Značka: Payments

Bulgaria's finance minister says country is exploring crypto payment options: report

Assen Vassilev, Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister for EU Funds and Minister of Finance, said the EU member nation is exploring options for rolling out a crypto payment mechanism.According to a Friday Bloomberg report, Vassilev said the government was in discussion with the Bulgarian National Bank as well as industry players to explore crypto payments “in the short to medium term.” However, he added that Bulgaria was unlikely to become a major hub for crypto miners — many are reportedly considering leaving Kazakhstan amid political turmoil and disruptions to the Internet. The Bulgarian government may still be one of the biggest HODLers in the world following the seizure of 213,519 Bitcoin (BTC) from an underground crime network before the 2017 bull run — valued at roughly $3.5 billion at the time, but more than $8.2 billion at the time of publication. It’s unclear if officials sold or auctioned the crypto at the time or continues to hold the digital assets.As a member of the European Union, Bulgaria is one of only eight countries that hasn’t adopted the euro and wouldn’t necessarily benefit from the rollout of a digital euro among participating central banks. In June 2021, the government and Bulgarian National Bank officials said they intended to adopt the euro starting in 2024. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said in March that the digital currency might not be introduced until 2025, if not later.Related: Google Pay hires PayPal exec to head up crypto payments pushIn 2021, a federal jury in the United States found the owner of Bulgaria-based crypto exchange RG Coins, Rossen Iossifov, guilty of conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering. The Bulgarian national collaborated with others in a scheme that defrauded roughly 900 Americans of more than $7 million. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.

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Iran to reportedly pilot central bank digital currency soon

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is reportedly planning to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot soon.According to a report by the Iranian Labour News Agency, the CBI vice governor said that CBDCs could help the country resolv financial inconsistencies. The development of a sovereign digital currency in Iran began in 2018 at the Informatics Services Corporation — the executive arm of the CBI. The development phase has been completed and a pilot will be launched soon. However, CBI didn’t reveal many details about the time frame.The Iranian CBDC was reportedly developed using the Hyperledger Fabric platform hosted by the Linux Foundation. Cointelegraph reached out to Hyperledger for a comment but didn’t get a response at the publishing time.Iran has experienced significant financial and economic difficulties as a result of heavy economic sanctions levied on it by the United States. Amid these problems, Iran has turned to crypto and was among the first countries to legalize Bitcoin (BTC) mining in hopes of reviving the economy, however, it had to temporarily shut mining operations on numerous occasions due to acute power shortages and blackouts. Iran is also looking to use cryptocurrencies for international trade, in hopes of bypassing the trade sanctions. As reported by Cointelegraph, CBI, and the Ministry of Trade reached an agreement to link the CBI’s payment platform to a trading system allowing businesses to settle payments using cryptocurrencies. At present, nearly 100 nations are working on a sovereign digital currency, while only a handful of them have reached the pilot phase. China is currently at the forefront: it completed its CBDC development in 2019 and is currently mass testing it across various provinces and retail sectors. Related: Iran halts authorized crypto mining to save energy for winterFrance and Switzerland have carried out multiple cross-border pilots. South Korea, Japan, and Russia are expected to carry out trials in 2022, while the U.S. is still in the discussion phase. According to the Atlantic CBDC tracker, nine nations have already launched their CBDC, 14 are in the pilot phase, 16 are in the development phase, 41 nations are still researching and two nations have canceled their CBDC plans.CBDC development tracker Source: Atlantic Council

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Altcoin Roundup: 3 ways blockchain technology could further mainstream in 2022

2021 was a breakout year for the cryptocurrency sector and this year is expected to see an extension of the “mass adoption” trend.Public awareness of blockchain technology is on the rise and a new cohort of projects designed to fill more niche roles in society are likely to emerge in the coming months. Three sectors that have the potential to see significant growth in 2022 are human resources (HR), employee payment solutions and platforms that serve the gig economy by offering corporate blockchain solutions.HR might pivot toward blockchain Human resource management is ripe for blockchain integration due to the security and data storage solutions offered. Blockchain would allow each employee to have a unique address where all pertinent information could be cryptographically stored. HR also deals with the recruiting and hiring of new employees, an increasingly difficult task in today’s world where the labor force participation rate stands at 61.9%, its lowest level since 1976.For blockchain-related jobs, the task becomes even more challenging due to the limited number of people with the knowledge and capabilities to work in the nascent sector. Keep3rV1 is one protocol that focuses on connecting employers with workers, and the decentralized job board is specifically designed to connect blockchain projects with external developers that provide specialized services. KP3R/USDT. 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewWhile Keep3rV1 focuses specifically on blockchain developer jobs, if the model proves to be a success, the concept could easily be expanded to serve a wider audience of job seekers and employers. Payroll also falls under the HR category and projects like Request (REQ) support a decentralized payments system where anyone can request a payment and receive money through secure means.This is an ideal setup for freelancers. Experimental platforms like Sablier Finance also offer workers the option to be paid for their labor in real-time rather than wait for the end of a payroll period to receive their paycheck in a lump sum. The gig economyRide-sharing services like Uber and Lyft and creator/freelance marketplaces like Fiverr were the bedrock of the gig economy. 2021 estimates show that 36% of the United States workforce participated in the gig economy either as their primary or secondary source of income. Data also shows that 55% of gig workers were also working a separate primary job. Current projections indicate that by 2023, up to 52% of the U.S. workforce will be actively working in the gig economy or will have done so at some point in their career, so it’s a growing field that could benefit from the integration of blockchain technology. One project that has already established its own freelancer job board is Chronos.tech (TIME), a blockchain-based recruitment, HR and payment processing protocol whose LaborX platform is similar to websites like Fiverr but conducts all transactions utilizing blockchain technology and smart contracts. TIME/USD 1-day chart. Source: CoinGeckoIn addition to the Chronos.tech, LaborX and PaymentX protocols, the ecosystem has also recently added decentralized finance (DeFi) functionality by allowing TIME holders to stake their tokens on the protocol to earn a yield. Freelancers can stake TIME on the network to receive bonuses for completed tasks while customers can stake to earn special rebates as a reward for holding the token.Related: Volcanos, Bitcoin and remittances: A Tongan lord plans for financial securityCorporations embrace blockchain solutionsEnterprise-level blockchain-based solutions are also expected to thrive in 2022.Many of the top contenders that offer enterprise solutions are layer-one blockchain protocols like Ethereum and its Hyperledger framework or Bitcoin’s layer-two lightning network scaling solution that was recently integrated with the Cash App. Other strong contenders in the field of enterprise solutions include Fantom and the Polygon network because they have lower transaction fees and faster processing capabilities. FTM/USDT vs. MATIC/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewA final protocol that specifically focuses on creating an enterprise-grade public network that allows individuals and businesses to create decentralized applications (DApps) is Hedera (HBAR). According to Hedera’s website, the project is owned and governed by some of the world’s leading organizations including IBM, Boeing, Google, LG and Standard Bank. The high throughput nature of Hedera’s hashgraph architecture makes it ideal for large businesses that would require a significant amount of transactions to serve their global client base. These use cases include payment processing, fraud mitigation, the ability to tokenize assets, verifying identity, the secure storage and transfer of data and the ability to create a private, permissioned blockchain for in-house use. Want more information about trading and investing in crypto markets?The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Checkout.com raises $1B in Series D, bringing valuation to $40B

Global payments processor Checkout.com announced a $1 billion Series D funding round on Wednesday, which marks a total of $1.8 billion raised to date and a $40 billion company valuation.Among the primary investors in the latest round are Altimeter, Dragoneer, Franklin Templeton, GIC, Insight Partners, the Qatar Investment Authority, the Oxford Endowment Fund and more.Big news We’ve just closed our $1bn Series D funding round at a $40 billion valuation. It will help drive our US growth, our platform evolution, and exciting work in Web3 Read more from our founder and CEO, @GuillaumePousaz https://t.co/KiqE2Q5NGD pic.twitter.com/PEXmtN2Xkv— Checkout.com (@Checkout) January 12, 2022The U.K.-based startup plans to use the funds to scale operations in the U.S. market, further develop their payment platform and “strengthen leadership in Web3,” according to the statement. Checkout.com founder and CEO, Guillaume Pousaz acknowledged:”At our core, we help enterprise merchants to navigate the complexity of moving money around the world, whether in fiat currency or bridging the gap to Web3.”Related: British Payment Firm Checkout.​com Joins the Libra AssociationIn addition to serving ecommerce and services merchants such as Netflix, Pizza Hut and Sony, Checkout.com also powers large crypto players, including Coinbase, Crypto.com, FTX and MoonPay. Its modular products are also used by the fan token provider Socios.com and the blockchain-based wallet Novi from Meta. The company also claims to be beta-testing a proprietary solution for merchants to settle transactions in digital currencies.Pousaz added that the company is still in “chapter zero of our journey” of bridging fiat and cryptocurrencies. And according to Checkout.com’s 2022 e-commerce trends report, payment diversification strategies are “vital” if brands want to convert more sales, especially as merchants increasingly offer digital wallet integrations, QR code scanners and even to sell their own NFTs.

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Retail is pushing the Bitcoin price up, says Ledger CEO

As crypto prices recover after a slump last week, Pascal Gauthier, CEO of crypto wallet firm Ledger, addressed questions relating to the state of the crypto market. In an interview taken by CNBC at the Crypto Finance Conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Gauthier said the situation panning out with Bitcoin (BTC) comes as no surprise. The retail trend is prominent and it’s “always the same.” He explained: “The number of addresses with the minimum number of BTC is actually growing compared to the number of whales. There is a profound retail trend everywhere in the world; they trust Bitcoin more and more. It’s the people that will push the price up.” Recent data from on-chain market intelligence provider Glassnode supports the claim. The number of BTC addresses with a non-zero balance is at all-time highs, topping out just short of 40 million. Source: TwitterAn insightful metric, the non-zero balance number offers a situation report of Bitcoin adoption. More addresses infer more users are entering the Bitcoin network, a telltale sign that retail is on the march.Related: Bitcoin wallet addresses created in November inched toward 1 millionOn altcoins, Gauthier supplied a note of consternation about projects that have recently outperformed Bitcoin. He suggested that this year could be a year of consolidation for some cryptocurrencies:“Last year they (cryptocurrencies) were projects coming into the light; this year, they have to deliver in terms of applications running on top of these protocols.”Gauthier said that Solana (SOL) has a good value proposition for nonfungible tokens and is in a good place to compete with Ether (ETH). While some of the top 10 protocols enjoyed wild price speculation and price increases in 2021, the market anticipates “good things from these protocols.”He concluded with a steadfast rule for blockchains: “The token of a blockchain is the security of that blockchain. The more expensive the token, the more secure the blockchain.” Ledger hardware wallet currently supports over 50 different protocols. France’s first crypto unicorn, Ledger will launch a crypto debit card over the next three months. It will undoubtedly tap into its crypto experience in order to compete with the likes of Mastercard, which is also introducing crypto-linked cards.

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Ramp expands presence in US with FinCEN regulation

On Tuesday, crypto-fiat gateway payments platform Ramp announced that its U.S. subsidiary Ramp Swaps LLC had received its registration as a Money Service Business with the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The regulatory greenlight enables Ramp to do business in 38 states across the United States. Besides the development, Ramp also has regulatory clearance with the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority and Poland’s Financial Supervision Authority.Ramp allows users to buy crypto directly in their wallets and decentralized applications, or DApps. Last year, the company grew its transaction volume by approximately 30x. It has partnerships with over 400 blockchain entities worldwide, including Axie Infinity, Mozilla, Opera Browser, Aave, Trust Wallet and is the exclusive on-ramping partner for fantasy nonfungible tokens football (soccer) game Sorare.The year prior, Ramp raised $52.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Balderton Capital, NFX, Galaxy Digital, Seedcamp, Firstminute Capital and angel investors. The firm claims that it takes mere hours for developers to integrate their DApps with Ramp software, allowing users to convert their fiat money into crypto and begin their virtual experience.Szymon Sypniewicz, CEO and co-founder at Ramp Group, issued the following statement regarding the development: Our view has always been that, to lead in this market, on-ramp providers must earn the trust of their partners and users. So we have taken every measure to meet, if not exceed, the relevant legal and financial standards that apply to us, no matter how stringent.

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Iran to allow crypto payments for international trade: Report

The Central Bank of Iran, or CBI, and the Ministry of Trade have reached an agreement to link the CBI’s payment platform to a trade system allowing businesses to settle payments using cryptocurrencies, the Mehr News Agency reported Monday.Alireza Peyman-Pak, Iran’s deputy minister of Industry, Mine and Trade and head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, or TPO, said that the new payment mechanism is expected to be finalized “within the next two weeks.”“We are finalizing a mechanism for operations of the system. This should provide new opportunities for importers and exporters to use cryptocurrencies in their international deals,” Peyman-Pak reportedly said.He added that the government should not be ignoring the economic and business opportunities of the crypto industry, referring to major private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC):The Iranian government is reportedly preparing a mechanism to enable the use of cryptocurrencies in international trade.“All economic actors can use these cryptocurrencies. The trader takes the ruble, the rupee, the dollar, or the euro, which he can use to obtain cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which is a form of credit and can pass it on to the seller or importer. […] Since the cryptocurrency market is done on credit, our economic actors can easily use it and use it widely.”The CBI did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending new information.Related: Too early to talk about using crypto for oil trading, says PutinThe crypto industry has been associated with some extent of uncertainty as Iran’s major blockchain organization expressed concerns about the enforcement of crypto regulations in late 2021. The Iranian government has also been regularly turning off electricity to local Bitcoin miners, citing temperature extremes.

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Central bank of Bahrain trials JPMorgan blockchain and token

Bahrain is the latest nation to explore blockchain technology by American investment bank JPMorgan, with the country’s central bank trialing JPMorgan’s proprietary digital currency.The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has successfully completed a digital payment test in collaboration with JPMorgan’s blockchain and cryptocurrency unit Onyx, according to an official announcement published on Jan. 6.The trial involved two other major institutions, Manama-based international bank, Bank ABC, and Bahrain’s national aluminum smelter Aluminium Bahrain, also known as Alba. The test enabled Bank ABC to settle real-time payments to Alba’s counterparts in the United States using the JPM Coin, a blockchain-based payment system and stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.According to the announcement, the CBB was responsible for supervising the trial. CBB governor Rasheed Al Maraj said that the trial has been crucial for the government of Bahrain to address and potentially eliminate existing inefficiencies in the traditional cross-border payments industry.“We are pleased to announce the success of this test, which is in line with our vision and strategy to develop and enrich the capabilities provided to stakeholders in the financial services sector in the Kingdom using emerging and pioneering technologies,” Al Maraj said.The CBB previously disclosed plans to test out the JPM Coin in May 2021, stating that the trial could potentially extend to its central bank digital currency development.Related: WhatsApp starts testing currency payments with Meta’s Novi walletOriginally announced in 2019, JPM Coin was commercially launched in October 2020.The investment bank has been actively promoting its blockchain tech for global use, partnering with Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, to pilot a blockchain payment system. JPMorgan previously provided its Liink blockchain technology to the State Bank of India to reduce transaction costs and improve cross-border payments.

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Retailers to drive crypto payments adoption: Survey

Crypto payments might be the innovation companies are looking for. A recent survey by payment network Mercuryo revealed that 57% of respondents believe accepting cryptocurrency payments would give companies a competitive edge. Among the other standout statistics, more than a third of businesses reported that customers had asked to pay in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) or another digital currency.Hot on the heels of news that Dogecoin (DOGE) will trial for Tesla merchandise payments and WhatsApp began testing payments with Meta’s Novi wallet, the Mercuryo report highlights that retail payment services will continue to be a key crypto adoption driver.The report surveyed 501 senior financial decision makers in the United Kingdom. Almost half of the sample size consisted of large businesses employing over 250 people. Of the respondents, 40% are of board or director level management, while the rest are partners or business owners. Crucially, however, large companies may increasingly lead the way. Of the findings, Petr Kozyokov, the CEO and co-founder of Mercuryo, told Cointelegraph:“Our research highlights that 75% of all large companies believe cryptocurrency will eventually be integrated into every form of financial services.”He added that 72% of large businesses within the payments sector consider cryptocurrency to be the future of payments. Over 75% saw increased demand from customers and suppliers to offer cryptocurrency as a payment option.Related: New study reveals high demand for payments in cryptocurrencyIn a series of interviews in The Times, smaller businesses such as e-bike retailers, shoe brands and fintech startups have expressed their conviction for cryptocurrencies as an asset for companies. While Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments make up a small percentage of their total sales, they say it’s a growing and valued service.Companies like Bitpay, Coinbase and Block are on hand to facilitate businesses’ transition into accepting cryptocurrency payments. Still, it’s not as easy as being paid your salary in crypto –a fast-growing trend and a magnet for attracting top talent in 2021.According to Kozyokov, “building these complex cryptocurrency infrastructures in-house often takes, in some cases, years to complete.” As is the case with new technologies, “there are still barriers to implementation which are slowing down the pace of adoption.”The report indicates that a lack of clear regulatory clarity within the market was cited by 33% of respondents as a barrier to entry, whereas 27% stated the vulnerability to scams is concerning, and 28% are worried about exchange rate fluctuations.While the cryptocurrency market cap has proven its worth, sitting above a $2 trillion market cap for most of 2021, it’s clear that educating traditional retailers about their use case as a payments technology will still take some time. However, as the industry has proven time and time again, Kozyokov concludes, “it will be the early movers who will reap the rewards.”

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Crypto salaries are becoming a popular way to attract young talent

Athletes and politicians made headlines as they opted to get paid in crypto earlier this year. Now, in an attempt to attract a younger workforce, companies are starting to offer crypto salaries. A recent CNBC article highlighted two different cases where young talent is paid in crypto. University student Stephen Gerrits and artist Tiyanna Brown decided to receive their pay in cryptocurrencies. Gerrits works part-time at a tech startup, while Brown sells digital art in exchange for Ether (ETH). According to Gerrits, he earned more than what he would’ve made in cash due to crypto price changes. However, it doesn’t just always go up. He said that he lets it be, and he finds joy when the prices go up, but the fun ends when prices go down. Since his bills are covered by other income, he considers his crypto investment. “Why not take the chance or the opportunity to kind of strike it rich, get some money out of it,” he questions.Meanwhile, 29-year old Tiyanna Brown sells art on Rarible, a platform that lets you receive ETH as payment for your digital art. Brown is optimistic that this will provide better results in the long run. “It’s almost like licensing, so every time someone uses your art, you gain a percentage,” she said. Brown also mentioned that she wants to see the words ‘starving artist’ as “a thing as of the past.” In 2021 alone, many reports show that athletes are getting paid in crypto. In August, soccer star Lionel Messi received fan tokens for his deal with Paris Saint-Germain. In November, National Football League players Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Rodgers chose to accept crypto payments. The former said he would take his full NFL salary in Bitcoin (BTC) while the latter would receive only part of his salary in BTC. Aside from these, in response to a challenge by Bitcoin evangelist Anthony Pompliano, three US politicians declared that they would accept their salaries in BTC. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, New York Mayor-elect Eric Adams, and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said they would take BTC paychecks. Related: Recruiters say crypto firms seeking leadership in engineering, legal and financeBack in November, LinkedIn reported that crypto-related job listings increased by 600% since August 2020. Aside from this, large finance companies also offered big bonuses to attract more crypto talent. HR firm Johnson Associates says that crypto positions pay 20 to 30 percent higher than comparable non-crypto positions. There are also some setbacks when opting to get paid in crypto. One of them is your employer demanding to get the payment back. A letter sent by an unnamed employee to MarketWatch’s The Moneyist says that the employee received crypto for contract work. Following this, the token surged by 700%. The company’s CEO then sent the employee an email to return the digital assets and offered to pay in dollars.

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Altcoin Roundup: Three smart contract platforms that could see deeper adoption in 2022

Decentralized finance (DeFi) dominated media headlines throughout 2021 and the sector, along with nonfungible tokens (NFTs), helped to initiate the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. While high yields on staking and instant profits from flipping jpegs have proven to be very lucrative for investors, it’s important to remember that none of it would have been possible without the underlying capabilities of smart contract technology. The Ethereum network remains, hands-down, the most widely used layer-one smart contract platform in the crypto ecosystem, but everyone knows about the high fee and clogged network issues of the past few years.In 2021, competing networks like Avalanche and Binance Smart Chain enabled compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and this produced positive outcomes for investors in both ecosystems. Let’s take a look at a few of the top-performing layer-one protocols in Q4 2021 and investigate how partnerships, investment from traditional finance and protocol developments might benefit each project in 2022.AlgorandAlgorand (ALGO) is a pure proof-of-stake (PoS) layer-one blockchain network designed to be self-sustaining and highly scalable, thus making it capable of handling heavy transaction loads for minimal costs. In Q4, the protocol launched the Algorand Virtual Machine which enabled decentralized applications (DApps), meaning DeFi and NFT projects could now operate on the network. Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) had previously launched on the network, so their integration into new DeFi platforms was relatively effortless, allowing for the quick build up of liquidity. The launch of the 150 million ALGO Viridis Fund by the Algorand Foundation was also designed to accelerate the development of the DeFi ecosystem on the network.The project also attracted the attention of institutional investors, and a sizable cash infusion came from Borderless Capital who launched a $500 million fund to help develop DApps on Algorand. Hivemind Capital Partners also selected the protocol as its first technology partner. We are excited to announce the launch of our $500M Borderless ALGO Fund II!https://t.co/EP0U6Ib8HV pic.twitter.com/okXf6GBFo8— Borderless Capital (@borderless_cap) November 30, 2021In October, Algorand launched governance features that enabled ALGO holders to have a say in the future development of the protocol. ALGO/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewOn Nov. 18, 21Shares announced the launch of a physically-backed Algorand exchange-traded product which helped spark a rally in the price of ALGO to a yearly high at $2.99. TezosTezos (XTZ) is a flexible proof-of-stake blockchain designed to evolve over time without the need to undergo hard forks. In Q4, traditional finance entities like the Arab Bank Switzerland partnered with the protocol to launch staking, trading and custody services for the project’s native XTZ token.On Dec. 7, the project made headlines after it expanded its NFT ecosystem by partnering with Ubisoft, a major gaming company. The Ubisoft Quartz platform uses Tezos blockchain, and the players of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will be able to buy and trade game-specific NFTs in the marketplace.On Dec. 15, Rarible, a popular NFT marketplace, also announced the integration of the Tezos blockchain into its ecosystem. This means Rarible users can buy, sell and trade Tezos NFTs in an environment that is much cheaper than Rarible’s Ether-based market. Tezos blockchain is now live on https://t.co/BplWYgszwb Here’s everything you need to know:https://t.co/opRwEeF1HB— Rarible (@rarible) December 15, 2021

Part of the reason for the increased attention on the Tezos blockchain is the energy efficiency of the network in a world that is becoming increasingly focused on environmental sustainability. According to a recent carbon footprint report from PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory SAS, the Tezos network saw a 70% increase in energy efficiency in 2021, with its annual energy consumption now estimated to be roughly the same as the carbon footprint of just 17 people.XTZ/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewAt the time of writing, XTZ is trading at a price of $4.34 after hitting a yearly high of $9.17 on Oct. 3. This was just prior to the wider market downturn that has put pressure on prices across the crypto ecosystem as the market heads into the final weeks of 2021.Related: ‘I’m a huge believer in crypto technology,’ says former US SEC chairElrondElrond (EGLD) is a blockchain platform for distributed apps and enterprise-level businesses that has the goal of becoming the technology ecosystem for the “new internet.”According to the project’s website, the network utilizes sharding technology to enable the processing of 15,000 transactions per second (TPS) with an average transaction cost of $0.001.The late-year price rally seen in the protocol’s native EGLD token came after the launch of a $1.29 billion liquidity incentive program by the Elrond-based Maiar decentralized exchange (DEX). EGLD/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewPrior to the launch of the liquidity program, the price of EGLD was on the rise thanks to its increased use as a form of digital payment, including a partnership with the Romanian music festival Untold, which announced that tickets for its 2021 festival could be purchased using EGLD.Want more information about trading and investing in crypto markets?The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Thailand to define ‘red lines‘ for crypto in early 2022

The government of Thailand is preparing a new regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) in order to minimize risks and improve investor protection.The Bank of Thailand (BoT) will release a consultation paper in January that will define “red lines” for the crypto industry, governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said in a Dec. 14 interview with The Bangkok Post.“We want to ensure that we strike the right balance between allowing financial innovation and managing risks,” the official stated. The new rules will provide adequate safeguards for consumers as “risks are under-appreciated” currently, Sethaput said.The central bank is cooperating with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission and the finance ministry to point out restrictions specific to the crypto industry. For example, “cryptocurrencies cannot become a means of payment,” Sethaput noted.The governor emphasized that, despite local authorities potentially recognizing digital assets as an investment product, their extreme volatility poses risks to the financial system. Authorities will also collaborate to adopt proper safeguards for future financial securities, he added.Related: Thai lawmakers urged to approve tourism crypto to entice digital nomadsThailand’s plans to enact new rules for cryptocurrencies come amid booming local cryptocurrency adoption. According to the report, the turnover at seven locally licensed crypto exchanges surged to 221 billion baht ($6.6 billion) in November 2021 from 18 billion baht ($538 million) a year earlier.In early December, the Thai central bank warned commercial banks against “direct involvement” in trading cryptocurrencies, citing their high volatility and potential risks.

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