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Today in Crypto: Coinbase Halts Japan Operations, Digital Currency Group is Suspending Quarterly Dividends, Amber Group is Slashing Costs and Jobs

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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.

Exchange news

  • Coinbase said it is ending its operations in Japan. Per an announcement, “due to market conditions, our company has made the difficult decision to halt operations in Japan and to conduct a complete review of our business in the country.” Customers will have until February 16 to withdraw their fiat and crypto holdings.

Investment news

  • Digital Currency Group, the parent of the troubled crypto company Genesis Global, said it is suspending quarterly dividends to preserve cash, Bloomberg reported. The move comes as the group focuses on “strengthening our balance sheet by reducing operating expenses and preserving liquidity,” it said, citing a January 17 letter to shareholders.
  • In order to survive crypto winter, crypto trading firm Amber Group is slashing costs and jobs across the board, halving its total staff size in Hong Kong to 40 by cutting support jobs including IT, risk management, audit, and compliance, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a source. The person said that Amber has also moved its Hong Kong office from the city’s Central business district to a cheaper office in Causeway Bay, and that it has delayed payment of bills to third-party vendors, including those owed to technology services, recruitment agencies, and consultants.
  • Parfin, a Latin American Web3 infrastructure provider, raised $15 million in a seed investment round led by Framework Ventures, with participation from the Brazilian Stock Exchange (B3) through its investment fund L4 Venture Builder, Valor Capital Group, and Alexia Ventures. Per a press release, the funds will be used to continue building out existing products, as well as launching new solutions, such as Parchain, an EVM permissioned blockchain network that will enable decentralized finance (DeFi) and asset tokenization for regulated entities with a focus on privacy, portability, and interoperability.
  • Arch, a lending platform providing a single loan across combined alternative assets, announced its official launch. Per a press release, Arch aims to provide a full suite of financial products and services tailored to individual investors with a large portion of their wealth in alternative assets. To date, it raised $2.75m from Tribe Capital, Castle Island Ventures, Picus Capital, Global Founders Capital, and more, as well as executives from Brex, Uniswap, Snap, and Clutter, it said.

Legal news

  • The Supreme Court of the Canton of Zug ruled in favor of a shareholder request to audit the founding transaction of ConsenSys Software Incorporated (CSI), said a press release. The transaction, code-named "Project North Star" transferred major products and business units (MetaMask, Infura, and others) from the Swiss-based ConsenSys AG to the US-based CSI. On the basis of its ownership of these assets, CSI raised $715 million between 2020 and 2022, it said.

Gaming news

  • Payment processor for the gaming industry ZEBEDEE and mobile games studio VIKER announced the launch of two new rewarded games, with more to come soon, said the press release. Bitcoin Chess and Bitcoin Scratch are the latest additions to VIKER’s portfolio of ZEBEDEE-powered games, which already includes classics like Solitaire and Sudoku. In Bitcoin Scratch, players receive packs of scratch cards, with a chance to earn Bitcoin if the cards hold the right combos on them, it said.

Blockchain news

  • Web3 development platform Tenderly and Cronos, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible Layer-1 blockchain network, announced the integration between the two. Per the press release, the new integration enables Web3 developers to streamline and optimize decentralized application (dapp) development on Cronos by using Tenderly.

Mining news

  • The merger between Bitcoin mining firm GRIID and a blank-check company has been delayed once more. Adit EdTech, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that announced in November 2021 that it would acquire GRIID, said in a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing that it had pushed the deadline from January 14 to February 14.