Crypto News Headlines (10-Oct-2022)

Privacy-focused cryptocurrency and payments firm MobileCoin, in collaboration with stablecoin platform Reserve, has launched a new stablecoin dubbed “Electronic Dollars” (eUSD). The company says eUSD is fully collateralized and is uniquely designed to protect users’ private transactional data.

According to MobileCoin, eUSD is backed by a basket of other stablecoins, namely, USD Coin (USDC), Pax Dollar (USDP) and TrueUSD (TUSD). Each transaction is said to be encrypted using end-to-end zero-knowledge encryption. In other words, only the transacting parties can see their own transactional data, thanks to encryption that uses zero knowledge proofs (a way of proving something without revealing sensitive information).

Companies operating under sanctions imposed on Russia over the escalating conflict in Ukraine have started employing cryptocurrencies despite that the new regulations for this type of payment are expected to come into force in 2023 at the earliest, a government representative has revealed.

Director of the Financial Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance Ivan Chebeskov acknowledged the trend in conversation with the Russian daily Izvestia. At the same time, he remarked that such cross-border settlements are still carried out on a limited scale.

Russian entities are now actively using digital payment instruments, including cryptocurrencies, agreed Vladimir Gamza, head of industrial, financial and investment policy at the Council of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

“Holy moly,” wrote one user.

A new tool now lets anyone see just how much money some users have lost after the troubled crypto lender filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July.

It’s easy to check whether someone has made it onto the questionable “leaderboard” of biggest losers from the Celsius debacle, by simply typing their name into the convenient search bar.

Only those who’ve lost more than $12 million have made it into the top ten.

The tool presumably relies on the customer data revealed by Celsius in a court filing last week. The document showed customer names, crypto wallet IDs, transaction types and amounts, and the types and quantities of tokens held, among other information.

South Korean blockchain investment firm Blockwater Technologies defaulted on a loan from TrueFi, a decentralized lending protocol, TrueFi said in a statement Sunday.

According to the statement, TrueFi issued a “notice of default” to Blockwater on Oct. 6 after it failed payment on a $3.4 million loan in Binance USD (BUSD) stablecoin.

Blockwater’s default seems to be the latest example of the crypto industry’s insolvency crisis. This year’s dramatic downturn of crypto markets, exacerbated by the implosion of the Terra blockchain, has led to the bankruptcy of multiple high-profile crypto firms, such as hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), crypto lender Celsius Network, digital asset broker Voyager Digital and crypto-mining data center operator Compute North.

Blockwater’s default on its debt came after TrueFi and Blockwater restructured the loan and extended the payment period in August. Blockwater managed to repay $654,000 of its outstanding debt after the restructuring efforts, but eventually missed payment. The remaining debt amounts to almost $3 million.

The number of companies holding cryptocurrency in Brazil has reached new record highs as of August, amid an increased trust in cryptocurrencies and high inflation rates.

According to local media reports, the country’s taxation authority, Receita Federal do Brasil (RFB), also known as the Federal Revenue of Brazil, recorded 12,053 unique organizations declaring crypto on their balance sheets in August 2022.

The number is a 6.1% increase from the 11,360 companies in July and is the month with the highest recorded number of companies with crypto holdings to date.

The RFB noted that Bitcoin (BTC tickers down $19,338) is the most popular cryptocurrency held by institutions, followed by stablecoin Tether (USDT tickers down $1.00).

However, the number of individual Brazilian investors holding crypto fell from the prior month, down to 1.3 million in August.

Ziya Sadr, an Iranian Bitcoin advocate, was arrested by Iranian security forces last month, according to multiple sources.

Nima Yazdanmehr, who said he is a friend of Sadr, told CoinDesk the arrest took place on the streets of Tehran on Sep. 19 and that Sadr has not been released. The arrest came amid widespread anti-government protests over the state killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Sadr is a popular Bitcoin educator and Youtuber, as well as an advocate for the technology. He’s translated Bitcoin content into Farsi and promoted privacy-focused ways to use Bitcoin for personal transactions.

Sadr is currently being held in Fashafouyeh Prison and remains in contact with his family and close friends, according to Yazdanmehr.

The Hong Kong-based asset management company, About Capital Management, recently became the biggest shareholder in the crypto exchange Huobi after it acquired founder Li Lin’s stake in the firm. The Asian crypto exchange’s acquisition by the “secretive” asset management firm has put an end to rumors suggesting that Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, Binance, and Justin Sun were interested in buying, or had already bought, Huobi.

According to a Wublockchain report, following his arrest in 2020 by local law enforcement, Lin hinted he wanted to quit the Chinese market.

“Without Huobi, everyone still has Binance and Okx. If you are disappointed, I’m sorry,” Lin reportedly said in a post shared via Wechat.

The value of Huobi’s native token has shot up around 18% in recent trading, following the news of fresh investment in the Seychelles-based crypto exchange.

Huobi’s founder Leon Li Lin recently sold off his stake in the company to About Capital, a Hong Kong-based asset management firm, which was accompanied by the promise of more investment.

According to a blog post on the company’s website, the move will see Huobi get a “sufficient” capital injection into its margin and risk provision fund, as well as a global strategic advisory board, joined by “leading industry figures.”

The acquisition will also reportedly see the company undergo a “series of new international brand promotion and business expansion initiatives,” with no specific mention of what this entails.

The US Department of Justice confiscated 719 bitcoins from the 35-year-old Canadian – Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins – for participating in the NetWalker ransomware attacks.

At the time of the seizure, the amount of cryptocurrency equaled nearly $22 million.

Prison Time for the Criminal

According to a recent announcement, Vachon-Desjardins was involved in a sophisticated type of ransomware known as NetWalker. The malicious software targeted victims all over the globe, including firms, emergency services, colleges, and universities. It is worth noting that the attacks’ main focus was on the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said the wrongdoer targeted mainly rich people and high-value companies and profited from “the chaos caused by encrypting and stealing the victims’ data.”

As a result of the investigation, the US DOJ seized $742,840 in Canadian dollars and 719 BTC. At the time of the confiscation, the cryptocurrency equaled $21.8 million, while its today’s value is $14.4 million.

The chief operating officer for the Helium Foundation, Scott Sigel has claimed there is “no basis” for cryptocurrency exchange Binance to delist several trading pairs of its cryptocurrency — Helium Network Token (HNT).

Sigel’s comments come after an Oct. 6 notice by Binance saying the exchange is removing the cross isolated margin and spot trading pairs for HNT and Binance USD (BUSD), Tether (USDT tickers down $1.00) and Bitcoin (BTC tickers down $19,338).

Binance “strongly advised” users to close any positions in its listed pairs as user positions will be forcibly closed, and any pending orders canceled on Oct. 12 with only spot trading for the HNT/BUSD pair remaining.

Jessica Jung, a Binance spokesperson, said in a statement to Forbes that the exchange periodically reviews its listed cryptocurrencies to ensure they continue “to meet a high level of standard.”