Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Chinese internet giant and WeChat operator Tencent is reportedly putting together a digital currency research team. Chinese media outlet Ifeng News reports that Tencent issued an internal notice to its staff on December 23, notifying them that a team was being set up. The report’s authors also say that the newly established research team will help Tencent apply blockchain technology to the digital currency payments space. Tencent also reportedly wants to align its operations with the Chinese government’s recent blockchain drive.
- Japanese tech company GMO Internet has begun “internal” pilot testing for its forthcoming yen-pegged stablecoin, with a view to launching outside Japan in “early 2020.” Per an official announcement, the company, which also operates a crypto exchange and a mining business, will name the token GYEN, and launch it via its Z.com subsidiary, which focuses on overseas operations. The company says it wants to use the token to enable “borderless trading, payments and remittance leveraging.”
- President Nicolás Maduro says that over 4,800 Venezuelan stores now accept payment in Petro. Per media outlet Ultimas Noticias, Maduro also told the country’s cabinet that over 4.3 million pensioners, military veterans and civil servants have also claimed a Christmas bonus payout made in Petro – the country’s state-run, oil-backed cryptocurrency.
- Also in Venezuela, a giant Bitcoin Cash advertising billboard has been set up on one of the busiest highways in Caracas, the country’s capital. The ad was paid for by Roger Ver’s Bitcoin.com, which is now operating a branch in Venezuela. A branch of Bitcoin.com tweeted a video showing cars driving past the billboard in a downtown part of the city. The likes of Dash and trading platform Cryptobuyer have previously paid for billboard advertising in Venezuela.
- South Korea’s NH Bank has announced plans to debut a blockchain-powered utilities bill payment platform in 2020, as well as blockchain-based P2P financial certificate services. Per D Daily, the bank also says that it wants to use blockchain technology for its internal operations, as part of an effort to boost security and efficiency.
- Crypto payments processing platform BitPay has confirmed that its service experienced a temporary outage for Bitcoin payments on December 22. The company took to Twitter to say that BTC payment was unavailable for almost 3 and a half hours, as the company worked to resolve “transaction infrastructure issues.” BitPay claims BTC services have since been restored.
- South Korean politicians will hold a comprehensive debate in parliament next year over crypto tax laws, reports Hanguk Kyungjae. MPs will be asked which country’s tax laws they wish to emulate, with politicians likely to examine the benefits and drawbacks of existing crypto tax policies in the UK, other EU nations, the United States and Japan.
- Venture capital fund Dragonfly Capital has invested in Nervos, a Chinese permissionless, public blockchain venture. Nervos says it operates “a layer-1 blockchain that is built for layer-2.” Per Dragonfly Research blog post, both companies believe that the future of scaling blockchains will not take place on layer-1 alone, and say a multi-tiered approach will let app operators control their own destinies. Dragonfly, which did not reveal the scale of its investment in the post, added that the “Nervos team is well-positioned to lead the development of a robust smart-contract platform” in China.
- Digital asset financial services platform BitOoda Holdings has announced that it has completed an investment seed round worth USD 7 million. Investors include Gary Ross, the former Head of Global Oil Analytics and Chief Energy Economist at S&P Global Platts and founder of PIRA Energy, Calvin Schlenker, the former Head of North American Natural Gas Trading at British Petroleum (BP) and Roy Salame, formerly of JPMorgan. BitOoda says it plans to use the funds to promote growth opportunities as it looks to boost its presence in the United States, Asia and Europe.
Cryptocurrency exchange news
- Poloniex has introduced a new level 1 account tier that will not make use of KYC (know-your-customer) protocol. The company said that its decision reflects customer feedback. The exchange says that its new level 1 account tier will allow enables users to withdraw up to USD 10,000 per day, using only a verified email address and password. The account also allows “unlimited” deposits and trading and account holders will be eligible to take part in competitions, engage in staking activities and make use of Trollbox.