The cryptocurrency business is thriving, but there are a lot of things happening, including Messaging App Telegram to auction usernames on TON Blockchain, South Korea planning blockchain-based digital IDs, South Africa classifying crypto assets as financial products, and much more!
In this issue:
- Messaging app Telegram to auction usernames on TON Blockchain.
- South Korea plans blockchain-based digital IDs.
- South Africa classifies crypto assets as financial products.
- BitKeep wallet suffers $1M Hack after attacker exploits swap feature.
- Stablecoins could ‘fundamentally alter’ banking system, says US FDIC Chief.
- Tesla makes no changes to its Bitcoin holdings in the third quarter.
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Messaging App Telegram to Auction Usernames on TON Blockchain.
Messaging app Telegram is to offer off usernames via a platform on The Open Network (TON) blockchain, two months after Telegram founder Pavel Durov floated the idea.
Telegram, which has over 700 million users, announced via an official channel on Thursday that the development phase of the auction platform was over and would be rolled out soon.
Durov first voiced Telegram’s intention to introduce an auction for usernames in August, creating “a new platform where username holders could transfer them to interested parties in protected deals – with ownership secured on the blockchain via NFT-like smart contracts.”
The TON blockchain was developed by Telegram alongside its messaging app but was abandoned in August 2020 following a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Developers of the ecosystem subsequently formed the TON Foundation to keep the project alive, which Durov endorsed.
Toncoin (TON) the native coin of the TON blockchain is up nearly 9% at $1.34 in the last 24 hours following news that it will be used to purchase usernames on Telegram.
South Korea plans blockchain-based digital IDs.
South Korea plans to offer a digital identity secured by blockchain to citizens with a smartphone as it taps into the world’s most tech-savvy population to boost economic growth.
Smartphone-implanted IDs are among the latest emerging technology underpinning a digital economy that has expanded as more people work from home, make cashless payments, and explore the metaverse.
Digital IDs simplify verification on the web, removing the need to photograph certificates or log in via authentication codes sent by text. Instead, activities like applying for state benefits, transferring money, or even casting a vote are just a pin or fingerprint away.
“Digitals IDs can yield huge economic benefits in finance, healthcare, taxes, transportation, and other areas and may catch on quickly among the Korean population,” said Hwang Seogwon, an economist at Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute. “But there has to be more risk assessment technologically to make sure the danger doesn’t outweigh the benefits,” he said.
The World Bank calls digital IDs a “game-changer” and McKinsey & Co sees their potential to increase a nation’s gross domestic output by up to 13 percent and cut business costs by trillions of dollars.
South Africa classifies crypto assets as financial products.
South Africa has declared crypto assets to be a financial product, according to a new notice from the country’s Financial Sector Conduct Authority. The change brings digital assets more under the purview of South Africa’s regulators.
The notice defines a crypto asset as a “digital representation of value” that is not issued by a central bank but can be traded, transferred, or stored electronically “for the purpose of payment, investment, and other forms of utility.”
The change, which takes effect immediately and falls under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, of 2022, comes as countries around the world are moving to regulate cryptocurrencies more strictly, particularly amid the recent volatility in prices and the collapse of several important crypto firms.
The deputy governor of South Africa’s central bank said this summer the bank had come to view cryptocurrency as a financial asset and was looking into regulating the sector.
BitKeep wallet suffers $1M Hack after attacker exploits swap feature.
Multichain crypto wallet BitKeep has suffered a $1 million hack after an anonymous exploit of its swap feature on the BNB Chain. Blockchain security company PeckShield was the first to report the hack and recommended that users employ the ‘Revoke’ tool to halt any token allowances and avoid further damages. The attacker has since transferred the stolen funds through Tornado Cash, an Ethereum-based, privacy-focused fund mixer that was recently sanctioned by the U.S. government.
BitKeep has confirmed the attack but revealed that they were able to stop the attacker by disabling the swap feature. The firm’s next steps will be to “communicate and cooperate with major security agencies to track down the hackers and do our best to recover the stolen assets”.
BitKeep has also published a plan for reimbursing the victims, stating that it will launch a compensation portal within three working days. Affected users will be able to apply for a 100% refund.
The team behind the crypto wallet has also launched a wallet safety assurance feature, along with a one-tap repair feature.
Stablecoins could ‘fundamentally alter’ banking system, says US FDIC Chief.
Stablecoins could have such a profound effect on the established banking system that U.S. regulators need to require the digital tokens to fit in without disrupting it, said Martin Gruenberg, the acting chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), at a Brookings Institution event on Thursday.
Gruenberg’s agency is among the U.S. banking watchdogs that will have significant influence over how stablecoins are regulated. The FDIC has also had to weigh in with recent sanctions against firms such as FTX US that have made claims misrepresenting how FDIC deposit insurance backstops their operations. As U.S. banks have increasingly sought to offer crypto services, including maintaining custody of customers’ digital assets, Gruenberg said his agency has been cautious about allowing regulated lenders to engage.
The FDIC has also had some say over the federal government’s initial approach to stablecoins, which Gruenberg said will need to work in tandem with the Federal Reserve’s future FedNow real-time payments system set to launch next year.
Stablecoins tokens tied to steady assets such as the dollar that are used to trade in and out of more volatile cryptocurrencies – also need to complement “the potential future development” of a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC), he said.
“The development of a payment stablecoin could fundamentally alter the landscape of banking,” Gruenberg said. Payment stablecoins could change how credit is extended within banking, “possibly leading to forms of credit disintermediation that could harm the viability of many U.S. banks and potentially create a foundation for a new type of shadow banking.”
Tesla makes no changes to its Bitcoin holdings in the third quarter.
The electric car company did not buy or sell any bitcoin in the quarter, after selling 75% of its holdings in the second quarter. Electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) did not sell any of its bitcoin holdings nor purchase any additional bitcoin in the third quarter, the company reported Wednesday in its latest earnings report.
The value of its digital assets remained at $218 million, the same as they were at the end of the second quarter when Tesla surprised some investors by selling $936 million worth of Bitcoin, or approximately 75% of its total holdings, in order to raise cash.
Tesla reported no impairment charges to the value of its bitcoin holdings, as the price of the cryptocurrency remained almost the same at the end of both the second and third quarters at slightly under $20,000.
CEO Elon Musk said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call that the sale was made because of “the uncertainty of the COVID lockdowns in China,” but noted that Tesla is open to boosting its bitcoin exposure in the future and that the sale “should not be taken as some verdict on bitcoin.”
The price of bitcoin fell about 1.7% on the initial news at the time but soon regained its losses after Musk’s remarks on the call.
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