08 Jul 2021 · 6 min read
Crypto Regulatory Moves in US & EU, Banks Help Binance's Competitors + More News
Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- In a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler, US Senator Elizabeth Warren said she needed answers from Gensler by July 28 on the SEC’s authority to protect consumers investing and trading in cryptocurrencies, and determine what future congressional action was needed, Reuters reported. (Learn more: 'Knives Coming Out' As Cryptoverse Responds To BTC FUD By US Senator)
- The European Union will propose a new agency to crack down on money laundering and new transparency rules for transfers of cryptoassets, Reuters reported, citing EU documents. The EU's executive European Commission is proposing a new Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) that will become the "centerpiece" of an integrated supervisory system also made up of national authorities, it added.
- The SEC has extended its review of SkyBridge Capital’s application for a bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund, according to a July 7 filing. The regulator has extended the initial 45-day review period to August 25.
- The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament) has expressed concerns over the use of cryptocurrencies in the subregion with regards to the risk factors involved, according to Leadership. While highlighting the prospects of cryptocurrencies facilitating investment in West African countries, they still warned that the sharp decline of bitcoin's price over the past few weeks shows its volatility and inherent danger.
- Bank of America (BofA) created a new team dedicated to researching cryptoassets and technologies tied to digital currencies, Bloomberg reported, citing an internal memo. Alkesh Shah, who joined the bank in 2013 and previously led its global technology specialist team, will lead this new effort, it added.
- UK-based Santander Bank confirmed that starting today, they'll be stopping payments from Santander accounts to Binance "wherever possible." Per the bank, "this decision follows the [Finacial Conduct Authority (FCA)'s] recent warnings to consumers for Binance Markets Limited, and the wider Binance Group," and "is to help protect you from fraud." (Learn more: Barclays' Binance Customers Looking for Alternative Apps, Banks & Countries)
- Meanwhile, per CNBC, the FCA’s crackdown on Binance has benefited a number of its rivals, including Bitstamp, Kraken, and Gemini. As of Tuesday, Bitstamp had seen its customers grow 138% since the FCA issued its notice about Binance on June 25, per the report. Kraken said that the percentage share of signups from the UK has approximately doubled in the last couple of weeks, compared to signups in Kraken’s other leading markets.
- Kazakhstan-based Eurasian Space Ventures (ESV) company has launched Biteeu, which aims to be the world’s first space crypto exchange, using the space technology of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and in partnership with SpaceChain satellite network, per Astana Times. Biteeu’s main advantage is marketed as a daily backup of operational and clientele data in low earth orbit, it added.
- Gemini said it is looking to expand more into the Asia-Pacific region after a year of presence in Singapore. New office locations will include Australia and Hong Kong, but no specific dates have been set yet.
- Crypto asset platform Crypto.com has received an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) License from the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), allowing it to issue cards and offer bank transfers directly to consumers. This makes the company the first crypto-related platform to receive this license.
- Crypto business MobileCoin has raised more than USD 75m in venture capital funding at a USD 1bn valuation, The Information reported, citing people familiar with the matter. This valuation is more than 10 times higher than at its last financing in March, they added.
- Blockchain-based capital markets company Chintai said it has raised USD 7.5m in seed financing from investors such as Block.one, Cryptology Asset Group, Collective Capital, and others. The funds will be used to enable compliant tokenization of traditional financial assets on its blockchain network.
- US Senator Pat Toomey has purchased between USD 1,000 and USD 15,000 each of Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), according to a financial disclosure. The senator purchased these shares in mid-June.
- Stablecoin issuer Tether (USDT) is looking for a Reputation Manager, according to a job posting. The job entails engaging in Tether-related discourse on social media, implementing a proactive process for capturing loyal customer online reviews, and identifying and reporting threats and opportunities in user-generated content surrounding the company, it said.
- The movie 'Zero Contact', formerly called '92', by Enderby Entertainment and starring Anthony Hopkins, will premiere on new non-fungible token (NFT) platform Vuele later this summer, Deadline reported. Vuele will let users buy exclusive, limited edition films and collector content to watch, collect, sell, and trade on the platform, while people can pay for the film with cryptocurrency or credit cards.
- The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it will spend the rest of 2021 extensively consulting on issues which are “key to the future of how New Zealanders pay and save.” The subsequent papers will look central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)'s potential to work alongside cash as government-backed money, and into issues arising from other crypto assets, including bitcoin and stablecoins.
- Smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers and their cooperatives in Honduras are using blockchain to access new markets and make business decisions through IBM Food Trust and IBM Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, working with Heifer International and CATIE. The blockchain will provide transparency along the supply chain to help give coffee buyers a better understanding of their product supply chains, and enable farmers to secure higher prices, they said.
- Digital goods community Gitcoin has integrated proof-of-stake blockchain Tezos (XTZ), and will kickstart bounties on the platform for development projects including infrastructure, tooling, and applications that support the Tezos ecosystem. Gitcoin will also hold a hackathon called 'NFT Me, You Can DAO It', starting July 21, with a total of USD 75,000 in prizes in XTZ spread among 10 winning submissions.
- Decentralized infrastructure company The Graph (GRT) has launched decentralized curation, a form of community governance to ensure quality and accuracy of information, according to an emailed press release. Additionally, it has surpassed 30bn queries in June alone.
- The Free TON network, a blockchain protocol based on the now-abandoned Telegram TON network, has announced a USD 36m prize pool for validators in a test contest. According to Forklog, the poll will pay out in the protocol’s native tokens and validators will be tasked with stress-testing the network. Telegram has previously disassociated itself from the project, warning investors to keep their distance from it – although the developers claim they are continuing in the spirit of the original TON initiative.
- Blockchain-powered mortgages to are set to roll out in Kazakhstan next year. Across the border in Russia, the Central Bank has been piloting a similar project. But now, per LS, the Kazakh Ministry of Digital Development is “carrying out technical work” that will see it link blockchain networks to the national real estate register, with technical piloting now underway. The testing will be wrapped up by the end of the year, the ministry added and claimed that “by the first half of 2022, citizens of Kazakhstan will be able to take out a mortgage using blockchain technology.”
- A group of Japanese investors is set to sue a South Korean crypto company, with lawyers representing 100 Japan-based clients claiming they cannot withdraw their funds from a “crypto investment” project based across the sea to the West. Per MBC, Tokyo-based investors claimed that they were drawn to the project after reading “blog posts from famous investors” and reading about “guaranteed returns” and “introduction fees” for persuading new investors to join. One woman reportedly invested some USD 26,000 worth of fiat under her husband and her father’s names.
- Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing issued a seizure order against 84 crypto addresses that are believed to belong to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, or are "otherwise used to fund terrorism." According to blockchain and crypto analyst firm Elliptic, these addresses have received over USD 7.7m in crypto. However, not all of these funds may be associated with terrorism.