Crypto News Headlines (06-Feb-2023)

Italian regulators have begun setting up a supervisory environment anticipating European Union laws for regulating crypto, central bank Governor Ignazio Visco said in a speech on Saturday.

Visco spoke of the importance of regulating crypto, and outlined global, European and Italian initiatives underway during a speech on the global economic situation in Milan. Although the economies of Italy and the euro area are decelerating, because the sector’s ties to traditional finance are weak, last year’s crypto market collapse did not have any “systemic consequences” on “the real economy,” he said.

He added that Bank of Italy surveys showed only about 2% of Italian households held “modest amounts, on average” of crypto and that the exposure of Italian intermediaries to the market was also very limited.

January 2023 has been the second worst month for crypto layoffs as a new wave of redundancies hit the industry, with as many as 2,806 people losing their jobs, according to a new CoinGecko report.

The overall number of layoffs the crypto industry saw last month may also put 2023 on track to surpass last year’s figure of almost 7,000, according to the research, as the “bear market and tough global macroeconomic conditions continue to squeeze companies’ bottom lines.”

Of those January figures, centralized crypto exchanges accounted for most of the job cuts with 84% of all layoffs, with the researchers citing lower trading volumes and declining revenues as key reasons behind the layoffs.

India’s Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth reportedly said Saturday at a post-budget press conference in Mumbai that India will introduce “measures around crypto” this year.

“The technology of crypto assets like blockchain and others can be used but its use in the financial sector can have several risks,” he was quoted by local media as saying. The official elaborated:

In the course of this year, measures around crypto would be brought out.

The Economic Affairs secretary added: “In India, nobody is talking about using crypto as a currency. The risks are with using it as a token.”

The Indian government has been working on crypto legislation for several years. A draft crypto bill was unveiled in 2019 but it was never taken up in parliament.

Shiba Inu (SHIB) has been among the best-performing cryptocurrencies over the previous 24 hours. The price of the second-largest meme coin has reached $0.000015 after a daily increase of about 30%.

Recent price increases for Shiba Inus are primarily attributable to a tremendous increase in burn rate. In the first month of 2023, around 1.12 billion tokens were disposed of through SHIB’s burn gateway.

Experts speculate that the recent announcement by Canadian crypto payment gateway FCF Pay that it will support the three primary tokens of the Shiba Inu ecosystem (SHIB, LEASH, and BONE) on its prepaid Visa and Mastercard cards is also contributing to the rise of SHIB.

Cardholders of FCF Pay will soon have the ability to preload their cards with up to $5000 worth of SHIB, LEASH, and BONE, in addition to other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and major stablecoins.

A luxury rehabilitation center in Spain has recently added services aimed at treating a relatively new kind of addiction — crypto trading.

The center, called “The Balance,” is a Switzerland-founded wellness center, with its main facility located on the Spanish island of Mallorca along with branches in London and Zurich.

While it has long treated addictions such as alcohol, drugs and behavioral health, it recently began offering services aimed at combatting crypto trading addiction, according to a report from the BBC.

The Feb. 5 report revealed that one of the center’s clients reached out so that he could “wean off crypto” after reportedly pouring in $200,000 worth of trades each week.

The treatment involves a four-week stay that involves therapy, massages and yoga. The bill can be upward of $75,000.

U.K. crypto companies were urged on Monday to prepare for new restrictions on financial promotions, with the Financial Conduct Authority warning that breaches can lead to a prison term of up to two years.

While the new crypto regime is not yet finalized, the financial regulator said the rules would mirror those for other high-risk investments, with promotions having to be being clear and fair, and customers offered a 24-hour cooling-off period to reconsider hasty purchases.

“This regime will apply to all firms marketing cryptoassets to UK consumers regardless of whether the firm is based overseas or what technology is used to make the promotion,” the FCA said in a statement. “Acting now will help ensure they can continue to legally promote to UK consumers.”

Binance’s new tax tool will let users calculate the tax associated with their crypto trading activity.

The new tool, which can reportedly support up to 100,000 transactions, will allow users to download a report showing a tax summary of any gains or losses made using Binance. 

The tool is currently only available in France and Canada, but a Binance spokesperson told Decrypt that “there will be more markets added later this year.” 

The firm didn’t provide any more specifics about when or to what countries.

The current version of Binance Tax doesn’t integrate with other platforms or wallets other than the exchange’s in-house Binance Wallet. Binance says it’s planning to develop these integrations, and that it is considering which integrations and future improvements “would be beneficial in the future for this product.”

A businessman from Bulgaria has transferred over 1 million leva (more than $550,000) to scammers who suggested he could earn well from crypto assets, according to a report by the Bulgarian national broadcaster, BNT. He was persuaded by a fake consultant to send the amount to accounts at different banks, from Europe to Hong Kong.

The investor was initially contacted by a call center operated by the fraudsters offering high yields on crypto investments. This communication went on for a while and they were able to convince him that he would triple his money in no time. When the man expressed interest in the proposition, he was transferred to an encrypted chat and set up with an online account.

“The victim’s details – name and phone number – were most likely acquired from a platform he signed up to,” said Commissioner Vladimir Dimitrov, head of the cybercrime unit at the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate Combating Organized Crime.

Along with pro-crypto regulations, mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies requires a supporting infrastructure that can allow the general public access and exposure to the ecosystem. When considering eight key indicators around taxes, ATMs, jobs and events in crypto, London stands at the top as the most crypto-ready city in the world for businesses and start-ups.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s vision to “ensure the UK financial services industry is always at the forefront of technology and innovation” is on the right path, reveals research conducted by Recap. An examination of eight key data points determined London to sport the highest crypto-readiness to entice businesses and start-ups.

As shown above, leading metropolitan cities such as Dubai and New York made it to the top three in the list. However, Hong Kong, which was positioned as the most crypto-ready country in 2022, fell to seventh place in the research.

Regulators in Hong Kong are stepping up their game when it comes to monitoring the activities of the crypto industry. 

According to a Securities and Futures Commission report filed on Feb. 6, it plans to hire four additional staff to “better supervise” the activities of local virtual asset (VA) providers. Moreover, the extra oversight will help “better assess the compliance and risk” by allowing retail investors to trade virtual assets on regulated platforms.

The commission wrote:

“This is in response to an increasing number of operators who have expressed interest in carrying on VA activities such as trading platforms and the management of VA funds.”

This comes at the onset of the introduction of a new licensing regime to allow greater retail crypto investment.