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Visa Launches Cryptocurrency Advisory Service for Financial Institutions, Merchants

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Visa Launches Cryptocurrency Advisory Service for Financial Institutions, Merchants

Visa, the world’s largest payment processor, on Wednesday launched a global crypto advisory service for clients such as banks and also merchants, as the adoption of digital currencies gains steam.

The move by Visa comes against the backdrop of unprecedented investor demand for cryptocurrency services and the company’s latest offering is geared towards financial institutions eager to attract or retain customers with a crypto offering, retailers looking to delve into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or central banks exploring digital currencies.

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Visa’s services include educating institutions about cryptocurrencies, allowing clients to use the payment processor’s network for digital offerings, and helping manage backend operations.

“We came to Visa to learn more about crypto and stablecoins and the use cases that are most relevant for our retail and commercial business lines,” said Uma Wilson, executive vice president at UMB Bank, a regional US lender.

A new global study by Visa showed nearly 40 percent of crypto owners surveyed would be likely or very likely to switch their primary bank to one that offers crypto-related products in the next 12 months.

Visa currently uses its network to allow buying, selling, and custody of digital currency. It also offers a credit card that lets users earn Bitcoin on purchases and also allows the use of USD Coin, a stablecoin cryptocurrency whose value is pegged directly to the US dollar, to settle transactions on its payment network. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 40.68 lakh as of 12:30pm on December 8.

However, for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to be used as a medium of exchange, price stability is needed, Visa’s Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu told Reuters. 

“If the price is going to fluctuate from $60,000 (roughly Rs. 45.27 lakh) to $50,000 (roughly Rs. 37.72 lakh) in a few hours, it’s a very difficult thing for a merchant to accept (bitcoin) as a currency,” Prabhu said.

“I don’t know if cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will ever be a medium of exchange. Stablecoins will,” he said, adding that Visa would facilitate such transactions when the time was right.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021


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Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

Cryptocurrency Prices across Indian exchanges

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Unlawful Crypto Mining Unearthed in Russia’s Oldest Prison, Warden Accused of Electricity Theft

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Unlawful Crypto Mining Unearthed in Russia’s Oldest Prison, Warden Accused of Electricity Theft

Russia’s oldest prison, called the Butyrka, has emerged as a site for unlawful crypto mining activities. A prison warden belonging to a high rank has also been accused of stealing electricity from other parts of the prison, in order to facilitate crypto mining from within the facility. Built in central Moscow back in 1771, Butyrka is over 250 years old and houses up to 2,000 inmates. As for now, police investigation into the crypto mining activities inside the jail has been opened.

The matter came to light after mining equipment were spotted inside a psychiatric clinic run by the Federal Penitentiary Service at the prison.

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The probing officers suspect that crypto generation from inside the prison has been going on since November 2021, Bitcoin.com said in a report.

Over 8,400 kW of electricity is estimated to have used between November 2021 and February this year, by people who were minting cryptocurrencies from inside the government facility. In a wider picture, the government of Russia actually paid for the electricity that was diverted to facilitate crypto mining operations in the prison.

As for now, details on the warden facing an inquiry and related accomplices in the case remain unclear.

The procedure of crypto mining is infamous for consuming huge amounts of electricity and disrupting the power supply of regions.

Several areas around the world including China, Kazakhstan, and Georgia’s Svaneti town have been crippled under power shortages caused by crypto mining.

Russia however, is looking to legalise crypto mining so that energy production in the required capacity is carried out without disrupting the lives and industrial activities of its citizens.

In January this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin had noted that the country does have advantages in the mining of cryptocurrencies.

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Back in March, Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Evgeny Grabchak also batted in favour of ‘eliminating legal vacuum’ and regulating crypto mining during the first national conference of legal crypto miners in Russia’s Irkutsk region.

Grabchak has said that it is essential to identify appropriate mining sites in the country and manage electricity keeping crypto mining requirements in mind, especially at the regional levels.


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SWIFT Partners with Capgemini to Test Cross-Border CBDC Interoperability

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SWIFT Partners with Capgemini to Test Cross-Border CBDC Interoperability

Bank messaging service, SWIFT, short for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is set to test the interoperability of Central Bank of Digital Currencies (CBDC) by interlinking several CBDC networks in order to execute cross-border payments. Besides currently linking financial institutions worldwide to communicate and execute financial payments, the Belgium-based member-owned cooperative has approached digital services provider Capgemini to help carry out its experiments. While there aren’t too many CBDCs around for SWIFT to experiment with right away, so far nine countries have brought CBDCs into use with China’s Digital Yuan (e-CNY) being one of the most widely experimented with digital currency.

An official blog post published on May 19 suggests that using CBDCs for cross-border payment solutions may have been a blind spot for the original idea of a digital currency since its development had the primary focus on resolving issues in line with domestic policies. However, Thomas Zschach, Chief Innovation Officer at SWIFT, expressed that new different CBDC networks must work together to enable “frictionless” transfers across the borders, and SWIFT will play a critical role.

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Capgemini and SWIFT are working together to develop a proof of concept to link a variety of CBDC networks along with other traditional currency networks. Globally, most central banks are creating CBDCs, ‘with a number of banks using different technologies, standards, and protocols for their digital currencies,” Zschach said.

As indicated in the company’s statement, the company will develop a gateway that will intercept, translate, and send domestic CBDC transactions to SWIFT for onward transmission. It will rely on existing SWIFT protocols, authentication models, and infrastructure. Over 11000 financial institutions are linked within 200 countries through SWIFT.

The new alliance is a continuation of the efforts SWIFT began with Accenture last year. As a result of that collaboration, a CBDC network and RTGS system were able to conduct a cross-border transaction.

The experiments will demonstrate that SWIFT has the capability and the technical components to link different networks if they are successful.

SWIFT’s head of innovation Nick Kerigan said, “This would help CBDCs address a major industry problem. We can also assist central banks with making their own CBDC networks capable of cross-border payments.”


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Terra's Do Kwon Denies Any Tax Evasion Attempt on Twitter After South Korea Authorities File Lawsuit

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Terra’s Do Kwon Denies Any Tax Evasion Attempt on Twitter After South Korea Authorities File Lawsuit

Days after news of a lawsuit being filed in South Korea against Terra on charges of tax evasion, Do Kwon, the CEO of Terraform Labs has stated on Twitter that the closure of two of the firm’s offices in Busan and Seoul was just coincidental and had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation from national tax authorities. Kwon who hasn’t been very active on the microblogging platform since the UST, LUNA crash on May 13 clarified that his decision to move to Singapore had no connection to the ongoing investigation and that he’s been in Singapore since December 2021.

Terraform Labs is the core development team working on the Terra blockchain whose native assets, LUNA and UST stablecoin, recently collapsed after a bank run that wiped out billions of dollars of value.

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A local news media report last week suggested that authorities in Korea were investigating Kwon and Terraform Labs for more than $78 million (roughly Rs. 604 crore) in unpaid corporate taxes.

Investigations into Terraform Labs first began in June 2021. The investigation revealed that the company was registered in the Virgin Islands and Singapore. Following the investigations, the Terra subsidiary in the Virgin Islands was fined $3.6 million (roughly Rs. 28 crore) in income tax and $34.7 million (roughly Rs. 269 crore) in corporate tax by October.

The decision is reported to have made Kwon unhappy with crypto taxation in the country and according to the report by Naver news, Kwon tried to liquidate Terra’s domestic operations just before the LUNA crash. The financial watchdog allegedly busted Terra Labs during the attempt to transfer tokens to Luna Foundation Group in Singapore.

When questioned on Twitter by FatMan, an anonymous Terra analyst and commentator, about the accuracy of the reports, Kwon responded.

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“We have no outstanding tax liabilities in Korea,” he said, adding that the company had already paid its dues in full after it faced a tax audit. “Happy to engage with any lawsuit or regulatory inquiry to the best of our ability – we have nothing to hide,” Kwon added.


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