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Japan to Launch Central Bank Digital Currency Pilot in April 2023

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In April of 2023, Japan intends to launch a pilot program for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), even if the country does not permit the use of international stablecoins like Tether (USDT). It intends to include commercial companies and put a model of a CBDC ecosystem through its paces.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) published Shinichi Uchida’s opening remarks from a CBDC committee meeting on February 17th. Uchida is the executive director of the BoJ. In it, Uchida announces that the Bank has chosen to begin a pilot program for “digital yen” in April after concluding its proof-of-concept testing, which began in 2021. This decision was made after the Bank completed its testing in 2021.

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During the pilot test, the investigation into the technological viability of “digital yen” will continue, and the experiment will be expanded to include the modeling of a CBDC ecosystem with the involvement of commercial businesses. According to the official, for the course of the pilot project, there will be no real retail transactions, simply simulations of such transactions.

In his address, Uchida focuses on the design of the future CBDC as well as the need of consulting with the business sector about alternative data models, architectures for offline payments, and other essential components of the system. In order to facilitate discussions of this kind, the CBDC forum will be established.

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Since the local media first announced the BoJ’s plan in November 2022, everyone was quite excited to hear the news regarding the CBDC pilot project. The Bank of Japan is reportedly going to work with at least three Japanese megabanks as well as regional banks.

In the meanwhile, the authorities in Japan are contemplating whether or not to repeal the restriction on foreign stablecoins that was passed into law in 2022. The Financial Services Agency of Japan estimates that the revisions will be ratified by the end of June 2023 at the latest. Despite the fact that they won’t automatically allow any foreign stablecoin to enter the market, they will give the all clear to those currencies that are able to successfully pass individual tests.



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Coinbase Petitions SEC on Staking

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In response to the SEC’s February crackdown on Kraken’s staking program, Coinbase has submitted a “Petition for Rulemaking” arguing that staking should not be classified as securities. The 18-page document argues that staking is not a monolithic concept and that core staking services do not meet the criteria of the Howey test, which defines what constitutes a security.

Coinbase argues that staking is not an investment of money, as the opportunity cost of staking is not an investment. Users retain full authority over their assets, with the ability to unstake them, sell, hypothecate, vote, pledge, or otherwise dispose of them independently of the service provider. The rewards users receive are simply payments for services rendered, and core staking services entail ministerial maintenance and not managerial efforts in the sense of traditional investing.

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The petition cites several historical precedents that can guide the SEC on the current regulatory work with crypto staking. These include the 1973 Committee on Special Investment Advisory Services, the SEC’s Regulation Fair Disclosure from 2000, and the Report of Investigation Pursuant to Section 21(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934: The DAO, from 2017. Coinbase urges regulators to consider the economic consequences of their actions on the digital asset ecosystem and take a different approach to the treatment of staking services.

Coinbase publicly distanced itself from Kraken’s staking program in February, with CEO Brian Armstrong expressing his readiness to defend the company’s position in court “if needed.” Despite the SEC’s actions, Coinbase has reiterated to customers that its staking services will continue and “may actually increase.”

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Overall, Coinbase’s petition to the SEC on staking argues that the practice should not be universally labeled as securities. It provides a detailed argument based on historical precedents and highlights the economic consequences of regulatory actions on the digital asset ecosystem.



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Arbitrum’s ARB Token Airdrop Triggers OTC Trading

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The Arbitrum community is abuzz with anticipation following the announcement of the ARB token airdrop by Arbitrum Foundation. The new token will be airdropped to eligible community members on Thursday, March 23, and marks Arbitrum’s official transition into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

Arbitrum One and Arbitrum Nova are networks that allow users to transact on the Ethereum blockchain with better speeds and lower fees. With 55% of the Ethereum layer 2 market share, according to layer-2 analytics site L2Beat, anticipation for an Arbitrum token has been at a fever pitch since the network went live in 2021.

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The airdrop will grant 11.5% of the total supply to eligible Arbitrum users and 1.1% to DAOs operating in the Arbitrum ecosystem. With ARB’s total circulation of 10 billion, the Arbitrum community will control 56% of the tokens.

The announcement of the airdrop has triggered a surge in over-the-counter (OTC) trading of unreleased ARB tokens. OTC trading allows easy buying and selling of cryptocurrencies directly between sellers and buyers. The process is usually very fast, with funds being transferred directly from a bank account to the seller. In this case, when a price is agreed on by the buyer and seller, the seller receives payment from the buyer and then gives up the seed phrase linked to the eligible wallet.

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However, the Arbitrum community has also warned others to stay vigilant after reports of phishing websites and scams offering Arbitrum airdrop tokens. As one of the most significant crypto projects without a token, the anticipation for an Arbitrum token has been high since the network went live in 2021.

Arbitrum’s main competitor in the Ethereum scaling space, Optimism, launched its OP token nearly a year ago when it transitioned to DAO governance. However, the launch of the ARB token puts Arbitrum in direct competition with Optimism and could lead to further developments in the Ethereum scaling space.

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In summary, the announcement of the ARB token airdrop by Arbitrum Foundation has triggered over-the-counter (OTC) trading of unreleased tokens, with 11.5% of the total supply being granted to eligible Arbitrum users and 1.1% to DAOs in the Arbitrum ecosystem. However, the community has also warned others to be cautious of phishing websites and scams offering Arbitrum airdrop tokens. With the launch of the ARB token, Arbitrum is now in direct competition with Optimism in the Ethereum scaling space.



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SpankChain Shuts Down SpankPay Crypto Payment Processor

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SpankChain, an Ethereum-based blockchain platform designed to help adult content creators cut out traditional banks and intermediaries, has closed its crypto payment processor, SpankPay. The closure comes after the company lost its payment service provider, Wyre, in February due to “violations of any third-party payment processor or network rules.” SpankPay attempted to find another service provider, but all attempts were rejected due to the adult industry nature of their business.

In a Twitter thread, SpankPay announced that the decision to close the payment processor was due to the escalating hostility of the banking environment towards adult industry payment processors, which had made it untenable for the small team and niche market it served. Despite the shutdown, the company reassured users that their money was safe and would be returned as soon as possible.

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SpankPay was launched in July 2019 as an adult-industry-friendly payment solution that enabled adult entertainers and merchants to accept cryptocurrency for their services. The closure of SpankPay is a significant blow to SpankChain, as the platform was a key part of its blockchain ecosystem.

The adult entertainment industry has always faced challenges with traditional banking systems, as banks have been reluctant to work with the industry due to its controversial nature. SpankChain sought to change this by providing a blockchain-based platform that allowed adult content creators to transact directly with their customers, cutting out traditional intermediaries.

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The closure of SpankPay highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the adult entertainment industry in accessing traditional banking services. The industry has been forced to rely on alternative payment methods, such as cryptocurrencies, to transact with customers. The use of cryptocurrencies has enabled adult content creators to access a global market and avoid the restrictions imposed by traditional banks.

Despite the challenges, SpankChain remains committed to advancing the adult industry and has promised to continue developing and investing in products that serve the niche market it serves. The closure of SpankPay is a significant setback for the company, but it is determined to continue to innovate and find new ways to help adult content creators succeed in the digital age.



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