Ethereum’s Layers, Mining moves, Swiss Bitcoin Banking + 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/New Africa

Blockchain news

  • Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin said that the initial deployment of Ethereum’s layer 2 scaling strategy has “basically” succeeded, and what now remains to be done are refinement and deployment. He added that this is an adoption challenge, not a technical challenge, as users need to have plasma- or rollup-based wallets, and also that token transfers must continue moving to layer 2 solutions given that they take up a large part of network activity. Buterin also shared a Twitter thread by blockchain developer with Horizon Games, Philippe Castonguay, who listed a number of layer 2 scaling projects that went/will go live within a month.
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC) performed its scheduled Phoenix hard fork, thus including Ethereum’s Istanbul fork features into its own chain, states the announcement. With this upgrade, the two protocols reportedly became fully compatible with each other.

Mining news

  • Major Bitcoin (BTC) mining pool Poolin said it has began working with US-based crypto lender BlockFi, “which will probably be appearing like an interbank lender,” offering a supply of capital for Poolin. The agency initially rolled out crypto lending choices in February through its Singapore-registered pockets entity, Blockin. The pool said that with extra capital they will have the ability to lengthen the enterprise to extra miner prospects, providing annualized curiosity at ranges that may be under 6%.
  • A leading Chinese crypto mining chipmaker and semiconductor producer is to make a USD 2.8 billion initial public offering (IPO) bid. Per a press release, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) will be allowed to launch its proposed IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, following a previous, successful Hong Kong offering. SMIC wants to use the funds to develop new 14nm chips that will be used in mining rigs.

Adoption news

  • Private Swiss bank Maerki Baumann has launched a new crypto premium trading and custody service, for which they had received a licence from the Swiss Financial Market Advisory Authority (FINMA). According to the announcement, the bank will start with BTC, BCH, XRP, LTC, and ETH, and gradually expand its list of supported assets. This is another step in a multi-stage crypto strategy that begun in early 2019, while the bank will be working on the expansion of its existing private banking offering in the second half of the year, and building up selected crypto investment services.
  • Digital asset storage, transfer, and issuing platform Fireblocks said it launched an open digital “Asset Transfer Network” for institutions. Its users are able to find and connect with some of the largest financial institutions and exchanges – in order to transfer assets on-chain and without taking counterparty risk to Fireblocks. Over 55 institutions and 26 exchanges are already active on the network, the company said.

Regulation news

  • The head of the Russian parliament’s financial committee Anatoly Aksakov has made further comments on Russia’s forthcoming cryptoasset bill, per the Duma’s Parliamentary Gazette. Aksakov says there is still space for discussion, with a consultation period coming in “two weeks’ time,” before parliamentarians are asked to vote on the bills. However, despite outcry at the prospect of a China-style crypto crackdown, Aksakov stated that only “professional participants should make use of [cryptocurrencies]. He added, “if non-professional investors are allowed to use [to participate], then they must do so with certain restrictions.”
  • Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) has justified its x2 leverage cap for crypto exchanges, imposed early last month with a six-month grace period. Per media outlet Coin Post, in response to a challenge from a Japanese MP, an FSA executive stated that the decision had been made in conjunction with a “study group” comprising a number of leading Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges, and had received approval from the Japanese cabinet.

Exchanges news

  • Bitfinex has integrated Tether (USDT) into the OMG Network, a platform that enables peer-to-peer transactions in real-time by scaling the Ethereum network. According to the press release, this will reduce confirmation times, make payments faster, and lowers transaction costs.

Crime news

  • In the first five months of 2020, crypto thefts, hacks, and frauds totaled USD 1.4 billion, suggesting 2020 could see the second-highest value in cryptocurrency crimes ever recorded, CipherTrace said in their latest research, released today. Contributing to this number are coronavirus-themed crypto crimes, which have proliferated in the wake of the current health and economic crises, they added.
  • A South Korean court has ordered the freezing of Telegram Nth Room chief suspect Cho Ju-bin’s crypto wallets, reports KBS. The broadcaster states that a district court in Seoul ruled in favor of prosecutors who wanted to freeze 15 cryptocurrency wallets they believe belong to Cho, as well as securities deposits and stock accounts. Cho is accused of masterminding a sexual exploitation and rape video ring on Telegram, with thousands of “members” paying crypto to gain access to his chat room.