Crypto News Headlines (21-Jul-2022)

Bitcoin (BTC) retreated to under $23,000, having printed a six-week high of $24,265 on Wednesday. Despite the pullback, prices were up 14% for the month, according to CoinDesk data.

Meanwhile, in fiat currencies the euro (EUR), the common currency of 19 of the 21 European Union nations, held on to its recent gains against the U.S. dollar (USD) ahead of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) expected first interest rate hike in 11 years.

The EUR/USD pair rose to a two-week high of 1.0273 during the early Asian hours and traded flat around 1.0180 at press time. The so-called shared currency slipped below parity with the dollar early this month, hitting a two-decade low.

The ECB rate decision due on Thursday at 12:15 GMT will be followed by the central bank’s President Christine Lagarde’s press conference at 12:45 GMT. The consensus is for the bank to raise the benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points to -0.25% from the current record low of -0.5%. The ECB, Bank of Japan (BOJ), and Swiss National Bank (SNB) have held rates below zero for years.

“The European Central Bank will raise policy rates by 25bp on 21 July and effectively commit to a hike of at least 50 bps [basis points] in September, we expect, sticking to plans agreed at the June meeting,” strategists at BNP Paribas noted in the ECB preview note published last week.

A crypto mining farm in the village of Kuchino, near the city of Domodedovo in Moscow Oblast, has been raided by thieves, the Russian crypto news outlet reported on Wednesday. The mining facility was located in a warehouse owned by the Vkusvill supermarket chain.

According to employees of the security company responsible for the compound, four individuals wearing masks entered the warehouse, threatened the guards with weapons and handcuffed them.

Then the attackers took away four containers with around 100 graphics processing units (GPUs) and other hardware used to extract digital currencies. Law enforcement authorities have estimated the value of the stolen mining equipment at around 1 million rubles (over $18,000 at the time of writing).

During Today’s Tesla earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained the reason for the company’s sale of 75% of its Bitcoin holdings, worth approximately $936 million, as noted in its Q2 earnings report.

“The reason we sold a bunch of our Bitcoin holdings was that we were uncertain when the COVID lockdowns in China would alleviate,” Musk said on the call. “So it was important for us to maximize our cash position, given the uncertainty of COVID lockdowns in China.”

Although China had eased COVID restrictions in major cities at the end of May, a jump in cases in Beijing and other key regions prompted the government to re-impose rules a few weeks later. Earlier this month, mass testing and lockdowns were implemented in Shanghai.

The U.K. Treasury has unveiled its proposed digital asset legislation a day before members of Parliament plan to begin debate on the measures.

According to a copy of the legislation published online, existing rules for banking and payment systems will be modified or extended to cover digital assets. The proposed regulations are part of a 335-page financial services and markets bill aimed at strengthening the U.K. financial systems following the country’s exit from the European Union.

In the bill, cryptocurrencies are referred to as “digital settlement assets,” (DSAs), meaning “a digital representation of value or rights.” The rules will largely apply to stablecoins – cryptocurrencies whose prices are pegged to another asset, such as the U.S. dollar, along with other digital assets used for payments or settlements. The definition of DSAs laid out in the file also include digital assets used for payments that aren’t “cryptographically secured.”

The developers of the Dogecoin (DOGE) project have released a new update for the core software, which improves security, efficiency and user interface.

This latest update, Dogecoin Core 1.14.6, went live early on Thursday, and all the network participants were urged to upgrade to the latest version. The new update comprises numerous security fixes, modifications to the existing fee structure and several new features.

A change in the wallet backup directory’s configuration and a limit on the maximum number of addnode records are also among the “breaking changes.” The amount of addnodes has been restricted to 800. An essential upgrade to DOGE’s fee mechanism was included in the release: dust limits for all network participants have been reduced from 1 DOGE to 0.01 DOGE.

Crypto exchange KuCoin has raised over $10 million in a strategic investment from Susquehanna International Group (SIG), the company told CoinDesk on Thursday.

KuCoin and SIG will also collaborate in incubation and ecosystem building for crypto startups through incubation, investment, and consultation, especially the projects built on the KCC chain, the blockchain network backed by KuCoin.

KuCoin will use the funds to upgrade platform infrastructure and enrich the product lineup to prepare for the next bull run. The capital will also support KuCoin’s global expansion and hiring plan, with over 300 job openings as of July 21.

“KuCoin has been through a few crypto cycles, and we are committed to building no matter what,” Johnny Lyu, the CEO of KuCoin, stated. “The support of SIG will solidify our leading role as a centralized exchange and facilitate our ecosystem expansion in the decentralized Web 3.0 world.”

Germany-based investment platform Trade Republic and Singapore-headquartered digital currency exchange announced their registrations as crypto operators in Italy on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The news comes after other major crypto platforms like Binance, the world’s largest exchange by trading volume, and leading U.S. trading platform Coinbase did the same, earlier.

The special registry for crypto service providers working in the Italian market was established by the Ministry of Economy and the brokerage regulator Organismo degli Agenti e dei Mediatori (OAM) in February of this year. It lists all cryptocurrency operators with a presence in the country. To register they need to meet a set of requirements.

Finnish customs authorities have announced that they recently sold confiscated Bitcoin worth €46.5 million ($47.35 million).

According to a press release issued today, the 1,889.1 in Bitcoin was confiscated mostly in raids before 2018. The haul was seized during narcotics busts and transferred into state control via court rulings, but appears to have been subject to long deliberations over what to do with it.

In July 2021, Finnish customs agency Tulli launched a tender for brokers who wanted to sell the seized crypto on the state’s behalf.

Bitcoin hit the peak of its 2021 bull run shortly after and set a new all-time high watermark of $68,790 on November 10. At this price, the Finnish state’s Bitcoin stash could have brought in almost $130 million.

However, the tender wasn’t resolved until April this year, when two companies were chosen to carry out the sale.

Deposits in the second quarter totaled $13.3 billion, down from $14.7 billion in the previous three months. Diluted earnings per share went up to $1.12, exceeding Wall Street estimates of $0.84. Investors remain bullish despite the slowdown in deposits. Eight out of nine investors surveyed by FactSet Research Systems designate the stock as a Buy. Net income accrued for the second quarter totaled $38.6 million.

Silvergate is a regulated, institutionally-focused bank whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The bank is a member of the Federal Reserve and holds a California state charter.

Good numbers for Silvergate

Silvergate managed to increase its customer base from 1503 at the end of March to 1585 at the end of June, while fee income dipped from $8.9 million in Q1 2022 to $8.8 million in Q2. Fee income is also down $2.5 million from $11.3 million a year ago.

Cybersecurity specialists have welcomed a new trial by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to automatically take down scam websites. The trial saw dozens of scam sites, including crypto scams, knocked offline after more than 300 were reported.

The ACCC reported that Australians had lost $113 million in cryptocurrency scams last year. The new trial will be in partnership with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and will focus on efficiently removing scam websites once they have been reported to Australian regulators to protect potential investors from falling victim to crypto fraud.

The ACCC is using a countermeasures service from the United Kingdom-based Netcraft, which has been providing a similar service for the past four years to the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre.