IMF Warns El Salvador, India\’s Crypto Soap Opera, Brazil\’s CBDC Pilot + More News

  • E-commerce company MercadoLibre will be starting to offer crypto trading to their Brazilian customers, according to Bloomberg. However, customers, at first, won’t be able to use cryptocurrencies to pay directly for goods purchased on MercadoLibre.
  • Identity and data solutions blockchain Ontology (ONT) is partnering with business-to-business (B2B) mobility blockchain platform bloXmove, where bloXmove will integrate Ontology’s decentralized digital identity protocol (DID) into its platform.
  • Around 10% of surveyed hedge fund managers and 4% of private equity managers have reported crypto allocation in 2021, according to the 2021 EY Global Alternative Fund Survey that had 264 respondents among alternative fund managers and institutional investors in North America, Europe, and Asia. While these numbers are relatively low, the year has seen increases in activity, the survey added.

Regulation news

  • India plans to introduce, evaluate, and enforce a bill to prohibit “all private cryptocurrencies” in the country, reported TechCrunch, citing a legislative agenda for the winter session. Reportedly, the proposed law will allow “certain exceptions” to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses, and will also create a “facilitative framework” for the creation of the country\’s official digital currency. (Learn more: Modi Says Bitcoin in the ‘Wrong Hands’ Can ‘Spoil Our Youth’ as India Readies a CBDC; India To Define Crypto As Asset, Ban Payments, and Ads – Report)

CBDCs news

  • The Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) plans to launch a pilot of a digital currency (CBDC) by 2022, BCB President Roberto Campos Neto has said, local media outlet Estadao reported. Brazil’s central bank has also been discussing a bill to regulate digital assets as an investment vehicle.

Metaverse news

  • Niantic, the developer of the popular augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokemon Go, is planning to build a “real-world” metaverse with a newly raised USD 300m in funding that brought the company’s valuation to USD 9bn. However, Niantic did not explicitly say that its metaverse would implement any aspects of blockchain technology, non fungible tokens (NFT) or cryptocurrencies.

NFTs news

  • Seven NFTs out of the 140 that Twitter gave out to randomly selected users will be sold on auction house Sotheby’s Metaverse platform, with proceeds going to Sostento, an organization that gives support to frontline public health workers. The auction house claims that this is the biggest NFT charity auction to date.
  • Smart contract platform Flare has announced a partnership with esports, gaming and fan engagement enterprise platform Rival to become a preferred NFT, Utility or DAO token platform for Rival’s NFT marketplace.
  • US television personality Martha Stewart will launch her second collection of NFTs on her NFT boutique MarthaFRESHMint.com. The Thanksgiving-themed collection will be a so-called storytelling NFT, which features an audio recording of Martha sharing her earliest Thanksgiving memories and recounting the humorous story of her first Thanksgiving dinner.

Career news

  • Global investment bank Citigroup is looking to hire 100 people as part of a new push into digital assets inside its institutional business, Bloomberg reported. As part of the effort, the firm tapped Puneet Singhvi to be its new head of digital assets inside the institutional-clients group, and he will report to Emily Turner, who oversees business development for the broader group.

Investments news

  • NFT music rights startup Royal has raised USD 55m in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto investment arm. The startup partners with musicians and allows users to buy NFTs which represent collective ownership in works from those artists.
  • Nigerian crypto exchange Busha has raised USD 4.2m in a seed round led by Jump Capital, per Forbes. Busha launched in 2019 and says it has amassed over 200,000 registered users.
  • Digital lifestyle company OliveX has announced it has received commitments to raise AUD 8m (USD 5.8m) via a share placement to strategic and institutional investors with backing from Animoca Brands. Net proceeds are intended to be put towards funding the development of the company’s first fitness metaverse game, Dustland Runner, and also to progress other fitness metaverse initiatives.
  • Circle Internet Financial, LLC, owner and operator of the US startup fundraising platform SeedInvest, announced they are leading the UK startup fundraising platform Crowdcube\’s USD 13.5m round by taking a stake worth approximately USD 10.5m in the business. The investment was made via USD coin (USDC), and it “supports Crowdcube\’s goals to enable entrepreneurs to raise capital from their dedicated communities and is Circle\’s largest strategic investment to date in the European market,” said the press release.

DeFi news

  • Ardana, the decentralized finance (DeFi) and stablecoin hub of Cardano (ADA), has announced a partnership with decentralized application (dapp) platform NEAR to build the bridge infrastructure required for asset transfer between Cardano and NEAR. The partnership also includes a grant, the size of which was not disclosed.

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