Deutsche Telekom invests in Celo mobile blockchain

Telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom has invested in the mobile decentralised finance (DeFi) platform Celo.

Celo is an open-source blockchain project used in more than 100 countries focused on bringing DeFi systems and tools to smartphones. It allows users to send and receive money with Celo’s native coin (CELO) through their mobile device.

Deutsche Telekom is the first telecommunications company to join Celo’s Alliance for Prosperity, a global alliance of more than 130...

Bank of England taskforce announced to explore CBDC potential

The Bank of England and the Treasury have announced the creation of a joint taskforce to explore the potential upsides and pitfalls of a UK central bank digital currency (CBDC), referred to as ‘Britcoin’ by chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The taskforce will be jointly led by the Bank's deputy governor for financial stability, Sir Jon Cunliffe, and the Treasury's director general of financial services, Katharine Braddick.

The use of cash in financial transactions has been...

Caruso real estate to accept Bitcoin as rent payment in industry first

Real estate transaction

Billionaire Rick Caruso’s eponymous real estate company will begin accepting rent payments for both residential and retail properties in Bitcoin as part of a new partnership with Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange led by the Winklevoss twins.

Through their partnership, Caruso and Gemini intend to bring cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and blockchain applications to Caruso properties as a way to engage visitors throughout their ecosystem.

Such a move by...

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...

Visa pilots use of USD Coin for settling transactions in industry first

Payments giant Visa has announced a significant industry first towards interconnecting digital and traditional fiat currencies with the use of USD Coin (USDC) to settle a Visa transaction.

USDC is a stablecoin being developed by Centre with support from fintech firm Circle and digital currency exchange platform Coinbase. Visa is piloting the capability with Crypto.com, a Visa partner and one of the world’s largest crypto platforms, with plans to offer the USDC settlement...

EY launches cryptocurrency tax calculator for US customers

Global professional services firm EY (Ernst & Young) has developed a tax calculator as part of its blockchain analyser product suite that automatically calculates capital gains from cryptocurrency transactions.

The new software as a service (SaaS) application simplifies the process of US tax filings for those who hold cryptocurrency assets and need to report so on their US tax returns.

Expanding on the capabilities of the EY CryptoPrep tool released in summer 2020,...

Fergal Downey, Rakuten: On how blockchain is being used for retail, Covid compliance, and more

Ahead of his talk at Blockchain Expo on March 17, The Block speaks with Fergal Downey regarding the inner workings of his engineering team, his thoughts on the challenges facing enterprise organisations, and the potential future directions of the blockchain industry.

Fergal Downey is vice president (VP) of engineering at Rakuten Blockchain Lab in Belfast, the blockchain-based products and solutions team for Japanese eCommerce giant, Rakuten. Prior to joining in 2016, he led an...

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...

Associated Press auctions first NFT artwork commemorating blockchain usage in US election

As non-fungible tokens (NFTs) become an increasingly popular way to create artificial scarcity in the digital marketplace, the Associated Press (AP) has listed its first ever NFT artwork for auction in collaboration with Everipedia and digital artist Marko Stanojevic.

Total sales across NFT marketplaces stood at $500 million (£360m) in February, compared to just $200m (£144m) for the whole of 2020, signifying their increasing popularity due to Bitcoin’s growing value alongside...

Tether and Bitfinex reach $18.5m settlement with New York’s Attorney General

Crypto firms Tether and Bitfinex have reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) Office over a controversial case that began in April 2019.

As part of the settlement, both firms must discontinue any trading activity with New York citizens and are also required to provide quarterly reports and public disclosures on core business functions. Finally, the firms are required to pay $18.5 million (£13.1m) in penalties to the NYAG.

In April 2019, the...