Payment Expert’s Blockchain Bulletin analyses how the world of blockchain is constantly evolving and having a major impact on the payment industry, with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and the metaverse revolutionising the space. 

This week, the US made significant progress in regulating crypto and digital assets as Congress passed its first bill in a bid to mitigate the risk of falling behind the rest of the world. 

US Congress passes the country’s first crypto bill 

The US is finally making progress in its efforts to regulate the crypto and digital asset space as the House Financial Services Committee passed a bill that will help create transparency into a sector that has been plagued with confusion and various court battles. 

The crypto bill will now have to be approved by the House of Representatives before gaining final clearance from the Senate, which is led by the Democratic Party. At the head of the party’s Financial Services Committee is Maxine Waters, who is a strong opponent of the bill.

At the centre of the US’ crypto regulation battles is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who has been vigilant in its efforts to reprimand exchanges it believes is circulating cryptocurrencies that should be deemed as securities, suing firms such as Binance and Coinbase

Patrick McHenry, Republican Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, helped get the bill passed and revealed that crypto regulation is necessary for the US due to the “risk of falling behind” other countries who are more regulatory advanced such as the UK and Australia. 

UK’s Web3 ambitions grow by launching a Digital Sandbox

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the launch of a Digital Sandbox late last week in a bid to harness and tap into the emerging technology. 

The digital world will be made available to businesses, startups and small and medium businesses (SMEs) on 1 August with the aim to create an environment to foster innovation through advanced and emerging technologies. 

The Digital Sandbox was enabled by the passing of the Financial Services and Markets 2023 act, which bolsters the country’s chance to invest and adopt Web3 technologies. 

FTX sues Bankman-Fried for $1bn to help its relaunch efforts

Since its dramatic collapse at the tailend of last year, FTX – under the new leadership of CEO John J. Ray III – is seeking to recoup up to $1bn from its Founder and ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

With plans to relaunch the crypto exchange having already recovered $7.3bn in liquid assets, FTX believes that its ex-CEO committed “massive fraud” alongside other former executives after a filing alleges they received $725m of equity which were spent on personal items and other causes. 

Bankman-Fried is scheduled to face trial on 2 October on several charges that include fraud and wire fraud after being released on a $250m bond earlier this year. 

UK will not treat crypto as a form of gambling going against earlier claims

The UK’s HM Treasury has revealed it will not treat cryptocurrencies as a form of gambling as it ‘firmly disagrees’ with an assessment from MP Harriet Baldwin that proposed the argument at the House of Commons last May. 

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith shut down such claims as a “a system of gambling regulation could also fail to appropriately mitigate many of the critical risks that were discussed in HM Treasury’s recent consultation on crypto asset regulation”. 

Digital Yuan hits CBDC milestone by surpassing $250bn transactions

Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang, confirmed last week that the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Digital Yuan, has already surpassed $250bn in transactions since launching only one-and-a-half years ago. 

Gang explained that the Digital Yuan has reached a total of 950 million transactions facilitated by around 120 million wallets. 

Bybit and Red Bull Racing team up to offer prizes through NFTs

Bybit is partnering with Formula One team Red Bull Racing to launch a collaborative initiative titled the Velocity Series

Each release features a range of NFT collections, including a limited-edition NFT collection exclusively accessible to holders of the Velocity Pass, and a publicly available open-edition sale.

It continues a trend of some of the world’s largest sporting organisations embracing Web3 and the blockchain in order to bring a new dimension to fan engagement.