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US Senators Seek to Forbid American Athletes From Receiving and Using Digital Yuan During Beijing Olympics

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US Senators Seek to Forbid American Athletes From Receiving and Using Digital Yuan During Beijing Olympics

Three U.S. senators have urged the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee to forbid American athletes from receiving or using digital yuan during the Beijing Olympics. Raising many concerns, including privacy, they warned, “Olympic athletes should be aware that the digital yuan may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale.”

US Senators Raise Concerns About China’s Digital Yuan

Three U.S. senators wrote a letter to Susanne Lyons, the chairman of the board of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), Monday with concerns regarding the digital yuan.

Senators Marsha Blackburn, Roger Wicker, and Cynthia Lummis wrote: “We write to express our concerns with the communist Chinese government’s plans to officially launch the Digital Currency Electronic Payment, commonly referred to as the digital yuan, prior to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.” They clarified:

Specifically, we urge the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to forbid American athletes from receiving or using digital yuan during the Beijing Olympics.

The digital yuan, the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) central bank digital currency (CBDC), “is entirely controlled by the PBOC, and can be tracked and traced by the central bank,” the senators explained.

The Chinese government has been testing and giving away digital yuan in various cities and companies have already begun accepting it as a means of payment. The white paper for the digital yuan was also recently unveiled.

The senators noted that “the Chinese Communist Party insists their efforts are aimed at digitizing banknotes and coins.” However, they warned, “Olympic athletes should be aware that the digital yuan may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale, with the hopes that they will maintain digital yuan wallets on their smartphones and continue to use it upon return.”

The letter further states:

The integration of China’s digital currency into global commerce has many problematic privacy implications … These concerns are not hypothetical. Rather, digital payment platforms such as Wechat, are already being used to surveil, threaten, and arrest Chinese citizens.

The senators asked the USOPC to work with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Commerce “to protect the privacy of American athletes from the Chinese Communist Government.” They also asked for a briefing on this request for Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation members within 30-days of receipt of this letter.

Responding to the senators’ action, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters Tuesday in Beijing that it revealed their ignorance. “We suggest they figure out what a digital currency really is,” he was quoted as saying. “The US politicians should abide by the spirit stipulated in the Olympic Charter, stop making sports a political matter and stop making troubles out of the digital currency in China.”

Do you think American athletes should be forbidden from receiving and using digital yuan? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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Binance to bring Bitcoin payments to Shopify via new partnership

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Binance to bring Bitcoin payments to Shopify via new partnership

Binance Pay users will be able to pay across merchants of Alchemy Pay’s partners, including e-commerce giant Shopify and software technology firm Arcadier.

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Binance to bring Bitcoin payments to Shopify via new partnership

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volumes, continues actively expanding into the crypto payments industry through a new crypto-to-fiat integration.

The company announced Tuesday a partnership with crypto-fiat hybrid payment platform Alchemy Pay to enable peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto payments at over 2 million global merchants through its payments application Binance Pay.

The new integration will allow users and merchants to pay and accept payments using 40 supported cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) in 18 countries where Alchemy Pay operates. Binance Pay users will be able to pay across merchants of Alchemy Pay’s partners, including e-commerce giant Shopify, software technology company Arcadier, mobile payment provider QFPay and others.

Founded in 2018, Alchemy Pay operates a global crypto-fiat payment gateway through 300 fiat and crypto payment channels in 65 countries, according to the company’s website. The company’s merchant networks also include Hong Kong’s biggest furnishing company Pricerite, Singapore’s Cé La Vi, Canadian footwear brand Aldo and Midwest Global Asia taxi services.

The firm is also running its own token, Alchemy Pay (ACH), an Ethereum-based token used to incentivize the ecosystem and access to the network’s consumption and governance. The ACH token has been seeing a skyrocketing surge recently, with its price rising more than 1,680% over the past 14 days.

At the time of writing, ACH is trading at $0.024, up nearly 100% over the past 24 hours, according to data from CoinGecko. On Tuesday, the token was listed by major global crypto exchange Coinbase.

Alchemy Pay 14-day price chart. Source: CoinGecko

Related: New study reveals high demand for payments in cryptocurrency

Alchemy Pay CEO John Tan said that Alchemy Pay’s partnership with Binance “significantly expands the practical backbone applications we build between the crypto and fiat worlds.” He also noted that the total value of the crypto market was “less than a tenth of a percent of what it is today” when Alchemy Pay was launched.

As previously reported, Binance Pay is a contactless P2P crypto payment feature on Binance, allowing users to send and receive crypto payments around the world. The app was launched in public alpha this March and is available to all eligible Binance users.

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Rothschild’s trust led funding round for Aspen Digital’s London expansion

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Rothschild’s trust led funding round for Aspen Digital’s London expansion

Aspen Digital aims for the Europe, Asia and Middle Eastern markets, leading the initiative by establishing headquarters in London and Singapore.

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Rothschild’s trust led funding round for Aspen Digital’s London expansion

Prominent British banker Jacob Rothschild’s investment firm Rothschild Investment Trust (RIT) Capital Partners partnered with New York-based Liberty City Ventures to lead pre-A funding for Aspen Digital, a crypto asset investment platform.

According to an official announcement, the funding round ended up raising $8.8 million to help the Hong Kong-based company develop an institutional crypto investment platform targeted at asset managers, institutions and professional investors. Aspen Digital CEO and co-founder Yang He said that the funding would also help the company penetrate into the London market. The company was founded initially to spearhead the issuance of an in-house security token, ASPEN, which represented $18 million worth of indirect ownership in the Colorado-based St. Regis Aspen Resort.

The announcement states other prominent investors include Somerley Capital, Cherubic Ventures, Token Bay Capital, and Thailand’s richest family and owner of Fortune magazine Chatchaval Jiaravanon and Chaval Jiaravanon. With the platform’s launch before the end of this year, Aspen Digital has shared intent to target budding Europe, Asia and the Middle Eastern markets. The company is currently planning to lead this initiative by establishing headquarters in London and Singapore.

Citing the rising interest for a single portal to manage all crypto holdings, Yang said:

“To have the oldest wealth management family in the world putting trust in us as a platform solution for the new world of crypto investment is a great validation.”

Adding to its existing services such as client portfolio reporting, risk management, market insights and custody solutions, Aspen’s new platform aspires to centralize prominent crypto offerings from market leaders including Celsius Network, Hex Trust and FTX.

Along similar lines, Cointelegraph previously reported on a survey highlighting investors’ interest in buying more crypto assets. Based on the information collected across a small group of 50 wealth managers and 50 institutional investors, 40% shared their intention to “dramatically increase their holdings.” However, the London-based surveyor Nickel Digital Asset Management highlighted that “many (investors) have just been testing the market to see how it works.”

Related: Thailand’s XSpring Capital raises $225M to build integrated financial marketplace

Just three months ago, Rothschild’s RIT invested $5.3 billion to acquire a stake in the Kraken crypto exchange. Based on Cointelegraph’s report, the move was made, as Kraken is preparing to “go public through a direct listing in 2022.”

Back in December 2020, RIT was also involved in a $142-million funding round for Paxos, a stable coin issuer partnered with PayPal.

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FTX launching NFT sports platform, backs LCS esports league with 7 year deal

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FTX launching NFT sports platform, backs LCS esports league with 7 year deal

FTX is teaming up with Dolphin Entertainment to create an NFT marketplace that will target brands within sectors such as sports, entertainment, gaming, esports and charity.

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FTX launching NFT sports platform, backs LCS esports league with 7-year deal

FTX is launching a nonfungible token (NFT) platform centered on sports and entertainment and has also stitched up a new sponsorship with professional esports league the League Championship Series LCS.

According to Variety, FTX US is teaming up with Dolphin Entertainment to create a “large scale” NFT marketplace that will target brands within the sports, entertainment, gaming, esports and charity industries to name a few.

We’re beyond excited to team up with Dolphin Entertainment to create an NFT marketplace for major sports and entertainment brands—including film, television, music, gaming, eSports, culinary, lifestyle and charity industries.

Dolphin Entertainment FTXhttps://t.co/RgKXuWfViF

— FTX (formerly Blockfolio) (@blockfolio) August 2, 2021

“We are excited to build marketplaces with Dolphin, both because of their ability to access content and IP, but also because they are leaders in public relations and influencer marketing for every major vertical of entertainment,” said Brett Harrison, president of FTX US.

“There are several items on the horizon that we can’t wait to launch together,” he added.

Dolphin Entertainment is a Florida-based TV and film production company that owns several independent PR and marketing firms that service the sectors outlined for the new NFT marketplace.

Details are sparse on the launch date or what blockchain will be utilized, however, Dolphin will work alongside FTX to provide the branding, production and marketing of the NFT platform, while FTX will provide the backbone with crypto exchange services and blockchain tech development.

Related: Top Shot to sell exclusive NFT moments at live basketball games

FTX is also backing the professional LCS esports league for Riot Games’ League of Legends (LoL). According to an Aug. 4 announcement from LoL, the exchange has signed a sponsorship deal for seven years.

FTX previously signed a naming rights deal in June to sponsor esports brand Team SoloMid for $210 million. However, the team was promptly barred from donning the FTX’s logo in esports competitions hosted by Riot Games, as it violated the game developers’ guidelines about crypto exchange partnerships. The team is currently allowed to bear the logo outside of North America and online via social media.

The new partnership is the largest sponsorship deal Riot has signed for an esports league, however, FTX’s monetary outlay is undisclosed at this stage.

“Starting this weekend, fans will notice FTX branding on the LCS broadcast around the most valuable currency in League of Legends: Gold. Player net worth, total team gold and those rollercoaster gold graphs will all be presented by FTX,” the announcement read.

FTX will also sponsor the LCS most improved player award that is voted on each season.

The latest partnership adds to FTX’s list of sponsorship deals this year, which includes Major League Baseball, a $135-million 19-year naming rights deal for the Miami Heat’s home arena, and the $210-million naming rights deal for Team SoloMid.

FTX is a popular crypto and derivatives exchange fronted by ambitious billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. The firm recently raised $900 million in a Series B funding round at a valuation of $18 billion.

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