Ex-SEC Chair On Bitcoin Regulation, New BTC ETF, N Korean Crypto Hackers + 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.
Former US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton, who now advises One River Asset Management on cryptocurrency, told CNBC that bitcoin (BTC) was not a security before he joined the SEC, but that it doesn't mean it shouldn't be regulated, and that regulation of the asset will come. "Where digital assets land at the end of the day [...] will be driven in part by regulation, both domestic and international, and I expect - and I’m speaking as a citizen now - that regulation will come in this area both directly and indirectly," he said.
- A Spanish financial regulator has clamped down on public-space bitcoin and crypto ads after a series of campaigns found their way onto billboards in major cities, including the capital Madrid. Per Forosocuellamos, the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), the Spanish market regulator, has expressed its displeasure at the advertisers and has received the backing of the Ministry of Finance. Going forward, crypto advertisers will have to obtain CNMV approval for their advertising activities or face fines of up to USD 353,000. One domestic crypto exchange has recently run a billboard campaign with the slogan: “The revolution has just begun. Welcome to bitcoin.”
- The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said that its Director Kenneth A. Blanco will depart FinCEN on April 9, after serving as the organization’s director since December 2017. Michael Mosier, former FinCEN Deputy Director and current Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, will return to FinCEN as Acting Director. Mosier previously worked at the cryptocurrency analytics, compliance, and investigations firm Chainalysis, where he was Chief Technical Counsel.
- Canadian digital asset manager 3iQ Corp and investment firm CoinShares announced that they will launch a new exchange-traded fund (ETF). The 3iQ CoinShares Bitcoin ETF will be offered in Canada, and the Toronto Stock Exchange has conditionally approved the listing of the fund's units. 3iQ will act as the investment and portfolio manager of the ETF which is expected to begin trading in early April, 2021. CoinShares also disclosed a strategic investment in 3iQ.
- South Korean prosecutors have sold off a bitcoin haul they had been in possession of since a bust in 2017. Per Chosun and Asia Kyungjae, the sale raised over USD 10.8m, but the funds – some BTC 191 – had been worth a mere few thousand dollars when they were seized. The state was forced to hang on to the tokens as there had been – until last month – no legal means of disposing of crypto holdings seized in criminal proceedings. The law enforcement authorities, in Suwon, near Seoul, had confiscated the funds during a bust on an illegal pornography distribution ring.
- The Tezos Foundation has invested in fintech venture studio Draper Goren Holm. The studio announced plans to incubate and accelerate startups built on the Tezos blockchain, while the Foundation is also becoming an official limited partner of Draper Goren Holm with an emphasis on the next generation of Tezos-based startups.
- Mark Palmer, global financial services firm BTIG's managing director and financial technology analyst, initiated coverage of business intelligence company Microstrategy on Thursday with a "buy" rating and a USD 850 price target, reported MarketWatch. Palmer said that his valuation is based on a sum-of-the-parts analysis of the company and a bullish outlook on bitcoin, with a price estimate of USD 95,000 by the end of 2022. Shares of the company are up 84% in the year to date, while the gains are up 530% on a 12-month basis.
- North Korean hackers held the South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb to ransom over hacked data and customer funds, a United States security report has found. Per Maeil Kyungjae, an American secret services-commissioned report has concluded that a Summer 2017 data breach that saw personal information on some 30,000 Bithumb clients exposed originated north of the 38th parallel – and involved sending malicious code in emails to Bithumb employees during a hiring season. The hackers were reported to have threatened to “sell or destroy” customer funds unless Bithumb was forthcoming with a ransom fee.
- Bitcoin mining difficulty, or the measure of how hard it is to compete for mining rewards, has reached a new all-time high today of 23.14 T, rising 5.82% from the previous level recorded two weeks ago - slightly higher than estimated. The change is also the second-highest jump this year.
- Vachira Arromdee, Assistant Governor of the Financial Markets Operations Group at the Bank of Thailand (BOT) revealed the central bank's approach in the development of a Retail Central Bank Digital Currency (Retail CBDC) for the general use of the public, seeking feedback from the general public by June 15. The BOT aims to provide citizens with access to more convenient and secure financial services, it said, while the development of a Retail CBDC will support a technology-led future that is efficient and cost-effective, having the potential to alter the financial infrastructure and the financial landscape.
- Interest in China's digital yuan could in part be driven by the surging price of bitcoin, said Wang Xin, the central People's Bank of China (PBoC) research bureau director, CNBC reported. Xin reportedly said that the strong market interest in the digital yuan is "related to more and more central banks in the world participating in the development of domestic digital currencies" on the one hand, while on the other, the interest "may also be related to the large increase in the price of bitcoin."
- Decentralized virtual world Decentraland (MANA) has added usability with Ethereum (ETH) Layer 2 project Polygon (previously Matic Network) to address the high gas fees issue plaguing Ethereum, they said. The Decentraland dapps (decentralized apps) suite now features an account portal where users can move their MANA from the Ethereum blockchain to Polygon's Matic Network and back. When complete, users should be able to claim, buy, sell, and trade wearables for their avatars entirely on Polygon, with no transaction fees.