Crypto Biz: Worldcoin expands, Saudi Aramco considers digital assets, and more

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Traditional financial firms are increasingly connecting services, portfolios and operations with digital assets, taking advantage of the crypto winter to build and find a market fit for crypto-related solutions.

Recent examples include Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm, DWS, 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 firm SBI Holdings about a possible collaboration on digital assets and co-investment in SBI’s digital asset portfolios.

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

Crypto firms are also gearing up to receive additional demand from institutional investors in 2024. On Dec. 13, the Iota Foundation announced an integration with Fireblocks to allow the tokenization of real-world assets.

Check out this week’s Crypto Biz to learn more about the continuous transformation of the finance landscape, including S&P Global’s stablecoins rating, Worldcoin’s retail integrations and Coinbase’s international crypto spot trading.

Japan’s SBI looks to Saudi Aramco to continue Middle East expansion

Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings and Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco are considering teaming up on digital asset investment and semiconductor production projects. The two signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation that includes establishing 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 may also identify Japanese digital asset startups interested in expanding to Saudi Arabia and launch semiconductor production projects in both countries.

S&P Global launches stablecoin ratings, ranks GUSD, USDP, USDC highest

S&P Global has launched a stablecoin stability assessment analyzing eight stablecoins. Initially, none of them received the best rating, but two stablecoins were rated the lowest for their ability to maintain fiat pegs. According to S&P Global, the rating evaluates asset quality risks, factors that mitigate them, governance, legal and regulatory framework, redeemability, liquidity, technology and third-party dependencies. Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Pax Dollar (USDP) and USD Coin (USDC) received ratings of 2 (strong), the highest given. TrueUSD (TUSD) and Frax (FRAX) both received a rating of 5, which is attributed to TrueUSD’s inadequate information disclosure and Frax’s ongoing reliance on an algorithm.

Crypto may not care, but the much bigger mainstream will. S&P releases stablecoin assessments using 1-5 score.

1 “Very Strong” none


3 “Adequate” none

4 “Constrained” USDT/FDUSD/DAI


— Novacula Occami (@OccamiCrypto) December 12, 2023

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 humanness 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 “lite” to “max.” The startup claimed that the new features will help reduce losses from bots without requiring users to give 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 United States

Coinbase announced the availability of crypto trading services for institutional investors on its international exchange, allowing them to trade Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) against 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, beginning with trading for BTC and ETH perpetual futures for institutional investors, before expanding to offer the same services to retail traders in September. In the U.S., the exchange faces a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June for allegedly operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker and clearing agency.

We are excited to announce the next phase of our Coinbase International Exchange expansion – the launch of non-US spot markets for eligible customers, designed to address the unique needs and demands of our global user base.

— Coinbase ️ (@coinbase) December 13, 2023

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse on the business behind blockchain and crypto, delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

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