It was another topsy-turvy week for the markets, with Bitcoin gliding into the weekend with a nice bump and some bullish movement. With the world in lockdown, life for many has slowed down dramatically, but developments continue apace for crypto. Here are this week’s main headlines.
France testing Digital Euro
On Monday, The Banque de France announced that it had launched an experimental program to test the integration of a digital euro in settlement procedures.
The French central bank said the experiment will seek to answer three questions: how traditional interbank settlements can be carried out using central bank digital currency (CBDC), what the benefits of CBDC are for the current market and payment infrastructures, and what impact a CBDC would have on financial stability and monetary policy.
“The aim is to explore the potentialities offered by this technology, and to identify concrete cases integrating Central Bank Digital Currencies in innovative procedures for the clearing and settlement of tokenized financial assets,” said the central bank.
The Banque de France also specified that they would not engage in money creation in the context of these experiments. “The token reflecting the amount in euros in digital form will be destroyed at the end of the accounting day on which payment was made,” they said.
They are now appealing for applications from established parties in the European Union or in a state party to the European Economic Area agreement. Applicants have until 15th May to respond.
France has been talking about a digital currency since late last year. Will other countries follow suit?
Ripple co-founder makes safe recovery
Ripple co-founder and executive chairman Chris Larsen has made a full recovery from COVID-19.
Thank you to everyone on the frontlines keeping us safe - am truly grateful to report that I’ve made a full recovery from #COVID19. If you’ve recovered from the virus, please consider donating your blood to help with antibody transplants: https://t.co/icm06Et5fr pic.twitter.com/331Mjv43Z6
— Chris Larsen (@chrislarsensf) April 2, 2020
Larsen had not publicly shared the fact that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19 until his tweet. His announcement sparked a flurry of responses and, in a show of unity rarely seen on Crypto Twitter, they were all nice. It’s great to see that the community can come together and support one another in these difficult times, regardless of their beliefs.
Stay safe out there, everywhere. We wish everyone who has been affected by the virus a safe recovery.
Brave adds 1 million new users
Brave, a browser focused on privacy and data control, added 1 million new users in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the browser’s monthly active users (MAU) up to 13.5 million and daily active users (DAU) to 4.3 million. Not numbers that will be scaring Google anytime soon, but steady growth that represents a proven use case for crypto and blockchain.
Brave CEO Brendan Eich tweeted: “We will work on getting ratio smaller by meeting all your Chrome user daily-driver needs. Sync v2 for all data types + wallet/ledger too.”
A spokesperson added that, "We're looking forward to more growth in the coming months as more and more users are becoming aware of Brave's privacy-by-default approach, as well as the benefits of getting compensated for their attention with Brave Rewards.”
Will their success inspire others?
Spanish tax authorities chase crypto holders
On 1 April, the Spanish tax authority (AEAT) started its campaign to send 66,000 of the country’s cryptocurrency holders notices to remind them of their tax obligations – nearly 350% more holders than last year when it was just 14,700. It will keep sending letters until June 30 in the midst of the national COVID-19 crisis. The AEAT is also targeting those who earn rental income and foreign income.
Speaking with Cointelegraph, Javier Pastor, chief sales officer at Spain-based crypto exchange Bit2me, said: “This does not affect us much in the companies in the industry that have been doing things well […] I think they [tax watchdog] are only scaring the novice user by applying such measures, plus I don't think they are going to collect much tax revenue from the cryptocurrency sector because they are not even regulated in our country."
CoinMarketCap bought by Binance
Binance has officially announced its acquisition of CoinMarketCap for a reported $400 million.
The popular aggregator for exchange volume and cryptocurrency pricing data has a huge amount of web traffic, which is the likely driver behind Binance's interest according to people familiar with the matter.
The news was met with a mixed reaction. Jason Deane, analyst at Quantum Economics, told Decrypt: "Personally, I am always sceptical of any deal that can in any way affect the 'neutrality' of any reporting system where one party (even potentially) has an interest in that system as here, especially as I'm not even entirely clear what they stand to gain precisely.”
I wonder how Binance is going to deal with the obvious conflict of interest. CoinMarketCap will no longer be impartial (even though they didn't already have a good reputation). What CoinMarketCap kills at though their SEO. They drive traffic from a ton of non-crypto folks
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) March 31, 2020
Who would ever trust @CoinMarketCap after this, doesnt make sense. A stake from @binance might likely work better than an acquisition, just defeats the purpose of having a balanced and neutral index aggregator. https://t.co/TmqN7638OJ
— Eugene Ng (@Eug_Ng) March 31, 2020