Welcome to Around the Blockchain, Huobi Learn’s daily rundown of the crypto markets.
Huobi Global has acquired Latin American crypto platform Bitex as part of its plan to expand its presence in the region, which it it expects it to be one of the world’s most active crypto adoption areas. Presently, Bitex offers crypto services to residents of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Huobi will be the parent company but Bitex will retain its branding and management team. Huobi entered Latin America when it launched Huobi Argentina in 2019 and notes that between then and 2021, the region saw crypto usage increase by 1,370%.
Even as crypto adoption has risen in Latin America, local crypto exchange Bitso has laid off 80 employees, saying it needs to rethink the skills needed from its employees to move faster in the crypto industry. This comes just two days after Argentina-based exchange Buenbit laid off around 80 employees (45% of its workforce) due to the tech sector’s “global overhaul”. Bitso’s latest investment round was in May last year, when it raised $250 million at a $2.2 billion valuation, making it the first Latin American crypto unicorn.
The market sell-off triggered by LUNA and UST’s collapse has shaken the loyalty of Terra’s developers, who must decide if they will stay or go just as Terra 2.0 is about to launch. Terra’s competitors have been trying to poach them, with blockchains like Kadena and Polygon even spending millions to assist affected projects. However, some anonymous Terra reps have stated that supporting the new chain is not a commitment to build on Terra, with a developer saying there was no “downside to aligning with Terra until things with the new chain become clearer”.
JPMorgan Chase & Co is reportedly trialing the use of its own private blockchain for collateral settlements, having conducted a pilot transaction last Friday that involved two of its entities transferring a tokenized representation of BlackRock Inc. money market fund shares. Global head of trading services Ben Chalice said the bank had now achieved “the frictionless transfer of collateral assets on an instantaneous basis” and that BlackRock was not a counter-party but had been heavily involved “since day one”.
Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian winners of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, are auctioning an NFT of the Eurovision Glass Microphone Trophy to aid Ukraine. The auction started two days ago on the official Ukrainian charitable NFT museum, MetaHistory, and will end tomorrow. Bids will be accepted via Monobank in both crypto and fiat, and the successful bidder will receive a 100% unique digital NFT file featuring a microphone and Kalush Orchestra, an exclusive meeting and dinner with the band members, and an opportunity to receive the physical Crystal Microphone (if the bid is higher than the fiat bid).
Recently appointed Federal Reserve vice chair Lael Brainard has said creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the US would likely take up to five years as the Fed would first need the White House and Congress to approve. She added that it was “probably preferable not to have an interest-bearing digital currency” and that the Fed was considering caps on crypto holdings so customers would use them only for payments and not as a safe asset. A CBDC, she said, could co-exist with stablecoins and the existing financial system
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