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Swyftx News on the Block

The big news on the block today is Australia’s CBDC pilot has been in the works since July. According to the RBA, the pilot is going to be completed in early 2023, and potentially ready to be reported upon around mid-year. 

In other news, Apple has managed to infuriate multiple users and developers by supporting NFTs on their app store but charging a 30% commission on the assets. Interpol has issued a red notice for Terra Labs CEO Do Kwon, whose location is currently unknown in the wake of the collapse of UST and LUNA. 

Finally, Michael Saylor of MicroStrategy has predicted a meteoric bitcoin rise at some point over the next ten years, suggesting that it will eclipse the value of gold! 

Australia’s CBDC pilot to be completed in 2023 

In a very interesting piece of news, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is on track to finalise its central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot sometime during 2023. 

According to a white paper published by the RBA on 26 September, the project was initiated in July. It is designated to explore “innovative use cases” that may be supported by issuing a CBDC, and also investigate any regulatory issues that may arise around the launch of a CBDC. 

For context, a CBDC is a digital version of a national currency—a fiat currency—and in this instance the Australian dollar. The RBA said Australia’s CBDC would be called eAUD. Unlike decentralised digital currencies, CBDCs are controlled by a central bank, with a host of countries across the globe entertaining the release or creation of CBDCs. 

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While the RBA is not necessarily committed to issuing the currency, the whitepaper indicates they are in the process of seeking industry feedback and conducting further research. The pilot is expected to be finalised sometime in early 2023. 

Apple accepts NFTs—but at what cost? 

In a controversial move, Apple has imposed a 30% commission on Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) sold through its marketplace, essentially treating them in the same way as ordinary in-app purchases. 

Consumers, market observers, and NFT application developers have harshly criticised this decision, referring to the commission rate as ‘grotesquely overpriced’, as the standard NFT marketplace commission is around 2.5%. 

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Other NFT marketplaces have been dramatically limited in their ability to function as a direct result of the imposed commission, and, in spite of volatile cryptocurrency markets, users may be forced to make transactions in US dollars, adding a considerable layer of extra risk. 

While many hailed Apple’s adoption of NFTs, this latest move has been a cause for concern for some people, and not the first time Apple has riled users and developers with steep commission rates. In 2020, Epic Games launched a lawsuit, now under appeal, claiming that Apple had violated antitrust laws with a 30% commission from purchases made on its App Store. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, accused Apple of trying to kill all NFT app businesses it couldn’t tax.  

At the same time, many industry leaders have pointed out how mobile games may reap terrific benefits from selling NFTs through Apple, and suggested that Apple hosting NFTs will greatly increase the global adoption of Web3. 

Terra boss Do Kwon wanted by Interpol 

On Monday, South Korean prosecutors declared that Interpol had issued a ‘red notice’ for Do Kwon, formally asking that all participating law enforcement agencies locate and arrest him. 

The notice has not been made public, as most red notices are issued privately to law enforcement officials. Do Kwon is co-founder and CEO of Singapore-based Terraform labs, the unlicensed company behind the Terra Blockchain. Both the stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) and the network token Terra (LUNA) collapsed in May of 2022. The collapse wiped out roughly US$45 billion worth of market capitalisation, dragging down rival currencies in the process.  

Authorities have requested that two major crypto exchanges, KuCoin and OKX, freeze some of the 3,000 bitcoins believed to be owned by Kwon, as South Korean prosecutors, have announced that he is ‘obviously on the run’. Despite Kown tweeting to the contrary, claiming to be working from home, and denying any knowledge of the red notice, Kwon is believed to be hiding as his location remains unknown. 

He refused to respond to questions regarding his whereabouts. Shortly after the collapse of his project, he moved to Singapore, although Singaporean authorities recently maintained he was no longer there. South Korean authorities maintain that they believe he has no intention of appearing for questioning. 

Michael Saylor makes $500,000 Bitcoin price prediction 

Executive chairman and co-founder of MicroStrategy, Michael Saylor has made an astounding assertion, predicting that Bitcoin will overtake gold within the decade.  

The eminent American businessman made this claim as bitcoin crashed to less than $20,000 USD per coin. This week, Saylor told MarketWatch that he was confident ‘the next logical stop for bitcoin is to replace gold as a non-sovereign store of asset value’. ‘Bitcoin is digital gold’, he continued, ‘it’s one hundred times better than gold, and if bitcoin goes to the value of gold … it goes to US$500,000 per bitcoin’. 

It must be noted that gold is a US$10 trillion asset, so for Bitcoin to surpass it, it would need to increase 25x from its current market cap.  

He didn’t name a specific date but said Bitcoin could hit $500,000 within the next decade

Acknowledging that he couldn’t provide a short-term price prediction, owing to the volatility of digital asset prices, Saylor declined to say where he thought the price of bitcoin would be a year from now, citing as a factor current monetary policies in effect by the Federal Reserve. 

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