Crypto Biz: Coinbase-Circle re-alignment, Binance fiat hurdles, and USDC at ShopifyAugust 25, 2023
Global regulatory landscapes are once again proving to be a turning point for crypto companies, demanding constant adaptation to navigate shallow regulatory waters across the world, particularly in the United States.
In the latest developments, Coinbase and Circle decided to dissolve the Centre Consortium in a strategic realignment driven by demand for regulatory clarity on stablecoins, possibly as an anticipation of upcoming legislation coming from the U.S. Congress.
A legal alternative to remaining operational was also sought by Binance.US this week. The exchange announced a partnership with MoonPay featuring the dollar-pegged stablecoin Tether (USDT) as its new “base asset” for all transactions, allowing a path for users to transact in U.S. dollars while possibly sidestepping potential regulatory hurdles.
In the meantime, global Binance continues facing challenges with on and off-ramps. Almost 30 days before Paysafe ends its support for fiat transactions in Europe, its users in the region are reporting difficulties with fiat withdrawals.
In this environment, fast adaptation is more than a strategy, it’s a survival skill. For now, crypto firms dance to songs that are yet to be written.
This week’s Crypto Biz explores the latest on Binance’s global on-ramps and off-ramps, Coinbase-Circle re-alignment, Shopify’s take on USDC and China’s blockchain data exchange.
Binance limits withdrawals in Europe, cites payment processor issues
Customers of crypto exchange Binance are allegedly facing troubles with fiat withdrawals in Europe due to issues related to Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) transfers. The news comes a few months after Binance informed users that its euro banking partner, Paysafe Payment Solutions, would discontinue support for the crypto exchange by Sep. 25. After this date, users will have to update banking information and may be required to accept new terms and conditions to continue using SEPA services, the exchange said. Meanwhile, in the United States, Binance.US announced a new partnership with crypto payments firm MoonPay to make the dollar-pegged stablecoin Tether (USDT) its new “base asset” for all transactions, allowing a path for users to transact in U.S. dollars. Binance.US recently suffered a breakdown with its banking partners in the country, which saw fiat deposits on the exchange disabled since June.
Coinbase takes equity stake in Circle as Centre Consortium shuts down
Coinbase and Circle have redefined their relationship as the Centre Consortium is being shut down for “growing regulatory clarity for stablecoins” in the United States. The two organizations jointly launched the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin in 2018 and have, since then, governed the token through the Centre Consortium. As the organization comes to an end, Circle will have enhanced responsibilities, including holding smart contract keys and regulatory compliance, while Coinbase takes an equity stake in Circle. Interest revenue will continue to be shared between them based on their holdings of the stablecoin. With a view to expanding its chain reach, USDC is also set to launch into Polkadot, Optimism, Near, Arbitrum and Cosmos networks.
Shopify to accept USDC payments with Solana
E-commerce giant Shopify has added Solana Pay to its pool of options for payment, allowing millions of merchants to use the platform to accept crypto transactions, kicking off with USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin payments. Solana reportedly plans to add other altcoins to the platform in the coming months, including its native SOL (SOL) token and the meme token Bonk (BONK). Shopify estimates that 10% of all e-commerce transactions in the United States, or $444 billion of the world’s e-commerce market, are made through its platform. The network’s average charge is $0.00025 per transaction, while credit card fees range from 1.5% to 3.5%. In the last epoch, Solana’s users paid an average transaction fee of 0.000009664 SOL.
China launches blockchain-powered data exchange
Chinese government officials unveiled a new data exchange powered by blockchain technology with over 300 enterprises — including Alibaba Cloud and Huawei — participating in the exchange’s debut. According to local news reports, the new Hangzhou Data Exchange will facilitate trading of enterprise information technology data, ensuring exchange trades are immutable and traceable. Despite cracking down harshly on private blockchain enterprises for much of the year, China is a staunch supporter of government-controlled Web3 initiatives.
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