Crypto News Headlines (21-Oct-2022)

Crypto custodian Prime Trust agreed to return roughly $17 million in tokens to crypto lender Celsius Network in a bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday.

Celsius had sued Prime Trust in August, alleging that Prime Trust had improperly withheld the tokens when the two terminated their contract in June 2021. The assets, made up of 398 BTC, 196,268 CEL tokens, 3,740 ETH and 2.2 million USDC valued at roughly $17 million, were tied to Celsius’ yield product customers in Washington State and New York. Prime Trust held $119 million of Celsius’ assets at the time the contract was ended.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has hired a new head of digital assets regulatory policy who previously worked at the bankrupt crypto firm Celsius Network, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, noting that a JPMorgan spokeswoman has confirmed the story.

Aaron Iovine joined JPMorgan Chase this week as executive director for digital assets regulatory policy, the publication conveyed, adding that the new role was recently created. Iovine will work with JPMorgan’s regulatory affairs group. His Linkedin profile states:

I have experience working with digital asset companies, fintechs, payments companies, and legacy financial institutions.

Turkish authorities have seized $40 million in cryptocurrency as part of an investigation into an illegal gambling ring

Gambling in Turkey is highly regulated. Casinos were banned in 1998 in the country and online betting, with the exception of one state-owned service, has been banned since 2006.

According to reporting by The Daily Sabah, the authorities also issued detention orders for 46 suspects on allegations the individuals took part in facilitating illegal betting operations in eight provinces.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought 82 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022 – a whopping 22% of which were filed against crypto-related entities.

According to the federal regulator’s annual enforcement report published Thursday, the CFTC celebrated several of its big wins from the fiscal year, including filing charges against Tether and Bitfinex, which settled for a combined $42.5 million last October.

The CFTC’s report also highlights some of its other high-profile actions, many of which have not yet been resolved, including charges against decentralized finance (DeFi) exchange Digitex, which it has accused of operating an illegal futures market, and against anonymous members of Ooki DAO, who have been accused of offering illegal, off-exchange tokenized margin trading and lending services.

In a recent study published by José Simeón Cañas Central American University in El Salvador, 77.1% of respondents say that they want the Salvadoran government to stop “spending public money on Bitcoin.”

Moreover, only 24.4% of respondents say they’ve used Bitcoin (BTC $18,997) as a means of payment since the country’s government recognized it as legal tender last year. 

The survey, conducted by the privately owned but nonprofit Central American University, polled local Salvadoran residents regarding their opinion on Legislative Decree No. 57, which recognized Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador on Sept. 7, 2021. A total of 1,269 valid interviews were collected during September 2022, with a reported margin of error of 2.75% on a 95% confidence interval.

Bitcoin is as undervalued as it has been since 2020, based on a key indicator that relies on data extracted from the blockchain.

The “MVRV Z-Score” is an analytical tool used to assess whether bitcoin (BTC) is looking cheap or expensive on a relative historical basis.

The metric measures the difference between an asset’s market capitalization – the number of tokens outstanding times the spot price – and its “realized cap” – the number of tokens times the price at which the bitcoin last moved over the blockchain.

That difference is then divided by the standard deviation of the asset’s market cap. Similar to other technical indicators, it theoretically highlights areas where an asset is overvalued or undervalued.

The Japan Virtual and Crypto Assets Exchange Association (JVCEA) is planning to loosen crypto listing rules to make it easier for trading platforms to list cryptocurrencies, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing a document it has seen.

The association plans to allow trading platforms to list crypto tokens without going through a lengthy screening process unless the tokens are new to Japan’s market. The relaxed rules could take effect as early as December, the publication conveyed, adding that the documents outlining the changes were recently distributed to member firms.

JVCEA Vice Chairman Genki Oda, who is also the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Bitpoint Japan, confirmed the document to the publication. He believes that the JVCEA could also scrap pre-screenings for cryptocurrencies new to Japan and tokens issued through initial coin or exchange offerings by March 2024.

Tether announced Thursday that it plans to make its USDT cryptocurrency—the world’s dominant stablecoin by market capitalization—available at over 24,000 ATMs across Brazil. 

“The difficulties and limitations imposed by inflation and a less-than-inclusive financial system have excluded many of Brazil’s citizens from being able to participate in the country’s growing economy,” Paolo Ardoino, Tether’s CTO, said in a statement. “Adding tether tokens to ATMs across Brazil provides the opportunity to include more people in the financial system.” 

ATM users in Brazil will soon be able to instantaneously convert Brazilian reals into USDT and vice versa, and send their USDT anywhere in the world.

 “The future of web3 and crypto is one of the few bipartisan issues and we are thrilled that policymakers are taking a hard look at how crypto, web3, and blockchain technology should be regulated. While we have built up an incredible bench, we felt it was essential to add a deep understanding of the U.S. legislative process to complement our team.”

McCune spent ten years on Capitol Hill, working for the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Rules Committees before joining the office of House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, R-NC, as member services and coalition director in 2019. A year ago, he was designated deputy staff director for the Republican staff of the committee.

Hong Kong is taking action to regain its status as a global cryptocurrency hub by launching several legal initiatives related to the crypto industry.

A city and special administrative region of China, Hong Kong is willing to distinguish its crypto regulation approach from the blanket crypto ban in mainland China.

The government of Hong Kong is considering introducing its own bill to regulate crypto in its own China-free way, according to Elizabeth Wong, head of the fintech unit at the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

One of the SFC’s initiatives is allowing retail investors to “directly invest into virtual assets,” Wong said during a panel held by InvestHK, the South China Morning Post reported on Oct. 17.