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Bitcoin Lightning Network Growth Increases 1200% in 2 Years

A report from Bitcoin-exclusive River Exchange suggests that increased use of Lightning will play a key role in Bitcoin becoming a better medium of exchange.

Bitcoin’s Layer 2 Lightning Network saw an estimated 1,212% growth in two years, with around 6.6 million transactions routed in August, a significant jump from 503,000 transitions in August 2021, according to data from the River exchange, exclusive of Bitcoin (BTC).

In an October 10 report, River research analyst Sam Wouters explained that the increase in routed transactions (which use more than two nodes to facilitate a transfer) came despite a 44% drop in the Bitcoin price and considerably less interest in online research.

River’s $6.6 million value for Lightning-routed transactions is a lower-bound estimate — the lowest possible value it could value. The company also obtained the August 2021 figure of 503,000 from a 2021 study by K33, formerly Arcane Research, adding that it could not evaluate flash transactions that were private or between just two participants.

As of August 2023, the average Lightning transaction size is approximately 44,700 satoshis or $11.84. River estimated that between 279,000 and 1.1 million Lightning users were active in September.

The company attributed 27% of transaction growth to the gaming, social media advice and streaming sectors.

River said the success rate for Lightning payments was 99.7% on its platform in August 2023 across 308,000 transactions. The main reason for failure occurs when no payment method is found that has sufficient liquidity to facilitate the transfer.

River’s data set consisted of 2.5 million transactions. The nodes in the River dataset represent 29% of the entire network capacity and 10% of the payment channels.

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Hong Kong, UAE and Thailand to launch joint CBDC projects by 2024

The central banks of Hong Kong, China, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, together with the HMKA, are working on the development of mBridge, a cross-border central bank digital currency (CBDC) initiative.

The project is expected to launch in mid-2024. The initiative could provide an alternative to Swift’s dominant payments infrastructure, setting a precedent for further fragmentation of payments in other regions.

MBridge is coordinated by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The project will involve the participation of several major companies such as Tencent, owner of WeChat Pay, and the WeChat application.

The HKMA is also working on another CBDC-related project known as e-HKD. The digital currency has shown different use cases such as payments, deposits and investment scenarios.

Eddie Yue Wai-man, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, added that e-HKD could be used in different areas, such as programmable payments, and in new regions, such as deposits and tokenized assets.

Currently the institution is carrying out tests with the participation of 16 large companies. In September, HSBC issued eHKD to around 200 students and staff at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School, with the aim of testing the use of the digital currency.

Two of the pilot participants, Standard Chartered and Fubon Bank, have begun investigating CBDC use cases. Fubon Bank has revealed its plans to work with Ripple (XRP) on a real estate tokenization pilot.

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Top US Cryptocurrency Exchange Coinbase Adopts an “International First Mindset”

Top US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has increased its focus on international markets amid regulatory uncertainty in the United States, according to the company’s vice president of international policy.

In a recent interview on Zebu Live, Tom Duff Gordon notes that international expansion is becoming “increasingly important” for the exchange.

“We want to work with everyone because we believe that the United States is a really important market. We need to achieve that [regulatory] clarity. It may not happen tomorrow, but I think we are on the right track to achieve it.

But look, there are only 300 million people in the United States. [Coinbase CEO] Brian Armstrong’s big vision… is to attract a billion people to cryptocurrencies. It is a question of economic freedom. Either way, we can’t just do this in America. That’s why we’re now adopting this “international first” mentality.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Coinbase in June, accusing the company of operating as an unregistered stock exchange, broker-dealer, and clearing agency.

Last month, the company successfully registered as a cryptocurrency exchange and custody wallet provider with the Bank of Spain. It also gained approval from the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) to offer digital asset perpetual futures to investors outside the US.

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Coca Cola Introduces New NFT Collection on Coinbase Blockchain

As soon as the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launched the Layer-2 Base platform last week, the American multinational Coca-Cola announced its new NFT collection on the platform.

Coca-Cola’s NFT ‘Masterpiece’ collection consists of some iconic artworks by emerging talents in the digital and on-chain art space. Timeless art treasures like “The Scream” by Edvard Munch and “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer share the space seamlessly with modern pieces by expert artists like Aket and Vikram Kushwah.

These works now take on a new dimension as they are made into collectibles on the blockchain, open to art enthusiasts participating in the Onchain Summer event. Using “Masterpiece”, Coca-Cola® acts as a curator, bringing together stories from around the world and celebrating different types of art.

The Coca-Cola® ‘Masterpiece’ is more than just an art collection. It represents how art, technology and people come together in the chain. By bringing it into the digital world, Coca-Cola® is showing other companies how to connect with the digital age. This collection goes beyond the usual art galleries and reaches people all over the world.

French artist Aket said: “Coca-Cola® is a very important generational milestone. Your ads encourage us to live our dreams every day.”

Coinbase Blockchain Base

Last week, on August 9, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase released its main base to the public. The Coinbase Base platform hosts over 100 decentralized applications (dApps) and service providers, while also addressing the challenges that users would face with the Ethereum blockchain network.

The Base platform is based on Optimism’s OP Stack software and works as a stacked network. This allows you to handle transactions separately from the main Ethereum blockchain. The aim is to provide a more efficient platform for dapps, making use of Layer-2 solutions. These solutions aim to address the scalability and expense challenges associated with blockchain backbone networks, reflecting a broader industry trend.

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PayPal’s USD debut: why its new stablecoin is causing concern

PayPal has completed a long period of careful consideration, ups and downs to introduce its new USD-pegged stablecoin.

The stablecoin, called PayPal USD (PYUSD), makes it easy for users to engage in activities like “buying, selling, holding, and transferring” the token through the payment processor interface.

While these features may seem a bit mundane, resembling the features of a conventional checking account or a real PayPal account containing US dollars, they mark an important milestone after the company’s extensive two-year journey.

PayPal Stablecoin raises alarms about centralization functions

Sarah Hodder, an expert in digital asset law, drew X’s attention to the strong similarities between PayPal’s stablecoin and a central bank digital currency that could facilitate censorship.

PYUSD was officially introduced on August 7 and is issued by Paxos Trust Co., renowned for its holding in Binance USD (BUSD).

Using the Ethereum platform, PYUSD is designed for digital transactions and Web3 applications, and the company reveals plans for its availability to US clients in the near future.

Phelps suggested that this move could serve as a clever ploy by PayPal to minimize its own significant fees, juxtaposing them with the substantial gas costs associated with Ethereum.

In a notable gesture, PayPal itself seemed to recognize the potential for high fees beyond its own platform, suggesting an awareness of the challenges posed by Ethereum’s transaction costs.