Welcome to the weekly briefing presenting developments in blockchain and fintech industry from the Billon's point of view. This week we continue to focus on the NFT craze, and bitcoin's climate problem, but also will check what's going in China, on Morgan Stanley clients' accounts, and, of all other places, in Tuvalu. Let's go!
As BBC reports, an original by world famous street artist Banksy was lit las week on fire during a livestream — and promptly sold for $380,000 worth of Ethereum as a non-fungible token. Critics of the Banksy-burning livestream called it out for being wasteful and tasteless, but the people behind the burning already plan to work with more artists. Which work of art will end up in flames next?
Still no good news for bitcoin advocates, as the Bank of America research is the latest to show bitcoin's immense environmental footprint. BTC mining is one of the biggest carbon-emitting sectors, on a par with huge firms and even the US federal government. Beside the environmental impact, the report also discusses social and governance risks associated with investing in bitcoin, which Bank of America says should not be underestimated.
Environmental concerns do not matter as much for Morgan Stanley. The investment bank told its financial advisors Wednesday in an internal memo that it is launching access to three funds that enable ownership of bitcoin, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. The bank considers it suitable for people with “an aggressive risk tolerance” who have at least $2 million in assets.
From the US we now move to China. “If they do something wrong we can delete the whole chain.” This is how Yifan He, the CEO of Red Date, the company behind China’s Blockchain-Based Service Network (BSN), describes the level of government control in the system. "Coindesk" explores the Chinese effort to create a blockchain the state can control and asks, why would developers use such a heavily controlled blockchain when there are decentralized options available?
Still, you don't have to be US or China to move your economy to blockchain - and small nations can do it quicker and easier than big countries. Radio New Zealand reports that the tiny Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu is planning to go from having no online banking and only one ATM to using blockchain technology. The government aims to become the world's first paperless society, using blockchain technology to create a national digital ledger. This would mean all of Tuvalu's data - be it legislative, executive, judicial or financial - and its cash economy would go online using Bitcoin Satoshi's Visio cryptocurrency. Good luck!
Finally, some good news on fintech funding. On the heels of reports that Stripe was raising yet more money, the payments giant has now confirmed the details. The company has closed in on another $600 million, at a valuation of $95 billion. Stripe said it will use the funding to expand its business in Europe, with a focus on its European HQ, and also to beef up its global payments and treasury network.
And that's all for now. See you next week!
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