The past week was marked by a number of significant events in the crypto industry. Read our digest to find out the details of Facebook launching its own cryptocurrency, new FATF regulations, PundiX releasing a blockchain-powered smartphone and other key news.

Facebook to bring 2.7 bn new users to the cryptocurrency market

The market’s attention is focused on the story of Facebook launching its own cryptocurrency. The New York Times has recently reported that Facebook is planning to issue the FaceCoin and integrate it into its messengers.

It was not that the event came as a surprise, as the company had shown interest in the crypto industry on a number of occasions. It is expected to launch its own digital money in the first half of 2019. The cryptocurrency will be integrated into the company’s messengers: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook Coin will be a stablebcoin with its rate pegged to several fiat currencies. According to a source inside the company, the social network is negotiating the listing of its cryptocurrency with some crypto exchanges. The significance of this piece of news can hardly be overestimated. If Facebook succeeds in implementing its plans, the market will get 2.7 billion new users.

FATF imposes stringent requirements on the industry

Last week, not only global corporations, but also legislators became newsmakers. Specifically, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) published its list of requirements for crypto businesses operating in FATF member jurisdiction. To ensure better transparency, it is proposed that:

  • service providers should get registered and obtain licenses in their jurisdictions of incorporation;
  • service providers should submit identification information to responsible agencies;
  • supervision functions should be performed by competent authorities, rather than self-regulatory organizations;
  • countries should address the issues of criminal, civil and administrative liability for violations of applicable requirements;
  • service providers should retain data on remitters and recipients of cryptocurrency payments and provide such information to state authorities upon request.

Russia did not remain aloof from legislative changes either. The RF Supreme Court mentioned cryptocurrencies in the relevant article of the RF Criminal Code pertaining to money laundering.

Competition among blockchains getting tougher

Whereas the Ethereum platform used to be the only solution when it came to choosing a blockchain, nowadays, the competition in the market tends to intensify. Stellar, EOS, NEO, NEM are offering their solutions, and recently, after the launch of the main network, the TRON blockchain entered the market and immediately trumpeted its leadership ambitions.

It has been recently reported that Tether is partnering with the Tron Foundation to launch the USDT stablecoin as a TRC-20 token, the standard used in the TRON blockchain. The new version will be released in 2Q2019.

This is notably good news for the TRON project, however, the presence of competitors suggests the growing maturity of the industry.

First Bakkt use cases

The launch of the Bakkt platform for institutional investors is probably the most eagerly awaited event for crypto enthusiasts. However, there is hardly anyone, who can describe in detail how the platform is going to operate and how it can be useful for ordinary users. Yesterday, we learned about its first use case: by the end of 2019, Starbucks coffee shop chain is planning to let its customers pay for their orders in cryptocurrencies that will be instantly converted to fiat money via the Bakkt platform. Initially, this option will be available in the United States only. Digital money will not be reflected in coffee shops’ financial statements.

Long-awaited Constantinople Hard Fork Launched in Ethereum network

On February 28, Ethereum cryptocurrency was updated on block # 7280000. Simultaneously with Constantinople, Petersburg hard fork was activated in the network to disable EIP-1283 protocol, where Reentrancy vulnerability that caused the hard fork cancellation in January was discovered.

How will the Ethereum network change following the hard fork:

  • the daily emission volume will now be 13,400 ETH;
  • block creation time will be 14 seconds;
  • mining block reward will be reduced from 3 to 2 ETH;
  • Ethereum inflation rate will be 4%.

Pundi Х releases a blockchain-powered smartphone

Crypto startup Pundi X presented its blockchain at 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The device was named “Xphone”. The smartphone will support 2 modes: Android and blockchain. XPhone has decentralized applications installed that can be accessed by switching to the blockchain mode. At the same congress, the company announced the launch of Electroneum smartphone with mining capability.

What Happened in the Crypto Industry during the Past Week: Facebook Cryptocurrency, Presentation of a Blockchain-powered Smartphone and Other News

The blockchain mode will allow users to make calls without the services of a centralized communication operator. According to Pitt Huang, the company’s the co-founder, data cannot be intercepted during the calls. The smartphone operates using Function X blockchain independently developed by the startup’s programmers. Each device will represent a node with its own address and private key.