Crypto News Digest April 13-19

Apr. 13___Crypto exchange Huobi has incorporated an AI into its systems, which will be able to detect "suspicious" transactions on the platform and freeze accounts until account activity has been reviewed by a compliance officer.

Apr. 13___Crypto exchange Blackmoon Crypto is expected to permanently close down amid high regulatory compliance costs. For the time being the exchange is removing all withdraw limits and canceling the withdrawal fees. The exchange also promised to convert all of its outstanding BMC tokens in USDC stablecoins.

Apr. 13___A Prototype of a Bitcoin Vault has been published on GitHub. The Bitcoin Vault is an on-chain solution, which fragments the tokens, held in the vault, in time-locked "shards" and prevents malicious attacks from withdrawing them at once. Furthermore, tokens, held in the vault, can be transferred to a pre-selected cold wallet in the case of suspicious activity thus further preventing token theft.

Apr. 13___China is forming a national blockchain committee to discuss and set standards for the adoption of blockchain in the country. Some of the more prominent names on the committee are representatives of Huawei, Baidu, Tencent, and JD.com.

Apr. 13___The COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) is developing a blockchain solution, which would act as a decentralized certificate authority, allowing users to prove immunity to the COVID-19 virus.

Apr. 14___Video sharing platform iQiyi to start using peer to peer network connectivity protocol New Kind of Network (NKN) to improve response times and reduce network congestion.

Apr. 14___The Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international body, which monitors the global financial system, warned of hidden risks of stablecoins. Specifically, the FSB called into question the ability of a globally used stablecoin to handle high transaction volumes.

Apr. 14___Coinbase is partnering with infrastructure firm Bison Trails to allow holders of Polkadot’s DOT tokens to stake their tokens directly from within Coinbase Custody. In a similar move, giving further DeFi options to its users, Coinbase announced later in the week support for Compound Governance.

Apr. 14___The MakerDAO to be prosecuted for damages incurred by investors as a result of a protocol failure on March 12. The charges against the Foundation include negligence, intentional and negligent misrepresentation. The plaintiffs are looking for $8.325 million in lost funds and $20 million in punitive damages.

Apr. 14___The Algorand Foundation is dedicating 250 million ALGO tokens to a grant program to encourage future development of Algorand's pure proof-of-stake (PPoS) consensus protocol.

Apr. 14___Crypto exchange ShapeShift has bought non-custodial blockchain wallet provider Portis.

Apr. 14___The Agricultural Bank of China showcased a test interface for China's central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Apr. 14___Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is reportedly raising a $450 million crypto fund.

Apr. 14___China is expected to release globally its national blockchain platform (i.e., the Blockchain Service Network) on April 25. The platform is expected to significantly undercut existing cloud services providers. China's government sees the platform as an opportunity for the development of smart city applications, identity registration, and data storage. The Blockchain Service Network has already secured 100 city nodes and aims to deploy another 200 by the end of the year.

Apr. 14___Google has removed 49 extensions from the Chrome Web Store, which were mimicking popular crypto wallets in an attempt to steal users' private data.

Apr. 15___Medici Land Governance (MLG) to digitize the land records for a second Wyoming county. The blockchain-based solution will record information on land ownership, outstanding mortgages, as well as warranty deeds and titles.

Apr. 15___Crypto exchange KuCoin is partnering with DigitalBits to simplify the process for companies, which are looking to launch branded tokens or companies, which are looking to obtain large amounts of tokens necessary for their operations.

Apr. 15___A spin-off of the blockchain software technology company ConsenSys launched the Gnosis Protocol, a new decentralized exchange, which creates liquidity by using batched auction and ring trades. In its private beta, the exchange managed to process so far $2 million worth of volume.

Apr. 15___Crypto exchange ErisX is partnering with online broker TradeStation providing TradeStation Crypto users access to its order book. The move is expected to reduce the spreads, when trading bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin and ether on the broker's platform.

Apr. 16___A new proposal by the U.S. state representatives of Michigan and Washington used the same digital dollar rhetoric as two earlier bills introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. The new bill suggests minting two $1 trillion dollar coins, which will be used to back direct transfers to every U.S. citizen as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Apr. 16___Digital asset trust company BitGo announced the acquisition of the tax management platform Lumina. The acquisition brings BitGo one step closer to becoming a full-service provider, allowing its users to trade, stake and lend cryptocurrencies on the same platform.

Apr. 16___According to a Twitter post by Messari analyst Ryan Watkins the total value transferred on the Ethereum blockchain has reached that of Bitcoin. Most of this recent growth is attributed to the rising popularity of the USDT stablecoin.

Apr. 16___The Libra Association gave up on its original plan of a global multi-currency backed stablecoin. Instead, the association will pursue multiple stablecoins, backed by a fiat currency, which can be then used as a foundation for the global currency. The move comes amid pressure from central banks that the Libra coin may undermine monetary sovereignty and traditional monetary policy. A member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee criticized the new plan saying that the revamped coin may still impact the global economy and consumers globally in unpredictable ways.

Apr. 16___Cryptocurrency asset manager Grayscale reported a record first quarter, raising $504.7 million in new funds or nearly double the amount of the previous record high. The majority of the new funds came from institutional investors.

Apr. 16___An EU consortium, which is responsible for the development of GDPR compliant contact tracing protocols as a preventive measure amid the COVID-19 outbreak, has removed without any advance notice or warning a decentralized protocol proposal from its website.

Apr. 17___Binance announced a new blockchain, which will support smart contracts. The blockchain uses a hybrid consensus mechanism based on delegated proof of stake (dPoS) and proof of authority (PoA) and promises faster execution times compared to Ethereum.

Apr. 18___Renaissance Technologies’ $10B Medallion fund received green light for bitcoin futures.

Apr. 19___A malicious attack against dForce's decentralized lending platform Lendf.me lead to a loss of 99,9% of all tokens locked on the platform.

UPDATE (May 2):

Apr. 17___Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire reported a dramatic increase in the adoption of stablecoins by businesses all around the world.

Apr. 17___In a paper released by the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG), South Africa’s financial regulators urged for strict financial oversight of all cryptocurrency-related activities. The paper discussed use cases such as settlements, payments, and raising capital.

Apr. 17___MicroBT announced three new bitcoin mining rigs - the WhatsMiner M30S+, M30S++, and M31S+. The new mining rigs will be able to run at 100 TH/s (34 W/TH), 112 TH/s (31 W/TH), and 80 TH/s (42 W/TH) respectively.

Apr. 17___Advantage Blockchain, Vertalo, and tZERO are joining forces to tokenize $300 million Class A properties on the Tezos blockchain.

Apr. 17___The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) released tax guidelines for payment, utility, and security tokens. Specifically
_1) "Payment token is regarded as an intangible property. Consequently, transactions involving the use of payment tokens as payment for goods or services are viewed as barter trade and the value of goods or services transferred should be determined at the point of transaction."
_2) "The use of a utility token to exchange for goods or services is unlikely to create an income subject to tax on the user at the point of exchange. It may, on the other hand, give rise to a deductible expense subject to usual deduction rules."
_3) "The taxability of the return derived from a security token depends on the nature of the return, for example, whether it is in the form of interest or dividend, etc.."

Apr. 17___The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) confirmed the rumors of a mobile app, which can be used to store and exchange China's central bank digital currency. The first trials are expected to roll out in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’An, and Chengdu.

Apr. 17___According to new research stablecoin issuance is not driving cryptocurrency prices higher.