Crypto Briefs is your daily bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – keeping you up-to-date with under the radar crypto news from around the world.
- After seven increases in a row, the Bitcoin mining difficulty dropped by 7.1% on November 8 and is estimated to decrease by another 5% in 10 days when the next adjustment is set to happen, according to estimations by major Bitcoin mining pool BTC.com. The difficulty dropped more only in December last year (15% and 9.6%) after dropping 7% in November. While some speculate that some miners are shutting their machines down due to unfavorable bitcoin prices, others claim that this might be related to higher electricity prices in some parts of China due to dry season. Overall, the difficulty more than doubled this year. If there are many miners competing among themselves and propagating blocks in less than ten minutes, the difficulty of the next puzzle will be increased; if there are few miners and it takes them much longer to find a solution, the difficulty is decreased - both times just enough to keep block times at around 10 minutes. (Learn more: Halving and Beyond: What the Future Holds for Bitcoin Miners)
Digital fiat news
- The Central bank of Tunisia has launched its local digital fiat project by demonstrating their first transaction with e-Dinar last week, Russian news outlet iz.ru reported. The digital Dinar is issued on a platform of a Russian company, Universa Blockchain. Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania might also join the digital fiat project, according to a separate report by TASS.
- The Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) appointed Benoît Cœuré, a board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), as Head of the new BIS Innovation Hub, where he'll be tasked with co-operating with the Swiss National Bank on creating a central bank digital currency for wholesale use between banks, safeguarded by so-called distributed ledger technology, reports the Financial Times. The BIS Innovation Hub was "set up to foster international collaboration among central banks on innovative financial technology," the press release states.
- Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin has offered "to help China get expertise in Ethereum technology." In an interview with Forbes, Lubin stated that he hoped the digital yuan would "also be open" and that other cryptocurrencies "can interoperate with it." However, he added a note of caution, stating, "I assume [the digital yuan] is going to be exactly what the Chinese leadership thinks is most beneficial to the Chinese leadership."
- Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent will open up a Hong Kong-based blockchain banking arm after it obtained an operating license from a Hong Kong regulator. Per Sina, Tencent's blockchain business chief has confirmed that the company is assembling a blockchain banking unit and has won the approval of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, making it only one of a dozen or so companies to win official operating permits from the regulator.
- China’s state outlet Xinhua published an article on Monday about Bitcoin, titled: "Bitcoin: The First Successful Application of Blockchain Technology," bringing its explanation of what the world's largest cryptocurrency is to millions of readers. And while it points out BTC's issues with volatility, calling it (roughly translated) "just a bunch of data [...] not linked to real money and physical goods, [so] it is difficult to ensure the stability of its price," it also mentions its increased privacy (though it's viewed as a negative point too), security and transparency. It is estimated that just the fact that the article calls it "the first successful application of blockchain technology" may inspire more people and businesses alike to look into it.
- The former president of the ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet, denied cryptocurrency as real money and said that buying cryptocurrency is "pure speculation." The South China Morning post quoted Trichet as saying: "I am strongly against Bitcoin, and I think we are a little complacent. [...] The [crypto]currency itself is not real, with the characteristics that a currency must have." He also said that there is a lot of speculations, even if cypto is supposed to be based on underlying assets, and that "it's not healthy," adding that he is against Facebook's Libra too.
- South Korean telecoms giant KT says its local stablecoin projects are turning a profit and says more projects are in the pipelines. Per media outlet Business Post, KT stated, “We can't reveal exact details, but we have recently agreed to launch more local [stablecoin] services with new region government authorities." The company described some of its existing local stablecoin projects as "success stories." KT is currently working on major stablecoin projects with affluent, populous cities including Gimpo and Ulsan.
- Paxful says it plans to install 100 cryptocurrency ATMs in Columbia, Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America, in conjunction with its partner CoinLogiq. Per news outlet Criptomonedas, the company's CEO also spoke about the changing regulatory and political landscape in the region, stating that there were now "significantly more barriers" for companies wishing to do business in Venezuela due to American sanctions, but stated that the country "remained a growing [crypto] market."
- The Central University of Venezuela in Caracas will provide Crypto and Blockchain 101 workshop-type courses to entrepreneurs from a range of business backgrounds, per a press release published by El Universal. The university last year held a number of events aimed at informing students and members of the public about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
- Bitcoin derivatives provider Bakkt "set a new daily record of 1,756 Bakkt Bitcoin Futures contracts traded" on November 8.
- Chairman and CEO of the major U.S.-based money transfer company MoneyGram, Alex Holmes, said that the company is currently moving 10% of its transaction volume through Ripple's On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) between the United States and Mexican borders. Additionally, the company will be expanding into four more corridors by the end of this year.
- British multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered announced that it has joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) in order to collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of Ethereum-based enterprise technology best practices, open standards, and open-source reference architectures, said their press release. "The Bank views blockchain as central to banking and commerce in the digital era, so transactions can be verified, secure and processed in real time," it added.