Crypto News Headlines (22-April-2022)

India needs a single regulator to oversee all crypto-related matters, says the co-founder of Ethereum-scaling tool Polygon.

Sandeep Nailwal, who is one of the crypto industry’s most prominent Indian-born entrepreneurs and who now lives in Dubai, told CoinDesk that the creation of a collective authority composed of representatives from the Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Goods and Services Tax Council and Finance Ministry would encourage projects like his own to set up shop in the country.

“The finance ministry should be the one heading this task force, and every other institution should be given a clear mandate that no crypto case shall be handled locally. It should only be handled by the central crypto task force,” Nailwal said.

Tesla released its earnings results for the first quarter of 2022 Wednesday. Elon Musk’s electric car company reported another record quarter of sales and profit exceeding Wall Street estimates despite inflation pressure.

The company’s revenue rose 81% to $18.76 billion from $10.39 billion a year ago. Its earnings jumped 658% from $438 million in the previous year to $3.32 billion in the first quarter of this year. “I’ve never been more optimistic and excited in terms of the future than I am right now,” Musk said during Wednesday’s earnings call.

Amid record profit, Tesla’s balance sheet shows net digital assets of $1.261 billion.

The payment services giant Mastercard is among the companies seeking to dive deeper into the digital asset universe. Throughout the past several months, the firm has launched numerous initiatives to promote the industry and introduce crypto-related opportunities to its customers. Last October, it permitted all banks on its network to provide bitcoin services.

The man spearheading Mastercard’s crypto efforts is Raj Dhamodharan. In a recent interview, he doubled down on his company’s bullish stance, saying digital assets should not be considered a threat. Investors’ protection is highly important, and Mastercard is “always looking for providing choice in a safe and simple manner,” he assured.

Dhamodharan went further, arguing that cryptocurrencies’ nature is unique as it is a “package of multiple technologies.” From an investor’s point of view, it is “probably the most mature” investment asset, he opined.

Don’t waste energy. That’s the idea behind Crusoe Energy Systems, which converts natural gas that would otherwise go to waste into power for Bitcoin mining.

The U.S. firm today announced it has raised $350 million in a Series C round led by G2 Venture Partners. The round also brought back investors from previous rounds—among them, Polychain Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and Winklevoss Capital. 

In addition to the Series C equity Crusoe has raised, it’s secured up to $155 million in credit from SVB Capital, Sparkfund, and Generate Capital, giving it a total of $505 million to play with.

Concerns over the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining have been in the limelight for some time now among lawmakers around the world, including those in the United States, who have recently written on the matter to the country’s environmental agency.

Indeed, a group of 23 U.S. legislators, led by a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Jared Huffman, have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to analyze whether crypto mining firms were adhering to the country’s environmental protection laws.

Specifically, they voiced their “serious concerns” in a letter addressed to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on April 20, including those that crypto mining companies in the U.S. might be operating without compliance with the laws such as the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act.

Prominent crypto figure Alex Saunders has come back from months of being inactive on social media to issue a public apology for his actions last year.

Months after a storm of controversies, Nuggets News founder and crypto influencer Alex Saunders issued a public apology over last year’s controversies and the way he handled things. 

Back in 2021, Saunders faced a series of allegations claiming that he had failed to pay loans and investment funds. Those who were affected claimed that Saunders owed them Bitcoin (BTC). This compelled Australian media entities to conduct investigations and conclude that the influencer owes as much as $7 million.

The Nuggets News CEO faced a $350,000 lawsuit filed by Ziv Himmelfarb, claiming damages from unpaid loans. Himmelfarb said that he invested 4 BTC, 30 Ether (ETH), and $50,000 worth of stablecoins. As Saunders did not respond, a default judgment was handed down, requiring Saunders to pay the investor’s losses.

After controversial laws to restrict privacy in crypto transactions, and even flirting with banning bitcoin altogether, the European Parliament is now considering what blockchain technologies could mean for taxes.

On April 25, lawmakers will discuss how to tighten up tax laws and procedures for the Web 3 era – and a draft report prepared by Portuguese member of the European Parliament Lídia Pereira suggests national tax authorities could start swapping data on individuals’ crypto-asset holdings.

That call is, perhaps, no surprise. Existing EU rules on administrative cooperation allow similar exchanges of information about bank accounts to stop overseas holdings being kept secret from the taxman, and the OECD, guardians of international tax norms, is currently consulting on whether that should extend to crypto.

Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, is restricting services for Russian nationals or natural persons residing in Russia and legal entities established in the Russian Federation that have crypto assets exceeding €10,000 ($10,800) in value.

The move is in compliance with the European Union’s fifth package of sanctions on Russia, the company said in an announcement on Thursday. Earlier in April, the EU member states agreed to ban the provision of “high-value” crypto asset services to Russian businesses and citizens in response to Moscow’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine.

Binance now requires customers to complete their address verification. Accounts that classify under this restriction will be put into withdrawal-only mode, the exchange explained, and their holders will not be allowed to make deposits or trade. The same applies to spot, futures, custody wallets, and staked and earned deposits.

U.S. bank Morgan Stanley published a report on Bitcoin and its second-layer payment solution Lightning Network. This BTC-based use case enables users to settle transactions in an instant, and records a 410% year-over-year growth, according to Arcane Research.

This suggests that people are adopting the Lightning Network, but can the payment solution function at scale? Morgan Stanley set out to answer this question.

Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) for the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), summarized the report via his Twitter account. He claims the document is a product of Jack Maller’s Bitcoin-based Lightning Network company Strike and its recent partnerships with Shopify, NCR, and Blackhawk.

NFT-focused startup Afterparty has raised $4 million from numerous investors to further develop its NFT ticketing platform, bringing the total amount raised so far to $7 million.

Notable angel investors in the project include Paris Hilton, Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff, Jason Calacanis, NBA star Andre Iguodala, “Project Runway” executive producer Desiree Gruber, and Nicole Farb of VC firm Headline. Acrew Capital, Blockchange, and TenOneTen Ventures—Afterparty’s leading seed investors—also joined the unsolicited funding round.

Afterparty is an all-in-one event ticketer and organizer, having hosted the first music festival to be fully-ticketed with NFTs back in March. The NFT tickets, known as the Utopians collection, were minted on Ethereum and boast a number of celebrity holders, such as Heidi Klum, Josh Duhamel, Sia, and influencers David Dobrik, Loren Gray and Bryce Hall.