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The European Union confirms a ban on the provision of encryption services to Russians

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The European Union is discussing the next step to take in order to tackle the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the main idea being to prevent Russians from accessing European crypto exchanges. With all the previous sanctions, including a ban on sending money into or out of the country, many in Russia had to turn to digital currencies. Now, however, the European Union has confirmed that it will extend the financial ban to crypto services as well.

The European Union has decided to ban Russia from accessing encryption services located in the European Union

The new move comes on the heels of the secession vote in as many as four Ukrainian regions, which the European Union declared to be nothing less than a “hoax”. The bloc’s new step is to introduce the eighth set of political and economic measures against the invading country, which began to be implemented in February of this year after the Russians made their move against Ukraine.

Cryptocurrency bans are not entirely new, as the European Union already had a thing for cryptocurrency exchanges. However, this original measure was just a restriction preventing Russians from sending more than 10,000 euros to European wallets.

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As stated by the European Union Commission earlier todayThe current ban on crypto-assets has simply been tightened to the point where all crypto-asset wallets, accounts, and custody services for Russian users are now denied, regardless of the amount transferred. The idea was first proposed last week, and after a lengthy debate, the EU governments decided the move should be taken.

These measures will also determine the price of oil that Russia can sell, and were deemed necessary after Russia tried to annex the Zaporizhzhya, Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions.

Russia bans OKX

Meanwhile, Russia decided to block access to OKX, which is the third largest crypto exchange in the world by volume. The move came at the request of the attorney general’s office, which was filed on Tuesday.

Anyone who tries to search the domain of the exchange will find that the site has been blocked by Section 15.3 of the State Law on Information, Information Technology and Information Protection. The article was created to protect Russian citizens from false information, calls for extremist activity, and threats to the country’s financial institutions, among other things.

However, no specific reason was given for the move to ban the exchange. Interestingly enough, this is not the first exchange that Russia has banned. It previously blocked the Binance website in June 2020, although Binance claims that it has not received any complaints from the country’s government. The exchange was not informed of the fact that its domain was blacklisted, until three months after the incident.

The court’s explanation is that the issuance and use of BTC is completely decentralized and, as such, cannot be regulated by the Russian government. This is against local laws hence the ban. However, Binance managed to overturn the ruling by January 2021.

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Blockchain

NFTs can help solve fraud in diamond certificates

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Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but unfortunately, the billion dollar diamond industry is riddled with scandals and scams. There have been a number of cases where lab-grown diamonds have been classified as natural. An example of this was seen last year when the International Gemological Institute analyzed and gradual A lab-grown diamond measuring 6.18 carats, which was previously claimed as a natural diamond in a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) report.

was too mentioned In 2005 it was reported that the Gemological Institute of America – one of the most trusted sources for evaluating gem quality – was accepting bribes to update its GIA reports. According to sources, a lawsuit was filed against KIA in 2005 for accepting payments to “upgrade” the quality of diamonds submitted for classification.

Additionally, consumers may resubmit diamonds for examination at KIA for any reason. This is known as a follow-up service. As a result, diamonds can be associated with multiple appreciation reports. This can be a problem for consumers because they may not receive genuine diamond certificates upon purchase.

NFTs as the only source of truth

Unfortunately, fake diamond certificates are becoming more and more common. Regions like India have developed new frameworks to combat fraudulent activities, as we saw with the Diamond Charter drafted last year. While the industry experts are innovative, they are also starting to look into blockchain technology to help solve this growing problem.

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specifically speaking, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) It may act as a solution when it comes to preventing counterfeiting of diamond certificates. Mike Moldowsky, founder and creator of Diamond Dawn, told Cointelegraph that reports of diamond certificates should be placed on a public blockchain network to ensure that the documents have not been tampered with. “Having a diamond certificate as an NFT certificate on the Ethereum blockchain can ensure immutability, proof of ownership, and visibility for both retailers and consumers,” he said.

In order to prove this, Moldawsky explained that Diamond Dawn is a high-tech NFT project that will place 333 GIA-certified diamonds on the Ethereum blockchain as ERC-721 tokens. The invited private participants will then be able to purchase these diamonds as NFTs. According to Moldawsky, participants will be able to buy one NFT diamond border, weighing between 0.4-0.8 carats, at a price of 4.44 ether (ETH). Once an NFT is purchased, the smart contract will automatically send the GIA Diamond Certificate to the Ethereum blockchain as proof of ownership and verification.

due to height NFTs are linked to their physical counterpartsMoldawsky further noted that NFT holders will have the option to create a tangible art piece containing a GIA-certified diamond via the Diamond Dawn website.

“NFT holders will start with digital rough diamonds and develop the NFT on the blockchain (on-chain) through a process that accurately mimics the process of real-world natural diamonds. Ultimately, the collector will need to decide whether they want to keep the diamonds digitally or burn and convert them to their physical form.”

Example of a Diamond Dawn material piece of art – Box comes with a GIA certified diamond. Source: Diamond Dawn

According to Moldowski, this process is also intended to raise awareness around the idea that digital NFT technologies can become scarce over time, and therefore more valuable. “As more collectors decide to claim physical art and burn NFTs, this will reduce the total NFT supply. As a result, digital NFTs will become more scarce,” explained Moldowsky.

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He added that the digital diamond artwork was created by artist David Ario, who recently sold his first artistic work at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening for $224,000, along with famous artists like Banksy and Basquiat.

Either way, though, Moldawsky made it clear that Diamond Dawn’s diamond certificates will remain on the Ethereum blockchain. “If a user chooses to create a diamond art piece, they will receive a paper GIA certificate in addition to the certificate on the blockchain network. The aim of the project is to establish the ownership, transparency and immutability of diamond certificates.”

Olivia Landau, a GIA-certified gemologist and co-founder of The Clear Cut — a digitally authentic diamond engagement ring and fine jewelry company — told Cointelegraph that her company is also using NFTs for diamond certification after launching an NFT platform on the Authentic blockchain in January. She said:

“NFTs give couples who buy an engagement ring the option to have all of their diamond certificates, insurances, photos and even their proposal story securely stored on the blockchain for years to come, eliminating the worry of holding onto hard-to-replace paper copies.”

Landau added that the purpose of the NFTs offered by The Clear Cut is to digitize and certify the GIA’s report and insurance policies for diamonds. “Clear Cut’s NFT products are not intended for resale in secondary markets,” she said.

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An example of Clear Cut’s NFT portal. Source: The Clear Cut

According to Landau, customers who purchase a diamond ring from The Clear Cut will have the option to purchase an NFT for an additional $500, which must be paid in fiat instead of cryptocurrency. She noted that existing customers will also have this option.

“In the beta testing phase, more than 90% of customers have expressed initial interest in this new NFT functionality. Customers will receive a hard copy of their GIA certificate and a copy of it will be stored digitally, ensuring its lifetime value,” he said.

Will NFTs replace traditional diamond certificates?

NFTs such as digital diamond certificates may be innovative, however it remains questionable whether this concept fits into the mainstream.

For example, Moldawsky noted that he believes more education is needed about blockchain so that traditional organizations can understand the potential behind NFTs. “We need to ask the GIA why they haven’t gone digital yet. Once we start this conversation, we can explain why blockchain technology is going digital.”

Although this may be the case, it is worth noting that GIA is open to digital transformation. Stephen Morisot, director of communications for the GIA, told Cointelegraph that early next year, the GIA will begin porting all gem lab reports into digital forms. “This should be completed by 2025,” he noted. Moreso added that all GIA’s printed reports have several security features, noting that information in any report can be verified using online security. GIA Report Inspection Service.

The adoption of NFTs in the diamond industry may gain traction once mainstream retailers start implementing the technology. For example, De Beers is currently using the Tracr blockchain for Trace the origins of diamonds.

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Jason McIntosh, chief product officer at Tracr, told Cointelegraph that NFTs are likely to be part of the platform solution in the future. “The diamonds on the Tracr platform are ‘NFT-ready’ in the sense that the Tracr diamond registry can easily be integrated into an NFT shell,” he said.

Given this level of innovation, Landau believes that in the future, all diamonds will be authenticated via the blockchain network. However, she noted the importance of ensuring that consumers don’t have to worry about the technicalities behind NFTs:

“Customers do not need to have any crypto or blockchain expertise to access our NFTs. Everything is handled effortlessly for them. I believe this will lead to mainstream adoption.”