There’s never a dull moment in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, and this week has been no different. The week had it all, from blockchain startups raising funding to some major brands adopting blockchain technology. On the legal front, one company was forced to liquidation while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued its trend of settling with crypto companies. And of course, the week wouldn’t have been complete without Facebook’s Libra grabbing a few headlines, but for the wrong reasons.
Blockchain technology has continued attracting investment as more institutions and individuals recognize the massive potential that the technology offers. The week saw South Korean decentralized ID startup ICONLOOP raise KRW10 billion ($8 million) in its Series A funding round.
New Vector, a London-based blockchain startup also raised $8.5 million this week. The company develops a decentralized messaging protocol known as Matrix which serves as an alternative to platforms such as Whatsapp and Slack. It counts the U.S. and French governments as some of its clients. NuCypher, a privacy-focused blockchain startup raised $10.6 million from notable investors including BitFury, Arrington Capital and more.
On the legal front, the week was full of events. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) indicted a Singaporean man who had used stolen information to open cloud computing accounts for crypto mining. The man had allegedly used over $5 million with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. The week saw a crypto mining firm ordered to liquidate its assets after failing to pay its creditors. BCause had filed for reorganization, but the creditors urged the court to dismiss the filing as the firm was beyond reorganizing.
In Canada, blockchain entrepreneurs have urged the government to provide clarity on the state of regulation, citing the ambiguity as one of the greatest hindrances to the advancement of the industry. In Europe, the EU finance commissioner pledged to propose new rules to govern the crypto industry. The commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, believes that the region needs to have a unified approach to crypto if it’s to become a global crypto hub. Hong Kong is also seeking to regulate crypto, with the securities regulator publishing regulations to govern crypto fund managers. In Japan, the finance minister revealed that crypto donations to individual politicians aren’t illegal, unlike those made in cash or securities.
The SEC continued with its trend of settling with crypto companies. Having reached agreements with companies such as Longfin, PlexCorps and Block.one, this week it was Reginald Middleton, the infamous man behind Veritaseum. The company had raised $15 million, but the SEC cracked down on it accusing it of illegal sale of securities and misappropriation of funds.
Blockchain and crypto adoption continues, with the week seeing established global franchises launching key products. The world’s largest retailer Walmart announced this week that it had launched a blockchain project that would track shrimp imports to its Sam’s Club locations. The project would enable small farmers in India to supply the retailer which was previously not possible.
Blockchain also continued to infiltrate professional sports, with NBA team Sacramento Kings launching the first blockchain-powered reward program in the league. The tokens can be used to purchase courtside tickets, signed merchandise and more. In Japan, financial services giant Nomura formed blockchain partnership with messaging operator LINE. In South Korea, the country’s most popular convenience store CU is set to accept mobile blockchain-based payments at its 13,500 stores.
And as it has since its launch, Libra was once again at the center of several events in the week. It was revealed that Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the U.S. Congress regarding Libra. Libra’s woes continued after PayPal, one of its principal backers and a member of the Libra Association pulled out. The payments processor backed out amidst reports that Visa and Mastercard were also considering quitting. To pile on to the bad news, two U.S. senators reportedly sent letters to Mastercard, Stripe and Visa urging them to reconsider backing Libra.
Libra is being attacked from the crypto community as well, with Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse stating that he believes Libra won’t launch any time soon. Speaking to Fortune, he stated that he believes that even by the end of 2022, Libra won’t have launched.
The week saw some setbacks for the industry, starting in China where the country’s dominant payments processor Alipay reiterated its anti-crypto stance amidst reports that users were using the service for BTC transactions. Having announced that it would cease supporting privacy coins, OKEx Korea finally delisted the cryptos this week on October 10. The affected cryptos include Zcash, Monero, Dash and Horizon.
The week has shown us that while some crypto projects had at first succeeded in their ventures despite questionable practices, the time to weed them out has come. The delisting of privacy coins, for instance, proves that in order to succeed, crypto projects have to adhere to established financial regulation, something Dr. Craig Wright has repeatedly pointed out.
The SEC has also continued winning cases against scam projects which thought that they had gotten away with fraud. Tether may also have to answer for its crimes, with a class action lawsuit being recently filed against it for creating “the largest bubble in history.”
As the new week begins, let’s hope that more fraudulent projects will be brought to book and that blockchain technology will continue to see more adoption.
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