Worldcoin Grows, Saudi Aramco Considers Digital Assets, and More

Traditional financial companies are increasingly connecting their services, wallets and operations to digital assets, taking advantage of the crypto winter to create and find a suitable market for crypto-related solutions.

Recent examples include DWS, the asset management arm of Deutsche Bank, which announced a new venture with Galaxy Digital and Flow Traders to jointly issue a euro-denominated stablecoin. In another development, oil company Saudi Aramco signed an agreement with financial services company SBI Holdings regarding possible collaboration on digital assets and co-investment in SBI’s digital asset portfolios.

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Meanwhile, in the UK, pension fund M&G invested $20 million in the country’s first regulated Bitcoin (BTC) derivatives exchange, Global Futures & Options Holdings.

Crypto companies are also preparing to receive additional demand from institutional investors in 2024. On December 13, the Iota Foundation announced an integration with Fireblocks to enable tokenization of real-world assets.

Check out this week’s Crypto Biz to learn more about the continued transformation of the financial landscape, including stablecoin ratings from S&P Global, retail integrations from Worldcoin, and international crypto spot trading from Coinbase.

Japanese SBI counts on Saudi Aramco to continue its expansion in the Middle East

Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings and Saudi state oil company Saudi Aramco plan to partner on projects to invest in digital assets and produce semiconductors. The two signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation that includes the establishment of the SBI Middle East in Riyadh as a base for regional operations. According to the document, SBI and Saudi Aramco will consider collaborating on digital assets and co-investing in their digital asset portfolios. They could also identify Japanese digital asset startups interested in expanding into Saudi Arabia and launch semiconductor production projects in both countries.

S&P Global Launches Stablecoin Ratings, Ranks GUSD, USDP and USDC First

S&P Global launched a stablecoin stability assessment analyzing eight stablecoins. Initially, none of them received the highest rating, but two stablecoins received the lowest rating for their ability to maintain fiat currencies. According to S&P Global, the rating assesses risks related to asset quality, mitigating factors, governance, legal and regulatory framework, repayment capacity, liquidity, technology and third-party dependencies. Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Pax Dollar (USDP), and USD Coin (USDC) received ratings of 2 (strong), the highest given. Both TrueUSD (TUSD) and Frax (FRAX) received a rating of 5, attributed to TrueUSD’s inadequate information disclosure and Frax’s continued reliance on an algorithm.

Worldcoin integrates with Shopify, Mercado Libre, Minecraft, Reddit and Telegram

Worldcoin has launched a new version of its World ID feature, allowing users to prove their humanity on Shopify, Mercado Libre, Reddit and Telegram. Called “World ID 2.0,” the new feature allows developers to choose between different levels of authentication, ranging from “light” to “maximum.” The startup claimed the new features would help reduce bot losses without requiring users to provide their personal information to the apps they use. Other integrations in place for Worldcoin include Discord, Talent Protocol, and Okta’s Auth0.

Coinbase introduces spot crypto trading for institutional investors outside the US

Coinbase has announced the availability of crypto trading services for institutional investors on its international exchange, allowing them to exchange Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) for USD Coin on the spot market. Over time, the exchange plans to expand the service to include retail investors. Coinbase launched its International Exchange in May, starting with trading BTC and ETH perpetual futures for institutional investors, before expanding to offer the same services to retail traders in September. In the United States, the exchange is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June for allegedly operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker-dealer and clearing agency.

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