ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 29

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ICYMI, here are some of the key developments in the crypto and blockchain space over the past week that we think should be noticed. Let us know what you think about the compilation, subscribe and clap if you like. Happy reading!

 Bitcoin’s Whitepaper Marked 14th Year Anniversary

Last week marked the 14th anniversary of the Bitcoin whitepaper being published by the presumed pseudonymous person named Satoshi Nakamoto.

On October 31, 2008, the white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was published and has since opened the way for innovative projects particularly based on the underlying blockchain technology.

Representing an innovative payment network and a new kind of money, Bitcoin ushered in “the possibility of truly free markets, fully decentralized, high risk & high reward”. Bitcoin continues to spearhead the evolution of a parallel digital economy along with the traditional finance system.

Global interest in Bitcoin, Bitcoin price, free Bitcoin, Bitcoin mining, etc has increased in the past decade

 Hong Kong Made Another Push to be a Leading Force in Crypto

Last week, the Hong Kong government and financial regulators, issued a policy statement to develop the virtual assets sector. They are stepping up preparatory work for a new licensing regime for Virtual Assets Service Providers even as the Securities and Futures Commission conducts a public consultation on how retail investors may be given access to virtual assets.

The government opens up to the possibility of having Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) on VA in its market, it states, and as an international financial center, is also open to future review on property rights for tokenized assets and the legality of smart contracts, it says.

According to the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui, the policy statement is in recognition of the potential of DLT and Web3 to become the future of finance and commerce, and how Hong Kong is preparing to embrace the future to welcome the clustering of Fintech, VA community, and talents.

 On Hong Kong Embracing Virtual Assets Futures ETFs

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) last week set out the requirements it would consider to authorize exchange-traded funds (ETFs) primarily through futures contracts. These virtual assets Futures ETFs have the potential to increase investors’ exposure to virtual assets but the SFC is concerned about the significant risks associated with investing in virtual assets. As the SFC shows its readiness to encourage virtual assets Futures ETFs, some of its set conditions for would-be companies to demonstrate adequate liquidity, and at least three years of proven track record in managing ETFs.

This and several other recent developments form a part of what makes the CEO of one of the largest consortiums in Hong Kong, New World, suggest that the special administrative region is up to something regarding crypto. Cheng Zhigang noted at the Hong Kong FinTech Week that a key factor that could work to the region’s advantage is the one country, two systems arrangement. He says it could see Hong Kong becoming the only place in China where virtual asset services are provided legally.

 Singapore Made a Push Too

There were also some developments in Singapore to support the thriving crypto and blockchain ecosystem as well as the advancement of fintech innovation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued licenses to two stablecoin issuers, Paxos and Circle.

Paxos is a US-based blockchain infrastructure platform and issuer of the USDP stablecoin. It received a license to offer digital payment token services under the Payment Services Act 2019. This enables Paxos to offer digital assets and blockchain products and services, to companies domiciled in Singapore.

Circle Internet Financial, the digital fintech firm and the issuer of USD Coin (USDC) and Euro Coin (EUROC) stablecoins, it got an In-Principle Approval as a Major Payments Institution License holder to offer digital payment token products, cross-border and domestic transfer services in Singapore.

 DOT Announced Morphing, No Longer Being a Security

Consistent with the views it has shared in its engagement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the past three years, Web3 Foundation last week announced that DOT, the native digital asset of the Polkadot blockchain, has morphed and is no longer a security.

The Foundation says it took up a Framework published by the SEC in April 2019 which indicated the existence of a compliant path forward that would allow a digital asset that was initially offered and sold as a security to be re-evaluated.

It says it followed the path and the attendant circumstances that would allow a digital asset to no longer be security for purposes of U.S. federal securities laws. The Foundation now views current-day offers and sales of DOT as not being securities transactions and DOT, not security. Rather, it says, DOT is merely software.

It describes the transformation as a landmark achievement toward the realization of Web3.

 Meta Takes Instagram’s NFTs on Another Ride

Going by its latest update, Meta says creators on Instagram will soon be able to make their own NFTs and sell them to their followers both on and off the social media platform. It also plans to provide a marketplace for NFTs starting with a Polygon blockchain-based end-to-end toolkit that will support creators from the creation stage through showcasing and selling.

Meta says the new features are being tested in the US first, even as it expands the types of NFTs that can be showcased on Instagram to include video and adding support for the Solana blockchain and Phantom wallet as a new addition to existing blockchains and wallets.

Arweave is glad that Meta would be using its platform to permanently store NFTs from Instagram. Its founder, Sam Williams, praises Meta’s decision to implement permanent storage for their users and notes that “NFT permanence is a sign of digital asset quality.”

Meta takes NFTs on Instagram to a new height

 Binance Addresses Claim of Processing Iranian Transactions Despite US Sanctions

AReuters report again claimed that the world’s largest crypto exchange by transaction volume, Binance, has processed Iranian transactions since 2018 despite U.S. sanctions aimed at cutting the Islamic Repulic off from the global financial system.

Citing data from the blockchain analytics firm, Chainalysis, the report states that a value of about $8 billion has flowed between Binance and Iran’s largest crypto exchange, Nobitex, which supposedly offers a guide on its website for users to bypass sanctions. A previous report in July made the same claim that Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, somewhat downplayed. To the latest claim, Binance notes that it has some of the strictest safeguards in place around such transactions and usually set up a task force to resolve the issue once found. Its global head of sanctions, Chagri Poyraz, said they “will work tirelessly to learn the necessary lessons and put processes and technology in place to diminish the chances of a repeat error.”

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