ETH Merge, Norwegian CBDC, and More

Historic day for crypto as Ethereum Merge to proof-of-stake occurs

Ethereum’s highly anticipated conversion to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, dubbed “the Merge,” took place at 6:42:42 am UTC on Sept. 15. The move is a key part of an overarching multi-year transition for the Ethereum blockchain. “It starts a chain reaction of changes,” Eli Ben-Sasson, co-founder and president of StarkWare, told Cointelegraph regarding the Merge. The Merge will reportedly help the Ethereum blockchain reduce its energy consumption by around 99%.

Abra announces plans for US bank supporting digital assets

Digital asset trading platform Abra announced that it was establishing two financial institutions: a United States bank and an international crypto business. Aimed to open in 2023, the U.S. state-chartered bank will operate under the name Abra Bank and will be compatible with digital assets in a format similar to money at traditional banks, or so it appears. Stationed beyond U.S. borders, a branch known as Abra International is also in the plans. The firm is looking to check all the appropriate boxes for Abra Bank and Abra International in terms of regulation.

The Norwegian central bank uses Ethereum to build national digital currency

Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, is using the Ethereum blockchain’s structure to construct its central bank digital currency (CBDC). The bank is still in the early stages of building its CBDC, but has unveiled the open-source code for the asset’s testnet via a sandbox. Many countries have expressed interest in or have started working on a CBDC, though the asset does not necessarily need to be built on the blockchain. The Bahamas and Nigeria already have live CBDCs.

SEC to address growing crypto issuer filings with specialized offices

During the remainder of 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will add a pair of new offices, one of which will aid in its crypto regulatory pursuits. The Office of Crypto Assets, housed under the Division of Corporation Finance’s Disclosure Review Program, will evaluate digital asset filings. Such crypto issuer filings have increased, likely given the SEC’s increasing activity in crypto industry overwatch. This week, the U.S. government also unveiled a crypto regulatory framework covering numerous topics, with nine government departments involved in the framework’s creation.

Possession of Bitcoin still legal in China despite the ban, lawyer says

China’s regulatory regime for cryptocurrency remains unclear. “To date, possession of crypto in China has not been banned,” Lesperance & Associates founder David Lesperance told Cointelegraph. In fact, crypto holders in the country are protected by law on matters related to theft, misappropriation or breach of a loan agreement. “It does not make the commercial trading of this type of property legal, as the government has specifically banned crypto exchanges in China,” he added.

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