Top Stories of Last Week
- Hong Kong’s government seeking to change rules for cryptocurrency trading firms operating or offering services within city jurisdiction. Consultation paper detailed by Clara Chiu, director of licensing at SFC, proposes that SFC be given expanded regulatory oversight over all centralized virtual asset trading platforms in Hong Kong, regardless of whether they provide access to tokens considered to be securities or solely cryptocurrencies.
- South Korea’s Financial Services Commission announced virtual asset service providers within country will no longer be able to handle digital assets that present high money laundering risk. Updates were made as part of guidelines under Special Payment Act and FIU specifically called out privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies such as Zcash, Monero, and Dash. Amendments to Special Payment Act expected to be enforced starting in March 2021.
- Reserve Bank of Australia announced partnership with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Perpetual and ConsenSys Software to explore possible use and implications of CBDC. Project will involve development of proof-of-concept for issuance of a tokenized form of CBDC for use by wholesale market participants for funding, settlement and repayment of tokenized syndicated loan.
- Court documents reveal Department of Justice seized over 69,370 bitcoin, totaling more than $1 billion, in funds tied to darknet market Silk Road that also include equivalent amounts of bitcoin cash, bitcoin gold and bitcoin SV. Prosecutors say unnamed hacker stole trove from Silk Road and moved them to wallet where they sat from April 2013 until recent seizure that individual consented to.
- Lawsuit alleges top officers of HDR, the parent company of BitMEX, looted $440,308,400 from HDR accounts to reduce amount of assets that could be seized by authorities after becoming aware of investigations and possible charges in 2019 by CFTC and DOJ.
- Ethereum Foundation announced launch of Eth2 deposit address, which lets staking participants ready funds for eventual launch of beacon chain constituting Phase 0 launch of Eth. Eth2’s genesis time is December 1 at 12:00 UTC, under requirement that there be some 524,288 ETH provided by 16,284 staking participants deposited ahead of date.
- Cash App, the mobile payments app from Square, reported Bitcoin has overtaken all other revenue sources, making up almost 80% of entire revenue in third quarter. Cash App’s Bitcoin-derived revenue of $1.63 billion in Bitcoin marked increase of more than 1,100% when compared to same period in 2019. Bitcoin revenue was largest component of Cash App’s overall revenue generation of $2 billion, with all other revenue streams totaling $453 million, or 22% of total.
- PayPal revealed details about plans to aggressively push into crypto sector next year, including plans to support central bank digital currencies. PayPal’s chief executive said that through its scale and prominence the company would “help shape utility of CBDCs,” including facilitating interoperability with existing payment rails and fostering acceptance among merchants. PayPal also emphasized strength of demand for crypto services from customers and announced they will increase weekly crypto purchase limit to $15,000.
- Verizon unveiled proof-of-concept blockchain-based transparency tool for news releases called Full Transparency. Proof-of-concept is described as a blockchain-verified record of changes to its news releases and seeks to transform how Verizon Corporate Newsroom publishes news releases by providing authoritative record of changes to public communications.
- Crypto exchange INX applied to list its digital security on Canadian Securities Exchange. INX said listing application is subject to CSE’s approval. Once green-lighted, INX token would get listed on traditional stock exchange.
- China UnionPay partnered with South Korean payment provider Danal to launch cryptocurrency-supporting digital card, with Danal’s crypto wallet Paycoin and its crypto token of same name becoming interface for new, prepaid mobile card. Paycoin has indicated that users will be able to use both card and Paycoin to pay for goods and services at over 30 million UnionPay merchants across 179 countries and regions.
- Eris Clearing LLC, the clearing arm of Eris Exchange, received Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s permission to provide clearing services for fully collateralized swaps in addition to existing business of clearing digital currency products.
- En+, one of largest aluminum and power producers in world, is venturing into crypto mining via partnership with BitRiver, which owns largest mining venue in Russia. En+ owns four major hydropower plants in Russia’s Siberia, and is producing about 7% of country’s electricity. New farm will be joint venture, with En+ holding 80% stake and BitRiver 20%, and will initially offer 10 megawatts of power for miners, with the potential to expand to 40 megawatts.
- Bitfury formed partnership with private equity firm LIAN Group to launch crypto mining as a service, and as part of arrangement, LIAN Group will contribute to full upgrade of Bitfury’s existing blockchain infrastructure, consisting of a large data center in Norway.
- Crypto derivatives exchange Opium closed $3.25 million funding round involving QCP Soteria, Kenetic Capital and Alameda Research. Startup allows for users to launch custom decentralized derivatives that anyone can access.
- Alameda Research invested $3 million in trading platform 3Commas, a crypto investing experience for retail users. Upcoming initiatives include 3Commas Academy, an online education program for new users to learn trading and risk management, and expanding localized services in Asia and South America.
- NIFTEX, a platform that allows for fractional trading of NFTs, announced $500,000 funding round led by 1kx and joined by CoinFund, MetaCartel Ventures, Sparq and Digital Currency Group. Company launched alpha version five months ago and generated more than $2 million in total volume.
- Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, made $5.2 million donation to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Biden’s campaign received total of $79.5 mil from top 100 donors describing themselves as CEOs. Bankman-Fried reportedly second-largest CEO-contributor after Michael Bloomberg, who donated $56 mil.