‘400 Companies’ to Use Chinese Blockchain Pilot Zone + More News

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Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Source: Adobe/gui yong nian

Blockchain news

  • Some 400 companies are participating as Guangzhou, in Guangdong Province, launches China’s first blockchain pilot zone, reports Xinhua. The media outlet states that companies involved with industries from the finance, government, manufacturing, and other sectors will look to test their products and services in the zone.
  • The Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus will store patient data, namely the results of Covid-19 testing, on the blockchain, it was recently announced. To that end, it is employing the E-NewHealthLife platform, developed by I-Dante and enterprise-oriented platform VeChain. The encrypted data will reside on the VeChainThor Blockchain, and it will be accessible through the E-HCert app.
  • The blockchain- and crypto-keen South Korean bank Shinhan has revamped its digital and blockchain departments, reports CNB News. The bank’s operator, Shinhan Financial Group has launched a new initiative named “Leading New Digital Finance,” which will make use of blockchain technology, AI, and other industry 4.0 innovations.
  • The College of Engineering at South Korea’s leading university, Seoul National University, says that it has successfully concluded its first semester of blockchain teaching, and will roll out more blockchain and cryptocurrency-related modules in future semesters. Per the AI Times, the college’s head of blockchain stated that “interest in blockchain technology is rapidly increasing on campus,” but educators needed to reflect this by providing more opportunities to study the subject.

Digital currency news

  • The back-end development of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) has been completed, according to the country’s ex vice-chair of the People’s Bank of China’s National Council for Social Security Fund, Wang Zhongmin, and as reported by the local media. The article adds that the CBDC is currently in its testing phase.

Business news

  • Users of the Bybit derivatives exchange can now purchase Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) either through a bank transfer or directly via debit and credit cards, Visa and Mastercard included. The company confirmed the news in a press release earlier this morning, saying its new on-ramp offering works with 20 different fiat currencies, including GBP, EUR, and USD.
  • Omise’s operator says it has raised USD 80 million in a Series C funding round, with the investment arm of Toyota and major Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation among its investors. The operator, Synqa (which also runs the OMG Network), said in a release, that the funding has been led by SCB 10X and the SPARX Group. The company added that it wanted to “deepen its footprint in cashless societies in Asia.” The new influx of funds will be used to “provide enhanced enterprise solutsions and products” with the goal of supporting businesses’ digital transformation, it said.
  • CrossTower, a cryptocurrency trading platform designed for institutional investors, raised USD 6 million in a seed funding round, the company announced in a press release this Monday morning. The funding round was led by Gerard Lopez, a venture capitalist perhaps best known as an early investor in Skype.

Crime news

  • New Zealand police’s Asset Recovery Unit announced it froze NZD 140 million (roughly USD 90 million) in funds linked to Russian IT expert Alexander Vinnik, media reports. The freezing of the funds, which is said to be the largest ever in the history of the New Zealand police department, is connected to the ongoing investigation against Vinnik for money laundering and extortion. Vinnik ran BTC-e, a digital currency exchange said to have no anti-laundering policies, allegedly resulting in criminals and hackers flocking to launder funds stolen through various criminal activity. Vinnik remains in France, where he has been extradited after being arrested in Greece.

Regulation news

  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial watchdog, published an announcement this morning, warning all cryptocurrency businesses to register before the deadline runs out. According to the announcement, all businesses need to submit their applications by June 30, if they are to be processed before the grace period (January 10, 2021) runs out.