Today in Crypto: Bhutan 'Cultivated a Secret Crypto Portfolio', Amber Group May Sell Its Japan Unit, Bank of Israel Mulling a Digital Shekel
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- The Kingdom of Bhutan placed millions of dollars in crypto, Forbes reported, saying that its investment arm, Druk Holding & Investments, has "cultivated a secret crypto portfolio" since at least 2022. According to court documents, it added, "Bhutan’s $2.9 billion sovereign investment arm was a customer of bankrupt crypto lenders BlockFi and Celsius, which it has never publicly disclosed."
- Crypto lender Amber Group is thinking about options for its Japan unit, including a potential sale, as part of a plan to focus more on institutional than retail clients, Bloomberg reported, citing managing partner Annabelle Huang. Japan is a “high quality market,” Huang said, but “regulations are strict.” The company plans to apply for a Hong Kong license following the city’s pivot toward creating a digital-asset hub.
- The Bank of Israel is preparing an action plan for the potential issuance of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), a digital shekel, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing "a recent document". The bank discussed the conditions that would enable or support a decision to issue a BOI CBDC at some point, indicating a number of variables that may have an effect on the committee’s recommendation, the report said.
- Members of the US House of Representatives are circulating a new draft bill meant to provide a regulatory framework for stablecoins in the country. The House Financial Services Committee released a new discussion draft bill on Saturday, likely ahead of a hearing on the matter, scheduled for Wednesday, by the committee's new panel focused on digital assets and financial technology.
- The US-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is reportedly facing potential action from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) despite preparing to shut down local operations. The SEC’s enforcement staff told Bittrex in March it would recommend that the agency sue the company over alleged violations of investor-protection laws, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing David Maria, the company’s general counsel.
- BNB Chain, the blockchain developed by crypto exchange Binance, updated its red alarm list to include 191 high-risk projects and decentralized applications (dapps) currently hosted on the blockchain. These are included for various reasons: they are suspected of issuing fake tokens, having high or opaque tax fees, their websites or Twitter handles do not work, etc. BNB Chain’s red alarm list is updated every Friday.
- A "temperature check" proposal to deploy the popular decentralized exchange (DEX) Aave on the zkSync Era Mainnet has passed. 99.78% of Aave token holders voted in favor of launching the third version of the lending and borrowing protocol on the zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (zkEVM) as the voting closed on Sunday. The next steps will be further discussion, risk parameter evaluation, and proposal finalization.
- Luxury watchmakers are using Bitcoin (BTC) to attract Generation Z, The South China Morning Post reported. Millennials and Generation Z are taking an early interest in luxury goods, according to a study by management consultants Bain & Company and the Italian luxury brands association Altagamma Foundation. Famous watch manufacturer H. Moser chief executive Edouard Meylan said that a “younger, more digitalised” clientele was emerging in Asia. The brand carried out sales in Bitcoin, including a $380,000 watch that, at the time, sold for BTC 10.