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Weekly Report: Banks in Russia may soon offer crypto services in the latest turn of events

Russia’s fate on cryptocurrencies has recently swung from pessimistic, and it’s now slowly crossing the line into optimistic. The country’s Finance Minister reportedly wrote a pro-cryptocurrency letter to the Prime Minister this week pushing for banks to trade crypto as a financial asset.

Here is more on this and other top stories from the crypto sector this week:

Local banks in Russia could be allowed to deal in crypto

Russian banks could get one better if recent reports are anything to go by. Word out of the country, as reported by news outlet Kommersant, indicates the banks could yet be allowed to deal in crypto.

Bank of Russia has been candid in its anti-crypto position as it recently published a report on cryptocurrencies and recommended a ban over risks to Russia’s financial system.

On the contrary, the Ministry of Finance has openly expressed his pro-crypto stance. The director of financial policy at the Ministry of Finance, Ivan Chebeskov, said that the ministry prefers crypto regulation over banning towards the end of January. What’s more, Putin then spoke in support of the digital assets during a different meeting.

The new reports indicate that Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov has written to the Prime Minister pushing for the legalisation of crypto as financial assets. This means that banks could legally trade in them. There are, however, some checks in place as the banks would have to operate in a very strictly regulated environment.

Onwards, it would be an exciting development to watch as different governing entities have taken contradictory stands on crypto matters in the country.

Crypto entities cede power usage as Texas braves for an arctic blast

An already powerful and sprawling storm is taunting the US, leaving its share of destruction in states such as Texas. Part of the imbalance such a turbulent storm creates is in the power requirements grid.

During this period, Texas’ power grid needs as much power reserve as it can get, and Bitcoin miners in the state are leading by example in enabling this. Bitcoin farms in Texas have progressively shut down operations to reduce the strain on the grid as the winter storm tests the grid.

Texas has attracted miners from various jurisdictions as regulators tighten the screws on Bitcoin mining. Migrating miners settled on the lone-star state for its cheap electricity, largely contributed to by the grid, also known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). This is the case since the functionality of this grid is optimum when supply and demand are perfectly balanced.

This is where the crypto miners, led by publicly-traded Riot Blockchain, come in – the role to conserve power for the ERCOT. Riot Blockchain started closing operations on its Whinestone station on Tuesday and had cut down energy consumption by 98% by the next day. Consequently, a number of blockchain mining firms voluntarily descaled operations.

Crypto regulations would spur institutional adoption, says Michael Saylor

A vocal Bitcoin evangelist, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor insisted last Wednesday that he was a proponent of clarity on regulation. As per his argument, Saylor establishes that stricter government control around digital assets would incentivise increased institutional adoption.

Saylor explained during the recent instalment of Squawk on the Street chat show on CNBC that should the current administration provide guidelines in crypto, the institutional money lying on the sidelines could easily flood into crypto.

He further specified that in providing clarity, the government ought to draw “clear, bright line definitions” of the difference between digital property, digital security, and digital currency. He added that it would be imperative to define operational rules for a crypto exchange.

Additionally, Saylor noted that Bitcoin’s current market volatility is due to speed trading but said it would inevitably stabilise as mainstream adoption of Bitcoin grows. He also posited that as there is a need for a digital asset solution, Bitcoin has presented itself as a suitable alternative to serving that purpose.

As of the end of January, Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy is dealing the largest Bitcoin stash, holding 125,051 coins acquired at an average price of $30,200.

Tezos blockchain adds to its sporting ventures with Manchester United multi-year deal

English football giant Manchester United has reportedly reached a multi-year agreement with Tezos blockchain to become the team’s official training kit sponsor.

As per the report by The Athletic, the club is already filming promotional content in anticipation of the announcement of the sponsorship deal. The deal would cost Tezos a significant $27 million annually to have its logo plastered on the team’s training uniform, but the agreement excludes the training ground.

This deal would be Manchester United’s first venture in the blockchain space. The report also mentioned that Tezos and the club are also discussing ways to extend the partnership into opportunities in other blockchain-related products, including Web 3.0 and the metaverse.

This report shows that the crypto wildfire is slowly spreading across European football as more clubs enhance their engagement with crypto-related products.

Worth noting, this isn’t Tezos’ first rodeo in sporting partnerships. In the last year, the blockchain locked up with Red Bull Racing, McLaren Racing, and the New York Mets.

Diem was a waste of time – Dorsey says Facebook should have adopted Bitcoin

Following recent news that Meta sold Diem’s assets and intellectual property to Silvergate Capital for $192 million, the social media firm’s efforts to launch a stablecoin have been thwarted.

Speaking to Michael Saylor in an interview for the Bitcoin for Corporations 2022 conference hosted by MicroStrategy, Block CEO and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has explained that the whole journey from Libra to Diem to its eventual end presented a lot of lessons. He noted that even though the project was started for the right reasons, it “wasted effort and time.

Dorsey explained that instead, Meta should have used an open-ended protocol like Bitcoin’s rather than attempting to develop an entirely new currency. He explained that in doing so, Meta would have made Bitcoin more accessible to populations around the world and that such as move would have benefitted Meta’s products, including Facebook.

Jack Dorsey is one of the more outspoken Bitcoin proponents. Ever since he left Twitter, the social media company he founded in 2006, Dorsey has been focused on advancing the gospel of Bitcoin. He has made it clear that he wants to help scale the adoption of Bitcoin.

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