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Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and Fintech News Headlines Update on August 31, 2022

Bitcoin price drops below $20k, rumours of Mt. Gox sell off & rising Fed interest rates

Bitcoin dropped below $20,000 for the first time in six weeks as fears over a sell-off by users of defunct exchange Mt. Got added to price pressures from the general market. The crypto market reacted to unconfirmed rumours that 137,000 BTC from Mt. Gox funds were due for release to creditors on Aug. 28. The Federal Reserve saying interest rates may continue to rise also spooked markets. Chairman Jerome Powell said the US central bank will “use its instruments decisively” and it will take time to combat inflation and warned that “households and businesses will experience some pain.” He said “These are the undesirable costs associated with controlling inflation. However, failure to restore price stability would result in much more suffering.” Read More:

Ahead of MiCA, Cyprus Emerging as Preferred EU Crypto License Base

Cyprus is emerging as one of the most popular destinations for crypto and fintech registrations ahead of the EU-wide Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation set to come into effect in 2024. Any firm wanting to offer services related to crypto assets will have to do so through an entity registered with an EU-based regulator before this date. Cyprus has become known for its crypto-friendly regulatory regime with its proposed “Distributed Ledger Technology Bill” aiming to clarify the legal status of crypto assets and create a clear regulatory framework for companies offering crypto services. Revolut, FTX, eToro, Crypto .com, CMC Markets and BitPanda are amongst the companies to have obtained licenses from Cyprus’ CYSEC. Read More: Ahead of MiCA, Cyprus Emerging as Preferred EU Crypto License Base

South Korea Flags 16 Firms for Operating Without Registration

South Korea’s anti-money laundering authority The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU) is going after oversees crypto exchanges. It is targeting 16 foreign crypto firms which it says have been operating in the country without proper regulatory approval, according to a statement published on Thursday. The unit said the firms had advertised crypto and offered services to Koreans without obtaining the requisite registration. The firms it says were conducting “illegal business activities” are KuCoin, MEXC, Phemex, XT .com, Bitrue, ZB .com, Bitglobal, CoinW, CoinEX, AAX, ZoomEX, Poloniex, BTCEX, BTCC, DigiFinex and Pionex which could reportedly face fines or imprisonment. Read More: South Korea’s Money Laundering Watchdog Flags 16 Crypto Firms for Operating Without Registration

South Korea Says 75% Of Illicit Forex Transactions In The Country Are Crypto-Related

At least an estimated 75% of unlawful foreign currency transactions in South Korea this year reportedly involved cryptocurrencies. This is up from 61% last year. According to South Korean authorities, these transactions were allegedly made feasible by two large banks in the country. Read More: South Korea Says 75% Of Illicit Forex Transactions In The Country Are Crypto-Related

Class Action lawsuit claims Coinbase failed to protect customers from fraud

Coinbase, the world’s largest crypto exchange, is facing a Federal Class Action lawsuit over allegations that it failed to secure user accounts from hackers and thieves. The complaint alleges that Coinbase misrepresents itself as having never been hacked and that its digital wallets are secure. It claims the exchange’s account security system is vulnerable to attack and that it has failed to prevent a series of breaches that have caused significant user losses. The latest breaches occurred less than a year after Coinbase settled similar claims by the California Attorney General and paid $300 million. The suit alleges that the company was indifferent to consumers’ losses and that when victims sought help, it “routed them through its automated complaint processing — a recursive loop of impenetrable screens that prevented them from explaining their situation to any human being and was incapable of redressing the theft of their savings.” Read More: Class Action lawsuit claims Coinbase failed to protect customers from fraud

Binance Blocks $1 Million Corporate Account After Law Enforcement Request

Crypto exchange Binance has confirmed that it restricted access to $1 Million in crypto due to “the result of a law enforcement request”. The exchange confirmed this following social media backlash that it had frozen and wiped the account of Tezos staking rewards auditor Baking Bad “without any explanations”. Binance said it ‘is required to cooperate with such requests, the same as any other exchange. There is a process to contest the seizure with the agency should you wish to pursue that path. But that is done through the agency, Binance has zero control over that process.’ This move has sparked backlash by some as leading people to hold their own crypto, not on centralised exchanges. Read More: Binance Blocks $1 Million Corporate Account After Law Enforcement Request

More than $100M worth of NFTs stolen since July 2021 — Elliptic

Cryptocurrency risk management firm Elliptic suggests that scammers stole roughly $100.6 million worth of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, in 13 months from July 2021 until July 2022. In its NFTs and Financial Crime report released on Wednesday, Elliptic noted that although the market downturn had caused the value of NFTs to “slump”, scammers stole the most tokens in July 2022 — estimated to be 4,647 assets — and the most value in May 2022 at roughly $23.9 million. Read More: NFTs and Financial Crime

Crypto and Geopolitics- Tether won’t blacklist Wallets associated with Tornado Cash

Tether says “not so fast” to U.S. sanctions. Stablecoin operator Tether says it will not blacklist wallets associated with blender protocol Tornado cash unless it has clearer instructions from the U.S. Treasury Department. The bigger picture: Treasury’s power to blacklist entities and prohibit them from interacting with the U.S. banking system is designed to pressure adversaries. In the case of Tornado Cash, the concern was North Korea’s use of the protocol to hide $100s millions in stolen cash. This isn’t about crypto as much as it is geopolitics.

Millions of dollars in ETH lie unclaimed in presale wallets

A long-running statistic suggests that 20% of all Bitcoin supply- around four million Bitcoin -has been lost forever. Over 500 Ethereum presale wallets with a value of several billion dollars are also yet to be recovered. Read More: Millions of dollars in ETH lie unclaimed in presale wallets — but there’s a way to get them back

Crypto donation management platform launches to enable crypto donations

Engiven, a cryptocurrency donation management platform has launched a foundation that will now enable cryptocurrency donors to support more than 1.6 million nonprofits in the U.S by giving any of 94 different cryptocurrencies. The Engiven.org platform means crypto donors will be able to give to virtually any nonprofit in the US. Read More: Engiven Launches Engiven.org to Enable Crypto Donations for More Than 1.6 Million Nonprofits

Meta now lets you post your NFTs on both Facebook and Instagram

Meta will now let users post their NFT digital collectibles across both Instagram and Facebook. Users will be able to connect their digital wallets including Rainbow, MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Coinbase Wallet and Dapper Wallet to either app to post digital collectibles minted on Ethereum, Polygon, and Flow. This is the next step in NFTs going mainstream and Meta trying to be a part of that… Read More: Meta now lets you post your NFTs on both Facebook and Instagram

Meta now lets you post your NFTs on both Facebook and Instagram

Beijing announces two-year Metaverse innovation and development plan

The Beijing municipal government has announced a two year Metaverse development and innovation plan which requires municipalities to track NFT technology trends and integrate the Metaverse into education and tourism. The government would require all districts to adhere to the plan which refers to the Metaverse as a new generation of information technology integration and innovation that would drive the growth of the internet toward Web3. It focuses on promoting the development of Metaverse-related industries and helping Beijing build a benchmark city for the digital economy. Read More: Beijing announces two-year Metaverse innovation and development plan

Malaysian bank works on crypto-friendly ‘super app’ with Ant Group tech

One of the largest private investment banks in Malaysia, Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad, which has more than 500,000 customers, has partnered with China’s tech giant Ant Group to launch a crypto-friendly wallet and trading application. Malaysia is accelerating its pace of cryptocurrency adoption as one of the major local banks is moving into cryptocurrency trading as part of its default banking offerings. Read More: Malaysian bank works on crypto-friendly ‘super app’ with Ant Group tech

Chinese search engine Baidu embraces NFTs, crypto in Japan

Baidu Japan, the subsidiary of China’s largest search engine, has partnered with local firms on a Japanese NFT venture. The NFTs will be released on the public Ethereum blockchain. This, despite It’s cryptocurrency being banned in China and the Chinese government having frowned on speculation around non-fungible tokens. The venture SimejiWEB3, and an associated community, CryptoSemeji are based around a popular Simeji emoji app. Read More: Chinese search engine Baidu embraces NFTs, crypto in Japan

Baidu embraces NFTs, crypto in Japan

India’s primary payment rail NPCI calls for Indian Blockchain Platform

The CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Dilip Asbe, has publicly called for an Indian Blockchain Platform. The NPCI, which was established by the Reserve Bank of India and commercial banks and operates all of India’s major payments rails, appears to embrace blockchain where the Reserve Bank has repeatedly pushed back against cryptocurrencies and blocked banks from dealing with exchanges for years until the Supreme Court overruled it. The central bank still wants cryptocurrencies banned. Read More: India’s primary payment rail NPCI calls for Indian Blockchain Platform

FTX Is Spreading False Statements About Crypto Products, FDIC Says

Crypto Exchange FTX US has received a cease-and-desist warning from the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on Friday, telling it to stop issuing “false” statements and “misleading” consumers about the insurance status of their products. The FDIC sent the same warning to four other crypto companies – SmartAsset .com, Cryptonews .com, Cryptosec .info, and FDICCrypto .com. The FDIC claims that these companies misled consumers on its coverage of certain cryptocurrency-related commodities. It said “As per evidence gathered by the FDIC, each of these companies made misleading claims, including on their websites and social media profiles, that certain crypto-related products or stocks held in brokerage accounts are FDIC-insured.” Read More: FTX Is Spreading False Statements About Crypto Products, FDIC Says

FTX revenue reportedly grew 1000% in one year, leaked documents reveal

Audited financials show FTX grew from $90 million in 2020 to $1.2 billion in 2021 with a 1842.85% increase in operating income from $14 million to $272 million in one year. FTX has reportedly made $270 million in the first quarter of 2022, but this isn’t yet taking into account the effects of the crypto winter. The report claims that FTX possessed $2.5 billion in cash by the end of 2021 with a profit margin of 27%. Read More: FTX revenue reportedly grew 1000% in one year, leaked documents reveal

Crypto lender Hodlnaut Sacks 80% Of Personnel Due To Liquidity Crisis

Hodlnaut is the latest crypto lender to disclose liquidity issues and lay off staff. It has laid off 80% of its employees and filed for judicial intervention in Singapore in a bid to decrease costs and stay afloat. Hodlnaut has ended the employment of approximately 40 individuals “to cut corporate expenses” keeping 10 remaining staff “essential” to its current operations. It attributed its losses to its Hong Kong subsidiary after the TerraUSD crisis, exceedingly large withdrawal numbers, the fall in cryptocurrency prices and problems with specific consumers who made substantial deposits. Earlier this month the company had stated it would suspend withdrawals, deposits, and coin swaps on its platform. Read More: Crypto New Casualty – Hodlnaut Sacks 80% Of Personnel Due To Liquidity Crisis

Top Companies Globally Pour $6 Billion Into Crypto And Blockchain Firms

Despite the current market, a study by Blockdata has found that up to 40 big global companies invested roughly $6 billion in blockchain firms and projects between September 2021 and June 2022. Blockdata studied the investment activity of about 100 largest public firms and their market cap. Samsung stood as the top most active firm investing in about 13 different companies during the period under survey. Read More: Top Companies Globally Pour $6 Billion Into Crypto And Blockchain Firms

More Than $600 Million In Crypto Liquidated

Crypto liquidations across the market have quickly added up in the last days with Bitcoin dropping back below $21,000, triggering rapid losses for crypto traders. More than 150,000 traders have now lost their positions, leading to one of the worst liquidation trends to be recorded in 2022. Read More: Blood On The Streets As Crypto Market Liquidations Cross $600 Million

45 Bored Ape NFTs in Danger of Getting Liquidated

45 of the 272 Bored Apes on NFT lending platform BendDAO are now in the platform’s “danger zone“ when an NFT used as collateral is close to being auctioned off. The floor price of Bored Apes have tumbled in recent months, leading the 45 Apes worth $5.3 million at risk of being liquidated. If this many Bored Apes are forcibly sold, there’s worry that could trigger even more liquidations. BendDAO, a peer-to-peer lending service that lets users borrow ether against their NFTs of about 30-40% of the NFT collection’s floor price, has collateralised almost 3% of the entire Bored Ape collection. Read More: Many Bored Ape NFTs Are in Danger of Getting Liquidated as Borrowed Money Comes Back to Bite

Bank Run at NFT Lender BendDAO Prompts Attempt to Avert Another Liquidity Crisis

The lending platform BendDAO from a distance looks like a bank, where some customers deposit money into the decentralised finance platform which loans the money out, giving depositors a cut of the interest payments. The difference is, the loans are backed by collateral comprising of Bored Apes and other NFTs – none known for their bargain or stable prices. Over the past few days, depositors worried that the lender would be the latest to fall – after the above 45 Ape loans being in danger of liquidation- and withdrew their assets en masse. This drained the platform’s reserves to a low of five ether (ETH) on Sunday, from more than 10,000 wrapped ETH. Read More: Bank Run at NFT Lender BendDAO Prompts Attempt to Avert Another Liquidity Crisis

Korean police seize crypto for unpaid traffic fines in trial

A South Korean town with a population of 275,000 near Seoul has been successfully operating a pilot program that allows police to seize crypto from the exchange accounts of individuals with delinquent traffic fines, since its 2022 launch. The program appears to have been successful, with police achieving an 88% collection rate on traffic fines amounting to $668,000. Crypto seizures were only taken if the funds in the individual’s bank accounts have already been exhausted, and rely on the individuals holding tradable crypto. What is next for law enforcement- and others- seizing crypto? Read More: Korean police seize crypto for unpaid traffic fines in trial

Crypto-crime revenue drops by 65%

Revenue from cryptocurrency-related crime is down by 65% in the first half of 2022 – totalling $1.6 billion- compared to the same period of 2021, according to a report by crypto analytics firm Chainalysis. The biggest scam so far in 2022 brought in $273 million, less than a quarter of the value of the biggest scam in 2021. The drop in crypto crime values corresponds with the drop in crypto prices. However, the value of stolen or hacked crypto assets has increased from $1.2bn to $1.9bn in the last year, which Chainalysis attributes mostly to the rise in funds stolen from DeFi protocols and from cross-chain bridges. Read More: Crypto-crime revenue drops by 65% – report

Crypto Lender Celsius Says It Likely Has Enough Cash to Last Through End of Year

The chief financial officer of Celsius has said during a bankruptcy hearing with creditors that it likely has enough to fund its operations until the end of the year. CFO Chris Ferraro said it will receive additional funds via maturing loans, and sales and use tax savings and that it expects to be cash-flow positive at the beginning of 2023. Read More: Bankrupt Crypto Lender Celsius Now Says It Likely Has Enough Cash to Last Through End of Year

That Coinbase job offer could actually be North Korean hackers

North Korean state sponsored hacking group the Lazarus Group are now also reportedly targeting web3 developers on Mac devices as well as Windows. The group impersonate Coinbase (and other platforms) and reach out to blockchain developers via LinkedIn and other platforms with job offers. After messaging and ‘interviews’ they send a file resembling a .pdf with the job details. Instead, the malicious file allows the hacker into the victims’ system, obtain their security credentials and siphon off any crypto. Read More: That Coinbase job offer could actually be North Korean hackers

Ukraine has shown the value cryptocurrency offers to real people

The invasion of Ukraine has proven to be a moment where cryptocurrency proved its true value with over $100 million in crypto donations so far raised to support the Ukrainian resistance. Many of those donating have seen crypto as a way of giving ordinary people rather than corporations and governments control over their own money. Read More: Ukraine has shown the value cryptocurrency offers to real people

Fake Manchester United token soars 3,000% after Elon Musk jokes about buying team

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stirred markets yet again, this time with a tweet saying he would buy the Manchester United football club, which he later admitted was a “long-running joke.” Crypto token Manchester United Fan Token (MUFC) was launched in 2021 but has long since been dead and isn’t related to the sports franchise. Nonetheless, one joke tweet by Musk, not even about the token, pushed its price up by 3000% – largely due to low liquidity and volume. Read More: Fake Manchester United token soars 3,000% after Elon Musk jokes about buying team

Binance.US Obtains Money Transmitter License in Nevada

Crypto exchange Binance.US has received its Money Transmitter License in Nevada bringing it to a total of seven Money Transmitter Licenses across US jurisdictions. The company says it plans to expand its presence in the growing crypto market of the United States. Binance.US has seen rapid growth in its valuation during the past few months despite the challenging crypto market, securing $200 million in seed funding this April and touching a valuation of $4.5 billion. Read More: Binance.US Obtains Money Transmitter License in Nevada

The Merge is coming

Ethereum recently merged its last testnet, Goerli, bringing it one step closer to adopting its new model. The Merge, predicted to happen on September 15, is definitely one of the biggest events in crypto history, as Ethereum is set to go through a major software update that will push it from the proof-of-work to proof-of-stake model.

This transition is expected to cut down on the blockchain’s energy use, paving the way for future upgrades that will allow Ethereum to process more transactions. While the crypto community has been excited – enough to put up memes on the merge for sale on Opensea – Ethereum has set out to bust a few “misconceptions.”

For instance, it looks like The Merge will not result in lower gas fees, according to the blockchain’s latest update on August 17.

Transactions after The Merge might not be “noticeably” faster either. Theoretically on proof-of-stake, blocks will be produced about 10% more frequently than on proof-of-work. That’s not a huge difference.

On the positive side, however, the Ethereum team has guaranteed zero downtime in the transition. Ethereum has also maintained that it will reduce energy consumption by nearly 99.95% following The Merge. Also, the amount of ETH issued yearly will fall from 4.3% to roughly 0.4% after the move, which is good news for token holders.

However, several ETH miners have resisted the merge to create a new, parallel network and cryptocurrency. Since the proof-of-stake model will end the practice of mining, it will also strip them of a vital source of income.

Another concern is how Circle, the centralized issuer of major stablecoin USDC, may have an outsized role in deciding which version of Ethereum succeeds, going against crypto’s decentralized ethos.

Pudgy Penguins

Pudgy Penguins is a community NFT that has created buzz because of its reputation as a way to make a quick buck and for its country club-esque exclusivity. It has just introduced its lineup of physical toys licensed directly by NFT holders, skyrocketing its sales volume by 350%.

Ankr

Ankr is a Web3 infrastructure platform that is looking to make the process of deploying staking nodes in decentralized apps easier for developers. Its native token, Ankr, can be used in making payments, gaining access to applications, staking, and participating in governance.

The Tornado fallout

On August 8, the US Treasury Department banned residents of the country from using decentralized crypto-mixing service Tornado Cash. Mixers like Tornado help enable anonymous transactions to protect user privacy.

Some believe the move is an honest attempt to rule out illicit actors who have laundered funds during major heists and question how much of Tornado Cash’s transactions are actually innocuous.

Others criticize the move for hurting the privacy of innocent users and setting a bad precedent by persecuting a mere developer of a software tool.

That said, most programmers aren’t building solutions that allow easy transfers that bypass the banking system (illicit or otherwise), so for the firm to expect no repercussions might be naive.

In any case, Tornado Cash is still up and running, and there’s nothing stopping copies from spinning up. One has to ask if the sanctions are even effective.

Yet another depegging event

Over the past weekend, Polkadot-based DeFi platform Acala’s native stablecoin, aUSD, depegged from the US dollar after a hack. However, the stablecoin is climbing back to its dollar peg after the community voted to burn 1.3 billion aUSD.

Coinbase may not have its bases covered

Coinbase is currently being investigated by the US markets regulator as the crypto exchange has come under fire for its token listing processes as well as its staking programs and yield-generating products. Nevertheless, Coinbase doesn’t expect the investigations to have a “material adverse effect” on its financial health.

Big tech meets blockchain

Among 100 publicly listed companies that have invested in blockchain technology, Google parent firm Alphabet leads the pack after having poured US$1.5 billion across just four rounds, according to a report by Blockdata. Meanwhile, Samsung was the most active, with the company investing nearly US$1 billion across 13 rounds. Read more: Top 100 Public Companies Investing in Blockchain & Crypto Companies

Hodlnaut files for protection from creditors

This week, crypto exchange Hodlnaut said it has filed an application with the local high court to be placed under judicial management as part of its attempt at overcoming setbacks without going out of business. The company is also temporarily protected from legal proceedings by third parties. Read more: SG crypto exchange Hodlnaut files for protection from creditors

Deal off the table

The crypto world’s first US$1 billion deal has been abandoned. Galaxy Digital, a crypto-based investment manager, announced that it has terminated its US$1.2 billion acquisition offer for crypto custody firm BitGo, as the latter failed to deliver audited financial statements for 2021 by a July 31 deadline. However, BitGo is seeking US$100 million in damages from Galaxy for calling off the deal. Read more: Galaxy Digital, BitGo Squabble As $1.2 Billion Crypto Deal Crumbles

Crypto Exchange Bitfinex May Be Facing Criminal Investigation in US

Crypto exchange Bitfinex is reportedly facing a possible criminal investigation in the U.S. over who uses its platform and the state of its reserves, according to a Department of Justice reply to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request shared on Twitter. The DOJ denied a request for information pertaining to Tether Holdings Limited, its parent company iFinex Inc. and its subsidiaries., which include Bitfinex.

It reportedly said exemption 7(A) prevents the disclosure of “records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that production of such law enforcement records or information … could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” Bitfinex has faced several investigations from criminal and civil entities in the U.S. around whether its sister company, stablecoin issuer Tether, was being truthful about the state of its reserves and whether U.S. persons were allowed to trade on its offshore commodity exchange. Read More: Crypto Exchange Bitfinex May Be Facing Criminal Investigation in US

Email marketing platform Mailchimp bans crypto content creators without prior notice

Email marketing platform Mailchimp seems to have stopped crypto companies and crypto content creators from being able to use its platform. Several have reported receiving notices of service interruption citing terms of service violation. Multiple platforms including content creators, news platforms and related services have complained of their accounts being suspended without prior warning. According to the Mailchimp website, this falls under the “Acceptable Use” policy in which it outlines prohibited content which as of May states “cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, and any digital assets related to an Initial Coin Offering” are prohibited due to “higher-than-average abuse complaints”. Read More: Mailchimp bans crypto content creators without prior notice

Monero’s Privacy-Focused Crypto Protocol Upgrade Is Now Live

Privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero has enhanced its network with several new features aimed at making it more private. The number of signers for a ring signature (digital signatures) has been increased from 11 to 16 for every transaction. These should make it impossible to trace the origin of a Monero transaction. The previous zero-knowledge proof Bulletproofs algorithm was upgraded to “Bulletproofs+”, reducing transaction size and increasing transaction speed expected to improve performance by 5-7%. Fee changes aim to minimise fee volatility and improve overall network security. Read More: Monero’s Privacy-Focused Crypto Protocol Upgrade Is Now Live

A crypto lawyer’s take on the potential legal implications of using privacy coins, by Charlie Kerrigan, crypto & fintech partner at CMS: ‘There’s an old saying among lawyers that hard cases make bad law. That seems to be the story here and the crypto community make the case that concerns about North Korean state actors are dominating the analysis on the law enforcement side. Any reference to privacy coins reminds me of David Birch wondering out loud if we should turn the usual presumption upside down: the way the law stands, if you use a privacy coin you should expect to have to prove you aren’t a criminal…’

Daily Average of $189K Lost Crypto Scams and Hacks in 2022

As of August 10, 2022, crypto scams had lost roughly $42 billion so far this year averaging a loss of $189,000 a day. The largest disappearance of crypto so far this year was the Terra Classic Bank Run, which caused a loss of $40 billion. Read More: An Average of $189K Was Lost Daily to Crypto Scams and Hacks Since the Beginning of the Year

South Korea Arrests 3 in $3.4B Crypto Trading Scheme

Prosecutors in South Korea have arrested three people in an investigation into $3.4 billion in foreign exchange transactions thought to be tied to illegal crypto trading. They were held on allegations that included setting up paper companies and operating an unregistered crypto trading business. They reportedly face additional charges connected to false data submissions to banks and substantial foreign currency transfers abroad and are allegedly tied to a firm that sent $307 million worth of funds overseas from a Woori Bank branch in Seoul to earn arbitrage profits. South Korea has become known for digital tokens prices at up to 20% higher than elsewhere – known as the Kimchi Premium – due to difficulties placed on transferring large amounts of money in and out of crypto exchanges from overseas. Those buying crypto abroad and selling it on Korean exchanges could make a good profit but getting those profits out of the country is hard due to banks’ stringent reporting rules for foreign exchange transactions over certain amounts and being unlikely to approve these transfers. Read More: S Korea Arrests 3 in $3.4B Crypto Trading Scheme

Korean regulators investigate banks over $6.5B tied to Kimchi premium

South Korean regulators the Financial Supervisory Service are investigating local banks for their role in facilitating $6.5 billion in suspicious overseas remittances which have been tied to companies arbitraging cryptocurrency. This comes after they identified a significant amount of overseas remittance transactions at the end of June, with a majority of the $6.5 billion remitted overseas between Jan 2021 and Jun 2022 coming from crypto exchange accounts before being sent out of the country, suggesting some Korean companies are exploiting the “Kimchi premium (kimp).” Read More: Korean regulators investigate banks over $6.5B tied to Kimchi premium

Russia plans to roll out digital ruble across all banks in 2024

The Bank of Russia is planning to launch its central bank digital currency (CBDC), planning an official digital ruble rollout in 2024. According to its latest monetary policy update, all banks and credit institutions will start to be connected to the digital ruble platform in 2024. Russia debuted its first digital ruble trials in February 2022, after rolling out a roadmap for its digital ruble last year. Read More: Russia plans to roll out digital ruble across all banks in 2024

Alleged Tornado Cash developer arrested, crypto industry reacts

A 29-year-old man has been arrested in Amsterdam for his suspected involvement in writing the code as part of the development of crypto mixer Tornado Cash. The Netherlands’ Fiscal Information and Investigation Service which investigates financial crime in the country said the individual is “suspected of involvement in concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering,” and that “multiple arrests are not ruled out” as investigations into Tornado Cash continue. Tornado Cash was the crypto mixer banned earlier this month by the US Department of the Treasury for its role in laundering money from large-scale hacking operations. The problem is, there are many legitimate reasons for using crypto mixing services, with many pointing out they have used them to make it safer to donate to Ukraine. It isn’t clear yet if the individual has been arrested for just writing the code, or something more. Read More: Alleged Tornado Cash developer arrested in Amsterdam

Crypto lending platform Celsius Network shows deficit of $2.85 billion

A new report filed shows that the actual debt of crypto lending platform Celsius Network stands at $2.85 billion, not the $1.2 billion deficit claimed in their bankruptcy filing. The latest report shows net liabilities worth $6.6 billion and total assets under management at $3.8 billion. The report also noted that of the total 100,669 Bitcoin deposited by investors, the company has lost 62,853 BTC and currently holds only 37,926 BTC. Read More: Celsius Network coin report shows a balance gap of $2.85 billion

Blackrock Launches Bitcoin Private Trust Citing ‘Substantial Interest’ From Clients

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager has launched a private bitcoin trust to be available to U.S. institutional clients. “Despite the steep downturn in the digital asset market, we are still seeing substantial interest from some institutional clients in how to efficiently and cost-effectively access these assets using our technology and product capabilities” Blackrock said. It is expected similar to the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. Read More: World’s Largest Asset Manager Blackrock Launches Bitcoin Private Trust Citing ‘Substantial Interest’ From Clients

Abrdn Acquires Stake in Archax

UK investment company Abrdn, formerly Standard Life Aberdeen plc has invested in UK based Archax to become its largest external shareholder. Archax aims to use this collaboration to drive the adoption of blockchain technology in the financial sector. Read More: Abrdn Acquires Stake in Archax

Coincover introduces disaster recovery technology to protect staked crypto

Digital asset protection provider Coincover has launched the world’s first staking protection technology. Staking, which can bring high yields to investors, also brings risks, such as networks penalising investors by claiming a portion of their crypto. Coincover has developed technology which it says protects staked assets from any kind of outage or disaster scenario by providing staking organisations with an encrypted backup key. Read More: Coincover introduces disaster recovery technology to protect staked crypto

Brazilian crypto lender BlueBenx fires employees, halts withdrawals citing $32M hack

Brazilian crypto lending platform BlueBenx has reportedly blocked its 22,000 users from withdrawing their funds following an alleged hack that drained $32 million (160 million Brazilian real). The company has also allegedly laid off most of its employees, without reportedly giving details about the hack. The crypto lender had promised up to 66% returns for users investing in cryptocurrencies via various in-house earning avenues and joins the growing list of crypto companies that failed to deliver on their promise of high (arguably, unrealistic) yield returns. Read More: BlueBenx fires employees, halts funds withdrawal citing $32M hack

Acala’s Stablecoin Falls 99 Percent After Hackers Issue 1.28 Billion Tokens

Decentralised finance platform Acala’s native stablecoin, aUSD lost 99% of its value on Sunday after hackers exploited a bug in a newly-deployed liquidity pool. The bug allowed the hacker to mint 1.28 billion tokens. The stablecoin was launched earlier this year and until the hack had maintained its dollar peg. A wallet believed to belong to the hacker still contains 1.27 billion of the tokens. It seems the hacker wasn’t the only one to take advantage of the bug, several other users allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth from the liquidity pool. It isn’t clear yet how Acala will deal with this or whether the aUSD peg can be restored. In response the Acala team put the network into maintenance mode and froze the hacker’s funds, calling users to point out that this means it’s not quite decentralised. Read more:

Report Shows Hackers Launder $540M Through Crypto RenBridge Platform

RenBridge, a bridge network, has been reported to be the most used crypto bridge by criminals since 2020. Crypto analytics firm Elliptic stated that ‘RenBridge had aided the transfer of about $540 million to hackers, fraudsters, and other money laundering activities’. According to a report by Elliptic, crypto bridges have aided the majority of the money laundering within the crypto industry. Read More: Report Shows Hackers Launder $540M Through Crypto RenBridge Platform

Mark Cuban Faces Class Action Lawsuit For Promoting Voyager Digital

Investors are suing billionaire Mark Cuban for promoting crypto lending platform Voyager Digital which they are calling “a massive Ponzi scheme.” The lawsuit describes the platform, which has now entered bankruptcy proceedings and cost investors an estimated $5 billion as “a house of cards, built on false promises and factually impossible representations that were specifically designed to take advantage of the cryptocurrency craze to the direct detriment of any ordinary investor.” According to a filing in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Florida, a class action lawsuit was brought against him claiming that he had aided the company in defrauding millions of Americans. The filing mentions quotes of Cuban saying he had used the platform, which is thought to have led many to invest who then lost money when the platform collapsed. Read more:

Blockchain recycling firm SMX sees valuation skyrocket 14 fold in SPAC listing

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation is leading a consortium of 18 companies in a blockchain-based pilot project to trial biofuels for marine fuel. The maritime sector currently makes up 2.9% of global carbon emissions, which it is hoped will be reduced. This solution uses synthetic DNA tracing together with blockchain to track marine fuels. “Blockchain and DNA-powered fuel tracing and tracking is a far more accurate and transparent means of monitoring fuel than we have seen before, and sets the bar for future fuel tracing and tracking,” said Deanna MacDonald, Co-founder & CEO of blockchain and traceability startup BunkerTrace which will run the tracking. Read More: Blockchain recycling firm SMX sees valuation skyrocket 14 fold in SPAC listing

US Treasury bans Tornado Cash mixer for role in crypto money laundering

The US Department of the Treasury has added crypto mixer Tornado Cash to a list of sanctioned organizations for its role in laundering crypto stolen in major hacks, especially those linked to North Korean hacking groups. This means all US citizens will be banned from interacting with the mixer and will require that US assets belonging to Tornado Cash be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Brian E. Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Tornado Cash ‘had not taken adequate steps to prevent its services from being used by some of the most prolific cybercriminals’. He said of crypto mixers in general that “Treasury will continue to aggressively pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for criminals and those who assist them”. Read More: US Treasury bans Tornado Cash mixer for role in crypto money laundering

Coinbase hit with 2 fresh lawsuits amid SEC probe

Coinbase has been hit with two additional legal claims from two law firms. New York-based Bragar Eagel & Squire revealed that it would be suing crypto exchange Coinbase for making deceptive claims about its business practices. Pomerantz LLP has also filed a claim alleging that it is entitled to compensation for any losses incurred as a result of violations of federal securities laws. Both claim that ‘Coinbase made fraudulent and deceptive representations regarding the company’s business, operations, and compliance efforts between Apr. 14, 2021 and July 26 2022.’  Read More: Coinbase hit with 2 fresh lawsuits amid SEC probe

A nasty new wallet-draining scam is doing the rounds of Coinbase users

A new scam is targeting Coinbase customers with attackers posing as the exchange to trick people into handing over their account credentials. A fake email warns users that their account needs attention due to an “urgent matter” asking users to either confirm a transaction, or provide additional information to prevent their account from being locked. A link leads to a fake site which looks almost identical to the real Coinbase website. Victims are then redirected to a site that says “account suspended” and offers them a chance to talk to “customer support” which is nothing but a continuation of the scam. Read More: Watch out, Coinbase users: A nasty new wallet-draining scam is doing the rounds

Crypto fundraising hits $30.3B in H1, outpacing all of 2021: Report

The crypto sector has already raised $30.3 billion in funds so far this year, outpacing all fundraising in 2021, a new report by crypto analytics firm Messari and Dove Analytics shows. The $30.3 billion was raised across centralized finance (CeFi), decentralized finance (DeFi), nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and infrastructure through 1199 funding rounds in the first half of 2022. Of this amount, DeFi got $1.8 billion compared to $10.2 billion in CeFi. (Cointelegraph) Read More: Crypto fundraising hits $30.3B in H1, outpacing all of 2021: Report

Portuguese Banks Are Closing Crypto Exchange Accounts

At least three crypto exchanges in Portugal have had their bank accounts shut down despite regulatory approval to operate in the country. This is thought to be due to banks’ fears of money laundering, with banks wanting to avoid the potential for criminal activity that goes with those accounts. Banks in Portugal are legally able to shut down accounts with cryptocurrency exchanges without any input from the regulator. Read More: Here’s Why Portuguese Banks Are Closing Crypto Exchange Accounts

One South Korean VC firm lost $3.6 billion dollars from the Luna stablecoin crash

A South Korean VC firm lost $3.6 billion dollars from the Luna stablecoin crash. This is thought to be one of the largest losses from the fallout of the stablecoin. The VC firm Hashed said it purchased 30 million Luna tokens in the early days of Luna. Hashed has raised $240 billion to commit back into the space since December, with plans to raise another fund after the first is deployed. Read More: A South Korean VC firm says it lost more than $3 billion in Luna’s stunning crash earlier this year

Chainalysis Estimates $2B Stolen From Cross-Chain Bridge Hacks This Year

Blockchain analytics company Chainalysis estimates that $2 billion worth of crypto has been stolen from cross-chain bridges this year, including this week’s $190 million Nomad bridge exploit. A report they released on the security vulnerabilities of cross-chain bridges estimates that this type of hack accounts for 69% of all stolen crypto funds this year. “Bridges are an attractive target because they often feature a central storage point of funds that back the ‘bridged’ assets on the receiving blockchain,” the report said. Read More: Chainalysis Estimates $2B Stolen From Cross-Chain Bridge Hacks This Year

Hackers Steal $190 million from crypto bridge in ‘frenzied free-for-all’

Nomad, a crypto bridge which allows users to transfer cryptocurrencies between different blockchains is the latest to suffer an exploit. Hackers have reportedly stolen roughly $190 million in user investments, in the latest in a string of hacks on crypto bridges. Sam Sun, a researcher at crypto investment firm Paradigm, tweeted that the hackers needed very little technical knowledge to carry out the hack which he described as a ‘frenzied free-for-all’. He said the hackers simply exploited a coding mistake in a routine software upgrade which allowed the hackers to forge transaction data with a simple copy-paste command. “All you had to do was find a transaction that worked, find/replace the other person’s address with yours, and then re-broadcast it’’ he tweeted. Nomad has yet to confirm if it’s users will be reimbursed. Read More: HACKERS LOOT BLOCKCHAIN BRIDGE FOR MILLIONS IN “FRENZIED FREE FOR ALL”

Hackers From North Korea Seen As Culprits In DeBridge Finance Cyberattack

Hackers from North Korea are reportedly behind a hack of cross-chain interoperability and liquidity transfer protocol DeBridge Finance, according to multiple sources. Reports indicate the cyberattack likely originated from the North Korean hacking syndicate, Lazarus Group. A significant number of DeBridge team members received a faked email containing a PDF file titled “New Salary Adjustments” that was made out to be sent by DeBridge co-founder Alex Smirnov. Read More: Hackers From North Korea Seen As Culprits In DeBridge Finance Cyberattack

Consumer perceptions of NFTs sink

A July survey by Variety magazine found that consumer perceptions of NFTs has declined, particularly amongst those that have not bought one. Most people who don’t (yet) own an NFT or non-fungible token believe them to be a bad investment, with 15% believing they are a good investment. The rest had a neutral outlook. Of those who own an NFT, two thirds however believe they are a good investment and only 5% believe them to be a poor one. The 15-29 year old demographic sees the most NFT penetration with a quarter owning an NFT. Read More: Consumer perceptions of NFTs sink

Instagram makes NFTs sharable in 100 countries on its platform

Instagram has now made NFTs shareable in over 100 countries. This follows the platform enabling NFTs on posts and stories in May. The rollout now includes NFTs on Flow, up from Ethereum and Polygon. Read More: Instagram broadens NFT rollout to 100 countries

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