Visa partners with Circle to facilitate USDC payments
Visa announced a partnership today with Circle Internet Financial — one of the firms behind Ethereum-based stablecoin U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC) — to add USDC payment capability into Visa credit cards. According to Forbes, Circle will work with select Visa credit card issuers to integrate USDC software into their platforms to send and receive USDC payments. Eventually, Visa-supported businesses will be able to send USDC payments internationally to other Visa-supported businesses, according to Forbes. The funds will get converted to the national currency and can then be spent anywhere that accepts Visa. The partnership also has implications for cryptocurrency wallet providers, 25 of which Visa is already working with through its Fast Track program, a fintech accelerator. Fast Track members will now be able to pilot their own USDC integration initiatives. Other wallet providers — like Blockfi, which announced yesterday that it would launch a Visa card early next year — will be able to use USDC in the first quarter of 2021, Forbes reports.
Libra rebrands to Diem, hoping to shake off associations
According to a press release posted today, the Libra Association is changing its name to the Diem Association. The shift is likely in the hopes of turning the page on Libra's PR. Facebook initially announced its planned global stablecoin Libra in June of last year to immediate regulatory uproar that has swamped the project since. Facebook's involvement has proved especially controversial. The new name makes use of the Latin word for “day,” best known in the saying, “Carpe diem.” Just last week, the Libra Association announced that it was looking to launch a dollar-pegged version of Libra in January. This was itself a way of placating regulators in the United States who were uncomfortable with letting the association have full control over the “basket of currencies” proposed by the initial project.
Ethereum 2.0 staking is coming to Coinbase
The U.S. exchange plans to roll out support in early 2021. U.S. digital currency exchange Coinbase has outlined plans for supporting Ethereum 2.0 staking rewards — possibly setting the stage for even wider adoption of the smart contract platform. In an official blog post, Coinbase says it plans to roll out Eth2 staking, trading and conversion services starting in early 2021. Once Eth2 is supported, existing Coinbase customers will be able to convert their Ether (ETH) tokens to ETH2 and earn staking rewards. The news comes on the eve of the highly anticipated Ethereum Beacon Chain launch, which kicks off a multiyear upgrade of the blockchain network. The upgrade will transition Ethereum away from its existing proof-of-work consensus to a proof-of-stake network. Ethereum's development team claims that proof-of-stake reduces centralization risks and allows for a stronger defense against 51% attacks.
Pizza Hut to accept Bitcoin for pies in Venezuela
Fast food chains like Burger King and Church's Chicken already accept crypto payments in the South American nation. A famous U.S.-based pizza chain has begun accepting cryptocurrency payments in all its stores in Venezuela. Pizza Hut stores in the South American nation now accept crypto as a form of payment for food and drinks. The move follows the crypto firm partnering with Mega Soft to drive adoption in Venezuela by facilitating crypto payments at more than 20,000 shops and businesses. Using CryptoBuyer, customers can purchase pizza at the restaurant chain with Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Dash (DASH), Binance Coin (BNB), Binance USD (BUSD), Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT), Dai (DAI), and its native token XPT. Pizza Hut has locations in the capital, Caracas, as well in the cities of Maracay, Maracaibo and Barquisimeto. Based in Panama, Cryptobuyer is a cryptocurrency merchant gateway startup that also runs Bitcoin ATMs across Central and South America.
OECD tax director says international crypto tax standards are coming in 2021
The director of the OECD’s tax center has revealed that the organization expects to release a tax reporting standard for crypto assets by the end of next year. Pascal Saint-Amans, the director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, has asserted that the 37-nation organization will introduce a common reporting standard, or CRS, for crypto assets in 2021. According to Law360, Amans stated that the crypto tax standard “would be roughly equivalent to the CRS” developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to combat tax evasion. The new laws are expected to be introduced during the third quarter 2021. Despite the action taken by the EC, Amans expects that the OECD will establish crypto tax standards before Europe, describing the policy arena as an “opportunity for the EU to align with the OECD's standard.”