Crypto News Headlines (09-Dec-2022)

U.K. has confirmed it will extend tax breaks for investment managers to cover crypto assets, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he wanted to make the country a crypto hub.

In October, minister Andrew Griffith said he wanted to “tentatively seize” crypto opportunities, and promised a consultation on how to use new legislative crypto powers contained in the Financial Services and Markets Bill before the Christmas holiday.

In a package of financial services reforms unveiled today, setting out how to replace European Union banking and financial-market laws, the Treasury said it would extend an existing tax break, which allows investors to use a U.K.-based manager without drawing extra tax liability, to the crypto sector. The change will be made via regulations this year.

Paraguayan cryptocurrency law that was introduced in Congress in 2021 was finally shelved after not receiving the support it needed in the Deputy Chamber. The project, which was vetoed in September by President Mario Abdo, failed to gather the votes needed in order to reject this veto.

The veto had previously been rejected by the Paraguayan senate, which aimed to approve and pass the law without presidential support. The veto had the support of the Commission for Industry, Commerce, Tourism, and Cooperatives; while the Economic and Financial Affairs, and the Fight against Drug Trafficking, Related and Serious Illicit Activities commissions rejected the motion.

Some deputies questioned the veto, stating that the cryptocurrency issue must be studied and regulated due to its importance. In this vein, deputy Sebastian Garcia criticized this outcome, stating that with this move, the cryptocurrency subject will remain in an “absolute informality.”

Bitcoin is back above $17,000—rising with U.S. stocks as traders responded to a Labor Department report showing a rise in jobless claims, a possible sign that federal interest rate hikes could slow down. 

The price of the biggest digital asset by market cap was trading for $17,183, a 2.1% 24-hour jump, at the time of writing. 

Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, was doing even better: up 3.7% in the past day, trading hands for $1,278.

U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill Thursday that would, if passed, direct the Environmental Protection Agency to study the energy usage and environmental impact of crypto mining.

Cautioning that crypto mining threatened U.S. energy goals and local power grids, the lawmakers said the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act would direct the EPA to produce a report examining the effect miners using more than 5 megawatts of power have on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a statement, Markey said the mining firms were “undermining decades of progress in our fight against climate change by putting profits over the promise of our clean energy future.”

The crypto market slump doesn’t mean interest in crypto is also down. A new study from the cryptocurrency education platform CryptoManiaks revealed that many countries are still scouring the internet, hungry for crypto-related information.

According to the study, the Netherlands and Turkey take the top two spots, with 8.2% and 5.5% of the population, respectively, searching for crypto-related terms. Turkey particularly accounted for 4.7 million searches, leading the searches with sheer numbers.

The study analyzed the combined number of searches for a select set of popular cryptocurrencies into a percentage of the population for each country in order to calculate the percentage of locals searching each month.

Coinbase is waiving the conversion fees for users that wish to switch to a “trusted stablecoin” in a new campaign that highlights the quality of reserves that back Circle-owned USD Coin (USDC).

“The events of the past few weeks have put some stablecoins to the test and we’ve seen a flight to safety,” Coinbase said in blog post published Friday morning Asia time. “We believe that USD Coin (USDC) is a trusted and reputable stablecoin.”

Coinbase said starting today it’s waiving fees for global retail customers to convert USDT to USDC.

Coinbase is a co-founder of USDC.

On-chain data shows that USDT is the third-most widely traded digital asset on Coinbase, representing 5% of the volume on the exchange, where it currently trades for 99 cents.

Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-ORE), and Jared Huffman (D-CA) have introduced a bill that would require “an interagency study on the environmental and energy impacts of crypto asset mining.” Markey’s press release concerning the “Crypto Asset Environmental Transparency Act” details that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would lead the study.

Furthermore, the EPA would assess crypto mining activity in the U.S. and operations would be required to report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Crypto mining companies required to report GHG emissions would be “operations that consume more than 5 megawatts of power,” the press release details.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has unveiled new guidelines for companies making financial disclosures, which call on them to provide a more detailed record of their exposure to the crypto industry in the wake of recent market chaos. 

The guidelines, which are outlined in a sample letter, go beyond simply the amount of cryptocurrencies held on the balance sheet.

The letter also includes guidelines on exposure to third-party crypto market participants, risks related to firms’ liquidity, their ability to obtain financing, as well as risks relating to “legal proceedings, investigations, or regulatory impacts” within the crypto markets.

Gaming retailer GameStop says it will no longer focus any efforts on cryptocurrencies, after amounting $94.7 million in net losses in the third quarter and laying off staff from its digital assets department.

On a Dec. 7 earnings call GameStop CEO, Matt Furlong, said it “proactively minimized exposure to cryptocurrency” over the year and “does not currently hold a material balance of any token,” adding:

“Although we continue to believe there is long-term potential for digital assets in the gaming world, we have not and will not risk meaningful stockholder capital in this space.”

Earlier this year the company said it was looking at crypto, along with nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3 applications, as avenues for growth calling these spaces “increasingly relevant for gamers of the future.”

Going forward it will shift focus to collectibles, gaming and pre-owned items.

Three United States lawmakers have introduced legislation that would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to report on the energy usage and environmental impact of crypto miners.

In a Dec. 8 announcement, California Representative Jared Huffman and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said they were “sounding the alarm” on the energy use from crypto mining in the United States, claiming that Bitcoin BTC $17,245  miners accounted for roughly 1.4% of the country’s electricity consumption. Together with Senator Jeff Merkley, the lawmakers introduced the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act, which would instruct the EPA to report on mining activity consuming more than five megawatts.