N America's First Bitcoin ETF Booms, Nvidia's Surprise To Ethereum + 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.
- North America’s first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), the Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC), that invests directly in "physical/digital bitcoin," debuted on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, with investors exchanging USD 80m worth of shares in the first hour, Bloomberg reported. "While it’s unclear how much of the activity in BTCC will result in inflows for the fund, the trading volumes are well above an ETF’s typical first day, even in the much bigger US market," the report said.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that he's "neutral" on bitcoin (BTC) and that he does not own BTC. He also told CNBC that "moving money into a more digital form and getting transaction costs down, that's something the Gates Foundation does in developing countries."
- After previously criticizing BTC, US-based financial and investing advice company The Motley Fool said it now plans to allocate USD 5m of its own cash to BTC in the coming weeks. "While bitcoin may very well continue to be volatile in the short term, we think it has 10x potential from today's levels over the long term as part of a diversified portfolio. We plan to hold this bitcoin investment for many years," they said.
- Nvidia, an American tech company, said that in order to address the specific needs of Ethereum (ETH) mining, they are announcing the NVIDIA CMP, or, Cryptocurrency Mining Processor, product line for professional mining. They don’t meet the specifications required of a GeForce GPU and, thus, don’t impact the availability of GeForce GPUs to gamers, the company said. Also, according to them, CMP lacks display outputs, enabling improved airflow while mining so they can be more densely packed. CMPs also have a lower peak core voltage and frequency, which improves mining power efficiency, the company added.
- North American blockchain technology company Blockcap said it has acquired 10,000 additional Bitmain S19 miners, doubling the company’s fleet. "At today’s secondary-market prices, the estimated value of the new equipment is approximately USD 100m," they said.
- “American and European investors” are moving their mining operations from China, Africa, and Latin America to Russia, per claims from the Russian mining giant BitRiver. The firm’s CEO said, in an interview with Kommersant, that its “existing capacity” is already maxed out, and added that it hopes to reach a mining capacity of 1 GW “in the next 18 months.” The company is making moves to “significantly increase its capacity” in the near future with two new facilities coming online in Krasnoyarsk (80 MW) and in the Siberian federal subject republic of Buryatia (300 MW), with one “first stage” 100 MW facility at the latter set to come on-stream “by the end of summer.”
Blockchain & decentralization news
- Cosmos (ATOM), the interoperable blockchain ecosystem, launched Stargate, a set of upgrades that brings new capabilities and performance improvements to blockchains built with the Cosmos software developer kit (SDK). Among these upgrades is the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, delivering interoperability by allowing blockchains to talk to each other.
- Galaxy Digital, Placeholder, Balaji Srinivasan, Naval Ravikant, and other investors-backed Radicle, a decentralized code collaboration network built on open protocols, said it has released its native governance token, "making it the first open-source, community-led, and self-sustaining network for software collaboration." The startup also said it raised USD 12m from its investors.
- The Graph (GRT), the indexing and query layer of the decentralized web, revealed a list of additional Layer 1 blockchains being supported by the protocol: Polkadot (DOT), Near Protocol (NEAR), Solana (SOL), and Celo (CELO). These blockchains will be joining The Graph’s current support for Ethereum and IPFS. This expansion is opening Web3 opportunities to a wider ecosystem of builders and users, they said.
- SBI Digital Asset Holdings, the digital asset umbrella company of Japanese giant SBI Group, will make an unspecified eight-figure USD investment as the lead investor of Sygnum’s strategic investment fundraising round, the Switzerland-based digital asset bank, said. Proceeds will fuel the growth of Sygnum’s client base, drive the expansion into new markets in Europe and Asia, and accelerate the launch of new products and services, it added.
- Klarna, a global payments provider and shopping service, and Safello, Sweden's broker for cryptocurrencies, announced a strategic partnership to bring Klarna Open Banking to Safello's platform for crypto trading. Safello's more than 180,000 users can now directly purchase cryptocurrencies from their bank account, using Klarna's payment solution.
- US-based crypto exchange PayBito said it temporarily halts its XRP trading feature in light of the regulatory crackdown on Ripple. "PayBito is likely to monitor legal developments associated with XRP and update users accordingly as more information unwraps," they added.
- The head of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, said that the bank will present a more detailed concept for the national digital currency by summer, RT reported. Most lenders support a two-level model of the digital ruble, which allows banks to open wallets for their clients on the central bank’s platform and conduct operations, it added.
Crypto adoption news
- Days after Raúl Jalil, the governor of the Argentinian province of Catamarca, asked President Alberto Fernandez to consider issuing a digital version of the fiat peso, the province’s finance minister has asked a cross-provincial planning body to “study” the use of cryptoassets. Per La Nacion, the minister – Sebastián Beliz – proposed the measure at a recent meeting of the Consejo Federal de Inversiones (Federal Council of Investment). The proposal has been passed on to the body’s technical commission. However, the media outlet warned that fellow council members did not have “too many expectations” for the proposal and claimed that “surely” the central government’s Finance Minister Martín Guzmán “would not approve of it.”
- Russian parliamentarians are edging ever closer to approving a controversial tax bill – after the State Duma voted in favor of the first draft of the measure, per RIA Novosti. The bill proposes criminalizing the offense of failing to report crypto earnings on tax declarations and could see taxes levied on traders beginning next year. The bill still has many rivers to cross, however, before it reaches its second reading in parliament. It will head back to the committee stage as legal experts attempt to deal with the thorny matter of creating legal definitions for terms such as “cryptoasset.”
- Major crypto payments processor BitPay has agreed to remit USD 507,375 to settle its potential civil liability for 2,102 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs, the US Department of the Treasury said. BitPay allowed persons who appear to have been located in the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria to transact with merchants in the United States and elsewhere using digital currency on BitPay’s platform even though BitPay had location information, they added.
- Kia Motors America has suffered a ransomware attack by the DoppelPaymer gang, demanding BTC 404 (USD 21m) for a decryptor and not to leak stolen data, Bleeping Computer reported.
- A federal indictment unsealed yesterday charged three North Korean computer programmers with participating in a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy to conduct a series of destructive cyberattacks, to steal and extort more than USD 1.3bn of money and cryptocurrency from financial institutions and companies, to create and deploy multiple malicious cryptocurrency applications, and to develop and fraudulently market a blockchain platform, the US Department of Justice announced.