ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 45

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Visa Debunks Reuters’ Claim It Paused Crypto Push

Head of Crypto at Visa, Cuy Sheffield, last week took to Twitter to refute a Reuters report that the payment giant—alongside Mastercard—paused the crypto push following the industry meltdown.

Rather, Sheffield notes in a thread that they “continue to partner with crypto companies to improve fiat on- and off-ramps as well as progress on our product roadmap to build new products that can facilitate stablecoin payments in a secure, compliant, and convenient way.”

He maintained that the challenges and uncertainty in the crypto ecosystem have not changed Visa’s view that “fiat-backed digital currencies running on public blockchains have the potential to play an important role in the payments ecosystem.”

 SEC Charges Former Co-Lead Engineer at FTX for Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission last week charged the former Co-Lead Engineer of collapsed FTX exchange for taking part in a multiyear scheme to defraud equity investors.

Nishad Singh, who started the FTX crypto trading platform along with Samuel Bankman-Fried (SBF) and Gary Wang, reportedly created software code that allowed FTX customer funds to be diverted to Alameda Research—a crypto hedge fund owned by SBF and Wang. This, despite false assurances to investors that FTX was safe and that Alameda was just another customer with no special privileges. The complaint alleges that Singh knew or should have known that such statements were false and misleading. Singh was also alleged to have directed hundreds of millions of dollars more in FTX customer funds to Alameda, even as it became clear that Alameda and FTX could not make customers whole for the funds already unlawfully diverted. Singh later withdrew approximately $6 million from FTX for personal use and expenditures, including the purchase of a multi-million dollar house and donations to charitable causes. According to the latest FTX Debtor Disclosure figures, Alameda net borrowed about $9.3 billion from FTX wallets and accounts.

 Visa Selects Five Emerging Creators for NFT Collab

In the spirit of BUIDLing with the crypto ecosystem in the Creator Economy, Visa last week introduced its 2023 and first Creator Program cohort. Aimed at providing creators with the opportunity to partner with Visa to accelerate the adoption of NFTs, the program saw five creators—from Brazil to Ghana and Singapore—announced to work with the global community to scale their NFT businesses.

Visa reports that applications opened for the immersive product strategy mentorship geared towards helping digital-first artists leverage NFTs to grow their businesses last March. It adds that the five creators were selected from over a thousand applications received from across the world.

 Ethereum Founder Shares Personal Experiences on Crypto Payments

The lead developer of the Ethereum network, Vitalik Buterin, last week published an article highlighting some of the prevailing challenges facing crypto payments over the past 10 years. They include the reliability of internet connection, the need for better user interfaces, and long time delay for confirming transactions on-chain.

Others that stuck out are the need to improve the user experience around transactions and wallet developers thinking more explicitly about privacy, as well as better forms of account abstraction. He concludes with the need for better user experience even though there have been some improvements over the years, particularly with the recent EIP-1559.

 Goldman Sachs Open to Hiring as Lender Supports Blockchain Platform

Following the use of its GS DAP blockchain in a Hong Kong bond sale, the head of the Goldman Sachs digital-asset team, Mathew McDermott, last week confirmed the bank remains “hugely supportive” of exploring blockchain applications with their division set to hire “as appropriate” this year.

GS DAP is a tokenization platform based on a private blockchain. It was recently used in the sale of HK$800 million ($102 million) of tokenized green bonds, cutting post-trade settlement from five days to one day after the trade from five.

Currently, some 70-strong– compared with four members in 2020–, McDermott notes that the team is open to bolstering staff strength owing to the potential for blockchain technology to improve the functioning of markets.

 Ethereum’s Devcon 7 Heads to Southeast Asia in 2024! But Why?  

Following Bogota last year after a three-year-long pause, Ethereum Foundation (EF) last week highlighted why they scheduled the next edition of the network’s developer event, Devcon 7, for 2024 in Southeast Asia.

After engaging with the local Latin American Ethereum community, they want to achieve a similar impact to develop at another regional level and Southeast Asia fits the diversity increment goal.

The Ethereum community is in many ways still western-dominated, despite the fact that crypto is more practically used in Southeast Asia, the EF noted in the blog post, pointing at four Southeast Asian countries ranked in the top 20 of the Global Crypto Adoption Index, with Vietnam and the Philippines at #1 and #2.

It adds that Southeast Asia has huge untapped and continuously growing opportunities, like in South America, and Devcon 7 offers the opportunity to “give a large, new, active, and diverse community a platform on the world Ethereum stage.”

Specific locations within Southeast Asia have yet to be confirmed.

 Top Brazilian Digital Bank Launches Crypto Token for Loyal Customers

Brazil’s digital bank, Nubank, last week launched a crypto token to power its customer loyalty program, according to a local report. Called Nucoin, the token was developed with Polygon, and its transactions will take place within the bank’s app hence it has no secondary market and no possibility to withdraw the tokens into a private portfolio.

Nubank has approximately 70 million customers in Brazil. Of the 100 billion tokens created, about 80% of them will be for end users that join the protocol in the future. The four ways for users to earn Nucoin include via an initial airdrop, through a draw in the first six months, cashback on Nubank debit and/or credit cards, and by being an active community member.

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