Recent Developments in Blockchain and Crypto Market
Below are some recent announcements related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
European nations have banded together to launch a blockchain network called the European Blockchain Service Infrastructure (EBSI) with Belgium being the first country to launch a node. Belnet, a Belgian company, set up the first node on February 12, 2020. Another Belgian company, software firm Smals, is currently preparing the second one. Other European countries will follow in the coming weeks to build a network that comprises 30 nodes.
The EBSI is the project of the European Blockchain Partnership. It has $4.4 million in funding from the European Commission. The European Commission selected four use cases for the project. The first is notarisation: using blockchain for digital audit trails; to automate compliance checks quickly; and to prove the integrity of data. The second is to log education credentials on the blockchain, “significantly reducing verification costs and improving authenticity trust.” The third is to create digital identities, which EU citizens can use to “create and control their own identity across borders without relying on centralised authorities.” The fourth is for secure data sharing among EU customs and tax authorities.
JPMorgan published a 74-page report on February 21, 2020 that stated “The emergence of linked databases like the blockchains that enable Bitcoin and Ether to exist as well as changing consumer preferences has turned the modernization of payments into a global theme”. Projects that have broken through to the real world include some equity trades that are now being settled on a blockchain system created by Paxos, while JPMorgan’s digital coin debuted last year to allow the bank to facilitate cross-border payments with a digital asset. China is developing its own digital yuan. The report noted that “The groundwork is now in place for more mainstream adoption of blockchain technology at the same time that the foundation is being established for the development of digital currency and fast payments.”
Jack Dorsey's payments company reported on bitcoin (BTC) profits as part of its fourth-quarter 2020 revenue results, in a shareholder letter released Wednesday, February 26, 2020. It reported bitcoin revenue of $178 million between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, with profits of $3 million, up 50 percent over the prior two quarters. Non-bitcoin revenue on Cash App in the fourth quarter was $183 million. The company reported a year-end profit of $8 million on $516 million in yearly bitcoin revenue. On Wednesday's investor call, Dorsey said a Cash App redesign made it easier for new users to discover other services. "The peer-to-peer transfers network continues to be our best acquisition channel," Dorsey said. "Those new to the app then go on to discover bitcoin" and other in-app products, he said.
Korean financial news site Yonhap Infomax confirmed that the Bank of Korea (BOK), the Korean central bank, was looking for a company that can build a new blockchain system that would improve record-keeping for the market. Bond transactions could be recorded on the blockchain and could even form the basis for a "real-time simultaneous payment trading system," a local official told Yonhap. The system would be designed to be shared between relevant financial institutions as well as the BOK and the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), Korea's financial watchdog. The BOK is unlikely to launch a blockchain bond system until it has greater regulatory clarity on whether it would be ultimately responsible for any failure or accidents, the report reads.
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