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A recent global study conducted by Laser Digital, the digital assets team at Nomura, surveyed institutional investors, pension funds, wealth managers, and others, managing a collective $4.956 trillion in assets, revealing a largely positive outlook on digital assets. The study found that 96% of respondents view digital assets as an investment diversification opportunity, while 91% see them as a means to generate "all-weather" income strategies to combat inflation and fiat currency debasement risk. Additionally, 82% expressed optimism about the digital asset class, particularly Bitcoin and Ethereum, over the next 12 months. This positivity highlights a deeper understanding and conviction of crypto among institutions, and underscores the importance of considering global perspectives when evaluating the industry. The more constructive approach to digital assets regulation in financial hubs like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, London, Bermuda, Switzerland, and Paris has facilitated innovation and contributed to the positive outlook. As the pendulum swings back toward integrating blockchain technology into the existing financial system, institutional interest in tokenizing real-world assets is growing, helping to sustain the sector despite regulatory concerns in the U.S.
A joint experiment by the Bank for International Settlements' London Innovation hub and the Bank of England has successfully tested over 30 central bank digital currency (CBDC) use cases, including offline payments, in a project called "Project Rosalind." The project developed 33 API functionalities to explore how an API layer could support a retail CBDC, enabling safe and secure payments through different use cases. The Bank of England is currently consulting on a digital pound, which would involve hosting a centralized ledger and API, allowing private sector firms to access the ledger and provide services such as automated payments. Project Rosalind tested diverse payment options, including online, offline, and in-store payments via QR codes, mobile phones, smart cards, and more. It also explored facilitating micropayments and found that the API layer could work with different ledgers. Blockchain network Quant, which partnered with digital solutions platform UST, provided the underlying infrastructure and blockchain platform, secure smart contracts, and interoperability of central bank ledgers, while UST built the frontend Rosalind API layer.
Concordia, a multi-chain risk and collateral management protocol for digital assets, has successfully raised $4 million in a seed funding round. The round was co-led by Tribe Capital and Kraken Ventures, with participation from Cypher Capital and Saison Capital. This comes after Concordia's public testnet launch on Aptos earlier this month, with the mainnet launch expected in the next few months, along with concurrent launches on additional chains. Decentralized finance (DeFi) has become increasingly fragmented since 2020, posing challenges for users transferring assets or accessing liquidity between blockchains. Concordia aims to simplify cross-chain liquidity and collateral management, offering users a more straightforward way to manage collateral for margin trading. Users can manage collateral from a single account and transfer assets across multiple blockchains without requiring wrapped tokens or bridges. The modular underlying API architecture allows institutional investors to select features they want to use, while developers can access the protocol's shared liquidity pools. Concordia CTO Thomas Ruble expressed the company's ambition to integrate DeFi and traditional finance (TradFi), aiming to move real assets at the speed of frictionless blockchains for a unified global financial fabric.
Investment giant BlackRock's potential U.S. Bitcoin ETF filing has sparked bullish sentiment among traders, pushing Bitcoin to regain the $25,500 level and providing relief to major tokens like Polygon Network's MATIC and Cardano's ADA. Dogecoin and Litecoin also experienced gains of 4% and 3.3%, respectively. CoinDesk reported that BlackRock plans to collaborate with crypto exchange Coinbase as custodian for the Bitcoin ETF, which was later confirmed through a filing by the company's iShares fund management unit. Sui Chung, CEO of CF Benchmarks, believes BlackRock's proposed ETF could offer a more familiar and accessible option to Americans who haven't yet owned Bitcoin. Over $16 million in short liquidations were seen in BTC-tracked futures in the past 24 hours, due to Bitcoin's market strength. Although the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected spot Bitcoin ETFs from Grayscale, VanEck, and WisdomTree, BlackRock's stature may make it difficult for the SEC to reject this application, potentially fueling an outsized Bitcoin rally if approved.
Blockchain-based anti-counterfeiting tools have shown promise in a recent trial conducted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The trial involved four brands, two logistics operators, and a customs authority, and was part of an initiative now known as European Logistics Services Authentication (ELSA), which is based on the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) project. EUIPO, an EU agency based in Alicante, Spain, plans to develop an open-source platform this year to enable tracking of products and verification of their authenticity throughout the trade supply chain. While using distributed ledger technology to combat counterfeits is not a new concept, previous attempts have been unsuccessful in practice. Advocates of the EUIPO project believe that employing open-source technology can help it avoid the pitfalls of overly centralized systems like IBM's TradeLens, which announced its winding down last November. According to EUIPO, counterfeits make up 2.5% of global trade, amounting to around €412 billion ($451 billion).