Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase appears to be strategically taking control of its destiny amid continued turmoil in the cryptocurrency industry in 2023. The company recently launched a lending platform for institutional investors, aiming to fill the void left by major players during the crypto winter of 2022, when companies such as Celsius Network, BlockFi and Genesis all went bankrupt.
The company previously shut down its Borrow service for retail customers in May due to regulatory scrutiny. The service allows certain customers to use cryptocurrency as collateral to obtain cash loans. However, new lending solutions focus on institutional investors—companies or organizations that invest on behalf of clients, such as mutual funds and pension plans.
Coinbase’s new venture raised millions of dollars in funding within days of launching, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Despite headwinds and uncertainty, the service’s debut shows that demand for cryptocurrency loans remains high among high-profile U.S. investors.
This week’s Crypto Biz also explores Marathon Digital’s latest Bitcoin mining report, Hana Bank’s move to offer cryptocurrency custody, and Google’s new cryptocurrency advertising policy.
Coinbase launches crypto lending platform for US institutions
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has launched a cryptocurrency lending service for U.S. institutional investors, reportedly aiming to capitalize on a massive failure in the cryptocurrency lending market. According to documents filed with the SEC, Coinbase customers have invested more than $57 million in the loan program since the first sale on August 28. In another headline, Coinbase’s recently launched Base network minted more than 700,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in August. The minted tokens are part of the launch’s strategy to stimulate adoption. However, Base’s launch hasn’t been flawless. The network experienced an outage on September 5 when its sequencer stopped producing blocks. A number of scams have also been advertised online, including a $6.5 million scam by Magnate Finance.
Marathon Bitcoin mining rate drops 9% in August
Cryptocurrency mining operator Marathon Digital Holdings produced 1,072 Bitcoins in August, 9% less than in July. The company said the production reduction was due to increased curtailment activity due to record high temperatures in Texas. The term brownout refers to reducing the amount of electricity generated to maintain a balance between supply and demand. Its chief executive, Fred Thiel, said the temporary shutdown far offset the progress the company had made in increasing operational computing power and optimizing operations. In August, Marathon’s operating computing power in the United States increased by 2% month-on-month to 19.1 exahash. The performance improvement is attributed to the upgrade of the Bitmain Antminer S19j Pro miner to the more efficient S19 XP model.
Google will allow NFT game ads starting from September 15th
Google has updated its cryptocurrency advertising policy to allow ads for blockchain-based NFT games as long as they do not promote gambling or gambling services. The new policy will continue to ban game ads that allow players to bet or stake NFTs with other players or earn rewards. NFT casino games that offer players to place bets or play for prizes (such as NFTs, cash, or cryptocurrencies) will also continue to be prohibited. Google previously banned all cryptocurrency-related advertising on its platform in March 2018.
As long as they don’t promote any form of gambling, NFT gaming ads will soon become popular on Google’s search platform. https://t.co/gSVeHxxkjx
— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) September 6, 2023
South Korea’s Hana Bank partners with BitGo to enter cryptocurrency custody business
KEB Hana Bank, one of South Korea’s largest banks, is offering digital asset custody services through a new partnership with cryptocurrency custody company BitGo Trust Company. According to local media reports, KEB Hana Bank signed a strategic business agreement with BitGo to jointly establish digital asset custody in South Korea. The commercial bank has a network of 111 branches, local bank assets of nearly US$10 billion and equity capital of US$490 million. Hana Bank and BitGo plan to launch a joint cryptocurrency custody venture in the second half of 2024.
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