This week in tech: Mercedes Benz leads adoption as Singapore issues regulations

The automotive industry has been pro-blockchain for years, with Ford, Honda, BMW and General Motors all having launched blockchain projects. This week, it was Mercedes Benz’ turn, with the German luxury car maker launching a blockchain project aimed at tracking carbon emissions. The company partnered with Circulor, a British startup that uses blockchain to track raw materials. Mercedes will trace the emission of CO2 and other climate-relevant gases as well as the other recycled materials in the battery cell manufacturers’ supply chain.

Cambodia is set to have a central bank digital currency this quarter, the country’s national bank announced this week. Known as Bakong, the CBDC was launched in July last year on a trial basis. The trial seems to have gone well, with the regulator describing it as “the national payment gateway for Cambodia.” It will initially be rolled out for local payments, enabling inter-payments between users on different banks and platforms. Eventually, the Bakong will be availed for international payments.

While Cambodia makes inroads on a CBDC, Japan is also being urged to make a similar move. The deputy governor of the Bank of Japan called on the country to begin developing a CBDC or risk falling behind its peers. Masayoshi Amamiya stated in a recent event that he believes the demand for a digital currency in Japan will soar.

The soccer world has continued to embrace blockchain, with French giants Paris Saint-Germain this week launching a fan token. The token was made available via a fan token offering (FTO) on Socios this week. Holders of the token will get to participate in some of the club’s decisions. The first will be a vote on the inspirational message that they would like to be printed on the armband of the club’s captain during their next match.

Ditto Music, the online music distribution company, this week revealed that it’s set to launch a blockchain solution for the music industry. Known as Bluebox, the new service will allow content creators to boost their earnings and increase transparency in the music distribution industry. The artists will be able to instantly register copyright and publishing rights using legally-binding smart contracts right in the studio.

Vakt, the blockchain-powered oil trading company, will be expanding into Asia after raising $5 million from Saudi Arabia’s state oil company. Vakt revealed the funding this week, welcoming Aramco Trading as the newest client on its platform. Vakt was launched in 2018 by some of the biggest players in the oil industry, key among them BP and Shell.

On the legal front, Singapore this week implemented the Payment Services Act, a set of regulations that will among other things govern the digital currency industry. The process began in 2019, seeking to amend the existing laws to accommodate developments in the financial services industry. Already, a number of crypto associations in Singapore have organized an education program for the crypto industry on how the new regulations will affect them.

In Iran, the government issued licenses to over 1,000 crypto mining firms. The exercise is expected to bring the industry under the government’s purview and reduce cases of illegal power usage by some miners. Still on mining, a facility in Montana resumed operations this week after struggles with the law. CryptoWatt was shut down by authorities last year after its owner was accused of being a key figure in the BitClub Network crypto mining scam.

And in what was one of the most talked about incidents, Justin Sun, the controversial founder of TRON crypto project, tried to capitalize on the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant to promote his project. Sun took to Twitter to claim that Kobe was a member of the TRON family and that an upcoming TRON event would be dedicated to his memory. This attracted the anger of many, from within crypto and without, who called him out on his outright disrespectful conduct. Sun has done this before, most recently trying to capitalize on the corona virus outbreak to promote TRON.

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