Crypto News Headlines (25-Oct-2022)

Guochun He and Zheng Wang, the two Chinese intelligence officers charged with obstructing justice for allegedly bribing a U.S. double agent with $61,000 in bitcoin, used coin mixing wallet Wasabi Wallet to try to cover their tracks, analytics firm Elliptic found.

“Elliptic’s analysis shows that all of the bitcoin bribe payments made by the Chinese intelligence agents originated from Wasabi Wallet,” Elliptic said.

Wasabi makes use of controversial technology known as CoinJoin, which mixes bitcoin from multiple transactions to try to obscure its ownership.

While El Salvador made bitcoin legal tender last year, being the first country in the world to do so, Salvadorans are still not completely sold on the idea of introducing bitcoin as part of their economies. A recent poll presented by the Public Opinion University Institute, part of the Jose Simeon Canas Centroamerican University, has found that most of the citizens of the country reject bitcoin as part of the politics of the government of El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele.

The poll interviewed more than 1,260 individuals personally, having direct contact with the citizens that agreed to take part in the study. 61.3% of the polled have a negative opinion about bitcoin, giving it a score of less than five points on a ten-point scale. The poll also registered a low level of adoption amongst locals, with less than a quarter of the polled having used bitcoin even once.

Chances for the famous “Uptober” meme to live up to its promise are suddenly alive again as crypto markets rebounded in the past 24 hours, with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)—the industry’s two largest digital assets—leading the resurgence.

October has historically been positive for the leading cryptocurrency, with monthly gains recorded ten times out of the last 13 years, according to Bitcoin Monthly Return. Last year’s October rally, for example, set a strong ground for Bitcoin to reach its highest-ever value above $69,000 in early November.

Fears spread among investors this year though, as Bitcoin has struggled between $19,000 and $20,000 for the better part of the month.

The leading cryptocurrency, however, surged 5% on Tuesday to reclaim the $20,000 mark for the first time since the beginning of October, with the rally continuing overnight to a current price of $20,659, or 7.2% over the day, per CoinGecko.

The Crypto and Digital Assets All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which is chaired by Scottish National Party member of parliament (MP) Lisa Cameron, has called for the British government to provide clarity in terms of its commitments to the crypto sector.

The request comes on the heels of the recent appointment of Rishi Sunak as the UK’s new prime minister. Sunak announced during his time as finance minister under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he wanted to turn the U.K. into “a crypto hub,” but hasn’t said anything more on the matter since.

On Tuesday, the lower house of the U.K. Parliament voted in favor of recognizing crypto assets as regulated financial instruments and products.

The former chairman of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, Lee Jung-hoon, could face a possible maximum sentence of eight years in prison if found guilty on charges related to an alleged fraud worth $70 million.

Local prosecutors asked the Seoul District Court for the sentence on Oct. 25, with the sentencing hearing will be held on Dec. 20, according to a report from Yonhap News Agency.

It’s alleged that Jung-hoon defrauded $100 billion won or $70 million from Kim Byung Gun, chairman of the cosmetic surgery company BK Group in October 2018 during negotiations for Gun to purchase the Bithumb exchange.

Gun alleges he paid $70 million to Jung-hoon as a “down payment” toward buying the exchange on the condition that it lists a token called BXA created by the Blockchain Exchange Allicance, which Gun helped to form.

Bloomberg Businessweek published a 40,000-word article on cryptocurrencies by the news organization’s popular financial columnist Matt Levine, who – amid one of the worst downturns in the industry’s 14-year history – offered praise of the good parts, critiques of the bad and dangled hope that this newfangled way of moving money and information around has staying power.

Levine is well-known as a chronicler of all things finance, which in recent years has meant a lot of writing about crypto. As a sign of just how importantly Bloomberg viewed the former investment banker and lawyer’s piece, the news outlet made it the only article in this week’s issue of the magazine, just the second time the 93-year-old publication has filled itself with a single story. (The previous one, in 2015, was about computer programming.)

In its updated guidelines for apps in the Apple App Store unveiled on October 24, Apple Inc. said crypto exchange apps “may facilitate transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange.” In addition, such transactions can only be offered “in countries or regions where the app has appropriate licensing and permissions to provide a cryptocurrency exchange.”

The technology company also clarified that crypto wallet apps “may facilitate virtual currency storage, provided they are offered by developers enrolled as an organization.” However, according to the new guidelines, apps are prohibited from mining crypto and offering “currency for completing tasks, such as downloading other apps.” The only exception to the crypto-mining prohibition is when “the processing is performed off [the] device.”

Singapore’s financial watchdog has proposed restrictions on the use of credit or leverage when trading cryptocurrencies.

The rules would stop any crypto firms from extending credit or leverage to retail customers and would prevent them from accepting payments via credit cards. These rules would not apply to institutional investors.

The proposals put forth by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are part of a basket of new measures aimed at mitigating “the risks of consumer harm” and educating “consumers on the risks of cryptocurrencies and their related services.”

The crypto industry may be fretting over tightening regulations and upcoming legislation, but new poll results released Wednesday indicate that a majority of voters believe that lawmakers need to turn up the dial on crypto regulation.

A national poll conducted by the Crypto Council for Innovation in October revealed that 52% of the 1,200 voters surveyed want the industry to be more regulated, while a mere 7% said they think the industry should be less regulated. The remaining 41% of respondents were evenly split between thinking the industry was sufficiently regulated already, or not having an opinion.

When developing crypto regulations, the majority of voters (58%) want lawmakers to prioritize market stability and fraud detection.

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), who now serves as the Crypto Council for Innovation’s chief political strategist, told CoinDesk that the poll results indicate that voters are starting to recognize the potential of crypto.

Nigeria’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) is not getting the warm reception expected from its crypto-savvy population.

According to a Bloomberg report, less than 0.5% of Nigeria’s 217 million population are using the government-issued digital currency — the eNaira — a year after its launch.

This comes despite Nigeria being identified by Chainalysis as the top country in Africa for crypto adoption and ranking 11th globally, while a KuCoin report found that 35% of the Nigerian population aged 18 to 60 had owned or traded cryptocurrencies this year.

Bloomberg noted that Nigerians have been confused due to a lack of clarity from the state which cracked down on crypto last year.

In February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria banned banks from servicing crypto exchanges in an effort to sever fiat on and off ramps.

Educating people who are generally wary of the state and ruling elite has also become a challenge for the central bank, according to the report.