With the Easter festivities done and dusted, it’s been another whirlwind week in the world of crypto with some fascinating developments that are sure to dominate talk amongst crypto circles. Ireland bans political crypto donations; Nestlé launches very first NFT; Iran increases penalties for illegal crypto mining; and Singapore ride-hailing app expands crypto payment offering.

Ireland bans political crypto donations

Ireland bans political crypto donations

Officials in Ireland have proposed a host of fresh political and electoral integrity laws that will now ban crypto donations to political parties in the republic – mainly due to concerns about foreign interference in politics.

Minister Darragh O’ Brien proposed these amendments that also include rules around foreign donations, misinformation, and other transparency requirements for political parties to adhere to – with an undertone of fear regarding Russian interference in Ireland’s elections.

An optimistic O’ Brien said that the new laws would protect Ireland’s democratic system “given the escalating threat of cyber warfare targeting free countries,” with a newly established Electoral Commission overseeing all legal compliance in this regard.

While it is unclear how many crypto donations are contributed to Ireland’s political landscape, this reformation of the current laws has been fast-tracked due to the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

A specialist taskforce comprising legal experts and political scientists has advised on measures that would create a legal and digital bulwark against election interference in the country that includes political parties providing streamlined accounting reports and declarations in accordance with the new laws.

Ireland joins US states like California, Oregon, Michigan and North Carolina, which have also banned crypto political donations in recent times. This is certainly news that concerns some political parties in Ireland who rely on crypto donations for effective campaigning. Keep an eye on Wisly for the latest developments on this story. 

Nestlé launches very first NFTs

Nestlé launches very first NFTs

Nestlé has launched its very first NFTs – commemorating the launch of the TRIX® Breakfast Cereal brand in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). The world-renowned food brand dropped its NFTs on the popular marketplace – Opensea.io – with the TRIX® Globe, an exclusive limited-series NFT available for bidding from 18 March to 13 May.

Nestlé will donate 100% of the NFT sales to charity “in line with our promise for Better Lives,” according to an official statement. This NFT launch is the first blockchain-based initiative in the region that targets a humanitarian cause, with the Emirates Red Crescent being the major beneficiary.

Brand Manager Cereal Partners Worldwide, Middle East & North Africa – Bahaa Boulmona – was visibly delighted as he said, “We are excited to announce that TRIX® is the first and only breakfast cereal brand in the world to have launched its own NFT series – showcasing how daring and adaptable our brands are.”

This is fantastic news as more companies across the globe explore NFTs and their positive impact on society. Wisly will keep you in the loop with the very latest on this story.

Iran increases penalties for illegal crypto mining

Iran increases penalties for illegal crypto mining

Finance officials in Iran have drafted new laws that will increase the penalties for those who illegally mine cryptocurrencies in the country. These penalties include additional fines and imprisonment – in extreme cases – with the country’s administration expecting to approve these new rules very soon, as per Iran’s Power Generation, Distribution, and Transmission Company (TAVANIR).

In 2019, the Iranian government-approved crypto mining, with over 1,000 licences being issued for crypto mining operations. In December 2021, official miners were asked to stop crypto mining activities temporarily to avoid a winter blackout. However, these mining activities have become problematic, as unauthorised miners are using household electricity, causing severe strain to the national electricity grid.

State official – Mohammad Khodadi Bohlouli – explained, “The increased penalties include raising fines by at least three and at most five times, imprisoning the offender, and revoking the offender’s business licence. Any use of subsidised electricity intended for households, industrial, agricultural, and commercial subscribers for mining cryptocurrencies is prohibited.”

Wisly will keep you posted on the latest news on this story.

Singapore ride-hailing app expands crypto payment offering

Singapore ride-hailing app expands crypto payment offering

A popular Singapore ride-hailing app – Ryde – is improving its crypto payments capability by expanding its options for users. Ryde has partnered with Request Finance to offer its more than 200,000 active monthly users more variety for payments.

Ryde made history in the country by becoming the first ride-hailing company to accept crypto payments during the advent of the pandemic in 2020 and has now taken the next step in its crypto journey.

Starting from the 2nd half of the year, Ryde users will have the flexibility to choose from a plethora of supported cryptocurrencies to top up their in-app wallets. Again, request Finance was the preferred partner as they offered many more crypto options – over 70 actually – when compared to competitors like Coinbase Commerce, which only support seven cryptocurrencies.

Request Finance also has a more extensive network with support for over ten blockchain networks and ten fiat currencies, while it offers much lower transaction fees of just 0.1%, capped at $2 per transaction with no subscription required.

CEO of Ryde – Terence Zou – beamed with delight as he said, “Since 2020, we have accepted crypto payments, but only in Bitcoin. Today, we are expanding the range of crypto payment options available to our users, thanks to an integration with web3 startup, Request Finance.” 

This is fantastic news for crypto users in Singapore, who will now have even more options to pay for their ride-hailing journeys. Wisly will keep you informed of the latest developments with this story.