Crypto News Headlines (04-Aug-2022)

A cross-party group of U.K. lawmakers has started an inquiry into the country’s crypto industry with a focus on regulation.

The Crypto and Digital Assets All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is looking to compose a report with policy recommendations and will share its findings with the government, the group said Thursday.

The group is canvassing views from industry experts, crypto service providers, regulators and members of government on a range of topics including the U.K.’s current approach to regulating digital assets, the role of local regulators, the potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and concerns related to financial crime and crypto advertising.

The inquiry comes shortly after July’s introduction of a bill that includes provisions to bring payments-focused digital assets like stablecoins – which are pegged to the value of real assets like fiat currencies – into the scope of regulation.

Cross-border payments should be immediate, cheap, universal, and settled in a secure medium, the European Central Bank remarks in a recently published report. For the first time, the “holy grail” of such transactions is within reach, thanks to declining data transfer costs, the birth of innovative concepts, and global collaboration aiming to enhance these payments, the regulator says in the recently published paper.

The review, co-authored by ECB’s Director-General for Market Infrastructure and Payments Ulrich Bindseil and economist George Pantelopoulos, explores various ways to achieve these objectives. The experts have assessed several alternatives that are currently available, including cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, stablecoins, modernized correspondent banking, fintech solutions, and digital currencies issued by central banks, or CBDCs.

Blockchain sleuths Chainalysis estimates that more than two-thirds of all stolen funds across the crypto space have come from cross-chain bridge hacks this year.

These sorts of attacks refer to exploits or hacks that occur on so-called bridging protocols connecting different blockchains.

In a recent report, the firm said that theft on bridges has amounted to $2 billion worth of stolen funds, posing a “significant threat” to the credibility of blockchain technology.

This analysis comes in the wake of Monday’s Nomad hack, which saw $200 million wiped from the bridge platform. Nomad functions as a pathway between different blockchains, allowing investors to move their funds between blockchains such as Ethereum, Avalanche, and Moonbeam (GLMR) platforms.

Swiss-based digital asset bank Sygnum has added Cardano (ADA) to its bank-grade staking services for institutional clients. The bank’s customers can now earn rewards for staking ADA, the eighth largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

According to a press release, Cardano has joined the list of other cryptocurrencies supported on Sygnum’s staking offerings, which currently consist of Ethereum (ETH), Internet Computer (ICP), and Tezos (XTZ).

Sygnum Adds Support for ADA Staking

Commenting on the development, Thomas Brunner, Sygnum’s Head of Accounts & Custody, said:

“We are pleased to integrate Cardano and further expand our institutional-grade staking offering. With Cardano staking, our clients can access a unique asset which offers staking rewards and enables them to structure their digital asset portfolios in more diversified ways.”

Staking is the process of “locking” coins to validate transactions on blockchains based on a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm or many of its variants. Users or “stakers” can delegate their tokens to staking pools to receive percentage yields for their contributions to the network.

Tourism in El Salvador has soared in the first half of 2022. Up 82.8% just this year, there were 1.1 million visitors to El Salvador this year, according to government figures. That’s despite the price of Bitcoin (BTC) sinking almost 50% since Jan. 1.

Data from the World Travel Organization reinforces the claims. The tiny Central American country is internationally recognized as “one of the countries with the best rate of tourism recovery in the region as of January 2022.”

The report by the WTO states that some “Central American destinations have the best results compared to 2019,” including El Salvador at +81% compared with 2019, or pre-pandemic levels.

Contrary to reports from the Wall Street Journal that El Salvador’s bet on Bitcoin to attract tourists “hasn’t worked,” visits for the first half of this year almost outpace total visits in 2019: 1.1 million people visited the country in six months, compared to last year’s total of 1.2 million.

In a radio interview, the general director of Strategic Projects of the Ministry of Tourism of El Salvador, Alex Bonilla, explained that over the summer holiday period, the country can expect “57,500 international visitors, which will generate $60 million in foreign exchange during this vacation.” It is expected that the 1.2 million figure mark will be beaten soon.

Crypto exchange Coinbase has reportedly asked the US Supreme Court to send two recently filed lawsuits to arbitration, as per Bloomberg.

Federal trial judges in both cases had previously rejected Coinbase’s move to send the disputes to arbitration, which the exchange said was required under its user agreements. Coinbase is effectively appealing these initial decisions.

The cases are Bielski v. Coinbase, 22A91, and Suski v. Coinbase 22A92.

Coinbase v. Bielski was filed by California resident Abraham Bielski, who lost over $31,000 after being targeted by a scammer who purported to be a PayPal representative and accessed Bielski’s Coinbase account. Bielski claimed Coinbase provided little help in regaining the lost funds and accused Coinbase of violating the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E therein.

Mastercard Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sachin Mehra shared his view on cryptocurrency in an interview published Tuesday by Bloomberg.

He was asked how successful Mastercard’s crypto strategy has been. “In the crypto world, we play the role as an on-ramp, with people using our debit and credit products to buy crypto. And we act as the off-ramp: When people want to cash it, we help them gain access to be able to use their crypto balances everywhere Mastercard is accepted,” he detailed, elaborating:

That’s a revenue-generating capability which has been fairly successful ever since crypto environments came up.

The company previously explained that it has plans to develop products and services in three key crypto-related areas: cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Jeff Garzik, a key developer of the Linux operating system and Bitcoin Core project, announced the launch of NextCypher Productions on Tuesday. The independent entertainment company aims to use Web3 tools to produce independent science fiction entertainment.

“I was the third most prolific developer on the original blockchain Bitcoin back in 2010,” Garzik tells Decrypt in an interview. “So I was working directly with Satoshi [Nakamoto] and his number two, Gavin [Andresen]—that was my entry into the crypto industry.”

Garzik is also known for co-founding Bloq, Spacechain, and Vesper Finance.

Garzik says NextCypher lets him return to his passion for science fiction, which he said led him to crypto in the first place.

Garzik says the roots of Web3 can be found in the pages of cyberpunk novels. The genre includes seminal titles like Neuromancer by William Gibson, Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson, and roleplaying games like “Shadowrun” and “Cyberpunk.”

Gucci is expanding the number of supported cryptocurrencies that it accepts for payment, the latest addition being ApeCoin. APE is the native ERC-20 token of the BAYC NFT collection, a subsidiary of Yuga Labs.

The iconic Italian fashion house revealed that the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) token will be available as a payment option alongside twelve different crypto-assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and Litecoin, across select stores in the US.


Gucci has become the first brand to accept ApeCoin as a payment option in its US stores. It enables the customers to make crypto payments by scanning a QR code with a crypto wallet via BitPay. The company hasn’t detailed the reason behind choosing APE but highlighted that the move is a step towards web3 exploration.

The official announcement read,

“Now accepting ApeCoin payments via BitPay, select Gucci boutiques in the USA expand the range of cryptocurrencies available for in-store purchases, yet another step in the House’s exploration of Web3.”

The Japan Crypto-Asset Business Association (JCBA) and the Japan Crypto-Asset Exchange Association (JVCEA), the two prominent crypto advocacy groups in Japan, released a tax reform request that calls for lowering taxes for individual investors on crypto earnings.

The fiscal 2023 tax reform request addressed key issues that the advocacy groups believe act as a hindrance to crypto adoption in the country. The proposal focused on the need for improvement in the individual tax filing environment, the importance of crypto assets in Japan’s web3 strategy, and comparison with overseas crypto asset tax systems.

The proposal calls for a separate 20% tax for individual crypto investors with provisions to carry forward losses for three years from the following year. The proposal also calls for the same tax structure to be applied on the crypto derivatives market.