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Bitcoin Upgrade, Pu’er on Blockchain, Underground Miners + More News

Bitcoin Upgrade, Pu’er on Blockchain, Underground Miners + More News 101
Pu'er tea. Source: Adobe/昊 周

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.

Bitcoin news

  • Bitcoin Core version 0.20.0 has been released and is now ready for launch. Per the release notes, it includes new features, various bug fixes, performance improvements, and updated translations. Among a number of listed notable changes, BIP61 reject network message has been removed from Bitcoin Core, as were OpenSSL and BIP70, several remote procedure calls (RPCs) have been updated, the wallet now by default uses bech32 addresses when using RPC and creates native segwit change outputs, etc.

Blockchain news

  • China’s Yunnan Province has launched a blockchain-powered traceability platform for its thousands of pu’er tea farms, reports Chinanews. Yunnan’s famous tea, a dark, fermented variety that originated in the region, is the province’s major agricultural products, and export alone were worth USD 33 million in 2018, per a Xinhua report released last year. The province says that the platform will allow parties to conduct quality control, sales, supply chain and loan financing operations. Around 420,000 hectares of Yunnan farmland is devoted to the pu’er tea industry, with a total yield of some USD 2.5 billion.
  • The Russian Central Bank says it wants to launch blockchain-powered digital mortgages, reports Finversia. The media outlet quotes the bank’s deputy chairwoman Olga Skorobogatova as stating that the venture would make use of its Masterchain blockchain network. Skorobogatova stated that the bank was already working on mortgage-related solutions on its blockchain network, and that its “next step” would be the “launch of digital mortgages.” The central bank added that it has already sent proposals for its new venture to the government, as well as the country’s property regulator Rosreestr.
  • Major blockchain technology firm Blockstream has announced the launch of the Liquid Ventures Initiative, the purpose of which is to help grow their sidechain Liquid Network’s grassroots ecosystem, as well as connect promising Liquid projects with Bitcoin-focused investors. According to the announcement, there are currently 15 investors involved in the Liquid Ventures Initiative, including Nogle, Seven Seas VC, Blockchain Capital, Castle Island Ventures, Digital Garage Lab Fund, Electric Capital, Fulgur Ventures, Lemniscap, Proof of Capital, and Stillmark. Total commitments to the initiative stand at USD 5 million.
  • Blockchain journalism startup Civil is shutting down, and its team and technology are both moving to the blockchain company ConsenSys, states a blog post by CEO Matthew Iles. He says that, despite their many accomplishments with the blockchain-based media platform, they failed to sustain themselves independently.
  • The Bank of Lithuania has announced that its blockchain-based digital collector coin (LBCOIN) and its e-shop have both entered the final testing phase. According to the press release, upon the successful completion of this phase, the digital coin should be issued by July 2020.

Crime news

  • Chinese authorities have busted a network of underground miners – literally. The miners, reports Regnum, are believed to have taken their operations to the subterranean level, hiding illegal rigs in what appeared to be fake burial mounds. The operation took place in the Heilongjiang Province, on the Chinese-Russia border – and saw the alleged criminals steal electricity from an above-board crypto mining company’s data center.

Investment news

  • Crypto bank Avanti Financial Group has announced the closing of its angel round of funding, led by the University of Wyoming Foundation with participation from Morgan Creek Digital, Blockchain Capital, Digital Currency Group, Lemniscap, Madison Paige Ventures, Malex Enterprises, etc., as well as Gary Gigot and other individual crypto and fintech supporters. Per the press release, this will allow Avanti to achieve required milestones in its process of applying for a bank charter.
  • The French Financial Markets Authority (AMF) has given approval under its “ICO visa” scheme to renewable energy services provider WPO to raise funding through an initial coin offering (ICO). The public token offering of Green Tokens (ERC20 tokens) will take place September 8 - November 12, with the aim to raise EUR 10 million (USD 11.2 million).

Securities tokens news

  • Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SMTB) and two crypto exchanges – bitFlyer and TaoTao – have joined the fast-growing Japanese Securities Token Association, per an official announcement, as well as a report from Fisco (via Zaikei). The two exchanges – the first to join the association – will be “supporting” members, while SMTB joins the main group, which is chaired by the head of the SBI Group and comprises members such as Deloitte Japan.
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