It’s another edition of ProBit (Blockchain) Bits where we give a recap of the past week’s selected crypto-related events and happenings that are significant to shaping the industry. In case you missed them, here are the top developments over the past week that we think would be of interest to you.
MasterCard Finds That Latino Consumers’ Appetite for Crypto is High
More than half of Latin American consumers have transacted with crypto assets, a Mastercard survey has shown.
The Mastercard’s New Payments Index 2022 survey was conducted between March and April 2022 among over 35,000 people across the world. It found that 51% of Latin America’s consumers have already made a transaction with crypto assets while 54% of them are optimistic about the performance of digital assets as an investment.
Two-thirds of them — or about 66% — want to be able to use crypto assets alongside traditional payment methods interchangeably in their day-to-day operations. Another 82% of the Latinos would like to have crypto-related functions available directly from their current financial institution as they seek flexibility and convenience in digital currencies and payments.
Meanwhile, unlike Latinos who are willing to use emerging payment methods like biometrics, digital currencies, QR code, and contactless payments, the survey shows that 77% of Americans and 74% of Europeans prefer traditional payment methods.
BIS Insight Outlines How CBDCs Could Crush Crypto’s Offerings
Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could help to deliver faster, cheaper, and more transparent cross-border payments, the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) has said. It says central banks only need to understand how CBDCs should be built in line with a contribution to a broader vision of the future monetary system.
With nine out of 10 central banks now exploring CBDC, the BIS notes in its latest paper that it has coordinated experiments — including three completed cross-border CBDC projects — that show how platforms with two or more CBDCs could be technically feasible and offer a range of benefits.
While cryptocurrencies were not mentioned, some industry insiders consider the insight from the paper to be significant as it outlines how the study’s conclusion could shatter the dream of what cryptocurrencies claim to offer.
With the ongoing developments, like China’s e-CNY which has been in a trial phase for more than a year, there are suggestions that cross-border CBDC transfers could start happening in 2023 with Russia, China, and India.
Despite a Dismal Mainnet Shadow Fork, Ethereum Devs Optimistic About Gray Glacier Upgrade
During last week’s Ethereum Core Devs Meeting call #141, it was confirmed that the Gray Glacier hard fork would be happening at block 15,050,000 which is expected to occur on Wednesday, June 29. The exact date could change though due to variable block times and time zones.
The upgrade is to change the parameters of the Ice Age/Difficulty Bomb to push it back by 700,000 blocks, or roughly 100 days.
It precedes a planned execution of The Merge on their second major testnet Sepolia around Wednesday, July 6.
The devs also discussed the poor outcome of the 7th mainnet shadow fork in the week. They said 20% of nodes dropped off right at The Merge activation and more nodes dropped later. The issue, which caused 25% of network validators to go down, was later linked to how shadow forks work and not to The Merge itself.
Chinese Govt Newspaper Warns of Bitcoin Going to Nothing
An official newspaper of the Chinese government has warned investors to beware of the risk of Bitcoin prices ‘heading to zero’ following the price of the top cryptocurrency by market cap falling below $20,000 for the first time since 2020.
Controlled by the Central Committee of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, the Economic Daily notes that “Bitcoin is nothing more than a string of digital codes, and its returns mainly come from buying low and selling high. In the future, once investors’ confidence collapses or when sovereign countries declare bitcoin illegal, it will return to its original value, which is utterly worthless.”
It blamed the “lack of regulation in Western countries, such as the United States” for helping create a highly-leveraged market that is ‘full of manipulation and pseudo-technology concepts’.
WeChat bans crypto and NFT-related accounts
China’s top social media platform, WeChat, has reportedly started banning accounts that show any link to cryptocurrencies or NFTs last week
The platform was said to have updated its terms and policy to include a clause that makes it possible for WeChat to either restrict or ban any of its over a billion users’ accounts if they are found to have issued, traded, financed, or interacted with crypto or NFTs.
Such interaction would be deemed to have fallen under the illegal business category. Once such violations are discovered, a part of the new policy states that the WeChat public platform will, “according to the severity of the violations, order the violating official accounts to rectify within a time limit and restrict some functions of the account until the permanent account is banned.”
China banned all crypto-related activities last year. Industry players in the country had to rename NFTs as digital collectibles to indicate the Chinese version of NFTs without a link with cryptocurrencies.
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