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​​🌴The President-Elect Of Colombia Is Pro-Bitcoin

This story was originally published in Portuguese by Boletim Bitcoin.

Who Is Gustavo Petro?
Gustavo Petro is a Colombian economist, who served as a guerrilla and most recently a senator from Colombia, and was elected as president of the Latin American country with 50.49% of the votes against 47.25% in favor of Rodolfo Hernández, a businessman who became known as the “Colombian Donald Trump.”

Petro served as a guerrilla in the Movimento 19 de Abril (M-19) group, which later became the M-19 Democratic Alliance party, in which he was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies, starting his political career.

After the election, Gustavo Petro stated that he intends to “develop capitalism in Colombia.” According to the president, it is necessary “to overcome feudalism in Colombia, to overcome the hereditary mentality linked to this world of serfs.”

Rival candidate Rodolfo Hernández acknowledged the election result.

Petro became known for helping to sign Colombian government deals with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and similar groups in 2016, as well as denouncing corruption scandals.

Gustavo Petro And Bitcoin
On more than one occasion, Gustavo Petro has stated that bitcoin is a superior cash technology and that Colombia should direct its energy surplus to mine the cryptocurrency in strategic regions, as a way to curb the trade in illicit substances.

In 2017, Petro stated:

“Bitcoin removes the issuing power of states and seigniorage of currency from banks. It is a community currency that is based on the trust of those who transact with it, as it is based on a blockchain, trust is measured and grows, hence its strength.”

Regarding bitcoin mining, Petro said:

“Cryptocurrencies need clean energy and we can do what El Salvador did, which is export clean energy. We can do it with the wind from La Guajira, with the waterfalls, without making reservoirs, from the western mountain range to the Pacific or the ocean.

“And we can transform the Wayú communities, the coal workers of the Cesar region, the black communities of the Colombian Pacific coast into owners of these new forms of energy, linked to cryptocurrency computing, and then we will have another world.”
​​Tesla Expected to Report $440 Million Writedown on Its Bitcoin Holdings

E-car maker Tesla is likely to report an impairment loss of roughly $440 million in its upcoming quarterly report, according to a Sunday report published by The Telegraph.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency is trading slightly above the $19,000 level at the time of writing this article.

Tesla caused a huge stir in the investment community by buying $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin last February, pushing the price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency to record highs.
The e-car maker sold some of its holdings back in March 2021 in order to test the cryptocurrency’s liquidity.

Its Bitcoin stash has remained unchanged since then despite the fact that the company stopped accepting the leading coin for payments last May, causing a major price correction.

In February, Tesla reported that its Bitcoin stash was worth $2 billion.

The Elon Musk-helmed company reported a Bitcoin-related impairment of $51 million.
​​Australian Man Explains How Crypto Helped Him to Buy Brisbane House Mortgage Free

Australian crypto miner Joe Bridge recently explained how he was able to buy his first house, boats, and motorcycles using the small fortune he amassed from crypto mining.

According to a report by Australia’s ABC published on June 30, the 38-year-old first became involved in crypto mining in 2013 while living with his parents in Brisbane. At the time, Bridge was studying law and had little education in IT. However, he was able to run the mining software on three computers — using 10 graphics cards — to earn Litecoin and Dogecoin.

Bridge says the mining caused the temperature of his house to spike to 50 degrees Celsius at times, while his power bill topped $600 a month, even with the use of a “fairly advanced solar system” on the roof. Bridge was able to trade the mined LTC and DOGE for over a dozen bitcoins.

Bridge held onto his BTC for four years, hardly paying attention to the price until it began to skyrocket in mid 2017. He decided to sell a portion of his BTC holdings for the purchase of several motorcycles and boats, while betting that the price would continue to rise.

Bridge said he was looking to buy a home around the time Bitcoin’s price peaked in November 2021. He ended up selling 85% of his holdings — around 11 bitcoins — at AUD 80,000 each, for a total of AUD 880,000, to buy the home mortgage-free. He also sold off several BTC in order to pay for the capital gains taxes on his investment, which he estimated to be aroundAUD 290,000.

Bridge now works in IT for a finance software company, and attributes his foray into Bitcoin for allowing him to afford a mortgage-free home. Looking back, he said there was a “lot of luck” involved in his journey, and did not necessarily recommend others following in his footsteps.
​​Crypto Platforms Kick Off New Wave of Recruitment

Several major crypto companies have commenced a new wave of recruitment amid sour market conditions.

Major crypto exchange Kraken is leading the crypto recruitment charge with 650 new positions added over the past week in the US and the UK. The positions are all full-time and remote, according to a recent study by blockchain jobs site Crypto Jobs List.

The report detailed that Kraken is hiring for roles in various departments, which include IT, engineering, administrative, human resources, marketing, advertising and public relations, legal, finance, and sales.

Circle, the company behind the popular stablecoin USD coin (USDC), has the second-highest number with 159 new full-time, remote job ads posted over the past week. Almost two-fifths of the jobs are related to marketing, with other positions including Sales, IT, Finance, Management, Product Management, and Project Management.

According to the report, Jack Dorsey’s Square is third with 119 new job ads, more than 85% of which are advertised as remote positions. The company is mainly on the lookout for engineers and developers but is also looking to make new hires in the marketing, creative, and design departments.

Moreover, 562 crypto job ads overall have been posted in the UK over the past week, around 44% of which are remote positions. Almost 30% of the job ads are seeking software engineers, while other in-demand roles include product managers, blockchain developers, marketing managers, and recruiters.

Meanwhile, a separate report by Bloomberg claims that Coinbase aims to expand its presence in Europe with new recruitments, which comes shortly after the exchange cut down its workforce by around 18%, or 1,100 employees.

According to Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s vice president of business development and international, the crypto exchange aims to register in new markets including Italy, Spain, France, and the Netherlands.

“In all these markets our intention is to have retail and institutional products,” Murugesan reportedly said. “It’s almost like an existential priority for us to make sure that we are able to realize our mission by accelerating our expansion efforts.”\
​​Kaiko closes $53 million Series B funding round

Crypto data firm Kaiko has bagged $53 million in fresh funding even as venture capital investors tighten their purse strings.

Eight Roads led the Series B fundraise, which was announced in a statement today, with Revaia participating alongside existing investors Alven, Point9, Anthemis, and Underscore.

Kaiko will use the funding to expand globally. It currently has offices in Paris, London, New York and Singapore.

CEO Ambre Soubiran said in the statement: “The blockchain industry has experienced tremendous institutional interest and with it, the need for high quality data has never been greater.”

Kaiko was founded in 2014 and offers institutional investors market data, portfolio solutions, rates and indices, pricing services, DeFi data and research, according to its announcement.

The company raised a $24 million Series A round roughly one year ago. Recently, it acquired quantitative decisions tools provider Kesitys, and bought Napoleon Index from CoinShares, the crypto asset manager.
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​​BlackRock Remains Bullish on Blockchain

Salim Ramji, global head of ETFs and index investments at investment titan BlackRock, offered some high praise for blockchain in a recent interview with London-based Financial News, claiming that the technology, which underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is "incredibly" disruptive and innovative.

The senior executive underscored blockchain's potential to boost the efficiency of financial markets.

Ramji's upbeat comments about blockchain come after Blackrock launched an ETF that tracks a basket of 41 blockchain-related companies. Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., makes up the biggest share of the product's holdings.

Yet, BlackRock is not sold on crypto itself just yet. Ramji told the outlet that it still had no intention of rolling out its own Bitcoin product despite the fact that major financial companies, such as Fidelity, have come up with their ETF applications. He explains that BlackRock has to live up to expectations in terms of quality and regulatory compliance.

Having said that, BlackRock is seemingly leaving the door open for launching a Bitcoin product in the future, according to Ramji. The New York-based financial behemoth is not willing to chase market trends. In the long term, the company could boost the accessibility of cryptocurrencies on a par with traditional financial assets such as gold.

In April, BlackRock entered into a partnership with USD Coin issuer Circle, which includes capital-market applications for the second-largest stablecoin. Ramji claims that the deal has been a success.

The world's largest asset manager, which boasts roughly $10 trillion worth of assets, dabbled in Bitcoin futures last year, but it is yet to embrace the top cryptocurrency in the way many other Wall Street giants did.
​​Moody’s Downgrades Coinbase’s Debt

Ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded Coinbase’s (COIN) corporate debt and also placed its debt ratings for the crypto exchange under review for further downgrade.

Moody’s said the move reflects “Coinbase's substantially weaker revenue and cash flow generation due to the steep declines in crypto asset prices that have occurred in recent months and reduced customer trading activity.”

Moody’s said it expects Coinbase’s profitability to remain challenged despite announcing the layoffs of around 1,100 employees on June 14.

Coinbase shares were down 0.3% to $58.88 after hours on Thursday after rising 13% during the day.
​​South Korea's SK Square Delays Crypto Token Launch, Here's Why

South Korea-based SK Square, an investment arm of conglomerate SK Group, on Wednesday said it will delay the launch of its crypto token due to volatility and FUD in the crypto market.

In fact, SK Square initially planned to release its white paper in the second quarter and launch the SK Coin, a tentative name, in the third quarter.

SK Square Postpones Crypto Token’s White Paper and Launch
SK Square has decided to delay the issuance of SK Coin amid weak market conditions as a result of the Terra-LUNA crash and liquidity crisis, reported South Korea’s Aju Business Daily on June 22.

A spokesperson for SK Square said:

“Preparations are complete, but the market isn’t very good at the moment. The timing has not been confirmed for the issuance of tokens. We will introduce it after addition supplmentation.”

Earlier in March, SK Square’s Vice Chairman Park Jung-ho announced plans to issue a crypto token, the first among the nation’s top conglomerates. Besides, SK Square and SK Telecom have invested billions into blockchain and metaverse projects.

SK Square established a blockchain working group responsible for the cryptocurrency business and planned to issue the cryptocurrency SK Coin.

However, the recent collapse of Terra, subsequent decline in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices, and lack of positive sentiment made the company think otherwise. The company will plan to speed up the issuance process again as market conditions improve.

South Korea’s Crypto Oversight Stiffens After Terra Crash
South Korean government has increased crypto oversight and regulations in the country after the Terra crash. Moreover, a crypto oversight committee has been formed to set coin-listing criteria, monitor unfair trade practices, and oversee investor protection measures.

South Korea has started several probes on Terraform Labs, its founder Do Kwon, crypto exchanges, and other accused people. Several crypto-related bills are pending in the National Assembly seeking to further tighten crypto regulation in South Korea.
​​UAE and India will cooperate on emerging technologies like blockchain in new trade deal, says Dubai Chamber official

More details have emerged about the scope of the UAE-India trade agreement that came into force on May 1. The landmark agreement named the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will include collaboration on various emerging technologies and innovations.

Speaking during a webinar organized by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Omar Khan, the body’s Director of International Offices, disclosed that one of these focus areas will be blockchain technology. It will also focus on innovation-focused sectors such as AI and Fintech.

CEPA is the first bilateral trade agreement signed between the UAE and India. The trade deal is expected to deepen ties between the two countries significantly.

According to one of the 270 participants of the webinar Deepak Sood, the secretary-general of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the pact will aid two-way trade between the countries to reach $100 billion in the next five years.

“The UAE is the third-largest trading partner for India and synergizes the scope of business opportunities for stakeholders. The trade pact will aid in taking forward the two-way trade to $100 billion in five years from the existing $60 billion. This is a joint effort to combine the vision of both nations,” said Deepak Sood.

The UAE is rapidly becoming a blockchain innovation hotbed
The deal is not the first the UAE has signed with a trade partner to explore use cases for blockchain technology. Back in 2019, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce signed a similar pact with the International Chamber of Commerce, becoming the first chamber of commerce to do so.

The agreement catapulted the Dubai Chamber of Commerce to become the exclusive provider of blockchain trade solutions in the entire Middle East.

The latest trade agreement with India is in keeping with the UAE’s aim to become a global blockchain hub. The Emirates has been running with this vision since 2016 when the government launched the Dubai Blockchain Strategy.

Since then, it has been expanding its adoption of blockchain technology and currently has more than 50% of its government services powered by the innovation. The government has also been making policies to attract digital currency firms and investors.

This year, it introduced a licensing scheme for digital currency firms. Several digital currency firms have already received their licenses under the scheme.
​​Keep Patience, Trust Bitcoin: El Salvador President has A Message for Bitcoin Investors

On Saturday, June 18, Bitcoin underwent another major price correction slipping under $20,000 for the first time since December 2020. As of press time, BTC is trading at $18,548 with a market cap of $354 billion.

Panic has spread all across the crypto market making investors uncomfortable about the recent downside. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has asked to take a chill pill and maintain patience in such testing times. In a message on Twitter, President Bukele wrote:

I see that some people are worried or anxious about the Bitcoin market price. My advice: stop looking at the graph and enjoy life. If you invested in Bitcoin your investment is safe and its value will immensely grow after the bear market. Patience is the key.

The value of El Salvador’s Bitcoin investments is already down by more than 50%. The Latin American country started purchasing Bitcoin in August 2020 and so far has accumulated more than 2300 Bitcoins as part of its Treasury. Its recent Bitcoin purchase was in early May 2022.

The Crypto Industry is Dead Says, Peter Schiff
Popular Bitcoin critic Peter Schiff has further solidified his attack on Bitcoin and crypto. Soon after the U.S. inflation data on June 11, Schiff had predicted that the total market cap of the crypto space would sink under $800 billion and that’s what exactly happened within the span of the last week.

In one of his latest tweets, Schiff made a bold comment that the crypto market is dead. The Bitcoin critic wrote:

A lot of people in the #crypto industry are saying that this crash is a healthy shake-out. I agree that it’s healthy, but not for crypto. That industry as we know it is dead, which is very healthy for the economy. Crypto likely has a future, but Bitcoin will not be a part of it.

He further attacked Bitcoin calling it an “epic fail”. He wrote that Bitcoin maximalists should realize that Bitcoin is no more acting as a safe haven.
​​Crypto Whale Transfers 150 Million XRP from Bithumb

The XRP network witnessed a major transfer on Thursday after a whale address moved almost $51 million worth of XRP coins from digital exchange Bithumb to an unknown wallet. The data published by Whale Alert, a blockchain tracking and analytics platform, showed that 150 million coins were moved on 16 June at around 00:56 UTC.

In a different transaction on 17 June, a prominent crypto address moved 60 million XRP from an unknown wallet to crypto exchange Bitso. The total value of the transfer stood at around $19 million.

With a market cap of approximately $16 billion, XRP is the 8th most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. The digital asset spiked by almost 5% in the past 24 hours, making it one of the biggest gainers since yesterday.

XRP Markets Report
In the first week of May 2022, Ripple published its quarterly XRP Markets Report. The report highlighted the growing popularity of RippleNet and XRPL among institutions around the world.

“Since the launch of the Creator Fund, Ripple has received over 4,000 applicants for NFT projects across gaming, metaverses, entertainment, art, and more for NFTs on the XRPL. The XRPL has some inherent advantages for tokenized assets such as low-cost efficiency (near 0 fees to mint), no smart contract requirements for basic functionality, and was the first major blockchain to be carbon-neutral,” Ripple noted in its report.

“The XRPL saw key cross-bridge integrations with Multichain and Allbridge, both of which allow XRP holders to move their XRP to 12 different blockchains, including Avalanche, Fantom, and Solana, as well as move the top coins from these chains onto the XRPL,” the company added.
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​​JPMorgan Wants to Bring Trillions of Dollars of Tokenized Assets to DeFi

Decentralized finance (DeFi) developers looking to leverage the yield-generating potential of assets that live outside the crypto native kingdom might just find their prayers are being answered by Wall Street’s biggest bank: JPMorgan (JPM).

Speaking to CoinDesk at Consensus 2022 in Austin, Texas, the head of JPMorgan’s Onyx Digital Assets, Tyrone Lobban, described in detail the bank’s institutional-grade DeFi plans, as well as highlighting how much value, in terms of tokenized assets, is waiting in the wings.

“Over time, we think tokenizing U.S. Treasuries or money market fund shares, for example, means these could all potentially be used as collateral in DeFi pools,” Lobban said. “The overall goal is to bring these trillions of dollars of assets into DeFi, so that we can use these new mechanisms for trading, borrowing and lending, but with the scale of institutional assets.”

Institutional DeFi generally means imposing know-your-customer (KYC) strictures on crypto’s permissionless lending pools, which has started to happen in pockets of innovation such as Aave Arc, as well as the recently announced project involving Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) and Compound Treasury.

However, JPMorgan’s plans incorporating the tokenization of traditional assets point towards an altogether different level of scale. From an Onyx Digital Assets perspective, there are two complementary parts to bringing bank-grade DeFi to fruition, explained Lobban.

One component is JPMorgan’s blockchain-based collateral settlement system that was extended last month to include tokenized versions of BlackRock’s money market fund shares, a kind of mutual fund invested in cash and highly liquid short-term debt instruments. This type of application on the Onyx Digital Assets blockchain (settled in the bank’s in-house digital token JPM Coin) now enjoys some $350 billion of flow, Lobban pointed out.

The second piece of the puzzle is the recent pilot led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and including JPMorgan, DBS Bank and Marketnode, dubbed “Project Guardian.” The initiative is all about testing institutional-friendly DeFi via permissioned liquidity pools comprising tokenized bonds and deposits.

These ventures into DeFi will involve public blockchains and have a permissioned structure similar in many ways to what is being done by the likes of Aave Arc and Fireblocks. One difference, Lobban noted, is that the KYCing in Project Guardian is being done by large financial institutions that are participating, as opposed to DeFi platforms and crypto native custody firms. In other words, a JPMorgan Trader has to prove they have the rights and entitlements to trade on behalf of the Wall Street bank.

Verifiable credentials
But a much more striking difference is the novel approach to permissioned DeFi done using digital identity building blocks such as W3C verifiable credentials.

“We want to use verifiable credentials as a way of identifying and proving identity, which is different from the current Aave model, for instance,” Lobban said. “Verifiable credentials are interesting because they can introduce the scale that you need to provide access to these pools without necessarily having to maintain a whitelist of addresses. Since verifiable credentials are not held on-chain, you don’t have the same overhead involved with writing this kind of information to blockchain, paying for gas fees, etc.”

As far as which DeFi protocols JPMorgan and its counterparties might be looking at, this decision has not yet been made, Lobban said, but it will be among the recognized offerings. “It’ll be from the bench of protocols that you’d expect, battle-tested with high TVLs total locked value. But we haven't yet worked out which ones yet.”

Lobban explained that for the past two-and-a-half years, JPMorgan has quietly been exploring digital identity in the context of blockchain and digital assets.

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