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E-CNY white paper released; Malaysia steamrolls mining rigs

E-CNY white paper explains how it will work with physical RMB while Malaysia steamrolls mining rigs.

China releases white paper on E-CNY.

Bitcoin mining difficulty falls for the fourth time in a row.

Malaysian police steamroll seized crypto mining rigs.

We’ll have more on these stories — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast, July 19.

Transcript

Welcome to The Daily Forkast, July 19, 2021. I’m Angie Lau, Editor-in-chief of Forkast.News, covering all things blockchain.

Coming up, China releases its E-CNY white paper. Bitcoin mining difficulty falls for a fourth time in a row and Malaysian police steamrolls seized crypto mining rigs, literally.

Let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.

China has released a white paper on the development of its E-CNY.

The paper explains how the People’s Bank of China plans to launch its digital currency and how it’s progressing, as well as explaining how it will work in parallel with its physical Renminbi.

One key detail here – the PBOC confirms it is developing the smart contract feature of the E-CNY, to make it, quote programmable, more expandable and better integrated into various scenarios.

It also says that while the digital currency is technically ready for cross-border use, internationalization of the RMB is not the goal of the project.

Trials designed to test the stability and user-friendliness of the E-CNY have already taken place in 10 cities around the country. The PBOC says that those trials saw nearly 21 million personal wallets opened and transactions worth a total value of around RMB 34.5 billion. Get that? It’s about US$5.3 billion that have taken place so far.

It gives no date for an official launch as yet. But many experts have predicted that wider operation of the E-CNY will begin in time for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin mining difficulty has fallen for a fourth consecutive time.

According to data from BTC.com, the difficulty level fell almost 5% on Saturday from the previous calculation, and it’s now 45% lower than it was when it hit a high for the year on May 13. That’s the longest slide in history.

The difficulty level is calculated every 2016 blocks, which works out at roughly once every two weeks. It refers to how hard it is for miner to “dig for” Bitcoin. That difficulty depends on the global hashrate, which indicates both demand and miners.

The recent falls have been blamed on the clampdown in China, which has forced many of these miners to move overseas. Despite this, data from the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance says the country still accounts for 46% of Bitcoin’s total hashrate.

So how is Bitcoin doing today? Well, it’s down nearly a quarter of a percent at just over US$31,500.
That’s as of 4 p.m. Hong Kong time, at the end of the Asian trading day.
And in the top ten for cryptocurrencies, DogeCoin and Ethereum both down around 3%.

In Malaysia, police have destroyed over 1,000 Bitcoin mining rigs seized in raids earlier this year.

Video posted by local news outlet Dayak Daily showed how police decided to put on a little bit of a show, by using a steamroller to crush the machines.

More than a 1000 machines were crushed, reportedly worth 5.3 million Malaysian Ringgit, or around US$1.3 million.

The raids, which took place between February and April this year, saw up to eight suspects arrested, six of whom were charged with stealing electricity to carry out crypto mining operations.

They’ve now been jailed for eight months and were fined up to 8,000 Malaysian Ringgit or almost US$2,0000.

And finally today, Chinese online shopping giant platform Taobao has included NFT sales in its annual Maker Festival, which celebrates innovation and creativity from Chinese artists and entrepreneurs.

Near Protocol, which Alibaba owned, Taobao has partnered with for the sale, says this is the first time the event will be selling NFTs.

The works are by Huang Heshan, who creates designs of quirky residential buildings, which are being sold as NFT “real estate”.

The artworks are only available to buy via Taobao using Renminbi. Purchasers will then have to register wallet with the Near Protocol to be able to claim their digital artwork.

That’s not the first time in Alibaba affiliate has explored selling NFTs, payment app Alipay sold 32,000 pieces of NFT art in June.

And that’s The Daily Forkast from our vantage point right here in Asia. For more, visit Forkast.News. I’m Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau. Until next time.