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 trial of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is nearing its crescendo as US prosecutors grill the disgraced FTX Founder on his role in the collapse of the crypto exchange. 

SBF questioned for the last time before trial reaches its conclusion

US Attorney Danielle Sassoon took Sam Bankman-Fried to task on his knowledge of the preceding events that ultimately led to the collapse of FTX in her second day of questioning. 

In the New York Federal Court, Sassoon asked SBF whether he told customers that funds were being redirected to Alameda Research – the crypto hedge fund set up by SBF – to which he replied: “I don’t recall giving directions”, several times.

The former FTX CEO last week took to the stand to testify on his version of events, a move that court reporters in New York questioned. 

Sassoon also quizzed SBF on his relationship with Bahamas President Phillip Davis and other tight-knit relationships allegedly designed to uphold a favourable public image. 

Defence attorney’s rested the case following the government’s questioning as federal prosecutors declined to call rebuttal witnesses. Closing arguments on the trial will begin today. 

Bybit CEO reassures that crypto market has made “remarkable transformation”

Speaking at a panel at the fourth Tbilisi Silk Road Forum in Georgia, Bybit CEO Ben Zhou gave his thoughts on the state of the current crypto market and why it may not be all negative as many outsiders would presume. 

In a particular talking point, Zhou outlined that government authorities are becoming more ‘forward thinking’ when it pertains to regulation, praising the crypto market for its “remarkable transformation” since 2018. 

Recognising the market is still in its infancy, Zhou stated that there are still vast amounts of potential in the crypto, DeFi, Web3 and blockchain spaces as adoption continues to rise. 

Taiwan makes progress on crypto regulatory bill 

Aiming to build upon existing crypto guidelines set out by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), Taiwan Parliament passed the first hearing of its draft crypto regulatory bill. 

Co-authored by 17 lawmakers, the crypto regulatory bill was introduced as they believe crypto assets hold distinct differences from traditional financial instruments thus warranting specially designed regulations and guidelines. 

Yung-Chang Chiang, Member of Taiwan Parliament, said: “We hope that the Financial Supervisory Commission can also submit their version of a draft bill to the legislature, allowing various sectors of society to further consolidate consensus during the process.”

LatAm Stablecoin usage 11% higher than global average

A new report by IOV Labs has detailed the growth of stablecoins across Latin America, with more than a third of consumers embracing them for everyday purchases. 

This figure exceeds the global average, which is reportedly around 11%, underlining the significant potential of stablecoins in the LatAm region. 

The report is titled Taming Inflation: How DeFi is Reshaping Finance in Hyperinflationary Countries, and highlights the ability of DeFi-based products to provide an alternative to traditional financial solutions in parts of the world suffering from hyperinflation.

Ireland continues crypto acceptance with Zodiac Market clearance

Digital asset exchange Zodia Markets has announced it has received its registration as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) from the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI). 

Ireland has opened itself up to become a home for crypto companies over recent years, with crypto regulation in the EU becoming more defined with the incoming MiCA bill. 

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, said: “Zodia Markets join a growing number of firms operating in the regulated digital asset space in Ireland.” 

HSBC taps into blockchain again through tokenised deposits

Through the backing of Chinese conglomerate Ant Group, HSBC has announced successful trials testing tokenised deposits in intra-group treasury transactions. 

Ant Group lent its blockchain capabilities to explore the potential of tokenised deposits within the HSBC network, finding real-time monetary movement between corporate and HSBC accounts. 

Tests were run in accordance with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Fintech Supervisory Sandbox, testing other elements of tokenised deposits such as issuance, transfer and redemption.