PayPal rolls out crypto ramps, Franklin Templeton joins BTC ETF race, and more

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With­out aggres­sive mar­ket­ing tac­tics, fin­tech giant Pay­Pal is qui­et­ly and con­sis­tent­ly ven­tur­ing deep­er into the cryp­to space, rolling out fea­tures and build­ing key part­ner­ships to advance its dig­i­tal assets strategy.

This week, Pay­Pal unveiled new on-ramps and off-ramps for cryp­tocur­ren­cies for its clients in the Unit­ed States — a note­wor­thy step for the coun­try, par­tic­u­lar­ly as many cryp­to firms strug­gle with sup­port­ing fiat-cryp­to con­ver­sions since the Unit­ed States Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion began its con­tro­ver­sial crack­down on the industry. 

Also deep­en­ing ties with the cryp­to ecosys­tem is the tra­di­tion­al asset man­ag­er firm Franklin Tem­ple­ton. The com­pa­ny filed for a spot Bit­coin (BTC) exchange-trad­ed fund (ETF) in the U.S., join­ing a long list of major invest­ment firms seek­ing approval for a Bit­coin invest­ment prod­uct, includ­ing names such as Black­Rock, Fideli­ty and Wis­domTree, among many others. 

With new par­tic­i­pants join­ing the dig­i­tal assets world dai­ly, it’s evi­dent that cryp­to is becom­ing more main­stream, even in the face of a long bear­ish market.

This week’s Cryp­to Biz looks at PayPal’s cryp­to gate­way, Franklin Templeton’s BTC ETF fil­ing, Coinbase’s Light­ning Net­work inte­gra­tion, and Meta’s plans for a new AI model.

PayPal enables US users to sell cryptocurrency via MetaMask wallet

Pay­Pal con­tin­ues expand­ing its dig­i­tal asset ser­vices, inte­grat­ing new meth­ods to sell cryp­tocur­ren­cies like Bit­coin. The pay­ments giant intro­duced on Sept. 11 new on- and off-ramps for Web3 pay­ments, allow­ing users in the U.S. to con­vert their cryp­to to U.S. dol­lars direct­ly from their wal­lets into their Pay­Pal bal­ance. The off-ramp fea­ture is avail­able to wal­lets, decen­tral­ized appli­ca­tions and non­fun­gi­ble token mar­ket­places and is live on Meta­Mask. The lat­est roll­out came short­ly after Pay­Pal part­nered with hard­ware wal­let firm Ledger to pro­vide a new on-ramp inte­gra­tion in August 2023, allow­ing ver­i­fied users in the U.S. to buy Bit­coin, Ether (ETH), Bit­coin Cash (BCH) and Lite­coin (LTC) direct­ly on a Ledger hard­ware wallet.

Pro­mo­tion­al video for Pay­Pal’s on- and off-ramps. Source: YouTube

Franklin Templeton files for spot Bitcoin ETF

Asset man­ag­er Franklin Tem­ple­ton applied with the U.S. SEC on Sept. 12 to launch a spot Bit­coin ETF. The S‑1 reg­is­tra­tion state­ment comes after the SEC delayed deci­sions on spot ETF appli­ca­tions from Wis­domTree, Valkyrie, Fideli­ty, VanEck, Bit­wise and Invesco on Aug. 31 and a court rul­ing on Aug. 29 that the SEC must con­sid­er Grayscale’s appli­ca­tion to con­vert its BTC futures ETF into a spot ETF. Accord­ing to the appli­ca­tion, the fund would be struc­tured as a trust. Coin­base would cus­tody the BTC, and Bank of New York Mel­lon would be the cash cus­to­di­an and admin­is­tra­tor. Franklin Tem­ple­ton has $1.5 tril­lion in assets under management.

Meta is building an AI model to rival OpenAI’s most powerful system

Social media giant Meta is devel­op­ing a new arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI) mod­el that will rival OpenAI’s most advanced ver­sion. Accord­ing to sources from The Wall Street Jour­nal, the new mod­el will be “sev­er­al times” more pow­er­ful than its Lla­ma 2 mod­el, which Meta released ear­li­er this year. Lla­ma was trained on 70 bil­lion para­me­ters, and while Ope­nAI hasn’t released its para­me­ters for GPT‑4, they’re esti­mat­ed to be around 1.5 tril­lion. Meta’s new sys­tem will be open-source, allow­ing oth­er com­pa­nies to build AI tools to pro­duce high-lev­el text, analy­sis and oth­er types of out­put with it. The com­pa­ny has also been build­ing the data cen­ters nec­es­sary to cre­ate such a high-lev­el sys­tem while acquir­ing more of Nvidia’s H100 semi­con­duc­tor chips.

Coinbase to integrate Bitcoin Lightning Network: CEO Brian Armstrong

Cryp­to exchange Coin­base has con­firmed its deci­sion to inte­grate layer‑2 pay­ment pro­to­col Light­ning Net­work (LN) as users seek faster and cheap­er Bit­coin trans­ac­tions. Until recent­ly, major cryp­to exchanges, includ­ing Coin­base and Binance, had no intent to adopt the layer‑2 solu­tion, as many com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers argued that LN inte­gra­tion offered few­er incen­tives for exchanges’ income. Bri­an Arm­strong, CEO of Coin­base, asked the cryp­to com­mu­ni­ty to be patient dur­ing the inte­gra­tion process. LN was cre­at­ed to help solve Bitcoin’s scal­a­bil­i­ty prob­lem and to com­pete against projects promis­ing faster and cheap­er trans­ac­tions. The deci­sion comes a month after Vik­tor Bunin, a pro­to­col spe­cial­ist at Coin­base, start­ed inves­ti­gat­ing the fea­si­bil­i­ty of LN integration.

Cryp­to Biz is your week­ly pulse on the busi­ness behind blockchain and cryp­to, deliv­ered direct­ly to your inbox every Thursday.

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