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U.S. Senate Votes to Overturn SEC’s Controversial SAB 121

In a significant development for the cryptocurrency industry, the U.S. Senate has voted 60-38 to overturn the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 (SAB 121). This controversial rule, which imposes regulatory burdens on digital asset custodians, has faced criticism for potentially hindering banks' ability to safeguard digital assets. The House of Representatives had previously passed the same resolution, H.J. Res. 109, aimed at eliminating regulatory obstacles that prevent highly regulated financial institutions from acting as custodians of digital assets. The Senate’s vote marks the first time Congress has passed standalone crypto legislation. Despite bipartisan support, including votes from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and several other Democrats, the resolution faces a potential veto from President Joe Biden. The White House has indicated that the President would veto the resolution, citing concerns about limiting the SEC’s ability to...

EU’s MiCA Regulation Forces Tough Decisions for DeFi Protocols

New regulations in the European Union could soon compel decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols to make significant changes. The upcoming Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA), set to be fully enforced by the end of 2024, will impose licensing and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements on DeFi protocols, akin to traditional financial services firms. This poses a challenge for many DeFi protocols, which often rely on centralized front-ends and intermediaries. Rune Christensen, co-founder of MakerDAO, commented on the implications, stating, "Only fully decentralized, local, downloaded frontends or full-KYC online frontends would be possible." This situation leaves DeFi protocols with a stark choice: pivot to a "hybrid finance" (HyFi) model to comply with EU regulations or fully decentralize. According to Recital 22 of MiCA, fully decentralized protocols are exempt from these requirements: “Where crypto-asset services are provided in a fully decentralized manner without any...

Dutch Court Sentences Tornado Cash Developer to 64 Months in Prison

The Oost-Brabant district court in the Netherlands has sentenced Alexey Pertsev, co-developer of Tornado Cash, to 64 months in prison for his involvement in creating and maintaining the crypto mixing tool. The court alleges that Tornado Cash enables “criminal activity and terrorism.” Pertsev, along with two other individuals, developed Tornado Cash, a tool for concealing the origin, ownership, and destination of cryptocurrency transactions. The court’s investigation revealed that Tornado Cash allegedly facilitated the laundering of approximately $1.2 billion in Ethereum (ETH) derived from 36 different thefts or hacks. However, the estimated amount laundered could exceed $2.2 billion when considering other parameters. The court also acknowledged the possibility of cryptocurrency laundering from other crimes. Despite Pertsev’s claim that Tornado Cash aimed to offer privacy solutions for the crypto community without intending to facilitate criminal activities, the court found the tool...

Ethereum Proposes EIP 7706 to Optimize Transaction Costs

A new proposal, EIP 7706, aims to enhance how Ethereum handles transaction costs, specifically focusing on the data aspect crucial for smart contract interactions. Understanding Ethereum's current gas model is essential to grasp the significance of this update. Currently, Ethereum transactions incur two primary gas fees: execution gas and storage gas. Execution gas covers the computational efforts required for transactions, while storage gas pertains to costs associated with storing data on the blockchain in "blobs." This structured approach, although efficient, has room for improvement given the increasing complexity of Ethereum-based applications. Vitalik Buterin's EIP 7706 introduces a third type of gas fee dedicated to call data, the portion of a transaction that carries essential information to smart contracts. The proposal suggests charging separately for data transferred during transactions, distinct from charges for executing contract code or data storage. This could...

Oklahoma Signs Bill Protecting Crypto-Related Rights

The state of Oklahoma has enacted a new law safeguarding crypto-related rights, with Governor Kevin Stitt approving HB 3594 on May 13. This legislation will take effect on November 1, as indicated on the Oklahoma State Legislature website. Under the new law, the Oklahoma state government cannot prohibit, restrict, or impair the use of cryptocurrencies for purchases or self-custody. Additionally, state and local governments are barred from imposing extra taxes or charges specifically targeting crypto, applying the same taxes as those on legal tender. HB 3594 also offers protections for home crypto mining and mining businesses, declaring participation in either type of mining as legal in Oklahoma. The bill ensures that businesses can operate crypto mining companies in industrial-zoned areas. Political subdivisions are permitted to change the zoning of a mining business with appropriate notice and comments, and mining firms have the right to appeal zoning changes. The bill prevents...

Binance Bribery Allegations Could Deter Foreign Investment in Nigeria

Africa-focused risk consultancy firm SBM Intelligence has issued a warning regarding the potential negative impact of bribery allegations against Binance CEO Richard Teng on Nigeria's foreign investment efforts. According to SBM Intelligence, the recent detention of Binance officials in Nigeria sends a discouraging message to foreign investors, which could undermine confidence in the country's investment landscape. On Tuesday, May 7, Cointelegraph reported allegations made by Teng that unknown persons sought a cryptocurrency bribe from Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla before their detention on February 28, 2024. Despite the Nigerian government's denial, SBM Intelligence stresses the importance of a thorough investigation to uncover the truth and hold any guilty officials accountable. The consulting firm emphasized that perceptions of corruption among government officials can deter foreign investment, undermine the rule of law, and hinder efforts to combat...

Chinese Authorities Raid Cryptocurrency Exchange Fraud, Seize $300 Million

Chinese officials have conducted a significant raid against a major cryptocurrency exchange fraud, resulting in the seizure of approximately $300 million and the arrest of six individuals involved in the illegal activities. The operation, carried out by the Public Security Bureau of Panshi City, Jilin Province, underscores China's unwavering stance against cryptocurrency-related crimes. The crackdown targeted unofficial value transfer systems associated with syndicates benefiting from cryptocurrencies, signaling a robust regulatory effort to combat fraud in the cryptocurrency market. The operation specifically focused on disrupting illicit trade between the Chinese renminbi (RMB) and the South Korean won, dismantling a significant fraud operation. Details of the operation reveal that the fraudsters attempted to exploit the anonymity and borderless nature of decentralized finance (DeFi) to conduct illegal cryptocurrency exchange activities in South Korea and China. Individuals like...

XRP Healthcare Secures Trademark in Uganda, Poised for Healthcare Revolution

XRP Healthcare has achieved a significant milestone by successfully registering its trademark in Uganda, signaling a strategic move towards establishing its own network of pharmacies, medical centers, and hospitals within the country. This development is part of XRP Healthcare's broader vision to transform healthcare services in Uganda, focusing on enhancing standards of care and improving accessibility to quality medical services. By introducing its branded facilities, XRP Healthcare aims to revolutionize the healthcare landscape in the region, ensuring better health outcomes for all. The company has announced its decision to operate independently, moving away from collaborations with third parties. This shift underscores XRP Healthcare's commitment to steering its operations under its own governance, fortifying its presence in the Ugandan healthcare sector, and directly managing its expansion and operational strategies. With the trademark registration secured, XRP Healthcare is...

Philippines Central Bank Approves Trials for National Stablecoin ‘Peso’

The Philippines central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has given the green light for controlled trials of a national stablecoin pegged 1:1 to the local peso. In collaboration with crypto wallet provider Coins.ph, the BSP aims to explore the potential of a digital currency tied to the country’s fiat currency, according to a recent announcement. The pilot project for the Philippine peso-backed stablecoin, known as PHPC, has been approved under the BSP’s Regulatory Sandbox Framework. Coins.ph will maintain cash reserves in pesos equivalent to the circulating supply of the PHPC stablecoin within the sandbox environment. The primary objective of pegging the stablecoin to the local currency is to facilitate a seamless transition between PHPC and physical fiat currencies. The upcoming sandbox testing phase will serve as a real-world trial of the PHPC stablecoin and its impact on the local fiat ecosystem. PHPC is anticipated to have various potential applications, including...

Singapore to Introduce First Spot Crypto Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in the Region

Singapore is poised to pioneer the region's inaugural spot crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in collaboration with Hong Kong's Harvest Global Investments and Singaporean fintech firm MetaComp. This groundbreaking initiative, announced recently, marks a significant step in offering Singaporean investors access to Harvest's crypto ETF offerings through MetaComp's "Camp by MetaComp" platform. The partnership between Harvest Global Investments and MetaComp, a Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) licensed company specializing in digital assets, signifies a strategic alliance aimed at expanding access to crypto investment opportunities. Both entities plan to explore further integration of Harvest's asset management solutions into MetaComp's services, indicating a comprehensive approach to cater to both existing and prospective investors. Moreover, MetaComp will extend Harvest access to its digital payment token services, enhancing the scope of offerings available to investors. Bo Bai,...

Binance Hit with $4.4 Million Fine by Canadian Regulator Amidst Compliance Concerns

Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, faces mounting regulatory woes as Canada's financial regulator, FINTRAC, imposes a hefty fine of C$6 million ($4.4 million). The penalty stems from alleged violations related to anti-money laundering (AML) protections, particularly concerning failure to register as a foreign money services business and report virtual currency transactions. According to FINTRAC, Binance committed two administrative breaches. Firstly, the exchange purportedly neglected to register with FINTRAC as required for foreign money services businesses. Secondly, it allegedly failed to report large virtual currency transactions exceeding $10,000, along with mandated information. As a consequence, financial penalties were levied against the exchange. Sarah Paquet, Director and CEO of FINTRAC, underscored the agency's dedication to aiding businesses in understanding and fulfilling their obligations. Paquet emphasized that appropriate measures would be taken to...

Tether Fires Back at Deutsche Bank’s Stablecoin Concerns, Defends Transparency Amid Growing Regulatory Scrutiny

Deutsche Bank Research has stirred controversy within the financial realm by scrutinizing stablecoins, particularly focusing on Tether's USDT. The report, examining 334 historical currency pegs dating back to 1800, revealed that only 14% have maintained stability, casting doubt on the longevity of stablecoins striving to mirror fiat currencies like the US dollar. Tether, known for its pivotal role in providing stability amidst cryptocurrency market volatility, has faced criticism regarding the transparency and stability of its operations. Previous regulatory issues, including a $41 million fine from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and an $18.5 million settlement with the New York Attorney General, have raised concerns about Tether's reserve holdings and overall credibility. Deutsche Bank analysts emphasize that historically successful pegged currencies were characterized by strong reserves, credibility, and strict regulation—qualities they argue many stablecoins lack. The...