Crypto News Headlines (17-Jul-2023)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched its review of the latest bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) applications.

While the regulator published documents seeking public consultations last week, the clock on the review process doesn’t formally start until the filings are published in the federal register.

The SEC has asked for comments on all five of Cboe’s ETF applications: Wise Origin, WisdomTree, VanEck, Invesco Galaxy and ARK 21Shares. In a separate document, it also asked for comments on BackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust, filed on Nasdaq.

Last week, shares of crypto exchange Coinbase jumped as much as 16% after it reached an agreement with Cboe’s BZX Exchange to maintain a surveillance-sharing agreement the five ETF applications.

Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis released its mid-year update on cryptocurrency-related crime on Wednesday. Noting that crypto crime is down 65% overall, the firm wrote:

Our data shows that cryptocurrency-related crime is down significantly this year.

“Through the end of June, crypto inflows to known illicit entities — not including inflows to entities that have been sanctioned or subject to special measures — are down 65% compared to where they were at the same time in 2022,” Chainalysis detailed.

In addition, “Inflows to risky entities (made up primarily of mixers and high-risk exchanges) are down 42%” and “Inflows to illicit addresses are down in nearly every category,” the firm noted.

It’s been less than 48 hours since DeFi lender Aave released its new algorithmic dollar-pegged stablecoin GHO on Ethereum and already some $2.5 million coins have been minted, according to stats by DeFiLlama.

The launch was approved nearly unanimously by holders of the protocol’s governance token AAVE.

The Aave DAO oversees governance of GHO, including setting and adjusting the total supply, interest rate, and Facilitator minting caps, determining risk parameters, and approving and governing Facilitators.

A Facilitator is a protocol or entity authorized by the Aave DAO to mint GHO.

In the final vote, 421 wallets holding a combined total of 881,059 AAVE tokens voted in favor of the launch. Only three wallets holding a combined total of 10 AAVE declined; one of the three wallets that voted against held 10 AAVE and the other two held fractions of it.

Blockchain Council of the Philippines’ Donald Lim believes that blockchain and Web3 projects have the “opportunity to flourish” in the country.

The Philippines has all the recipes for mainstream crypto and blockchain adoption according to Dr. Donald Lim, the founder of the Blockchain Council of the Philippines (BCP).

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Lim shared his thoughts on the country’s potential for crypto adoption and explained why he believes blockchain projects can potentially find success within the country.

Another major bank in Australia has said it will block certain cryptocurrency platforms, citing high levels of scam risk in the industry.

On July 17, National Australia Bank (NAB) announced a set of new measures to protect customers from fraud as part of its “bank-wide scam strategy.”

Alongside halting millions in payments between March and July 2023, NAB will also introduce blocks on “some cryptocurrency platforms” to help protect customers from scams.

NAB did not specify the names of the cryptocurrency exchanges expected to face blocks from the bank. NAB executive for group investigations and fraud Chris Sheehan only mentioned that the new blocks will affect “high-risk” platforms where “scams are more prevalent.”

Gnosis, a sidechain to Ethereum, says a pair of new product offerings could let consumers with crypto wallets pay for online purchases using stablecoins and Visa’s payment system.

Gnosis announced Monday it is releasing Gnosis Pay and Gnosis Card, the first decentralized payment network integrating with a traditional payment processor and the first Visa-certified consumer debit card directly connected to an on-chain self-custodial wallet, according to a Gnosis press release.

Gnosis Card, which uses the Visa payment system, will be a debit card directly connected to a user’s on-chain account, built on the Gnosis Pay decentralized payment network, according to Gnosis. Users’ wallets – in this case Safe wallets – will act like a bank account, and every Gnosis Card will be connected to the user’s Safe account.

The Worldcoin project, a startup building an identity database of users as a public utility, has reached two million sign-ups using its World ID protocol. The company — which is backed by Openai co-founder Sam Altman — reported that these sign-ups came via people registering from cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, New York, Seoul, and Tokyo, as part of the “world tour” announced in May. Overall, Worldcoin is registering more than 40,000 sign-ups each week.

The World ID protocol requires using special hardware devices for users to register to prove their “uniqueness and humanness in a privacy-preserving way.” The device, called the Orb, reads the user’s iris using two cameras and stores a high-definition image.

The cities mentioned have been provided with several Orbs, allowing users to scan their irises at selected locations. Worldcoin stated that it reached two million sign-ups in less than half the time it took them to score the first million.

Gnosis has announced the launch of their debit card, Gnosis Card, that will utilize their new payment network, Gnosis Pay.

This product will originally be available in EU and EEA countries as well as the UK; with plans of expanding into the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, and Hong Kong in Q4.

Gnosis Card users will be required to connect their wallets to use their funds for real-world payments. Payments can be made anywhere that Visa is accepted, with funds being directly taken from your wallet rather than requiring you to pre-pay the card.

Telegram introduced Wallet Pay on Thursday, enabling merchants to accept cryptocurrency payments directly via the messaging app. This latest innovation has garnered great attention from market analysts as it simplifies crypto payments within chats by bots.

Telegram’s Wallet Pay currently offers support for three major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT) on Tron, and Toncoin (TON). These digital assets are seamlessly integrated into the Wallet service, ensuring a user-friendly experience for Telegram’s vast user base. One important thing to be noted is that the Wallet Pay API was not officially developed by Telegram developers.

Unlike self-custodial wallets like MetaMask, Telegram Wallet Pay operates as a custodial wallet. This approach simplifies the transaction process, providing users with enhanced security and convenience. During the beta period, Wallet Pay implements a fee structure ranging from 1% to 3% for crypto payments. This transparent pricing model shows fairness and enables merchants to have a clear understanding of the costs associated with their transactions.

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has completed the integration of the Bitcoin Lightning Network on its platform for BTC withdrawals and deposits.

The development was confirmed by Binance in a July 17 blog post, where they noted that Binance users can now use the layer-2 scaling solution for BTC withdrawals and deposits.

When users now choose to withdraw or deposit Bitcoin, they will now be able to select “LIGHTNING” as an option. Other options include BNB Smart Chain (BEP-20), Bitcoin, BNB Beacon Chain (BEP2), BTC (SegWit), and Ethereum ERC-20.

Binance first hinted at the integration of the Lightning Network in May after it had to temporarily pause BTC withdrawals due to a flood of pending transactions caused by “the recent surge in BTC network gas fees.”