto said.