Crypto News Headlines (02-Feb-2023)

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) vice chairman and staunch bitcoin skeptic Charlie Munger has called for the United States to follow in the footsteps of China and ban cryptocurrencies.

In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Munger attributed the rise of cryptocurrencies to a gap in regulation as crypto assets aren’t currencies, commodities or securities.

“Instead, it’s a gambling contract with a nearly 100% edge for the house, entered into in a country where gambling contracts are traditionally regulated only by states that compete in laxity,” Munger wrote. “The U.S. should now enact a new federal law that prevents this from happening.”

In 2021, Munger labelled bitcoin’s (BTC) relative success, at the time as “disgusting” after alluding to how it is used by kidnappers and extortionists. A year later, the 99-year-old called bitcoin an “investment in nothing” as he doubled down on his skeptical stance.

After a streak of volatility over the past few days, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) briefly reclaimed the 24,000 mark on Wednesday night, rising to levels last seen mid-August last year.

Despite a drop to $23,800 by press time, the largest cryptocurrency is up 3.6% over the day and as much as 42% over the last 30 days, data from CoinGecko shows.

The latest price action comes in the wake of the Fed’s decision to increase interest rates by 25 basis points from 4.5% to 4.75%. It also follows the bullish performance in January, when Bitcoin gained almost 40% in value—the best result since 2013, according to

Another interest hike shows that the policymakers—despite the economy’s steady growth—are still concerned about inflation, however, as CoinShares Head of Research James Butterfill told Decrypt, “the markets aren’t buying it.”

Crypto tax firm Recap released a research report on Jan. 25, 2023, highlighting the top global cryptocurrency hubs, with London named the “most crypto-ready city.” Recap used criteria from eight elements, including the number of cryptocurrency businesses and employees, research and development spending compared to each city’s GDP, the number of cryptocurrency ATMs, cryptocurrency ownership, and capital gains tax rates.

Recap’s report details that London has the most people employed in the cryptocurrency industry compared to other global regions. The city is home to over 800 cryptocurrency-based companies and hosted the second-highest number of cryptocurrency-related events and conferences in 2022. The report states that London’s lead aligns with U.K. prime minister Rishi Sunak‘s goal to establish the United Kingdom as the world’s hub for cryptocurrency technology and investment.

Institutional investors are “not giving up on crypto,” with recent data pointing to as much as 85% of Bitcoin buying being the result of American institutional players, according to Matrixport’s chief strategist.

Markus Thielen, the head of research and strategy at the financial services firm, told Cointelegraph the evidence shows that institutions are not “giving up on crypto” and is an indicator that we might be entering a new “crypto bull market now.”

The data was shared in a Jan. 27 report from Matrixport, which suggests that it can be distinguished whether a digital asset is more favorable by retail or institutional investors at any given time based on whether that asset is performing well in the United States or Asian trading hours.

The former official argued that a permanent ban on crypto could result in many missed opportunities for the formal financial system, including those related to blockchain and tokenization. Crypto-related technologies are “very valuable” to regulated financial systems, he stated, adding:

“Banning cryptocurrencies may be practical in the short term, but whether it is sustainable in the long run deserves an in-depth analysis,” Huang stated. He also highlighted the importance of developing a proper regulatory framework for crypto, though admitting that it won’t be an easy task. Huang said:

“There is no particularly good way to ensure stability and function as to how cryptocurrencies should be regulated, especially for a developing country, but ultimately an effective approach may still need to be found.”

Cryptocurrency custody provider Copper was alerted to a security issue over the Christmas period in December involving the company’s GitHub repository, which contains a blueprint for how the firm secures customers’ assets.

Copper is one of the leading crypto custody providers, securing billions of dollars in digital assets using clever key sharding technology called multi-party computation (MPC), and working with well-known firms such as State Street.

“No clients were compromised,” Copper said in a statement to CoinDesk.

Copper said one of its vendors had “detected some concerning behavior in their development environment,” and that a “machine-generated alert had been triggered.”

Meta shares rose over 18% in after-hours trading Wednesday following a rosier-than-expected quarterly earnings report. But rising tides across Meta still couldn’t lift the tech giant’s embattled metaverse division.

The company’s metaverse-focused Reality Labs lost a whopping $4.28 billion in 2022’s final fiscal quarter, Meta announced, marking a new low for the struggling department that has been repeatedly positioned as the company’s future. Wednesday’s announcement brought the metaverse division’s total 2022 losses to a staggering $13.72 billion.

The division pulled in only $727 million in revenue in the final months of 2022, down 17% from revenue posted in the same period last year.

Some Nigerian crypto and blockchain users and enthusiasts have said recent reports suggesting that the value of BTC on local crypto exchanges is nearly double the prevailing U.S. dollar value are totally false. According to the users, the reports are based on tweets posted by social media users who do not fully understand how Nigerian residents use local crypto exchange platforms.

The pushback by the Nigerian enthusiasts and influencers came as the claim, which was reportedly sparked by a single tweet, continues to generate interest among bitcoiners. In their initial tweet thread, the user shared a screenshot which suggested that Nigerians are buying one BTC on the peer-to-peer platform Paxful at $47,924.

The user also claimed that the recent cash withdrawal restrictions imposed by the Nigerian central bank have seen many residents swap their naira for BTC. This has helped push up the crypto asset’s U.S. dollar value, the user argued.

Ethereum developers will open a new test network on Wednesday called “Zhejiang,” where users can start testing the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4895, also known as staked ether withdrawals, that’s included in the protocol’s next big upgrade, the so-called Shanghai hard fork.

Testnets run on top of and duplicate the main blockchain. They allow developers and users to test upgrades and applications in a low-stakes environment before going live.

This new testnet, which will go live at 10 a.m. ET (15:00 UTC), will provide the ability to test staked ETH withdrawals (EIP 4895). Users won’t immediately have the ability to participate in the simulated withdrawals until the testnet goes through an upgrade on Feb. 7. For now, users will be able to deposit ETH to validators on the testnet, and then withdraw them the following week.

The Zhejiang public testnet is going live tomorrow (1st of Feb 15:00 UTC, 2023). Shanghai+Capella will be triggered 6 days later (at epoch 1350). You will be able to deposit validators, practice BLS change and exit without risk.

he Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury has added two cryptocurrency wallets allegedly connected to a Russian sanctions evasion network as part of its list of Specially Designated Nationals.

In a Feb. 1 announcement, OFAC said it had added one Bitcoin BTC tickers down $23,831 address and one Ether ETH tickers down $1,672 address to its list of sanctioned entities as part of a move to “methodically and intensively target sanctions evasion efforts around the globe.” Treasury said it would impose “full blocking sanctions” on 22 individuals, including Jonatan Zimenkov, a Russian national with access to at least one BTC wallet and one ETH wallet.

According to the U.S. Treasury, Jonatan is the son of arms dealer Igor Vladimirovich Zimenkov, who runs the sanctions evasion network. The group was allegedly behind supplying technology to a Russian company following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as well as supporting certain “sanctioned, state-owned Russian defense entities,” including Rosoboronexport and Rostec.