Today in Crypto: Bank of England to Reject Revolut's Banking Licence Application, ASX Abandons Blockchain, HashKey to Raise Funds at $1BN Valuation, Ledger Co-founder Calls Recover Service Launch a 'Horrible Mess'
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- The Bank of England told the Treasury that it was planning to reject the UK-based neobank Revolut’s application for a banking license after its two-year campaign, allegedly owing to concerns over its balance sheet, The Telegraph reported. The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the arm of the Bank responsible for licensing, informed the Government in March that it planned to issue a statutory warning notice to Revolut within a few weeks.
- Australia's stock market operator, ASX Ltd, said it will no longer attempt to rebuild its software platform with blockchain-based technology, Reuters reported. At a May 17 meeting, ASX exchange project director Tim Whiteley said that, while the exchange continues to explore all the options, it will "certainly [...] need to use a more conventional technology than in the original solution in order to achieve the business outcomes," the report said, citing a recording of the meeting.
- Digital asset financial services firm HashKey Group is planning to raise funds at a $1 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. The firm is reportedly targeting a raise of $100-200 million, looking to take advantage of a currently favorable environment for crypto firms in Hong Kong.
- Grayscale is aiming for a possible loophole with a new Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) filing. According to the Financial Times, Grayscale is proposing that its 40% exposure to spot bitcoin ETFs would be weighted equally between five underlying funds. If approved, the US-listed vehicle will invest in ‘spot’ bitcoin exchange-traded products trading in other countries, it said.
- Ledger co-founder, shareholder, and former CEO Éric Larchevêque called the wallet manufacturer's new and controversial service launch a "horrible mess." He said that he doesn't have all details about the launch, but that "for sure something went wrong and the Ledger Recover service was put in your face in the worst way possible. This is obviously a sensitive subject and would have needed a much more prepared communication." However, he argued that the "meltdown" was a PR failure and not a technical one. "Ledger is still safe, there is no backdoor, the Ledger Recover is not a conspiracy, no one will ever force anyone to use Recover," he said.
- New York-based Bitcoin miner Bit Digital is expanding its operations to Iceland in a bid to hedge regulatory risk amid a proposed crypto-mining tax from the Joe Biden administration, the Wall Street Journal reported. Samir Tabar, chief executive of Nasdaq-listed miner, said the company bought 2,500 new mining machines for $5 million last week and will house them in Iceland, which is the company's first time sending new computers outside the US in two years.
- Central bank digital currency (CBDC) systems operating on different networks can be used for cross-border and cross-currency payments, according to a new report published by researchers with the US New York Federal Reserve and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). "Project Cedar is the inaugural project of the New York Innovation Center (NYIC) [and] a multiphase technical research effort evaluating the potential applications of financial technology solutions to improve the efficiency of wholesale cross-border payments," it said.
- Switzerland’s canton of Zug increased the limit for tax payments with BTC and Ethereum (ETH) to ₣1.5 million ($1.66 million) from the previous ₣100,000 ($111,000). "The increase in the limit is an important step towards the digital future," Zug finance director Heinz Tannler said in a statement, as reported by The Block. "From the second half of 2023 on, another innovation will be possible — paying taxes with cryptocurrencies directly by scanning the QR code on the payment slips issued by the tax administration. This simplified process makes paying with cryptocurrencies even more attractive."