“Three were handed over to the elves, immortal creatures, the wisest and fairest of all living.

 Seven are given to the lords of the dwarves - the great miners of gems and artisans of mountain caves.

 And the Nine… The Nine Rings were given to the human race…”

At an informal summit in St. Petersburg, the leaders of the CIS countries were presented with "club rings" with New Year's greetings.

 In addition to the President of Russia, the Presidents of Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the Prime Minister of Armenia received the rings.

 Meanwhile, Erdogan announced the discovery of a new gas field in the Black Sea for 58 billion cubic meters.  Due to this, the reserves of natural gas fields in Turkish territorial waters in the Black Sea increased to 710 billion cubic meters and are estimated at $1 trillion.

 But despite this and the fact that Turkey is actively enticing the fraternal Turkic peoples to cooperate in the gas industry, the heads of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan nevertheless agreed to work with Russia to create a gas union.  Quite predictably, as I predicted in one of their previous issues.

 At the same time, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan decided to unite the automotive industry.  A new alliance called "Turkic Auto Industry" was headed by the Uzbek company UzAuto Motors.

 In turn, BMW plans to integrate blockchain technology into its daily operations and create a blockchain-based loyalty program for its customers in Thailand.  For this, the company chose Coinweb and BNB chain.

 And speaking of German companies in general, they plan to invest more in Africa in 2023.  It also became known that 40 EU staff, along with observers from Norway, Switzerland and Canada, will work in Nigeria on the day of the elections, scheduled for February 25, 2023.  I spoke in detail about the attitude of the authorities towards the crypt in Nigeria in several past issues.

But in Kenya, they are gaining momentum to install battery replacement stations for electric bikes.  A very logical move that many fans of this type of transport were waiting for.  Instead of waiting for a charge, the rider simply replaces the battery with one already charged and continues on his highway to Hell.

 Elon Musk has not yet guessed such a decision, so it is not surprising that Tesla shares have collapsed by 72% this year.

 The company also announced the construction of a factory for the production of electric vehicles in Mexico.

 The plant in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, will be the company's first North American facility located outside of the United States.  The plant in Mexico will be part of a global production expansion program that also includes factories in Austin, Berlin and Shanghai.

 Meanwhile, in Mexico itself, they are returning to their roots.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are becoming popular among drug cartels.  According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, two members of the cartel used the Binance exchange for laundering.  According to the investigation, a methamphetamine and cocaine gang operating in the US, Mexico, Europe and Australia used the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, to launder tens of millions of drug proceeds.  According to the DEA, between $15 million and $40 million of their earnings could have flowed through Binance.

 In turn, Binance Pay has entered into a partnership with fintech firm Pyypl, which uses Ripple ODL and the XRP token for cross-border transfers.  The exchange also added the ability to buy crypto through Apple Pay and Google Pay.

 In America itself, in the first 11 months of 2022, 5.3 thousand trademarks related to the metaverses and virtual assets for them were already registered, a year earlier there were 1.9 thousand trademarks in the field of cryptocurrencies and services in the field of digital  4.9 thousand assets were registered until December this year, for the whole of 2021 - 3.5 thousand.

 This week, a snow storm that hit the US led to a record decline in natural gas production.  At the same time, the level of gas consumption in the United States rose to the highest levels since the beginning of 2019.

 For the same reason, electricity prices in Texas, for example, jumped more than 400%.  Which naturally could not but be reflected in mining.  On December 24, the hashrate of the first cryptocurrency fell from 229 EH / s to 156 EH / s - by about 32%.

By the way, it is worth noting that two BTC mining pools - Foundry and AntPool - account for over 60% of the blocks mined recently.

 And if we take into account that in 2022, the 10 largest pools sold almost all mined coins to zero (40,300 BTC were sold out of 40,700 BTC mined), it becomes obvious that the miners have too much influence on the network and put quite a lot of pressure on the exchange rate.

 But the decentralization beloved by many is lame so far not only in bitcoin.

 According to Willy Woo: just 3 months after switching to PoS, already 69% of all ETH validators are behaving in accordance with the US Treasury sanctions policy.

 This means that Ethereum is already under the control of the US government.  And all DeFi applications running on the ETH network are not decentralized and transactions are not resistant to censorship.

 As noted by Delphi Research: 4 providers account for 57% of ETH staking.  For Lido Finance alone - 30%

 According to the Nansen report, in 2022, NFT transactions were issued and conducted on Ethereum for a total of $23.7 billion.

 In turn, OpenSea actively removes Cuban artists and users to comply with US sanctions.

 The Marshall Islands, on the other hand, were the first in the world to legally secure the status of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO).  In fact, they were equated with LLC (LLC).

 The legislation distinguishes between DAOs that are set up for profit and those that are not-for-profit organizations.

 The forecasts of the South Korean exchange Korbit for 2023 are interesting:

  •  Fed monetary policy change in 1H 2023 will lead to the recovery of the crypto market
  • more sovereign countries will accept BTC as legal tender or include it as an investment asset of public institutions (pension funds, central bank balance sheets, etc.)
  •  USDC market cap will exceed USDT market cap

 The Republic of Palau has partnered with Ripple to create a national stablecoin.

 I talked about the regulation of stablecoins in Japan in previous issues, and this week it became known that the country of the rising sun simplifies the rules for listing tokens on crypto exchanges.

 The Dogecoin cryptocurrency is declining amid the illness of the Japanese Shiba Inu dog, named Doge, the symbol of the meme token.  She fell ill and is dying, the dog is almost 18 years old.

 At the same time, the DOGE developer refutes rumors about the possibility of a sharp transition from Dogecoin to PoS - the transition is only possible, and if an offer is received, based on the results of a long discussion and voting in the community.

 Meanwhile, former head of Fidelity's blockchain division, Thomas Paccia, has opened PubKey, a themed Bitcoin bar in New York.

 The interior is decorated with a honey badger, nesting dolls of kryptans who distinguished themselves this year, and other paraphernalia.  At the first stage, you can only pay in fiat.  This is by design to make sure the staff is trained enough and everything works as it should.  However, PubKey has already approached Block Inc CEO Jack Dorsey with a request to host Square's Lightning Network payment solution.

 “It has been a tough year for a lot of people.  The opening of the bar is one of the most positive moments.  I like to drink and I like bitcoin,” Paccia commented on the discovery."

Fidelity itself, unlike JPMorgan, believes that the majority of institutions are interested in crypto and have applied for trademarks related to crypto, metaverses and NFTs.

 The Britons at HSBC are not far behind and are doing the same.

 China is ahead of the rest.  Bank of China has patented a payment method in the metaverses, and on January 1, 2023, the Chinese authorities will launch their first regulated NFT marketplace.

 In turn, Justin Sun is delighted with Dmitry Medvedev's forecast that the Bretton Woods system, the IMF and the World Bank will fall.  The Euro and the Dollar will no longer circulate as global reserve currencies, and digital fiat will replace it.

 The Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia discussed the interaction of countries in the OPEC + format, and Russian companies conducted the first transactions with Indian rupees.

 Now up to 20 specialized accounts are opened in Indian banks in order to carry out such trading operations in rupees not only with Russia, but with Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

 At the same time, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation reports that the ruble in the future should become not only the currency of settlements with friendly countries, but also the currency of the contract.

 Also, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation plans to start testing the digital ruble on real clients from April 2023.  The draft law on the creation of a digital ruble in the Russian Federation has already been submitted to the State Duma.

 Also, the government does not exclude the possibility of settlements in cryptocurrencies with trading partners from other countries:

 "We do not make settlements in dollars and euros, cryptocurrency, at least with those countries that are ready to have trade relations with us - as a possible source of settlements - why not? If we are going to use cryptocurrency as an element of our  cross-border payments, then we need to do it comfortably for our participants in foreign economic activity"

 At the same time, the national crypto-exchange of the Russian Federation may appear as early as next spring - first of all, it is necessary for the implementation of the initiative to legalize digital currencies in international settlements, scheduled for January-February 2023.

 The first issue of digital financial assets (DFA) for gold took place on the Sberbank blockchain platform.  The new tool can become a good alternative to investments in the framework of de-dollarization of the economy, the bank believes.

 In the coming 2023, 1.8 thousand Russian villages will be connected to the Internet.  And very cool news - the authorities still allowed the use of 5.9-6.4 GHz frequencies for the Wi-Fi 6E communication standard in offices and residential buildings.

 But nothing compares to the latest news - a Russian game developer has unveiled "Garage Jumping Simulator".  The premiere took place on the service of digital copies of video games Steam.

 The environment of the game is familiar to any CIS heart: sleeping areas and garage cooperatives.

 The creators said that the game "pays tribute to post-Soviet culture and captures the childhood of our generation through the ages."

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