Crypto News Headlines (23-Dec-2022)

Law enforcement authorities in Italy and Albania busted a suspected cryptocurrency investment scam estimated to have netted 15 million euros ($16 million).

Assets worth 3 million euros were seized during the action by a joint investigation team, Eurojust, the European Union’s cross-border agency for fighting organized crime, announced on Dec. 19. More than 160 electronic devices were also seized, including computers, servers, digital video recorders and a cellphone.

An organized crime group carried out the operation out of a call center in Tirana, Albania, Eurojust said. Victims were asked to create an account and transfer an initial sum, which showed an immediate financial gain. They were then contacted by the perpetrators posing as brokers “that proposed advantageous investments in cryptocurrencies with zero risk,” though it’s not clear that any crypto assets were purchased.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das warned about the danger of cryptocurrency Wednesday. The central banker cautioned:

Cryptocurrencies have … huge inherent risks for our macroeconomic and financial stability.

The RBI is primarily concerned about cryptocurrencies having no underlying value, Das clarified, emphasizing that crypto is “speculative” and should be banned.

Indian authorities refer to any non-government-issued cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ether, as “private” cryptocurrencies. Commenting on crypto trading, Das said:

It is a hundred percent speculative activity, and I would still hold the view that it should be prohibited … because, if it is allowed to grow — if you try to regulate it and allow it to grow — please mark my words, the next financial crisis will come from private cryptocurrencies.

The SEC is stepping up its scrutiny of crypto auditors as it continues to wage war against the digital asset industry.

In the latest in a recent torrent of anti-crypto articles, the Wall Street Journal has reported that there will be more dissection of the work that audit firms are doing for crypto companies.

According to the financial regulator, there is concern that investors may be getting a false sense of security from these crypto audits. Paul Munter, the SEC’s acting chief accountant, said:

“We’re warning investors to be very wary of some of the claims that are being made by crypto companies.”

Peter Thiel-backed crypto exchange Bullish and special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Far Peak Acquisition Corporation have mutually agreed to call off their planned merger. 

In July 2021, Far Peak and Bullish agreed to a merger that would see the crypto exchange publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

A SPAC, otherwise known as a “blank check company,” is a company with no business operations and is formed to raise capital via an Initial Public Offering or merging with another firm.

Explaining the move in a statement, the firms said they determined that they would be unable to satisfy the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements for the listing by the end of the year.

Crypto Twitter has seemingly taken issue with Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail bond, which allows him to spend Christmas in his parent’s Palo Alto home without paying a single dime upfront. 

The former FTX CEO arrived in New York from the Bahamas on Dec. 21 and appeared in court on Dec. 22, where he was released on bail via a “personal recognizance bond” — essentially a written promise from the defendant that they will show up for future court appearances and not engage in any illegal activity while out on bail.

According to the release agreement filed on Dec. 22, no cash was required to be deposited with the court, but the bond conditions see to it that Bankman-Fried’s parent’s five-bedroom home in Palo Alto will be used as collateral for the $250 million bond.

In a world where giants of the conventional financial system including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal employ tens of thousands of employees, Bitcoin continues to be run by a tight ship of just a few dozen active developers.

New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), a Bitcoin-focused investment firm, published a report in September chronicling Bitcoin’s 14-year evolution from a software development perspective. The report, titled “Developers of Bitcoin,” found that there are only 40 to 60 active developers. The document sheds light on how Bitcoin has steadily grown from an obscure technological breakthrough, to worldwide domination, and examines the software developers who made it all happen.

Brazil has, at last, approved its cryptocurrency law in the nick of time. After having completed almost the whole period for taking action, President Jair Bolsonaro signed bill 14.478 into law on Dec. 21, when it was published in the Official Journal of the Union, the government publication of the country.

With Bolsonaro’s sanction, exchanges and other organizations subject to the law will have 180 days to prepare to comply with the new directives. However, if Bolsonaro had not sanctioned the law, the project would have returned to Congress, with the opportunity of being sanctioned by the Senate and the Deputy Chamber without presidential support.

This would have been another way of approving the legislation before President-elect Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva assumes his position in January.

On December 23, the Court announced that US bitcoin miner Core Scientific was approved on Thursday for a $37.5 million loan from a group of existing creditors to fund the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Reuters.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Jones approved Core Scientific’s temporary bankruptcy loan during a court hearing in Houston, Texas. The company will seek final approval for the loan and be allowed to borrow another $37.5 million in January, although the company’s attorneys say they’re open to better financing options from other lenders.

Kris Hansen, who provided the new loan on behalf of creditors, said in court that despite Core Scientific’s recent challenges and the falling bitcoin price, existing stakeholders still have confidence in the company’s long-term viability.

With Dogecoin jumping 5% over the past 24 hours, holders have another reason to celebrate this holiday season.

DOGE is now trading at a little over $0.07 and enjoys a market capitalization of $10.7 billion, making it the market’s eighth-largest cryptocurrency. In ninth and tenth position, respectively, are Cardano (ADA) and Decrypt‘s project of the year, Polygon (MATIC).

The minor rise comes fast on the heels of a new exchange listing for Dogecoin; Bitstamp announced yesterday that it would list the meme coin against U.S. dollars and euros.

Inflation, cross-border payments, assets tokenization and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) were among the major drivers for crypto adoption across Latin America in 2022, sources in the region told Cointelegraph, with exciting examples of progress across many countries. 

Latin America made up 9.1% of the global crypto value received in 2022, reaching $562 billion between July 2021 and June 2022 — representing a growth of 40% in the period. Four Latin American countries ranked among the top crypto adopters in the latest Chainalysis Global Adoption Index.

Major developments have contributed to these results over the past 12 months. Authorities have been working on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), implementing standards for business operations and clarifying regulations.