Crypto News Headlines (14-Mar-2023)

Trading in bitcoin (BTC) options listed on cryptocurrency exchange Deribit has soared in the wake of U.S. bank failures and resulting market volatility.

Bitcoin options worth $2.4 billion have changed hands on Deribit in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day tally since May 17, 2021, according to data tracked by Amberdata. The number of contracts traded in the past 24 hours stood at a record high of 99,195 BTC at press time. The 24-hour notional volume in ether options totaled $948 million as of writing, the highest since November.

On Deribit, one options contract represents 1 BTC and 1 ETH. The exchange controls more than 80% of the global crypto options market. Options give traders the right to buy or sell the underlying asset, in this case, bitcoin, at a specific price, known as a strike, by a stated date. Call options give the right to buy, while put options give the right to sell.

Egyptian police recently arrested 29 individuals thought to be the masterminds of the Hoggpool cryptocurrency investment scam, a report said. During the arrests, the police reportedly said as many as 95 phones and 3,367 SIM cards were seized. Domestic and foreign currency worth $194,000 was also recovered, the report added.

According to a CBS News report that quotes from a statement issued by police, the alleged masterminds behind the cryptocurrency mining app scam used a total of 88 digital currency wallets to receive funds from investors. Once the funds were received, the criminal gang then proceeded to redistribute these between 9,965 digital wallets. The funds were later converted to BTC before being spirited out of the country.

Unless it can find another service provider, crypto exchange Binance will suspend British pound sterling deposits and withdrawals starting on May 22, according to an email shared with Decrypt.

The email, which was sent to customers on Monday, explained that customers won’t be able to use GBP as their account on- or off-ramps because Skrill Limited, the U.K.-based partner Binance uses for Faster Payments Service transactions, will no longer support it.

As of Monday afternoon, new Binance users will be unable to open accounts on the exchange with GBP deposits, a spokesperson told Decrypt in an email. But they said existing users can still access their GBP balances.

Coinbase has filed an amicus brief in the SEC v. Wahi insider trading case asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission needs to prioritize working on proper rules and guidance related to securities, not misguided securities lawsuits.

Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal in a tweet on March 14 disclosed that Coinbase has filed an amicus brief in the SEC v. Wahi in support of dismissing the misguided lawsuit. Paul Grewal asserts that Coinbase doesn’t list securities, but petitioned the SEC to make rules on digital asset securities last year as the existing rules don’t apply to digital assets. Coinbase is working on crypto securities market plan to offer securities.

“Coinbase doesn’t list securities but we would like to. We even petitioned the SEC to begin rulemaking on this issue last year. We put forward 50 questions that would need to be answered for us to list securities – we haven’t heard back on any of them.”

Despite a turbulent week for crypto following the downfall of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, Bitcoin’s (BTC) market cap has managed to flip that of tech giant Meta.

At the time of writing, data from Companies Market Cap shows Bitcoin’s market cap has reached $471.86 billion, surpassing Meta’s $469 billion.

Companies Market Cap provides real-time monitoring and ranking of market caps for cryptocurrencies, public companies, precious metals and exchange-traded funds.

Only 24 hours earlier, BTC’s market cap was nearly $37 billion below Meta’s, sitting at $433.49 billion.

A wallet named after Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin spent 500 ether, or just over $700,000, over the weekend to mint the lesser-known RAI stablecoin and used the funds to purchase USD Coin (USDC) while it traded below its $1 peg.

The wallet labeled vitalik.eth was created seven years ago and held more than 5,360 ether as of Tuesday. While Ethereum Names Service (ENS) domains resolve to crypto wallets, they may be not necessarily held by a person popularly associated with the name.

“Vitalik-labeled address has deposited 500 $ETH in Reflexer to mint 150k $RAI, and swapped 132.5k $RAI for 378.5k $USDC,” blockchain analytics firm PeckShield said Sunday. “Additionally, they swapped 17.5k $RAI for 50k $DAI within the last 3 hours.”

The government of the U.S. state of South Dakota announced Friday that Governor Kristi Noem has vetoed House Bill 1193 “which would infringe upon freedom in digital currency.” In her veto letter, the governor explained:

HB 1193 adopts a definition of ‘money’ to specifically exclude cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, as well as other digital assets. At the same time, these UCC revisions include central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as money.

Noting that the bill was over 110 pages long, the governor explained in an interview with Fox News on Friday that it “was sold as an update to the guidelines of the UCC [Uniform Commercial Code], backed by all our financial institutions, our banks.”

Ex-congressman and the man behind the Dodd-Frank Act Barney Frank has said Signature Bank was shuttered in part to attack the digital asset industry.

The former lawmaker, a Signature Bank board member, said in a Monday interview with CNBC that regulators targeted the bank to send an “anti-crypto message.”

New York regulators decided to abruptly shut down crypto-friendly Signature Bank on Sunday, citing system risk—which surprised management at the firm, according to a Bloomberg report. It is the third-largest bank failure in U.S. history. Regulators have not yet provided any further reasoning for shuttering the bank.

In an effort to clear any misconceptions about crypto’s role in the current crisis affecting several financial giants in the United States, Chervinsky stated that crypto companies are affected just as much as other institutional customers.

He tweeted that despite crypto firms being blockchain-powered, they also hold fiat currency to pay “salaries, rent, and everything else any other company does.”

As bank customers, crypto firms are no more risky than any other depositor.

They hold dollars to pay salaries, rent, and everything else any other company does.

The bank situation is scary, but as @POTUS, @SecYellen, and many others recognize, crypto has nothing to do with it.

— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) March 13, 2023

United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced on March 13 that it had suspended trading for the Binance USD BUSD tickers down $1.00 stablecoin.

In its initial Feb. 27 announcement, Coinbase cited “listing standards” as being behind its decision. The February announcement read:

“We regularly monitor the assets on our exchange to ensure they meet our listing standards. Based on our most recent reviews, Coinbase will suspend trading for Binance USD (BUSD) on March 13, 2023, on or around 12pm ET.”

According to Coinbase’s Feb. 27 Twitter thread, the decision applies to (simple and advanced), Coinbase Pro, Coinbase Exchange and Coinbase Prime. On March 13, Coinbase assured its customers that “your BUSD funds will remain accessible to you, and you will continue to have the ability to withdraw your funds at any time.”