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Inflation Picks Up In US, New DeFi Investments + More News

By Linas Kmieliauskas
Inflation Picks Up In US, New DeFi Investments + More News 101
Source: Adobe/noskaphoto

Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Economics news

  • US consumer prices rose by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March as increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus unleashed pent-up demand, kicking off what most economists expect will be a brief period of higher inflation, Reuters reported. The consumer price index jumped 0.6% last month, the largest gain since August 2012, after rising 0.4% in February, it added. (Learn more: Bitcoin Faces Hedge Test Amid Rising Inflation Concerns)

DeFi news

  • Bitcoin (BTC)-based decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Sovryn announced that a consortium led by investor Anthony Pompliano’s Pomp Investments has agreed to a BTC 150 (USD 9.4m) investment in the protocol, after its proposal was formally accepted by the Sovryn community. Of the groups that applied to invest, those which were vetted and accepted include representation by exchanges such as Cadenza (a BitMEX affiliated venture fund), AscendEX (BitMax), and Gate.io, as well as blockchain miner Blockware Solutions.
  • Ethereum (ETH)-focused major blockchain company ConsenSys announced the final close of its USD 65m formation round to accelerate the convergence of DeFi and Web3 applications on Ethereum with enterprise blockchain infrastructure. Global financial services firms JPMorgan, Mastercard, and UBS invested alongside leading blockchain companies, including Protocol Labs, the Maker Foundation, Fenbushi, The LAO, and Alameda Research, they added.
  • Thai Kasikornbank (KBank) is exploring DeFi as it tries to grow its business regionally via the digital platform, the Bangkok Post reported. Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG), a tech arm of KBank, recently established a subsidiary called Kubix to operate as an initial coin offering portal for digital tokens in a collaboration with the Stock Exchange of Thailand, said the report, citing KBTG chairman Ruangroj Poonpol.
  • METACO, a provider of security-critical infrastructure to the digital asset ecosystem, said it has launched METACO Harmonize, an end-to-end digital asset orchestration system for institutions. "METACO Harmonize is the orchestration layer for a range of subproducts that allow institutions and firms of all sizes to seamlessly integrate potential future use-cases into their infrastructure as they evolve," the company said in an emailed press release.
  • Pocket Network, a blockchain data ecosystem for Web3 applications, said it has increased the total value locked on the network by USD 9.3m, with Blockchain.com, Eden Block, DACM, and others purchasing the POKT token to power decentralized data infrastructure for Web3.0 applications. The total value locked in staked POKT has now increased to over USD 189.35m, they added.

Exchanges news

  • THORChain (RUNE) announced today that the multichain chaosnet is now live to the public. Its native cross-chain decentralized exchange (DEX) will enable native crypto assets to be traded on a DEX across unique blockchains without bridging technology or wrapping tokens. This has "never been done before," said ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees. "If I want to convert native ethereum to native bitcoin, Thorchain enables it. [...] Thorchain has no bridges. It has no wrapping. It is native assets, swapped across chains in a decentralized way, for the first time ever."
  • Boerse Stuttgart Digital Exchange (BSDEX), a German regulated trading venue for digital assets, said it has reached a trading volume of EUR 0.5bn (USD 596.9m) since the beginning of 2021. In February, it also set new records for daily trading volumes exceeding EUR 15m (USD 17.9m). Currently, around 15,000 users are registered and enabled to trade on BSDEX.

Mining news

  • Gryphon Digital Mining said it has raised a USD 14m in a Series A round to launch a Bitcoin mining operation with zero carbon footprint. Institutional investors accounted for over thirty percent of the round, they added without specifying.

CBDCs news

  • Brazil’s central bank, the Banco Central do Brazil, is making progress on plans to digitalize its currency, the real, and should have news on the matter soon, the bank’s president Roberto Campos Neto said, as cited by Reuters. Among issues that still need to be determined are whether a digital real will be interest-bearing, and what kind of technology will be adopted.

Investments news

  • The European Investment Bank, the lending arm of the European Union, plans to utilize the power of blockchain to sell bonds, potentially boosting use of the digital-ledger technology as a tool for the region’s debt market, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The bank hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Banco Santander SA, and Societe Generale AG to explore a so-called digital bond in EUR, which would be registered and settled using blockchain, it said, adding that investor meetings for the inaugural sale will start April 15 and continue for some weeks.
  • Crypto platform Voyager Digital’s monthly Investor Sentiment Survey revealed that 77% of their investors also invest in equities, but the vast majority, or 75%, prefer crypto, the emailed press release said. 62% have been investing in crypto for less than a year and over half of those respondents (55%) identified bitcoin as the greater store of value in comparison to real estate, equities, precious metals, and government bonds. Investors remain bullish on BTC in April, with 54% expecting the digital asset to trade between USD 60,000 and USD 70,000, and 20% expecting it to exceed USD 71,000.
  • The South Korean blockchain accelerator Hashed and the investment arm of the commercial banking giant Kookmin Bank, KB Investment, have invested in the crypto automated trader service Uprise. According to Hanguk Kyungjae, the Series B investment round raised over USD 8m, and also saw participation from Shinhan Bank’s investment subsidiary, as well as the VC arm of the internet giant Kakao.

Stablecoins news

  • New York City real estate mogul Kent Swig has secured a minimum of USD 6bn in gold reserves to back his new token, which took him 18 months of worldwide hunting, he said, according to Bloomberg. The value of the new DIGau token will be pegged to the market price of gold, guaranteed by liens Swig and partner Stephen Braverman’s company, Dignity Gold, secured against mining claims in Nevada and Arizona. It will be regulated and unique as a gold-backed, US-based crypto security that pays a dividend to token-holders, Swig said. Along with the pledge and security agreement, Dignity Gold has a forward purchase agreement for gold produced from the mines.
  • Tether Operations Limited, the blockchain-enabled platform that powers stablecoin tether (USDT), said that USDT tokens have more than doubled this year to a market capitalization of USD 45bn. They added that "institutional and corporate usage form the lion share of demand for USDT, with [USD] 24 billion added since January 1, 2021, a gain that is greater than the combined market capitalization of all rival stablecoins combined."

NFTs news

  • The leading South Korean crypto exchange Korbit has announced that it will auction non-fungible tokens (NFTs) representing the nation’s first-ever bitcoin and ethereum trades, conducted in 2013 and 2016 respectively – and will donate the proceeds to charity. The media outlet Newsway reported that the exchange will also afford the winning bidder with naming rights to the trades, which were conducted on its trading platform. Korbit was the first crypto trading platform to open on South Korean soil. Bidding for each of the tokens begins at ETH 2 (around USD 4,536).
  • NFT Investments, an investment company specializing in NFTs, said it has raised GBP 35m (USD 48m) before expenses, more than three times initially planned, for its flotation on the Aquis Stock Exchange Growth Market (Access segment), valuing the company at a market capitalization of GBP 50m (USD 69m).

Gaming news

  • The former South Korean social media giant Cyworld said that it is “in talks with major gaming companies” about a number of possible deals that would see software-makers use its dotori cryptoasset as an in-game currency. Per Yonhap, the company did not specify which gaming companies it was talking to, but described them as “large.” Cyworld, South Korea’s dominant social media platform of the early 2000s, has been attempting to reinvent itself with a crypto bent in recent months and spoke about “expanding” its crypto “ecosystem.” The firm also unveiled plans to launch its own mainnet to rival Kakao’s Klaytn network.

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