Puerto Rico: Future Blockchain Utopia? 138

A group of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs have moved to Puerto Rico with the goal of setting up a libertarian utopia. The settlement was originally named Puertopia but now is known as Sol. The name change is thought to have followed the would-be community’s founders discovering that Puertopia literally translates to “eternal boy playground” in Latin – certainly not the kind of branding the group is seeking.

Lured by the promise of freedom, waves of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs have been moving to Puerto Rico this winter following Hurricane Maria which desecrated the infrastructure there in September. They’re led by Brock Pierce, the director of the Bitcoin Foundation and founder of Block.One.

The entrepreneurs are hoping to transform the island of Puerto Rico along libertarian principles. The desperation created by the social upheaval of the natural disaster last autumn has prompted some to welcome the early cryptocurrency advocates (or the money they bring with them). With few other influxes of outside capital, it’s hoped that the idea of a crypto utopia will allow for much-needed infrastructure improvements and repairs.

According to the New York Times, the government of Puerto Rico is receptive to the influx of new money that the crypto entrepreneurs are bringing with them. This is evidenced by the fact that the governor has agreed to speak at the group’s blockchain summit conference called Puerto Crypto. The event is scheduled for this March. What’s more, the entrepreneurs currently living in what they hope will become “Sol” have almost managed to convince local government to allow the founding of a crypto bank – surely, an oxymoron of an idea if ever there was one.

Erika Medina-Vecchini, the chief business development officer for the Department of Economic Development and Commerce espoused further positive sentiment about the idea of new money coming to Puerto Rico courtesy of Sol. She told the New York Times:

“We’re open for crypto business.”

Those who have sought refuge in Puerto Rico spend their days hunting for property to buy out and transform in line with their vision of a utopia. For now, the community hub is a 20,000 square foot hotel complex that the group are renting. The building has been dubbed the Monastery.

One of the first tasks for the community will be to restore the electricity infrastructure that has been inconsistent thanks to the hurricane. The incentive to do so is obvious. Not only will it make living on the island far more comfortable for those used to First World luxuries but it will allow for cryptocurrency mining, an endeavour many inhabitants have made their fortunes from. Naturally, this will benefit those native to the island too.

However, not everyone is pleased with the developments on Puerto Rico. Andria Satz, a worker at the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico has her reservations about the group’s incentives:

“We’re the tax playground for the rich… We’re the test case for anyone who wants to experiment. Outsiders get tax exemptions, and locals can’t get permits.”

Whilst the group currently express altruistic ambitions for Sol and Puerto Rico, it’s unclear how genuine this sentiment is. There are certainly clear incentives for the libertarian-minded entrepreneurs to flash some cash to set up a community there. For one, citizens of the island do not need to pay Federal personal income taxes or capital gains. They will also benefit from hugely favourable business taxation too. Possibly the most alluring prospect about the site they’ve decided to call home is the fact that they don’t even need to renounce their US citizenship to relocate there. If the community completely fails, they can always jump on the next plane back to the States, where the crypto community should supposedly regulate itself.

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Chainlink Price Feeds Go Live on Base Testnet, New Ethereum L2 Incubated by Coinbase 4620

Today, Chainlink Price Feeds are live on Base testnet, a new Ethereum L2 incubated by Coinbase. Base aims to offer developers a secure, low-cost way to easily build decentralized applications. With this integration, developers building on Base can have access to industry-standard Chainlink Data Feeds and other web3 services.

Base will also be participating in the Chainlink SCALE program, designed to make Chainlink data and services available to developers at a lower cost. As part of the program, Base will cover certain operating costs of Chainlink services on its network, and reduce the gas costs incurred by Chainlink nodes when submitting oracle reports on Base.

“We’re super excited to launch Base with collaborators such as Chainlink, and to join the Chainlink SCALE program to empower developers with the critical data and services they need to build their applications,” said Jesse Pollak, Base lead.

Chainlink SCALE is an initiative centered around sustainably accelerating the growth of blockchain and Layer-2 ecosystems. Its focus is providing L1s/L2s with increased access to high-quality, low-cost, and in-demand oracle services by enabling them to cover the operating costs (e.g. transaction gas fees) of Chainlink oracle networks for a period of time. As blockchain/L2 ecosystems in the Chainlink SCALE program mature, the operating costs of oracle networks can increasingly transition toward being fully covered by dApp user fees.

“We’re thrilled to support the testnet launch of Base and work with them on the SCALE program to support the ecosystem growth and long-term adoption of the Base Layer-2 network,” said Niki Ariyasinghe, Global Head of Blockchain Partnerships at Chainlink Labs. “By reducing the operating costs of oracle nodes, Base will be able to bootstrap its ecosystem’s growth and become a more attractive environment for building secure and scalable Web3 apps.”

This deployment of resources will help Base become a secure and high-utility layer-2 solution in the Ethereum ecosystem, while giving its ecosystem developers a wide range of highly reliable oracle services for an extended period of time. This will set a foundation for Base to be able to support secure, fully featured, and highly performant applications.

About Chainlink

Chainlink is the industry-standard Web3 services platform that has enabled trillions of dollars in transaction volume across DeFi, insurance, gaming, NFTs, and other major industries. As the leading decentralized oracle network, Chainlink enables developers to build feature-rich Web3 applications with seamless access to real-world data and off-chain computation across any blockchain and provides global enterprises with a universal gateway to all blockchains.

Learn more about Chainlink by visiting chain.link or reading the developer documentation at docs.chain.link.

EquiLend Selects Digital Asset as Distributed Ledger Technology for Securities Finance Market Initiative 4480

EquiLend today announces that it has selected Digital Asset to provide the distributed ledger technology underpinning the EquiLend 1Source initiative.

Unveiled in July 2022 as part of EquiLend’s Digital Transformation Working Group, which consists of many of the world’s largest banks and broker-dealers, 1Source aims to resolve the central pain points and risks impacting the securities finance industry. By working with Digital Asset, EquiLend will use distributed ledger technology to provide market participants with a “single source of truth” for securities finance transactions.

Currently, counterparties to a securities lending transaction record contract details separately in their respective systems, which often leads to “breaks” downstream in the trade lifecycle. Utilizing Digital Asset’s Daml smart contract language and its Canton ledger, the 1Source initiative ensures trade details stay in sync throughout the entire lifecycle for both parties, eliminating the need for costly and inefficient reconciliation processes down the line.

EquiLend’s 1Source initiative will ultimately provide industry improvements, increase efficiency, reduce risk and limit regulatory fines for unmatched trades past the established regulatory timeframes.

“We are excited to embark on this partnership with EquiLend, which we believe will transform the securities finance market,” said Kelly Mathieson, Chief Business Development Officer at Digital Asset. “Using Daml and Canton will significantly reduce reconciliation breaks and create a single ledger for trading activity for all market participants, leading to more efficient and profitable trades. We are grateful that EquiLend has entrusted us as their leading technology partner for this project.”

“EquiLend has a long history of creating efficiency through automation in the securities finance market,” said Ken DeGiglio, Chief Information Officer of EquiLend. “EquiLend’s 1Source initiative represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to propel the industry forward with an innovative new approach to lifecycle management. By leveraging Daml and Canton from the distributed ledger experts at Digital Asset alongside our deep experience and network in the securities finance industry, we are confident that the 1Source initiative will result in a modernized new securities finance industry.”

EquiLend underwent a 1Source proof of concept (POC) with financial market leaders, which concluded in December 2022. The initiative is currently in the build phase, following which 1Source will go live for market participants, as well as other vendors and market infrastructures interested in connecting, in 2024.

About Digital Asset

Digital Asset is a software company that modernizes legacy financial systems with Daml, our smart contract language, and Canton, our privacy-enabled blockchain. Together, this platform powers cutting-edge blockchain solutions, helping customers unlock new networks of value with sophisticated applications. Leading financial services, insurance, and healthcare organizations are partnering with Digital Asset to create new, multi-party applications that transform disparate silos into synchronized networks.

To learn more about Digital Asset, please visit www.digitalasset.com.

About EquiLend

EquiLend is a global financial technology firm offering Trading, Post-Trade, Data & Analytics, RegTech and Platform Solutions for the securities finance industry. EquiLend has offices in North America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific and is regulated in jurisdictions around the globe. www.equilend.com

Arbor Digital and Polygon Advisory Group Announce Strategic Partnership to Offer Tax Advice and Services in the Crypto Industry 4495

Arbor Digital, the leading direct exposure crypto-asset investment solution for individual investors and RIAs, has announced a strategic partnership with Polygon Advisory Group, the leading crypto-tax service provider in the industry. Through the partnership, Arbor Digital and its SMA clients will have access to Polygon’s tax planning strategy expertise in the crypto-industry. Marc Nichols, Product Director of Arbor Digital, said: “Tax planning and strategy are critical components of crypto-asset management, and Polygon Advisory Group is the leading provider in this space.”

The two firms share a client-centric approach in providing value and service in crypto-assets to individual investors and financial professionals. The partnership will help financial advisors and their clients safely and securely engage with the crypto-economy.

Sharon Yip, CPA, Co-Founder of Polygon Advisory Group, said: “We share Arbor Digital’s commitment to putting clients first, and we look forward to working together to help investors navigate the complex tax landscape of the crypt-industry.”

The crypto industry has seen rapid growth in recent years, making it increasingly important for investors to understand the tax implications of their investments. The partnership between Arbor Digital and Polygon Advisory Group will help investors navigate the complex tax landscape of the crypto-industry.

Arbor Digital and Polygon Advisory Group’s partnership will provide comprehensive investment solutions that offer investors direct exposure to cryptocurrencies in a secure and regulated environment. The partnership represents a significant step forward in providing a full-service wealth management offering for individual investors and RIAs.

This week’s The Asset (r)Evolution Podcast, scheduled to release on February 28, will feature experts from both companies discussing the impact of digital transformation on the financial services industry. On March 8, the companies will hold a webinar designed to help investors navigate the complexities of cryptocurrency taxation.

Arbor Digital is a leading direct exposure crypto-asset investment solution for individual investors and RIAs. Its team of seasoned investment professionals and blockchain experts provide comprehensive investment solutions that offer investors direct exposure to cryptocurrencies in a secure and regulated environment.

Polygon Advisory Group is a leading crypto-tax service provider in the market, specializing in tax planning and strategy in the crypto-industry. The company has a wealth of experience in navigating the complexities of crypto-tax laws and regulations and is widely regarded as a trusted authority in the space.

BingX Announces Partnership With Mercuryo for Smarter Digital Payments 4877

BingX, one of the leading crypto exchanges, is excited to announce its partnership with Mercuryo. This collaboration between the two leading companies in the fintech industry is set to transform the digital payments landscape by providing secure, fast, and easy-to-use solutions for customers worldwide.

Mercuryo is a global payments infrastructure platform, reinventing the ease of making payments by providing businesses from both the fiat and crypto worlds with a wide range of financial services and products, accessible through single API integration. Since its inception in 2018, Mercuryo has been developing a holistic fintech platform with several products including on- and off-ramps, Fiat Pay In-Out, BaaS (Banking-as-a-Service), CaaS (Crypto-as-a-Service); Since 2018, Mercuryo has onboarded more than 3 million users to web3. Its flagship product, on- and off-ramps, supports 20+ most popular tokens, including BTC, ETH, and USDT, as well as a wide range of local currencies and payment methods globally.

The partnership will enable BingX users to enjoy a seamless payment process which is faster and more secure than traditional payment methods. BingX users can buy crypto via Mercuryo with a range of payment options, including Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. The purchased crypto will be credited directly to the user’s wallet immediately after payment. Another benefit of this collaboration is KYC token sharing. The team will enable sumsub tokens for seamless user KYC sharing, which will help save from a second verification. Customers can now purchase crypto bypassing a double-verification, thanks to Mercuryo’s partnerships and close collaboration with BingX’s team.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Mercuryo to offer our customers an innovative and secure payment solution,” said Elvisco Carrington, PR and Communications Director of BingX. “With this collaboration, we aim to simplify digital payments and provide our customers with a faster, more secure, and more convenient way to transact. What is interesting to note is that our slogans have a lot in common. BingX strives to achieve Trading Made Easy while Mercuryo Business Payments Made Easy. Working together, we can and we will make this come true.”

“We are thrilled to partner with BingX to provide customers with smooth fiat payment options,” said Petr Kozyakov, CEO of Mercuryo. “Our joint efforts will not only transform the digital payments industry, but also accelerate the adoption of crypto-powered solutions worldwide. BingX’s commitment to being an industry leader inspires us to provide first-class solutions for their team to serve customers and increase customer loyalty.”

The partnership between BingX and Mercuryo is a significant step forward for the fintech industry, as it paves the way for a more accessible and efficient digital payments ecosystem. It is just the beginning of a new era in the digital payments industry. More exciting updates will be forthcoming.

About BingX

BingX is a leading crypto exchange that offers spot, derivatives, copy, and grid trading services to over 100 countries and regions worldwide with over 5 million users. BingX continues to connect users with expert traders and the platform in a safe and innovative way.

Blockchain For Social Good: EMURGO and Goodwall Join Forces 4778

EMURGO Group Pte. Ltd. (“EMURGO”) – The official commercial arm and a founding member of the Cardano blockchain, EMURGO, and its regional entity, EMURGO Middle East & Africa (“EMURGO MEA”), today announced its strategic investment and partnership with Goodwall, a skills-based social network for young talent to connect to learning and earning opportunities. Goodwall is exploring how blockchain can support its mission to level the playing field for youth everywhere.

EMURGO and EMURGO MEA’s investment will support Goodwall’s sustainable growth into a Web3 service leveraging Cardano’s environmentally-friendly blockchain by:

  • Driving youth awareness of Cardano through joint education initiatives
  • Providing curated Web3 skills programs for youth to build on Cardano
  • Connecting Goodwall’s global skilled talent pool to micro-financial services, micropayments for work opportunities, P2P transactions, scholarships, and more via Goodwall’s in-app Web3 wallet
  • Enhancing transparency and accountability through on-chain skills certifications and NFT skill badges for youth to utilize for work and educational opportunities
  • Implementing decentralized identifiers to strengthen trust and authenticity and for future on-chain voting initiatives in its app
  • Bridging Goodwall’s talented youth community and the global Cardano community to exchange ideas, information, and resources

Goodwall is the skills-based social network for Gen Z. Today, it serves and supports 2m+ talent in 150+ countries on their learning and earning journeys. Goodwall helps youth showcase their skills on a digital profile, strengthen their skills by taking part in social challenges, and access skills-based opportunities. To help fuel its growth and nurture its talent pool, Goodwall is building a strong ecosystem of partners aligned with its values, including UNICEF, Randstad, and SAP.

“The Cardano blockchain and its growing ecosystem of Web3 products and services seek to provide essential services to those that have been overlooked and most in need. EMURGO believes these values mutually align with Goodwall’s mission to connect talented young people with opportunities for better education, work, scholarships, financial assistance, and more,” said EMURGO CEO Ken Kodama.

“Web3 presents a unique opportunity. From facilitating cross-border micropayments and powering a skills-based global economy to certifying the progress of a learner’s journey in a distributed public and verifiable ledger, we’re exploring how blockchain can help make the future of work, work for everyone. We are excited to have found a strategic partner in EMURGO to guide us in seizing this opportunity to level the playing field and bank the unbanked,” said Goodwall co-founder and COO, Omar Bawa.

According to the World Economic Forum, young Africans are expected to constitute 42% of global youth by 2030 and there are concerns about how to equip them for an increasingly evolving knowledge economy. This highlights the need for services that can bridge a rapidly growing youth population with the right opportunities for education and jobs that fit their skill sets.


EMURGO is the official commercial arm of Cardano and provides socially impactful solutions to solve some of the most intricate problems of organizations. As a founding entity of the Cardano protocol, EMURGO is able to leverage its abilities for large-scale blockchain development and rapid solutions deployment to benefit its global clients. To connect and learn more, visit https://emurgo.io.

About Goodwall

Goodwall is a skills-based social platform for young talent to learn and earn. With more than 2 million members in 150+ countries, Goodwall supports the next generation in developing and demonstrating their skills and connects them to opportunities and better livelihoods. Goodwall is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with a global team across 4 continents. To find out more, visit https://www.goodwall.io.

Serenity Shield Partners With Contentra Technologies To Transform Digital Content Storage With Blockchain 5500

Digital asset specialist, Serenity Shield Labs, has partnered with educational publisher Contentra Technologies to store archival content using web3. Once Contentra’s hardcopy archives have been scanned and converted, they will be permanently stored using Serenity’s web3 technology.

Contentra offers a wide range of content conversion, digital preservation and digital content development services to national libraries, educational publishers, news media, governments, archives, libraries and corporations. It provides specialized solutions for mass content conversion and transformations from legacy or born-digital formats such as hard copy, images, and PDFs.

Serenity Shield’s web3 data storage solution will allow this content to be uploaded and permanently saved. The partnership will expand the services Contentra can offer its clients and enable Serenity Shield to tap into a new market while showcasing a practical application for web3.

With this partnership, Contentra can offer its customers a broader range of services downstream of the value chain. Until now, the company enabled its customers to digitize and preserve documents in all advanced formats. In the future, using the technical collaboration and integration between Contentra’s digitization services and Serenity Shield’s blockchain storage solution, customers will be able to store their digitized data in blockchain-based archives. The different technological bricks used guarantee more advanced data and content storage than traditional solutions on servers or in the cloud, with unmatched storage volumes and security levels embedded with intelligent data retrieval processes, enabling data monetization.

This alliance is the first large-scale B2B partnership for Serenity Shield and paves the way for the implementation and realization of its web 2.5 positioning, which was affirmed as early as 2022 when the beta version of its StrongBox product was released. Serenity Shield is a storage solution on the blockchain, for any documents, even and especially for the most sensitive and voluminous ones. While the B2C solution is to be finalized in H1 2023, the B2B solution will follow a few months after and will be commercialized worldwide.

Contentra Technologies Founding Director, Shiva Kumar Saikia, noted: “This partnership enables us to offer new solutions based on web3 to our global clients. This will also enable us to bring the latest web3 technologies to our clients requiring innovations and security to solve their content lifecycle challenges.”

Venket Naga, CEO of Serenity Shield, added: “We are delighted with this partnership, which allows us to accelerate our B2B business by reaching out to industry-leading corporations and following our roadmap faster and more efficiently. In our vision, blockchain storage is one of the long-term trends and revolutions enabled by web3, and we are excited to lead the way in this. This step will emphasize Serenity Shield’s stance to act as a bridge between the worlds of web2 and web3, providing data storage in the blockchain space embedded with Artificial intelligence (AI), which will revolutionize the storage industry in the future.”

About Serenity Shield

Serenity Shield was established in 2021 as a result of identifying a glaring and, as yet, unaddressed need in the global cryptocurrency market for the provision of secure access to and transfer of ownership of digital wallets. Leveraging advances in cryptography and private blockchain technology, it has designed a secure, noncustodial method to store and retrieve sensitive data for individuals, corporations, and institutions.

About Contentra Technologies

Contentra Technologies is a 15-year-old company offering content transformation services and solutions to Global Internet News publishers, National Libraries, Information services companies and K12 educational publishers. It specializes in providing XML content conversion at scale for electronic news publishing, E-books, Historical Archives and Digital preservation requirements. Contentra also provides editorial development, design and layout services for English language arts, science, and social studies. Based in India, Contentra has a fully-owned subsidiary in the USA. Contentra employs over 300 people worldwide. Its operations and processes are quality certified for meeting ISO27001, ISO9001, ISO 20000 and CMMI -Level 5 standards.