Crypto News Headlines (20-Jul-2022)

The shares of crypto mining hosting provider Applied Blockchain (APLD) more than doubled to $2.13 on Tuesday after the company signed its largest hosting deal ever with bitcoin (BTC) miner Marathon Digital (MARA).

Applied, which went public last year and recently signed a joint venture with Bitmain’s unit Antpool, inked a new five-year, roughly 200 megawatts (MW) deal with Marathon, one of the largest bitcoin mining companies.

“This deal should help ease funding concerns around APLD’s expansion plans as Marathon should provide direct capital support as well as improve its financing options,” said Wall Street investment bank DA Davidson’s analyst Chris Brendler in a research note on Tuesday.

Although the terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Brendler said he got the impression that the deal was a favorable one for the hosting firm, with “attractive all-in economics.”

Officers from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) have discovered and closed down an underground crypto mining center in the eastern region of Kharkiv, the scene of military hostilities between the Ukrainian army and invading Russian forces.

The operation was carried out by the SBU’s Cyber ​​Security Department, working together with the National Police of Ukraine and under the supervision of the Kyiv Holosiiv District Prosecutor’s Office.

According to a press release published Tuesday, the cryptocurrency farm has consumed industrial volumes of unpaid electricity, worth hundreds of thousands of hryvnia (thousands of U.S. dollars).

The Ukrainian authorities said that the mining operation could have potentially caused serious interruptions in the energy supply to residential areas and critical infrastructure facilities near the front line.

Investigators revealed that the mining hardware had been installed by several local residents in a rented warehouse near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. They connected the mining machines to the grid without any authorization.

Web3 infrastructure provider Polygon today announced the launch of Polygon zkEVM (zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine), which is said to be the “first” Ethereum-compatible scaling solution that uses the cryptographic method called zero-knowledge proofs.

Previously known as Matic Network, Polygon is an interoperability and scaling protocol for launching Ethereum-compatible blockchains. Its core component is Polygon SDK, a modular, flexible framework that supports building multiple types of decentralized applications (dApps).

Polygon first teased zkEVM at EthCC Paris in July 2021 and says it is designed to work effortlessly with all existing smart contracts, developer tools, and wallets, while also creating less user friction by removing the need for any kind of modification or re-implementation of code.

Regulators in the U.K. are introducing rules for using stablecoins – cryptocurrencies whose prices are pegged to another asset – as payment tools to the country’s parliament on Wednesday.

The rules are part of a long-awaited financial services and markets bill, aimed at strengthening the U.K. financial system post-Brexit, set to be presented to parliament in the coming hours.

The government has previously said crypto will play a part in the country’s broader post-Brexit strategy to increase economic competitiveness. In April, the U.K. Treasury, the government’s finance arm, announced a set of initiatives to help turn the country into a global crypto hub. The announcement promised new rules that would let consumers confidently use stablecoins for payments.

But a dramatic crypto market downturn, followed by the resignations of crypto-friendly finance minister Rishi Sunak and senior Treasury official Jon Glen, threatened to shake up the plans.

Tom Emmer, the Republican Senator from Minnesota, has become the latest politician to blast the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its unethical actions against crypto companies.

Emmer posted a video on Tuesday showing his conversation at the House Committee on Financial Services, where he accused the SEC of politicizing regulations. He went on to grill SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal over SEC’s unethical “industry sweeps” against crypto companies.

The Senator further enquired if these sweeps against crypto companies fall under the jurisdiction of the SEC and what actions the commission takes against companies that don’t volunteer for such voluntary questioning. Grewal admitted to using enforcement actions against companies that are not under their jurisdiction. Emmer said SEC was using its Enforcement branch to unconstitutionally expand its crypto jurisdiction.

Bitcoin (BTC) neared $23,500, the highest level in over a month, during the early European hours on Wednesday. The gains came as the second largest cryptocurrency ether (ETH) surged to $1,500 earlier this week ahead of the expected “Merge” event in September.

Dogecoin’s DOGE surged 11%, leading gains among major cryptocurrencies in the past 24 hours. No technical catalysts for the move seemed to exist, but developers for the network polled community members for their opinions on a Dogecoin-centric hackathon event in November – which may suggest future technical development.

Prices of Cardano’s ADA and XRP rose as much as 8%. BNB added 2.7%, while Solana’s SOL traded flat after a nearly 30% rally over the past week. Total crypto market capitalization increased 4%, rising above $1.1 trillion.

Regulation is becoming a key goal for countries in Latam, where cryptocurrency adoption is growing at significant rates. Now, the Financial Superintendence of Colombia has presented a document that seeks to establish norms regarding the requirements cryptocurrency exchanges and custody providers must meet to be serviced as customers by banks. The project defines key concepts such as virtual asset service providers (VASPs), and virtual assets in the scope of the regulation.

In the same way, it establishes that virtual asset service providers will have to be connected to the UIAF, the financial intelligence office of Colombia, and have a plan of action to deal with money laundering and terrorism financing attempts that might potentially be made using their platform.

The project also makes an indirect reference to compliance with the travel rule promoted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It states banks must verify these VASPs have:

The technological and operational capacity to monitor transactions with virtual assets, as well as to obtain, preserve and transmit the information of the originator and the beneficiary of each transaction.

Bitcoin may soon see new legislation that would define the asset class as a commodity, leaving years of legal uncertainty behind it.

A bipartisan congressional attempt to grant authority over the crypto industry to the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission—as opposed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has historically held sway over the industry—may move to a vote as soon as the end of this year, according to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a co-sponsor of the bill who spoke at this year’s Bloomberg Crypto Summit. 

“The agriculture committee is finalizing their bipartisan part of the bill,” Gillibrand told Bloomberg on Tuesday. The New York Senator added that there was “serious common ground forming.”

Nearly all industrial-level Bitcoin miners in Texas have fulfilled their promise to suspend operations while the state waits out a heat wave that’s expected to push its electricity grid to its limits.

Over the past 24 hours, BTC managed to finally catch up to Ethereum and its ecosystem, soaring by over 7.6%. This saw its price almost touch $24K before retracing to where it’s currently trading at $23,500.

As seen in the chart above, Bitcoin is attempting to break above the previously established range. To do so, it must consolidate and remain above $22,500. If successful, this could potentially open up the way towards $27,000 and even higher.

In any case, the cryptocurrency managed to close seven out of eight daily candles in the green. Today would be the 8th candle if it remains positive.

The increased volatility also caused a lot of liquidated positions over the past 24 hours. In total, they amount to slightly less than $300 million, $160 million of which were BTC positions. The largest single liquidation order happened on FTX, and it was also a BTC perpetual contract with a face value of $3.24 million.

According to Hashrate Index data, mining rigs that month were trading from $50-$60/TH.

The major bipartisan crypto bill led by United States Senators Cynthia Lummis (Republican) and Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat) will most likely be deferred to next year according to the duo.

Speaking during Bloomberg’s Crypto Summit on Tuesday, the Senators stated that there is a slim chance that the comprehensive bill would be pushed through the Senate this year, with Lummis noting that:

“I think both Kirsten and I believe that the bill, in one piece, as a total bill is more likely to be deferred until next year. It’s a big topic, it’s comprehensive, and it’s still new to many U.S. Senators and so it’s a lot for them to digest in the few remaining weeks we have in this calendar year.”

The Responsible Financial Innovation Actwas introduced in the U.S. Senate on June 6 and aims to address the role of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when it comes to crypto regulation, along with stablecoin regulation, banking, tax treatment of digital assets and interagency coordination.