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  • Ethereum EIP-1559 upgrade launches on Polygon to burn MATIC
    by Martin Young on January 18, 2022 at 3:58 am

    MATIC supply is likely to become deflationary once fee burning commences according to estimates by the Polygon team. The Ethereum upgrade that introduced a partial network fee burning mechanism in August last year has launched on the layer-two scaling network Polygon. Ethereum’s EIP-1559 upgrade shipped with its London hard fork last summer and has been a success in terms of gas price predictability and network fee burning. The upgrade has now launched on the layer-two scaling network Polygon in an effort to improve “fee visibility”. It went live about an hour ago at block 23850000.The Polygon team announced the upgrade date on Jan. 17, following its successful deployment on the Mumbai testnet. The EIP-1559 upgrade introduces the same fee-burning mechanism to Polygon resulting in the destruction of MATIC tokens. It also removes the first-price auction method for calculating network fees which leads to better cost estimations but goes not reduce gas prices.“The burning is a two-step affair that starts on the Polygon network and completes on the Ethereum network.”The team stated that, just like Ethereum, the supply of MATIC is likely to become deflationary with 0.27% of the total supply being burnt every year according to estimations. There is a fixed supply of 10 billion MATIC tokens with 6.8 billion currently in circulation.“Deflationary pressure will benefit both validators and delegators because their rewards for processing transactions are denominated in MATIC,” it added before stating that the upgrade would also reduce spam and network congestion.Despite being a layer-two network, Polygon has suffered from its own gas crisis recently. Earlier this month, Polygon gas fees skyrocketed according to Dune Analytics resulting in some validators failing to submit blocks. The surge in demand was due to a DeFi yield farming game called Sunflower Land which rewarded early adopters before the degens lost interest. Related: Here’s how Polygon is challenging the limitations of EthereumSince going live on Ethereum around six months ago, the upgrade has resulted in the burning of 1.54 million ETH to date according to the burn tracker. At current ETH prices, this works out at around $5 billion. The tracker also predicts that Ethereum issuance will become deflationary by -2.5% per year once “the merge” happens and proof-of-stake becomes the primary consensus mechanism for the network.MATIC prices have dumped 9% on the day in a fall to $2.22 at the time of writing according to CoinGecko.

  • Binance eyes Thailand for latest crypto exchange expansion
    by Brian Newar on January 18, 2022 at 3:35 am

    Binance has locked in an agreement as Thai government officials expedite crypto regulations which could pave the way for the firm to open a branch in the Kingdom. Binance is looking to re-establish crypto exchange services and possibly open a new branch in Thailand after signing an agreement with Gulf Energy Development PCL.Gulf Energy Development PCL is a Thai holding company run by billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi that focuses on the energy sector.Gulf Energy reportedly made the agreement with the world’s largest crypto exchange based on the strong assumption that Thailand’s digital economy infrastructure will see “rapid growth” in the next few years. The cooperative efforts between Gulf Energy, Binance, and the Thai government will be focused on exploring Binance’s options in the Thai market, which may include opening an exchange and related businesses in the Kingdom. A spokesperson for Binance told Reuters on Jan. 17, “Our goal is to work with government, regulators and innovative companies to develop the crypto and blockchain ecosystem in Thailand.”The Thai digital economy is poised to see greater regulatory clarity for digital asset traders. The director-general for the Thai government’s Revenue Department made regulatory transparency a top priority this month after announcing a planned 15% capital gains tax on crypto trades on Jan. 6.On Jan. 9, the Thai Digital Asset Association requested clarification on the specifics of the tax based on concerns from domestic traders that they may unintentionally violate the tax code.Despite the positive developments, Thailand’s central bank has repeatedly issued warnings to commercial banks and local businesses over accepting cryptocurrencies as payments.Related: Former Thai SEC chief lays out three critical issues with crypto taxationsBinance was on the receiving end of a criminal complaint from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in July 2021. The complaint accused Binance of operating a digital asset business without a license and opened an investigation against the exchange. The SEC stated that Binance ignored warnings from as far back as April 2021, and had wrongfully granted Thai citizens access to crypto trading on its website by “matching orders or arranging for the counterparties or providing the system or facilitating entry into an agreement.”

  • FTX announced as naming rights sponsor of Australian Blockchain Week 2022
    by Keira Wright on January 18, 2022 at 2:18 am

    FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried says the partnership is a “watershed moment” as the Australian blockchain ecosystem continues to go mainstream. FTX Trading Limited (FTX) will be the naming rights sponsor for Australian Blockchain Week 2022, which will run from March 21 to 25. Blockchain Australia is the peak industry network in Australia, bringing together industry, academia and government to discuss the opportunities of blockchain technology. I’m incredibly excited to announce @FTX_Official as the Naming Rights Sponsor for Blockchain Week 2022. A huge to @SBF_FTX for your support of the Australian ecosystem— Steve Vallas (@stevevallas) January 17, 2022 Over 200 speakers across 75 events will present at Australian Blockchain Week, including FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Launched in May 2019, FTX is a Bahamian-based cryptocurrency derivatives exchange. At the time of publication, it had a 24-hour trading volume of $1.41 billion according to Coinranking. Steve Vallas, Chief Executive Officer of Blockchain Australia, said the appointment comes at a “watershed moment” as the Australian blockchain ecosystem continues to go mainstream.“Growing interest in blockchain technology from major financial institutions together with signs of increasing regulation for the industry mean this year’s event is being held at a critical time for all players in this market.” Bankman-Fried said that the partnership comes as the first iteration of its focus on supporting the “long-term growth of the Australian market.” “We look forward to contributing to discussions to advance the local industry, better safeguard and protect consumers, and enabling financial institutions to evolve and thrive in the crypto industry.”Related: Blockchain Australia says gov’t still dismissing industry as a ‘wild west’Australian Blockchain week will come shortly after the businessman’s address at the Asian Financial Forum on Jan. 11, where he called on regulators to create a single framework for digital assets.In December 2021, Bankman-Fried led FTX to be among the top 2021 unicorn companies, ranking 11th with a valuation of $25 billion. The deal comes as the latest instance of international crypto exchanges paying big bucks to get their names in front of an Aussie audience. Yesterday, Singaporean crypto exchange agreed to pay $30 million to sponsor the Australian Football League.

  • Malaysia’s central bank actively assessing CBDC options
    by Brian Newar on January 18, 2022 at 1:38 am

    Malaysia’s central bank recently completed a proof-of-concept for a CBDC with three other nations and may consider developing its own cross-border payment system using the blockchain. Malaysia has joined the growing cadre of nations that are exploring the value of researching and developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, stated to Bloomberg on Jan. 17 that while a decision about exactly how to move forward with a CBDC has not yet been determined, it has focused research on a CBDC “via proof-of-concept and experimentation to enhance our technical and policy capabilities.”It also stated that the ostensible reason for the current research effort was to ensure it is prepared to launch a CBDC program “should the need to issue CBDC arise in the future.” In 2021, Malaysia collaborated with South Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore to develop a proof-of-concept CBDC pilot called Project Dunbar, according to a joint announcement. Project Dunbar utilized the Corda and Quorum blockchain platforms from r3 and ConsenSys respectively to demonstrate various capabilities of blockchain-based cross-border remittances. Most notably, it aimed to demonstrate how blockchain technology could “eliminate the need for intermediaries and cut the time and cost of transactions.”An increasing number of nations are researching how a CBDC program would operate in their jurisdiction. China is by far the largest nation currently executing a CBDC pilot program, dubbed the Digital Yuan, and the mobile app already has over 20 million downloads since Jan. 4. China plans to launch the program and allow international visitors to access Digital Yuan with their passports during the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.Related: CBDCs and stablecoins: EY advises banks to ‘prepare for what’s coming’The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) rolled out its finalized CBDC called the “EC dollar” in Mar. 2021. As of Dec. 2021, Antigua was the last of eight jurisdictions in the ECCB to not have adopted the EC dollar. Nearby Jamaica also plans on launching a finalized CBDC by Q1 2022 following the successful pilot program which concluded two weeks ago.

  • Panther protocol co-founder Oliver Gale discusses bringing zero-knowledge technology to multi-chain
    by Zhiyuan Sun on January 17, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    “It’s been a blessing and a privilege to participate in a community with over a quarter of a million people who have joined the ‘Panther Corps’ in the last 12 months,” says Gale. Privacy coins and zero-knowledge technology, which some use to obfuscate the identity of sends/receivers and transaction amounts, have gained enormous popularity in recent years due to mounting regulatory surveillance against the crypto sector. But despite their rapid rise in market cap, critics continue to scrutinize such class of assets as enablers for masking illicit activities.In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Oliver Gale, CEO, and co-founder of the Panther Protocol (ZKP), elaborated on the technology behind its privacy decentralized finance, or DeFi, solutions and why it’s necessary for today’s crypto space:CT: How much did you raise from your recent token sale, and what does your roadmap look like from here?OG: We’ve raised over $30 million in total. For Panther protocol, we did several private sale rounds, and then we did a public sale on November the 23rd, which was 90 minutes long, and raised over $20 million during that time. The second question is around the roadmap itself, so Panther Protocol is a multi-chain privacy protocol with several zero-knowledge, data disclosure tools built into it; what we’re delivering in January is our minimum viable product (MVP).We have multiple deployments this month. And that will be delivering an MVP that allows staking on Polygon and transferability of the ERC-20 token to ZKP token. And then, I estimate 30 to 60 days later; we’re going to deploy the complete v1.0 MVP, which will have the multi-asset privacy pools and multi-asset staking pools that are the shielded tools in which Panther assets can use be transacted privately. And that will also come with a version of ZK reveals, which is the mechanism by which users can voluntarily disclose their transaction data for compliance purposes or tax reporting purposes, etc. So that’s what can be expected across Q1.We have over five EVM compatible partnerships in place to deploy Panther v1 on Near, Flare, etc. These shielded pools are being deployed across different chains. And then, our team is building a ZK-driven interchange across other chains, and the goal is to allow these assets to be swapped securely, with low fees, low and high transaction throughput.CT: What’s the underlying cryptography behind these assets?OG: So the multi-asset shielded pools are based on ZK-SNARKS. So you have a combination. The shielded pools are, you know, a version of mixer technology with the ability to split join transfer assets. Then we use ZK snarks for proof of ownership. So essentially, transactions happen within the multi-asset shielded pools. And, and then the mechanism for data disclosure reveals is another ZK snark circuit, which is set up to allow Essentially a trusted provider to provide proof that can be verified on the planter network of some data condition being met. And that while it’s been applied to compliance is our first use case, and were put in ZK reveals into production with launched out, which is essentially a launch is launched out is what it sounds like.CT: Skeptics would say that private networks using zero-knowledge cryptography could become enablers of illicit transactions. What are your thoughts on the matter?OG: In my view, if you build technology and have no intention of facilitating aiding and abetting or enabling crime, you are not guilty of any crime. But why is privacy needed? Our white paper has this; the bottom line is that actors who are under surveillance behave differently from those who are not. In other words, the exact behavior of our societies is impacted by being watched. So inevitably, there are going to be bad actors. But I’ve never seen a gun on trial. You don’t put tools on trial; you put people on trial. And the overwhelming consensus of our global society, for all of the tools and technologies we use, is that if the device is more beneficial for the majority than the minority who abuse it, then you use it. And if that weren’t the case, then I’m not sure we would have any kitchen knives because knives are used for criminal activity by a minority. So any attempt to put privacy technology or blockchain technology on trial because a minority abused the system is an argument that can be extrapolated to anything in life.

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