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[August Week 2] PEN TALK

Today’s topic

📌Protocon in KBW 2022 (feat. Vitalik)

📌Crypto-Mixing Service ‘Tornado Cash’ Banned by US Treasury for Entire American

📌Iran Places First Official Import Order With Cryptocurrency

Protocon in KBW 2022 (feat. Vitalik)

Protocon attended Korea Blockchain Week 2022! The main event of this Blockchain Week was KBW 2022: IMPACT, which was held from the 8th to the 9th, with numerous officials adding the occasion.

Blockchain Week is Asia’s largest blockchain-related event, especially this time with Chang Pengzhao, CEO of Binance, and Vitalik Buterin, developer of Ethereum. Regarding the ongoing merge of Ethereum from PoW to PoS and a possibility of hard poking, many people came to see Vitalik talking about the issues, exceeding 8,000 attendance in just two days.

Vitalik gave his keynote speech under the theme of ‘Post-Merge:The Future of Ethereum’. For the upcoming mainnet merge upgrade, he mentioned “Scaling will be the main focus of Ethereum after the PoS merge.” Also, he expected the gas fee to even further be lowered to $0.002~$0.05, which already had been reduced to certain points through continuous roll-ups. As a result, he predicted that virtual currency will be used for actual financial transactions in two or three years, starting in developing countries where the existing financial system is not effective.

In addition to Vitalik, various major third-generation blockchain projects such as Kakao’s Klayton, Com2us’ XPLA, Solana, and Polygon participated to promote their technology and suggest the direction of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Crypto-Mixing Service ‘Tornado Cash’ Banned by US Treasury for Entire American

Image credit: Tornado Cash official website

On the 8th, the U.S.Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) completely banned Americans from using the decentralized cryptocurrency mixing service “Tornado Cash.”

Mixing service, so-called a ‘Mixer’, obfuscates cryptocurrency transactions by creating a disconnect between the funds a user deposits and the funds the user withdraws. OFAC previously sanctioned Blender.io, another mixing service that the Treasury Department alleged was used to launder proceeds from ransomware attacks.

According to a U.S. Treasury Department report, Tornado Cash obfuscated the transaction of Lazarus, a North Korean hacker group that was previously blamed for Axi Infinity’s $625 million hacking scandal. In response, many are reporting that the purpose of the sanctions is to ban the use of cryptocurrency mixers, which have continuously been abused for criminal money laundering and transactions, and to enable fund tracking in the event of a crime.

Now no American or American corporation is allowed to use Tornado Cash, and the assets related to Tornado Cash are also blocked. However, according to Roman Semenov, co-founder of Tornado Cash, “The protocol was specifically designed this way to be unstoppable, because it wouldn’t make much sense if some third party [such as a developer] would have control over it. This would be the same as if someone had control over Bitcoin or Ethereum.” It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will have any practical effect.

Iran Places First Official Import Order With Cryptocurrency

Image credit: Blockmedia.co.kr

Iran, which is under import and export sanctions by the U.S., is known to have completed the payment of imported goods using cryptocurrency for the first time.

Alireza Peymanpak, vice minister of Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade and president of the country’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), announced via Twitter this Tuesday that “This week, the first official import order was successfully placed with cryptocurrency worth 10 million dollars. By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widespread in foreign trade with target countries.”

The Iranian government approved cryptocurrency mining as an industry in 2019. In January 2020, the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade issued over 1,000 licenses for cryptocurrency mining operations. However, they also formerly intensified crackdowns due to a power loss that occurred by unauthorized miners. Regarding the trade, the success in crypto trading means a lot to them as Iran has been contemplating allowing the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for imports for over a year, from August 2021.

While the Iranian government did not specifically disclose what goods and cryptocurrency it traded, it made it clear that trades using cryptocurrency will definitely be increased in the future. As Iran is currently unable to make a trade using dollars, many analyze that it has been seeking a payment method to sell oil and import goods while avoiding the regulation of the U.S. and that the answer it has found was cryptocurrency.

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