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Crypto Biz: Telefónica joins Helium Network, BIS targets tokenization, and more

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and tokenization are among the top priorities for the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in 2024. The organization announced on Jan. 23 that it is moving forward with the second phase of testing for new technologies in another demonstration of crypto-based solutions increasing integration with traditional banking.
The BIS’s work program includes six new projects focusing on cybersecurity, financial crime, CBDCs and green finance. Meanwhile, project Promissa, a joint effort with the Swiss National Bank and the World Bank, will develop a digital platform for tokenized promissory notes. The BIS aims to complete this proof-of-concept by early 2025.
Also making headlines this week is the crypto lending platform Nexo. The company is seeking $3 billion in damages from the Bulgarian government due to failed criminal investigations. Nexo filed an arbitration claim with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24.
The litigation comes after Bulgarian prosecutors dropped their case against the company in December 2023, citing a lack of evidence to support charges made against four individuals following a raid on Nexo’s offices.
This week’s Crypto Biz also covers the performance of spot Bitcoinexchange-traded funds (ETFs), Coinbase’s stock downgrade, Telefónica’s partnership with Helium Network in Mexico, and more.

JPMorgan downgrades Coinbase stock to “underweight” following spot Bitcoin ETF approvals

Analysts for JPMorgan downgraded cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s stock to an “underweight” rating, citing the falling price of Bitcoin and listing shares of spot BTC exchange-traded funds.
“Cryptocurrency prices are already under pressure; with Bitcoin falling below $40k as of the writing of this note, we see greater potential for cryptocurrency ETF enthusiasm to further deflate, driving with it lower token prices, lower trading volume, and lower ancillary revenue opportunities for firms like Coinbase,” said JPMorgan analysts in a note to investors on Jan. 22. 

Nine spot Bitcoin ETFs buy 100,000 BTC in seven days after launch

Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF dumped more than 80,000 BTC in the days after its trading launch, but other Bitcoin ETFs stacked over 100,000 BTC during the same period. According to ETF data tracked by Cointelegraph, nine spot Bitcoin ETFs, including BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust and Fidelity’s Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund, purchased 102,613 BTC in the first seven days after their trading launches on Jan. 11. The amount of Bitcoin purchased by spot Bitcoin ETFs in only seven trading days accounts for 53% of all Bitcoin amassed by the giant BTC investor MicroStrategy over the past three years. MicroStrategy reported holding 189,150 BTC in its latest acquisition report from December 2023.

Telefónica, Nova Labs roll out blockchain-based mobile infrastructure in Mexico

Telecommunications giant Telefónica is incorporating blockchain technology through a collaboration with Nova Labs — the creator of the Helium Network — to reduce infrastructure costs and enhance mobile coverage in Mexico. This collaboration involves deploying Helium Mobile Hotspots in Mexico City and Oaxaca, said the company. By integrating Helium’s decentralized network, Telefónica is able to expand its coverage, particularly in remote areas, since Helium’s hotspots can validate wireless activity and provide coverage to the network. Users switching networks for better connectivity will be authenticated via their SIM cards, explained Telefónica.

Core Scientific’s stock down 30% after bankruptcy relisting

After a 13-month restructuring, crypto mining company Core Scientific relisted its shares on Nasdaq on Jan. 24, following its emergence from bankruptcy. Despite announcing a “strengthened balance sheet” with $400 million debt cleared, the company experienced a challenging trading session. Robinhood data flagged Core’s stock, CORZ, dropping over 30% throughout the day. Core’s restructuring plan converted debt owed to equipment lenders and convertible note holders into equity in the company. It also considers turning a remaining debt into equity and using cash as part of the bankruptcy plan.


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