The cryptocurrency business is thriving, but many things are happening, including, Japan’s largest Airline group ANA launching the NFT marketplace, China accelerating Digital Yuan adoption ahead of Asian games, Alchemy Pay starting a partnership with Mastercard, and much more!
In this issue:
- Japan’s largest Airline group ANA launches NFT marketplace.
- Microsoft pens AI Cloud computing deal with former Ethereum miner CoreWeave: CNBC.
- China accelerates Digital Yuan adoption ahead of Asian games.
- Tether sets all-time high, beats market cap of $83.2B.
- Alchemy Pay starts a partnership with Mastercard for NFT checkout globally.
- Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank-backed Taurus deploys on Polygon blockchain.
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Japan’s largest Airline group ANA launches NFT marketplace.
Japan’s largest airline group holding company All Nippon Airways (ANA) has launched a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace featuring aviation photography, digital collectibles, and more on the Ethereum blockchain. At launch, the marketplace supports the MetaMask wallet as well as payments with fiat currency via credit card.
The marketplace, called ANA GranWhale NFT Marketplace, was released through its subsidiary ANA NEO, which focuses on creating immersive digital experiences across the ANA ecosystem. The first NFT collection on the site will feature work from aviation photographer Luke Ozawa, who has been taking photographs of planes for half a century. Other collections include NFTs of two digital 3D airplanes, including a customized Boeing 787 that the airline introduced in 2011, and a generative art collection called Airbits, which features pixelated airline pilots.
“The ANA Group will apply NFT to the aviation industry and promote the business to develop new connections with customers,” the company said in a press release.
ANA Holdings was established in 2013 and touts itself as the largest airline group holding company in Japan comprised of 69 companies including ANA and Peach Aviation. ANA NEO is also working on a metaverse travel experience called ANA Gran Whale, which will integrate passengers’ flight histories into their digital avatars.
ANA joins other airlines looking to integrate crypto concepts into their business offerings. In March, low-cost Argentinian airline expanded its partnership with NFT ticketing company TravelX to offer all e-tickets as NFTs on the Algorand blockchain.
TravelX also partnered with Spanish airline Air Europa in April 2022 to launch a series of NFT tickets linked to special perks and events, while Latin American crypto exchange Lemon integrated TravelX onto its platform in October 2022, allowing users to buy and sell airline tickets.
Microsoft pens AI Cloud computing deal with former Ethereum miner CoreWeave: CNBC.
Microsoft has reportedly signed a deal with former Ethereum miner CoreWeave to use its cloud computing infrastructure to support its Artificial Intelligence-powered services.
According to a June 1 report from CNBC which cites “people with knowledge of the matter,” Microsoft is potentially set to spend billions of dollars on the deal with CoreWeave that will run over multiple years. One of CNBC’s sources claimed that the deal was signed earlier this year, as Microsoft OpenAI’s widely popular ChatGPT chatbot.
Amid the rapid growth of AI tech over the past 12 months Microsoft has rolled out several AI-powered services. A prime example is the GPT-4 integration with its web browsers Bing and Microsoft Edge, which the firm recently axed the waitlist on. OpenAI also utilizes Microsoft’s own cloud computing infrastructure Azure to handle its sizeable computing requirements.
CoreWeave initially started as an Ethereum miner back in 2017, utilizing graphics processing units (GPUs) to verify transactions on Ethereum during its formative days as a proof-of-work blockchain. The firm started pivoting its focus to cloud GPU computing around 2019, after spotting a hole in the market for competitively priced, scalable, and varied compute options something that it claimed legacy providers weren’t offering.
Notably, reports of the deal with Microsoft come just a few days after CoreWeave announced on May 31 that it had extended its $221 million Series B funding round from April to bring the total up to $421 million. The Series B was led by Magnetar Capital, with participation from long-standing strategic partner NVIDIA.
The firm stated in April that the capital would be used to expand its cloud infrastructure which is focused on a wide range of computational workloads such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, visual effects, and rendering, to name a few.
China accelerates Digital Yuan adoption ahead of Asian games.
As the Asian Games approach, China is witnessing a surge in the adoption of digital yuan payments, with host cities introducing various options for the central bank digital currency (CBDC) in transportation. As reported by Shanghai Securities News, Hangzhou, the host city in Zhejiang Province, is making significant progress in its preparations. Originally scheduled for September of the previous year, the games had to be postponed by a year due to the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
To facilitate seamless transactions, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has recently enhanced its official digital yuan application with an innovative feature known as “ride code.” This feature lets smartphone users conveniently scan their devices when using the Hangzhou Metro. By doing so, the metro system automatically deducts transportation fees from users’ e-CNY wallets, eliminating the need for physical payments. Additionally, the PBoC has announced that the Shaoxing Metro, where five Asian Games events, including baseball and volleyball, will take place, will also accept digital yuan ride code payments.
Furthermore, the Hangzhou-Hai Intercity Railway, connecting key cities in Zhejiang Province such as Haining and Hangzhou, will also introduce the ride code system. This digital innovation in transportation enhances convenience for commuters and showcases China’s determination to exhibit the capabilities of its digital yuan during the Asian Games.
China’s ambitions to showcase the CBDC were initially planned for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing last year. However, due to the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the plans had to be scaled down, with only athletes and coaches permitted to attend the event. Nevertheless, participants were encouraged to utilize the digital yuan as a mode of payment. As a gesture to encourage adoption, they were provided with complimentary commemorative e-CNY hard wallets.
The upcoming Asian Games will mark China’s first major international sporting event since the pandemic outbreak and will coincide with the advanced stage of the CBDC pilot program. Last year, Ningbo, a city in Zhejiang Province, became a trailblazer by announcing that all 125 of its metro stations now accept digital yuan-powered payments at ticket barriers. Earlier this year, the PBoC enhanced its official digital yuan app, enabling citizens to make electricity-free payments using the digital currency. This update empowers individuals in the pilot zone to conveniently pay transportation fees and make micropayments even when their smartphones are powered off or without network coverage.
With the Asian Games serving as a prominent international platform, China is eager to dazzle the world with its digital yuan’s remarkable features and capabilities. As digital payment adoption continues to surge, the seamless integration of the CBDC into various aspects of daily life reflects China’s commitment to pioneering a cashless society driven by innovative technologies. The world will be watching closely as China unveils the potential of the digital yuan during this prestigious event.
Tether sets all-time high, beats market cap of $83.2B.
Tether’s USD₮ stablecoin has reached a significant milestone, surpassing its previous all-time high market cap of $83.2 billion. In detail, the previous record was set in May 2022. This achievement solidifies Tether’s position as the leading stablecoin and a pioneer for financial freedom and innovation.
Tether’s success can be attributed to its combination of the advantages of digital currency, such as instant global transactions, with the stability of the traditional currency. Since its establishment in October 2014, Tether’s USD₮ stablecoin has become the most traded cryptocurrency, surpassing all other similar offerings in the market.
Paolo Ardoino, the Chief Technical Officer of Tether, expressed his excitement about the company’s success. He further emphasized Tether’s role in providing a safe harbor for the unbanked and enabling individuals in emerging markets to retain their buying power, even when their national currencies are being devalued. Transparency and compliance have been key principles for Tether, and the company’s recent attestation further underscores its commitment to these values. It highlights Tether’s work in emerging markets as a haven amidst volatile market conditions. Additionally, Tether’s financial performance in the first quarter of this year has been remarkable, with a net profit of $1.48 billion, significantly strengthening its reserves. With approximately 85% of its investments in cash, cash equivalents, and other short-term deposits, along with a 20% increase in token supply quarter over quarter and excess reserves of around 2.5 billion, Tether has established itself as a trusted entity with a positive outlook for the future.
Looking ahead, Tether remains dedicated to providing financial freedom and innovation to users globally, with a particular focus on emerging markets. As a reliable stablecoin, Tether continues to lead the way in transparency, resilience, and accessibility, ensuring secure and stable digital currency transactions for its users.
Alchemy Pay starts a partnership with Mastercard for NFT checkout globally.
The well-known payment platform has recently begun a collaboration with the giant Mastercard to enhance its reach to numerous more users. The platform has disclosed that its latest partnership with Mastercard comprises support for the collaborating payment giant. The latest project introduced by Alchemy Pay is Alchemy Pay NFT Checkout. Currently, it is available for consumers across the globe with Mastercard support.
This project permits the customers to utilize the payment method of Mastercard to leverage the direct buyouts of digital artworks through the NFT Checkout function of Alchemy Pay. With the support provided by Alchemy Pay for Mastercard, several benefits have been provided to the users who belong to Alchemy Pay.
In this way, the consumers can carry out their operations conveniently within the NFT market as opposed to the conventional methods of payment. This increases the accessibility of Alchemy Pay to a great extent. Moreover, this brings about a pure revolution to the industry as more people are expected to enter the burgeoning space.
Mastercard is categorized as a prominent payment platform besides Visa. It creates links between people, organizations, and businesses in up to 210 jurisdictions and areas at present. As per the statistics provided by Mastercard, the number of its currently circulating debit cards is 1.544B around the world. The Alchemy Pay NFT Checkout provides a good solution for businesses in the case of efficiently accepting and selling payments for non-fungible tokens with the use of diverse payment methods.
It offers a rapid and secure way to buy NFTs with the use of debit cards, regional payment methods, and credit cards in nearly 173 jurisdictions. This brings a substantial reduction in the hindrances linked to inconvenient and lengthy crypto transfers and buyouts. It seems that the latest move taken by Alchemy Pay would play a significant role in increasing its adoption.
Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank-backed Taurus deploys on Polygon blockchain.
Taurus, which offers custody, tokenization, and trading of digital assets, has linked with the Ethereum scaling network Polygon as the tokenization of real-world assets gains traction among financial institutions and large companies.
The link-up with Polygon includes support for staking and decentralized finance (DeFi), the Geneva, Switzerland-based digital asset infrastructure provider said in a Friday email. The firm raised $65 million in funding in a round led by Credit Suisse (CS) and Deutsche Bank (DBK) in February.
Tokenization the representation of an asset as units that can be traded in a digital format is seen as attracting mainstream financial institutions toward the blockchain industry. Tyrone Lobban, head of JPMorgan’s digital assets platform Onyx, in April, referred to tokenization as the “killer app” for traditional finance. Last November JPMorgan executed live trades using tokenized versions of the yen and the Singapore dollar on Polygon. And in April, Bank of America published a report saying that the tokenized gold market had surpassed $1 billion the previous month.
“Most Tier 1 financial institutions are entering the space and building capabilities to manage tokenized securities,” Taurus said in the email. “They all want a blockchain-agnostic and token-agnostic infrastructure.”
As a layer 2 blockchain, Polygon is designed to process transactions at a greater speed and lower cost than the main Ethereum network. Polygon also has aspirations to expand beyond Ethereum to become an “internet of blockchains”, connecting any Ethereum-compatible networks, while continuing to reduce transaction costs and increase speeds.
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