Bitcoin Futures’ Open Interest on Bakkt Up 50% in February + More News

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Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

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Exchanges news

  • Bitcoin Futures’ Open Interest (OI), the number of open futures contracts and an indicator of amount of capital entering the space, on the Intercontinental Exchange-backed Bakkt increased 50% since the beginning of February and reached USD 18 million on Thursday, according to data from crypto-derivatives analytics firm Skew.
    Bakkt Bitcoin Futures – Total Open Interest & Volumes (USD)

    Source: Skew

  • Binance has announced that its fiat gateway partner Simplex has added support for 15 currencies, including pound sterling, the Russian ruble, and the South Korean won. The gateway allows customers to make cryptoasset purchases in fiat on Binance using Visa and Mastercard.
  • Japanese exchanges Zaif and Fisco have claimed that their platform integration has been completed successfully, per an official release. Financial group Fisco bailed out Zaif’s former operator Tech Bureau after the Zaif exchange was hit with a hack – and eventually bought up the platform. Fisco then had to overcome a number of legal and regulatory hurdles in its attempts to merge its own platform with Zaif. The new integrated platform is now open for business, says its operators.

Adoption news

  • Judy Shelton, Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, told lawmakers at her Senate confirmation hearing Thursday that digitizing the USD could help maintain its rise as a dominant reserve currency and the most important instrument of soft power. Shelton stated that rival nations to the U.S. are working diligently to have an alternative to the USD, and that it’s important that the country “gets ahead of the curve to ensure that the dollar continues to offer the best currency in the world.”
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is offering to sponsor a post-doctoral researcher that would evaluate the impact of the USD losing its status as the world reserve currency. Per the listing, ODNI has been calling for applicants from the U.S. with a background in economics. The application deadline is February 28.
  • ETC Labs, one of the first incubators that supported innovative projects on the Ethereum Classic blockchain, has announced the release of EVM-LLVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine – Low Level Virtual Machine) for the Ethereum Stack communities. The announcement says that this new infrastructure marks a fundamental milestone in the evolution of smart contract development that will enable developers to use a larger variety of programming languages to target the EVM, as well as benefit from LLVM’s mature tooling ecosystem of debugging, validator, static analysis, and more.
  • Colombia’s latest fintech sandbox plans have made no mention of cryptocurrency exchanges or other cryptocurrency-related businesses, reports Criptonoticias. Industry insiders, including the CEO of one of the country’s leading exchanges, Panda – quoted in the report – have warned that the government’s decision could lead to a fall in investment. The head of rival exchange Buda, meanwhile, opined that the sandbox would likely have “little impact” on the industry.

Privacy news

  • A report from Brave, a web browser based on blockchain technology, finds that people seeking help for addiction, disability, and poverty on council websites are profiled by private companies in the UK. This study of private companies’ data collection on council websites across the United Kingdom has uncovered widespread surveillance of UK citizens by private companies embedded on UK council websites, claims Brave, and none of them had received consent from the website visitor to lawfully process data.

Crime news

  • A Russian SIM card swap victim has allegedly lost BTC 1.09, in an attack in the Krasnoselsky District of Moscow. The victim, per The Moscow City News Agency, was aged 32, and claims that the SIM swap attack allowed an attacker to access his Bitcoin wallet by gaining access to the victim’s Telegram account – making off with the tokens and selling them for fiat.