Crypto News Headlines (13-Jun-2023)

Brisk activity on the Shibarium testnet indicates demand, which could boost the value of SHIB tokens in the long term.

The Shibarium network’s native test network, Puppynet, has crossed more than 20 million transactions from 16 million wallets as it crawls closer to a mainnet release in the coming months.

Testnets, such as Puppynet, are blockchain networks designed for testing purposes. They mimic activity on the mainnet and allow developers to debug any issues and monitor network activity ahead of a wider release.

The average transaction time was five seconds, Puppeynet blockchain scanners show.

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchanges, explained the company’s journey before reaching a standstill in negotiations with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Armstrong detailed the changes in the stance of the SEC regarding cryptocurrency enforcement and how the exchange finally came to face the government in court.

According to Armstrong, before the exchange was listed on Nasdaq in April 2021, the SEC reviewed its business model and greenlighted its application. Armstrong declared:

We go back to 2021, we wanted to become a public company, we described everything about our business, the assets that we list on our platform, how we do staking. The SEC at that point allowed us to become a public company.

Haru Invest, a South Korean digital asset management platform, suspended withdrawals from its platform citing an “issue with one of the service partners.”

The firm announced Tuesday morning that the suspension was a “tough decision” taken to protect consumer funds while the firm figured out a “contingency plan to rectify the situation.”

Haru offers annual yields between 12% to 25% on five cryptocurrencies in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), Circle (USDC), and XRP (XRP).

The firm claims to have over 80,000 users in over 140 countries and roughly $1 billion in assets under management, per an April 18 update.

Haru did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment.

Over the past five years, hackers backed by North Korea have successfully stolen approximately $3 billion in cryptocurrency by employing sophisticated tactics and posing as recruiters, IT workers, and government officials. These elaborate schemes have allowed them to gain access to sensitive information and exploit unsuspecting victims. Notably, the stolen cryptocurrency funds 50% of North Korea’s ballistic missile program, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

One instance of their modus operandi involved a hack on the Axie Infinity platform in 2021, where hackers posed as recruiters and lured an employee of Sky Mavis, the parent company. By sharing a document containing malware, they gained access to the employee’s computer, enabling the theft of $600 million in cryptocurrency. These evolving tactics demonstrate North Korea’s increasing sophistication in executing cyberattacks, serving as a crucial source of funding for their nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has completed a public consultation on stablecoin regulations and aims to introduce clear regulatory guidelines for the stablecoin market by the end of 2024.

Joseph Chan Ho-Lim, Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the government of Hong Kong, said that over the past five years, Hong Kong has emerged as a growing destination for fintech firms. Chan added that authorities are actively working to promote the Web3 ecosystem with a focus on investor protection.

Hong Kong started discussions on its stablecoin regulations in January 2022, with the HKMA sharing a list of eight questions about policy-related recommendations and citing five possible regulatory outcomes: 1) no action; 2) an opt-in regime; 3) a risk-based regime; 4) a catch-all regime; and 5) a blanket ban. In January 2023, the outcome of regulatory discussions outright prohibited the incorporation of algorithmic stablecoins in its stablecoin framework, with the HKMA demanding all stablecoin issuers back up their values with underlying reserve assets at all times.

Social investing platform eToro will delist a selection of crypto token for its U.S. customers in a month’s time in response to recent legal action by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

From July 12, U.S. customers will no longer be able to open new positions in the tokens of Algorand (ALGO), Decentraland (MANA), Dash (DASH) and Polygon (MATIC), eToro announced on Monday.

However, customers will still be able to hold and sell existing positions in these tokens.

The crypto platform cited “recent developments” as the reason for the move, referring to the SEC’s legal action against crypto exchanges Coinbase and Binance and the regulator listing certain cryptocurrencies as securities.

CryptoGames, a well-known online crypto casino, is making waves in the online gambling industry with the launch of its revitalized VIP program and a high stakes wagering competition. These new initiatives promise cryptocurrency gambling enthusiasts a new era of exhilarating challenges and rewarding experiences, raising the bar in online casino gameplay.

Challenging Monthly Wagering Contest

The monthly wagering competition hosted by CryptoGames offers players a thrilling gambling environment. Kicking off on the first day and wrapping up on the last day of every month, participants compete to move up the leaderboard by making bets on games using their preferred coin. Players can monitor their positions on the real-time leaderboard and adjust their strategies accordingly.

The wagering contest allows gamers to test their skills along with an opportunity to ascend the ranks of the elite. The top five performers in the Bitcoin and Ethereum leaderboards, the top three in the Litecoin leaderboard, and the top player for all other coins earn a place in the CryptoGames VIP membership for one month.

On June 12, Bank of China’s investment bank subsidiary BOCI announced the issuance of 200 million Chinese yuan ($28 million) worth of digital structured notes minted on the Ethereum blockchain. The move makes BOCI the first Chinese financial institution to issue a tokenized security in Hong Kong. Investment banking company UBS helped originate the product for placement to its client in the Asia-Pacific region. Ying Wang, the deputy CEO of BOCI, commented:

  “Working together with UBS, we are driving the simplification of digital asset markets and products, for customers in Asia Pacific through the development of blockchain-based digital structured products, designed specifically for customers in Asia Pacific.” 

Simultaneous to the development, UBS has been expanding its tokenization across structured products, fixed income and repo financing. The firm issued a $50 million tokenized fixed-rate note in December 2022 under English and Swiss law, digitized on a permissioned blockchain.

The country’s 2023 budget is riddled with an 11 trillion naira budget deficit and 6 trillion naira debt service cost, so it is looking for new avenues to fund its budget, observers say.

Nigeria has placed a 10% tax on digital asset profits in the latest Nations Finance Act 2022 amendment. The tax will include profits earned on trade, staking, or other cryptocurrency investments. According to the Capital Gains Tax Act, the word digital assets were infused into asset classes for purposes of taxation.

“Subject to any exceptions provided by this Act, all forms of property shall be assets for the purposes of this Act, whether situated in Nigeria or not, including options, debts, digital assets, and incorporeal property generally,” the Act reads.

Due to its Bitcoin BTC $26,061 tipping feature, the decentralized social media app called Damus could face the axe from the Apple app store.

The creators behind the decentralized social media platform shared a warning letter from Apple on June 13. The letter warned that the app will be removed from the platform because of the “Zaps” feature that allows people to tip users and content creators in Bitcoin. The Bitcoin tipping feature was made possible through the integration of the Lighting Network widget to make Bitcoin payments and tips directly on the platform.

The Apple team in its warning claimed that the Zaps feature violates their policy that prohibits any other form of tipping feature other than in-app purchases. The tech giant claimed even though the tipping feature may be optional, “if they are connected to or associated with receiving digital content, they must use in-app purchase in accordance with guideline 3.1.1.”