What important crypto events happened last week?
On Monday, November 30th, Bitcoin hit its all-time high, reaching the mark of $19,904 thousand on Coinbase. Last time, in December 2017, at the peak of the first wave of popularity, Bitcoin reached $19,892, after which it quickly began to lose in price. This time, the correction was also not long in coming, but the upward trend remains.
Financial company Settle Network has launched two new stablecoins in Argentina (ARST) and Brazil (BRLT). Both stablecoins are based on the Stellar blockchain. The partnership between Stellar and Settle Network aims to simplify and speed up cross-border payments in Argentina and Brazil. Both stablecoins are fully backed by their national currencies. Both stablecoins include bank-level KYC verification, AML control and blockchain monitoring.
Projects And Updates
Chainlink oracle network has announced support for Ethereum-based infrastructure projects through its participation in the 8th round of Gitcoin Grants. Chainlink described supporting Ethereum’s key infrastructure projects as a step towards a collective vision of Ethereum as a public good, open to all, and capable of supporting better smart contract applications.
Tezos developers are planning a network update called Edo. The first new feature in Edo will be the implementation of the Sapling library, originally developed by Electric Coin Company for the Zcash blockchain. As with Zcash, Sapling allows users to hide transactions. Tezos developers will be able to integrate this feature into their smart contracts and applications that need extra privacy.
The long-awaited launch of the Beacon Chain, a zero-phase network of the updated Ethereum 2.0 Protocol took place on December 1, 2020. This was the first real block outside of test networks and the first step towards implementing ETH 2.0. The launch immediately reached the validation rate required to further work the blockchain. The planned launch date was confirmed just a week ago, as the seven-day countdown could only begin after 524,288 ETH were reserved within the deposit contract. By the 1st of December, holders have already staked over 867,000 ETH.
South Korean Strategy and Finance Committee has postponed the implementation of a new law on income tax on cryptocurrency transactions. This new taxation plan obliges crypto traders to pay a 20% tax on income over 2.5 million won (around $2,000). It will be implemented on January 1, 2022. Initially, the law was supposed to be implemented on October 1, 2021. The Committee moved the deadline to give cryptocurrency exchanges time to prepare for changes in the infrastructure.
As expected, residents of Cuba have become more likely to turn to cryptocurrencies after tougher sanctions from the United States. To circumvent the sanctions, the Cubans started using Bitcoin and some altcoins through the BitRemesas cryptocurrency platform. According to the company, transfers are more often made in small amounts — 10, 15, or 20 USD, and there are about 10,000 active holders of digital assets in the country.
The Central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia announced the successful finishing of testing of their joint digital currency Aber, aimed for international payments. However, according to the developers, the currency was not intended for use by individuals, it will be available only for banks taking part in the Aber project.
Demand among PayPal customers for cryptocurrency has well-exceeded expectations. PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman said the pandemic may have played a significant role in the digitization of financial services, as most consumers are no longer interested in handling cash. He added that the company will provide the opportunity to work with cryptocurrency to its international clients in the first half of next year, adding the corresponding functions in the Venmo payment app.
The Russian government has submitted a bill aimed at introducing tax regulations in cryptocurrency circulation into Russian legislation. At a recent meeting, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the government will work to develop digital currency markets and noted that legislative fraud prevention is in priority. The proposed document introduces changes to the tax code that recognizes digital currency as property. This will allow cryptocurrency owners to count on legal protection in case of any illegal actions, as well as to defend their property rights in court.
Visa has announced that it’s connecting its global payment network to the USDC stablecoin on the Ethereum blockchain. The statement says that Visa will not act as a custodian of the coin. As part of a partnership with Circle, which supports stablecoin, Visa will help credit card issuers integrate USDC to send and receive payments in stablecoin. After integration, companies that support Visa will be able to send international payments in USDC to other companies.
The Venezuelan divisions of the popular American Pizza Hut chain now accept payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Pizza Hut collaborates with Panama cryptocurrency payment operator CryptoBuyer and local traditional payments company Megasoft. Merchant Server, their joint platform, provides services in 20,000 stores and cafes in the country. Pizza Hut customers in Venezuela will be able to pay for pizza using BTC, LTC, DASH, BNB, BUSD, ETH, USDT, DAI, and CryptoBuyer’s own XPT tokens.
Hackers are now using cryptocurrency mining as a cover, when in fact they can pursue completely different goals. This was the conclusion of researchers from Microsoft.
They point to the hacker group BISMUTH, which in the summer attacked government institutions in France and Vietnam using a fairly obvious Trojan for mining Monero. It did mine cryptocurrency for the benefit of its distributors, but it also diverted attention from the true purpose of the attack, which is data theft. According to Microsoft analysts, BISMUTH hackers specifically use easily detectable crypto-jacking software to “hide in plain sight.”
The leading cryptocurrency exchange in Australia, BTC Markets, accidentally revealed the names and email addresses of 270 thousand of its users in a marketing newsletter. BTC Markets uses a third-party service for mailing. A promo-email with personal data was sent to 1000 user addresses. Representatives of the exchange said that the passwords from the accounts were not compromised, however, advised users to activate two-factor authentication and change access to email.
The CEO of the analytical firm Global Macro Investor Raoul Pal placed an order to sell all the gold he has to invest in BTC and ETH in a ratio of 80/20. Pal predicted that many current gold investors will soon turn to Bitcoin, as unlike the market for precious metals, the cryptocurrency market has a tendency to grow.
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