Starbucks looks to enter the NFT space, the U.K. talks crypto regulation and other news

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A week in review: April 3–9

We've selected the hottest materials of the past week for you to stay up to date with the latest crypto news:

#1. Starbucks announces NFT initiative as union-busting controversy continues

Nonfungible tokens continue making headlines, with coffee giant Starbucks having recently signaled its intent on joining the NFT party. "Sometime before the end of this calendar year, we are going to be in the NFT business," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz via a Partner Open Forum on Monday.
The NFT talk surfaced in tandem with a rising interest in unionization led by workers of the chain's U.S. stores. One of the folks heading up the union movement, Laila Dalton, was let go from Starbucks shortly after the NFT announcement. Comments from Schultz show he is not in favor of unions.
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#2. UK government moves forward with regulatory framework on stablecoins for payments

The U.K.'s HM Treasury expressed interest in crypto regulation on a number of fronts. Included in the mix was the recognition of the potential for stablecoins as commonplace payment vehicles, with the aim of fitting the asset type into current regulatory guidelines.
"It's my ambition to make the U.K. a global hub for crypto-asset technology, and the measures we've outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country," HM Treasury Chancellor Rishi Sunak noted.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said: "If crypto technologies are going to be a big part of the future, then we, the U.K., want to be in — and in on the ground floor."
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#3. Blockstream and Block Inc to build solar Bitcoin mining facility powered by Tesla technology

A new collaboration between crypto storage company Blockstream and Jack Dorsey's Block (formerly Square) will see the development of a fully solar-powered, open-source BTC mining facility.
According to the announcement, the mining facility will be outfitted with a 3.8 megawatt Tesla solar PV (photovoltaic) array and 12 MWh (megawatt hour) lithium-ion battery Tesla Megapack. With this mining facility, the companies intend to investigate the feasibility of operating a zero-emission energy BTC mine.
The collaboration will also see the development of a publicly accessible dashboard, which will display key metrics including the power output, total number of mined BTC, storage performance, expenses and return on investment, to name a few.
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#4. Prediction of the week. Why the Bitcoin 'mid-halving' price slump will play out differently this time

Roughly every four years, Bitcoin's mining payout per block cuts in half. Called the Bitcoin halving, this event has coincided with four-year price cycles, including bull and bear periods. This four-year cycle could be over, however, according to multiple industry participants.
The Santiment blog's pseudonymous author "Alerzio" noted April 11 as a potential signal of changing times. BTC maintaining price action north of $50,000 per coin before or around that date may be evidence of a cycle that differs from previous four-year periods, Alerzio wrote. April 11 is the midpoint between the most recent BTC halving and the next one.
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#5. FUD of the week. EU bans providing 'high-value crypto-asset services' to Russia

In an attempt to further suppress Russian nationals from using cryptocurrencies to safeguard assets amid the war in Ukraine, the Council of the European Union announced its intent to prohibit "providing high-value crypto-asset services" to the country.
Some of the other restrictive measures proposed by the European Commission this Friday include banning transactions and freezing assets connected to four Russian banks as well as a "prohibition on providing advice on trusts to wealthy Russians."
Just a day before the Council's announcement, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin claimed that Russian entities and individuals hold more than $130 billion in crypto assets — an amount that nearly equals Russia's total gold holdings, which is valued at roughly $140 billion as of March 2022.
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#6. FUD of the week. Aussie crypto 'finfluencers' face tough new legal restrictions

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recently waved a red flag pertaining to influencers involved in finance. ASIC essentially warned influencers, both solo and companies employing influencers, of using language that might be seen as financial promotion. The warning from ASIC mentions finance as opposed to crypto specifically, but crypto is often grouped into the category of finance.
"If you present factual information in a way that conveys a recommendation that someone should (or should not) invest in that product or class of products, you could breach the law by providing unlicensed financial product advice," the ASIC information sheet states.
Some comments of opposition regarding the move in part relate to the lack of clarity regarding what counts as financial influence.
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