Crypto News Headlines (25-May-2023)

Bitcoin’s (BTC) options market is showing bias for weakness over six months for the first time since early March as the U.S. debt ceiling drama continues.

The six-month call-put skew, which measures the difference between what investors are willing to pay for bullish calls and bearish puts expiring in 180 days, has declined to -1, the lowest since March 13, according to data from leading crypto options exchange Deribit, tracked by Amberdata.

Puts refer to a type of option that increases in value as prices of the underlying asset fall. This gives their holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell an asset at a predetermined date at a specific price, effectively allowing them to bet against whichever asset that put option tracks.

Litecoin (LTC) was one of Wednesday’s biggest movers, as the token fell by as much as 6% in today’s session.

LTC/USD dropped to a bottom of $85.87 earlier in the day, less than 24 hours after hitting a high of $91.79.

The decline in price pushed litecoin to its weakest point since May 15, when it last broke out of a floor at $85.00.

Currently, price strength is now tracking at 46.95, with the next visible floor at the 39.00 mark.

Although LTC has rebounded from an earlier low, and is now trading at $86.61, a breakout below $85.00 remains possible.

Dogecoin (DOGE)

Dogecoin (DOGE) was also in the red on Wednesday, as it fell to a multi-week low of its own.

Following a high of $0.07305 on Tuesday, DOGE/USD slipped to a low of $0.07103 in today’s session.

This drop in price pushed the meme coin to its lowest point since May 12, which is the last time it traded under $0.07000.

TRM Labs approximates that close to $400 million was pilfered in Q1 2023 from almost 40 separate crypto infiltrations and attacks. This statistic has plunged by around 70% compared to Q1 2022, as per the findings of the blockchain analytics firm. Moreover, this year’s first quarter recorded lower figures than any quarter of 2022 since the typical hack amounted to $10.5 million.

In contrast, the mean hack value during Q1 2022 reached over $30 million, experiencing a comparable count of nearly 40 incidents. A notable disparity between this year’s and last year’s breaches is the substantial amount of recoveries. “To date, hacking victims have recovered over half of all stolen funds in Q1 2023,” stated TRM Labs in its recent analysis.

Alexander Vinnik, the Russian co-founder of an allegedly illicit crypto exchange, BTC-e, is seeking release by way of a deal known as a “prisoner swap.”

According to a May 24 report from the Wall Street Journal, Vinnik’s lawyer is attempting to alter a protective order on Vinnik’s case, so that he can be considered as part of a prisoner trade deal between Russia and the United States, which could see him “swapped” for detained WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich.

“Mr. Vinnik should be permitted to…answer the accusations against him and advocate publicly for his inclusion in a prisoner swap,” wrote David Rizk, an Assistant Federal Defender in the Northern District of California.

Citing sources familiar with the prisoner-swap process, Rizk explained that such negotiations require a strong public campaign to “maximize the chances of such an exchange.”

The renewed efforts for Vinnik’s potential trade deal come amid calls from the U.S. government for the immediate release of Gershkovich, who recently saw his detention period extended until Aug. 30 of this year.

A new bill mandating South Korean lawmakers and high-ranking government officials to declare their cryptocurrency holdings is expected to take effect within the next two months, said the floor leader of the country’s ruling party.

On May 23, the Korean publication Yonhap News reported that People Power Party’s Representative Yun Jae-ok said the scheduled date for introducing the new crypto declaration rules, currently slated for December, isn’t prompt enough.

Additionally, Yun Jae-ok said that the bill needs further revision and requires a new clause to bring the date of enforcement forward before it’s voted upon.

Those are the questions before a U.S. court in Austin, Texas, as a lawsuit from a group of crypto engineers and investors in response to sanctions placed on the Tornado Cash protocol comes closer to having its day in court.

In a court filing from late Wednesday, the plaintiffs argued that the U.S. Department of Treasury sanctions against the privacy protocol violates the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by failing to correctly identify a foreign “national” and “property” related to Tornado Cash, and by not demonstrating sanctionable interest in immutable, open-source smart contracts.

The Cabinet of Japan, the executive power in Tokyo, has decided to enforce more stringent AML rules for cryptocurrency operations from June 1, the Kyodo News agency reported. The measures will bring the nation’s regulatory framework in line with international standards and allow the government to trace digital-asset transactions.

Japanese lawmakers amended the respective laws in December 2022, in response to recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the intergovernmental organization developing policies designed to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

The FATF had evaluated Japan’s previous AML procedures as insufficient. Besides the legislative revisions, the country’s oversight bodies have been strengthening their monitoring of crypto assets that can potentially be used to launder illicit funds.

Crypto contagion risk is low today, but a European watchdog is keen to keep it that way.

A new report from the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) found that the industry’s economic impact is minimal, but recommends policy options that would allow EU bodies to better monitor the crypto sector and mitigate any risks.

Among other suggestions, such as actively monitoring contagion and education, the ESRB also highlighted the importance of monitoring leveraged trading in the crypto industry.

“Leverage in the crypto-asset world is only a problem if there are connections with the traditional financial system—something that needs to be monitored,” it read.

Sandeep Nailwal, the co-founder of the Ethereum-scaling platform, Polygon, believes Web3 gaming will eventually become one of the biggest drivers of mass crypto adoption.

In a May 25 Ask Me Anything (AMA) on r/India community on Reddit, Nailwal was asked what he sees as some genuine at-scale “real life” use cases for blockchain other than trading and payments.

In response, Nailwal stated: “I think gaming is the largest scale opportunity for crypto,” adding:

“There are some top games launching in Web3 in the next 6-18 months and it would be very interesting to see if some of them are able to crack the crypto code. Last year itself there was $2 billion+ in funding for Web3 games.”

“Polygon combined with its ecosystem players like IMX [Immutable X] got the lion’s share in terms of those funded games. Fingers crossed for some of them to go big!”

The South Korean government is moving forward with new laws to require officials to report on their holdings of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin BTC $26,388.

South Korea’s National Assembly has unanimously passed a bill that obligates lawmakers and high-ranking public officials to report on their crypto assets. The lawmakers approved the new bill during a plenary session on May 25, the local news agency News1 reported.

According to the report, the bill involved amendments to the National Assembly Act and the Public Service Ethics Act. The amendment to the National Assembly Act was unanimously passed with support of 269 votes from 269 lawmakers present. The amendment to the Public Service Ethics Act received 268 votes from 268 lawmakers present.