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Epic explores Blockchain, NFT assets, after Steam ban

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Famous gaming platform Epic Games plans to open its doors to blockchain-based payments on its store, following its rival’s announcement to ban blockchain technology and NFT assets on its platform, The Verge reports.

Epic is considering the implementation of cryptocurrency technology into its platform, in addition to blockchain-based assets on its game store. The multinational gaming company told The Verge that it is “open to games that support cryptocurrency or blockchain-based assets.”

This decision came as a follow-up after competitor Valve announced the ban of games featuring blockchain technology or Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) from its Steam platform.

When asked about its decision to consent to games featuring NFT assets, the North-Carolina-based company informed The Verge that even though Epic is setting into motion plans to deploy blockchain technology into its gaming podium, the approach will incorporate some limitations, and is currently searching for developers willing to plant their seeds in this “new field” the company is entering.

Since the platform will be accepting decentralized payments, games exposed to this technology will have to follow certain financial policies and regulated laws, to clarify the usage of blockchain in accordance with the right age ratings.

In parallel, the video game titan disclosed that developers working on the implementation of blockchain-based payments will not adopt Epic’s payment service to receive cryptocurrency. Instead, they will be obliged to use their personal payment systems.

Initially, Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO, revealed that the company is not willing to implement NFT payment approaches. However, it seems that this statement will be exclusively applied to the company’s games only.

Once everything is set from its part, the gaming mogul will then publicize the list of adopted rules to be executed after working hand-in-hand with developers to obtain a complete comprehension of how blockchain technology will go into effect in games.

On that note, Tim Sweeney took to himself to share on Twitter the usage of blockchain technology in Epic’s games.

With Epic Games showing absolute dedication to set the needed foundation for blockchain technology on its platform, developers who were obliged to leave Steam will not obtain immediate access to upload their games on the Epic Game Store.

Currently, the gaming giant’s self-publishing program is still in its closed beta phase, with the FAQ section of the company revealed that it will single-handedly pick players who can connect to the platform.

As the lead competitor to Epic Games, Valve’s decision to ban blockchain payments on Steam will give Epic the right means to accommodate some players’ needs, and by default compete with its rival. Epic is willing to indulge in critical tactics to empower its store position in the PC gaming field.

As for NFT, these unique non-interchangeable units have obtained a substantial fan base, and with Valve’s latest announcement, fans are keeping an eye on Epic’s next move to carry out NFT payments. 

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies reach post record inflow, rise of the Omicron asset

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CoinShares revealed Monday a heavy institutional investor flow into cryptocurrency products and funds despite a substantial drop in the past weeks, as a new digital asset emerges to the scene, carrying the same title after the new coronavirus variant, the Omicron.

Despite its rising record inflows in 2021’s first 11 months, cryptocurrency has marked a new all-time low with the arrival of a new COVID-19 variant.

As of November 26th, digital assets’ total incursions into the cryptocurrency sector reached a whopping $9.5 billion, compared to 2020’s Bitcoin inflow of $6.7 billion, with a matter of one week reaching $306 million.

According to data from digital asset manager CoinShares, Bitcoin witnessed its heftiest inflow of $247 million after releasing another investment asset in Europe. During that time, European Investment management firm Invesco issued its bitcoin exchange product in the continent, according to media reports.

Concurrently, asset manager WisdomTree also registered a trio of cryptocurrency basket exchange-traded products (ETP) into the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX) and Frankfurt-based Börse Xetra, as stated by CoinDesk. 

In parallel, CoinShare also unveiled that cryptocurrency has attained global inflow tallying to $2.7 billion for 11 consecutive weeks. Last week, the world’s largest crypto asset, Bitcoin, endured a heavy price drop by 2.3 percent, following a 10.4 percent from a prior week.

Last Friday, Bitcoin endured another plunge of almost 9 percent as investors abandoned the decentralized currency with fear of heavy impact support by the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, with last value fluctuation rising to 2 percent, with Bitcoin value reaching $58.483.

However, the globally renowned asset quickly recovered from its demise, following global markets attaining a smoother and soother bearing in valuation on Monday.

“Inflation is skyrocketing, and people are searching for more alternatives for their money in the bank,” chief of cloud-based automated crypto trading bot Cryptohopper, Ruud Feltkamp, said in a statement.

“I don’t think it’ll take long until investors see this as a ‘cheap’ buying moment. We are still in the midst of the bull cycle, and I think rising inflation will lead to more money being allocated to stocks and crypto,” he further added. 

Shortly after presenting itself to the investor registry, the value of the newly risen digital asset hit $688 from Friday till Monday, before witnessing a plunge of approximately 75 percent, CoinGecko revealed.

Omicron, defined as “a decentralized treasury-backed cryptocurrency protocol,” initiated trading at around $371, and by Thursday, it marked an estimated value of $65.

Last week, the World Health Organization branded the latest coronavirus variant Omicron, with an expanded list of countries broadcasting the hazardous intensity of it carrying “very high” worldwide threats of waves, even though scientists revealed that would take weeks to fully comprehend the severity of the variant spread on a global scale.

While the ambiguity of Omicron’s launch date lingers, data from GoinGecko demonstrated that the token emerged on the scene on November 8th, with a Telegram channel labeled OmicDAO was launched a day before.

Currently, there is no official and direct representative of the Omicron token.

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U.S. federal agencies aim to clarify crypto legality

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U.S. regulators uncovered their future plan to address the rise of cryptocurrency for the upcoming year, with focus directed at the “greater clarity” concerning the legality of decentralized transactions, reported by Bloomberg.

The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) unveiled their future scheme to address the uprise of cryptocurrency, placing the digital asset with utmost priority for 2022.

The plan could potentially focus on stablecoin issuance via loan collateral and the manifestation of cryptocurrency on enterprise balance sheets. The three federal entities aim to examine the needed means to employ bank capital and liquidity standards to U.S.-based banking organizations.

The shared roadmap has yet to be finalized, given that the agencies are looking into different issues to accommodate the market’s changes. It will adhere to crypto policy “sprints” to assist in structuring regulatory priorities for the upcoming year.

The OCC, the Reserve, and the FDIC’s goals are to determine any potential threats and establish the efficacy of current rules. While there is no certainty that the roadmap will create fundamental changes, however, one thing is certain though, it will not work in favor of holders of decentralized assets.

The American regulatory move on cryptocurrency will proceed with caution, with crypto users having to proceed with cautions and hold back on specific activities to adhere to the word of law.

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Consortium of Japanese firms assesses digital currency for 2022 launch

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A consortium of almost 70 Japanese firms revealed on Wednesday in a conference its plan to initiate an experimental phase of testing a yen-based digital currency to be ready for launch in early 2022.

Three of the country’s mega-banks have always shown intentions of joining on the decentralized currency, which will mainly be supported by bank deposits, while utilizing a known platform to hasten a transfer of massive funds and settlement between companies, including cutting costs.

The consortium will incorporate Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. Tmizhuhese companies have had meetings regularly for the past year to examine the required measures to create a widespread infrastructure for digital payments.

In parallel, Japan’s three mega-banks also represented their private digital payment systems but have failed to mirror the same effort provided by financial technology entities, such as Softbank Group-backed PayPay – the multinational conglomerate is not a part of the consortium.

“A digital currency system built on a bank deposit-backed common platform will fit the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that could be planned and implemented in Japan,” special advisor to DeCurret and former head of Japan’s Financial Service Agency, Toshihide Endo, said during Wednesday conference.

The Japanese consortium will also incorporate a multitude of lenders, including Japan Post Bank Co Ltd, brokerages and insurers, and non-financial companies, such as Nippon Telegraph Corp, Kansai Electric Power Co Inc, and East Japan Railway Co.

In addition, other companies will also investigate options to gauge a currency such as this, all while experimenting with different uses for the digital currency in various industries, from energy to retail.

From another aspect, the consortium’s approach to releasing its own plan to digital currency will most likely trickle down the Bank of Japan’s scheme of launching its own CBDC, with regulators revealing they are working in synchronization with the BOJ if a digital currency is to be issued.

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