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Crypto Biz: Blockchain B2B trending, Telegram’s new ad platform, and more

A recent survey by Ripple and the United States Faster Payments Council indicates that U.S. financial institutions are increasingly using blockchain technology.

Companies working on business-to-business (B2B) solutions in the U.S. represent over 40% of the participants in the survey, which interviewed more than 100 payments executives and leaders.

For those with crypto payment products already in use, 37% have a B2B use case. Established use cases between the participants include peer-to-peer and account-to-account transfers, as well as payroll solutions, claims the report.

“Companies can leverage blockchain in a variety of different B2B use cases including supply chain management to enhance transparency and traceability, digital identity verification to streamline authentication processes, smart contracts to automate agreement execution, and cross-border payments to facilitate faster and cheaper transactions,” explained Pegah Soltani, head of payments products at Ripple.

Blockchain technology’s impacts on the environment are also an area of concern for 81% of business leaders, but more education needs to be done as only 53% of respondents are familiar with the differences in energy usage between proof-of-work and proof-of-stake protocols.

Overall, sentiment toward blockchain is positive, according to the survey. When asked about the value proposition of blockchain and crypto payments, a participant commented: “Value moving at the speed of data with potentially near zero cost speaks for itself.”

This week’s Crypto Biz also examines concerns over chip shortages and sustainability issues for crypto miners, Telegram’s new ad platform, Kraken’s expansion into institutional investors, and more.

Riot Platforms, other miners still see chip shortage, ESG regs as risks

Chip shortages and potential climate-focused regulations have continued to appear as common themes to Bitcoin mining firms’ risk factor disclosures as they prepare for the upcoming Bitcoin halving. Riot Platforms highlighted more than 13 continued risks to its Bitcoin mining profitability in its 10-K filing filed on Feb. 23 — though it was mostly unchanged from the previous year. The company also said it will continue paying “higher than usual” costs to obtain and install the mining machines until the chip shortage crisis is resolved. Other Bitcoin miners have posted similar risks in their respective annual reports in the past. For instance, CleanSpark cited a potential “cryptocurrency hardware disruption” and possible difficulties obtaining new hardware in their 2023 10-K filing. TeraWulf also listed supply chain constraints as a risk factor.

Telegram ad platform to launch via TON blockchain

Starting in March, Telegram channel owners in over 100 countries can receive financial rewards for their work after the ad platform opens for all advertisers. Channel owners will start receiving 50% of the total advertising revenue generated by Telegram from displaying ads in their channels, according to an announcement on Feb. 28 by Pavel Durov, the founder and CEO of Telegram. Telegram Ad Platform will exclusively use The Open Network blockchain to make payments, according to the announcement. Telegram is the fourth most popular online messaging application worldwide, behind WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger. Telegram has around 196 million daily active users and 800 million monthly active users, according to data from Bankmycell. Broadcast channels on Telegram generate over one trillion monthly views.

Kraken launches institutional arm aiming to cash in on Bitcoin ETFs

Crypto exchange Kraken has launched a new division dedicated to institutions as it angles for a piece of the spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) pie. On Feb. 27, Kraken announced its new institutional brand offering spot and over-the-counter trading along with crypto staking targeting asset managers, hedge funds and high-net-worth individuals. Tim Ogilvie, who joined Kraken when it acquired his firm Staked in December 2021, will head Kraken Institutional and said that institutional crypto adoption is growing rapidly. “The recent ETF approval has spurred broader institutional demand,” Ogilvie stated. Kraken Institutional competes directly with Coinbase Institutional and Coinbase Prime, which were launched in 2021 to cater to institutional investors. It also goes up against Binance Institutional, which was launched in mid-2022 and offers customized solutions for institutional users such as asset managers, brokers, hedge funds, family offices, liquidity providers and proprietary trading firms.

Crypto exchange BitForex halts withdrawals, stops responding to users

Hong Kong-based crypto exchange BitForex has halted withdrawals for at least three days without giving a reason. On the day before the halt, around $56 million in crypto had been withdrawn from the exchange’s wallets. The exchange’s X account hasn’t been updated since May 2023. On its official Telegram channel, BitForex users reported problems with their accounts, varying from the inability to enter their accounts to the dashboard not showing any assets. Several users shared a pop-up screen showing they are blocked from accessing the company’s website.


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