MicroStrategy’s BTC Deal, Penalties For Unregistered Crypto Securities + More News

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

Source: Adobe/Vitalii Vodolazskyi

Investments news

  • MicroStrategy said it has purchased an additional BTC 13,005 for around USD 489m in cash at an average price of USD 37,617 per BTC (at the time of writing, BTC trades at around USD 33,000). As of today, they hold BTC 105,085 acquired for around USD 2.741bn at an average price of USD 26,080 per BTC. This stash is now worth USD 3.46bn.
  • The US General Services Administration (GSA) is auctioning off 11 lots of cryptocurrency, totaling BTC 8.93 and LTC 150.2 with a combined market value of more than USD 310,000. The auction is closing off today at 5 pm ET (9 pm UTC). This is the first time that LTC was available at a GSA auction.
  • Securitize, which aims to create a platform for the trading of shares of closely held companies, said it has raised USD 48m in a Series B funding round co-led by Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital. This is the first blockchain-related investment for Morgan Stanley Tactical Value Investing, but neither investor has disclosed the size of their investment.

Regulation news

  • Elliptic’s analysis of US regulatory enforcement actions since the birth of Bitcoin in 2009 shows that USD 2.5bn in penalties have been imposed against firms and individuals dealing in crypto. The majority of these penalties relate to unregistered securities offerings (USD 1.38bn), fraud (USD 928m) and anti-money laundering violations (USD 183m), the blockchain analytics firm said.
  • South Korean tax officers are investigating the Kakao-run blockchain subsidiary Ground X for possible tax-related infringements connected with its initial coin offering (ICO). Per Chosun, the tax service suspects Ground X may have sought to avoid declaring income in a recent mandatory tax declaration. The officials suspect certain earnings pertaining to its klay token, which has been listed on both domestic and international crypto exchanges at home and abroad, were left off a statement. The firm, officials claim, may also have undervalued the worth of klay tokens given out to employees as bonuses. The Encore Company, an affiliate of Terra, has been hit with similar allegations.
  • Banco de Portugal, Portugal’s central bank, said it has licensed two crypto exchanges for the first time since its new crypto trading law took effect. Criptoloja and Mind The Coin are now allowed to start operations within the country.
  • The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has “increased considerably” the resources it has allocated to assessing applications to the cryptoasset register due to the time required for this process, economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen stated in response to a written question. The main reason behind the length of the process is that the FCA has had to request additional information from the applicant firm.

Blockchain news

  • The long-anticipated London upgrade is now ready for deployment on the Ethereum (ETH) testnets, the Ethereum Foundation said. The upgrade will first go live on Ropsten, at block 10499401, which is expected to happen around June 24, 2021, they said, adding that as of now, only the testnets (Ropsten, Goerli, Rinkeby) have been scheduled for London.
  • Billionaire real estate mogul Frank McCourt is spending USD 100m on building a blockchain-based alternative to social networks such as Facebook, according to Bloomberg. Dubbed Project Liberty, it aims to offer a publicly accessible database of people’s social connections, allowing users to move records of their relationships between social media services instead of being locked into a few dominant apps, it said.

Adoption news

  • UK bank TSB is reportedly looking to forbid customers to buy cryptocurrencies due to concerns that weak security checks at crypto exchanges allow malicious actors to steal customers’ money, according to The Times. The bank is especially concerned about Binance, claiming that over 800 of their customers have lost funds on that exchange.
  • Spanish bank BBVA said it is launching a bitcoin trading service for private banking clients in Switzerland on June 21. For the time being, BBVA Switzerland‘s offer includes bitcoin trading and custody services, with the aim of extending it to other cryptocurrencies. The entity will not offer advice on these types of investments, they added.
  • Digital currency machine (DCM) Coin Cloud announced that it is set to install its 2,000th kiosk in a San Antonio-based grocery store, having kiosks across the United States and Brazil. Customers can access over 30 cryptocurrencies this way, thanks to the company’s retail partnerships with CAL’s Convenience Store, United Natural Foods (UNFI), and the National Alliance of Trade Associations.

CBDCs news

  • French central bank Banque de France said it has conducted a central bank digital currency (CBDC) experiment with SEBA Bank. The bank simulated CBDC issuance on public blockchain, by preserving control and confidentiality of transactions, based on the development and deployment of a dedicated smart contract.
  • Israel has already conducted a pilot test of a digital shekel, Bank of Israel Deputy Governor Andrew Abir said, perhaps inadvertently, at a recent conference of the Fair Value Forum of IDC Herzliya, The Jerusalem Post reported. However, Abir reportedly said he was not optimistic that such a CBDC would ever be launched.

Career news

  • Asset manager BlackRock is seeking to develop a blockchain strategy for its flagship portfolio management system Aladdin, a job posting shows. Aladdin is the company’s system for measuring risk and making trades, and the director-level vacancy is looking for someone who can evaluate and lead execution on different blockchain protocols/platforms.