Crypto News Headlines (09-Jun-2023)

Crypto exchange OKX burned over $258 million worth of its okb (OKB) tokens from March to May in a planned move, sending the token higher as the broader crypto market remained little changed.

“In this round, the total number of OKB bought back and burned from the secondary market was 5,497,312.77 OKB” OKX said in its buy back-and-burn report released Friday.

OKB tokens rose to $45 from $44 as details of the completed burn were released. They are up 1.4% in the past 24 hours. The token has a market capitalization of over $2.6 billion.

The buy-and-burn program was launched in May 2019, when OKX started to purchase OKB tokens from the original supply of 300,000,000 every three months, depending on seasonal market and operating performance.

Australia’s largest lender intends to impose a monthly limit of 10,000 Australian dollars ($6,663) on payments made to crypto exchanges. In a statement quoted by Bloomberg, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) detailed that some of the transfers will be held for 24 hours or declined.

Scams around the world are “masquerading as legitimate investment opportunities or diverting funds into cryptocurrency exchanges,” said General Manager of Group Fraud Management Services at CBA, James Roberts, providing reasons for the upcoming move.

Australians have lost at least 3 billion Aussie dollars to scams in 2022, the report notes, which represents an 80% increase from a year earlier. Crypto has played a significant role in this trend, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Under escalating pressures from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Binance’s US subsidiary has made a radical decision affecting its clients.

Binance.US announced late on Thursday that it would suspend dollar deposits on its platform. Similarly, it informed its customers that banking partners are preparing to temporarily halt the fiat (USD) withdrawal channels as early as next Tuesday.

 “Irrespective of the baseless claims, and in light of the Commission’s increasingly aggressive tactics, our payment and banking partners have signaled their intent to pause USD fiat channels as early as June 13, 2023, leaning our ability to accept USD fiat deposits and process USD fiat withdrawals will be impacted,” the exchange wrote. “As part of our customer-first-commitment, we are notifying users promptly so you can take necessary actions as we transition to a crypto-only exchange.”

The European Union’s Markets in Crypto Assets law (MiCA) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on Friday, starting the clock ticking for landmark crypto licensing rules to take effect.

The full law, published alongside related legislation requires crypto wallet providers to identify their customers when they transfer funds, offers crypto companies, such as exchanges and wallet providers, a license to operate across the bloc, and introduces new governance and financial requirements for stablecoin issuers.

This comes as crypto operators in the U.S. face significant uncertainty, with the Securities and Exchange Commission suing Binance and Coinbase (COIN) on the basis that the tokens traded on their platforms constitute regulated financial instruments.

In a June 8 announcement, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that advertisers of crypto services in the U.K. would be subjected to stricter regulations from Oct. 8, 2023.

The watchdog has mandated that crypto companies in the U.K. implement a “cooling-off period” for first-time investors. Additionally, as part of measures to enhance investor awareness of risks, the FCA has prohibited using “refer a friend” bonuses by firms in the sector.

Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA, said in the written statement that while the decision to purchase crypto lies with individuals, research indicates that many express regret over impulsive choices. The rules aim to give people sufficient time and appropriate risk warnings to enable an informed decision-making process.

In the statement, Mills added:

“The crypto industry needs to prepare now for this significant change. We are working on additional guidance to help them meet our expectations.”

Cryptocurrency custody firm BitGo has reached a preliminary agreement to buy Prime Trust, another crypto custody specialist regulated in the state of Nevada, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The deal is preliminary, and still requires regulatory approval, according to one source.

Prime Trust had been the subject of some speculation with people online suggesting the firm was facing bankruptcy. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the other source.

BitGo declined to comment. Prime Trust did not respond to requests for comment, though the Wall Street Journal reported that a representative confirmed the sale to it.

The pan-African crypto exchange, Mara, has become the latest startup to trim its workforce, and one report suggests that as much as 85% of the firm’s employees have been laid off. In addition, the remaining employees have had their salaries cut.

As has been reported by News, some Africa-based crypto and blockchain firms have similarly sent home a significant number of their respective employees. Many of these startups pointed to the so-called crypto winter as their reason for the reductions.

Mara, which completed a $23 million seed equity round in May 2022, claimed that the layoffs are intended to eliminate “redundant roles to move the company to its next phase.”

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has issued a warning to employees regarding their internal communications, according to reports, following a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.

“Everything you say could end up in court (or on the internet) one day,” he wrote employees according to a translated copy of a memo seen by Odaily Planet Daily on Thursday.

The SEC is the United States primary financial regulator. Image: Shutterstock.

SEC Sues Binance and CEO for Alleged Securities Violations

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today sued Binance, hitting the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange and its CEO with 13 charges. As first reported by Bloomberg, the digital asset behemoth and its CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, who is Binance’s founder and controlling shareholder, have been accused of breaking U.S. securities rules, a court filing shows. The SEC charges include the unregistered offer and sale of crypto assets, failure to restrict U.S. investors from accessing

The executive’s warning follows the SEC’s recent leak of screenshotted chat logs between employees, including the company’s former compliance lead “Sam Lim” and Head of Business Development “Alvin.”

ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood doesn’t appear to have been swayed by recent crypto regulatory action, after buying another $19.9 million shares of Block Inc. right after buying $21 million of shares in Coinbase.

Wood’s latest buying spree comes despite the United States Securities Commission suing two of the industry’s exchange heavyweights — Binance (June 5) and Coinbase (June 6) for offering what the regulator considers to be unregistered securities, among other things.

Coinbase’s share price has been depressed in the days following the SEC lawsuit, however, Block Inc.’s shares saw a sharp rise in that same time period.

ARK Invest’s 305,573 new shares of Block came across six buys between June 7-8, which now represents ARK’s fourth largest holding at 4.81%, according to ARK Invest Daily Trades.

Wallet infrastructure provider and digital asset custodian BitGo have signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire fintech infrastructure provider Prime Trust, according to an announcement on June 8.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. If the deal goes through, BitGo will acquire Prime Trust’s payment rails and cryptocurrency IRA fund and increase its wealth management offerings.

Prime Trust’s Nevada Trust Company will also join BitGo’s network of regulated trust companies in South Dakota, New York, Germany, and Switzerland. Prime Trust’s API infrastructure and exchange network will “map over 1:1” with BitGo services. According to the BitGo statement:

“This acquisition makes BitGo the first global digital asset company to provide a full suite of solutions for institutions and fintech platforms.”