Crypto News Headlines (25-March-2022)

The heavily-sanctioned country is scrambling to find ways to increase its revenue and has floated the possibility of allowing China and Turkey to pay for energy in Bitcoin.

The Russian Federation’s energy chief Pavel Zavalny has floated the possibility of accepting Bitcoin as payment for its oil and gas from “friendly countries” such as China and Turkey.

He said those countries could begin paying for energy in Russian Rubles, Chinese Yuan, Turkish Lira — or even Bitcoin (BTC) — rather than the international standard US dollar.

According to Russian news media RBC, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Energy Zavalny stated at a Mar. 24 press conference that he and representatives from China and Turkey have been discussing changes to preferred settlement currencies for its biggest export.

“We have been proposing to China for a long time to switch to settlements in national currencies of rubles and yuan. With Turkey, it will be lira and rubles. The set of currencies can be different, and this is normal practice. If there are Bitcoins, we will trade Bitcoins.”

Austin, Texas took a step toward bitcoin adoption Thursday as city councilors greenlit a plan to investigate the feasibility of accepting tax payments via “bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies” in the city of 1 million.

Austin’s powerful City Manager will research the change’s legality, its potential to “benefit” public services, its impact on the economy and the environment and “analysis of the financial stability and security of cryptocurrency,” per a draft of resolution 55. This “fact-finding study” is due on June 16.

Austin’s plan vaults it to the forefront of U.S. cities who view crypto as a potentially lucrative municipal energizer. Mayors in Miami and New York and Jackson, Tenn. have similarly leaned into crypto initiatives over the past year.

The Russia-Ukraine war could accelerate the use of digital currencies, Larry Fink, chairman of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, said Thursday.

Meanwhile, BlackRock is studying digital currencies, stablecoins and the underlying technologies as the firm has seen increasing interest from clients, Fink wrote in a letter to shareholders.

The conflict in eastern Europe has stirred up discussions about digital assets’ role during wartimes, as some speculated that Russians may use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions, while Ukraine has raised almost $64 million in crypto donations for its military defense. 

Fink noted that several governments have been playing a more active role in studying digital currencies and rolling out a regulatory framework. Earlier in March, president Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to engage in a broad review of their policies related to cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. The order focuses on the potential benefits of a central-bank issued digital currency, an issue that the Federal Reserve has been studying in depth since 2020.

Talking about NFT is talking about the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection, which has provided 145,000%+ profits for anyone who bought at the minimum price less than a year ago. And a similar thing is happening with its new token Apecoin.

ApeCoin (APE) has become the most traded token by Ethereum whales over the past 24 hours, reaching a holder count of over 36,500 wallets just 6 days after being listed on the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

This means that the bet on APE is as important as the one on the NFT collection per se.

As CryptoPotato recently reported, APE Coin is the native cryptocurrency of the BAYC ecosystem. Since its launch, each BAYC holder was awarded 10,094 APEs ($128,000) for each NFT they held as a reward. Those with a Mutant Ape (MAYC) received 2,042 APEs ($26,068).

In other words, they rewarded their buyers’ loyalty by giving them 62% of the total supply of APE tokens.

“You can’t solicit funds for a business opportunity, abandon that business and abscond with money investors provided you,” stressed IRS-CI special agent-in-charge Thomas Fattorusso.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken action against an alleged nonfungible token (NFT) rug pull after it slapped the founders of the “Frosties” project with charges relating to fraud and money laundering.

The two founders are accused of purposely concealing their identities to operate a rug pull on the Frosties community by failing to deliver on the project’s roadmap and “utility,” which touted rewards for NFT hodlers, giveaways, access to a metaverse game and exclusive access to future mints from the project.

According to a Thursday release from the Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, 20-year-olds Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna were arrested in Los Angeles and both charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in “connection with a million-dollar scheme to defraud purchasers” of the NFTs “Frosties.”

See Wan Toong received a boost on Thursday in his quest to create online games that are technologically superior to their predecessors but also fun.

The chief technology officer for Taiwan-based gaming company Red Door Digital closed a $5 million seed round to build high-quality games for the Web 3 ecosystem. The company will use the funding from M6, Shima Capital, Maven Capital, Cryptology Asset Group and LucidBlue Ventures to build out the studio’s proprietary game-theory models, which the company said will “drive the scalability and sustainability of the in-game economy.”

“Web 3 and the metaverse might be buzzwords right now, but more immersive online interactions is the undeniable trajectory for gaming, and we want to make games that bring mainstream gamers onboard,” Red Door Digital CEO Joseph Derflinger told CoinDesk.

In an interview with CoinDesk’s First Mover Asia newsletter last week, Toong bemoaned many recent games’ inability to entertain players, even as he was praising the improvements that GameFi is bringing to the space. This failure to engage users threatens to undermine the user experience, yet many gaming companies have hesitated to take creative risks that might not pay off.

The next 24 hours could prove crucial in determining how the European Union (EU) will regulate cryptocurrencies.

As the European Parliament moves towards finalizing its position on Europe’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework, the EU council, made up of government ministers and other officials from member countries will tomorrow meet to discuss how to treat non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi) and the environmental impact of bitcoin-style assets.

The EU’s landmark MiCA regulation seeks to offer a single license for crypto providers to operate across the bloc’s 27 member countries, in exchange for measures intended to protect investors and safeguard stability.

But it will only pass into law if governments and lawmakers agree on an identical document, and there’s several issues to be ironed out first.

First, the European Parliament needs to figure out how – and in particular whether it wants – to limit the use of proof-of-work methods used to validate Bitcoin, a process which some worry consumes too much energy.

l Salvador President Nayib Bukele took to Twitter on Wednesday evening, hitting out at a Reuters report claiming Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) was flying in to save El Salvador’s Bitcoin Bond.

“Please don’t spread Reuter’s FUD,” Bukele tweeted to his 3.6 million followers, rebuking the claim that CZ was flying in to assist after the $1 billion bond offering, originally scheduled for mid-March, was postponed until September. He was responding to a tweet on the subject by Bitcoin Magazine, which has now deleted the post.

Bukele stated that the delay in the “volcano bond” offering was primarily due to legislative delays in Congress, that his meeting with CZ has nothing to do with the bond offering and that the pair intends to discuss “other issues”.

Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex — the company underwriting the bond — came to Bukele’s aid stating that the delays were largely due to laws concerning the bond issuance tha still needed to be passed by Congress. Samson Mow, former chief strategy officer Blockstream — El Salvador’s partner in the bond launch — also joined in, tweeting that “nothing has changed”.

The Manhattan District Attorney has charged a former party organizer with laundering $2.7 million in bitcoin and cash to help multiple clients hide money they alegedly earned from illegal activities, the office announced Thursday.

In a statement, the Manhattan DA alleged that between January 2018 and August 2021, the 42-year-old Thomas Spieker converted over $2.3 million into Bitcoin, and separately, more than $380,000 of Bitcoin into U.S. dollars, via “a rotating set of accomplices” who opened bank and crypto exchange accounts to enable the laundering of “criminal proceeds.”

“As alleged, this sprawling web of international money laundering helped drug traffickers, an organized crime ring, and scammers hide their criminal activity and transmit their proceeds around the globe,” New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in the announcement. “This case shows us how new technologies like cryptocurrency can become key drivers of a wide range of criminal activity that can easily span across the globe.”

Dogecoin (DOGE) touched a one-month high Thursday, a day after Bitcoin of America announced plans to add support for the doggy-themed cryptocurrency to its network of more than 1,800 ATMs across 31 U.S. states.

The dogecoin price went up by 4% in the past 24 hours, touching $0.141 at one point during the day, the highest since Feb. 21. At press time DOGE was changing hands at $0.136.

Bitcoin of America, which describes itself as a virtual currency exchange registered as a money services business with the U.S. Treasury Department, said it “recognized the growing popularity of Dogecoin and decided it was time to include it.”

Ethereum support was added in October.

The physical Bitcoin ATMs have several functions. Customers can take out cash using a debit card, as well as buying cryptocurrency with cash, or selling cryptocurrency for cash.