In case you missed them, here are some of the top developments in the crypto space over the past week that we think would be of interest to you. Check out this week’s edition of ProBit Global (Blockchain) Bits. Happy reading!
South Korea Plans Blockchain-based Digital IDs
South Korea last week announced it is set to replace its physical identity cards with blockchain-based digital identification by 2024. Bloomberg reports that the move will see South Korea include digital ID capability in a smartphone app as part of efforts to boost economic growth.
About 45 million citizens are likely to be enrolled in the first two years of the scheme’s implementation.
South Koreans top the Portulans Institute’s ranking for the ability to apply technology to everyday life. An economist at Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, Hwang Seogwon, says the scheme could help Korea reap at least US$42 billion (or 3%) of GDP in economic value within a decade.
On the other hand, while not considered a negative move at all, the proposed plan leaves the window open for other countries to study. The early adopter challenges of the initiative have to be considered as well.
Do Kown’s Red Notice is Not an Arrest Warrant
While about 4,400 crypto investors are reportedly looking to track down Terra founder Do Kwon, Interpol has clarified that its red corner notice is not tantamount to an international arrest warrant.
The clarification came last week in India as the secretary-general of the world’s largest police body with 195 members, Jürgen Stock, hinted that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum pose challenges to law enforcement agencies in the absence of a legal framework. Interpol also used the event to unveil the first-ever Metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide.
The crypto investors who lost money owing to the UST/Terra debacle accused Interpol, and the red notice it issued, of inefficiency. Forming the UST Restitution Group, the investors have been doing their bit to hunt for Kwon after the crash of his stablecoin. They think it was highly likely that he was in Dubai.
Gambling Macau Bringing CBDC Close to Home
Macau, home to the world’s largest casino industry, says it is planning to grant a central bank digital currency (CBDC) the status of legal tender, though it did not identify it. However, as a Chinese territory and considering how it has been following China’s trials, the CBDC in question is presumed to be the digital yuan.
Executive Council made the announcement with a bill titled “The Legal Regime for the Creation and Issuance of Currency.” It proposes, among others, to penalize refusals to accept legal tender as an administrative offense with fines.
The gambling hub’s casino industry contributed more than half of the city’s U$28.1 billion GDP in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Eswatini Chooses a Partner to Explore CBDC
The Central Bank of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) last week joined other central banks and regulators around the world in the bid to explore the potential of a retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
The African country partnered with German technology group Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to research and explore the development of the CBDC to address challenges such as payment efficiency, interoperability, financial inclusion, and payment system resilience.
The company had earlier completed the first phase of the CBDC Diagnostic Study conducted in 2020 which found that a retail CBDC presented the strongest and most direct opportunity for the adoption of a digital currency in Eswatini.
They now plan to advance the CBDC research efforts to gain an in-depth understanding of the practicalities involved in implementing the digital currency project.
Meta’s Flagship Metaverse Offering Not Doing Well
Leaked company documents last week showed that Meta’s metaverse world is being rocked with key issues. A report says the company’s flagship offering, Horizon Worlds, has been grappling with glitchy technology, uninterested users, and a lack of clarity about what it will take to succeed.
The network of 3D virtual spaces for users to socialize, play games, and attend events is currently available in the U.S., Canada, France, and Spain. A target of 500,000 monthly active users (MAU) was later reduced to 280,000 but the metaverse currently has fewer than 200,000 users. Most visitors to Horizon Worlds do not return after the first month and only 9% of its creator-built worlds have been visited by at least 50 users.
“An empty world is a sad world,” said one document summarizing the company’s efforts to herd users toward venues where they would encounter others.
Empty Block Miner Hurts BSV Network
The BSV network last week suffered as a majority hash power holder mined empty blocks. The miner, who has been mining BSV since 2020, is identifiable by the address 1KPSTuJMCMRXrTWHfCwpiRZg1ALbJzh844.
The action is “causing a range of problems since transactions are not being included in most blocks”, the network notes on its website. It is also making the memory pools — where transactions that have been generated by users but are yet to be included in a block are parked — — become full.
In its response, the Bitcoin Association which handles the network, says it is taking action to contact all relevant exchanges and miners to freeze all block rewards associated with the malicious miner. It also notes that it will be pursuing criminal charges against the entity/entities responsible.
Exchanges Started Halting Services to Russian Customers
The second largest exchange in the US, Kraken, sent out email statements to its Russian users to inform them that it will be halting services due to the new European legislation. The EU Council this month tightened its existing prohibitions on crypto assets for users in Russia. Blockchain.com notified its users that it will be shutting down accounts of Russian nationals over a two-week period according to local news agency, RBC.
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