The American Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Source: A video screenshot, Youtube/Credit Suisse

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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Regulation news

  • US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that cryptoasset regulations should support responsible innovation while managing risks. She added that in many cases regulators already have authorities that can manage crypto risks and provide appropriate oversight. “Many of the most groundbreaking innovations in our history have involved all of us: policymakers and businesspeople, advocates, scholars, inventors, and citizens,” she said.
  • US Senator Patrick Toomey, a ranking member of the US Senate Banking Committee, introduced a bill to create a regulatory framework for stablecoin issuers in the USA. The discussion draft would define a “payment stablecoin,” authorize the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to create a new license specific to stablecoin issuers, allow insured depository banks to issue payment stablecoins, and address state regulatory oversight of this segment of the crypto industry.
  • The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is facing regulatory delays from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for its first crypto product over the product disclosure statement, Financial Review reported, citing undisclosed people familiar with the matter.
  • Nigeria’s central bank fined four banks for failing to comply with regulations that bar customers from transacting in cryptoassets, per Bloomberg.

Adoption news

  • Crypto.com and mixed martial arts organization UFC announced the creation of new Fight Night bonuses for UFC athletes that will be paid in bitcoin (BTC). The payouts will range from USD 30,000 for first place, USD 20,000 for second place, and USD 10,000 for third place, to be paid in BTC depending on the exchange rate.
  • The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR accepted its first stablecoin donation equivalent to USD 2.5m from crypto exchange Binance towards the support for families forced to flee Ukraine to neighboring countries. The funds will go towards providing humanitarian, legal, and social assistance including psychosocial support and emergency shelter to people in need, they added.

Investments news

  • Payments company Bolt announced it is acquiring crypto startup Wyre, with the acquisition anticipated to close “later in 2022.” The deal is valued at around USD 1.5bn, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, which also described it as “the largest merger in the crypto sector that didn’t involve a blank-check company.” “Together, the companies will decentralize commerce–uniting their technologies to evolve and simplify digital shopping,” the companies said. Wyre claims it has on-ramped over 15m end users to their partners and has processed over USD 10b in payments since inception.
  • The Swiss-based issuer of crypto exchange-traded products (ETPs) 21Shares announced the launch of the 21Shares The Sandbox ETP, based on The Sandbox (SAND). The ETP will be cross-listed on Euronext Paris and Amsterdam as well.
  • The HBAR Foundation, an organization that supports the development of the Hedera (HBAR) ecosystem, announced the launch of a USD 250m Metaverse Fund to onboard both consumer brands and their users to this Metaverse ecosystem, and to accelerate tokenization opportunities for mainstream consumer brands over the first half of 2022.
  • Digital currency asset manager Grayscale Investments announced the updated fund component weightings for their Digital Large Cap Fund, DeFi Fund, and Smart Contract Platform Ex-Ethereum Fund in connection with their respective first quarter 2022 reviews. They said they sold certain amounts of the existing fund components in proportion to their respective weightings, and used the cash proceeds to purchase avalanche (AVAX) and polkadot (DOT).
  • Web3 investment fund LongHash Ventures announced a partnership with blockchain protocol Terraform Labs to launch the LongHashX Accelerator Terra cohort to invest in the next generation of projects building on the Terra (LUNA) blockchain.
  • Web3 security company CertiK announced the completion of a USD 88m Series B3 financing round, by Insight Partners, Tiger Global, and Advent International. The funds bring the company’s valuation to USD 2bn and will be used for the development and operation of more security products, they said.
  • Metaverse technology company Improbable raised USD 150m in a financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz and SoftBank Vision Fund II. The funds will be used to launch M² (MSquared), a network of interoperable Web 3 metaverses, they added.
  • LOVO, a startup working on artificial intelligence-derived speech non-fungible tokens (NFTs), said it has closed a USD 2m extension led by crypto venture capital firm Hashed, increasing the round’s total pre-Series A fundraising to USD 6.5m. The startup said it intends to deploy its synthetic voice tools in chat applications and as in-game assets.

CBDCs news

  • The Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, said that they think it should be possible to integrate an e-krona into banks’ and payment service providers’ own existing systems, which they concluded after testing a technical solution for a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC). This may make it possible for their customers to exchange money in their bank account for e-krona, and vice versa, as well as make transactions using e-krona, even offline.

Exchanges news

  • FTX will begin rolling out in Africa in the next few weeks, Bloomberg reported, citing Elizabeth Rossiello, founder of cross-border payments solution AZA Finance, which is purportedly partnering with the exchange. The exchange announced its launch in Europe and the Middle East in March 2022.

Mining news

  • Mining hardware manufacturer MicroBT released its new generation WhatsMiner M50 series. They added that the M50 series will be available for shipping starting from Q3 of 2022.

NFTs news

  • Investment platform eToro announced it is launching eToro.art, a USD 20m patron program to support NFT creators, agencies, and brands. The platform plans to commit USD 10m of the amount to the emerging NFT projects, partner with them, and offer support through their development.
  • Sports entertainment brand ESPN and NFT platform Autograph announced a multi-year deal for ESPN’s first NFT, with the first collection based on Man in the Arena: Tom Brady, a 10-part ESPN+ documentary series.

Politics news

  • El Salvador president Nayib Bukele has canceled his participation in the Bitcoin 2022 conference due to “unforeseen circumstances” in his home country, per the conference’s Twitter page, citing Bukele’s letter. As reported, gangland murders have soared in recent weeks, and Bukele has responded with a crackdown unprecedented in Salvadoran history, with thousands of arrests in recent weeks.

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