From the Matrix to the Metaverse

Unlike the last nostalgic week, this one is rapidly carrying us into the world of the future. The news is truly world-class: scientists from the NIF laboratory for the first time have achieved a net increase in energy in a fusion reaction.

For those who do not know what it is at all, I strongly recommend reading about the invention of Soviet scientists "tokomak", as well as about the international project ITER. In short, humanity is trying to create an "artificial sun" to extract cheap and safe energy, which in the first place should replace oil and gas.

Further more. EctoLife presented the concept of the world's first artificial fruit rearing facility. Each has 30,000 cells. Such a number of children can produce an automatic machine every year.

With the help of a special mobile application, future parents will be able to monitor the condition and development of their unborn child. The creator of the concept, Hashem Al-Ghaili, argues that pregnancy and childbirth, as a physiological and psychological process, are extremely painful and burdensome for modern women.

In pursuit of this news, Sony Group Corp announced that it is technologically ready to produce humanoid robots.

 “In terms of technology, several companies in the world, including our own, have accumulated enough technology to make them quickly, once it becomes clear which use case will be promising,” - Sony CTO Hiroaki Kitano

 A little earlier, in November of this year, Sony Group Corp, together with Toyota Motor Co and six other Japanese companies, like Voltron, joined forces in a single "mega-company" Rapidus.  At the same time, the Japanese government is investing $493 million in Rapidus, the Financial Times noted.

 Toyota, Sony and other project participants, including Kioxoa Holdings Corp., Tokyo Electron Ltd.  and SoftBank Group Corp.  will add another $50 million each.

 Rapidus, as part of the revival of domestic microelectronics, will work with the international research center Imec in Belgium to assemble a new generation of microcircuits in Japan.  It is expected that such cooperation will allow Japan to master the production of the latest microcircuits and establish it at home by 2027.

 At the same time, Japan will join the US and tighten the export of chips to China.

 The United States itself will impose sanctions on more than 30 Chinese technology companies this week, including the country's largest memory chip maker, YMTC.

 Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Lummis, who suddenly burst into the last article, no less suddenly bursts into this one with the proposal that BTC should be included in pension plans!

 But Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed extremely radical measures to regulate crypto in the United States.  Extend KYC to those who use services such as crypto wallets, mining, validation, etc., instructing FinCEN to classify these services as providers of services for servicing money transactions.

 In addition, it is planned to introduce verification and control over transactions from cold crypto wallets, prohibit financial institutions from using cryptomixers and making transactions with crypto assets that have passed through them.

 Also require US individuals to report their overseas crypto accounts and transactions over $10,000 in tokens.  In addition, it is supposed to strengthen control over the owners of cryptomats, ordering them to regularly report on the crypto addresses used and obliging them to implement client verification.

However, for those who read my digests, such news is not at all something shocking.  To be honest, I have no idea how the crypto has lasted SO long.

 By the way, the founder of Cardano shares inside information that the proceedings between the SEC and Ripple may end this week.  I, however, have a hard time believing this.  Especially since the head of the SEC will be "held accountable" for the collapse of FTX, Rep. Tom Emmer tells us.

 US Republican Senator Bill Hagerty, at a hearing in the Banking Committee, announced the close ties of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange with the Chinese government.

 As I previously drew our closest attention, the head of the exchange, Changpeng Zhao, repeatedly emphasized that he had nothing to do with China, but we all know that his ethnicity was often at the center of attacks on the company and suggested that this would be repeated at the hearings  in the Senate.

 We will talk about the owner of Binance later, but in Canada, of which CZ considers himself a citizen, crypto firms will be banned from offering leveraged trading to citizens.  Crypto venues will also need to keep customer funds separate from their own.

 At the same time, CZ himself, during a discussion on Twitter Space, stated that the majority (99%) will lose their crypto faster by sending it to a cold wallet than to an exchange.  I won't argue with him.  True, the new wallet from Ledger, which I talked about in the last issue, is still damn attractive.

 Despite the news above, Binance has opened the Binance Pay payment system for its US customers.

 Also this week, MetaMask wallet developer ConsenSys announced a partnership with PayPal.  US users will be able to buy Ethereum directly from the mobile app!

 Meanwhile, in Lugano, Switzerland, the massive introduction of crypto payments is unfolding.

 Tether, back in February, announced that it was going to turn this city into the European capital of the crypt.

 The initiative is promoted as a "plan ₿".  It is designed to revolutionize the financial sector of the city, known for its blockchain-friendly approach.

 And it is likely that this is not the worst idea.  For example, MicroStrategy shares have made +65% since the company adopted the BTC strategy in August 2020.

Perhaps the BTC strategy needed to be adopted by someone else.  The international agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed the UK's long-term issuer default rating in foreign currency at 'AA-', while downgrading the outlook from stable to negative.

 Not surprisingly, the Bank of England has opened applications to test the CBDC wallet.

 At the same time, there has been no external demand for Italy's public debt for more than a year, and domestic demand is also zero.  The ECB is the sole buyer, and Italy and Greece's debt is on life support.

 What does the Central Bank of Italy do?  That's right, urgently jumps into the outgoing crypto train.  Together with the Italian insurer IVASS, they chose the Algorand blockchain to test the processing of bank and insurance guarantees.  The new platform is expected to be operational in early 2023.

 In Europe itself, the first fully regulated and licensed EUROe stablecoin pegged to EUR will soon be launched.  And the Digital Euro (CBDC) is on the list of EU priorities ahead of the 2024 elections!

 The plans to launch the CBDC in 2024 were announced by the Central Bank of Brazil.  However, I wrote about the crypto environment in Brazil and other countries of South America and how Stripe will connect the USA and African countries with the help of the Lightning Network in the last issue.

 By the way, the data of an interesting study clearly show the advantage of the Bitcoin Lightning Network.  Visa made 165 billion payments in 2021, PayPal made 19.3 billion payments across the platform, and FedWire made 204 million.  Below is the number of payments per second for 2021:

The numbers are promising - each Lightning node is required to be able to complete just four payments per second to outperform current payment networks by at least twice.  At this speed, 4,066 unique four-node groups can process 16,264 payments per second, 2.2 times faster than Visa's largest competitor.

 Worse still for traditional payment networks, Lightning's average transaction fee is 13 times lower (0.1%) than Visa's (1.29%).

 Also, there are no real technical blockers to prevent Lightning nodes from eventually reaching 1000 payments per second!  At this number, the current throughput of the entire network would be closer to four million per second, not to mention what it would be with further increase in the number of nodes.

 And this week it became known that this network will be used for fiat transfers between Africa and the EU.  Everything is exactly the same as with Stripe.

 The same “Send Globally” application, but now from Bitnob, allows you to send pounds sterling (GBP) or euros (EUR) to the same three countries: Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana directly to a bank account.

 CoinCorner client funds are converted to bitcoin when using Send Globally and sent via the Lightning Network to Bitnob.  The latter immediately converts them into the appropriate local currency: naira (NGN), shillings (KES) or cedi (GHS).'s gone 😅 Just kidding.

 Meanwhile, in the good old Europe, Deutsche Bank and Rabobank are accused of cartel in the EU bond markets.

 Now watch for hands 👉 We also learned that Deutsche Bank is partnering with Nvidia to bring artificial intelligence to financial services.  👇

 NVIDIA spokesman said that the company expects to use the entire production capacity of the Taiwanese TSMC.  👇

 And TSMC announced a threefold increase in investment in its US plant in Arizona, which will produce some of the most advanced chips.

 C-c-c-combo!  🥊

China, in turn, will spend more than 1 trillion yuan ($143 billion) as part of a support package to expand the domestic semiconductor industry.

 At the same time, in Hong Kong, which I spoke about in detail in previous issues, the first crypto futures ETFs were launched!  But do not relax - the Hong Kong regulator has announced that it will tighten control over crypto platforms.

 But he is not alone in this.  The New York financial regulator has released a guide to crypto for banks.  An important point to note is that studies show that the United States is by far the largest oil producer in the world, producing about 16.6 million barrels of oil per day on average in 2021.  You will soon understand why I am reporting this.

 Saudi Arabia and Russia follow each other in second and third place.  At the same time, according to Sergey Lavrov, it is time for Russia and Kazakhstan to move away from settlements in dollars and euros.

 In Kazakhstan itself, the digital tenge technological platform has been successfully tested.  Industrial application may begin at the end of 2023. Following the results of the second phase, which was also successful, a WhitePaper was published explaining the need for the introduction of CBDC.

 Meanwhile, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, members of the Organization of Turkic States, are preparing to start negotiations on creating a common energy corridor bypassing Russia.

 At the same time, inflation in Kazakhstan "reached historical highs over the past 14 years" - 19.6%.  The situation is no better in Uzbekistan.  According to some estimates, a country that controls 1.3% of the world's gas reserves may turn into a net importer due to the exhaustion of equipment and lack of investment.  Perhaps the refusal of gasoline cooperation with the Russian Federation was not the smartest move.

 The Russian SBER has begun issuing DFA for gold on its own blockchain platform.  As the bank explained, this is an analogue of a traditional depersonalized metal account with advantages.

 In addition, Russians will soon be able to buy tokens for part of the cost of an apartment.  The first such proposals may appear on the market as early as the first quarter of 2023.  Such a project is currently being developed by the "Samolet" group.  By redeeming the token, the investor acquires a part of the property that provides the asset.  The client will receive passive income due to the rise in price of the apartment when the house is completed.

 From "digital" gold to "black".  Russia remains the largest oil supplier to India for the second month in a row.  And from next week, Russia will begin direct settlements with India in rupees!  A number of Russian banks have received permission to open accounts in Indian banks in rupees for trading.

 Banks also recorded a noticeable increase in Russians' interest in yuan deposits.  The growth in the volume of such deposits in banks amounted to hundreds of percent.

 But not everything is calm between China and India.  Their troops exchanged fire three days ago in the Tawang sector of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.  True, according to the video frames, it seems that the battle was “hand-to-hand” - with sticks and stones.

At the same time, the volume of trade between Iran and China will exceed $300 million in 2023, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.  But all this news is nothing compared to the next one.  Let's watch our hands again

 China and Saudi Arabia have signed $50 billion investment deals. 👉 China says it is moving to buy oil and gas in yuan, a move that could threaten the dollar's global dominance in the long term.  👉 China intends to use the Shanghai Oil and National Gas Exchange to conclude energy deals in yuan with the countries of the Persian Gulf.  👉 Xi Jinping said that China will deepen cooperation in the field of digital currencies with the Gulf countries.

 "Toasty" (c) 🍞

 EY opens EY APAC Tech Lab in China.  The center will leverage the power of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, 5G and Web3, to enhance the innovative potential of EY companies and clients.

 The three largest companies in China are investing heavily in high-tech Research and Development (R&D).

 In 2021, Baidu committed $3.9 billion to R&D, representing 20% of its annual turnover.  The company is actively developing AI cloud computing and autonomous driving technologies.

 “In the third quarter of 2022, each Apollo Go robot car made an average of more than 15 trips per day in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.  This is almost the same as the average number of trips for a regular car in a taxi service" - Baidu CEO Robin Li.

 During the same period, Alibaba invested $9.18 billion in R&D, or 7% of revenue.  The company's main areas of research are AI cloud computing and IoT devices for the smart home and city.

 Tencent has invested $7.23 billion in R&D. The company considers metaverses to be one of the promising areas.  In June 2022, the tech giant created a division that will develop augmented reality technologies.

 Summarizing all of the above, I will give the theses of the Economist Intelligence macro review of technologies and telecoms for 2023, which perfectly coincides with the news of the past two weeks:

  • consolidation will continue in the Asian telecommunications sector;
  • semiconductors will remain a geopolitical tool in the dispute between China and the United States, which will affect the whole world;
  • AI will continue to develop, there will be pressure from regulators;
  • the metaverse will not become a mass market in 2023, but the sector will continue to attract large investments

“In the next 10 years, we will plunge into the data metaverse” - Maxim Konovalikhin, Head of the Data Analysis and Modeling Department at VTB Bank, said that the metaverse is closer than it seems, as well as the connection between the Data Fusion concept and augmented reality.

 Nvidia, mentioned earlier, says the auto industry will start using the Metaverse in 2023.  Nvidia itself announced that week that it was developing industrial metaverses.

 Shaquille O'Neal will hold a New Year's VR party on the Meta platforms.  And Sandbox enters into a partnership with Forbes.  It will give players the opportunity to enjoy the legendary atmosphere of the Forbes party in the metaverse.

 Bermuda-based Jewel Bank will issue a fully backed Jewel USD (#JUSD) stablecoin on the Polygon blockchain.  Polygon itself will join Game7, a Web3 Gaming DAO with a community-driven treasury, as a participant in a $100 million grant program dedicated to building better, sustainable open source games.

 According to forecasts, by 2028 the size of the NFT market in the UAE will be $4.74 billion!  And Pavel Durov is recognized as the richest man in the UAE according to Forbes.  Meanwhile, TON is setting new records and has reached its highest level in 7.5 months!

 Interest in him is not surprising.  In November, the first Telegram username, @auto, was sold at the Fragment blockchain auction.  The total cost of the nickname was 900,000 Toncoin (at that time about $1.4 million, now it is almost 2 times more).

 And during the latest update, the Telegram messenger added the ability to register an account without a SIM card, using anonymous numbers based on the blockchain (starting with +888).  You can buy them for Toncoin (TON) on the Fragment platform.

 But the Australian government is considering launching a "Digital Passport" to enforce its use on social networks.  The passport is designed to completely eliminate anonymity and give the police access to messages!

 Born in the EctoLife apparatus - get a digital passport.  A brave new world of the future!

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