Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News Roundup

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  • June 21, 2021
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21 June 2021.

Here’s a short summary of some of the biggest headlines in Crypto. China says banks must block crypto transactions – markets fall, Coinbase-backed crypto financial startup Amber Group raises $1B investment round, Banque de France tests digital currency-based securities settlement and Former LA Dodgers owner bets $100M on crypto-based Facebook alternative.

China says banks must block crypto transactions – markets fall

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Monday told the country’s major financial institutions to stop facilitating virtual-currency transactions, increasing the negative sentiment in crypto markets.

Banks must not provide products or services such as trading, clearing and settlement for crypto transactions, the PBOC said in a statement.

They also have to make sure to identify virtual-currency exchanges’ and over-the-counter dealers’ capital accounts, and cut off the payment link for transaction funds in a timely manner, it said.

Cryptocurrencies fell, with bitcoin trading near $32,000 and ether dropping below $2,000 for the first time since May 23.

While the PBOC’s anti-crypto bias is not new, the latest statement comes after consultation with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank, Industrial Bank and Alipay (China) Network Technology on the issue.

The central bank noted the hype surrounding virtual-currency transactions, and identified them as a risk for illegal cross-border transactions and money laundering and a challenge to economic and financial order.


Coinbase-backed crypto financial startup Amber Group raises $1B investment round

Coinbase-backed cryptocurrency financial services company Amber Group raise worth $1 billion in funds, aiming at providing investors with many different cryptocurrency products for investment.

The latest funding round continues a flurry of funding activity in the cryptocurrency sector. The financing was led by the well-known investment China Renaissance. In addition to Coinbase, other investors include Tiger Global Management, headquartered in New York. Amber Group has raised $100 million before this round of financing as investors rush to back companies in the industry. 

This Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency financial services startup company stated that the new funds raised this time will be used for strategic acquisitions, such as cybersecurity. In order to fulfil regulatory safety and compliance, acquisition targets mainly focus on companies with regulatory licenses in certain jurisdictions.

Michael Wu, CEO of Amber Group, said:

“I think regulation is always a challenge for this industry because it’s a very global industry. It’s always about staying ahead or at least staying aware of the different regulations. We always take a very conservative approach to that.”

Banque de France tests digital currency-based securities settlement

The central bank of France — Banque de France — is continuing its work on the development of a European central bank digital currency (CBDC).

On Monday the bank officially announced the successful completion of a CBDC experiment with major Switzerland-based cryptocurrency bank SEBA.

Conducted in collaboration with SEBA, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, and Luxembourg central securities depository LuxCSD, the experiment used a CBDC to simulate the settlement and delivery of listed securities on TARGET2-Securities (T25), a European securities settlement engine. 

SEBA purchased securities from Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, with post-trade settlement managed by LuxCSD. 

Nathalie Aufauvre, general director of financial stability and operations at Banque de France, said that the latest CBDC test demonstrated the possibilities for conventional finance systems and distributed systems to interact. “It also paves the way for other alliances in order to benefit from the opportunities offered by financial assets in a blockchain environment,” Aufauvre said.

The bank noted that the new CBDC test is part of an experimental CBDC program launched in March 2020, that aims to test CBDC integration for settlements. The program’s other experiments will continue until mid-2021 as Banque de France, in addition to other central banks in Europe, tests the viability of CBDCs. 


Former LA Dodgers owner bets $100M on crypto-based Facebook alternative

Frank McCourt, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is trying to rebuild social media through an initiative called Project Liberty. Amidst a social media environment that is dominated by a few—very powerful—players like Facebook, McCourt is concerned about the disproportionate power those companies wield.

“We live under constant surveillance, and what’s happening with this massive accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of a few, that’s incredibly destabilizing,” McCourt said. He added that this even threatens capitalism itself because capitalism “needs to have some form of fairness in it in order to survive.” 

What is Project Liberty? 

Project Liberty would rely on blockchain technology to construct what is called the “Decentralized Social Networking Protocol,” or the DSNP. 

In a decentralized social media environment such as this, no single company would have exclusive access to a person’s data. Instead, that data would exist on a publicly accessible ledger, much like many cryptocurrency transactions are publicly available on their respective blockchains. 


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