Protocol Village: UBS, SBI, DBS Complete 'World's First' in Blockchain-Based Cross-Border Repo

The latest in blockchain tech upgrades, funding announcements and deals. For the period of Nov. 9-15, with live updates throughout.

AccessTimeIconNov 15, 2023 at 2:02 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:04 p.m. UTC

Nov. 15: The banks UBS, SBI and DBS have "launched the world’s first live repurchase or 'repo' transaction with a natively-issued digital bond on a public blockchain," according to a press release. "Conducted as part of Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Project Guardian, the transaction highlights how blockchain technology enables cross-border distribution and settlement of capital market instruments in a highly efficient, flexible and cost-effective manner while enhancing liquidity management for institutions. The transaction involved a repo to borrow tokenized Japanese yen (JPY) against a JPY-denominated natively-issued digital bond, with the borrowed tokenized JPY used to finance the purchase of the same bond. The subsequent digital bond redemption and payment of principal and interest at maturity was executed on-chain as well, demonstrating the potential to cover an entire transaction lifecycle on a public blockchain."

Protocol Village is a regular feature of The Protocol, our weekly newsletter exploring the tech behind crypto, one block at a time. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Wednesday. Project teams can submit updates here. For previous versions of Protocol Village, please go here.

Ethereum Platform Infura's Step Toward Decentralization Includes Microsoft, Tencent

Nov. 15: Infura, the crypto infrastructure firm from ConsenSys, announced Wednesday it's taking a first toward decentralization. With its new "Decentralized Infrastructure Network," or DIN, Infura is joining with Microsoft, Tencent and a variety of crypto firms in what it described in a press release as "a powerful new way for developers to connect to Ethereum and other top-tier blockchains." The new feature is a "failover" switch that Infura users can optionally flip on to protect against network hiccups.

Blockchain Developer Lattice Unveils 'Alternative Data Availability' Network for Optimism

Nov. 15: The Optimism blockchain ecosystem is getting its own "alternative data availability" or "alt-DA" chain, called Redstone – courtesy of the development team Lattice. Currently still operating as a test network, Redstone aims to be cost-effective for on-chain games and decentralized applications.

Blockchain Startup Kinto Plans 'First KYC'd' Ethereum Layer-2 Network After Raising $5M

Nov. 15: Ethereum-focused blockchain project Kinto disclosed it has raised $5 million in fundraising rounds this year to develop a layer-2 network that's fully compliant with anti-money-laundering laws, aiming to connect financial institutions and real-world assets with decentralized finance (DeFi) rails. The project is built using the OP Stack, which is a set of software tools created by the developer OP Labs that companies can use to easily spin up their own customized layer-2 networks. (OP) (ETH)

JPMorgan, Apollo Tokenize Funds in 'Proof of Concept' With Axelar, Oasis, Provenance

Nov. 15: Traditional-finance giants JPMorgan and Apollo successfully worked with a handful of blockchain firms to demonstrate "proof of concept" for how asset managers could tokenize funds on the blockchain of their choice, according to a press release. JPMorgan’s Onyx Digital Assets collaborated with interoperability layer Axelar, infrastructure provider Oasis Pro and Provenance Blockchain to manage large-scale client portfolios, execute trades and enable automated portfolio management of tokenized assets, according to the release.

Visa-Backed Agrotoken, Stablecoin Backed by Commodities, to Launch on Polkadot

Nov. 14: Agrotoken, the first global tokenization infrastructure for agricultural commodities, has announced its plans to launch on Polkadot, to enable seamless tokenization of agricultural commodities. According to the team: "Visa-backed Agrotoken is to build a Polkadot parachain that tokenizes soybeans, corn and wheat. Agrotoken issues stablecoins with collateral in grains and food, and the value of each token reflects the price of its respective commodity – soybeans, corn or wheat. With this, farmers, businesses and financial institutions can easily trade, save, invest and transact with Agrotokens at any Visa point-of-sale."

Rarimo Launches 'Proof-of-Humanity' 2.0

Nov. 14: Rarimo, an interoperability protocol for cross-chain identity and asset management, has launched version 2.0 of its Proof-of-Humanity plug-in, a solution that enables Web3 dApps to verify its users are humans instead of bots, according to the team: "While it initially launched with Unstoppable Domains, Gitcoin Passport, and Civic, the update delivers new integrations with Worldcoin, Zealy, QuestN, Blockvision, Arena Games and MetaMask identity snap RariMe."

Cryptocurrency Exchange OKX Coming Out With Layer 2 ‘X1’ Built on Polygon Technology

Nov. 14: OKX, the sixth-largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it is coming out with a layer-2 network called “X1” using Polygon’s Chain Development Kit (CDK). X1, expected to go live in the first quarter of 2024, will make use of Polygon's zero-knowledge technology, a type of cryptography that's become one of 2023's hottest trends in blockchain. (MATIC) [POL] [OKT]

Upshot Announces Machine Intelligence Network

Nov. 14: Upshot, a protocol for decentralized delivery of alpha signals, announced its Machine Intelligence Network, according to the team: "The network crowdsources financial alpha produced by disparate machine learning models. 'Alpha Miners' contribute insights to the network in the form of proprietary data, predictive model features, or predictions, then are rewarded based on how useful their alpha is (as determined by our new 'Proof of Alpha' scoring mechanism). The result is a decentralized, self-improving intelligence network optimized for modeling financial markets. This allows other protocols to wield decentralized AI as a new primitive."

Beoble, Web3 Messaging Platform, Plans December Beta Launch

Nov. 14: Beoble, a Web3 messaging and social platform, announces its invite-only beta launch set for Dec. 2, according to the team: "With its advanced end-to-end encryption, beoble enables seamless wallet-to-wallet communication, ensuring a secure and decentralised experience for its users. This milestone is further bolstered by a recent $2 million pre-seed funding round, underscoring strong investor confidence in beoble’s vision and technology. The funding round saw participation from a range of leading venture capital firms, including industry leaders DCG, Samsung NEXT, and Hashkey Capital."

Oasis Pro Digital-Securities Marketplace Integrates With Aptos

Nov. 14: Oasis Pro Markets, member FINRA/SIPC, has developed a marketplace allowing for the investment and issuance of digital securities, and has now integrated with the "high throughput Aptos L1 blockchain," according to the team: "This is one of the first FINRA member marketplaces to integrate with a prominent Layer 1 chain—opening the door for institutional investors, TradFi leaders, and DeFi innovators to become involved in private market securities. Additionally, Oasis Pro Tokenization’s best-in class smart contracts can now be deployed on the wide-reaching Aptos Network."

Tokenized Cash Fintech Fnality Raises $95M Led by Goldman and BNP Paribas

Nov. 14: Fnality, a fintech firm building tokenized versions of major currencies collateralized by cash held at central banks, has raised $95 million (£77.7m) in Series B funding led by Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas. DTCC, Euroclear, Nomura and WisdomTree participated in the round, which also saw further commitment from a number of banks that backed Fnality’s $63m fundraise back in 2019: Banco Santander, BNY Mellon, Barclays, CIBC, Commerzbank, ING, Lloyds Banking Group, Nasdaq Ventures, State Street, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and UBS.

Hana Securities Launches Security Token Offering Portal

Nov. 14: Korea's Hana Securities, the brokerage arm of Hana Bank, one of the nation's largest commercial banks, recently announced that it is launching a Security Token Offering (STO) portal. STOs are gaining attention in the country as progressive crypto regulations pass through its legislature and an increasing number of financial companies are stepping toward the Real World Asset market. Korea's INF Consulting and ITCEN have been tapped to build the portal, with the value of the contract coming in at $10 million, according to a release.

Circle to Enable Cross-Chain USDC Transfers With Cosmos's Noble Later This Month

Nov. 14: Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol (CCTP), an on-chain program that facilitates transfers of the dollar-linked stablecoin USDC between supported blockchains without a custodial bridge, will go live on Noble’s main network at the end of the month to offer users easy swapping. Noble, introduced in March 2023, is an application-specific blockchain built within the Cosmos ecosystem. (ATOM)

DYdX Community Votes to Start Beta Stage

Nov. 14: The community behind DYdX, a crypto derivatives marketplace that recently moved from a proprietary Ethereum layer-2 network to its own standalone blockchain in the Cosmos ecosystem, concluded a vote on Monday that supports the starting of the dYdX Chain Beta stage, according to the team: "This means that trading functionality is active for the first time on the newly launched chain and that validators and stakers are accumulating trading fees." (ATOM) (DYDX)

Polimec Says Deloitte Switzerland's Digital Identity Service Now Live

Nov. 14: Polimec, a protocol of decentralized, regulatory-compliant fundraising, said KYC Credentials issued by Deloitte Switzerland are now live, enabling global digital fundraising for Web3 startups, according to the team: "Our collaboration with Deloitte has resulted in KYC (Know Your Customer) credentials that empower users to verify their identities while preserving pseudonymity on our platform."

SSV, P2P to Collaborate on 'DVT Staking API'

Nov. 13: SSV.Network and announced a plan to "collaborate on the DVT Staking API for decentralized Ethereum staking, streamlining processes for custodians and enhancing institutional staking security through the SSV protocol," according to the team. "DVT, or Distributed Validator Technology, improves security by distributing Ethereum validator duties among nodes. As SSV.Network approaches its mainnet launch, the partnership accelerates the development of the DVT Staking API, fostering the deployment and decentralization of Ethereum staking applications."

Privacy Protocol Aleo, Bitmain to Co-Host 'SNARK Tank' for ZK Tech

Nov. 13: Aleo, a privacy-focused protocol for decentralized applications with zero-knowledge proofs at layer 1, in collaboration with leading cryptocurrency mining server manufacturer Bitmain, is co-hosting SNARK Tank, a ZK pitch competition during Devconnect in Istanbul on Nov. 18. According to the team: "SNARK Tank is the largest-ever ZK pitch competition, providing ZK projects with increased visibility and potential funding. Judges from Aleo, Orange DAO, and more will help Aleo and Bitmain distribute up to $200,000 worth of prizes. More info for those interested in participating and/or attending is available here."

IOV Labs Commits Extra $2.5M to Rootstock Grants Program

Nov. 13: IOV Labs is committing an additional $2.5 million in the Rootstock Grants Program, bolstering crypto innovation on the Bitcoin sidechain, Rootstock. According to the team: "This initiative, building on 20 successful projects like Asami and OKU, aims to enrich the dApp ecosystem. Applications for the next wave, supporting diverse solutions from DAOs to peer-to-peer systems, are open until Nov. 17, inviting more transformative ideas."

EigenLayer, Cubist in New 'Secure Staking Alliance' for Anti-Slashing Standards

Nov. 9: Cubist, a crypto wallet-as-a-service provider, announced a new "Secure Staking Alliance" that also includes EigenLayer, Babylon, BridgeTower, Ankr and Redacted, along with several staking-related, security and interoperability protocols. According to a press release: "We are collaborating on technical standards and best practices that will help teams design, build, and run secure staking infrastructure. For example, we are writing specifications that will guide new protocols towards design points that consider "anti-slashers" from the start, making it possible to run secure validators (i.e., validators that won't get slashed) even in the presence of bugs and human errors."

JPMorgan Adds Programmable Payments to JPM Coin

Nov. 10: Users of JPMorgan's (JPM) blockchain-based settlement token, JPM Coin, can now program their accounts to make payments automatically according to preset conditions. The financial giant is allowing clients to plug in conditions for funds to be moved to cover overdue payments or margin calls, according to an email on Friday.

Interop Ventures Raises $3.85M for 'Interchain Economy'

Nov. 9: Interop Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that says it invests in the "Interchain economy," has raised $3.85 million from investors including KR1, LBank Labs and Sunny Aggarwal. According to a press release, the fund is particularly focused on the Cosmos blockchain ecosystem: "The Interchain ecosystem and the Cosmos technology stack have always been at the forefront of innovation, and we believe will play a crucial role in fulfilling this vision,” said Sebastian Couture, general partner at Interop Ventures. (ATOM)

Polygon Labs Commences $85M Grant Program to Draw Builders to Its Ecosystem

Nov. 9: Ethereum scaling platform Polygon Labs has started a grant program to entice developers to build applications in its ecosystem. Polygon Labs is offering a total of 110 million of its native token, MATIC, worth around $85 million at the time of writing, to projects in decentralized finance (DeFi), gaming, social media and more. $MATIC

Risc Zero Open-Sources Technologies

Nov. 9: RISC Zero, developers of a general purpose zero-knowledge (ZK) virtual machine technology, announced the open sourcing of three key technologies as public goods for zero knowledge cryptography and blockchain developers. According to the team: "developers can now modify, enhance, audit and sublicense these potent tools under the permissive and community-friendly Apache2 license."

Zircuit Launches New zkEVM Rollup

Nov. 9: Zircuit, a new EVM-compatible ZK rollup, is announcing its public testnet launch. According to the team: "Zircuit uses a hybrid approach that combines the latest ZK proofs with optimistic infrastructure. More efficient proof generation results in reduced fees and the development of new compression algorithms increases transaction speeds and saves users gas. By having security at the sequencer level, Zircuit will block any malicious transactions while still allowing developers to see an attempt to hack."

Moflix Raises $3.1M to 'Explore Ways of Incorporating' Hedera Tech

Nov. 9: Moflix, which provides end-to-end digital solutions for "cloud-native, all-digital telco-in-an-app," has raised a $3.1 million seed funding round with participation from The Hashgraph Association (THA), the Swiss-based non-profit organization accelerating the adoption of the Hedera network globally, alongside other strategic investors. According to the team: "THA’s financial commitment and engineering expertise will enable Moflix to explore ways of incorporating Hedera’s technology into its offering, empowering telcos to offer infrastructure, platforms, applications and user experiences for a Web3-enabled world." (HBAR)

Stackr, Provider of Tools for 'Micro-Rollups,' Raises $5.5M

Nov. 9: Stackr Labs, provider of a software development kit to build app-specific "micro-rollups" using Web2 programming languages such as JavaScript and Python, announced its Seed round, raising a total of $5.5 million, according to the team. "The round was led by Archetype, with participation from Lemniscap, a16z CCS, Superscrypt, a_capital, Spartan, Scalar Capital, t0 Capital, as well as a host of angel investors including Anurag Arjun, Sreeram Kanan, Mustafa Al-Bassam, Arjun Bhuptani, Rahul Sethuram, Layne Haber, Lito Coen, Andrew Keys and Devfolio. The raised funds will be used to support team expansion, prepare for the upcoming v1 launch of the platform and to expand Stackr's developer ecosystem."

Standard Chartered, SBI Holdings Establishing $100M Investment Firm Targeting Crypto Startups

Nov. 9: Standard Chartered's (STAN) venture arm is teaming up with Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings to form an investment company with $100 million backing to target crypto startups. SC Ventures and SBI Holdings' Digital Asset Joint Venture investment company will be established in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and focus on firms in market infrastructure, risk and compliance, decentralized finance (DeFi) and tokenization, according to a Thursday email.

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.