Most recently, another World Cup ended with the victory of the Argentina national team!  Despite this, the ARG fan token crashed by more than 50%.  However, still not 100. Where am I going with this?

In addition, a fun fact has been established: the Argentina national team wins the World Cup when inflation in the country exceeds 100%!

Argentina's neighbors on the continent, Brazil, have more positive news.

President Jair Bolsonaro has signed a bill establishing a complete regulatory framework for the trading and use of crypto in the country.

From now on, bitcoin can be used as a means of payment and an investment asset.

Let me remind you that CBDC in Brazil will be launched in 2024 after a closed pilot program with financial institutions.  According to regulators, the digital real will not violate monetary policy and will not harm banks.

Meanwhile, problems with inflation are being discussed not only in Argentina.  Metro posters and billboards on Milan Street still report the following information:

“All your Euros are going to zero.  BTC is freedom.  The world has never needed BTC as much as today.  BTC is not for wealth, but for freedom, and freedom is wealth!”

This is an advertisement for the “plan ₿” crypto-forum held in October in Lugano, Switzerland, which I talked about in the last article.

Such forums are quite logical.  In Europe, the number of external debt holders of the PIGS countries - Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain - is falling sharply.  More than half of the investors have already left.  By the way, let's remember these countries, at the end of the article we will conduct an interesting analysis.

Unlike Brazil, the ECB will complete the overall design of the digital euro as early as the second half of next year.  And also, the European regulator is preparing market participants for a pilot regime for trading tokenized assets with settlements on the blockchain also in 2023.

I can't pass by a very symbolic news that claims to be revolutionary: the European Union has introduced the first stage of a personal carbon account system!

Every citizen will have to start paying for their carbon emissions in order to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030.

By the way, the American economist Nouriel Roubini, who plans to create a token-dollar substitute, which I talked about in one of the last issues, recently published the book “Megathreats”.  Among the “threats” Roubini warns about are climate change.  As well as trade wars, the development of artificial intelligence, the spread of extreme left and extreme right views in the world.

“The period of prosperity and peace that has lasted for the past 75 years is the exception for humanity, not the rule.  The planet is about to return to a time of war, famine and disease."

“No, this will not be a short and shallow recession, it will be deep and prolonged,” he also said.  And the outlook for Europe's economy is even "much worse", Roubini said.

Responding to a question about what could refute the realization of his threats, Roubini said that technological progress, such as a breakthrough in the field of thermonuclear fusion, can change the forecasts.  I just talked about the fact that such a breakthrough happened in a previous article.

But Michael Bury…sorry, Dr. Michael Bury, who, like Roubini, predicted the global financial crisis of 2008, and who also often appears in my articles, says that from the newfangled topic with the confirmation of reserves on Proof-of-Reserves crypto exchanges  smells very strongly.  The smell reminds him of credit default swaps, and again he considers checking agencies to be the root of evil.

The guys at the SEC agree with him and amplify the scrutiny of the work audit firms do for crypto companies.  The commission fears that investors may get a false sense of confidence from firms' reports.

But back to Roubini and his dollar substitute.  The professor hopes that the asset-backed digital coin will be a hedge against price increases and will allow him to capitalize on the sharp demand for land and goods, as well as the loss of confidence in fiat.

The economist shares concerns about the prospects for the dollar as a world reserve currency.  Dominance could be lost as the US "prints too much money and opponents start de-dollarization," he said.

Meanwhile, the head of the RSPP, Alexander Shokhin, believes that it is advisable to create an international liquidity fund and a currency unit of account, in the basket of which there may be yuan, rupee, gold.  Such work can be carried out with partners in the SCO, the EAEU and BRICS.

The Central Bank of Kazakhstan (a member of the SCO and the EAEU) recommends a phased deployment of CBDC in the period from 2023 to 2025.  At the same time, it is indicated that the digital tenge will be integrated into the BNB Chain.

In 2023, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation will start piloting projects for the settlement of digital rubles in the B2C, C2B and C2C segment.  VTB is at the forefront of testing the “third form of the ruble” — banksters were the first to conduct a deal to buy DFA for digital rubles and implemented a service for opening a wallet for storing them.

Also, the Moscow Exchange and Gazprombank will launch a pilot DFA project in early 2023.  Moscow exchange does not stand still.  Futures for the DAX and Nikkei 225 indices are planned to be launched in January. Together with Norilsk Nickel, the MB intends to launch trading in platinum and palladium, the interest in which I described in detail in one of the first issues.

And the icing on the cake - the launch of trading in the Azerbaijani manat (SCO dialogue partner), Egyptian pound (SCO dialogue partner) and UAE dirham is also scheduled for 2023!

And Russia and India (a member of the SCO and BRICS) are moving away from the dollar and the euro in mutual trade and are switching to national currencies, as well as creating an independent tanker fleet.

In 36 times - from 30 thousand to 1.08 million barrels per day - India has increased its purchases of oil from Russia since February 2022 and overtook China (830 thousand per day).  The total flow of fuel from Russia to Asia tripled to 2.5 million barrels and almost completely compensated for the reduction in supplies from Russia to the EU.

It is worth noting that the legal basis for the use of cryptocurrency for foreign trade will be created in January - and in the future it will be possible to pay for goods imported through parallel imports, Aksakov, head of the Duma committee on the financial market, admitted.

At the same time, the head of the Central Bank of India, who recently introduced a 30% tax on profits from crypto trading, said that he believes that private cryptocurrencies have no basis.  And also that the next crisis could come from private cryptocurrencies and that private cryptocurrencies should be banned!

BBG provides a graph that shows the use of cryptocurrencies by the adult population in different countries:

At the moment, India is the absolute world leader, followed by Nigeria, Turkey, Thailand.

The Nigerian government intends to pass a bill to legalize the use of bitcoin and other digital assets.  Let me remind you that a strange situation has developed in Nigeria - the authorities have introduced limits on cash withdrawals as part of the promotion of cashless alternatives and the expansion of the use of the national digital currency eNaira.

In turn, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, as part of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 state strategy, announced that it would invest in Web3.

By the way, about the Web in general and about Web3 in particular.  The CEO of Pantera Capital stated that what is now observed in the crypto industry in the United States is the exact opposite of the situation with the introduction of the Internet.

After all, the US government literally created the Internet and then provided early Internet companies with many financial (and not only) advantages.  As a result, almost all of the largest internet companies in the world are located in the US.

But the US approach to crypto is diametrically opposite.  Regulators are under serious pressure, which has led to the fact that 95% of crypto trading has moved offshore.  Similarly, 95% of the market capitalization of blockchain protocols comes from projects registered outside the US!

Meanwhile, the market cap of the public's favorite Dogecoin exceeded the market cap of the American crypto exchange Coinbase!  People are waiting for the introduction of the meme-token on Twitter (or at least somewhere 😅) and other support from Elon Musk.

But the cryptocurrency exchange Huobi (✌️not Chinese and as if not Justin Sun✌️) announced plans to issue a Visa debit card.

Initially, residents of several European countries will be able to apply for a Huobi Visa Card, and in the future, users in other regions where the platform operates.

At the same time, Visa is considering the possibility of introducing auto-crypto payments from non-custodial wallets using the StarkNet second-layer solution on Ethereum.

By the way, regarding the scaling of Ether, «Rollups» and other things, I think a separate article will be released a little later.  In the meantime, a whole bunch of news from this area.

Uniswap has partnered with MoonPay.  The partnership will connect DeFi with fiat.  The partnership allows Uniswap users to buy crypto through a bank account or supported credit or debit card in 160 countries around the world.

At launch, the service supports the Ethereum, Polygon, Optimism, and Arbitrum networks for buying DAI, ETH, MATIC, USDC, USDT, WBTC, and WETH.

Polygon deploys the second zkEVM testnet - the last stage before the real launch.

ZK rollups have long been seen as the ultimate solution to Ethereum's scaling problem.

Vitalik Buterin named three key ways for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies:

  • development of non-custodial wallets,
  • inflation resistant stablecoins,
  • accounts on websites with support for Ethereum technologies (an analogy of verification with a Google profile, Facebook, etc.).

In the outgoing year, among the important events, the “cryptocurrency prince” singled out The Merge (which I talked about in our Telegram channel) and the development of zk-Rollups (which, I think, should be talked about in the future).

Interestingly, Paxful CEO Ray Yousef said that the platform will remove Ethereum from the listing.

The following reasons are given for this decision:

  •  changing the algorithm to Proof-of-Stake, due to which the cryptocurrency lost its uniqueness and became similar to the digital form of fiat;
  •  weak decentralization;
  •  despite the fact that ether itself has successful cases, its ecosystem has spawned many scam projects that stole billions of dollars from investors, and bitcoin - the moment and attention of users.

Meanwhile, Neobank Cogni listened to Vitalik's words and released a non-custodial Web3 wallet, however, it can only be used after passing the KYC procedure.

Polygon is not far behind - a partnership with the newfangled banking application Hi.  A platform will be created that will allow users to create an NFT for a Web3-centric debit card.

At the same time, Donald Trump's NFT collection caused a real stir in the Polygon blockchain segment.  According to Nansen, the number of wallets interacting with NFT jumped to more than 330,000. The developers of the collection themselves did not even bother to remove the “watermarks” 😅

This week it became known that South Korean Samsung will start producing NFT-enabled smart TVs in the first half of 2023.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz has filed 5 trademark applications related to crypto, NFTs, and the Metaverses.

Huawei takes a more pragmatic approach to the issue and reports that the current telecommunications infrastructure is not suitable for the metaverse.  To implement something like this, you need high speed downloads, streaming, as well as proper hardware for the smooth operation of virtual worlds.

Personally, I completely agree with them.

At the same time, Kelly Choo's research shows the following results:

  • Investors continued to prioritize the economic potential of the open metaverse (Decentraland, Sandbox) over the closed metaverse (Meta).
  • After an unprecedented investment in the open metaverse in 2021, ancillary industries have become the most popular investments in 2022.
  • Investors prefer to invest in late-stage ecosystem leaders such as Animoca Brands and then allow that company to invest in early-stage startups.
  • Consumer demand for comprehensive closed metaverse platforms such as Horizon Worlds remains unsatisfied.

Earlier, Grayscale noted that Web 3.0 / Web3 is a reality in which players can earn virtual assets and take them outside of a specific game.  Then they can trade, exchange these assets with whom they want and where they want, and earn virtual money from this and cash it out in real money and in the real world.

In closed systems (Meta) and current Web 2.0 games, this is not possible - everything is limited to the boundaries of a particular game or ecosystem.

An interesting (although quite logical, in my opinion) observation was made by CNBC.  According to their research, it turned out that it is adults, not children, who form the main demand in the toy industry, as they buy them for themselves!

Let's remember this statement and return to where I started this article.

This is how the top queries on Google by European countries look like:

Eastern Europe play in Minecraft and Roblox.  Scandinavian countries run around World of Warcraft.  And what about PIGS?

Spain and Italy are immersed in Fortnite.

Greeks are play in FIFA.  Hola, Messi!

But the inhabitants of Portugal, confirming the thesis of CNBC, are still catching Pokémon!

By the way, since we started with real World Champions, we will finish with virtual ones.  You might be surprised, but the Pokémon Master Tournament has been going on up until this year!  After 25 years, Ash Ketchum from Alabama Alabastia won and became the best trainer of pocket monsters!

Our congratulations to the Champions!

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