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 month-long trial of former crypto kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried concluded late last week as he was found guilty of all charges over his billion dollar collapse of FTX. 

SBF guilty decision brings tentative end to FTX’s collapse

“The verdict unanimous, your honour,” told the jury as Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty of all charges, including wire fraud and fraud, and will now await a trial sentencing next March. 

The decision on 2 November marked a full one year since CoinDesk first revealed imbalances in FTX and Alameda Research’s books, ultimately leading to the crypto exchange filing for bankruptcy and SBF, along with his top ranking officials all being arrested late last year. 

US Attorney Damian Williams labelled SBF’s role in the FTX collapse as “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history” and despite the guilty verdict, defence attorney Mark Cohen revealed that they will contest the decision as SBF maintains his innocence. 

SBF is potentially facing a maximum sentence of up to 115 years in prison which would bring the end of the most notorious crypto stories in the sector’s relatively young history. 

UK plans to regulate stablecoins in 2024

Stablecoins in the UK could soon make its introduction into the wider financial system as the Bank of England (BoE) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have laid out plans. 

The BoE is aiming to oversee what stablecoins will be determined as a “systemic stablecoin” as a means of payment. The FCA will then outline guidelines and regulations into how the digital currency should be implemented. 

Whilst the BoE has addressed the risks associated with privately issued stablecoins such as PayPal’s PYUSD, it is believed that the central bank would allow these companies to issue their stablecoins as a means and form of payment under its “systemic” terms. 

Questions raised by SEC over PayPal’s PYUSD

A subpoena has been issued to officials at PayPal looking into the company’s recently launched native stablecoin PYUSD and its role in the US financial system. 

US government officials, such as Maxine Waters, have raised concerns regarding PYUSD and its potential to cause disruption in the financial market. 

The filing stated: “On November 1, 2023, we received a subpoena from the U.S. SEC Division of Enforcement relating to PayPal USD stablecoin. The subpoena requests the production of documents. We are cooperating with the SEC in connection with this request.” 

Binance enters competitive Web3 wallet market

During the Binance Blockchain Week in Istanbul, the cryptocurrency exchange announced its first Web3 dedicated wallet. 

Compatible on 30 different blockchain networks and providing an array of Web3 features, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that the wallet represents an “integral part of the Web3 framework, empowering individuals with the ability for self-sovereign finance”. 

The Binance wallet will face stiff competition in an already bloated Web3 wallet market, with Coinbase and OKX offering their own custodial wallets, as well as dedicated firms such as MetaMask and TrustWallet

Ripple finds it footing in two new countries

Blockchain and crypto specialist Ripple has continued its global expansion through new ventures in both Dubai and Georgia

It comes as the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has approved the digital asset XRP for use within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Additionally, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) also selected Ripple as its official technology partner for the Digital Lari (GEL) pilot project. 

NEAR Foundation lends services to new Web3 music app

RAIDAR, a new Web3-based music app designed to give artists and creators more control over their output, has enlisted the service of the NEAR Foundation to bolster its launch. 

Creators of RAIDAR at the Berklee College of Music intend for the music app to “democratise the world of music by putting creators first and ensuring they are always rewarded and protected from exploitation for their original work”.