Terra Reaches ‘1 Million User Accounts’ + More News

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 4 min read

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: iStock/farakos

Adoption news

  • Terra, the blockchain payment network powering the mobile payment app CHAI, said it has hit a milestone with 1 million user accounts in less than nine months since the blockchain’s genesis, noting it through its public dashboard. The user count indicates the total number of Terra accounts with more than one non-trivial transaction.
  • Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the operators of airplanes on all international routes in and out of the country to pay fuel taxes in the state-issued Petro digital token, reports Infobae. The news outlet states that Caracas wants to introduce rulings requiring that payments of passport issuance fees and vehicle/real estate documentation are also processed in Petro.
  • Also in Venezuela, the national payments platform introduced last year for remittances will now allow users to trade in the Petro “and other cryptocurrencies,” per a report from Ultimas Noticias. The Patria platform introduced in 2019 allows overseas residents to send crypto holdings to Venezuelan citizens and was introduced as part of the country’s crypto-drive.
  • Elsewhere in Venezuela, Diario El Periodiquito reports that 20% of butchers in the state of Aragua claim that they have still not received payment for sales made in Petro. As previously reported, merchants across the country say they have been left out of pocket after biometric BioPago Point-of-Sale devices issued by the central bank failed to process scores of Petro payments.
  • Fidelity Digital Assets, the crypto arm of financial giant Fidelity, will serve as custodian for all Bitcoin funds held by Nickel Digital Asset Management, a privately-owned London-based investment firm. Per the announcement, this is the firm’s second cryptocurrency offering, called the Nickel Digital Gold Institutional fund.
  • Singer Akon shared that he finalised the agreement for the first futuristic, crypto-powered city, Akon City, in Senegal. Last week, he signed a “memorandum of understanding” with SAPCO, Senegal’s state-owned tourism department, and he said in an interview that the construction started in March 2019, with the stage two planned for 2025.

Digital fiats news

  • South Korean firm Blocko has issued a report stating that the country’s many successful local government-issued stablecoins could become pilot projects or testbeds for national digital fiat, per Fn News. The central Bank of Korea recently appeared to make a u-turn on the issue of CBDCs (central bank digital currencies), hinting it may consider proposals to launch a digital won, following on from statements early last year appearing to rule out the possibility of a CBDC launch.

Exchanges news

  • Cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp says it has partnered with the California-based Silvergate Bank to create a new Bitcoin leverage trading product. The exchange says the product will let institutional investors trade using leverage collateralized by Bitcoin. A full rollout will follow on from an initial pilot that has been made available to “select” investors.
  • Binance announced that Binance Futures will launch ETC/USDT perpetual contract. It will open trading on January 16, and users will be able to select between 1-75x leverage.
  • It has been confirmed that the FBI is investigating the circumstances around the collapse of Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX. An email was allegedly sent to multiple former users and shared with CoinDesk, according to which, Valerie Gauthier, a victim specialist with the FBI, has been alerting these people of a new portal containing information about the case, confirming that the investigation continues.
  • Traders can now trade gold-backed futures contracts and buy them with PAX Gold on cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX. According to the announcement, in addition to spot market trading, PAX Gold is now available as perpetual and quarterly futures contracts trading on FTX. This can also pave the way for eventual options and leverage trading for PAX Gold, says the issuer of the coin Paxos.

Regulation news

  • The United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an investor alert warning the American public to “use caution” when investing in Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs). The regulator stated, “Claims that IEOs are vetted by trading platforms can be used improperly to entice investors with the false promise of high returns in a new investment space.” And the regulator added that “crypto exchanges are typically not registered with the SEC,” incurring further risks.
  • Bitwise Asset Management has decided to withdraw its application for Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) filed in conjunction with NYSE Arca with the SEC. Per the registration withdrawal request submitted on January 14, Bitwise decided not to pursue the registration and sale of the securities and it believes that the withdrawal request is consistent with the public interest and protection of investors. The SEC has already turned down Bitwise’s Bitcoin ETF application in October 2019.

Investment news

  • Banxa, an internationally compliant digital banking infrastructure provider, announced its USD 2 million investment Series A round, led by blockchain investment firm NGC Ventures, with other investors including Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed Thorney Investment Group Australia, a multi-billion dollar family office that offers asset management, financial planning, and advisory services. The announcement says that the funding round will be used to support Banxa’s global expansion efforts as they enter new markets throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa.