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Digital bank FV Bank integrates USDC stablecoin for direct deposits

In addition to USDC support, FV Bank also plans to launch an escrow service in Q4 2022, targeting major currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Global digital bank FV Bank is the latest financial platform to allow deposits into the Circle-backed USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin.

FV Bank on Wednesday announced the launch of a new service that allows account holders to make direct USDC deposits to bank accounts in US dollars. The new feature allows customers to receive USDC into their accounts in a similar way to traditional deposits such as wire transfers or the automated clearing network.

Per the announcement, received USDC funds are instantly and automatically converted to United States Dollars (USD) at the time of deposit. This new solution allows FV Bank users to issue invoices to their international customers in USDC, enabling faster and cheaper transactions and conversions, the company said.

“We believe this feature will greatly improve the user experience and open up smoother trading,” FV Bank CEO Miles Paschini told Cointelegraph.

Paschini noted that USDC will be the first stablecoin accepted for USD deposit at the moment, but FV Bank may consider more stablecoins in the future.

“We chose USDC because of its license, reserve certifications, and real-time 1:1 liquidity,” noted the CEO.

In addition to integrating USDC, FV Bank also plans to launch its own escrow service in Q4 2022, which will allow customers to hold digital assets in a escrow account alongside their escrow account. According to Paschini, FV Bank custody will support major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and other currencies “based on our supported asset criteria.”

FV Bank is a cryptographic digital bank regulated by the Office of the Financial Institutions Commissioner of Puerto Rico. The company originally planned to launch cryptocurrency custody services in 2021, following the lead of major US banks such as Standard Chartered.

According to the CEO, the company’s cryptocurrency roadmap has not suffered any issues despite the ongoing crypto winter.

“Overall, the bear market has not affected our business as we continue to grow and expand our services responsibly,” said Paschini.

FV Bank is not the only financial institution to join the USDC recently. On Tuesday, cryptocurrency-compatible stock trading app Robinhood announced the USDC listing. The stablecoin will be available for transfer on the Polygon and Ethereum networks today.

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Payments company Bolt cancels deal to acquire cryptocurrency company Wyre

California-based online payments company Bolt pulls out of a deal to buy cryptocurrency provider Wyre. News of the scrapped deal, which was agreed earlier this year, comes amid plummeting valuations in the cryptocurrency and fintech sectors.

Bolt Abandons Wyre’s $1.5 Billion Acquisition Plan

Bolt Financial, a San Francisco-based U.S. technology company, said on Friday that it had canceled a deal to buy cryptocurrency infrastructure provider Wyre Payments, Reuters reported Saturday. The e-commerce platform announced in early April a definitive agreement to acquire Wyre for $1.5 billion.

The deal was considered one of the biggest acquisitions of cryptocurrency companies this year. After a funding round in January, Bolt was last valued at $11 billion. The report notes, however, that high-tech valuations are under more pressure as investor confidence has been hit by recession fears and negative stock market developments.

Payment processor Stripe and fintech firm Klarna Bank also made significant valuation cuts, Reuters noted. Industry valuations have also dropped significantly in the cryptocurrency sector during the market slump in recent months.

In a statement released, Bolt emphasized that he will continue his partnership with Wyre. The online payments company explained that remaining independent would allow it to focus on its core areas of business. The company’s CEO, Maju Kuruvilla, was quoted as saying:

We will continue our existing business partnership with Wyre to pave the way for the integration of cryptocurrencies into our ecosystem, bringing Wyre's innovative cryptocurrency infrastructure to the world.

Wyre offers blockchain-connected payment APIs and fiat ramps for cryptocurrency, forex and cryptocurrency liquidity to users of various cryptocurrency projects. It was created in 2013 and, like Bolt, which was founded a year later, is based in San Francisco.

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Coinbase Partners with BlackRock to Offer Cryptocurrencies to Institutions

Coinbase, one of the world’s largest and most popular digital currency exchanges, is partnering with investment giant BlackRock to offer its clients the opportunity to trade digital assets.

Coinbase and BlackRock team up

Joseph Chalom, Global Head of Strategic Ecosystem Partnerships at BlackRock, explained in a recent interview:

Our institutional clients are increasingly interested in gaining exposure to digital asset markets and are focused on how to efficiently manage the operational lifecycle of these assets. This connectivity will allow clients to manage their bitcoin exposures directly within their existing portfolio management and trading workflows for a portfolio-wide view of risk across all asset classes.

It’s interesting to see BlackRock make this change. Larry Fink, the company’s president, said about five years ago that bitcoin was the “money laundering index.” He didn’t trust cryptocurrencies, nor did he have any desire, it seems, to get involved with them.

However, it looks like things have changed not exactly for Fink, but also for the company’s clientele. They are starting to realize the true prowess of digital assets and want to get involved. They are eager to take advantage of digital currency offerings and expand their portfolios beyond the standard investment tools they have been exposed to.

For this reason, it appears that BlackRock feels they have no choice but to continue offering digital currencies to customers, regardless of how Fink feels. Executives know there is business to be lost if they don’t change with the times, and offering cryptocurrencies is likely to please everyone sitting at the BlackRock table.

Owen Lau, analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., gave his thoughts on the new partnership, commenting:

After this validation, Coinbase will be able to partner with more traditional financial industries. This shows that even with BlackRock’s size, they will be partnering with a native cryptocurrency company rather than developing their own features.

The move comes at a pretty interesting time, given how poorly the crypto space has been doing lately. Bitcoin, for example, is down over 60% from its all-time high of over $68,000 per unit last November. At the moment, the asset is struggling to maintain a position in the $20K range, with the entire crypto space losing around $2 trillion in overall valuation.

A lot of controversy surrounding the exchange

The fact that the space is in such a weak state and yet so many institutions still want to take advantage of it is proof that digital currencies are becoming much more mainstream and legitimate in people’s eyes, even as prices fall.

Coinbase has been at the center of a lot of controversy lately. The company is under SEC investigation and a former employee has been accused of insider trading.

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Trading App Giant Robinhood Launches Support for Ethereum Rival Cardano (ADA) Ahead of Network Updates

Retail giant Robinhood is kicking off the new month by adding a top 10 crypto asset to its trading list.

In a new announcement via Twitter, the company says that Cardano Scalable Decentralized Blockchain (ADA), driven by customer demand, is now available on the Robinhood platform.

Cardano is a competitor to Ethereum (ETH), and this month both projects will institute major network upgrades.

Earlier this week, Cardano creator Bob Hoskinson provided an update on the long-awaited Vasil hard fork, saying that developers are making steady progress towards the event that should take place in the coming weeks.

“Things are moving very fast. The community is still doing extensive testing and so are we. There is a lot of integration work going on behind the scenes, so all of this infrastructure is looking good.

Sometime in September is what it looks like, unless something is discovered or we have a substantial slowdown somewhere.”

The Ethereum Foundation also announced last week an updated timeline for the Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) Consensus Engine project merger, starting with the Bellatrix update on September 6, followed by the transition formal Sometime between September 10 and 20.

Cardano experienced a week of price fluctuation, falling 1.74% to trade at $0.44 at the time of writing.

Ethereum is also in the red at 1.31% and is currently changing hands at $1,536.

While Robinhood continues to add new digital assets to its trading platform, the company has suffered from the negative effects of the long cryptocurrency bear market and in early August laid off 23% of its workforce.

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South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, partners with FTX for a local exchange

The city of Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, commonly known as the ‘Blockchain’ city of South Korea, has partnered with major cryptocurrency exchange FTX to build a local exchange. Furthermore, the association also aims to promote the development of blockchain in the city.

Pursuant to the agreement according to a statement issued by the Busan Metropolitan City on Aug. 30, FTX will assist in the creation of a local cryptocurrency exchange duped by the Busan Digital Asset Exchange. The Bahamian cryptocurrency exchange led by Sam Bankman-Fried will also support the city of Busan in promoting the growth of the local blockchain industry.

Busan City Cryptocurrency Exchange

The city of Busan will leverage FTX’s technology and infrastructure to build its own cryptocurrency exchange and promote blockchain-specific education at local universities and projects within the city’s ‘Special Blockchain Free Zone’ established in 2019.

FTX, through its Investment Division CEO Amy Woo, said that it will establish a Korean branch of FTX in the city of Busan within the next 12 months to help make Busan a digital financial hub in Asia.

In addition to signing an agreement with FTX, Busan also partnered with Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by turnover, on August 1. Binance has signed a memorandum of understanding to provide the city with infrastructure and technology support for its blockchain development effort.

Both FTX and Binance are expected to establish a presence in South Korea in the next 12 months.

Since Busan was designated as the Blockchain City of South Korea in 2019, several projects have already been launched. These projects include a proprietary blockchain-based identification system, a blockchain-powered driver’s license platform, and cryptocurrency support for various services.