Crypto News Headlines (09-May-2022)

Bitstamp, Europe’s largest crypto exchange, has appointed former chief compliance officer (CCO) and Europe CEO JB Graftieaux as its new global CEO following the departure of former CEO Julian Sawyer.

Sawyer, who joined Bitstamp in October 2020, had left the firm to “pursue other opportunities”, Bitstamp announced on Monday.

Graftieaux served as Bitstamp’s CCO from November 2014 to February 2016. He also enjoyed five-year spells at PayPal from 2009 to 2014 and eBay from 2016 to 2021.

Bitstamp credits Graftieaux with obtaining regulatory licenses for its EU-based operations while he was CCO, as well as accelerating the firm’s growth in Europe over the last year.

Last month Bitstamp also revealed its plans to spur growth in the U.S., with the extension of its “Bitstamp-as-a-Service” offering to stateside banks and fintechs, enabling them to provide digital asset services to their customers.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Friday that it has halted a fraudulent crypto mining and trading scheme.

The SEC charged MCC International (aka Mining Capital Coin), its founders (Luiz Carlos Capuci Jr. and Emerson Souza Pires), and two entities controlled by them. The charges are “in connection with the unregistered offerings and fraudulent sales of investment plans called mining packages to thousands of investors,” the agency noted.

The securities watchdog detailed that since at least January 2018:

MCC, Capuci, and Pires sold mining packages to 65,535 investors worldwide and promised daily returns of 1 percent, paid weekly, for a period of up to 52 weeks.

The complaint also alleges that MCC investors were initially promised returns in bitcoin (BTC). However, the defendants later “required investors to withdraw their investments in tokens called capital coin (CPTL), which was MCC’s own token.”

Terra’s native token, LUNA, since yesterday has plummeted about 10% to $65.80 on fears that Terra’s stablecoin UST, propped up mainly by LUNA, may lose its peg.

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar on a 1:1 basis. Depegging refers to stablecoins going above $1 or, more commonly, below $1.

UST fell as low as $0.985 on Saturday, and it’s now trading for $0.99. Although a 1% depeg from $1 isn’t unusual for stablecoins at times of intense market pressure, the parity is often restored quickly. In the case of UST, it’s been more than 16 hours.

Some critics say this highlights UST as a liability for the wider cryptocurrency market as the Luna Foundation Guard, the organization that backs UST, has $3.5 billion in bitcoin ready to sell as a last resort should it need to defend UST’s stability. LFG reserves are in BTC (93%), LUNA (3.5%), and AVAX (3.5%).

Trying to cash in on Binance’s popularity in the country, scammers in Turkey have been found to rent numerous billboards to advertise fake Binance-themed opportunities.

Binance TR, the Turkish arm of crypto exchange Binance, has warned investors in the region of an ongoing scam attempt that targets crypto investors via fake Binance-branded billboards and hoardings.

Turkey is home to a large number of crypto investors that account for over 7% of the total traffic to Binance’s primary platform through a desktop browser, as evidenced by data from Similarweb. Trying to cash in on Binance’s popularity in the country, scammers in Turkey have been found to rent numerous billboards to advertise fake Binance-themed opportunities.

Bankless, which claimed 150,000 subscribers to its Ethereum-focused newsletter and podcast, channel on YouTube, said it had been banned from the social media platform without warning or justification.

The channel, which boasted more than 10,000 hours of content and featured people as notable as Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, said in a tweet its account had been terminated.

Attempting to click through to the channel yields a notice saying “This page isn’t available.”

Bankless isn’t alone. Other educational web 3 crypto accounts such as Gabriel Haines.eth and the Optimism Collective were shut down as well.

Officials from YouTube weren’t immediately available to comment; commentators on Bankless’s Twitter thread made comments like “Wow guys I finally get why we need web3” which would prevent an organization from shutting down a channel through decentralization.

The removal of the Bankless channel may not be permanent or a signal that YouTube found anything objectionable in the channel’s content. The social media giant has shut down other channels in the past without explanation only to reinstate them at a later time, again without explanation.

The social media giant is reportedly planning to integrate NFTs from Ethereum, Polygon, Solana and Flow. Ethereum and Solana by far are the biggest blockchains for NFTs, with the former featuring some of the most valuable collections.

Instagram will also add support for crypto wallets, including MetaMask. The launch is initially expected to be tested through a pilot program.

The launch could see interest in NFTs skyrocket to 2021 highs, given that Instagram has over 1 billion users. NFTs in general are also far more palatable to non Web3 users, based on the popularity of sports and historical tokens.

The move could also provide serious competition to established NFT platforms such as OpenSea and Looksrare- both of which are dwarfed by Instagram in terms of users.

Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned nations to desist from adopting Bitcoin as their legal tender against central bank-issued money.

While speaking at IMF Spring Meetings on Friday, Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF Managing Director, said that it is not advisable for countries to embrace cryptocurrency as money in the economy.

Georgieva’s statement comes from a number of emerging markets including the Central Africa Republic and El Salvador both of whom have officially declared Bitcoin as a legal tender alongside their country’s fiat.

Both Central Africa Republic and El Salvador adopted the cryptocurrency to support their domestic currency and sustain their economy by attracting Bitcoin users to their countries for business transactions and tourism..

ome Coinbase users from Russia have received letters informing them that their accounts will be blocked on May 31, the crypto page of the Russian business news portal RBC reported. The company suggested that these customers withdraw their funds unless they provide documents indicating they are not subject to EU sanctions, the publication explained quoting the correspondence, which stated:

Until May 31, 2022, you must withdraw all funds from your account or provide us with special documents that confirm that you do not fall under these sanctions.

After that date, the funds may be frozen and all assets transferred to the accounts in the future will also be blocked, the crypto exchange’s support team warned the Russians, according to the post published by RBC Crypto.

The news of the notice comes after earlier in May, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal tweeted that the exchange could no longer provide services to certain Russian clients registered to the platform’s EU entities or located within the European Union.

The National Securities Depository (NSDL), India’s central securities depository based in Mumbai, launched blockchain-based security and covenant monitoring platform.

NSDL officially launched the distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform on Saturday, May 7, during its 25th anniversary presentation, alongside the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The platform is expected to strengthen the monitoring of security and governance in the corporate bonds market to bring “further discipline and transparency to the market.”

SEBI Chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch underscored the blockchain’s transparency as the key reason for the technology’s popularity but made a reservation regarding its current cost-effectiveness and remarked that the anonymity feature remains highly unwelcomed by Indian authorities:

“This is the single biggest differentiator between private DLT manifestations and what we commonly refer to as Central Bank Digital Currencies where it is not envisaged that this aspect of the technology would be put to use as we don’t wish to have anonymity.”

A three-bedroom (two-bedroom) house in the Portuguese metropolis of Braga has been successfully sold with payment received in Bitcoin (BTC) for the first time.

This is the first time that an apartment has been sold in the country after it was enacted to allow real estate transactions in cryptocurrencies. The purchase price of this house is about 110,000 euros. The buyer paid with 3 bitcoins.

The title deeds were transferred in Porto’s Póvoa de Varzim district on Thursday 5 May. The acquisition was completed with the assistance of real estate firm Zome, regulator Antas da Cunha Ecija and three parties from Switzerland’s Crypto Valley.

Portugal’s local media said it marked the deal as a major deal in the history of the country’s actual real estate market.