Crypto News Headlines (25-Apr-2023)

Daniel Shin, the co-founder of Terraform Labs, was indicted by South Korea on violations of capital markets law amongst other charges, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The co-founder of the firm behind failed Terra cryptocurrency project was indicted alongside nine others, with prosecutors freezing 246.8 billion won ($184.7 million) in assets from those indicted, according to the report, which cited head prosecutor Dan Sung Han.

Shin’s lawyer Kim Ji-dong said he has “nothing to do with the … collapse as he left the company two years before the fallout,” according to the report. “He voluntarily returned to South Korea immediately after the collapse, and has been faithfully cooperating with the probe for over 10 months, hoping to contribute to fact finding.”

Global bank Standard Chartered said Monday that “crypto winter” is over and the price of bitcoin could reach $100,000 by the end of 2024.

Standard Chartered’s head of digital assets research, Geoff Kendrick, explained in a note that bitcoin stands to benefit from various factors. They include the recent turmoil in the banking sector, a stabilization of risky assets as the U.S. Federal Reserve ends its cycle of interest rate hikes, and the enhanced profitability of cryptocurrency mining. The analyst wrote:

While sources of uncertainty remain, we think the pathway to the USD 100,000 level is becoming clearer.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has backed a campaign urging the crypto community to unite in their efforts to have the government and regulators establish clear rules for the nascent industry.

The crypto exchange chief took to Twitter late Monday to share that he had minted a “Stand with Crypto” NFT at the Zora marketplace.

 “The Stand with Crypto commemorative NFT is a symbol of unity for the crypto community seeking sensible crypto policy,” reads the NFT description.

The NFT showcases a blue shield, which symbolizes a unified effort to safeguard and advance the possibilities of cryptocurrency.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), which wrote off a $95 million investment in the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, says it will not rush into another crypto play, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

The $190 billion Canadian pension fund is “still working through what exactly happened there and you’re going to be careful,” CEO Jo Taylor said in an interview.

“It’d be unwise for us to rush” into another crypto investment based in part on “feedback from our members”, he said.

The OTPP came under scrutiny for the investment following FTX’s dramatic collapse in November, according to the report. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is facing a string of charges of fraud and conspiracy, awaiting trial in October.

Last week, the Markets in Crypto-Assets Act, also known as MiCA, was finally passed by the European Parliament. While MiCA technically still has to be approved by the European Council, there’s little doubt that the world’s first comprehensive crypto framework will become a reality by 2024 or 2025.

Despite its flaws, the regulation will establish guidelines for the operation, structure and governance of digital-asset issuers. MiCA is “a milestone for the crypto asset industry,” as its rapporteur, Member of the European Parliament Stefan Berger, put it.

The crypto community welcomed the news, with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pledging his readiness to comply with the “pragmatic” regulation, while Gemini co-founder Tyler Winklevoss noted the lack of similar legislation in the United States.

Bitcoin (BTC) has come under pressure of late amid weakness in technology stocks and an uptick in bond yields. The pullback has some analysts focusing on a key average of bitcoin’s price for cues about the next possible move in the cryptocurrency.

The leading cryptocurrency by market value traded at $27,400 at press time, down 11% from the ten-month high of $31,000 reached on April 14, CoinDesk data show. The decline has brought attention to bitcoin’s 50-day simple moving average (SMA), currently at $27,244.

According to Alex Kuptsikevich, senior market analyst at FxPro, a potential violation of the 50-day SMA support would challenge the bullish market sentiment.

In its recent ruling, the Seoul Southern District Court noted that it finds it challenging to perceive LUNC as a financial investment product regulated by the Capital Markets Act. The court further explained that the South Korean officials from the Seoul prosecutors office cannot seize Terra co-founder Daniel Shin’s cryptocurrency assets. These findings may come as a relief to Kwon, who is currently in custody in Montenegro after being charged by the SEC with multibillion-dollar fraud in mid-February.

The SEC’s lawsuit claimed that LUNC and other Terra crypto assets were offered and sold as investment contracts, hence qualifying as a security. While Shin is situated in South Korea, Kwon’s lawyers have contested the SEC’s classification of Terra assets as securities, and the law firm is also challenging the jurisdiction of the U.S. regulator. Kwon’s case may be bolstered by the recent decision in South Korea, which recognizes LUNC as a non-security.

Payments giant Visa is looking to add backend developers to its crypto team — particularly those savvy with public blockchains and stablecoins.

Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s vice president and head of crypto, tweeted the vacancies on Thursday, saying the roles would help drive mainstream adoption of the technologies.

Visa is specifically seeking individuals who have worked with cutting-edge AI-assisted engineering tools like Github Copilot to develop and debug smart contracts.

The job listing separately states that Visa is looking for engineers who are “passionate about the Web3 stack of technologies.”

According to local reports, the southern district court in Seoul has dismissed charges of securities violations against the co-founder of collapsed crypto issuer Terraform Labs Daniel Shin.

The court indicated in the judgment that LUNA (now LUNC) was a non-security under the Korean Capital Markets Act. South Korean prosecutors charged Shin, who left Terraform Labs in March of 2020 to focus on payments app Chai, with allegedly extracting illegal profits as he dumped $105 million of the LUNA token at a market top without notifying investors. The authorities were also seeking an arrest warrant for Shin, arguing that LUNA constitutes a financial investment security.

However, the judge has reportedly said, “It is difficult to see Luna Coin as a financial investment product regulated by the Capital Markets Act.”

Global payment giant Visa continues to explore the benefits of the cryptocurrency industry with a new initiative focused on stablecoin payments.

Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, took to Twitter on April 24 to announce a new cryptocurrency-related project developed by the firm.

Visa’s upcoming crypto product is designed to drive mainstream adoption of public blockchain networks and stablecoin payments, Sheffield noted.

According to a Visa job posting published on April 20, the company’s crypto division is building the “next generation of products” to facilitate the digital commerce of everyday life.