Crypto News Headlines (15-Sep-2022)

A federal judge has granted a motion for the U.S. Trustee’s office to appoint an independent examiner to investigate crypto lender Celsius Network’s financial management that led the firm to file for bankruptcy earlier this summer.

U.S. bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn ruled on Wednesday that the scope of the independent examiner would include an examination of several areas, including Celsius’ crypto holdings, why there was a change in account offerings from the Earn Program to the Custody Service for some customers while others were placed in a “Withhold Account,” Celsius’ procedures for paying various taxes and the current status of the utility obligations of Celsius’ mining business.

Celsius has laid out a proposal by which a still-being-built mining enterprise will allow it to generate enough revenue to continue operating.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has renewed its warning about all types of cryptocurrencies, citing a number of risks, including high volatility, use in financial crimes, and e-piracy, Egypt Independent reported Tuesday. The ECB also stressed that crypto is not issued or backed by the central bank or any other official authority.

“In the same context, the Law of the Central Bank of Egypt and the Banking System — promulgated by Law No. 194 of 2020 — prohibits issuing, trading, or promoting cryptocurrencies, creating or operating platforms for trading it, or carrying out related activities,” the CBE statement reads, adding:

Whoever violates this shall be imprisoned, and fined no less than one million pounds and no more than LE10 million [$516,340], or one of these two penalties.

At long last, the Ethereum merge has arrived.

At 2:45 am EST, the Ethereum network successfully began its transition—with no hiccups—from proof of work to proof of stake, a historic feat anticipated by the crypto community for over five years.

The upgrade has forever changed both how ETH is created and how transactions on the Ethereum network are validated. Up until the moment of the merge, ETH was generated by “mining,” an energy-intensive process by which individuals directed huge amounts of computer power at difficult-to-solve puzzles.

Proof of stake is a mechanism by which new ETH is instead generated by individuals and entities pledging large amounts of pre-existing ETH. The transition is anticipated to be faster, more scalable, and over 99% more environmentally friendly..

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is set to test a Bitcoin payment processing and payout solution in collaboration with OpenNode.

According to the official press release, the BTC payment processor plans to provide the infrastructure for the solution.

The Regulatory Sandbox was first launched in 2017, following which the CBB authorized OpenNode to participate in its framework that enables financial tech companies to test their ideas and solutions in the country.

OpenNode’s CEO and Co-Founder stated,

OpenNode’s leading Bitcoin infrastructure solution continues to pave the way for countries, governments, and reputable financial institutions to adopt the Bitcoin standard and transact on the lightning network.

The new Bitcoin payment solution is part of Bahrain’s digital economy in a regulated space.

Dalal Buhejji, Executive Director – Investment Development for Financial Services at the Bahrain Economic Development Board – said the initiative that is soon to be tested by the payment processor is essential and highlights the need for innovation while simultaneously adhering to the regulatory measures.

United States Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler is scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in a hearing titled “Oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission” on Sept. 15. The transcript of his speech was released in advance.

Gensler called securities laws a “gold standard” of capital markets. In his 13-page comprehensive discussion of those markets, crypto markets took up about a page and a half, including footnotes.

Gensler restated his belief that most cryptocurrencies are securities. Given that philosophy, he has asked SEC staff to “work directly with entrepreneurs to get their tokens registered and regulated, where appropriate, as securities.” He further stated that many intermediaries, such as exchanges, broker-dealers, and those with custodial functions, deal in securities and should be registered with the SEC “in some capacity.” In addition, he said:

“Given the nature of crypto investments, I recognize that it may be appropriate to be flexible in applying existing disclosure requirements.”

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) is working with fintech firm Broadridge Financial Solutions (BR) to improve buy-side liquidity for traders, according to a press release.

Broadridge will provide Coinbase with its NYFIX order-routing network, which increases liquidity by sourcing it from multiple venues.

Broadridge joins a growing list of traditional finance companies that have entered the cryptocurrency market this year. Investment giant KKR put a portion of a private equity fund on the Avalanche blockchain earlier this week, while asset manager BlackRock announced that it will offer crypto to its institutional clients after partnering with Coinbase in August.

The deal will help bring crypto trading to the institutional market, according to Ray Tierney, president of Broadridge Trading and Connectivity Solutions.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has told the Ministry of Finance to prepare, together with the Bank of Russia, and submit concrete proposals for the future of the digital financial asset (DFA) market in the Russian Federation by the first day of December.

The head of the Russian government issued the order after a meeting devoted to the nation’s financial system, RBC Crypto reported. The top official emphasized that in the current circumstances, DFAs can facilitate uninterrupted payments for imports of goods and Russian exports.

The finance ministry and the central bank have been tasked to update Russia’s “Strategy for the Development of the Financial Market until 2030.” The document should be revised taking into account the instructions of President Putin and, in the words of Mishustin, the prevailing geopolitical situation.

Ethereum’s long-awaited transition from proof of work to proof of stake is finally upon us. The event, also known as the merge, occurred at 2:45 am EST on September 15, opening a brand new chapter in the history of the industry’s second-largest cryptocurrency.

Ethereum developers, experts, and the broader community members have been flocking in numbers to Twitter to share their thoughts on the event, with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin being among the first to express his gratitude to all who helped make the merge a success.

“Happy merge all. This is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem. Everyone who helped make the merge happen should feel very proud today,” wrote Buterin.

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has banned crypto companies from offering staking and lending services, according to a press release on Thursday.

The decision to ban “depository services”, which includes paying returns to depositors, was made to protect traders from the risks associated with crypto lenders, the release said.

Several crypto lenders including Celsius Network and Babel Finance, as well as exchanges offering lending services, froze withdrawals over the past few months following a downturn in the crypto market, with bitcoin and ethereum losing over 50% of their since the turn of the year.

One of the troubled exchanges that halted withdrawals is Zipmex, which has entities in Singapore, Thailand, Australia and Indonesia.

The Thai SEC filed a police complaint against Zipmex last week after the exchange failed to provide transactional information before a deadline. The regulator also asked Zipmex to provide clarity on the withdrawal freeze in July.

Ahead of Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake (PoS), Bitcoin (BTC) maximalist Michael Saylor has come out swinging against what he says is “misinformation and propaganda” about the environmental impacts of proof-of-work (PoW) BTC mining.

The MicroStrategy executive chairman, who recently stepped down as CEO, shared a lengthy post on his Twitter account on Wednesday, detailing seven of his “high level thoughts” on BTC mining and its impact on the environment.

One of his key arguments was against the notion that PoW BTC mining isn’t energy efficient.

Instead, Saylor claims it is the “cleanest industrial use of electricity and is improving its energy efficiency at the fastest rate across any major industry.”

He backed up his argument with figures taken from the Q2 Global Bitcoin Data Mining Review published in July by the Bitcoin Mining Council, a group of 45 companies that claim to represent 50.5% of the global network, noting:

“Our metrics show ~59.5% of energy for bitcoin mining comes from sustainable sources and energy efficiency improved 46% YoY.”