Crypto News Headlines (30-Nov-2022)

Huobi Global’s HT token jumped in digital-asset markets Tuesday after the cryptocurrency exchange said it would airdrop to users a new digital token to be issued by the Caribbean island of Dominica.

Huobi said the new “Dominica coin,” or DMC, will be issued “in due time” on Huobi Prime, the exchange’s exclusive token offering platform. Users can complete their identity verification on Huobi with Dominica digital identification documents, according to a statement.

The HT token is up 15% over the last 24 hours to $7.12. It’s up 40% over the past seven days.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published its “Strategic Plan” for the fiscal years 2022-2026 last week. The regulator stated that “the initiatives outlined in this Strategic Plan are intended to address its top priorities over the next four years.”

One of the goals of the Strategic Plan is to “develop and implement a robust regulatory framework that keeps pace with evolving markets, business models, and technologies.”

The securities regulator explained that an initiative aimed at achieving this goal is to “examine strategies to address systemic and infrastructure risks faced by our capital markets and our market participants.” Noting that “the rapid growth in crypto assets” also represents a risk, the watchdog said to be better prepared for the risks in this category:

The SEC must pursue new authorities from Congress where needed, continue to effectively collaborate with other regulators, and engage more proactively on digitization initiatives.

Vitalik Buterin has taken a controversial stance on governance tokens, arguing that governance is not a good reason for such tokens to be treated as “valuable.”

“The notion of ‘governance rights’ as a narrative for why a token should be valuable is pathological,” Buterin wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “You’re literally saying, ‘I’m buying $X because later on someone might buy it from me and a bunch of other people to twist the protocol toward their special interests.’”

On the Ethereum network, governance tokens are a type of ERC-20 token typically issued by a DAO or decentralized community to be used as digital voting chips for various community proposals. The more tokens a person holds, the more voting power they have.

A New York man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to defrauding more than a dozen victims out of a collective $2 million as part of a long-running crypto mining scam.

Chester “Chet” Stojanovich, 38, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in April and charged with one count of wire fraud.

From March 2019 to September 2021, Stojanovich posed as a dealer of crypto mining equipment, convincing customers to purchase mining machines through him and then taking payments to arrange hosting services at a facility in Goose Bay, Canada.

However, those facilities were a fiction and Stojanovich instead spent customers’ money on lavish purchases for himself, including private jet flights, limousine rides, parties, gifts for his wife and even paying off $80,000 of his personal credit card debt.

Russian billionaire Vyacheslav Taran, president of Libertex Group and founder of Forex Club, died Nov. 25 in a helicopter crash in France while en route from Lausanne, Switzerland to Monaco. He was 53. The helicopter pilot, the only other person aboard the craft, also died.

Libertex has confirmed Taran’s death, stating:

“It is with great sadness that Libertex Group confirms the death of its co-founder and Chairman of Board of Directors, Vyacheslav Taran, after a helicopter crash that took place en route to Monaco on Friday, 25 November 2022.”

Taran, who was trained as a radio engineer, founded the foreign exchange trading platform Forex Club in Russia in 1997. Forex Club became one of the three leading exchanges in the country before the Russian Central Bank closed it and a number of other exchanges in December 2018 for irregularities in their registrations. Forex Club Group continues to operate in more than 100 other countries.

Crypto fintech Prime Trust’s CEO, Tom Pageler, was fired this week, CoinDesk has learned.

Pageler had helmed the Nevada-based crypto services company since January 2021, according to his Linkedin profile. He was previously its president and chief operating officer. It was not immediately clear why Pageler was fired; in a statement Prime Trust said he had “transitioned” but did not share his new role.

Jor Law is the firm’s interim CEO, the statement said.

The abrupt firing marks the latest shakeup in crypto this month after FTX and Alameda Research’s market-shattering collapse. Even so, Prime Trust said it had no “counterparty exposure” to FTX or BlockFi, another recently felled crypto firm.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced Monday a settlement with Payward Inc. (d/b/a Kraken), a Delaware-incorporated crypto exchange. The announcement states:

Kraken agreed to remit $362,158.70 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of sanctions against Iran … As part of its settlement with OFAC, Kraken also has agreed to invest an additional $100,000 in certain sanctions compliance controls.

According to the Treasury Department, between approximately Oct. 14, 2015, and June 29, 2019, “Kraken processed 826 transactions, totaling approximately $1,680,577.10, on behalf of individuals who appeared to have been located in Iran at the time of the transactions.”

An important “wrapped” token nearly unraveled last week—the latest crypto product to be hurt by the fallout of the once-dominant FTX exchange which collapsed earlier this month.

For those who don’t know, Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is the 23rd largest cryptocurrency, with a market cap of $3.5 billion. It runs on Ethereum, the leading blockchain for DeFi and NFTs, and is a token that is meant to represent Bitcoin.

The idea—mostly—with WBTC is that traders who want to use their Bitcoin holdings in the Ethereum ecosystem can do so with tokens that are one-to-one backed by Bitcoin. It’s how Bitcoin holders can interact with DeFi tools without spending more money on Ethereum or other Ethereum-based tokens.

Indices have been used in the stock market for centuries to track specific areas of the market. Prior to 2021, however, there were relatively few made up of cryptocurrencies.

The FTSE Russell‘s indices were created in collaboration with Digital Asset Research. The company is a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange.

The series includes eight indices in all, one for each of the four market cap levels: big cap, mid cap, small cap, and micro-cap coins, as well as four indexes that include coins from different market cap sizes.

The new indexes, according to the company’s website, rely on a defined set of 21 criteria to identify which institutions can be relied on to provide reliable price data.

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance plans to reenter the Japanese market after acquiring a 100% stake in a licensed crypto service provider in the country, Cointelegraph Japan reported.

In an official public announcement on Nov. 30, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the crypto exchange was committed to re-entering the Japanese market under regulatory compliance. The acquisition of Sakura Exchange BitCoin (SEBC), a Japan Financial Services Agency-licensed business, would mark the re-entry of global exchange in the Japanese market after four years.