Dogecoin surges as Tesla accepts payments; BOE warned on CBDC: crypto moves

Dogecoin surges as Tesla accepts payments; BOE warned on CBDC: crypto moves
Dogecoin soared 4,000 percent last year as Elon Musk promoted it in a series of tweets. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 14 January 2022

Dogecoin surges as Tesla accepts payments; BOE warned on CBDC: crypto moves

Dogecoin surges as Tesla accepts payments; BOE warned on CBDC: crypto moves
  • Gap launches NFT hoodie collection

LONDON: Cryptocurrency dogecoin jumped more than 20 percent on Friday as Tesla began accepting it as payment for merchandise in its online store.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla merch buyable with Dogecoin,” delivering on a pledge he made in December 2021.

The digital coin, originally created as a joke in 2013 but since considered a legitimate investment product, was 14 percent higher at $0.1972 as of 10:19 a.m. in London.

Musk helped dogecoin soar about 4,000 percent in 2021 with tweets such as “how much is that doggy in the window?” and claims that it is the “people’s crypto.”

e-pound warning

A central bank digital currency managed by the Bank of England and used by consumers could harm financial stability, raise the cost of credit and erode privacy, but a version for wholesale use in the financial sector demands greater appraisal, a committee of the UK’s House of Lords said on Thursday.

Britain’s central bank and finance ministry said in November they would hold a consultation in 2022 on whether to proceed with a CBDC that would be introduced after 2025 at the earliest.

Central banks globally have stepped up their plans for CBDCs to head off potential risks from private cryptocurrencies dominating digital payments. However, an electronic pound used for everyday payments could see people move cash from bank accounts to digital wallets, undermining banks and causing financial instability, said the committee.

It could also increase borrowing costs as banks lost one of their key sources of funding, the Economic Affairs Committee said. The central bank’s ability to monitor transactions could also harm privacy, it said.

Many of the benefits of a CBDC for consumers could be “achieved by alternative means with fewer risks,” committee chair Michael Forsyth told Reuters, suggesting regulation would be a better tool to ward off the threat of crypto issued by Big Tech firms.

However, a wholesale CBDC used to transfer large sums could make securities trading and settlement more efficient, the report said. Britain’s central bank and finance ministry should consult on its advantages over the expansion of the existing settlements system, it said.

Britain’s parliament should have the final say on any decision to launch an e-pound, the report said, calling for lawmakers to also vote on its governance.

Mind the NFT Gap

Clothing retailer Gap launched non-fungible tokens of its iconic hoodies on Thursday, helping send its shares about 5 percent higher.

The company’s push into virtual assets follows similar moves by brands such as Nike, which last month announced the acquisition of NFT maker RTFKT. Mattel Inc. has also launched NFT versions of its Barbie and Hot Wheels lines.

While NFTs of artworks have sold for millions of dollars in the past year, Gap said its NFTs will be priced from about $8.30 to $415 for a collectible that comes with a physical hoodie.

Gap is collaborating with Brandon Sines, the artist behind the Frank Ape cartoon, on the NFT collection that is being hosted on the Tezos blockchain.


Turkey Dream Games triples in valuation after raising $255m in funding

Turkey Dream Games triples in valuation after raising $255m in funding
Updated 19 January 2022

Turkey Dream Games triples in valuation after raising $255m in funding

Turkey Dream Games triples in valuation after raising $255m in funding
  • Turkish mobile gaming start-up Dream Games raised an unprecedented $255 million in its latest Series C funding round

RIYADH: Turkish mobile gaming start-up Dream Games raised an unprecedented $255 million in its latest Series C funding round, almost tripling its valuation to $2.75 billion in six months, MAGNiTT reported.

This round of funding was led by Index Ventures, subscribed by returning investors such as Makers Fund, IVP, Kora, Balderton Capital and managed by BlackRock.

The company plans to use the funds for doubling its headcount to 200 people and launch a new game this year.

Founded in 2019, Istanbul-based Dream Games is a mobile gaming company that developed Royal Match — one of the highest grossing mobile games.


UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar top competitive economies in the Arab World: AMF

UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar top competitive economies in the Arab World: AMF
Updated 19 January 2022

UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar top competitive economies in the Arab World: AMF

UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar top competitive economies in the Arab World: AMF
  • The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar were ranked the most competitive Arab economies

RIYADH: The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar were ranked the most competitive Arab economies for the period between 2017 until 2020, according to a report launched by the Arab Monetary Fund.

The fifth Arab economies competitiveness report showed that the UAE maintained its top ranking in the general index as it benefited from high scores in the business environment and infrastructure category as well as the organizational and government governance category.

The Kingdom ranked second after having performed well in the overall economic index, the external activities sector and the official reserves index.

Qatar followed in third place, after attaining first place in the real economy sector, the inflation index and GDP per capita index.

Four Arab nations advanced in terms of competitiveness compared to the previous period, including Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, and Mauritania.

Arab states and other non-Arab countries — such as Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey — are included also in the calculation of the index.

The report monitors the economic competitiveness of Arab countries and sheds light on the economic and political measures applied by decision makers for that purpose.


TRSDC closes financing for $3.76bn loan from four Saudi banks

TRSDC closes financing for $3.76bn loan from four Saudi banks
Updated 19 January 2022

TRSDC closes financing for $3.76bn loan from four Saudi banks

TRSDC closes financing for $3.76bn loan from four Saudi banks

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's The Red Sea Development Co., or TRSDC, announced the financial closure of a SR14.12 billion ($3.76 billion) loan with four Saudi banks.

The financing will be in a form of a term loan facility and a revolving credit facility.

TRSDC, which is developing the world's largest sustainable tourism project, has obtained the loan from Saudi National Bank, Riyad Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, and Saudi British Bank, according to a statement.

“This year, we have proceeded at pace with the delivery of our flagship project, all the while mindful of our commitment to not only reduce our impact on the environment but actively deliver a 30 percent net conservation benefit by 2040,” explained John Pagano, chief executive officer of The Red Sea Development Company.

GFC Media Group have recently awarded TRSDC’s Green Financing as Project Finance Deal of Year in the Capital Markets Saudi Arabia Awards.


Egypt achieves a $204m initial budget surplus in six months 

Egypt achieves a $204m initial budget surplus in six months 
Updated 19 January 2022

Egypt achieves a $204m initial budget surplus in six months 

Egypt achieves a $204m initial budget surplus in six months 

RIYADH: Egypt’s general budget achieved an initial surplus of 3.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($204 million) during the first six months of the 2021/22 fiscal year, the minister of finance said. 

Mohamed Maait added that revenues grew by 10.3 percent on an annual basis during that period, while tax revenues increased by 15.7 percent, the Middle East News Agency reported. 

He also said that Egypt targets a budget deficit of 6.6 percent in the 2021/22 fiscal year and a primary surplus of 1.5 percent of gross domestic product. 

The minister’s comments came during the cabinet meeting held on Wednesday by the prime minister Mostafa Madbouly, to review the financial performance indicators during the six months period. 


UAE Barakah nuclear plant to reduce 22.5m tons of annual carbon emissions

UAE Barakah nuclear plant to reduce 22.5m tons of annual carbon emissions
Updated 19 January 2022

UAE Barakah nuclear plant to reduce 22.5m tons of annual carbon emissions

UAE Barakah nuclear plant to reduce 22.5m tons of annual carbon emissions

The UAE-based Barakah nuclear power plant is to reduce carbon emissions by a total of 22.5 million tons annually.

The figure represents a 6 percent increase when compared to previous calculations, however.

“The UAE's decision to add nuclear energy to the portfolio of energy sources shows its positive results today. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation is moving forward to make the largest contributions aimed at achieving the goals of climate neutrality in the country by 2050,” WAM reported, citing Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi, managing director and CEO of the nuclear energy firm.

Carbon emissions in Abu Dhabi are expected to decrease by 50 percent by 2025 as a result of operating the four Barakah plants at full capacity, launching new and large-scale solar energy projects, and increasing the efficiency of water desalination operations in the city.

Barakah will provide more than 85 percent of green electricity in Abu Dhabi by 2025.

When fully operational, Barakah will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity without any carbon emissions.