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Optimism moves towards decentralized governance

Ethereum’s offchain scaling solution Optimism announced that it will shift to a new governance structure called Optimism Collective, which will be powered by the OP token.

The Optimism Collective will be governed by two houses, the Citizens’ House and the Token House. The former will consist of addresses with non-transferable NFTs that will represent citizenship, while the later will be established during the first airdrop of the OP token to 250k eligible addresses of early adopters and active Ethereum users.

In order to claim free OP tokens, users have to meet certain criteria such as moving funds to Optimism before June 23, 2021, or voting on multiple governance proposals in the Ethereum ecosystem, or donating cryptos to Gitcoin grants, or bridging to various other chains from layer-1.

While users can already check their eligibility for the airdrop, the actual distribution of OP tokens will happen some time in the second quarter of this year.

According to the announcement, 5% of the initial OP supply is allocated for the first airdrop, while 14% is reserved for the future airdrops. Thus, more airdrops are expected in the future, which should incentivize users to experiment with the new technology and participate in the governance process.

Additionally, the newly established organization called the Optimism Foundation will guide the direction of the Collective. The foundation will be led by two of the Optimism founders.


Binance denies accusations of sharing data with the Russian security agency

According to messages obtained by Reuters, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume Binance had allegedly agreed in 2021 to share client data with Russian FSB controlled agencies. The report suggests that Russia’s financial intelligence unit was particularly interested in millions of dollars of crypto donations raised by now-jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose organization has been added to a list of terrorist organisations.

Bitcoin donations to Alexei Navalny — whose bank accounts have often been frozen in the past — surged in the beginning of 2021 after his arrest upon arriving back to Russia from Germany, where he was recovering from an alleged poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent. Navalny’s largest investigative report about a palace that allegedly belongs to Putin gained more than 100 million views on YouTube and sparked a wave of protests across the country in 2021.

Following the report by Reuters, Binance has denied sharing data of its clients, including Alexei Navalny, with the Russian secret service and released the full email exchange with Reuters prior to the publication.

The exchange has also emphasized its commitment to actively comply with all sanction regimes, and mentioned that the company has recently blocked accounts of individuals linked to high-ranking Kremlin officials.

That said, Binance has also admitted that it actively collaborates with law enforcement agencies from across the world, and it has received more than 1,000 requests from Russian law enforcement agencies since April 2020, without specifying how many of those requests have been fulfilled.

In other news

  • In attempt to prevent “unproductive capital outflows” Ukraine banned its citizens from buying cryptos with local currency hryvnia (UAH). Citizens will only be allowed to buy crypto using foreign currencies with a limit of up to $3,400 per month. The Ukrainian government has also launched a website where users can donate and buy NFTs to support the country.

  • The TON Foundation has added crypto payments to popular messaging app Telegram, allowing users to easily send and receive Toncoin (TON) inside chats with other users. In 2020, Telegram has officially shut down its work on the TON blockchain and distanced itself from the project due to pressure from the US regulators.

  • Central African Republic became the world’s second country after El Salvador to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the Central African CFA franc (XAF) used in five other neighboring states. The bill was unanimously approved by the parliament, but the official announcement is short on details.

  • The Wikimedia Foundation has officially stopped accepting cryptocurrency donations following the community poll conducted earlier this year, in which 71% of participants voted in favor of discontinuation of crypto donations mainly due to environmental concerns. The non-profit organization has been accepting cryptocurrency donations since 2014.

  • The Solana blockchain — one of the major Ethereum competitors with low onchain transaction fees — has suffered another outage due to a large number of inbound transactions created by bots spamming NFT minting tool Candy Machine. The network has been down for roughly seven hours.

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