ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 24

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From voting on Cosmos 2.0 proposal to Lightning Network taking the first step to bring new assets to the Bitcoin network and Japan planning to introduce Travel Rule, enjoy reading the 24th edition of ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits.

 Cosmos’ ATOM gets new role as network votes on new vision

The Cosmos Hub 2.0 whitepaper draft was officially presented atthe network’s governance forum last week. The team proposes its new vision document to be a counterpart to the 2017 paper with a focus on IBC-connected chains.

Last year, Cosmos enabled Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) transfers for sovereign blockchains to exchange digital assets (tokens) and data. The proposal marks the beginning of the Cosmos Hub as an infrastructure service platform. It also brings “a renewed role” for ATOM, which has seen price action trading of late, as preferred collateral within the network.

On the governance votes, community members stand to choose voting options of a ‘YES’ to approve of the ratification of the proposed whitepaper or ‘NO’ to disapprove. There is also a ‘NO WITH VETO’ to indicate its irrelevance or seen as a violation of the network’s rules of engagement. The ‘ABSTAIN’ option is for those who formally decline to vote either for or against the proposal.

 New global brands show interest in NFTs

As part of its preparations for launching global NFT products, Walt Disney last week began looking for a Principal Counsel. The post holder would help the international family entertainment and media enterprise manage transactions involving emerging technologies like blockchain, metaverse, DeFi, and NFTs. Also dipping its toes into the NFT waters is one of the world’s largest music companies, Warner Music Group. WMG last week announced a collaboration with the world’s leading peer-to-peer marketplace for NFTs, OpenSea, “to build and extend” the fan communities of some of its recording artists in the Web3 space. The idea, it says, is to introduce “existing fan communities to new forms of connection and creativity powered by NFTs”. The US record label manages some of the world’s leading artists including Ed Sheeran, Phil Collins, Bruno Mars, and Beyonce.

There are also reports that Apple, one of the world’s biggest tech companies, has started onboarding NFT apps and games to its App Store.

Meta made yet an update last week to say it now allows everyone on Facebook and Instagram in the US to connect their wallets and share their NFTs. Also, everyone in the 100 countries where digital collectibles are available on Instagram can access the feature.

 SEC charges crypto project for illegal airdrops, bounty program as Nexo gets lawsuits across US

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week filed charges against Hydrogen and a self-described “market making” firm, Moonwalkers Trading, for allegedly running unregistered offers like airdrops, bounty programs and sales of crypto asset securities. The SEC claimed the defendants manipulated the trading volume and price of those securities to yield more than $2 million. The defendants were ​​charged with violating the registration, antifraud, and market manipulation provisions of the securities laws. It is interesting to note that the regulatory body worked with regulators in the Cayman Islands, South Africa, Norway, and Singapore during its investigation.

The charges come as a top crypto lender, Nexo, gets a cease and desist order over its crypto interest-bearing accounts from California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, as well as from the state of Vermont. Nexo also had a lawsuit filed against it by New York’s Attorney General for allegedly selling unregistered securities in the state. Some reports say other U.S. states are pursuing similar actions against Nexo.

 Lightning Network in first step to bring assets like stablecoins to Bitcoin

Something important happened in the Lightning Network (LN) camp last week. Its team announced the alpha release of the Taro daemon for developers to be able to mint, send, and receive assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. Out for testnet usage, Taro will allow the issuing of assets like stablecoins on the Bitcoin network as well as allow users to transact those assets using LN when fully implemented. The release marks the first step towards “bitcoinizing the dollar”, a statement from the team says.

MicroStrategy, the company with the most Bitcoin holdings, advertised for a Bitcoin Lightning Software Engineer the same week. The job holder would be expected to build an LN-based SaaS platform that will provide enterprises with solutions to enable new e-commerce use cases.

 Former Singapore Prime Minister joins crypto project as advisor

Singapore-headquartered blockchain technology firm, ChainUp Group, last week announced it hired former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong as a special advisor. The company offers a range of solutions for digital asset exchanges, NFT trading platforms, wallets, liquidity, etc. As Singapore’s PM between 1990 and 2004, and later Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore from August 2004 to May 2011, Goh’s recruitment is somewhat high-powered. Not just for ChainUp which has been making expansion into regulated wealth and asset management services, but for the crypto space in Singapore and beyond.

 Kazakhstan, Russia draft laws on crypto mining

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan last week disclosed at the Digital Bridge 2022 International Technology Forum that his country is “ready to go further” with legalizing cryptocurrencies if their relevance and security could be proven. According to InformBuro, a pilot cryptocurrency conversion project was launched between Kazakhstani banks and crypto exchanges within the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). If successful, President Tokayev notes that the special pilot project, which is to be in test mode until the end of 2022, will get full legal recognition. Another report says the country has formulated the first draft law that could see Bitcoin mining becoming while the circulation of cryptocurrencies and other related transactions are only carried out within the AIFC.

In a related development, RBC reports that Russia has agreed on a draft law that will allow crypto mining in energy-rich regions only — those with hydroelectric and nuclear power plants — while it is banned in the energy-scarce areas.

 Japan plans to enforce the Travel Rule in 2023

The Japanese government is planning a move that is aimed at tracking money transfers by people engaged in illegal activities, especially with the use of cryptocurrencies. To prevent money laundering, Japan wants to introduce remittance rules in 2023 which will require the sharing of customer information between exchange operators. A bill has been prepared to add cryptocurrencies to the money transfer rules, known as the Travel Rule, which was recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2019. The Travel Rule requires Virtual Asset Service Providers like exchanges, banks, OTC desks, wallets, and other financial institutions, to share personally identifiable information (PII) about the recipient and receiver for cryptocurrency transactions over USD/EUR 1000 globally.

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