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The blockchain/crypto week at a glance

Bad news for ConsenSys employees

Major layoffs are coming to ConsenSys, according to The Verge.

The company’s founder, Joseph Lubin, was quick, however, to dismiss the report.

Layer1 lands seed funding from Peter Thiel, Digital Currency Group

Venture capitalist and PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel and Digital Currency Group have invested in cryptocurrency investment and infrastructure platform Layer1.

“We believe there is huge potential for a hands-on, mission-driven investor to take a concentrated position in a single cryptocurrency, and then dedicate talent and resources to significantly accelerate its development,” said Travis Scher, VP Investments at Digital Currency Group. 

Facebook working on stablecoin/Whatsapp project

Facebook is developing a stablecoin that will let users transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging app, focusing first on the remittances market in India, Bloomberg reports.

Coinbase is a crypto record breaker

Coinbase is laying claim to the largest cryptocurrency migration on record. Further details in this blog post.

The next chapter for Civil

Blockchain-based journalism network Civil, which saw its CVL token sale fail this year, is set to launch in February, it announced in a Medium post.

UK tax collector releases ‘Cryptoassets for individuals’ policy paper

HM Revenue & Customs has set out its view on how individuals who have cryptoassets are taxed.

Tim Draper throws weight behind OpenNode

Bitcoin payments platform OpenNode has completed a seed investment round with American venture capitalist Tim Draper and Draper Associates. 

“With their backing, we plan to scale the team, build our network, and ultimately, push for hyperbitcoinisation,” it says in a Medium post.

Atari announces blockchain partnership

Atari has teamed up with Animoca Brands to make blockchain versions of its games RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch  and Goon Squad, it announced this week.

Blythe Masters no longer Digital Asset CEO

Blythe Masters has stepped down as CEO of blockchain startup Digital Asset for personal reasons.

She will remain involved in the company as a board member, strategic advisor and shareholder. AG Gangadhar, who joined the company’s Board of Directors in April, has been appointed the Board Chairman and will serve as the acting CEO until a permanent CEO is named. 

Masters commented: “Digital Asset has evolved from an ambitious idea to a truly global software engineering firm. We are fortunate to have a deep bench of accomplished executives on the management team and Board, including AG, who have the requisite experience to take the company to the next level. Having come to know and trust AG as an advisor and Board member, I am convinced that he brings what’s needed to guide the company through its next phase.”

KfW takes blockchain application TruBudget for a spin

German state-owned bank KfW and Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Finance are testing out a blockchain solution for use in the management of public finances, according to a statement posted this week.

UBF explores blockchain adoption by banks

The advisory council of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) has discussed the adoption of blockchain to enhance know your customer (KYC) processes at banks, Gulf News reports.

Coinbase starts Convert roll-out

Coinbase has launched its new Convert service.

Tagomi Holdings begins trading

Tagomi, pitched as the first live electronic brokerage offering prime services for sophisticated investors of Bitcoin, Ether and other digital assets, has launched. The venture is backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

“Cryptocurrency trading lacks the transparency and sophisticated execution that top family offices and wealth management firms have come to expect. I’m excited to see an ambitious team with the right experience in finance and technology fix this, creating a solution we trust,” said Joe Lonsdale, Founder of Palantir and Addepar.

GSR Capital chooses tZERO for commodity contract token

Hong Kong-based private equity firm GSR Capital has contracted Overstock subsidiary tZERO to develop a smart contract token that will be utilised for an upcoming sale of cobalt. Further details here.

Man falls into coma for nine seconds, checks Bitcoin price upon waking up

Could Hong Kong crypto rules move backfire?

Hong Kong is set to tighten regulations on cryptocurrencies, with plans to put exchanges, traders and other related companies under the oversight of the Securities and Futures Commission. But this may prove too burdensome for some operators, according to Timothy Loh, who manages a law firm in the territory.

Egypt: central bank considers digital currency move

Egypt’s central bank is conducting feasibility studies into the issuance of a digital currency, its sub governor Ayman Hussein said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

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