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Dapper Labs Reaches $4 Million Settlement, Affirms NBA Top Shot NFTs Are Not Securities

Dapper Labs has agreed to a $4 million settlement to conclude a class-action lawsuit alleging that its NBA Top Shot Moments nonfungible tokens (NFTs) were unregistered securities. This settlement reaffirms that the NFTs are not securities, according to CEO Roham Gharegozlou. The lawsuit, initiated in 2021 by a class of investors led by Jeeun Friel, claimed that Dapper Labs issued unregistered securities through its NBA Top Shot Moments NFTs. However, a New York District Court filing on June 3, 2024, revealed the settlement agreement, which stipulates that the plaintiffs must cease asserting that the NFTs are securities. In a June 4 post on X, Gharegozlou announced, “Great news! We @dapperlabs today announced a legal resolution that reaffirms two of our most important positions: After discovery, it was understood and agreed that @Flow_blockchain is a decentralized public network and that digital collectibles like @NBATopShot are not securities in the same way trading cards are not...

Thailand SEC Approves First Spot Bitcoin ETF, Paving the Way for Digital Asset Adoption

In a landmark move for the cryptocurrency market, the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the country's first spot Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). This significant step marks a pivotal moment in the mainstream adoption of digital assets within Thailand, offering investors a regulated and accessible way to gain exposure to Bitcoin. The approval of this ETF is anticipated to have profound implications for both local and global crypto markets, signaling a growing institutional confidence and regulatory support for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. One Asset Management (ONEAM) has been endorsed by the Thailand SEC to launch the first spot Bitcoin ETF in the country. The ONE Bitcoin ETF Fund of Funds Unhedged, not for retail investors (ONE-BTCETFOF-UI), is specifically targeted at wealthy and institutional investors. Available from May 31 to June 6, this fund aims to invest in 11 leading global funds, ensuring liquidity and safety. Coin storage adheres to...

Australian Court relieves Block Earner from Penalty Despite Licensing Dispute

Australia's federal court has ruled in favor of fintech firm Block Earner, relieving it from paying a fine despite finding that it offered a crypto yield-bearing product without a financial services license. Justice Ian Jackman determined that Block Earner "acted honestly," considering obtaining a license before launching its "Earner" product, which provided yields on loans in USD BTC, Ether, and PAX Gold (PAXG). The court's decision acknowledged Block Earner's efforts to seek legal advice prior to product launch, signaling a recognition of the company's proactive approach to regulatory compliance. In a significant development, the court also ordered the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to pay Block Earner's costs incurred after February 9, following the court's ruling that the "Earner" product required an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL). This ruling came despite ASIC's earlier assertion that the product necessitated such licensing. Moreover,...

Binance to Delist Multiple Tokens Amid Regulatory Compliance Drive

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, announced its decision to delist several tokens, including OmiseGo (OMG), Waves (WAVES), Wrapped NXM (WNXM), and NEM (XEM). According to Binance’s official statement, all spot and margin trading pairs for these tokens will be removed on June 17, 2024. The exchange regularly reviews the digital assets listed on its platform to ensure they meet stringent industry standards. Binance evaluates factors such as development activity, commitment, trading volume, liquidity, regulatory adherence, and public communication. The exchange emphasized: “When a coin or token no longer meets these standards or the industry landscape changes, we conduct a more in-depth review and potentially delist it. Our priority is to ensure the best services and protections for our users while continuing to adapt to evolving market dynamics.” The specific trading pairs being removed include: OMG/USDT WAVES/BTC WAVES/ETH WAVES/TRY WAVES/USDT...

Hong Kong’s Crypto Crackdown: Unlicensed Exchanges Ordered to Cease Operations

All cryptocurrency exchanges that have not applied for an operational license with Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) are now legally required to cease operations in the region immediately. This decisive move aims to safeguard investors by enforcing strict regulatory compliance. Hong Kong regulators have issued a clear ultimatum to cryptocurrency exchanges: apply for a license by February 29 or shut down within three months. This directive is part of a broader effort to minimize risks and ensure a safer trading environment for investors. The SFC's notice emphasized the urgency of compliance. During the application period, more than 22 cryptocurrency exchanges sought licenses to continue their operations in Hong Kong. However, many withdrew their applications just before the deadline, signaling potential challenges in meeting regulatory standards. In May alone, six exchanges, including major players like OKX and Huobi HK, exited the Hong Kong market. While most did...

El Salvador’s Crypto-Friendly President Nayib Bukele Secures Another Five-Year Term

El Salvador's 42-year-old President Nayib Bukele, known for his strong support of cryptocurrency, is set to govern for another five years after securing near-total control of parliament. This significant political development was marked by a grand inauguration ceremony at the National Palace in San Salvador, broadcast live and celebrated by many Salvadorans. During the ceremony, President Bukele took the oath of office and received the presidential blue and white sash from Ernesto Castro, the President of the Legislative Assembly. The event was a display of strong public support for Bukele, reflecting his popularity and the confidence placed in his leadership. Bukele's tenure has been notable for his enthusiastic embrace of cryptocurrency. Recently, it was revealed that El Salvador holds over 5,000 bitcoins, valued at more than $400 million, stored in a cold wallet. This disclosure, shared by Bukele on social media platform X, highlights the nation's significant investment in...

China and UAE Unite to Combat Crypto-Related Cybercrime and Bolster Trade

China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have pledged to fortify their cooperation in the battle against cybercrime linked to cryptocurrency. This commitment was announced in a joint statement released following UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan's state visit to China. The statement specifically highlights 'telecommunications network fraud and online gambling' as mutual areas of concern. Both nations are determined to curb illegal activities that might exploit cryptocurrencies, showcasing a promising future for enhanced security measures. Additionally, the two countries emphasized their dedication to combating money laundering, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and illegal immigration. This broader effort signals a comprehensive approach to addressing illicit financial flows that could involve digital assets. While the joint statement does not mention specific regulations targeting cryptocurrency, it implies a coordinated strategy by China and the UAE to tackle potential...

ESMA Mandates “Unwavering Commitment” to Client Interests in AI Usage for Financial Firms

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a significant directive requiring banks and investment firms to maintain an "unwavering commitment" to the best interests of their clients when utilizing artificial intelligence (AI). Released on May 30, the public statement outlines how financial services companies within the European Union (EU) should integrate AI into their operations, ensuring compliance with the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) securities law. ESMA's statement emphasizes the transformative potential of AI in enhancing the efficiency and innovation of retail investment services. However, it also highlights the significant impact AI could have on the behavior of financial institutions and the protection of retail investors. "Importantly, firms' decisions remain the responsibility of management bodies, irrespective of whether those decisions are taken by people or AI-based tools," ESMA stated, underscoring the accountability of...

U.S. Treasury Releases Risk Assessment for NFTs showcasing Security Concerns

The United States Treasury Department has published its financial risk assessment for nonfungible tokens (NFTs), providing regulators with crucial insights into potential risks and security concerns in the rapidly evolving NFT market. The Treasury identified several risks, including the possibility of terrorists financing operations through NFTs, state actors using NFTs to fund nuclear proliferation, money laundering, and threats to investors such as theft, rug pulls, and other fraudulent activities. However, the report repeatedly emphasized that most illicit activities occur through fiat transactions and are not unique to the digital asset space. "This risk assessment recognizes that most money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing by volume and value of transactions occurs in fiat currency or otherwise outside the digital asset ecosystem via more traditional methods," the report stressed. Despite the potential for abuse, the Treasury noted that many forms of...

PayPal’s PYUSD Stablecoin Launches on Solana with Confidential Transfers Feature

PayPal has made a significant move in the cryptocurrency market by deploying its dollar-pegged stablecoin, PYUSD, on the Solana blockchain, introducing a new feature called "confidential transfers." This enhancement aims to provide greater privacy for users while ensuring regulatory transparency. On May 29, PayPal officially announced the deployment of PYUSD on Solana, expanding its availability beyond the Ethereum blockchain. The introduction of "confidential transfers" allows merchants to offer transactional confidentiality to their customers, concealing transaction amounts from public view while maintaining compliance with regulatory standards. Udi Wertheimer, a well-known Bitcoin advocate, noted the significance of this feature, highlighting that PayPal users would have access to a functionality similar to “confidential transactions,” a feature long discussed but not implemented by Bitcoin developers. "This sounds a lot like ‘confidential transactions,’ a feature Bitcoin devs...

Boltz Launches Chain Swaps for Seamless LBTC-BTC Conversion, Enhancing El Salvador’s Bitcoin Ecosystem

El Salvador's Bitcoin landscape is set to experience a significant advancement with the launch of Chain Swaps by Boltz, an innovative product allowing seamless exchanges between Liquid Bitcoin (LBTC) and Bitcoin (BTC). This development marks another milestone in the country's leadership in Bitcoin innovation and development. The Bitcoin Office of El Salvador expressed enthusiasm over Boltz's latest "Bitcoin-fintech innovation," highlighting the country's pioneering role during the "Bitcoin era." Boltz, through its official Twitter account, announced Chain Swaps, a feature that provides a noncustodial solution for direct swaps between Bitcoin’s mainchain and the liquid sidechain. This innovation promises immediate refunds and lower fees compared to existing methods, presenting a more efficient and cost-effective way for users to manage their Bitcoin transactions. Boltz positions itself as a bridge between different Bitcoin layers, aiming to become the go-to platform for such swaps....

BIS Embraces Generative AI for Cybersecurity in Central Banks

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) sees significant potential for the widespread adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI), an area of growing interest among central banks. In a recent survey of 32 central bank members, the BIS found that over two-thirds (71%) are already using generative AI tools, while 26% plan to incorporate them within the next one to two years. The BIS, an international financial institution comprising 63 central banks and monetary authorities, anticipates that all of its members will eventually adopt generative AI to bolster internal cybersecurity measures. Central banks that have already implemented these tools report enhanced effectiveness in detecting cyber threats compared to traditional methods. Generative AI has notably improved response times to cyberattacks and aided in identifying suspicious trends and anomalies. Despite these benefits, central banks are concerned about the costs associated with implementing generative AI tools. The...

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