Crypto News Headlines (29-Jul-2022)

Spanish banking multinational Santander plans to offer crypto trading to its clients in Brazil in the coming months, Santander Brazil CEO Mario Leao said on Thursday.

The bank plans to launch crypto-related services and could provide further news about the initiative in the company’s next earnings release, in mid-October, Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported.

“We recognize that it is a market that is here to stay, and it is not necessarily a reaction to competitors positioning themselves, it is simply a vision that our client has demand for this type of asset, so we have to find the most correct and most educational way to do it,” Leao said.

Santander has already made inroads with crypto in Latin America this year. In March, it launched loans in Argentina for farmers collateralized with tokenized commodities in partnership with Agrotoken, an Argentina-based agricultural commodities tokenization platform.

Greece has become the scene of the latest episode in the manhunt for Ruja Ignatova, one of the co-founders of the notorious crypto pyramid Onecoin. The country is believed to be the last destination she visited before her disappearance almost five years ago.

Ignatova, dubbed the ‘Cryptoqueen,’ has been missing since Oct. 25, 2017 when she took a Ryanair flight bound for Athens in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. She is now wanted by Interpol, Europol and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for misappropriating at least $4 billion from investors in the fake cryptocurrency project.

Quoting sources from the Hellenic Police (EL.AS.), the newspaper Kathimerini reported this week that Greek authorities received intelligence, both locally obtained and from abroad, indicating that Ignatova was in Greece and holding meetings with specific persons.

The wider crypto market is largely in the green on Friday, with several blue-chip decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens doing especially well.

CRV, the governance token of the decentralized exchange Curve, is up 15.58% over the past 24 hours, as it hit a monthly high of $1.56 before backtracking to $1.49 at the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap.

With a market cap of more than $770 million, CRV is currently the 62nd-largest cryptocurrency.

Recently, the project was praised by analysts at Delphi Digital, who noted that Curve v2 quoted better execution prices than Uniswap v3 for approximately 65% of all ETH/USDT transaction volume. This is despite the fact that Curve protocol gas prices are nearly twice as high as those on Uniswap.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois.) has joined the Labor Department and fellow senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in flagging concerns over Fidelity Investment’s plan to offer bitcoin (BTC) as an investment option for its 401(k) managed accounts.

The letter, addressed to Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson, criticizes the firm’s decision to offer workers the option to invest in an “untested, highly volatile asset like bitcoin.”

In April, U.S.-based financial services firm Fidelity Investments announced it would allow investors to put bitcoin (BTC) into 401(k) retirement plans later this year, capping bitcoin holdings at 20% of an account’s value.

In May, Warren cosigned a similar letter with Smith asking Fidelity about the “appropriateness” of its plans in May.

Both letters echo concerns raised by the Labor Department about the appropriateness of the token as a store of value. “We have grave concerns with what Fidelity has done,” Ali Khawar, acting assistant secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, told the Wall Street Journal in April.

According to Senator Pat Tomey, famous for his vocal support for the crypto industry, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could have prevented the loss of $12 billion in assets by investors who trusted Celsius, a crypto lending platform, that froze their deposits in June.

An official letter from Toomey to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, dated by July 26, suggested that the Commission’s inability to clarify how it would apply existing securities laws to digital assets and services, drew to undesirable repercussions. As Toomey writes:

“Companies could have adjusted product offerings accordingly, preventing investor losses today, and the SEC would have been free to focus enforcement efforts on the worst actors.”

According to Toomey, the SEC didn’t properly explain how the Howey and Reves tests applied to crypto lending platform products that paid interest to customers making crypto deposits. Instead, he emphasized, the SEC is choosing to regulate by selective enforcement.

Southeast Asia-focused cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex said it had filed for bankruptcy protection in Singapore, becoming the latest victim of the global downturn in digital currencies.

Singapore-based Zipmex resumed withdrawals last week, a day after suspending them on July 20, and said it was working to address its exposure of $53 million to crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius.

Zipmex’s solicitors submitted five applications on July 22 seeking moratoriums to prohibit legal proceedings against Zipmex for up to six months, the cryptocurrency exchange said on Wednesday.

Under Singapore law, such a filing grants companies an automatic moratorium for 30 days, or until a Singapore Court makes a decision on the application, whichever is earlier.

July has brought relief to the crypto market, with Ethereum classic (ETC), the supposedly dead coin and not-so-similar clone of Ethereum’s ether (ETH) token, and other out-of-favor coins like UNI and MATIC leading the recovery in digital assets with at least $1 billion market value.

ETC has added 184% this month, while scaling solution Polygon’s MATIC and decentralized exchange Uniswap’s UNI have gained 102% and 86% respectively, CoinDesk data show. Industry leader bitcoin (BTC) had added 20% and ether 60% at press time. The total crypto market capitalization has rebounded to $1.14 trillion from last month’s $762.82 billion low.

Analysts said coin-specific factors are at play alongside the broader market risk reset.

The International Monetary Fund has issued a series of predictions on the growth and the possible difficulties that Latam will be facing in the second half of 2022. After examining all of the variables, the institution predicts that the region will grow by 3% in 2022, fueled by the economic recovery and the reopening of many industries that were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This upgraded forecast is higher that the earlier prediction the International Monetary Fund had made, expecting the region to grow by just 2.5%. However, even with this positive prediction, the fund states that there are many factors that will test the economic performance of Latam later this year.

These factors, which include the macroeconomic conditions the world economy is facing, an increasingly inflationary panorama, and the social tensions in the region, have taken the International Monetary Fund to downgrade its growth forecast to 2.5% in 2023.

Miami is making NFTs.

The city of Miami’s Mayor Francis X. Suarez shared plans Thursday to release 5,000 Ethereum NFTs later this year. Miami is partnering with TIME magazine publisher Time USA, Mastercard, and Salesforce to make it happen.

The NFTs—unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership—are being designed by 56 different Miami artists “representing the city’s 56 square mile area,” according to a city press release.

Time USA will help define the city’s NFT strategy as well as execute the project, while Mastercard will offer Miami NFT holders exclusive benefits like special event access at restaurants and private cultural tours in the city.

The U.K Law Commission has now proposed changes with an intention to clarify what exactly crypto property laws are. In the middle of the crypto regulations, U.K. Law Commission wishes to educate about how exactly property laws apply to cryptocurrencies in England and Wales.

The Law Commission of England and Wales’ consultation paper had disclosed the proposal to position digital assets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) under the U.K. property laws.

The U.K. government is planning to form and initiate a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies which is not available at the moment.

Having an established and “robust” legal foundation within a “conducive” environment will be fitting for all crypto stakeholders and it is an agenda for the Commission.

Commercial and Common Law Commissioner, Sarah Green has mentioned,

Digital assets such as NFTs and other crypto-tokens have evolved and proliferated at great speed, so it’s vital that our laws are adaptable enough to be able to accommodate them.