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Visa can now settle large international payments using USDC on Solana rather than incurring exorbitant wire transfer fees.
Visa, the largest payment processing network in the world, announced on Tuesday they were working with Solana to continue improving USDC interoperability within their network. The financial behemoths have accepted USDC payments since 2021 but are now turning to the Solana blockchain to enhance the network’s settlement capabilities.
The original setup between USDC and Visa was conducted through the Ethereum network. This was an effective alternative to international settlements between customers and merchants – as converting fiat currencies between global banks was costly and lengthy. For example, Visa payments made by Australian customers on using the Crypto.com card are settled with Ether-based USDC. Now, Visa can settle these global payments on the Layer 1 blockchain Solana, a protocol noted for its high throughput and industry-low processing fees.
Visa ran a pilot version of the new Solana-based stablecoin program with two major merchants – Worldpay and Nuvei. The trial demonstrated Visa’s new settlement mechanism can vastly improve transaction times among businesses moving large amounts of cash on their network.
Several colossal payment gateways – notably PayPal, Shopify and Visa – have turned their attention to crypto solutions for the average consumer over the past few years. But Visa is one of the very few major payment companies to leverage the power of the modern and scalable Solana blockchain. The blockchain’s native token, SOL, rose 4% in the 24 hours following Visa’s announcement.
The Bill was pushed back due to lacking the “detail and certainty that investors, consumers, and the industry should be provided with.”
Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg’s 2023 “Digital Assets Market Regulation Bill” has been officially rejected by an Australian Senate committee this week. The Senate Economics Legislation Committee knocked back the Bill on grounds of missing details and contradictions with the current government’s policy.
The Senate Committee consulted several major players in the Australian blockchain industry, including representatives from cryptocurrency exchanges like Swyftx. Although there is a drive for regulatory reform, Mr. Adam Percy, General Counsel at Swyftx, proposed the benefits of using existing frameworks for legislating cryptocurrencies. He suggested the risks associated with crypto exchanges are – in a broad sense – comparable to trading with a traditional stockbroker and should be subject to similar appropriately modified regulation.
Senator Andrew Bragg was predictably none-too-pleased with the Senate Committee’s decision, claiming that the Labor Government and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had “put regulating crypto in the slow lane.” The Treasury Department has previously indicated that a further consultation on crypto licensing and custody would be released mid this year, with representatives indicating it would be released within a few weeks of the Senate Committee hearings at the end of July. To date, this has not yet been released.
The news presents a mixed bag for the Australian crypto community. It is no doubt disappointing to investors holding out for regulatory clarity within the nation – but hardly unexpected given a private, non-government senator was pushing the Bill. However, the fact parliament is having conversations around improving crypto regulation can only be a good thing for the sector’s future. Swyftx and other innovators in the Australian blockchain industry will continue conversing with government legislators to ensure crypto regulation benefits the sector and protects consumers without having legislation overreach.
The class-action lawsuit alleged that Uniswap was liable for facilitating the sale and trading of three ERC-20 scam tokens.
Several major cryptocurrency exchanges and institutions have been in the news in the past few months – but for all the wrong reasons. With so many legal tussles already ongoing, the community breathed a sigh of relief last week when a New York court concluded that popular platform Uniswap would not be joining the fray.
Uniswap, a decentralised exchange, was the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in April last year. The suit alleged that Uniswap was accountable for its investors losing significant sums due to the sale of ERC-20 scam coins sold and traded on the exchange. The three coins in question were EthereumMax (EMAX), Bezoge (BEZOGE) and Alphawolf Finance. Which of course, are all very legitimate-sounding projects.
The lawsuit accused Uniswap of shirking responsibility by selling securities as an unregistered exchange. However, the New York court threw out the case before it even made it to trial. Judge Katherina Polk Failla decreed the actual defendants of the case were whoever issued the scam tokens, not UniSwap. She compared the class-action lawsuit to someone suing PayPal for facilitating a shoddy transaction.
But perhaps the most intriguing development was Polk Failla’s declaration that Ethereum was indeed a commodity. Although the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been reluctant to make this claim themselves, the fact it’s considered one in the court of law is great news for investors and businesses alike. Ethereum being a commodity makes it harder for the SEC and other regulatory bodies to pursue legal actions against exchanges for trading it as an “unregistered security”. Interestingly, the very same judge is presiding over the SEC vs. Coinbase trial – although the charges being raised in each case are notably different.
A decision won’t be made on all pending Spot Bitcoin ETF applications until October at the earliest.
BlackRock. Invesco. VanEck. Some of the world’s biggest names in finance have been making a bee-line for the crypto sector, with many filing applications to release their own Spot Bitcoin ETFs. However, the influx of institutions into the industry may have been stopped in its tracks – at least for now – as the SEC holds out on approving the funds.
The regulatory body is allowed 240 days from when it first reviews an application before it is forced to make a decision. As expected, the team plans to use this entire duration to gain public opinion and consult experts to determine if a Spot Bitcoin ETF should be approved. This means there will be no news on whether any applications will be approved until at least mid-October.
Although several experts – including ex-SEC head Jay Clayton – believe the approval of these applications is inevitable, the SEC hasn’t exactly been an ally to the crypto community in 2023. Just this week, a Washington Court of Appeals deemed that certain arguments the regulators made when rejecting previous ETF applications were “arbitrary and capricious”.
Some institutions are confused about why Bitcoin futures ETFs are permitted, but spot ETFs are not – even though their markets have a “99.9% correlation”. Futures ETFs rely on contracts to buy and sell Bitcoin at a specific price on a specific date and have no direct exposure to BTC holdings. Conversely, a Spot Bitcoin fund tracks the price of Bitcoin through securely-held BTC.