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JPMorgan on Metaverse, Digital Ruble Trial, Binance Chain Rebrands + More News
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- US-based banking giant JPMorgan hinted at its new focus on the metaverse, claiming that “when you think about the economics of the metaverse—or metanomics—there are opportunities in almost every market area” and it will also provide “a massive opportunity for business-to-business enterprises.” Also, in their new report, the bank said that its “core competencies in cross-border payments, foreign exchange, financial assets creation, trading, and safekeeping, in addition to our at-scale consumer foothold, can play a major role in the metaverse.”
- The central Bank of Russia said it officially launched the digital ruble trial, completing the first CBDC transfers among citizens. Three banks out of 12 financial institutions in the digital ruble pilot group have already integrated the CBDC platform, with two of them completing a “full cycle of digital ruble transfers between clients using mobile banking applications,” the bank said.
- China’s digital yuan has had a very small impact on the financial sector so far, Bloomberg reported, citing Mu Changchun, head of the Digital Currency Institute at the People’s Bank of China. The balance in e-CNY wallets is about CNY 470m (USD 73.9m), compared with M0 money supply, which refers to cash in circulation, of CNY 8.6trn (USD 1.36trn), Mu added.
- Ripple partnered with the Digital Euro Association to jointly work on CBDCs. However, the announcement did not clarify what the partnership will entail.
- Binance announced that its blockchain platform Binance Smart Chain (BSC) will be rebranded to BNB Chain, named for its native BNB token, which stands for Build and Build (formerly named Binance Coin). They said that this is “a move to spotlight its connection with the BNB token, the decentralized evolution of the BNB ecosystem, and showcase how BNB has transcended Binance in terms of its use cases.”
- Crypto platform Voyager Digital Ltd. reported an operating income of USD 3.2m for its fiscal Q2 ended December 31, compared to a loss of USD 2.9m a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter is USD 164.8m – up over 4,400% compared to USD 3.5m for the quarter ended December 31. Total Assets on Platform grew to USD 5.9bn from USD 4.3bn on September 30, 2021. Total verified users stand at more than 3.2m, up 49% from 2.15m at the quarter ended September 30, 2021.
- In the USA, the producer price index, which measures wholesale prices, rose 1% in January and 9.7% for the 12-month period, coming close to a record, CNBC reported. The January percentage is twice the expected level as inflation pressures were unabated to start the year.
- Blockchain gaming and NFT-focused Animoca Brands started operations in Japan, and its strategic subsidiary has raised JPY 1.1bn (USD 10m) of funding in its seed round. Animoca Brands Japan will work with global professionals to help Japanese IP holders branch out into international markets, they said.
- Asset manager Fidelity International entered the crypto space with the launch of the Fidelity Physical Bitcoin ETP (FBTC), which is listed on the Deutsche Boerse and Frankfurt Stock Exchange. They call it the cheapest bitcoin ETP in Europe, with a total expense ratio (TER) of 0.75%.
- Decentralized interoperability network Axelar raised USD 35m in a Series B funding round which made it a unicorn, bringing its valuation above USD 1bn. The funding will be used to support Axelar’s expansion as it continues to roll out its mainnet.
- Metaverse game MixMob raised USD 7m in its latest funding round led by cryptoasset fund Defiance Capital. The new capital will allow the team to reach their “strategic objectives” in the coming months, they added.
- Derivatives protocol Maverick raised USD 8m in a funding round led by Pantera Capital. The funds will be used to bring its Automated Liquidity Placement technology and open asset-listing model to market, they said.
- Google is hiring a director of product management for their YouTube Web3 department and has listed experience with crypto and NFTs, as well as “[u]nderstanding of cryptocurrencies, blockchain, consensus mechanisms, NFTs, and other Web3 technologies” among the preferred qualifications. The video streaming platform had previously expressed interest in various Web3 technologies.
- Digital asset platform Bakkt teamed up with Valliant Bank, an institution that provides financial services, to bring bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) to the bank’s customers. The latter will offer bank customers access to these assets through the bank’s mobile app. The feature is expected to launch in the second quarter of this year.
- Payment card provider Mastercard announced that it is expanding its preeminent payments-focused consulting service with new practices dedicated to Open Banking, Open Data, Crypto & Digital Currencies, and Environment, Social & Governance (ESG). One focus will be helping central banks explore the design and deployment of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) using Mastercard’s testing platform, allowing them to research various scenarios before deployment, they added.
- Blockchain video game company Gala Games unveiled its Gala Music platform to kick off a new decentralized music ecosystem. Gala also announced a partnership with Snoop Dogg and Death Row Records, and Snoop has dropped his new album, “Bacc on Death Row (B.O.D.R.),” as NFTs via a Stash Box sale with Gala Music.
- Crypto miner HIVE announced that their revenue rose to USD 68.2m during the third quarter of the fiscal year ended December 31, up 30% compared with last quarter, while their net income reached USD 64.2m. HIVE ended the current December quarter holding BTC 1,813 (USD 83.1m) and ETH 23,290 (USD 84.9m).