Crypto News Headlines (24-May-2023)

Japan is set to implement stricter anti-money laundering measures, including the so-called “travel rule” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) from June 1, according to local news outlet Kyodo News.

The decision was made by Japan’s cabinet on Tuesday after the nation’s anti-money laundering steps were deemed insufficient by global financial crimes watchdog FATF, the report said.

In 2019, the FATF recommended the travel rule to combat money laundering and terrorist financing using crypto. By June 2022, the FATF was urging member nations to introduce travel rule legislation “as soon as possible.”

PRESS RELEASE. London, UK – Ordinal Pepe ($OPEPE) shatters ETH records on PinkSale with a monumental presale achievement, raising an astonishing total of 498.84 ETH. The groundbreaking success of this presale has positioned $OPEPE as the undisputed leader in PinkSale Fair Launches, cementing its place in crypto history.

With an impressive 498.84 ETH raised, equivalent to approximately $906,000, Ordinal Pepe has captured the attention and enthusiasm of the crypto community, setting a new benchmark for crowdfunding success. The overwhelming support demonstrates the widespread belief in the project’s vision and potential.

Ordinal Pepe ($OPEPE) is now poised for an electrifying launch, with a planned release date of Tuesday, May 23, at 4 pm UTC. This highly anticipated event will mark a significant milestone in the evolution of the crypto space. The project’s remarkable success during the presale has already established a market capitalization of $1,740,953, showcasing the immense value attributed to the $OPEPE token.

Coinbase accused the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of deliberately ignoring its petition for adopting clear rules for the crypto industry, even though the decision has not been made public.

In its latest filing to the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Coinbase also pointed to public comments previously made by SEC Chair Gary Gensler, saying that “the SEC’s and its Chair’s words and actions leave no doubt of the agency’s plans.”

Coinbase sent the SEC its so-called “petition for rulemaking” last July, asking the agency to propose and adopt rules for digital assets securities. The exchange also sought answers to 50 specific questions that would provide “clarity and certainty regarding the regulatory treatment of digital asset securities.”

The Japanese parliament has recently decided to implement stricter Anti-Money Laundering (AML) measures starting from June 1st. This move comes as a response to the international financial watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), deeming Japan’s previous AML legislation insufficient. The aim is to align Japan’s legal framework with global cryptocurrency regulations.

One of the key features of the new measures is the enforcement of the “Travel Rule” in order to enhance the tracking of criminal proceeds. The Travel Rule requires financial institutions processing cryptocurrency transfers exceeding $3,000 to provide recipient exchanges or institutions with customer information. This information includes the name, address, and account details of both the sender and recipient.

The G7 Committee, which met in Japan in mid-May, expressed support for the Travel Rule and emphasized the importance of global standards for cryptocurrencies. The Committee also acknowledged the work of the FATF in addressing emerging risks related to decentralized finance (DeFi) arrangements and peer-to-peer transactions.

Ethereum’s native Ether ETH tickers down $1,813 token may be both a commodity and a security, the former commissioner of the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission has claimed.

Speaking on a May 23 episode of Laura Shin’s Unchained podcast, Dan Berkovitz, who is also the former general counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said that it’s legally possible for ETH to fall under the jurisdiction of both regulatory agencies.

The ongoing confusion over Ether’s legal status stems in large part from conflicting statements from the CFTC and the SEC. Over the course of the last six months, the CFTC has repeatedly called Ether, along with a number of other cryptocurrencies, a commodity.

Bitcoin slid under the $27,000 level during the Asia trading day, which lead to a market-wide decline in major cryptocurrencies as traders in broader equity markets reacted to poor U.K. inflation figures.

The hotter-than-expected U.K. core Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate came in at 6.8% – the highest since 1992 – against an expected figure was 6.2%. This means gains in core prices, excluding food, energy, and tobacco, accelerated by 6.8% last month from 6.2% in March.

The figures are higher than expected for the third month in a row, dampening hopes of an economic recovery. As such, it is likely to add to pressure on the Bank of England to keep raising interest rates in the coming months.

2023 has been a challenging year for the crypto ATM industry. General Bytes, a prominent ATM manufacturer, experienced a hack, resulting in a loss of $1.5 million. Moreover, digital currency ATMs across the United States have been rapidly shutting down.

In February, the United Kingdom initiated crackdowns on crypto ATM operators, conducting raids on various sites. The enforcement on unauthorized crypto ATM operators was further expanded by the U.K. the following month.

Connecticut’s Department of Banking recently announced that Bitcoin of America will be discontinuing its crypto ATM business in the state. According to the banking regulator, four consumers in Connecticut were allegedly scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars through the use of these kiosks.

Chinese businesses selling the chemicals used to make Fentanyl are accepting payment in Bitcoin and Tether, according to an investigative research report published Tuesday by Elliptic.

The blockchain analytics firm specializes in risk management and regulatory compliance. It said an overwhelming majority of pharmaceutical chemical companies it contacted in China that can ship precursors for fentanyl overseas accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.

Elliptic found that most of the chemical suppliers it identified used accounts at “three specific exchanges” based outside of China, which were unnamed in the report. The analytics firm said it had notified the exchanges being used by China-based drug suppliers, highlighting hundreds of wallets that had received more than $27 million worth of crypto assets.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) does “not require countries to indiscriminately ban virtual assets and virtual asset service providers,” it told CoinDesk in an email after Pakistan’s finance minister reportedly said the global money laundering watchdog had set such a condition for the South Asian nation.

On May 17, one local news outlet reported that the country’s Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha had said the FATF set a condition that cryptocurrency cannot be legalized in Pakistan to keep the nation off its “grey list” of nations under increased monitoring. Another report said Pakistan’s anti-crypto stance is because it goes against the conditions set by the FATF.

Pasha told the country’s Senate Standing Committee on Finance that cryptocurrencies will “never be legalized in Pakistan,” local media reported on Wednesday.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has received optimism from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) one year since it adopted Bitcoin (BTC). The IMF’s positive outlook reflects the country’s economic prospects and the impact of embracing the leading cryptocurrency.

The IMF published a report expressing a more positive view of the country’s economic prospects for 2023. The report indicates a projected rebound in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 2.2%, attributed to factors such as the base effect and policy adjustments leading to enhanced fuel supply. The IMF also anticipates an average inflation rate of 6.3% for 2023.

According to the IMF document, the projected public debt of the CAR is expected to remain sustainable. However, the report highlights the presence of significant liquidity risks, as indicated by relevant debt indicators. These risks arise from potential shortfalls in donor support and challenges in accessing domestic and regional markets.