Crypto News Headlines (22-Sep-2022)

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) was granted regulatory approval by the Dutch central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), allowing it to offer crypto products to consumers and businesses in the country.

Coinbase is the first crypto exchange to win registration in the Netherlands, the firm said Thursday.

Approval from the Dutch authorities will allow Coinbase to operate across the 26 other European Union member nations once the EU’s Market in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation comes into force. The EU finalized the full text of the legislation this week. Registration or licensing applications are underway in several other major markets, Coinbase said.

“The Netherlands is a critical international market for crypto, and I am really excited for Coinbase to bring the potential of the crypto economy to the market here,” Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s VP of international and business development, said in a statement.

Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange by trading volume, is setting up a local office in Romania, CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed during his stay in Bucharest, part of a regional tour. The trading platform will also offer a Romanian version of its support service, starting from October.

The move is part of Binance’s plans for wider expansion in Eastern Europe. The exchange already covers a large portion of the crypto asset market, with 120 million customers around the world using it to buy and sell various digital currencies.

“We want to go global by playing locally in multiple markets,” its founder elaborated, speaking to the Romanian business news outlet “I think Eastern Europe is extremely important,” stressed the Chinese-born Canadian crypto entrepreneur.

Co-founder and CEO of crypto exchange Kraken Jesse Powell has stepped down, according to the firm.

Succeeding Powell as CEO is the exchange’s Chief Operating Officer Dave Ripley.

He reportedly said that as Kraken grew larger, running the company became more of a drain and “less fun.” He went on to say that he still plans to stay very engaged with the company he founded in the early days of crypto.

“I look forward to spending more of my time on the company’s products, user experience and broader industry advocacy,” he said.

Kraken is currently the ninth-largest crypto exchange, hosting over $647.8 million in trading value over the past 24 hours, according to data from CoinGecko.

Payments-focused cryptocurrency XRP has rallied sharply this month, outshining larger cryptocurrencies. Some traders are snapping up bullish bets in the options market in hopes of continued gains into the year-end.

The cryptocurrency, ranked fifth by market value, traded at $0.426 at press time, a 28% gain for the month, according to CoinDesk data. Market leaders bitcoin and ether were down 4.5% and 17%, respectively.

“We have seen interest in buying XRP year-end upside call options in anticipation of a resolution in the ongoing lawsuit with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” Dick Lo, the founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based quant trading firm and liquidity provider TDX Strategies, said.

A call is a derivative contract giving the purchaser the right but not the obligation to buy the underlying asset – in this case, XRP – at a predetermined price on or before specific expiry date. A call, therefore, is preferred by bullish speculation, while a put option represents a bearish bet.

A United States crypto advocacy group, the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), has been granted approval from the Court of Southern District of New York to participate as an amicus curiae in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) case against Ripple Labs. The status of “friend of the court” permits them to assist a court by providing information, expertise or insight.

An order was signed by Judge Analisa Torres on Sept. 21. The CDC shall file its brief by Sept. 26.

While explaining its interest in the case, the CDC legal team emphasized the far-reaching consequences of the court decision, namely, whether the law applicable to the securities transaction is properly distinguished from the one applicable to secondary transactions.

South Korea’s financial watchdog found that since June there have been $7.2 billion “abnormal” foreign exchange transactions, most of which were transferred through cryptocurrency exchanges, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The Financial Supervisory Service found an additional $680 million worth of “abnormal” money transfers.

Transfers from Hana Bank, Kookmin Bank, Nonghyup Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank and seven other banks in the country were investigated and the probe will end by the end of October, the report said.

The majority of the funds were transferred to Hong Kong and 82% of the transfers were in U.S. dollars, the report added.

Last month, South Korea had arrested 16 people for their involvement in illegal foreign exchange transactions worth $2 billion. Bloomberg had previously reported that South Korea was investigating Woori and Shinhan for transferring $3.4 billion worth of funds overseas.

Hong Kong intends to begin testing a currency called the e-HKD, a digital incarnation of the Hong Kong dollar, in the remaining months of the year. The trials will be facilitated by the adoption of legislative amendments and the building of digital infrastructure necessary to support the project, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced, quoted by the South China Morning Post.

The pilot phase comes after consultations conducted to gather feedback on potential demand, privacy aspects, and other issues that may arise around the issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Howard Lee, deputy chief executive of the HKMA, which performs the role of a central bank, elaborated:

Although there might not be an imminent use case for e-HKD, taking into account the findings of our study and the feedback from market consultation and international development, the HKMA will start paving the way for e-HKD implementation and will proceed toward a launch of e-HKD in the future.

NFTs have become the biggest crypto on-ramp for countries in Central and Southern Asia, as well as Oceania, according to a report from Chainalysis on Wednesday.

The blockchain analytics firm noted that, in Q2 2022, 58% of web traffic from these countries to crypto services was NFT-related.

NFTs are unique blockchain-based tokens that are used to represent ownership over other digital or physical items. These tokens are frequently traded as speculative collectible items, but may also provide additional functionality and benefits to their holders.

The market for NFTs exploded within the last two years. Sales for these digital assets reached $23 billion in 2021 and are on pace to break that record this year, even though the NFT market has cooled in the second half of 2022. NFT collections like CryptoPunks and Bored Apes have helped make digital collectibles mainstream—and, according to Chainalysis, the NFT boom has been particularly impactful in broadening crypto adoption in Central and Southern Asia.

Bitcoin immediately felt the impact of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve interest rate increase and failed to gain upward traction. Other macroeconomic variables also contributed to the decline of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and other significant cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin lost its grip on the critical $19,000 handle following the U.S. central bank’s announcement. As of this writing, BTC is trading at $18,950, down 5.5% in the last seven days, data from Coingecko show.

As this situation evolved, a whale tracker observed many BTC accumulation transactions, indicating that whales are buying the dip.

Bitcoin Whales Quick To The Draw, Buy The Dip

In the past 24 hours, more than 166,000 Bitcoins have been transferred from cryptocurrency exchanges to unknown wallets, according to Whale Alert. The total amount of all registered transactions exceeds $3.12 billion.

Cryptocurrency adoption continues growing in the Kingdom of Bahrain, with local companies enabling payments in crypto like Bitcoin (BTC).

EazyPay, an online payment platform regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), has partnered with Binance Pay to enable crypto payments in the country, EazyPay CEO and founder Nayef Tawfiq Al Alawi announced on Wednesday.

The newly launched crypto payment option will be available in more than 5,000 point-of-sale (POS) terminals and online payment gateway across Bahrain, the CEO said.

Major local merchants and firms, including Lulu Hypermarket, Sharaf DG, Al Zain Jewelry and Jasmi’s, will be able to accept more than 70 cryptocurrencies as payment by scanning the QR code from Eazy’s POS using Binance App.

Al Alawi emphasized that ‎‏Eazy Financial Services is licensed and regulated by Bahrain’s central bank as the fifth POS and online payment gateway acquirer and payment services provider.