Today in Crypto: Bank of Russia Pilots CBDC

The Bank of Russia is launching a pilot phase for its digital ruble, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) it has in the works, CoinDesk reported on Wednesday, February 16.

This will have to be an alternative to crypto for Russians, according to the regulator – crypto, on the other hand, should be “totally banned”.

Three banks have already supported pilot transactions using mobile apps, as well as gateways to exchange rubles from their accounts for the digital version – and nine more are also planning to join.

The central bank’s opposition to crypto has remained firm, with the regulator calling it a “de facto Ponzi scheme” that only allows for an illusion of government protection.

Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Formula 1 team has signed a sponsorship deal with Singaporean crypto exchange Bybit, according to a press release on Wednesday.

The deal is the biggest annual crypto venture to date on the international sports scene, the company said, and will cost $50 million a year for three years.

Bybit will now join the Oracle Red Bull team and issue fan tokens and help grow digital assets for Formula 1.

In other news, Argentina’s inflation rate has hit 50%, prompting crypto exchange Lemon Cash to increase its issuance of bitcoin rewards cards to 3 million in 2022.

According to a Bloomberg report, Visa cards convert the amount of crypto in the user’s account into pesos to make payments. There were originally 100,000 cards, and holders get 2% back in bitcoin for every purchase.

Finally, crypto venture capital investments in Latin America jumped to $653 million in 2021, almost 10 times more than what was invested in 2020, CoinDesk wrote on Wednesday.

Investments were made primarily in consumer-facing asset exchanges and retail trading platforms.

This includes Bitso, a Mexican crypto exchange operating in Argentina and Colombia, which raised $250 million in May 2021, becoming the first crypto unicorn in Latin America.

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