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Central bank tells Thai banks not to offer crypto trading

The Bank of Thailand doesn’t want local banks or businesses using crypto, while the tourism ministry is still trying to attract crypto whales.
The Bank of Thailand has stated that it does not want commercial banks to be directly…



The Bank of Thailand doesn’t want local banks or businesses using crypto, while the tourism ministry is still trying to attract crypto whales.

The Bank of Thailand has stated that it does not want commercial banks to be directly involved in the trading of crypto assets.

The edict came from central bank senior director Chayawadee Chai-Anant on Dec. 7 who cited risks associated with high price volatility.

"We don't want banks to be directly involved in digital asset trading because banks are (responsible) for customer deposits and the public and there is risk."

The latest round of central bank suppression of digital assets comes at a time when commercial banks have been making investments in local cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a Bangkok Post report.

In early November, Thailand’s oldest bank Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) announced that it was acquiring a 51% stake in the country’s largest crypto exchange, Bitkub. In late August, the Zipmex crypto exchange raised $1.3 billion in funding from the country's fifth-largest lender, Bank of Ayudhya.

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has taken an increasingly tougher stance against digital assets despite their growing popularity in the country among individuals, companies, and banks.

Last week, BoT senior director Sakkapop Panyanukul warned businesses about accepting crypto, stating: "If other currencies are widely used, it will impact the central bank's ability oversee the economy." Referring to tokens not backed by assets, he labeled them as “blank coins.”

The central bank has also expressed concern over the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services. In a related report on Dec. 8, Chai-Anant commented that digital assets could be detrimental to merchants and consumers because they are “associated with high price volatility and risks of cyber theft, personal data leakage, and money laundering.”

“If digital assets become widely used as a means of payment for goods and services, such risks could affect payment system stability, financial stability, and consumer protection.”

Related: Thai lawmakers urged to approve tourism crypto to entice digital nomads

The BoT warnings come just a fortnight after the Kingdom’s tourism ministry ramped up its efforts to encourage the crypto-rich to visit the country. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has declared the country “crypto-friendly” but clearly, the central bankers don’t want it to be too friendly.

Thailand’s economy is heavily dependent on the tourism industry which has been battered during the pandemic. Much of the Kingdom remains in lockdown with very few arrivals at the time of writing despite efforts to lure crypto nomads and the like to a country where the central bank doesn’t want them using digital currencies.

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How can the Metaverse help the food industry?

The evolution of blockchain in the food industry started from establishing a Bitcoin Pizza Day, and now it’s moving into the Metaverse.
Cryptocurrencies and the food industry might not seem like the most intuitive pairing — one…



The evolution of blockchain in the food industry started from establishing a Bitcoin Pizza Day, and now it’s moving into the Metaverse.

Cryptocurrencies and the food industry might not seem like the most intuitive pairing — one based in the digital realm and the other firmly rooted in the physical. But going back to the earliest days of crypto, the very first real-world use case for Bitcoin (BTC) was food-related. On May 22, 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz enacted the first documented commercial BTC transaction, buying two Papa John’s pizzas for the princely sum of 10,000 BTC. 

That day is now enshrined in the crypto calendar as Bitcoin Pizza Day. By itself, the event has ended up becoming an annual celebration with restaurant chains and crypto firms alike taking advantage of the marketing opportunities. However, as well as marking Bitcoin’s debut as a medium of exchange, Bitcoin Pizza Day also kicked off crypto’s relationship with the food sector — one that’s beginning to flourish and is set to solidify further as Web3 and the Metaverse take over.

Crypto’s insatiable appetite for food

Bitcoin Pizza Day notwithstanding, the crypto world has always seemed to embrace food-related fads. A glance through any list of “dead coins” and you’ll find plenty of examples of culinary-sounding tokens, including Baconbitscoin, Onioncoin and Barbequecoin. Pizzacoin even still shows up on Coinmarketcap.

Like most projects that piled onto the initial coin offering (ICO) bandwagon, these tended to be tokens without any underlying tech to support them. However, the advent of the DeFi era brought a fresh batch of food-related protocols to the table, many of which thrive to this day — SushiSwap and PancakeSwap being the most obvious examples.

Related: When and why did the word ‘altcoin’ lose its relevance?

Names aside, over the years between the ICO craze and the bull market of 2021, there’s been plenty of other development at the convergence of blockchain, crypto and the food sector. Food traceability is one area that’s proven to be ripe for disruption. Solutions such as IBM’s Food Trust are often associated with groceries, such as Nestlé and Carrefour, but the company has also worked with a chain of seafood restaurants in California to bring more transparency to the origins and treatment of its menu items before they reach the table.

However, it’s in the customer relationship where blockchain and cryptocurrencies come into their own for the foodservice industry. Over recent years, and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, restaurants have found themselves increasingly distanced from their customers, thanks to the rising dominance of platforms like Uber Eats. It’s hardly surprising — the platform model had already upended industries from private transport (Uber) to hotels (Airbnb) to music (Spotify.)

Related: Tracing fishy risks with blockchain tech amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Applied to the restaurant sector, the platform model means that tech firms take over the customer relationship, including the payment process, data handling and loyalty programs. Food operators are squeezed into the background so that their product is the only part that ends up visible to the consumer. Perhaps most damagingly, relying on a platform can increase the price of food by an eye-watering 90%.

Restoring the balance

Blockchain and crypto are now increasingly able to restore the balance by facilitating a direct connection between restaurants and their customers. A blockchain-based marketplace for food operators provides a similar, user-friendly one-stop shop to find a variety of menu choices but allows the customer and restaurateur to interact freely, with merchants having full autonomy over their menus, prices and terms. This means that consumers pay merchants directly, without playing into the hands of a controlling third party. Rather, third parties function as infrastructure providers for restaurateurs and food shops, giving them the tools to run their online shop on their merit.

However, the ecosystem at present is still only at a fraction of its full potential, which will come into its own as the shift into the Metaverse picks up pace.

Food in the Metaverse? Surely there’s no place for activities like eating that are so firmly anchored in the real world? Digital consumption has its limits. But as we live out more and more of our lives in the digital sphere, the food industry will invariably move with the times.

Related: Why are major global brands experimenting with NFTs in the Metaverse?

So how will foodservice operators exist in the Metaverse?

A richer culinary experience

The answer is: they already are, at least in some cases. For Halloween, U.S. restaurant chain Chipotle opened a virtual restaurant for Roblox players. Users who entered the restaurant had a spooky, Halloween-themed experience and then received a promo code for a free burrito in the real world.

Largely, the progression of food service into the Metaverse will be a continuation of a digitization journey that’s already begun. Along with the platform model taking over food delivery and takeout, it’s also increasingly common to begin the restaurant experience online by researching options using Google or TripAdvisor. You might visit a restaurant’s website to look at the menu or see pictures or even videos of meals and the restaurant itself. Imagine watching your team play a virtual big game and seeing ads around the stadium for all the places you can eat afterward, just like in the physical stadium now.

Related: Fasten your seatbelt: Crypto’s impact on marketing has only just begun

Once the match has finished and you’re hungry for some takeout, you take your avatar down to a virtual street food market where you can check out the various operators and their menus, which are represented as virtual dishes. When you’re ready to order, you pay instantly with crypto, and voila! Your meal arrives at your door in real life within the next half an hour.

Or let’s say you want to impress someone special in your life with a nice meal at a high-end restaurant. You could choose your venue and even your table based on a virtual tour. You can even chat with virtual chefs about the preparation and ingredients of a particular dish or browse the wine menu with a virtual sommelier advising you on your meal pairing choices.

A smorgasbord of opportunities

All these scenarios are imagined only from the customer side — from the restaurant side, the opportunities are vast. For instance, if someone books a table after a virtual tour, the restaurant could request a booking deposit to be made in crypto using an escrow system based on smart contracts. This would protect against one of the biggest issues in the restaurant industry — no-show bookings. If the person doesn’t show, the smart contract simply transfers the funds in escrow to the restaurant.

The food service industry hasn’t necessarily benefited from how the digital shift has unfolded so far. However, blockchain and crypto offer a chance to restore the relationship between food merchants and customers. Beyond that, the Metaverse is poised to create unparalleled new value for the entire sector.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Bas Roos is the CEO at Bistroo, a peer-to-peer food marketplace that aims to break down the barrier of real-life use cases for cryptocurrencies. Bas loves exploring how IT can improve business processes. With experience in IT management and risk assessment, Bas has gone deep down into the blockchain space.

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TechCrunch+ roundup: 2021 edtech report, UBS-Wealthfront deal, falling startup revenue

I could spend hours discussing early-stage startup operations and community-based marketing, but deal flow is my blind spot.



I could spend hours discussing early-stage startup operations and community-based marketing, but deal flow is my blind spot.

But when investment banking firm UBS picked up financial robot-advisor Wealthfront for $1.4 billion in an all-cash deal this week, I noticed.

“At those prices, the company’s exit price is a win in that it represents a 2x or greater multiple on its final private valuations,” wrote Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange. “But its exit value is also parsable from a number of alternative perspectives: AUM, customers and revenue,” he added.

Examining each of those factors in turn, Alex found that the deal is more than just a “next-gen push” intended “to reach rich young Americans,” as some headlines suggested.

This exit will help other fintechs set expectations, but it should give a mental boost to anyone who thinks they’re too late to start up in this space.

Full TechCrunch+ articles are only available to members
Use discount code TCPLUSROUNDUP to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription

Just over 56% of Americans own stock, but that figure is still several points lower than it was before the Great Recession more than a decade ago. With more consumers buying crypto and fractional shares today, I’d say the robo-advisor race is still doing a parade lap.

Alex, who swims through deal flow like a carefree dolphin, agrees with me — to a point:

The recent declines in active users on platforms like Robinhood, and the success of fintechs like M1 in the last few years could point to a market more open to robo-advising, but the question is whether their lower-cost model can prove sufficiently interesting to investors.

Wealthfront, for example, takes a 0.25% cut of consumer funds. Robinhood I think was doing a bit better when we considered its PFOF incomes against lower-value customer accounts that were actively trading.

Can the robos present a financial picture that is similarly strong? If they can, they will likely prove less volatile than Robinhood has to date.

We’re essentially in agreement: it’s never too late for a good idea.

Thanks very much for reading TechCrunch+ this week!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+

European and North American edtech startups see funding triple in 2021

Image Credits: Bet_Noire (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Pre-pandemic, VCs were notoriously reluctant to invest in education-related companies. Today, edtech startups are seeing higher average deal sizes, more seed and pre-seed funding from non-VC investors, and an influx of generalists.

According to Rhys Spence, head of research at Brighteye Ventures, funding for edtech startups based in Europe and North America trebled over the last year.

“Exciting companies are spawning across geographies and verticals, and even generalist investors are building conviction that the sector is capable of producing the same kind of outsized returns generated in fintech, healthtech and other sectors,” writes Spence.

Here’s how far VCs have lowered revenue expectations for seed through Series B

A front view on multiple spreadsheets containing binary computer data, financial figures and graph lines.

Image Credits: Matejmo (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Valuations are soaring, but revenue averages for SaaS startups “have seen a recent and rapid decline,” according to a Kruze Consulting report Alex Wilhelm studied yesterday.

The revenue growth goalposts for early-stage startups wanting to fundraise have moved closer in the past couple of years, which means investors are now willing to pour money into companies with slower growth than they were earlier, Alex wrote.

“In all, startups are getting paid better, faster for less work than before. It’s a great time to raise, but a pretty awful time for venture capitalists trained in an era when they got more equity for their dollar.”

Dear Sophie: 3 questions about immigration and naturalization

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

My F-1 OPT will run out this June. My employer has agreed to register me in the H-1B lottery in March.

What are my options if I’m not selected in the lottery?

—Gritty Grad

I’m in the U.S. with an L-1A visa that will max out later this year. My wife has been with me during the whole period on an L-2. Can my wife apply for H-1B this year?

Would she need to leave the country to activate it?

—Helpful Hubby

I have a 10-year green card that will expire later this year. I’ve been married to a U.S. citizen for 11 years, but we are in the process of divorcing.

Can I apply for U.S. citizenship even after my divorce?

—New Year, New Life

IBM shrugs off investor EPS concerns, sells growth story

Madrid headquarters of IBM International Business Machine, the American multinational of informatics and technology consulting services in Madrid, Spain

Madrid headquarters of IBM International Business Machine, the American multinational of informatics and technology consulting services, Spain, November 2012. Image Credits: Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images

IBM’s earnings report was received positively, but when CFO Jim Kavanaugh declined to share the company’s earnings per share expectations on a post-earnings conference call, the stock quickly tanked.

The stock recovered the following day, but the blip was newsworthy, since a narrow focus on offloading some assets, expanding growth and free cash flow puts IBM on track for further growth, analysts told Alex Wilhelm and Ron Miller.

“Good to see IBM finding back the growth that has eluded the vendor for longer than any investor would have liked,” said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research.

“But a small ship can sail faster, and with Kyndryl and Watson Health assets being offloaded, it will help make IBM sail faster.”

In blow to unicorns, the global IPO market continues to soften

It’s still a great time to be a startup founder. Specifically — an early-stage startup founder.

WeTransfer’s parent, WeRock, delayed its IPO earlier this week, becoming the latest major software firm to shelve its plans to go public after JustWorks.

Before that, a bevy of SPAC IPOs that many hoped would shoot to the moon instead drifted off course after launching.

These signals, taken with several others, suggest that this might not be the best time to go public, wrote Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim in The Exchange.

“Are the good times ending?”

Edtech startups flock to the promise and potential of personalized learning

Image Credits: Getty Images/smartboy10/DigitalVision

Everyone learns differently, but parents, teachers and schools tend to forget that vital fact in the classroom.

The enforced changes brought by the pandemic, however, have led some teachers and parents to realize that personalized learning is key to education, especially in the case of neurodiverse students.

As a result, a new wave of startups have appeared that promise to deliver curricula that adapts to a student’s emotional or educational state, reports Natasha Mascarenhas.

“The pandemic’s extended stay has caused edtech entrepreneurs – and society – to view learning outcomes as broader than job placement and exam scores,” she wrote.

3 views: How should startups prepare for a post-pandemic dip?

An illustration of a descending jet airplane with a unicorn logo on its tail

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

If the public markets were a swimming pool, it would still be open for business, but there’d be signs warning newcomers that the water has gotten a bit chilly.

Natasha Mascarenhas, Mary Ann Azevedo and Alex Wilhelm, the trio behind the Equity podcast, shared their predictions about what’s in store for startup funding and due diligence in 2022:

  • Natasha Mascarenhas: ‘The Lean Startup’ has aged with an asterisk
  • Alex Wilhelm: Money over bulls**t
  • Mary Ann Azevedo: Don’t try to be all the things

Crypto pioneer David Chaum says web3 is ‘computing with a conscience’

In 1982, computer scientist David Chaum wrote a dissertation that described a blockchain protocol, along with the code for implementing it.

Since then, his cryptologic research has led to developments like digital cash and anonymous communication networks. This week, he launched xxmessenger, which the company describes as the first “quantum-resistant” messaging app.

When we asked him what has changed in the past few years, Chaum said, “Seems to me that Bitcoin and the like have created something that could no longer be ignored. Now the question is: How can it be brought to the general public in a way that they can readily adopt this next generation of information technology?”

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Is MINA a good buy in February 2022?

MINA/USD has collapsed from $6.7 to $2.06 since November 11, and the current price stands at $2.26. World’s lightest blockchain Mina is the world’s lightest blockchain, powered by participants with a mission to build a gateway between the real world…



MINA/USD has collapsed from $6.7 to $2.06 since November 11, and the current price stands at $2.26.

World’s lightest blockchain

Mina is the world’s lightest blockchain, powered by participants with a mission to build a gateway between the real world and crypto.

Many other blockchain protocols don’t interact with the internet; they are heavy and require intermediaries to run nodes, limiting applications’ utility.

Mina can interact with any website, enabling developers to leverage information in computing to change real-world problems without compromising the privacy of users’ sensitive data.

Mina does not require intermediaries to run nodes, and the entire Mina blockchain is about 22kb1, the size of a couple of tweets.

This blockchain will stay accessible even as it scales because it was built on a consistent-sized cryptographic proof.

Anyone can connect peer-to-peer and quickly sync and verify the chain, while participants can also access strong censorship resistance and secure the blockchain.

Mina is truly decentralized, so anyone who’s syncing the chain is also validating transactions like a full node and can take part in proof-of-stake consensus.

This blockchain project dedicates lots of effort to provide the simplest possible experience for clients who may have no familiarity with the crypto space, and it has one of the largest and most active communities.

The native token of this blockchain is the MINA which is used to execute network transactions. Users can also stake their MINA tokens to earn a reward while securing the network or exchange it like any other cryptocurrency.

MINA token has achieved an impressive gain in the second week of November 2021, and it has reached a record high of $6.7 on November 11. MINA is currently down more than 65% from its peak, mainly because the prices of all other cryptocurrencies went down.

The U.S. central bank signaled interest rate hikes starting in March and a shift away from pandemic-era economic support measures. In such conditions, risk-on assets tend to suffer as the cost of borrowing money becomes more expensive.

Bears in control of MINA

MINA has collapsed from its record high of $6.7, registered on November 11, and according to technical analysis, it remains in a bear market.

The current support level for MINA stands at $2, and if the price falls below it, the next price target could be around $1.5 or even below.

On the other side, if the price jumps above $25, it would be a strong “buy” signal, and we have the open way to a resistance level that stands at $30.


MINA has collapsed from its record high of $6.7, and according to technical analysis, this cryptocurrency remains in a bear market. Investors should consider that if Bitcoin falls below the $30000 support, the price of MINA can weaken even more.

La notizia Is MINA a good buy in February 2022? era stato segnalata su Invezz.

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