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BITCOIN SOARS 5.3% AFTER US AGENCIES REASSURE ON DEPOSITOR PROTECTION |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 13 March 2023

Bitcoin surged by 5.3% to reach US$21,582, the highest gain in almost a month after the US Federal Reserve announced measures to protect depositors’ money and provide easier terms for short-term loans to help cash-strapped banks. The move came after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the closure of the Signature Bank by the New York state financial regulator. Rachel Lin, co-founder of SynFutures, stated that the Federal Reserve’s rescue plan had boosted market confidence and eased concerns about the potential of further collapses. Other cryptocurrencies, including Cardano, Litecoin, Tron, and Avalanche, also experienced gains.

SWIFT’S CBDC INTERLINKING SOLUTION SHOWS POSITIVE RESULTS IN PILOT TEST |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 10 March 2023

Bank messaging platform, SWIFT announced positive results from a pilot test of linking different central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) on 9 March. The 12-week testing period saw the simulation of almost 5,000 transactions between two blockchain networks and existing fiat payment systems, with over 18 financial institutions worldwide participating. SWIFT found that its experimental interlinking solution could meet the needs of central and commercial banks for CBDCs interoperability. It has outlined its plans to conduct a second phase of CBDC sandbox and further develop its "CBDC interlinking solution” into a beta version for payments with enhanced atomicity. Source: https://cointelegraph.com

INDIAN GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENTS ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING LAWS FOR CRYPTO TRANSACTIONS |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 10 March 2023

The Indian government has announced that crypto transactions will be subject to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering regulations under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PLMA) 2002. The regulations will affect various types of crypto transactions, including exchanges, transfers, safekeeping, and administration of virtual assets. The PMLA mandates financial institutions to maintain transaction records for the last ten years, provide them to officials upon request, and verify client identities. The notification, which comes amidst global efforts to tighten AML standards for crypto, is expected to complicate the operations of Indian crypto firms.

BITCOIN PLUMMETS AFTER SILVERGATE ANNOUNCES VOLUNTARY LIQUIDATION|1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 10 March 2023

Bitcoin stabilized near its lowest point since mid-February 2023 on 9 March following the announcement by crypto-focused bank Silvergate Capital Corp that it plans to voluntarily liquidate. The California-based bank has been struggling after investors withdrew around $8 billion of deposits after the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX last year. While Silvergate is seen as an important bridge between the crypto industry and the traditional financial world, its closure is expected to have a limited impact on the market as it was widely anticipated.

US SENATORS PLAN TO UNVEIL NEW DRAFT OF CRYPTO BILL IN APRIL |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 9 March 2023

US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis plan to unveil a new draft of the bipartisan cryptocurrency bill to the new Congress after it was deferred in 2022. Speaking at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC), Senator Gillibrand stated that the next draft of the bill will be available in mid-April. If passed into law, the legislation is intended to provide regulatory clarity for many crypto projects, including determining which assets would fall under the purview of the SEC and CFTC.

AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS GET GREEN LIGHT FOR CRYPTO SERVICES IN FRANCE|1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 9 March 2023

French market regulator AMF announced that Axa Investment Managers has become a registered cryptocurrency service provider in France. This follows a trend of financial companies such as Binance, Bitstamp, and Societe Generale receiving regulatory approvals in the country. Cryptocompanies are now required to obtain a licence and have customer safeguards in place to sell digital tokens in the EU. Companies operating in an EU state have until January 2024 to acquire a licence without service disruption.

CRYPTO BANK SILVERGATE TO LIQUIDATE FOLLOWING FTX COLLAPSE AND SUBSTANTIAL LOSSES |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 9 March 2023

Crypto Bank Silvergate Capital Corp announced plans on 9 March to cease operations and voluntarily liquidate, citing recent industry and regulatory developments. The decision comes after the bank suffered substantial losses following the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Silvergate warned last week that it was evaluating its ability to continue operating, disclosing that it had sold additional debt securities at a loss and that further losses could leave the bank “less than well capitalized.” The bank added that its decision to wind down operations included full repayment of deposits.

BYBIT TO UNVEIL MASTERCARD-LINKED CRYPTO DEBIT CARD |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 7 March 2023

Crypto exchange Bybit will reportedly launch its new debit card, which will permit users to conduct fiat-based transactions by using their cryptocurrency holdings. Operating on the Mastercard network, the Bybit card enables the debiting of cryptocurrency balances to facilitate payments for goods and services, as well as cash withdrawals. Initially available as a free virtual card for online purchases, physical debit cards are expected to be launched in April 2023. The card will support Bitcoin, Ether, Tether, USD Coin and XRP, and will automatically convert balances into euros or pounds based on the user’s country of residence.

ARGO BLOCKCHAIN BOOSTS DAILY BITCOIN PRODUCTION DESPITE NETWORK DIFFICULTY SURGE |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 7 March 2023

Argo Blockchain, a publicly-listed Bitcoin mining company, reported a 7% increase in its daily Bitcoin production in February despite the surge in network difficulty, which has reportedly reached an all-time high of 43 trillion on 25 February. According to the firm’s operational update on 7 March, it mined a total of 162 Bitcoins, or BTC equivalents last month. Cipher Mining and Marathon Digital are among other mining companies that have increased their Bitcoin production despite the rise in network difficulty.

SEC TAKES EMERGENCY ACTION AGAINST BKCOIN MANAGEMENT OVER ALLEGED CRYPTO FRAUD |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 7 March 2023

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken emergency action against BKCoin Management on 7 March, accusing the Miami-based investment adviser of raising $100 million from 55 investors to invest in cryptocurrency but instead using the funds to pay for luxury items and make Ponzi-like payments. The SEC has frozen assets and obtained other emergency relief against BKCoin. In addition, it is seeking permanent injunctions, civil penalties, and other remedies against the firm and one of its principals, Kevin Kang.

SILVERGATE ENDS ITS CRYPTO PAYMENTS NETWORK OVER VIABILITY CONCERNS |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 6 March 2023

Silvergate Capital Corp announced on 3 March that it has made a risk-based decision to discontinue its crypto payments network, the Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), which provides round-the-clock transfers between investors and crypto exchanges. While other deposit-related services continue to operate, the announcement has caused a further decline in its share price, which had already hit a record low on 2 March. Notably, many cryptocurrency companies, including Coinbase Global and Galaxy Digital, have severed their partnerships with Silvergate following the bank’s warning of its ability to operate as a going concern.

AUSTRALIAN CRYPTO LEGISLATION MAY NOT BE IMPLEMENTED UNTIL 2024, SAYS GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS |1300 HKT | 0600 UKT | 6 March 2023

The Australian government’s internal documents indicate that the process of legislating on crypto may extend beyond 2024. The documents suggest the government will issue consultation papers in Q2 2023 and hold stakeholder roundtables on crypto licensing and custody in Q3. Final submissions to the cabinet are unlikely to occur until late 2023, with potential delays pushing any decisions on crypto legislation into 2024 and beyond. The country’s Treasury Department anticipates that crypto businesses and consumer groups may become frustrated with the prolonged timeline for implementing a licensing regime. However, it is suggested that weak demand for cryptocurrencies following FTX’s collapse, as well as the current market conditions resulting in lower consumer demand, could allow for more time to finalize regulations.