Crypto News Headlines (31-Jan-2023)

Bitcoin has dropped—taking the rest of the crypto market with it—as traders de-risked ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday announcement where the central bank is expected to continue to hike interest rates.

The biggest digital asset by market cap is trading for $22,787, down 4.4% in 24 hours, according to CoinGecko.

Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency, has shed nearly 6% of its value, priced at $1,551.

And of the biggest coins and tokens, Solana has been hit the hardest: it’s down 10% in the past day, currently trading hands for $23.57.

The crypto market is following U.S. equities (as it typically does)—and stocks have been hit hard today. The S&P500 is down 45 points, or 1.1%, to 4,025; the tech-heavy Nasdaq has dropped 198 points, or 1.7%, to 11,423.

Defunct crypto trading firm Alameda Research – one arm of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s former empire – wants to regain around $446 million transferred to bankrupt lender Voyager Digital prior to Alameda’s own bankruptcy filing, a new lawsuit says.

According to a complaint filed Monday against Voyager Digital and HTC Trading, Alameda repaid all of its outstanding loans to Voyager after the lender filed for bankruptcy last July. Some of these loans had yet to mature at the time Voyager requested their repayment.

“The collapse of Alameda and its affiliates amid allegations that Alameda was secretly borrowing billions of FTX-exchange assets is widely known,” the filing said. “Largely lost in the (justified) attention paid to the alleged misconduct of Alameda and its now-indicted former leadership has been the role played by Voyager and other cryptocurrency ‘lenders’ who funded Alameda and fueled that alleged misconduct, either knowingly or recklessly.”

Records show bitcoin (BTC) saw significant value growth in the first month of 2023, with a 39% increase against the U.S. dollar. On Jan. 29, 2023, BTC reached a 30-day high of $23,954 per unit, with prices ranging from that value to a low of $22,988 over the past 24 hours. This rise has significantly raised the Crypto Fear and Greed Index (CFGI) hosted on, moving it from the “extreme fear” zone to the “greed” range in the course of the month.

Bitcoin Rise in First Month of 2023 Moves Crypto Fear Index From ‘Extreme Fear’ to ‘Greed’

Last week, CFGI records showed a score of around 50, indicating “neutral,” according to Seven days later, the CFGI score rose to 61, meaning “greed.” The website states that when crypto investors become too greedy, it signals the market is due for a correction. The CFGI score has remained above the neutral range of 50 since Jan. 23, 2023, after spending a significant amount of time below 45 prior to Jan. 14, 2023. On Monday, bitcoin (BTC) prices saw weakness against the U.S. dollar as traders took profits.

Building a firewall that separates crypto from the traditional financial system may be the best approach to keep the digital asset industry alive in the European Union, Luzius Meisser, chairman of crypto firm Bitcoin Suisse, told CoinDesk TV’s “All About Bitcoin” on Monday.

Meisser said the “containment” strategy, which is one of four strategies the Zug, Switzerland-based firm has outlined, could be beneficial to crypto and the traditional finance marketplace. He said containing crypto is what EU lawmakers are on track to pursue.

“Their intention is to protect, to shield, the traditional financial system from the toxicity of the crypto economy,” Meisser said. “But maybe, it also helps protect cryptocurrencies from the traditional financial systems with all its faults and mistakes.”

Credit card giant Mastercard has teamed up with the world’s largest crypto exchange to launch another prepaid crypto card in Latin America.

On Jan. 30, Binance announced the launch of the Binance Card in Brazil. The new card is issued by Dock, a payment institution regulated by Banco Central do Brasil, Brazil’s central bank.

The new card will allow new and existing Binance users in the country with valid national IDs to make purchases and pay bills with crypto assets. The card is in a beta testing phase and will be “widely available in the coming weeks,” according to Binance.

Brazil is the second country where Binance has launched the product, following Argentina in August. According to the announcement, Brazil is among the top 10 markets for Binance globally.

When it comes to digital collectibles, most enthusiasts think of Ethereum, Solana, or Polygon—deservedly, as proof-of-stake blockchains have cornered the NFT marketplace. But digital collectibles using the Bitcoin blockchain have existed since 2014, and several projects have made it their continuing mission to bring NFTs to the first and biggest cryptocurrency.

NFTs are digital assets that are provably unique and linked to digital (and sometimes physical) content like digital art, movies, and music that show proof of ownership or membership in an exclusive group.

Even though NFTs have been in the Bitcoin ecosystem for nearly a decade, however, some still don’t see the point.

Crypto services company Prime Trust laid off one-third of its staff Tuesday, two people familiar with the matter said.

The cuts largely impacted staff in Prime Trust’s communications and compliance departments, though a full picture of the how many are affected by the reduction wasn’t immediately apparent. One person characterized the move as a cost-cutting measure.

Prime Trust builds crypto and fiat payment, custody and regulatory services for other crypto companies including Swan, Abra and Okcoin.

The layoffs come amid a series of public difficulties for the company.

Last week, Prime Trust said it would be suspending business operations in Texas by Jan. 31 after withdrawing its applications to receive a money transmitter license (MTL) in the state.

South Korea’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ) reportedly announced that it will adopt a cryptocurrency tracking system within the first half of this year.

In its 2023 task report, the Justice Ministry explained that the tracking system will be used to monitor and analyze cryptocurrency transactions, particularly to uncover the sources of illegal funds. The ministry was quoted by local media as saying:

We will overhaul the forensic infrastructure in response to the modernization of crime.

The Korean government has been talking about adopting a system to track down illegal crypto transactions for many months. In October last year, the country’s Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said it was in the process of purchasing a cryptocurrency tracking system via the Public Procurement Service.

Clients of Cumberland DRW – a prominent liquidity provider in digital assets – can now trade crypto denominated in Canadian dollars.

This new capability, said Cumberland in a Twitter post, will reduce friction and simplify the transaction process for its trusted large institutional customers.

The announcement comes a week after Cumberland partnered with registered Canadian crypto trading platform BitBuy to increase liquidity on that exchange’s crypto asset marketplace. Cumberland needed the capability to transact crypto in Canadian dollars if it is to offer crypto liquidity to Bitbuy.

Twitter chief Elon Musk has reportedly instructed his developers to build the platform’s payments system in such a way that crypto functionality can be added in the future.

According to a Jan. 30 Financial Times report, two people familiar with Twitter’s plans said that the payments feature will support fiat currencies to start but be built to accommodate cryptocurrencies should the opportunity arise.

Twitter has long teased bringing payments to the social media platform — forming part of Musk’s stated plan to make Twitter an “everything app.”

However, it has remained vague as to whether these payments will involve blockchain or crypto technology, despite the Twitter CEO seeing a big role for crypto on Twitter.