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Today in Crypto: Xapo Bank Partners with Lightspark & Integrates Lightning Network, Ethereum Shanghai Fork Pushed Back, Casper Labs’ Long-term Partnership with SkyBridge & Al Maskari Holding

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 3 min read
Source: AdobeStock / 24K-Production

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

  • Bitcoin (BTC) custodian and licensed private bank Xapo Bank partnered with Lightning Network infrastructure builder Lightspark and integrated with the Lightning Network, enabling users to instantly pay for small purchases of up to $100 at any vendor which accepts Lightning payments without high transaction fees and long blockchain confirmation waiting times. “Xapo Bank also offers an annual interest rate of 4.1% on US dollars and will soon be offering up to 1% on Bitcoin, divided over the year and paid out daily,” it said.

Ethereum news

  • Ethereum (ETH) developers have pushed back the Shanghai hard fork to April – it will happen about two weeks after the Goerli testnet launch, slated for March 14. “We didn’t agree to a mainnet date explicitly, but assuming things go well on Goerli, we’d probably set a date on the next [developer meeting] (Mar 16),” Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko said. “Teams were suggesting roughly 4 weeks after that for a potential mainnet fork, giving them 1 week to put out + test a release, and then 2+ weeks of heads up for people to upgrade their nodes,” he explained.

Investment news

  • Global alternative investment firm SkyBridge Capital and privately owned holding company Al Maskari Holding announced strategic, long-term partnerships with blockchain software and services provider Casper Labs. “Amid Casper’s growing footprint in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, SkyBridge Capital and Al Maskari Holding will provide strategic support to Casper Labs, along with the broader Casper community, including business development, investor relations, and marketing services. Additionally, the firms are acquiring warrants to become shareholders in Casper Labs,” said the press release.
  • Digital collectibles platform Few and Far announced that it raised $10.5 million in a funding round led by blockchain investment firm Pantera Capital, with participation from Cypher Capital, Huobi Ventures, Hypersphere, Lyrk Ventures, Mantis Partners, K5 Global, etc. “The new funds will help further expand the platform’s capabilities, enhance the user experience, and increase the number of Web3 developers, plus IP owners that can benefit from the platform,” said a press release.
  • REALLY, a venture from CEO Adam Lyons, founder of unicorn TheZebra.com, announced its $18 million seed round led by Polychain, Floodgate founding partner Mike Maples Jr., and other strategic partners. The company also launched a phone plan comparison tool, REALLY.com, allowing individuals in the US to compare 56 carriers and 379 plans and switch to the service right for them. “The ongoing and rapid adoption of Web3 and blockchain into our everyday lives has allowed for an unprecedented period of change in telecommunications,” said Mike Maples Jr.
  • Thousands of Australians who used do-it-yourself (DIY) pension funds or self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) to invest in crypto face hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, Reuters reported. Assuming an average 40% decline since the market peak would imply an almost A$600 million drop in the value of SMSF crypto investments, it said. DIY pension funds account for a fourth of Australia’s A$3.4 trillion ($2.29 trillion) pension pool. There is about A$880 billion in Australia’s SMSFs, with crypto accounting for $1.4 billion of that in fiscal 2021, with that number likely rising since.

Security news

  • Web3 security platform NotCommon announced its launch “as a one-stop shop for both artists and collectors to trade and exhibit work,” said the press release. It launched a curated, moderated blacklist of fraudsters, allowing users to crosscheck people and entities against a database of known bad actors. Following $1.5 million in funding, the beta launch of NotCommon “aims to cut out fraud within the Web3 industry and strengthen trust and security in the space,” the team added.

Charity news

  • Mete Umut Elmas, Head of MENA Business Development of crypto exchange KuCoin, discussed the concept of crypto donations at the Blockchain Life 2023 convention in Dubai, arguing that crypto donations can encourage anonymous donations and enable greater equality, as well as introduce a technically-minded generation to philanthropy. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) can also provide reliability in the management of funds, the press release said.