Crypto News Headlines (29-Mar-2023)

Stacks (STX), the native token of Stacks Network, has soared in March amid booming hype for Bitcoin Ordinals and growing total value locked (TVL) on the protocol. The project is also set to undergo an upgrade later this year to further speed and scalability.

Known for being the first token distributed through the first-ever U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) qualified token offering in 2019, STX has gained 23% in March, reaching $1.25, the token’s highest level since a year ago. Although the token’s gains have slowed slightly toward the end of March, it is still up 350% over the last three months, bringing its valuation to $1.5 billion.

Looking at tokens with a market capitalization above $1 billion, STX is the second top-performing digital asset over the month of March, behind XRP, according to data from Messari.

North Korean hackers may be laundering cryptocurrency via cloud mining services, according to a report released today.

Google-owned cybersecurity firm Mandiant said on Tuesday that a Pyongyang-baed hacking group known as APT43 “steals and launders enough cryptocurrency to buy operational infrastructure in a manner aligned with North Korea’s juche state ideology.”

Juche is the state ideology of North Korea and the official ideology of the Workers’ Party of Korea, attributed to founder Kim Il-sung.

Mandiant added that APT43—also known as Kimuski—likely makes use of hash rental and cloud mining services to wash the stolen cryptocurrency “clean.”

Lawmakers on two key committees in the European Parliament have voted in favor of imposing limits on payments by unverified crypto users, as part of a large scale overhaul of money laundering laws.

The plans, considered alongside measures to forbid businesses from accepting large cash payments and create a new European Union Anti-Money Laundering Agency, AMLA, were approved by the parliament’s Economics and Civil Liberties committees on Tuesday, with six abstentions.

99 lawmakers voted in favor, while 8 voted against the limits.

Damien Carême, the French lawmaker who leads the parliament’s negotiations on the overhaul, earlier told reporters that the plans wouldn’t prevent crypto payments, since the cap of 1,000 euros won’t apply if a regulated wallet provider is involved or the identity of the payer is known.

The measures were proposed following a string of dirty money scandals within the bloc, including the Pandora Papers leaks and concerning the processing of Russian funds by Danske Bank.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chief Gary Gensler is set to testify before the House Financial Services Committee for the first time.

In an interview, Representative Patrick McHenry, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, confirmed that the SEC chief would have to face questions on April 18 over his approach toward the crypto ecosystem.

The House Financial Services Committee has jurisdiction over all aspects of the U.S. financial services sector, including banking, securities and digital assets.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the co-founder and former CEO of FTX, now faces charges of bribing Chinese government officials. “Bankman-Fried and others agreed to pay cryptocurrency to one or more foreign officials in China to influence and induce them to unfreeze the accounts in order to assist Bankman-Fried, Alameda, and others in obtaining and retaining business for, and directing business to, Bankman-Fried, Alameda, and others,” the revised indictment states.

This is not the first time SBF’s indictment has been revised. In February 2023, News reported that SBF’s indictment was revised to include bank fraud charges. SBF faces other charges as well, including defrauding the Federal Election Commission (FEC), wire fraud, and securities fraud. The former FTX CEO has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but three of the firm’s top deputies have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Bitcoin (BTC) showed signs of resilience Wednesday, shedding tremors from regulatory action against crypto exchange Binance to recover above the key $28,000 level.

XRP tokens jumped for a second straight day, adding 11% in the past 24 hours. They were buoyed by speculation that the classification of bitcoin and ether (ETH) as commodities in the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) suit against Binance might mean XRP tokens are classified as commodities as well. That might hurt the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s case against Ripple, which says the tokens are securities. Classification as a commodity could mean Ripple wins the case – which some traders may consider bullish for XRP.

Following Monday’s announcement of a lawsuit by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against Binance and its CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the crypto exchange’s BNB token tumbled overnight.

BNB token slipped by 5.4% in the last 24 hours—the largest drop of any token in the top 10 by market cap—according to CoinGecko. Over the past 24 hours, Bitcoin has also slipped by 2.8% to $27,157, and Ethereum by 1.1% to $1,746, leaving BNB’s large stumble as the outlier.

The leading cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume was accused by the U.S. regulator of having violated trading derivatives rules, according to a lawsuit filed by the CFTC in a Chicago federal court.

Crypto promotion legislation is on track to be in force by late this year, the U.K.Treasury said in a tweet on Tuesday.

A draft of the Financial Services and Markets Act was published on Monday. It will enable the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to regulate crypto firms under the existing promotions law set out in the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA).

The rules are aimed at allowing the U.K. government to try and safeguard consumers from “misleading crypto asset promotions,” the Treasury said in a tweet.

The legislation also includes a limited time exemption for crypto companies that will allow those that are registered with the FCA the opportunity to approve their own ads as opposed to relying on others to do so. Some companies are authorized companies under FSMA, so can approve their own ads, but crypto companies do not fall under that umbrella.

A new bill has been introduced to the Australian Parliament proposing regulations for providing cryptocurrency services in the country.

Senator Andrew Bragg submitted a private senators’ bill titled Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023 to “protect consumers and promote investors,” which includes regulatory recommendations for stablecoins, licensing of exchanges and custody requirements.

Proposed regulatory changes are typically introduced by Australian ministers. However, as the Parliamentary Education Office stipulates, members of parliament can introduce private members’ or private senators’ bills, which can take months or years to pass through parliament.

Five days ago, News published an article that examines recent discussions in the crypto community regarding “Operation Chokepoint” and why crypto proponents believe the U.S. government aims to eliminate access to cryptocurrencies. On Monday, the Washington D.C. law firm Cooper & Kirk published a white paper on the subject, noting that U.S. bank regulators are ostensibly waging a “clandestine financial war” against the crypto industry.

The paper’s authors, David Thompson, John Ohlendorf, Harold Reeves, and Joseph Masterman, begin by explaining “Operation Chokepoint 1.0” before delving into “Operation Chokepoint 2.0.” The first iteration of the alleged operation began by labeling legal and law-abiding crypto entities as “reputationally risky.”