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Blockchain.com's Outage, Bitcoin's Vouchers, Cards & ETFs + More News

By Linas Kmieliauskas
Blockchain.com's Outage, Bitcoin's Vouchers, Cards & ETFs + More News 101
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Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Wallets news

  • Major crypto wallet Blockchain.com said they're experiencing "an issue that’s preventing many people from accessing their wallets." "We learned this morning that there was a fire reported at one of our (many) data centers that caused an outage and our team will work around the clock to reroute wallet activity through other data centers," the company said at 12:20 UTC, adding that "funds are secure." This incident has been resolved at 20:00 UTC.

Adoption news

  • Major Swiss department store chain Manor is reportedly already selling bitcoin (BTC) voucher cards in 59 of its branches, according to Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger. Also, the retail giant Valora will allegedly begin selling BTC gift cards in its kiosks across the country starting April 1.
  • Crypto payment processing startup Moon announced that it now allows its users to pay with cryptocurrencies everywhere a Visa card is accepted online in the US with Moon Visa Prepaid Cards. "To start, we’ve launched Moon as a browser extension, but we’re planning a web app and mobile app in the near future," Founder Ken Kruger said.
  • Digital payment platform Wirex said it has launched its multicurrency Mastercard debit card in the UK and European Economic Area, as well as its new rewards program, X-tras, across the globe. "Consumers can instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world," the company said.
  • Canadian investment management company CI Global Asset Management said that the CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF began trading today on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the tickers BTCX.B and BTCX.U.
  • 80% of retail investors plan to buy more BTC in March, found a survey of 1,385 respondents by crypto trading platform Voyager Digital. Also, the respondents expect to see BTC between USD 51,000 and USD 60,000 by the end of the month, while in the next bear market, the majority of investors expect BTC to fall between 20%-40%.
  • Southeast Asia’s first insured BTC fund, BCMG Genesis Bitcoin Fund-I (BGBF-I), has officially launched, said the press release, in order to address the growing global interest from institutional and corporate investors. This bitcoin-only fund offers insurance coverage and underwriting for Public Offering Security Insurance (POSI), and it's regulated in Labuan, Malaysia.
  • Cyprus-regulated hedge fund ARK36 said it has partnered with France-based Prime Broker SheeldMarket in order to execute orders for a variety of digital assets. ARK36 will maintain custody of its assets within the broker’s compliant and insured infrastructure while accessing liquidity through algorithmic execution services, they added in an emailed press release.
  • The US General Services Administration (GSA) is auctioning BTC 0.7501 (USD 40,684), reported Bloomberg, adding that the auction is one more indication of how bitcoin "is becoming more and more mainstream." The GSA auction is scheduled to be held from March 15 to 17.
  • A leading real estate agency in the Canary Islands archipelago, Spain, has announced it will begin accepting crypto pay – reportedly a first for property businesses in the autonomous community. Per the media outlet Digital Sevilla, the Tenerife-based Piso Barato agency has declared that it will allow buyers to pay in BTC and other tokens – and claims that the move will attract the attention of international buyers, and breathe life into the archipelago’s currently stagnant housing market.

DeFi news

  • Decentralized finance (DeFi) platform DODO said that around USD 3.8m was stolen from the platform as a result of recent exploits. The team said that USD 1.88m "is expected to be returned."

Investments news

  • Digital asset custodian Komainu has closed a USD 25m Series A fundraise led by billionaire hedge fund manager Alan Howard of Elwood Asset Management. According to the press release, other participants in the fundraising round included Galaxy Digital, NOIA Capital, and Nomura Research Institute, which have now become strategic partners to the firm. This new financing round will expand Komainu's global presence and accelerate growth plans, it said. Komainu currently holds over USD 3bn in assets under custody.
  • Cryptocurrency aggregator OpenOcean has closed a USD 2m strategic funding round, led by major crypto exchange Binance with participation from strategic investors Multicoin Capital, LD Capital, CMS, Kenetic, and Altonomy. According to the announcement, the funds will be put toward building the aggregation ecosystem which draws in mainstream products from both centralized and decentralized exchanges, as well as marketing efforts to grow the user base. OpenOcean has more than 68,000 active addresses with USD 550m trading volumes, it added.

Exchanges news

  • The Gemini crypto exchange said it has become the “principal partner” of one of the UK’s most iconic sports events, the annual Oxford versus Cambridge university Boat Race, which traditionally takes place on the River Thames in London in early summer. The exchange was co-founded by former Oxford alumni Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss – who both rowed on the Oxford team in 2010. Gemini also announced that it was funding what it called the Gemini Boat Race Bursary Scheme, a USD 104,000 initiative to “provide rowing instruction and education to disadvantaged students by removing the financial barriers that often prevent them from taking part.”
  • The UK-based firm IG has joined the leading Japanese crypto exchange association, the Japan Virtual and Cryptoassets Exchange Association (JVCEA), as a second-tier member – a sign that it is likely to be granted an operating permit soon. Per CoinPost, in Japan, the company currently offers FX and contract for differences (CFD) trading in commodities including stocks, gold and crude oil. The JVCEA, which has been granted official recognition as a self-regulating body generally reserves tier-two membership for business operators who are in the advanced stages of applying for registration as a crypto exchange or crypto derivatives trader with the financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency.

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