03 Mar 2022 · 4 min read
IRS Comes for Crypto John Does, Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Drops, Complex Apps on Algorand + 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.
- The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is considering more John Doe summonses on crypto exchanges as it expands scrutiny of digital assets, Politico Pro reported. Previous information demands have yielded the IRS information on crypto users with unreported holdings.
- The UK's finance watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that 50 crypto firms are under active investigation, "including criminal probes." The FCA has revealed that, over six months, it opened over 300 cases relating to possible cryptoasset businesses not registered with the authority, "many of which may be scams," they said.
- Bitcoin (BTC) mining difficulty (the measure of how hard it is to compete for mining rewards) dropped 1.49% today, after a series of six increases that began in mid-December. This took it slightly down from the current all-time high of 27.97 T to 27.55 T.
- BTC mining company CleanSpark announced that they mined BTC 581 year-to-date by the end of February, out of which BTC 276 was mined during the month of February. The company said it converted BTC 253 for operations and growth in February and currently has a deployed fleet of over 22,000 latest-generation bitcoin miners with a total hashrate of 2.2 EH/s.
- Algorand (ALGO) announced that developers are now able to build complex apps for the Algorand ecosystem with smart contract-to-contract calling, while network participants can take the first step towards trustless cross-chain interoperability with quantum-secure keys for the upcoming State Proof technology, they said. Core components of this release include smart contract compatibility with contract-to-contract calls and post-quantum secure Falcon Keys.
- Multinational financial services giant Charles Schwab filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a Crypto Economy exchange-traded fund. The fund aims to track the returns of an index designed to “deliver global exposure to companies that may benefit from the development or utilization of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets,” they said.
- DeFi social trading platform Nested said it has raised USD 7.5m in a Series A funding round led by macro and digital asset investor Alan Howard. The platform allows users to showcase portfolios, results, share knowledge, and earn royalties every time a portfolio is replicated, they added.
- Inter-Blockchain Communication infrastructure project Polymer Labs said it has raised USD 3.6m in its seed funding round co-led by Distributed Global and North Island Ventures. The funds will be used to recruit talent, build a new IBC chain, and for core IBC protocol development and roadmap.
- NFT infrastructure provider Rarify announced a USD 10m Series A funding round led by crypto investment firm Pantera Capital at a USD 100m valuation. The funding will be used to accelerate hiring and product launches with enterprise partners, they added.
- NFT marketplace Pianity announced that it has secured USD 6.5m in seed-round venture financing led by Digital Renaissance Foundation, Big Brain Holdings, and Longhash Ventures. Proceeds from the investment will enable Pianity, which allows artists to sell their tracks as limited editions, to execute against its plans to partner with major music companies worldwide, they said.
- The Bank of Canada raised interest rates to 0.50% from a record-low 0.25% for the first time since October 2018 and said they would need to go higher, per Reuters. The bank said it now expects price increases to be higher in the near term than in its January forecast.
- The US IRS moved to dismiss a lawsuit from two tezos (XTZ) stakers, saying the agency had already refunded just under USD 4,000 in taxes plus interest to the individuals. The two sued the IRS in 2021 on claims that they should not have had to pay income tax on tezos tokens they gained by staking on the network.
- The South Korean crypto exchange Gopax said that it will block users and freeze the crypto funds of Russian users and customers with Russian IP addresses, Hankook Ilbo reported. The firm has recently struck a real name-verified banking deal with a domestic bank, meaning that it could soon return to crypto-to-fiat trading. The company stated that it was working “in accordance with the sanctions” imposed by the United States Department of the Treasury and the European Union.
- The central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is set to add a new group of cities to its digital yuan pilot, reported the Securities Times. At present, the e-CNY is being used in 11 major cities – including the capital Beijing and the financial hubs Shanghai and Shenzhen. The report noted that the provinces Henan, Fujian, and Heilongjiang and the cities Chongqing and Guangzhou are among the areas currently most keen to work on the pilot. The next stages of the pilot are likely to focus on banking interoperability solutions and hardware wallets.
- Financial services group Nomura Holdings announced plans to reorganize its Future Innovation Company into a newly established Digital Company, effective April 1, 2022. The Digital Company will focus on digital assets, including crypto, security tokens, and NFTs, to “drive further business development and global collaboration”, they added.
- The South Korean gaming giant WeMade hired a man who brokered a major telecom firm’s investment in the domestic crypto exchange Korbit as its new Vice President, per Bloter. The new hire was named as Huh Suk-jun, a former decision-maker at the telecoms giant SK, where he helped broker the SK Square subsidiary’s investment in the trading platform. The firm also reportedly plans to “increase its investment capabilities” in the “virtual currency” market and mergers and acquisitions sectors. The report added that the firm was also keen to bolster its play-to-earn offerings.