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Central Banks Continue to Show Strong Demand for Gold in 2023, Says World Gold Council Report

Central Banks Continue to Show Strong Demand for Gold in 2023, Says World Gold Council ReportCentral banks show continued demand for gold in 2023, as per a recent report from the World Gold Council (WGC), which noted that the world’s central banks accumulated 31 tons of the precious metal in January. Turkey was the largest gold buyer, adding 23 tons to its central bank’s stash, while the People’s Bank of […]

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Crypto donations amplify speed and global reach during crisis

Cryptocurrencies are proving useful in facilitating fast and unencumbered donations during crises, as recently seen during earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria.

Donations made in cryptocurrencies are proving to be a fast and far-reaching means of providing financial aid during times of crisis, according to multiple industry players.

This has proven to be the case after devastating earthquakes hit parts of Turkey and Syria in February. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis estimates that around $5.9 million of donations have been made to support relief efforts in the region in the month since the natural disaster took place.

The likes of Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Earthquake Humanitarian Aid campaign, Turkish Red Crescent, Save the Children and Project Hope have received cryptocurrency-based donations. In addition, a number of cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, Tether, Bitfinex, OKX, and KuCoin, donated more than $9 million to support victims in the area.

Cointelegraph reached out to Chainalysis to unpack the methodology used to monitor crypto-based donations supporting disaster relief efforts in Turkey and Syria.

Chainalysis director of research Kim Grauer said the firm uses a combination of human intelligence gathered by its experts and proprietary heuristics to identify and monitor flows to cryptocurrency services. This includes organizations accepting donations as well as scams that have looked to divert donations from unwitting supporters.

Grauer believes that the speed of transactions and global nature of cryptocurrency transactions are proving to be an important means of providing quick monetary support during times of crisis:

“Cryptocurrency is cross-border, instantaneous, and liquid, making it an ideal technology for raising funds and getting them to where they are needed most quickly.”

Grauer also highlights the ability to accurately monitor blockchain data as another strong argument for the utility of cryptocurrencies in facilitating donations and support after disasters and major emergencies:

“The transparency of blockchains is a unique benefit to cryptocurrency, providing opportunities to aid organizations to track donations and for law enforcement agencies to identify and trace illegitimate schemes attempting to capitalize in times of crisis.”

Antonia Roupell, Web3 operations lead at Save the Children, tells Cointelegraph that the organization first accepted Bitcoin as a method of donation in response to Typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the Philippines in 2013. From 2020 onwards, the charity has raised $7.4 million in cryptocurrency donations.

Related: Ukraine netted $70M in crypto donations since start of Russia conflict

This has continued during the organization’s earthquake relief work in Turkey and Syria. Roupell highlights a number of benefits of crypto-based donations in comparison to fiat-based donations.

“The vast majority of our crypto donors are first-time donors to Save the Children so crypto has enabled us to access a new and growing supporter base.”

Blockchain functionality also powers recurring giving, according to Roupell. In 2021, Save the Children received a number of Ethereum donations from NFT sales, some of which coded future donations through the smart contract functionality of specific NFTs.

Roupell also highlights tax benefits in the United States for donating cryptocurrency to charity, which has led to an increase in donations at the end of the financial year. She also notes that crypto donations are, on average, significantly higher than fiat ones.

While highlighting positives, Roupell said a downside was the anonymity of the majority of cryptocurrency donors, which rules out the ability to thank benefactors for their contributions.

Roupell believes there is great value in blockchain-based solutions facilitation and support aid efforts around the world and that humanitarian organizations will have an increasingly key role to play in integrating and scaling access at grassroots levels:

“Cryptocurrency is a great donation vehicle, but the underlying technology, peer-to-peer electronic cash, is truly revolutionary for economic inclusion.”

The charity supports a variety of cryptocurrencies that are accepted by the crypto donation platform The Giving Block, while Roupell said the organization does ‘not endorse, promote or pass judgment’ on any specific tokens. It also accepts global fiat currencies and stocks, with a priority to raise urgent funds to support global humanitarian responses.

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Vitalik Buterin donates $227k to help earthquake victims in Turkey

The Ethereum co-founder has sent around $227,000 in ETH to two Turkish earthquake relief organizations.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has now made at least two substantial contributions to help the victims of last week’s devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

The Turkey-Syria 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Feb. 6. Its death toll has now risen to 33,000 — one of the nation’s worst in decades.

Over the week, the Ethereum co-founder has been one of many actively donating Ethereum to support relief efforts in Turkey. His latest donation on Feb. 12 was for 50 ETH, or approximately $77,000, to Anka Relief as reported by blockchain security firm PeckShield.

Anka thanked the Ethereum co-founder for his donation and said that crypto donations had been flowing since the first day.

“Since day 1 of the disaster, we witnessed donations piling in the wallets of a handful of major NGOs. Great that they have attracted and will be attracting more funds,” said the organization.

Anka provided a list of crypto wallets than can be used for donations. The Web3 relief support organization has also spearheaded the Ukraine DAO project to raise crypto donations to support efforts in the besieged country.

The latest donation adds to another 99 ETH that Vitalik sent in support of earthquake victims. On Feb. 11 the vitalik.eth address sent around $150,000 worth of ETH to Ahbap, a non-governmental and nonprofit organization dedicated to relief efforts in Turkey.

Ahbap has also provided several crypto addresses for various tokens it can accept as donations.

To date, it claims to have received $4.3 million in crypto donations with stablecoins being the most popular tokens sent. According to Etherscan, the Ahbap wallet contains 409 ETH worth $622,000 at the time of writing.

Late last week, London’s Financial Times reported that crypto donations had been pouring in from across the globe. More than $10 million in crypto had been sent by companies with Binance alone donating $5 million in support of Turkish relief efforts.

Binance also announced $100 in BNB airdrops to those in the hardest-hit areas last week.

Related: The Web3 community responds to Turkish–Syrian earthquake tragedy

On Feb. 7, just a day after the devastating quake, Cointelegraph reported how the Web3 community was coming together to arrange crypto donations for NGOs and support.

It is not the first time crypto has been used for earthquake relief donations. In 2015, Bitcoin donations were sent to relief organizations following the massive quake in Nepal.

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Web3 community unites for Turkish–Syrian earthquake victims: Finance Redefined

The Web3 ecosystem came together to offer all possible help and aid to the victims of the Turkish-Syrian earthquake — one of the worst natural disasters in recent history.

Welcome to Finance Redefined, your weekly dose of essential decentralized finance (DeFi) insights — a newsletter crafted to bring you significant developments over the last week.

In the aftermath of a deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake in southeastern Turkey, the Web3 community has come together to raise awareness and aid for disaster victims.

Stablecoins could prove to be a critical factor in larger DeFi adoption, says Aave founder Stani Kulechov. According to the Aave executive, building the “payment layer,” which involves stablecoins, can potentially hook regular people into the space, eventually introducing them into DeFi. On the other hand, S&P Global Ratings believe DeFi protocols can attract institutional interest if they get securitization right.

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) used 15 million Uniswap (UNI) tokens to vote against the deployment of Uniswap v3 on BNB Chain using the Wormhole bridge. Web3 developer ConsenSys has cast 7.03 million UNI votes in favor of its deployment on BNB Chain.

The DeFi market broke its four-week bullish streak after news about Kraken settling with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and winding down its crypto staking services. The settlement means U.S.-based exchanges must shut down their staking services, which has come at a critical time for Ethereum, as the upcoming Shanghai upgrade will allow Ether (ETH) stakers to withdraw their staked ETH.

The Web3 community responds to Turkish–Syrian earthquake tragedy

A massive earthquake hit southeastern Turkey along the border with Syria on Feb. 6, which has so far caused the death of more than 18,000 people. The quake registered a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, which is internationally categorized as a “major” earthquake, and occurred along 100 kilometers of the fault line.

Infrastructure in the area suffered significant damage, resulting in a deadly cross-border humanitarian disaster. However, the world was quick to respond. Across the internet and various social media platforms, people have been gathering funds for local and international aid organizations to provide relief to those in the affected areas.

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Stablecoin adoption could lead to DeFi growth, says Aave founder

Stani Kulechov, the founder of the DeFi protocol Aave, highlighted several issues within the DeFi space at the StarkWare Sessions 2023, held at The Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In a fireside chat titled “DeFi: Resilience in the Face of Global Uncertainty,” Kulechov and Cointelegraph’s managing editor Alex Cohen discussed various topics, including DeFi’s risks compared to traditional finance and how stablecoins can lead to more DeFi adoption.

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DeFi securitization of real-world assets poses credit risks, opportunities: S&P

DeFi’s use case in traditional finance could grow in the coming years as new protocols attempt to support the securitization of real-world assets, according to a new research report from credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings.

The financing of real-world assets will likely be a key focus area for DeFi protocols moving forward, S&P said in a report titled “DeFi Protocols For Securitization: A Credit Risk Perspective.” Although the industry is still in its nascent stages, S&P highlighted several benefits DeFi could bring to securitization, including reducing transaction costs, improving transparency on asset pools, reducing counterparty risks and enabling faster payment settlement for investors.

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a16z votes against proposal to deploy Uniswap v3 on BNB Chain

Venture capital firm a16z voted against a final proposal to deploy Uniswap v3 on the BNB Chain using the Wormhole bridge, the Uniswap DAO forum shows.

The governance proposal to deploy the latest Uniswap iteration on the BNB Chain was submitted on Feb. 2 by 0xPlasma Labs on behalf of the Uniswap Community after it passed a temperature check with 20 million (80.28%) votes for yes, and 4.9 million (19.72%) votes for no. On Feb. 5, the venture firm used 15 million of its UNI holdings to vote against the move.

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ConsenSys adds 7.03M votes to Uniswap BNB Chain migration proposal amid VC battle

Web3 infrastructure developer ConsenSys, the maker of the popular MetaMask digital wallet, cast 7.03 million votes in favor of a proposal that would see decentralized exchange Uniswap’s v3 protocol deployed on BNB Chain, according to data from Tally.

As Cointelegraph reported, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz cast a vote against the proposal. A16z, which reportedly holds 55 million UNI tokens, voted 15 million UNI against the move due to its reliance on the Wormhole bridge. The VC firm instead supported using LayerZero as the interoperability protocol. LayerZero Labs is part of a16z’s portfolio and raised $135 million in a funding round in March 2022, with a $1 billion valuation.

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DeFi market overview

Analytical data reveals that DeFi’s total market value fell back to $40 billion this past week, trading at about $40.1 billion at the time of writing. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that DeFi’s top 100 tokens by market capitalization had a bearish week, with most of the tokens bleeding this past week, registering double-digit losses on the weekly charts.

Thanks for reading our summary of this week’s most impactful DeFi developments. Join us next Friday for more stories, insights and education in this dynamically advancing space.

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Cryptocurrency Exchanges Offer Assistance to Earthquake-Hit Turkey

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Offer Assistance to Earthquake-Hit TurkeyMajor crypto exchanges have offered to help the people of Turkey to overcome the consequences of this week’s devastating earthquake. While the crypto industry pledged support, the country’s financial authorities allowed the raising of relief funds through cryptocurrency donations for a charity organization. Leading Exchanges Commit to Supporting the Victims of the Earthquake in Turkey […]

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Crypto Association in Turkey Vows to Block Exchanges That ‘Victimize Traders’

Crypto Association in Turkey Vows to Block Exchanges That ‘Victimize Traders’A new organization has been established in Turkey with the aim to monitor and help develop the country’s crypto sector, local media reported. Its first task will be to address recent problems with some cryptocurrency exchanges and boost confidence in the industry as a whole. New Entity to Deal With Issues in the Crypto Space […]

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Turkish automaker Togg onboards Metaco for crypto custody and governance

The partnership with Metaco will see the use of its digital asset custody and orchestration platform, Harmonize, to safeguard the custody and governance of Togg’s digital assets.

Turkish automotive company Togg announced a partnership with Metaco, a digital asset custody orchestration technology provider, to secure its open mobility ecosystem built on Avalanche

Togg’s Mobility-as-a-Service platform (MaaS), a.k.a, Mobility Ecosystem, aims to deliver smart contract-powered use cases — including tokenization of mobility services, assessment of CO2 footprint and nonfungible token (NFT) ownership — for users in Türkiye and Europe.

The partnership with Metaco will see the use of its digital asset custody and orchestration platform, Harmonize, to safeguard the custody and governance of Togg’s digital assets. Sharing insights on the initiative, Togg CEO M. Gürcan Karakas stated:

“Blockchain-enabled digital tokens allow data and other assets to be stored and transferred in a fast, secure, and green way. By leveraging technology from Metaco, we make this possible.”

Hosted over IBM Cloud, Metaco’s platform provides Togg with total control of its encrypted data, workloads and encryption keys. According to the announcement, Harmonize is equipped with compliance standards used by Tier 1 banks dealing with digital assets.

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German car manufacturer BMW recently onboarded two blockchain firms to improve its customer loyalty program in Thailand. On Dec. 29, 2022, BMW announced partnerships with blockchain infrastructure firm Coinweb as its decentralized architecture provider and BNB Chain for settling transactions.

Related: Crypto adoption in 2022: What events moved the industry forward?

The first phase of the initiative is focused on integrating decentralized tech into automating BMW’s daily manual operations. The project's second phase would see Coinweb develop a customized Web3 application for BMW’s customer loyalty program.

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Türkiye to use blockchain-based digital identity for online public services

Shortly after the Turkish central bank completed the first CBDC tests, Türkiye announced a blockchain-based digital identity application.

Türkiye, formerly known as Turkey, plans to use blockchain technology for online public services logins. e-Devlet, Türkiye’s digital government portal used to access a wide range of public services, will use a blockchain-based digital identity to verify Turkish citizens during login.

Cointelegraph Turkey reportedFuat Oktay, vice president of the Republic of Türkiye, announced during the Digital Türkiye 2023 event that citizens will be able to use blockchain-based digital identity to access e-wallet application, Cointelegraph Turkey reported.

Oktay called the blockchain-based application a revolution for e-government efforts, adding that online services will be more secure and accessible with blockchain. Users will be able to keep their digital information on their mobile phones.

“With the login system that will work within the scope of the e-wallet application, our citizens will be able to enter the e-Devlet with a digital identity created in the blockchain network,” the Turkish vice president said.

Related: Turkey’s central bank completes first CBDC test with more to come in 2023

Türkiye has been announcing several projects powered by blockchain for several years now, but very few of them have turned into realization so far. The country’s plans for a national blockchain infrastructure date back to 2019. However, aside from some proof-of-concept projects and the central bank digital currency test executed after several delays, the fruits of blockchain-based ambitions have yet to bear.

Türkiye’s cultural hub of Konya was developing a city coin project to be used by citizens to pay for public services, but no further updates were shared with the public in the last two years.

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Central Bank of Turkey Reports First Payment Transactions on Digital Lira Network

Central Bank of Turkey Reports First Payment Transactions on Digital Lira NetworkThe Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) has conducted the first payment transactions on the test network of the digital lira. The monetary authority intends to proceed with more testing in 2023 and plans to invite banks and fintech companies to join the trials. Turkey to Widen Participation in Digital Lira Project, Focus […]

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Central Bank Gold Demand Rose at the Fastest Pace in 55 Years, Analyst Says Silver Could Outperform Gold in 2023

Central Bank Gold Demand Rose at the Fastest Pace in 55 Years, Analyst Says Silver Could Outperform Gold in 2023According to a myriad of reports, the People’s Republic of China has been buying hoards of gold during the last year. Consequently, World Gold Council (WGC) statistics show the demand for gold by central banks has risen at the fastest pace in 55 years. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo’s head of real asset strategy, John LaForge, contends […]

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