News Updates August 11, 2022

1. BlackRock Bitcoin fund launch sends BTC price towards $25K
The announcement is the "most bullish news" ever for long-term hodlers, one analyst argues as Barry Silbert heralds the arrival of Wall Street. Bitcoin (BTC) continued toward $25,000 on the Aug. 11 Wall Street open amid news that the world's largest asset manager had launched a BTC product. 

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView followed BTC/USD as it spike to $24,921 on Bitstamp as United States stocks trading got underway.

While going on to consolidate slightly below the highs, the pair inspired confidence in market sentiment, with popular crypto industry figures already seeing positive implications of the BlackRock move.

"Here comes Wall Street...," former Grayscale CEO, Barry Silbert, responded.

For Blockware lead insights analyst, William Clemente, however, the news was a landmark event in Bitcoin's history.

"Last comment on the matter: Think the Blackrock news is probably the most bullish news for a long term Bitcoin holder ever," he told Twitter followers.

"Not just the news itself, but that it signals to some the water is fine and to others if they don’t offer their clients BTC they’ll get their lunch ate."
BlackRock's CEO, Larry Fink, had described Bitcoin just five years earlier as an "index of money laundering." He had appeared to change his tune by 2020, acknowledging the largest cryptocurrency's potential to become a "global market."

BlackRock's offering would take the form of a spot Bitcoin private trust, it confirmed in a statement.

"The trust is available to U.S. institutional clients and seeks to track the performance of bitcoin, less expenses and liabilities of the trust," it read.

"Despite the steep downturn in the digital asset market, we are still seeing substantial interest from some institutional clients in how to efficiently and cost-effectively access these assets using our technology and product capabilities."

2. Binance CEO “Feels Sad” for Bottom Sellers As Blackrock Launches Trust Offering Direct Bitcoin Exposure.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao “feels sad” for sellers who sold at the bottom as multi-trillion asset manager Blackrock steps deeper into crypto.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao today tweeted that he felt sad for those who sold when the crypto market hit bottom. The billionaire CEO tweet came after investment manager Blackrock announced it would be giving its clients private trust offering direct bitcoin exposure.

CZ   Binance
I feel sad for those who sold at bottom.
5:34 PM · Aug 11, 2022

3. Bitcoin Coming to Central Banks? Barry Silbert Explains Why Blackrock News Is Big Deal.

In a recent tweet, Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert says that central banks around the world now have an "easy" and "safe" way to invest in Bitcoin. Earlier today, BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, announced the launch of a private trust tailored to sophisticated investors that allows them to gain direct exposure to Bitcoin. The firm claims that there is strong interest in cryptocurrencies in spite of the significant price downturn. BlackRock, which focuses on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment, praised the efforts of such companies as Energy Web to shed light on the usage of green energy within the Bitcoin mining sector.

4. Limit crypto expansion in developing countries, urges U.N. agency

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has urged limits on cryptocurrencies across developing nations, in a series of policy briefs released on Wednesday.

* The UNCTAD, part of the UN Secretariat, said cryptocurrencies could curb the effectiveness of capital controls that developing countries typically use to ensure macroeconomic stability.

* Stablecoins pose particular risks in developing countries with strong demand for reserve currencies, UNCTAD said. The International Monetary Fund has also expressed concern over the risks that cryptocurrencies could have as legal tender.

* UNCTAD suggested regulating crypto exchanges, digital wallets and decentralized finance. Financial institutions could also be banned from holding cryptocurrencies (including stablecoins) or offering related products.

* It urged global coordination among authorities on taxing cryptocurrency, regulation and information sharing and pushed for restrictions on crypto advertisements.

* Finally, it suggested a redesign of capital controls to take into account the decentralized, borderless and pseudonymous features of cryptocurrencies.

5. FTC Denies BitMart’s Appeal; Launches Probe On $200 Million Hack

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to step into the cryptocurrency market by launching an inquiry into the BitMart 2021 hack. It was reported that customers lost around $200 million in the major hack.

 *FTC enters the crypto arena*

According to a report by Bloomberg, BitMart operators Bachi.Tech Corporation and Spread Technologies LLC appealed to restrict FTC’s attempt to reveal the information. However, the agency denied this bid in an order.

BitMart operators mentioned that the FTC’s demand to disclose documents was very broad. It added that some of the asked information is located overseas.

The report revealed that the FTC sent civil subpoenas to the BitMart operator back in May. The agency was looking for the details of the company’s policies for handling crypto assets and users’ complaints. These details were needed in order to seek whether BitMart was involved in some illicit market practices.

However, the FTC is also inquiring whether the crypto exchange operators were safeguarding crucial customer data. Meanwhile, if this accusation turns out to be true then BitMart can face heavy fines. The agency can also order them to change their practices.

Earlier, the FTC fined giants like Uber technologies and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts for not maintaining the standards.

 *BitMart refuses to comment*

As per the report, the FTC spokesperson chooses not to comment on this probe. While BitMart’s Lawyer didn’t even respond to requests for comments. Meanwhile, the crypto exchange was valued at over $300 million during last year’s funding round. It also revealed that it maintains offices in Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, and Singapore.

FTC’s this move landed after the release of US President Biden’s executive order. It mentioned that the Federal agency will study to control crypto transactions used in fraud and other illicit activities. Meanwhile, the agency has reproed that there is a very huge jump in crypto scams from 2020 to 2021.

6. Crypto Exchange Bitfinex May Be Facing Criminal Investigation in US

The exchange’s sister company has been hit with several investigations over who uses its platform and the state of its reserves. 

Crypto exchange Bitfinex is facing a possible criminal investigation in the U.S., according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) reply to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request shared on Twitter late Wednesday.
The DOJ denied a request for information pertaining to Tether Holdings Limited, its parent company iFinex Inc. and its subsidiaries., which include Bitfinex, citing Exemption 7(A) of the FOIA Guide. The exemption prevents the disclosure of "records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that production of such law enforcement records or information ... could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."

According to the individual who filed the FOIA request in February 2022, Twitter user oleh86, the request itself asked:
“Dear Sirs, Pursuant to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, I am hereby requesting any and all information in the possession of the US Department of Justice on jointly and severally TETHER HOLDINGS LIMITED, TETHER LIMITED, TETHER INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, TETHER OPERATIONS LIMITED, IFINEX INC., BFXNA INC., and BFXWW INC.”

7. Philippines Central Bank to Halt Applications for New Virtual Asset Firms for 3 Years

The Bangko Sentral said it will conduct a reassessment based on market developments.

The Philippines' central bank said it will stop processing applications for new virtual asset services providers (VASP) licenses for three years starting Sept. 1.

* The Bangko Sentral will conduct a reassessment based on market developments, according to a memo dated on Wednesday.

* The central bank said it "aims to strike a balance between promoting innovation in the financial sector and ensuring that associated risks remain within manageable levels."

* Applications that have completed stage 2 of the bank's licensing process by Aug. 31 will be processed and assessed as normal. Any with incomplete requirements will be closed.

* Existing Bangko Sentral-supervised financial institutions that wish to expand crypto operations will still be able to apply for a VASP license

  • The Bangko Sentral said last year that around 53% of Filipino adults are unbanked, suggesting there is a significant use case for cryptocurrency services in the country to spur financial inclusion.

8. India's ED Probes at Least 10 Crypto Exchanges on Money Laundering Allegations: Report

The Enforcement Directorate believes approximately 1000 crore rupees ($130 million) could have been laundered in the case.

India's Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating at least 10 crypto exchanges for allegedly assisting foreign firms launder money via crypto, according to an Economic Times report, citing people aware of the matter.
The money laundering investigation gained attention recently after the ED raided the properties of a WazirX director. This sparked an online spat between WazirX founder Nischal Shetty and Binance CEO Changpeng 'CZ' Zhao over ownership of the Indian exchange.

The government agency estimates that the accused firms laundered more than 1,000 crore rupees or around $130 million in the instant loan app case, adding that most of the allegations have a China link, the report said.
In an earlier press release, the ED had stated "summons were issued to the crypto exchanges" after conducting raids on the properties of a WazirX director. The ET report adds that at least 10 exchanges are under investigation.

The accused firms approached exchanges to buy crypto for more than Rs 100 crore (around $13 million) after which the tokens were sent to international wallets without enhanced due diligence or raising suspicious transaction reports (STRs), according to the probe's current findings as stated in the report.
In an earlier press release, the ED had stated "summons were issued to the crypto exchanges" after conducting raids on the properties of a WazirX director. The ET report adds that at least 10 exchanges are under investigation.

The accused firms approached exchanges to buy crypto for more than Rs 100 crore (around $13 million) after which the tokens were sent to international wallets without enhanced due diligence or raising suspicious transaction reports (STRs), according to the probe's current findings as stated in the report.

9. $250 billion inflows crypto market cap in last 30 days as buying power mounts

After months of bearishness, the situation in the cryptocurrency space is finally looking brighter as the market turns green and adds $250 billion to its capitalization over the past month.

Indeed, in the 30 days up to the moment of publication, the total cryptocurrency market cap has increased from $911 billion to $1.161 trillion, according to the CoinMarketCap data retrieved by Finbold on August 11.

As it happens, the accumulated growth has demonstrated the market recovery back above the psychologically important $1 trillion market cap level, which it previously reclaimed in mid-July and was further spurred on by the better-than-expected inflation report on August 10, thus bringing the global market cap to its highest value in two months.

That said, these figures are still a far cry from the $2 trillion market cap reclaimed in late March (and even further from its all-time high in November 2021) but are nevertheless an encouraging sign for crypto investors.

Notably, the market cap growth has sped up recently after the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) came out more favorable than expected.

Specifically, the newest data has shown a slowdown in inflation as it dropped from 9.1% for June, to 8.5% for July and reducing the ‘FUD’ (fear, uncertainty, doubt) in the crypto sector that had been affecting the price of its major tokens, such as Bitcoin (BTC).

At press time, the market cap of Bitcoin, the largest crypto asset by this indicator stood at $468.48 billion, with a price increase of 5.96% on the day and 7.11% in the past week, to the current price of $24,492. This is also a 24.02% increase across the previous 30 days.

Elsewhere, the positive developments immediately reflected on other markets – jumpstarting both the stock market, giving a 1.8% boost to the S&P 500 index in early trading, and the cryptocurrency market which added more than $50 billion to its market cap in just one hour after the CPI news broke out.

10. Chinese Web Censor Resolves to Keep Cracking Down on Crypto After Closing 12K Social Media Accounts

China’s internet censor has struck again – and says it will continue to carry out a national crypto crackdown after closing thousands of crypto-related social media accounts and ordering the deletion of tens of thousands of crypto-themed posts.

Per Yicai, the censor, the Cyberspace Administration of China, says it has closed down some 12,000 accounts – mainly on the Sina-owned Weibo platform and Baidu’s Baidu Tieba. Some 51,000 posts have been deleted and 105 websites were pulled offline.

These sites included the likes of Bi Toutiao, which reportedly hosted “cryptocurrency marketing” materials, published tutorials explaining how Mainland Chinese citizens could conduct cross-border transactions despite the crackdown, and even advised Chinese readers on how to engage in crypto mining.

Beijing has been particularly keen to stamp out the latter form of activity, although a large number of BTC miners are thought to still be plying their trade in Mainland China.

The administration stated that it would not stop there, however, and announced its intention to “continue suppressing” what it called “illegal financial activities” linked to crypto. It added that it would work with other government organs to achieve its goal.

11. South Korea’s top financial regulator to accelerate new crypto legislation

A task force comprising private-sector experts and relevant ministries will “expedite the review process of bills on virtual assets,” said chairman of South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) Kim Joo-hyun at Thursday’s National Assembly meeting.

* Kim said the upcoming crypto legislation will take a “balanced” approach towards the development of blockchain technology, investor protection and market stability, according to local media reports.

* Considering the characteristics of virtual assets which are decentralization, anonymity, and transnationality, [the FSC] will communicate internationally and match global regulatory consistency,” said Kim.

* South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has promised the legislation of a comprehensive set of regulations on crypto, tentatively named the Digital Asset Basic Act that will emerge from 13 proposals to be debated in the National Assembly.

* Market talk about the new legislation intensified after the collapse of South Korean crypto project Terra-LUNA, which affected an estimated 280,000 people in the country.

  • Since his appointment as FSC chairman last month, Kim has also announced comprehensive reform on the country’s financial regulations in line with the global digital transition, which could allow South Korean banks to directly pursue business in the crypto space.

12. More Trouble For Coinbase As US Apex Court Decline Its Appeal

Coinbase, US’s largest crypto exchange landed under the scrutiny of the SEC for allegedly listing securities over its platform. Another big trouble has emerged for the exchange as the Supreme court rejected its request.

 *Coinbase asks court to hold proceedings*

Bloomberg reported that US’s apex court declined Coinbase’s appeal to immediately consider its user dispute to arbitration. It added that the court denied its plea for the justices to step in the case. The crypto exchange asked the court to hold the proceeding until it settles the litigation.

It mentioned that the two federal trial court judges decided to reject the appeal to move the case to arbitration. Judges were asked to conclude whether the trial proceeding can continue while Coinbase calls against the rulings. However, the other option was to wait for the ruling over the appeals on the arbitration.

The report mentioned that Coinbase asked the court that this could harm them in a way that it can’t be healed. This has split the appellate courts. The crypto exchange said that around six circuits require the proceedings to stop when the appeal is submitted.