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The Fight of the Payment Juggernauts
It was a big month for the two major payment networks. Mastercard announced the launch of a new service called Crypto Secure. The service allows issuers to assess the risk profile of cryptocurrency exchanges with the aim of making crypto buying more secure. The platform will incorporate the insights and technology of CipherTrace, a blockchain security firm that Mastercard acquired last year. In addition, Mastercard has formed a partnership with crypto trading platform Paxos to offer a program that will help financial institutions offer cryptocurrency trading.
Visa has filed two trademark applications to the US Patent Office for crypto wallets, NFTs and the Metaverse. Furthermore, Visa announced a partnership with FTX to offer debit cards in 40 countries. The cards will link directly to a user’s FTX trading account, thus allowing customers to spend digital currencies without moving them off an exchange, in a similar way to a normal bank account.
The NFT Comeback?
Reddit’s venture into the world of Web3 has started successfully, which has been driven by its NFT marketplace. Among the 3 million users that have opened Reddit Vault wallets, 2.5 million have done so since its NFT marketplace opened in July. GameStop’s NFT marketplace officially went live on ImmutableX. The marketplace will offer assets for Immutable X games, such as Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians and Illuvium, in addition to other Web3 games. Furthermore, Warner Bros became one of the first major media conglomerates to drop digital collectibles from popular films through the launch of their new Web3 initiative called “Warner Bros Metaverse”. As part of the initiative, Warner Bros will be releasing 10,999 Lord of the Rings NFTs.
The oldest bank in the US, BNY Mellon, has entered crypto with the launch of a new crypto custody platform. The platform will offer certain customers BTC and ETH custody services. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) is looking to set up a blockchain-based digital asset trading platform. According to the published document, the TASE will explore distributed ledger technologies for immutable record keeping, tokenization, and smart contracts to improve existing market infrastructure and offer digital services and products. In addition, the TASE and Israel’s government are preparing to issue a blockchain-based digital state bond.
Google Making Moves
Google announced that it is partnering with Coinbase’s payment service, Coinbase Commerce, to facilitate crypto payments for customers purchasing Google’s cloud services. It is expected to go into effect in early 2023. In addition, Google introduced a cloud-based node service for Ethereum and Solana projects. The new node management service is designed to “help Web3 developers build and deploy new products on blockchain-based platforms.” Plaid took its first plunge into Web3 with the launch of a new platform called Wallet Onboard. It enables Web3 developers to easily integrate cryptocurrency solutions with hundreds of types of self-custody wallets via a single API, rather than integrating with each one individually. This is the first in a suite of Web3 products that Plaid is planning on launching.
The Slow Progression of Regulation
The EU is getting closer to finalizing the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill. The bill was passed by EU lawmakers in a landslide vote of 28 to 1. It will now pass onto the European Parliament for a final vote, with the law expected to come into effect in 2024. In the UK, an amendment has been made to the Financial Services and Markets Bill. If passed, the FCA will be empowered to regulate all digital asset activities.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore completed phase 1 of its CBDC project. Phase 1, known as Project Orchid, explored the potential use cases as well as the infrastructure required for a digital Singapore dollar. Their findings concluded that there is currently no need for a retail CBDC at the moment, but they are prepared in the case that this changes. The Central Bank of India launched its digital Rupee pilot for the wholesale segment. The pilot will initially involve 9 local banks, including India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India. The main use case of the CBDC pilot will be to settle secondary market transactions in government securities. A retail version is also planned to launch within the next month. Finally, after months of deliberation, Turkey’s central bank has confirmed that it is planning on launching a CBDC in 2023.
Disclaimer: this newsletter was put together for informational purposes only based on our review and analysis. This should not be construed as a solicitation, offer, or recommendation to acquire or dispose of any investment or engage in any transaction.