Crypto News Headlines (14-Dec-2022)

The Australian government has promised to establish a framework for the licensing and regulation of crypto service providers in 2023, the nation’s Treasury announced on Wednesday.

The move is part of a plan to modernise Australia’s financial system and comes in the wake of the FTX collapse that forced the management of its Australian entities to hand over control to licensed insolvency practitioners who independently assess the financial situation.

Developing appropriate custody and licensing settings to safeguard consumers will be part of the next steps the government takes, the announcement said.

U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN) wants the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, to testify before Congress about his failures, particularly in regulating the crypto industry. The congressman from Minnesota tweeted Friday:

Gensler has repeatedly dodged Congress at the expense of investors … leaving us to learn about the SEC’s crypto investigations, like the one into FTX, through the media.

He noted that the SEC chief “hasn’t publicly appeared before the House Financial Services since October 5, 2021.”

Australia will introduce a new framework for regulating crypto firms next year as part of wider plans to modernize the country’s financial system.

In a statement, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said “regulatory architecture” had not kept pace with changes in the market, “including the advent of new digital products and services.”

A consultation paper will be released in early 2023 to determine what digital assets should be regulated and help put in place “appropriate custody and licensing” rules.

The move represents the next steps for the relatively new Government, which came to power in May under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) shares hit a record-high discount rate relative to the price of bitcoin (BTC), pushing past 50% for the first time after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reiterated its reasons for denying an application to convert the world’s largest bitcoin fund into an exchange-traded fund.

Crypto analysts have said that the discount would likely close if the conversion went through, since the redemption process available for ETF market makers would likely cause the shares to trade back toward the price of the underlying bitcoin.

In the past couple hours, the discount has since pulled back slightly to around 48.66%.

Bitcoin Group SE, operator of the German crypto trading platform, has announced that it has acquired 100% of shares in Bankhaus von der Heydt. The bank has a full banking license and is a provider of digital asset custody and tokenization services.

According to an announcement released Dec. 12, Bitcoin Group SE has preliminarily proposed to pay bank owner Dietrich von Boetticher 14 million euros and 150,000 shares. Subject to approval from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), the deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023.

The arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas and the subsequent unsealing of a U.S. indictment against the former FTX CEO has seemingly calmed the market with ether (ETH) and bitcoin (BTC) both posting modest gains during the Asian trading hours.

Ether posted on-day gains of 4.46%, according to CoinDesk market data, coming in at $1,332 by late afternoon Asia time, while bitcoin gained 3.7%, hitting $17,805.

Bitcoin recently hit a one-month high earlier this week ahead of U.S. inflation data, and its dominance has cracked 41%, CoinDesk previously reported. Digital assets are generally rising as traders expect the Fed to slow down its inflation-fighting interest rate hikes.

Electronic contactless payments have been thriving in several countries of Latam, given the penetration of mobile cell phones in the area. The latest monthly report on retail payments issued by the Central Bank of Argentina has found that mobile payments are thriving in the country, leaving behind legacy payment media.

According to the report, mobile devices are being more greatly leveraged to make payments due to the rise of banking apps and mobile wallets. Just in October, 162 million of these transactions were made, registering an increase of 7.1% when compared to the transactions made during September. The number doubles the number of transactions made during October 2021.

Avalanche (AVAX), the token powering the eponymous blockchain, is up 6.9% over the past 24 hours and is currently trading at a weekly high of $13.65, according to data from CoinGecko.

With a market cap of $4.23 billion, AVAX is currently the market’s 20th largest crypto asset.

The rapid price increase is likely due to Tuesday’s release of a mobile version of Core, Ava Lab’s flagship non-custodial multichain wallet, which aims to connect DeFi, NFT, and gaming ecosystems across the Avalanche, Bitcoin, and Ethereum networks, as well as other EVM-compatible blockchains.

U.S.-based customers of Binance are now able to use the crypto exchange’s payments system, Binance Pay, to send money on their mobile app.

The feature has been available to Binance clients outside the U.S. since it was first launched in February, 2021. At the time, Binance founder and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said payments is one of the “most obvious use cases for crypto.”

Binance Pay allows users to send, request and receive almost 150 different cryptocurrencies from other users, enabling instant, zero-cost crypto transfers.

The exchange recently eliminated trading fees for both bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) in an effort to attract more users during a time when crypto trading volume is low.

The world’s largest stablecoin issuer, Tether, has pledged to eventually stop the practice of lending out funds from its reserves, saying it is “mission critical to restore faith” in the crypto market.

In a Dec. 13 post, the stablecoin issuer addressed recent mainstream media FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) concerning its secured loans, among other FUD that h hit the “rumor mill.”

Tether reiterated that its secured loans are over-collateralized and covered by “extremely liquid assets,” while also adding that the firm would be eliminating these loans throughout 2023, stating:

Tether is announcing starting from now, throughout 2023, it will reduce secured loans in Tether’s reserves to zero.