28 May 2021 · 5 min read
Atomic Monero & Bitcoin Swaps, Riksbank Testing E-krona + More News
Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Atomic swaps between monero (XMR) and bitcoin (BTC) went live on mainnet. "With atomic swaps, online users trade cryptocurrencies without needing to trust each other or anyone else. Monero atomic swaps are made possible by new technologies and concepts and are being implemented by multiple teams, including a community funded software project called Farcaster and an algorithmically similar effort by the COMIT team," according to Monero Outreach.
- Sweden’s central bank Riksbank said it will work with commercial lender Handelsbanken to test how the country’s proposed digital currency - the e-krona - could handle payments in the real world. "The e-krona pilot is therefore moving on from only having simulated participants to cooperation with external participants in the test environment," Riksbank said.
- A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shows that exchange-traded fund (ETF) specialist firm WisdomTree has joined the ranks of those looking to launch an Ethereum ETF. The company is already waiting for the approval of a Bitcoin ETF.
- Meanwhile, the SEC is now officially reviewing two applications for a Bitcoin ETF, submitted by Fidelity Investments and SkyBridge Capital.
- On 1 June asset manager VanEck will list its crypto exchange-traded products (ETPs) on the regulated segments of the Euronext stock exchanges in Amsterdam and Paris, etfexpress reported. VanEck is the first provider to bring its crypto ETPs to the Dutch and French stock exchanges, it added.
- A platform dedicated to memes and trends called meme.com has raised USD 5m in a funding round led by Outlier Ventures, Digital Finance Group, Blockhype, and Spark Digital Capital, according to Tech.eu. Users will be able to mint “memetic tokens” based on the perceived value of the trend or meme they represent, and the best of each month will be rewarded with unique NFT art, it added.
- A suspected Bitcoin mining operation illegally stealing electricity has been found by police who were searching for a cannabis farm, BBC reported. Officers had been tipped off about the site on the Great Bridge Industrial Estate, Sandwell, and raided it on 18 May, West Midlands Police said, the report added.
Smart contracts news
- Electronic signature and agreement cloud DocuSign has entered into a definitive purchasing agreement of digital contracting platform Clause, the former announced in a blog post. DocuSign will onboard most of the Clause team to work on specific solutions that align with both companies’ visions of smart agreements.
- Cardano (ADA) developer IOHK announced the successful launch of the first testnet – Alonzo Blue - in the Alonzo upgrade rollout. The Cardano network has started its transition from the Shelly Era to the Goguen Era, happening through three upgrades: Allegra, Mary, and Plutus. The ‘Alonzo’ hard fork will integrate Plutus scripts onto the blockchain, enabling the implementation of smart contracts in Cardano, and therefore the deployment of a wide range of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications for the first time, said the developers – allowing it to compete with other DeFi ecosystems.
- Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that Bitcoin is “barely used as a form of settlement” and is mostly speculative trading with extremely high volatility, Bloomberg reported. Kuroda added that it is important to differentiate between cryptocurrencies and stablecoins that are backed by fiat and must meet certain legal requirements.
- US-based Mid-Atlantic restaurant and convenience chain Sheetz said it will enable crypto payments via digital payments network Flexa. Sheetz aims to begin accepting crypto at select Sheetz Cafe Stores later this summer with a planned roll out later in the year for acceptance at Sheetz's fuel pumps as well.
- The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be asking around 300,000 crypto investors to report their gains and losses in their 2021 tax return, as well as prompting around 100,000 taxpayers to review their previously lodged returns, news.com.au reported. The ATO is warning that it is not true that crypto assets are taxable only when converted into fiat, and that they are treated as assets and not currencies under Australian law, which means they’re subject to capital gains tax and must be reported.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is looking into regulating cryptocurrency trading in the country, its Governor Godwin Emefiele said, according to Business Insider. “We are committed in the CBN, and I can assure everybody that digital currency will come to life even in Nigeria,” the Governor was quoted as saying.
- After a protracted game of pass the hot potato, the battle for which part of the South Korean government is responsible for regulating the crypto sector appears to have ended in a stalemate. As reported, ministries and regulators have been keen to pass the buck and avoid having to deal with the political heat involved with governing the industry. But per a report from Segye Ilbo, the impasse has ended with the regulatory Financial Services Commission set to police crypto firms, the Ministry of Science and ICT charged with promoting the blockchain sector and bolstering security and the police force set to focus on crypto-related crime prevention. The Ministry of Finance, the Fair Trade Commission, the tax agency, and the Korea Customs Service will also be given minor regulatory roles.
- The Colombian crypto exchange SeSocio said that it aims to reach up to 145,000 monthly active users by the end of 2021, reported Semana. The trading platform also provided demographic data on its users, stating that its average customer age is 36 and invests a mean total of USD 700 on crypto purchases. The company added that most of its customers are wage-earners, rather than large-scale investors, and that many of them work in “middle and lower strata” jobs and industries. The platform says it has 17,000 banked customers so far.
- The crypto-non fungible token (NFT)-art craze could be set to welcome another famous name – with a work by the renowned Korean-American artist Nam June Paik to be auctioned as an NFT. Per Chosun, the work – a video piece named Global Groove – will go under the hammer at Christie’s, with bidding to close on June 3. It is expected to fetch up to USD 180,000. Nam died in 2006, but his nephew, who owns the copyright to the video work (which has been exhibited at the Tate Modern and the Guggenheim) was quoted as stating that the artist would have been “positive” about NFTs, as they provide the “opportunity to work and sell outside of traditional spaces such as galleries.”
- The Dubai Media Office, part of the Government of Dubai, warned that the emirate does not have its own official cryptocurrency as a scam with that claim seems to be circulating. “The website promoting the coin is an elaborate phishing campaign that is designed to steal personal information from its visitors,” the office added.