16 March

“The Kintsugi 🍵 merge testnet, launched late December, has been a valuable testing ground for The Merge. Through various test suites, multi-client devnets, shadow forks of Goerli, application deployments, and the community’s help #TestingTheMerge, we’ve arrived at a set of stable and robust protocol specifications. Now that clients have implemented these latest specs, a successor to Kintsugi, Kiln 🔥🧱, has been launched!

Like the Ethereum mainnet, Kiln’s execution layer was launched under proof-of-work in parallel to a Beacon Chain running proof-of-stake. The Merge happened on Kiln on March 15, 2022. The network is now running entirely under proof-of-stake!

Kiln is expected to be the last merge testnet created before existing public testnets are upgraded. Application & tooling developers, node operators, infrastructure providers and stakers are strongly encouraged to test on Kiln to ensure a smooth transition on existing public testnets.”

“We’re working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term.

Zuckerberg also said that “hopefully” in the coming months, Instagram members will be able to mint their own non-fungible tokens (NFT) within the app.

“Ethereum application and infrastructure builder ConsenSys has closed a $450 million funding round that values the New York City-based blockchain company at $7 billion.

The firm’s new valuation coincides with its flagship Ethereum wallet and browser extension, MetaMask, reaching over 30 million monthly active users, while Infura, a widely used infrastructure tool created by ConsenSys, now boasts some 430,000 developers.

Physical expansion plans for ConsenSys will see the firm’s headcount increase from 700 to over 1,000 employees by the end of 2022. The funding will also support the expansion of MetaMask with a major redesign scheduled for release later this year.

The firm’s stated intention is to convert much of its treasury into Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), some of which will be sunk into decentralized finance (DeFi) yield and governance operations, ConsenSys said. The lion’s share will be staked in anticipation of Ethereum’s upcoming merge to proof-of-stake.

We view ourselves as powering what’s going on, rather than trying to compete with what’s going on.”

See Also: Ethereum Wallet MetaMask Passes 30M Users, Plans DAO and Token
See Also: Polygon Studios Adds C-Suite and VP-Level Talent From Amazon, Electronic Arts, Penske Media

Saudi Arabia is in discussions with Beijing about pricing some Saudi oil sales to China in yuan instead of dollars, according to a Wall Street Journal report. China is a buyer of more than 25% of Saudi Arabia’s exported oil.

Chatter about this sort of arrangement has been ongoing for several years, but recent events have brought a new urgency to talks. According to the report, the Saudis are questioning longstanding U.S. security commitments to the kingdom.”

See Also: Petrodollar Cracks: Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan For Chinese Oil Sales

“Hong Kong’s stock market had its worst day since 2008 this week, with the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI), an index of mainland China companies listed in Hong Kong, closing down 7% Monday and dropping another 4% by mid-day Tuesday.

Huobi’s Research Institute director [stated] this market volatility was largely driven by regulatory developments in China and the U.S., and is unrelated to broader macroeconomic factors which is why it has not impacted the crypto market.

Last Friday the [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] disclosed a list of delisting risks that included five U.S.-listed Chinese companies, sparking investor concerns about the delisting of Chinese stocks, so Chinese and U.S. investors have been selling off.

Even though Hong Kong’s market decline is regulatory and not macro-driven, some investors are urging caution.

All-time high intra-country wealth gaps, along with all-time high sovereign debt levels, and all-time highs of inter-country connectivity have created an extremely fragile global economy.”

See Also: Bitcoin and Stocks Stabilize Ahead of Fed Announcement

Aptos, a team helmed by former Facebook coders, is among a handful of teams looking to bring the Diem (formerly Libra) blockchain to life outside of the watchful eye of Meta. Notably, Aptos said its devnet, meant for coders to contribute open-source code, is now live – with developers at big-name crypto firms offering their time.

There are great companies like Anchorage, Binance, Blockorus, Coinbase [COIN], Livepeer, Moonclave, Paxos, Paymagic, Rarible and Streaming Fast in our community already giving feedback, and contributing code on Devnet.”

“Kazakhstan’s crackdown on illegal crypto mines has forced another 106 miners to stop operations. In late February, the government said it busted 202 megawatts worth of illegal crypto mines.

Following investigations by the country’s financial monitoring agency and other state bodies, 55 of the mines closed voluntarily and 51 were forced to shut down. The 51 are suspected of tax and customs evasion and placing equipment in special economic zones without permission.”