William Lovell, Bank of England: Why blockchain is maturing – but healthy scepticism remains

As blockchain technologies and the thinking around them have matured, the role of each of its stakeholders tends to mature with it. For the central bank, the inherent understanding of risk with blockchain has always been there. But this does not mean innovation and progress cannot march forwards.

William Lovell is head of future technology at the Bank of England. Naturally, this remit means blockchain is not the only game in town, but its intrinsic link to finance makes it a...

PayPal confirms addition of Checkout with Crypto capability

PayPal has confirmed the launch of Checkout with Crypto, which enables US customers to pay with cryptocurrency and aims to 'significantly increase' utility.

Customers will be able to select their cryptocurrency of choice - Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, or Litecoin - with only one type of cryptocurrency able to be used for each purchase. Once the customer confirms the purchase, the cryptocurrency is then converted to fiat currency by PayPal on the customer's behalf to complete...

Fireblocks raises $133m in series C funding to connect banks with crypto

Fireblocks, a New York-based provider of crypto infrastructure, has secured $133 million (£95.4m) in series C funding to continue its mission of connecting banks and fintech providers to crypto capital markets.

The funding takes the company's overall capital raised to $179m, claimed to be the 'most well-funded crypto infrastructure provider in the industry.' The round was led by Coatue, Ribbit and Stripes, with 11 firms named as participants in total.

Fireblocks "offers...

Beeple NFT digital artwork sells for $69.3 million in Christie’s auction

Auction house Christie's has concluded its single lot online of Beeple's 'Everydays: The First 5000 Days' artwork for $69.3 million (£49.8m) as the NFT (non-fungible token) space continues to heat up.

Christie's said the sale was the highest total for any online-only auction, as well as setting a new world record for any work of digital art and the third highest price for a living artist at auction. The company said it was a 'watershed moment in the development of digital...

Concordium raises $15m in private sale and completes MVP testnet

Concordium, a provider of enterprise-oriented public and permissionless blockchain offerings, has raised $15 million (£10.7m) in a private sale of tokens.

The Switzerland-based company had announced a joint venture cooperation with Geely, the owner of Volvo, last month to provide Chinese customers with blockchain technology.

As this publication reported at the time, the joint venture 'will use Concordium's blockchain technology to help customers build businesses focused...

Featured: The Block’s list of innovative blockchain companies to look out for in 2021

Feature 2021 is going to be an exciting year for blockchain technologies. The launch of Ethereum 2.0, the ongoing volatility of Bitcoin and the intriguing use cases arising from DeFi will continue apace, while enterprise opportunities, from finance, to energy and sustainability, to the wider supply chain, remain.

The Block has selected seven companies to feature for 2021. Read their stories below:

Butterfly Protocol

Butterfly Protocol's goal is to provide a...

Outlier Ventures blockchain trends report 2021: Ethereum still top, NFT and metaverse projects praised

Ethereum remains the most actively developed blockchain protocol, followed by Cardano and Bitcoin - while multi-chain protocols are seeing significant interest and uptick.

This is the key finding from the annual blockchain developer trends report from Outlier Ventures.

The report, which looked to perform an 'in-depth technical analysis' of the codebases of top projects in blockchain and crypto, is touted as a fully open reading. The motivating factor, the venture firm...

Bitcoin SV hits new record of 9,000 TPS – says miners must ’embrace Bitcoin at enterprise scale’

Bitcoin SV's (BSV) scaling test network (STN) processed more than 9,000 transactions per second (TPS) this week, the company announced - a new record.

Yet the cryptocurrency arbiter noted that while this represented a big step in the right direction towards Bitcoin potentially scaling on-chain, there was a lot of work ahead before this was the case.

The previous record for transactions per second with Bitcoin SV was approximately 6,500, achieved in December 2019. The...

SettleMint looks to blockchain self-sovereign identity with IdentiMint

A core tenet of blockchain technologies is trust - but not just from a standpoint of having records on an immutable ledger. The concept of blockchain for digital identity - enabling 'more secure management and storage of digital identities by providing unified, interoperable, and tamper-proof infrastructure with key benefits to enterprises, users, and IoT management systems', as ConsenSys puts it - is increasingly key.

One essential part of this, from the user side, is...

NHS works with Hedera Hashgraph and Everyware to monitor Covid-19 vaccine storage

The National Health Service (NHS) is working with Hedera Hashgraph and digital asset tracking and monitoring provider Everyware to monitor cold storage equipment being used to store Covid-19 vaccines.

Certain Covid-19 vaccines, such as the vaccine developed by Pfizer which was approved for use in the UK in December, require exact cold storage for ideal efficacy. Centralised distribution centres and transportation units can store the vaccine at the recommended -70°C for up to 10...