Five crypto and blockchain developments that you might not have heard of

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News cycles come and go. A few years back, articles covering the crypto space were few and far between, often only speaking to Bitcoin and what some regulator or government official had to say about the strange new substitute for fiat currency. Fast forward until today, and there are a multitude of websites, this one included, that strive to inform the public of the latest developments in Crypto-Land. Unfortunately, it is easy now to miss crypto news items that get buried. Here are five events you might have missed.

#1 – PwC Luxembourg to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Since when does one of the top four accounting firms across the globe decide to accept payments in Bitcoin? Price Waterhouse announced that its Luxembourg branch will begin accepting Bitcoin payments as a digital medium of exchange, as “part of a commitment to clients’ needs as well as to support the growing cryptocurrency industry”.

#2 – LINE Subsidiary in Japan Obtains Exchange License

What? Facebook-like company in Japan is into crypto? Yes, the LINE platform is Japan’s largest social media and messaging platform in the country, sporting over 200 million customers. LINE operates out of Korea, but its Japanese subsidiary, the LVC Corporation, has been awarded a license to operate a crypto exchange in Japan. The Financial Services Agency, Japan’s regulatory watchdog, granted the license.

#3 – HSBC Offers Blockchain Letters of Credit

When major banks speak of the potential of blockchain technology, the primary focuses tend to be either cross-border payment transactions or using the distributed ledger system’s “smart contract” capabilities to handle such things as Letters of Credit, a necessary instrument for conducting international trade. HSBC just completed its first crypto enabled transaction that utilized both capabilities to complete a cross-border transaction for electronics manufacturer MTC Electronics, which had exported a shipment of LCD products directly to its parent firm.

#4 – Marshall Islands to Issue National Cryptocurrency

There has been a great deal of discussion about what are called “Central Bank Digital Currencies” (CBDCs). Discussions center around countries like Russia, Iran, and others, but the World Economics Forum recently highlighted that several countries are studying the benefits of a CBDC, as a substitute for its national fiat currency. The IMF has encouraged such projects, as a way to support local developing economies. The Marshall Islands, a small country with over 50,000 inhabitants spread out over 1,000 islands in the Pacific, has decided to issue the “SOV”, a digital currency, as a way to make its monetary policy more independent from the U.S. Dollar.

#5 – Samsung Offers Crypto Enabled Phone

News is already on the street that Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 10 version of its popular smart phone will be more crypto-enabled than all previous offerings. It will feature a crypto wallet, as well as free coins. The Wall Street Journal reported that:

South Korean tech giant Kakao Corp. will issue its affiliate cryptocurrency “KLAY” directly to Samsung smartphone users.

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