Ethereum Scientist Pleads Guilty, Bitcoin Leads Institutional Investments Again + More news

A North Korean visa, issued to Virgil Griffith. Source: Twitter, @virgilgr

Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
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Legal news

  • Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Foundation scientist, pleaded guilty to helping North Korea evade US sanctions just before he was to go to trial today, Bloomberg reported. Griffith is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 18, it added.
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday charged two individuals - Florida resident Suyun Gu and his friend Yong Lee - for a fraudulent trading scheme involving 'meme stocks' in early 2021. The duo allegedly used wash trading put options to collect liquidity rebates, wanting to take advantage of the rise in market volume and volatility-driven stocks that were being promoted on social media sites.

Investments news

  • Digital asset investment products saw inflows totaling USD 95m last week, bringing the total run of inflows over the last 6 weeks to USD 320m, per CoinShares. The continued inflows suggest the recent headwinds for digital assets, such as the widened China ban, were seen as buying opportunities for investors, they said, noting that bitcoin (BTC) saw the largest inflows of any investment product, totaling USD 50m.
MTD - month-to-date; YTD - year-to-date; AUM - assets under management. Source: CoinShares
  • Layer-2 scaling solution for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Ethereum (ETH) Immutable X has announced it has sold out its IMX tokens worth USD 12.5m within an hour. Over 720,000 unique registered accounts signed up to participate in the sale, and purchases were limited to USD 100-500 per person, but only 3.6% (roughly 25,000) of registrations were able to purchase due to demand, they added.
  • Blockchain startup Swash confirmed that it raised USD 4m in a funding round led by Outlier Ventures, Streamr, and KuCoin.

Exchanges news 

  • Huobi Global and Binance have stopped accepting new customers from mainland China due to the newest crypto ban, while Huobi added it would “clean up” existing ones by the end of the year, per Reuters.
  • Binance has also announced it has removed access to fiat deposit services, spot trading of cryptoassets, and the purchase of cryptoassets through fiat channels and liquid swap for their Singaporean users. They added that this is part of their approach to compliance.
  • The average portfolio size on Australian crypto exchange BTC Markets has grown from AUD 795.5 (USD 580) to AUD 2,849.5 (USD 2,076) in the financial year 2021, signaling a 258.2% increase in portfolio holdings, according to exchange data compiled by Statista on a recent BTC Markets survey. Data shows that the average portfolio size of female and male investors was AUD 2,650 (USD 1,930) and AUD 3,049 (USD 2,221), respectively, but in 2020, the average portfolio size of female investors exceeded male investors slightly.

Adoption news

  • Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said that 2.1m citizens, a third of all Salvadorans, are using the government-backed Chivo cryptocurrency wallet. He added that, while the wallet is not a bank, it has more users than any bank in El Salvador, and that at this rate it will get more users than all Salvadoran banks combined.
  • Crypto brokerage Genesis Global Capital has announced it has executed the first-ever over-the-counter (OTC) block trade of a BTIC (Basis Trade at Index Close) transaction on CME bitcoin (BTC) futures with options market maker Akuna Capital. They added that the BTIC fills a hedging need for their counterparties who are benchmarked to the Bitcoin Reference Rate.
  • Digital asset marketplace for accredited and institutional investors the Cyberdyne Tech Exchange (CTX) has released and sold the first tranche of a new asset-backed Carbon Neutrality Token (CNT), it announced, saying that it “resolves one of the most challenging aspects of the Paris Agreement (COP21) – the ability to properly account for and track carbon credits using its proprietary protocols and blockchain technologies.”

Regulation news

  • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a vote on the USD 1trn bipartisan infrastructure bill for Thursday and voiced confidence it would pass, per Reuters.

Mining news

  • Crypto mining company CleanSpark and Foundry Digital, subsidiary of mining firm Digital Currency Group, have jointly announced that CleanSpark has transitioned all of its Bitcoin mining power to Foundry USA Pool, adding computing power of 1 EH/s generated by 10,000 machines to the pool. The company plans to continue to deploy machines to reach its goal of 2 EH/s by the end of 2021 and 3.2 EH/s by fall 2022.
  • China-based Ethereum mining pool SparkPool announced it decided to shut down its domestic and international services for Chinese users – the former on September 24, and the latter on September 30, “as an effort to be maximumly compliant with regulatory requirements.” At the time of writing on Monday, SparkPool holds 21.7% of the network hashrate as the second-largest pool, behind Ethermine.