Crypto News Headlines (17-May-2023)

Stablecoin issuer Tether will regularly buy bitcoin (BTC) for its stablecoin reserves using a portion of its profits starting this month as part of a new investment strategy focused on the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, the firm announced on Wednesday.

Tether said it will allocate up to about 15% of the realized profits from investments – excluding any unrealized price appreciation of its reserve assets – to purchase BTC and will add the tokens to the reserve surplus.

The company will custody the BTC stash on its own, without using any third-party custodians, according to the statement.

Bitcoin is embracing functionalities that were previously synonymous with the Ethereum blockchain, such as the innovation of new tokens and the generation of non-fungible token assets. As the clock struck 10:43 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, May 16, the BRC20 token economy achieved an impressive valuation of $497.75 million.

Archived records indicate that the collective market capitalization of its 24,677 distinct digital tokens has soared 16.56%, surpassing the $427 million mark observed just four days earlier.

As of now, the largest market valuation in the BRC20 token realm is commanded by the ordi (ORDI) token, which stands at $342 million. Each ORDI is currently being traded at $16.31, although it may not hold the title of the highest-valued coin per unit.

Betting on crypto may soon be regulated as traditional gambling in the UK.

The United Kingdom’s House of Commons Treasury Committee, a cross-party Committee of MPs formed to examine the expenditure, administration, and policies of the British Treasury, has recommended the government regulate crypto trading as gambling, according to a new report.

The proposal would mean that the Gambling Commission would oversee crypto activities in the UK using the Gambling Act 2005 as its guide.

It would provide “advice and guidance to individuals and businesses” about preventing what it calls “problem gambling” with crypto while applying safeguards like anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) to the industry.

PARIS, France – Crypto companies fleeing U.S. regulatory uncertainty have been offered a welcome in France, by officials boasting a regulatory framework that offers relative predictability.

The European Union member already boasts around 74 registered crypto companies – a number that could surge to 100 as a last round of firms seek to anticipate the EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets rules that were formally signed off by ministers earlier Tuesday.

“In France, we are proud to be pioneers” with the crypto service asset provider regime, known as PSAN, that was legislated in 2019, Benoît de Juvigny, Secretary General of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), told reporters Tuesday.

“If American players want to benefit, in the very short term, from the French regime, and from the start of 2025 from European arrangements, clearly they are welcome,” he added. “We have good relations and discussions with our U.S. counterparts.”

A former Signature Bank executive has been slammed for seemingly trying to place the blame for his bank’s collapse on crypto while purportedly being able to pocket millions in bonuses and stock options.

During a Senate Banking Committee hearing on May 16, United States Senator Cynthia Lummis lashed out at Scott Shay, the former chairman of the now-defunct bank, in relation to his prepared statement on what led to his bank’s collapse.

In his testimony, Shay noted the bank began accepting deposits from businesses in the digital asset sector in 2018 and then “significantly” reduced its digital asset deposits in 2022 as the industry experienced volatility.

He said his bank was seized by regulators after “a bank with strong ties to the digital asset sector” fell, which then led to $16 billion being withdrawn from Signature.

A cadre of decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols are coordinating to rescue about $300,000 in crypto that got frozen during the biggest hack of 2023.

The owner of the crypto, Inverse Finance, fears arbitrageurs are gearing up to grab the hoard once it unfreezes on June 8.

A plan outlined Tuesday would see the automated market maker Balancer execute a “permissioned arbitrage” of its “bb-e-USD” pool “before anyone else can get to it,” according to a forum post from Balancer’s governance lead. Balancer had frozen the pool on an emergency basis in Mid-March when the borrow and lend platform Euler Finance lost $200 million to a hacker (who later returned the funds).

The unstoppable momentum of Bitcoin’s Ordinal inscriptions continues to defy detractors, surging past several milestones. With over 7 million inscriptions now firmly embedded in the blockchain, any skepticism toward demand surrounding this trend is being shattered. Today, on May 16, 2023, the tally stands at 7,204,882 inscriptions since the inaugural one occurred on December 16, 2022.

Bitcoin’s Ordinal Inscriptions Surpass 7 Million Mark, Fueling the Trend’s Unstoppable Momentum

The world of inscriptions experienced a significant acceleration on April 21, 2023, when the count stood at a mere 1.24 million. In just 25 days since then, the number of Ordinal inscriptions has skyrocketed by over 480%, signaling an astonishing surge. Notably, May 7, 2023, emerged as the pinnacle of this inscription frenzy, with a record-breaking influx of inscriptions. It was on this day that Bitcoin’s mempool found itself congested with an overwhelming 500,000 unconfirmed transactions, a testament to the overwhelming demand and activity in the system.

Ripple has acquired Swiss digital asset custody company Metaco.

A deal worth $250 million will see Ripple become the sole shareholder of Metaco which will continue operations as an independent brand.

Metaco offers tokenization tools and custody infrastructure for institutions to scale new business models in the crypto economy. They have already provided their services to the likes of Citi, Union Bank, and Bank BNP Paribas.

The move also means Ripple will be expanding its institutional offerings, providing customers with the technology to custody, issue, and settle any type of tokenized asset—with similar offerings for regular Ripple customers.

The firm’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal expressed the company’s frustration in a Twitter thread last month.

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council of the European Union unanimously favored the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation during a voting process on May 16, 2023.

The Finance Ministers of the 27 member states approved the MiCA bill, including amendments to several rules related to the new crypto legislation.

EU Council Approves MiCA Bill

Approval from the EU Council comes less than a month after the Parliament of the European Union accepted the MiCA bill. On April 20, the EU lawmakers voted 517-38 in favor of the new crypto licensing policy.

The new legislation, which sets comprehensive regulatory guidelines for crypto assets and related services across the EU, covers a wide range of digital assets, including utility tokens and stablecoins.

First proposed to the European Commission in 2020, the MiCA bill has emerged as one of the first comprehensive regulatory frameworks for the crypto industry. The legislation seeks to regulate issuers of cryptocurrencies, exchanges, and wallet providers by specifying registration and authorization requirements.

The trading of so-called “unbacked cryptoassets” such as Bitcoin BTC $26,726 and Ether ETH

$1,796 should be regulated as gambling rather than a financial service, a panel of British lawmakers said in a new report.

The United Kingdom is currently working on a crypto regulatory framework that would mix existing financial asset laws with new crypto-specific rules.

However, in a May 17 House of Commons Committee report, the U.K. Treasury Committee “strongly recommended” regulating retail crypto trading and investment activity as gambling, consistent with the principle of “same risk, same regulatory outcome.””