Welcome to the Daily Forkast, July 28th, 2021. I’m Angie Lau, Editor-in-Chief of Forkast.News, covering all things blockchain.
Coming up, China’s Bitmain spins off Bitcoin mining pool Antpool. Indian banks invest in blockchain technology and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao confirms he’s willing to step down. Let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.
First up, there’s been another big move from a Chinese crypto miner. Mining hardware giant Bitmain has spun off its Bitcoin mining pool Antpool. Now it’s a significant chunk of the Bitcoin mining pie to give up, according to data from Blockchain.com, Antpool is currently responsible for about one-fifth of the global hash rate.
Bitmain gave no reason for divesting Antpool, but a source familiar with the matter told Forkast.News that it could be related to a desire to list the company in the U.S. Bitmain tried once in 2019. But at that time, the SEC questioned the financial treatment of its mining pool business.
In a blog post, Bitmain said that following the divestment Antpool will operate independently once it obtains the support of new shareholders. Bitmain says it will now focus on the development and sales of mining hardware alone.
Over in India, while the banking industry remains cautious still over crypto, it’s accelerating its interest in blockchain.
According to regulatory filings to the National Stock Exchange of India, 15 of the country’s biggest banks have invested in IBBIC, or Indian Banks Blockchain Infrastructure Company. They include the country’s three biggest private lenders HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. And they have almost US$500 billion or half a trillion US dollars worth of assets between them.
What will the company actually focus on? Well, India is a large country that’s still reliant on paper fiat. As you can imagine, it’s cumbersome and slow. IBBIC plans to use blockchain technology for processing inland letters of credit to quicken transactions and eliminate risks of fraud — major causes of concern in India’s paper-reliant financial sector.
With discussion over legislation that could bend crypto in India altogether currently stalled, embracing blockchain may be the way forward for India’s digital economy.
And onto the markets now, Bitcoin has rebounded, gaining 7.5% to hover very close to the significant US$40,000 mark as of 4 pm local Hong Kong time today. This, on a day of market uncertainty over China and Xi Jinping’s regulatory hammer on education and tech sectors. A lot of investors seeking safe havens today during the Asian trading day.
And in the top ten for cryptocurrencies, Polkadot up 7%, Ripple up almost 15% After announcements that it will partner up with SBI Remit in Japan and Coins.ph in the Philippines to use XRP for remittances between the two countries. You can read more on that story on Forkast.News.
And following our story last week, the CEO of Binance has reiterated that he is willing to step down. Speaking at an SCB10X DeFi summit on Friday, we noted that Changpeng Zhao — or CZ — said the changing regulatory environment means businesses in the crypto industry need to pivot from being technology startups to being financial services companies. He explained that his skills as a tech guy means that he may not be the best person to lead the company in future.
“I’m actually looking for a senior person with a strong compliance background, with a strong regulatory background to lead the entire organization — maybe become the new Binance CEO.”
A press conference and series of tweets on Tuesday saw reconfirming those comments, saying that while he isn’t set to step down immediately or leave Binance, replacing CEOs can be good for business.
As pressure mounts from regulatory actions in a number of jurisdictions from the UK to Japan, CZ also said that the company is ready to work with regulators around the world in order to protect consumers.
So the CEO succession plan at Binance begins. Let’s see if Binance will find external talent or raise up from the inside. We shall see.
And that’s The Daily Forkast from our vantage point right here in Asia. For more, visit Forkast.News. I’m Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau. Until the next time.