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Today in Crypto: Europol Closes ChipMixer & Seizes BTC 1909, ‘Surge in Cold Storage & ETH Layer 2 Usage’ Post-FTX, Synalcom & Qori Enable Crypto Transactions for 20K Businesses in ‘One Action’

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 4 min read
Source: AdobeStock / Tobias Arhelger

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

Legal news

  • German and US authorities, supported by Europol, Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland, took down cryptocurrency mixer ChipMixer for its alleged involvement in money laundering activities, and they seized BTC 1,909.4. “The investigation into the criminal service suggests that the platform may have facilitated the laundering of 152 000 Bitcoins (worth roughly EUR 2.73 billion in current estimations) in crypto assets,” Europol said. “A large share of this is connected to darkweb markets, ransomware groups, illicit goods trafficking, procurement of child sexual exploitation material, and stolen crypto assets,” they added.

Blockchain news

  • Crypto tax software Koinly released Part 1 of its “State of the Crypto Market 2023” Report, identifying a significant shift – a surge in cold storage and ETH Layer 2 usage, said the press release. The report highlights the behaviors of hundreds of thousands of global crypto investors after the FTX collapse, said the announcement. Koinly found that:
  1. Ethereum Layer 2s saw a large rise in integrations on Koinly, up by 80% from September to December, with Polygon, Optimism, and Arbitrum leading the pack;
  2. Ethereum remains the most popular blockchain for crypto investors on Koinly;
  3. Layer 1 protocols (excluding BTC and ETH) saw a 53% increase in integrations with Koinly in October 2022 alone, suggesting their popularity among crypto investors and traders;
  4. in November, centralized crypto exchanges experienced a 60% decline in usage, rebounding by December, with Binance and KuCoin seeing the largest gains, averaging 33% growth in the month;
  5. investors using Koinly’s integrations feature increasingly added cold storage and self-custody wallets to their accounts, with wallets like Trezor and Ledger seeing a 33% increase month-on-month.
  • Filecoin Virtual Machine (FVM), an execution environment for smart contracts on the Filecoin network, is live on the Filecoin mainnet. Per the press release, the FVM launch adds smart contracts and user programmability to the Filecoin blockchain, enabling developers to write and deploy custom code to run on the blockchain, as well as connect, augment, and innovate around the building blocks of the Filecoin economy: storage, retrieval, and computation of content-addressed data at scale, it added.

Payments news

  • Synalcom, a French electronic payment solution and services provider, merged with mobile-first payments fintech Qori to launch Sylq, enabling crypto transactions (as well as card and pay by bank) in one action, said a press release. This means that 20,000 legacy merchants across Europe will be able to onboard to Web3 “at the switch of a button,” it added. Sylq will supply, personalize, support, and maintain terminals across Europe.
  • Wert, the payment solution provider enabling fiat payments in Web3, announced that its NFT checkout tool has been upgraded to virtually approve all NFT purchases with fiat forms of payment like credit cards, said an announcement. Wert’s NFT checkout utilizes a different merchant category code to ensure a higher approval rate. “With a 95% approval rate for fiat payments like credit cards, more customers can now buy any NFT without their payments being declined,” the team said.

Mining news

  • Luxor Technologies, a Bitcoin mining software and services company, has released LuxOS, an Antminer firmware designed and engineered from scratch in North America, said the announcement. Firmware allows Bitcoin miners to adjust the performance of the ASIC chips in their Bitcoin mining rigs to optimize hashrate and power efficiency. LuxOS is now available for the Antminer S19 and S9 series Bitcoin miners. Miners who use LuxOS will receive discounted fees when they use Luxor’s bitcoin mining pool, the team added.

Investment news

  • Bitcoin mining company TeraWulf said that it currently holds approximately $250,000 in cash deposits at Signature Bank, which is the FDIC-insured limit, with the balance of the company’s bank deposits held at other financial institutions. It said that it does not hold any cash or maintain any accounts at Silicon Valley Bank or Silvergate Capital, and “considers its exposure to any liquidity concerns at Signature Bank to be immaterial.”
  • Blockchain node network RockX announced the launch of Bedrock, an AML- and KYC-compliant, institutional-grade Ethereum (ETH) liquid staking platform. It is a non-custodial, on-chain, and independent liquid staking solution, said an announcement, that enables institutions to engage in large-scale liquid staking with built-in KYC/AML processes to verify all clients looking to stake more than ETH 32, but giving retail stakers the flexibility to retain anonymity. Amber Group, a digital asset manager and lead investor in RockX, will be one of the platform’s first institutional clients, it added.

Exchange news

  • Bitfinex Derivatives said that it listed perpetual contracts for popular global commodity indices – UK Crude Oil (UKOIL), Palladium (XPD), and Platinum (XPT). The new contracts went live today and will offer users up to 100x leverage, settled in tether (USDT), said the press release.

NFT news

  • European blockchain conference Paris Blockchain Week and metaverse platform RLTY are joining hands to simultaneously host its flagship Web3 event in the customizable metaverse RLTY World, said the press release. Additionally, auction house Sotheby’s announced a new non-fungible token (NFT) auction that will feature 66 pieces of artwork from Beeple, Julien Rivoire, Brinkman, and many more. The auction itself will take place on, while the artworks will be on display and on view in RLTY World as an exhibition.

Career news

  • TON Foundation, a non-profit association working to advance The Open Network (TON), said that Anthony Tsivarev has been appointed as Director of Developer Relations. Per the announcement, Tsivarev, who previously served as a Senior Partner at First Stage Labs, a TON ecosystem venture builder, will spearhead the development of the TON ecosystem across decentralized applications, wallets, gaming, and social. He will oversee internal and external developer relations in the TON community, grants, developer communities, and developer activities.