Lines Form Outside Petro-accepting Stores in Venezuela + More News

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An associative picture. Source: iStock/piccaya

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.

Adoption news

  • Long lines are reportedly forming at Venezuelan stores that accept Petro (PTR) pay, reports Venezuelan media outlet Panorama. The news outlet published photographs of what it says are customers queuing up to spend their state-issued, oil-backed tokens at some of what Caracas claims are the 4,300+ stores nationwide that accept the Petro. Panorama quotes customers as stating that they have been the recipients of Petro payouts that they could not transfer to bank accounts – so instead decided to spend in stores that accept the token. The government handed out Petro tokens to thousands of public sector workers and pensioners over Christmas.
  • The Ministry of Finance of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro has announced that it wants to use blockchain technology for administrative purposes. Per Criptonoticias, Rio’s finance chiefs believe that blockchain-powered solutions will help it cut down on red tape, boosting efficiency and speeding up time-consuming processes. The ministry says it wants to adopt the technology in a “gradual” manner.
  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced its permissioned blockchain-based platform, Varja, meant to make the payment process easier, faster and more transparent. Per the overview, only the parties who have been approved by the Network Administrator can be a part of the network. Since Vajra is being developed for a payments processing industry, permission less blockchain systems were not considered, the NCPI said. There will be three types of nodes on the platform: clearing house node, notary node, and participant node.
  • Google has suspended Ethereum wallet and decentralized app (dapp) browser MetaMask’s Android client from its Google Play app store. MetaMask said on December 26 that Google cited their policy that bans mining on mobile, which the wallet doesn’t do. MetaMask added that their appeal was rejected, citing the same reason, but also that it wasn’t the first time the giant blocked the crypto wallet. If left banned, they said today, they will be working on other ways of bringing their services to users “stranded” on the Android platform.

Exchanges news

Digital fiats news

  • South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea (BOK) has unveiled plans to launch a dedicated team for Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)-related research. Per Fn News, the BOK wants to adhere to G7 recommendations issued earlier this year, asking states to conduct independent CBDC research projects. The BOK says that its new team will look at a range of fintech advances, studying distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrency and other blockchain-powered solutions. The BOK stated that it has been conducting CBDC research for some time, but was quick to add that the development did not mean that it was on the verge of issuing its own digital fiat.
  • The Central Bank of the Bahamas will introduce a digital version of the Bahamian dollar, starting with a pilot phase in Exuma in December 2019, and extending in the first half of 2020 to Abaco, the press release says. Per the outline, it is to be launched in Exuma today, with the enrollment of wallet users through each of the participating financial institutions. They state that it’s a digital fiat currency, not a cryptocurrency or a stablecoin. This initiative has acquired the name Project Sand Dollar, with the sand dollar also being the name assigned to the proposed central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Regulation news

  • The Financial Services Agency Japan (JFSA) and Nikkei, Inc. will co-organize the “Blockchain Global Governance Conference [BG2C]” in Tokyo in March, 2020. The announcement by the Japan’s top regulator says that BG2C aims at providing a neutral place for stakeholders to deepen mutual understanding and explore the ways to enhance cooperation. It will address the uses of blockchain in various business areas and will touch on the current business models, future applications, and underlying challenges to be resolved.
  • Ethereum (ETH) developer Virgil Griffith’s bail has been denied. As reported, he was accused of helping North Korea avoid sanctions. According to Inner City Press journalist Matthew Russell Lee, the US Attorney said that Griffith faces 15 to 21 months and since he never served time before, he may seek to flee.
  • There have been further developments in the ongoing assault trial revolving around the owner and the CEO of a major, unnamed South Korean cryptocurrency exchange. The jury has heard that an employee was allegedly “hit ten times on the head with an empty bottle,” reports Paxnet. Executives have been charged with extortion and holding employees against their will in what was allegedly a row over insider trading and manipulated trading volumes.


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