China is taking charge in the digitization of the world economy.

Yesterday, it revealed a testing environment for its DC/EP central bank digital currency (CBDC), which may one day supplant physical cash in the second-largest economy. Further, high-ranking officials set April 25 for the launch of its national blockchain platform, the Blockchain Service Network (BSN), which will enable developers to plug in and code blockchain applications on a centralized platform.

You’re reading Blockchain Bites, the daily roundup of the most pivotal stories in blockchain and crypto news, and why they’re significant. You can subscribe to this and all of CoinDesk’s newsletters here. Here’s the story:

Top Shelf

Crypto’s Great Leap Forward

  • China will launch its national blockchain platform, part of the country’s grand strategy to lead the digital transformation of the world economy, on April 25. Led by the State Information Center, the BSN enables companies and software developers to build blockchain-based applications as easily as assembling Lego sets (at least in theory). “The move is very much like the ‘One Belt One Road Initiative’ in which China provides other countries with infrastructure and gains some first-mover advantage,” said China hand James Cooper, director of international legal studies at California Western School of Law.
  • The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), one of the nation's four state-owned banking giants, released an interface for whitelisted users to test the country's CBDC. A front-end interface shows how users could potentially interact with China's CBDC, known as DC/EP, including paying via a QR code, receiving and sending payments and initiating transactions by touching another user's phone.

Black Thursday Fallout

  • A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the Maker Foundation on behalf of investors who lost funds following a protocol failure on March 12, or Black Thursday, which resulted in the loss of $8.325 million in investors’ money. Plaintiffs expect that 1,000 individuals will join the suit seeking payments equivalent to each investor's lost funds, plus the cost of punitive damages weighed at $20 million, including interest and additional costs.

Mining Shifts

  • Riot Blockchain, one of the few publicly traded bitcoin mining companies in the U.S., has executed a co-location mining services contract with a crypto data center Coinmint. Announced Tuesday, the Colorado-based firm will send a portion of its S17 bitcoin mining machines from its facilities in Oklahoma City to Coinmint’s power plant in Upstate New York.
  • Hut 8 Mining Group, a publicly traded cryptocurrency mining firm, is concerned about coronavirus-related delays of new machine deliveries from potential suppliers such as Bitmain and MicroBT. 

Funding Development

  • One of China’s largest decentralized finance platforms has raised a $1.5 million seed round led by Multicoin Capital and joined by Huobi Capital and CMB International . Announced Tuesday, the dForce Foundation has completed will earmark the funds for staffing and new DeFi product launches in 2020.
  • Sources told the Financial Times that Andreessen Horowitz is raising another crypto fund, reportedly targeted at $450 million. Citing two sources with knowledge, FT says a16z has yet to close the fund but may do so soon. The size of the fund is not capped.
  • The Algorand Foundation has earmarked 250 million ALGO tokens – worth about $50 million at press time – for a grant program that aims to spur development of its proof-of-stake ecosystem.

Inking Deals

  • TradeStation is plugging into crypto exchange ErisX's order book to provide its pro and institutional clients with deeper liquidity and tighter spreads when trading digital assets. This integration comes on the heels of Fidelity Digital Asset taping ErisX’s technology last week.
  • Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin has teamed with DigitalBits, a blockchain protocol layer focused on branded crypto assets, for the launch of a new kind of OTC desk. The new partnership seeks to simplify that process for businesses, and further allows them to access larger quantities of tokens to power operations such as wallet authentications, transaction fees and staking.
  • Medici Land Governance (MLG) – a subsidiary of Overstock’s venture arm, Medici Ventures – has inked a deal to build a blockchain-based land registry for a second Wyoming county. Under the arrangement, MLG's record-keeping platform will allow for the storage of mortgages, warranty deeds and titles, as well as providing provenance on land ownership in Carbon County, Wyoming.

Crypto Gaming

  • Blockchain gaming platform Enjin is opening its wallet to Chinese users ahead of a planned expansion into the Asian nation. In an announcement on Monday, the project said its wallet for its Enjin (ENJ) cryptocurrency is now "certified and compliant” by the nation's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Cryptojacking

  • Google removed 49 Chrome extensions that mimicked legitimate crypto wallets to steal user's private keys and mnemonic phrases. (ZDNet)

Decentralized Media

  • A group of developers are revisiting designs for an anonymous news site called Zboard, which will use the Zcash blockchain to allow users to anonymously post uncensorable articles. (Decrypt)
  • MIT Technology Review will now stream its annual conference, which accounts for a third of the media site’s revenue, according to CEO Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau.
  • Ripple open sourced its doc tool Dactyl. (Ripple)

CoinDesk Live

CoinDesk Live: Lockdown Edition

CoinDesk Live is back! Twice a week, the Lockdown Edition will feature timely discussions and public AMAs via Zoom – and shared on your favorite social platform, Twitter – with key speakers from the Consensus: Distributed agenda. Here you’ll get a preview of the content we have planned for our first fully virtual, fully free (!) conference happening May 11-15. 

Register to join the first CoinDesk Live with Alex McDougall, co-founder and chief investment officer at Bicameral Ventures, on Thursday, April 16, at 4:00 p.m. EST / 1:00 p.m. PST. Then join us at Consensus: Distributed May 11-15. There’s already more than 200 sessions and tons of interactive networking opportunities.

Market Intel

Stacking Sats?
Investors are accumulating bitcoin ahead of next month’s miner reward halving, recent data suggests. The seven-day moving average of the total number of bitcoin held in exchange addresses fell to 2,214,365 on April 14 – the lowest level since last June – according to numbers from blockchain intelligence firm Glassnode.

Digital Gold
Is physical gold leaving digital gold behind? The gap between gold and bitcoin returns has frustrated traders who predict that trillions of dollars of coronavirus-related emergency aid and monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve and other authorities will eventually lead to inflation, argue CoinDesk’s Brad Keoun and Omkar Godbole in the latest First Mover newsletter. You can subscribe here.

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CoinDesk Research
March 12 changed how investors look at crypto markets and assets, shook out some participants and left others unmoved. The CoinDesk Quarterly Review is a Q1 analysis of how the narrative has changed for crypto blue-chips like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which assets outperformed, and how the participants in crypto markets are shifting in the wake of Q1’s defining event. Read the full report.

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CoinDesk Research Webinar
March 12 changed how investors look at crypto markets and assets, shook out some participants and left others unmoved. The CoinDesk Quarterly Review is a Q1 analysis of how the narrative has changed for crypto blue-chips like Bitcoin and Ethereum. On Wednesday, April 15 at 2pm ET, CoinDesk Research hosts a webinar to review and discuss our analysis. Sign up here.

The Breakdown

Not More COVID-19 News
The coronavirus pandemic may be dominating headlines, but crypto is advancing untethered by the crisis. From regulation-related shutdowns to a human IPO and G20 warnings about stablecoins, NLW breaks down a set of crypto trend stories that really aren’t about COVID-19 on the latest episode of The Breakdown.

Who Won #CryptoTwitter?

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Blockchain Bites is CoinDesk’s daily news roundup of the most important stories in blockchain tech from this site and around the web. You can subscribe here.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.