Each week, we bring you the most interesting and relevant news from the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, so you can stay up to date with the latest trends and be the first to join them!

Last week was a real breakthrough for cryptocurrencies in Latin America and El Salvador. We’re also witnessing the rising popularity of NFT tokens in the form of artworks and a growth in the price of Bitcoin, which has become a central figure in several important news stories! 

El Salvador officially adopts Bitcoin as a legal currency

On September 7, a law came into force in El Salvador recognizing Bitcoin as a legal currency. The government of El Salvador purchased 400 Bitcoins, and the value immediately skyrocketed to $52.9 thousand, breaking the May record.

Every citizen of El Salvador will also receive  $30 in Bitcoin after registering their crypto wallet on the Chivo state platform. In the near future, this app will be used to make purchases in major stores including Apple and Huawei.

McDonald's, Starbucks and Pizza Hut start accepting Bitcoin in El Salvador

Following the adopted law on the recognition of cryptocurrencies as a legal currency, many companies have opened their doors to cryptocurrency holders. Despite the skepticism of the general population, a journalist at Bitcoin Magazine was one of the first to try to pay for breakfast at McDonald’s with Bitcoin and even posted his photo on his Twitter, along with a receipt and a QR code. Using this code, which is issued at the checkout, anyone can connect to their account in the Lightning Network and pay with cryptocurrency. 

German fund Union Investment plans to invest up to $10 billion in Bitcoin 

The Union Investment Fund, which manages assets of $507 billion, intends to invest up to 2% of its capital in Bitcoin. In early 2021, Union Investment had already included crypto assets in a mixed fund.

According to the forecast of the analytical center MindSmith, the DACH region alone (which includes Germany, Switzerland and Austria) is projected to invest from $100 billion to $657 billion in the crypto market over the next three years. This increase is due to a law adopted by Germany on August 2,  allowing funds to invest up to 20% of their reserves into cryptocurrencies.

1143 Elektra stores in Latin America will add Lightning Network as a payment method

Director of Grupo Elektra Ricardo Salinas Pliego announced a new opportunity in the Elektra chain of stores on his Twitter. The chain currently has 1143 stores in Latin America, including several in Mexico. In addition to retail stores, the conglomerate also includes Banco Azteca. According to Salinas Pliego, there is a chance that the entire conglomerate will soon start accepting Bitcoin as well. Nevertheless, the cryptocurrency is not accepted as an official payment method on the territory of Mexico, and because of this, the government has already issued a warning to Grupo Elektra about possible sanctions.

The Bank of Russia will launch a beta version of a blockchain platform for mortgages 

The Central Bank and the Association of FinTech (AFT) have jointly developed a blockchain-based system to simplify the procedure for issuing mortgages, using a modified version of the Ethereum protocol. To date, the blockchain platform has already been tested by the FSB, receiving a certificate of compliance with the requirements of cryptographic information protection.

The decree to start the experiment was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on September 3. According to forecasts, the project will be launched no later than December 1, lasting until October 2022.

Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa will launch CBDC Cross-Border Settlement Platforms

Through the use of CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies), these platforms will ensure the secure transfer of funds between financial institutions. This will enable them to quickly carry out direct and international transactions.

The project also aims to explore different governance schemes that could enable central banks to share the CBDC infrastructure and make collaboration between public and private experts in digital assets and legal entities more profitable.

Binance will go public within three years

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the company’s US subsidiary will follow Coinbase's lead and move towards a public listing. For Binance, which has already gained a reputation as a "fighting" brand, this step is dictated by the sanctions and investigations launched against the exchange in several countries.

Binance is also planning a major round of private equity investments in the next couple of months. The company is concerned about the tightening of regulatory requirements imposed on the transformation of technology startups into financial services, which is another goal for Binance.

The Hermitage has completed the auction of NFT works of art on the Binance marketplace

The State Hermitage Museum has earned over 32 million rubles from the sale of NFT-tokens of paintings from its personal collection. The auction lasted for a week – from August 31 to September 7 – on the Binance crypto exchange. The most expensive was a digital copy of Leonardo da Vinci's painting "Madonna Litta", sold for $150,500. Four more lots were also exhibited: "Composition VI" by Wassily Kandinsky ($80,000), "Lilac Bush" by Vincent Van Gogh ($75,000), "Garden Corner in Montgeron" by Claude Monet ($74,000) and "Judith" by Giorgione ($65,000).