50m-User Chat App Kakao Delays Its Crypto Wallet + More News

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.

A screenshot of the KakaoTalk chat app.

Adoption news

  • The Kakao Group’s KakaoTalk chat app-linked crypto wallet Klip will debut this summer, or later than expected. As reported by Cryptonews.com, in November 2019, the company planned to roll out its crypto wallet in the first quarter of 2020. Per Fn News, the CEO of Ground X, Kakao’s blockchain arm, claimed that the wallet would “breathe new life into the blockchain sector.” KakaoTalk claims it has 50 million active global users, more than 44 million of whom live in South Korea.
  • And News1 reports that Ground X’s Klaytn blockchain ecosystem has added five new partners: crypto exchange Hanbitco, blockchain finance platform GDAC, Upbit operator Dunamu’s DXM subsidiary, rental property management platform Home Button and social media curator Hiblocks. The Klaytn governance council comprises some 30 members, including electronics giant LG, as well as international crypto exchanges such as Binance and OKEx.
  • Venezuelan bank Banco Occidental de Descuento (BOD) says it will offer cryptocurrencies-specific banking services to its customers. The bank claimed, on its official Twitter account, that it was creating an “ecosystem that facilitates the widespread use of cryptocurrencies, in a safe, transparent and reliable manner.”
  • CoinFlip, a U.S.-based Bitcoin ATM operator, has joined the Binance Chain ecosystem by listing Binance Coin (BNB) on their network. The announcement says that consumers in 35 U.S. states can purchase BNB from any of their 500 terminals.
  • Customers of Celsius Network, a crypto lending service, can now buy bitcoin directly within its mobile app using credit cards. This has been enabled thanks to a new partnership with Simplex, a company that provides payment infrastructure for crypto firms.
  • Germany-based Northern Data AG, a blockchain solutions and datacenter provider, and China-based Canaan, one of the largest producers of Bitcoin mining equipment, have partnered up, announcing "a close cooperation" in the areas of blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) development, and data center operations.

Digital fiats news

  • The former director of the Central Bank of Argentina, Martín Redrado, says the country should launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Redrado tweeted his thoughts on the matter, stating that Argentinian authorities should pay attention to the fact that the Chinese central bank was “quietly making progress” with its digital fiat project, and would “gradually replace traditional banknotes.” He added that a similar CBDC project would have many advantages in Argentina, where it would “boost the economy.”

Investment news

  • Glasgow-based blockchain-enabled startup Hypervine has announced the funding of a new project to develop space-based data using blockchain, co-funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), to help the world's mining industry, says OilandGas. Per Digit, satellite data will be combined with blockchain to improve efficiency and transparency for the 500,000 global extraction sites, 2,000 of which are active in the UK, with an annual profit of around GBP 93.7 million (USD 121.4 million).
  • Digital asset custodial company BitGo has acquired Harbor, an online platform for digitized securities, and its broker-dealer and transfer agent subsidiaries. Per BitGo, this will enable BitGo to expand its capabilities and services from custody, in order to address a wider class of digital assets for institutional investors, and it provides a foundation for a "full-stack" digital assets solution.

Regulation news

  • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has invited cryptocurrency companies and advocates to attend a summit on March 3, in order to discuss how the agency can “balance taxpayer service with regulatory enforcement,” reports Bloomberg Tax. The summit will include four 90-minute panels on technology updates, issues for cryptocurrency exchanges, tax return preparation, and regulatory guidance and compliance, said the article citing the invitation.
  • U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg published a financial reform plan, saying that he would create a “regulatory sandbox” for startups to test concepts and provide a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, in order to promote healthy competition in financial services. The plan states that cryptos have become an asset class worth hundreds of billions of dollars, but that the regulatory oversight is still fragmented and undeveloped. Therefore, Bloomberg says he'll work with the regulators to: clarify responsibility for overseeing cryptocurrencies; provide a framework for initial coin offerings by defining when a token is a security; protect consumers from cryptocurrency-related fraud; clarify how investments in cryptocurrencies will be taxed; and define capital and other requirements for financial institutions holding cryptocurrencies.

Exchanges news

  • Bittrex Global said that Tom Albright, previously General Counsel of Bittrex Inc. in the U.S. now becomes a director of Bittrex Global and interim CEO of the parent company of Bittrex Global while Stephen Stonberg, currently COO of Bittrex Global, takes on the additional role of CFO. Roles are effective immediately.