The major crypto-currencies ended the month on a high note, and some altcoins entered uncharted territory. Here are some other interesting headlines you may have missed this week.
El Salvador lawmakers approve $150 million Bitcoin adoption fund
Plans for Bitcoin in El Salvador are on the horizon. Only days remain before the country implements its ambitious but controversial Bitcoin plan on September 7. The country’s plans received a major boost on Monday after the House of Representatives approved a new $150 million fund.
The fund is intended to support the conversion of Bitcoin into dollars and its adoption by citizens. The fund will be taken from a $500 million economic stimulus loan that the Bukele-led country previously received. With the vote approving the Bitcoin adoption fund won by 64 votes to 14, the government remains committed to implementing the Bitcoin plan.
However, not everyone has been very receptive to the idea of Bitcoin, with some citizens publicly protesting against making BTC an acceptable currency. The IMF recently reiterated its warning that privately issued crypto-currencies, such as BTC, carry significant risks and so the transaction remains inadvisable.
Despite all the warnings received, El Salvador persists and plans to invest $23.3 million of the new fund in its Chivo ATM system and use another $30 million to train citizens to use the state-backed Chivo digital wallet.
BIS leads new CBDC plan involving Australia and three other countries
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Centre, headquartered in Singapore, is partnering with central banks in Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore and Australia to develop a proprietary cross-border central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform.
Bank Negara Malaysia, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the South African Reserve Bank revealed the project in a joint statement on Thursday. The parties involved said the plan would aim to advance international transactions by cutting out intermediaries, thereby reducing costs incurred.
The central banks have said they plan to showcase prototypes of the proposed platform at the Fintech Festival 2021 in Singapore later this year. They also intend to publish their findings early next year. The project will evaluate operational and governance protocols that would allow the infrastructure to be shared across different jurisdictions.
Michele Bullock of the RBA praised the project, highlighting the potential benefits of increased speed, reduced costs and greater transparency. The BIS is also looking at cross-border deals involving Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and China.
IPO a possibility for Blockchain.Com, says CFO
London-based Blockchain.com celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this week. The company’s CFO Macrina Kgil revealed in a blog post on Monday that the company was celebrating another milestone on the same day. She announced that the company had processed over $1 trillion in crypto-currency transactions.
She claimed that the company had processed one-third of all Bitcoin transactions since 2012. Kgil attributed this success to three main factors: the more than 75 million active users under the firm’s banner, increased demand for services from institutional clients with asset managers looking to meet clients’ needs, and the growth of its brokerage business which has seen increased demand over the past six months.
The CFO also hinted that the crypto-currency company could launch an IPO as early as 2023 as he spoke in an interview with Fortune published Monday. Blockchain.com joins other crypto-currency companies like Circle and Kraken that have also expressed interest in an upcoming IPO. The company is valued at more than $5 billion after a $300 million funding round earlier this year.
UK financial regulator approves Coinpass
U.K.-based crypto-currency exchange Coinpass revealed on Wednesday that it has received approval from the UK’s top regulator to operate in the country. The green light from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) follows the exchange platform’s temporary approval when it launched in July.
Through a press release, Coinpass CEO Jeff Hancock noted the pleasure of being one of the first UK crypto exchange firm to be fully registered and approved by the FCA. Hancock added that the firm supports crypto regulations and recognizes their importance in the ever-changing crypto space.
Since January last year, the FCA has been keeping a close eye on crypto platforms as it attempts to implement its anti-money laundering policies. The financial watchdog made it mandatory for all firms dealing with crypto assets to register at the time. It set a one-year deadline requirement, which has since been extended to March 2022.
Several crypto firms filed their applications, but up to 70 of them withdrew, and their operations in the UK were consequently deemed illegal. The FCA has been strict in approving crypto-currency companies, with only six companies registered so far, while many others are patiently on the waiting list.
FTX’s U.S. subsidiary acquires crypto derivatives company LedgerX
Crypto exchange FTX announced on Tuesday that it has reached an agreement to buy LedgerX, a crypto derivatives company founded in 2013. The numbers involved in the deal were not disclosed.
Last week, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried reiterated the need for crypto to adopt regulations. The acquisition is part of achieving regulatory compliance, as the acquired derivatives company is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Zach Dexter, the founder of LedgerX, noted that the purchase would help create a better relationship between FTX and US regulators.
Explaining the move, FTX.US president Brett Harrison said the acquisition would be key in the strategy to provide crypto derivatives services to FTX’s U.S. customer base. Harrison added that the move would help the company build the capacity to offer innovative products to crypto clients in the US through the integration of technology capabilities.
Bankman-Fried had noted earlier this year that while crypto products were receiving a lot of regulatory attention, derivatives were not. He welcomed the regulatory frameworks being developed as a way to determine where to invest the company’s resources.