Late last week, a major U.S. financial markets firm that operates 12 regulated securities and commodities exchanges announced an agreement to acquire a leading provider of loyalty solutions for merchants and consumers. According to the press release, the acquired firm "powers programs for seven of the top ten financial institutions and 4,500 loyalty, incentive and employee perk programs for companies across a wide spectrum of industries." The press release notes that the acquired firm is intended to be integrated with Bakkt, the exchange for physically delivered bitcoin futures contracts. According to the press release, "Integrating with Bakkt will allow top retail brands to offer more innovative loyalty programs and help consumers unlock and access value in those programs." In a related development, a recent report provided details on plans by the Catalan soccer team, FC Barcelona, to launch a blockchain token, termed the Barca Fan Token ($BAR). The token will reportedly be used by fans to influence club decisions and access other digital features and experiences involving the soccer team.

In news from the custody space, one of the largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency custody providers recently announced plans to expand its business to include new custodial entities in Switzerland and Germany. In payments news, a Canadian startup, Canada Stablecorp Inc., has launched its Canadian dollar stablecoin (QCAD), an ERC20 token backed 1:1 by Canadian dollars. And in a notable capital markets development, two major U.S. financial institutions recently completed what has been reported as "the first equity swap on a new blockchain built using tools originally designed for ethereum." The transaction took place on Axcore, a private permissioned blockchain modeled in part on the Ethereum blockchain.

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