This week the New York State Department of Financial Services announced that it has authorized a major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange and custodian to offer two new virtual currency products. The first product, "PAX Gold," is an Ethereum-based token that is backed by gold ‒ the first product of its kind to be authorized by DFS. The second product, Binance USD (BUSD), is an Ethereum-based "stablecoin" that is pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar. BUSD is being launched in partnership with Binance, a foreign-based cryptocurrency exchange, and will be backed by U.S. dollar reserves held by the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, which will act as custodian and issuer for BUSD. In other cryptocurrency exchange news, cryptocurrency news outlet recently announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency exchange that is intended to compete with other large exchanges.

In capital markets news, one of several firms that has unsuccessfully sought Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval for a bitcoin-based exchange traded fund (ETF) has reportedly changed its approach in an effort to bring its product to market. The firm has reportedly altered its proposed product, limiting participants to certain institutional buyers such as hedge funds and banks, in order to avoid certain regulatory requirements.

In the traditional banking sector, one of the world's largest banks recently announced that it has completed "the first yuan-denominated blockchain based letter of credit transaction." The transaction reportedly took place on Voltron, a blockchain platform developed by a consortium of major international banks. Also this week, a major U.S. financial services firm announced that it has joined the Marco Polo Network, a trade and working capital finance network powered by the Corda blockchain platform.

In payments news, this week the Luxembourg office of a "Big Four" global accounting and consulting firm announced that it will soon begin accepting bitcoin as payment. Additionally, a U.S.-based online legal technology firm has announced plans to launch its own "stablecoin" that would be used in conjunction with smart contracts deployed though its platform.

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