Crypto News Headlines Jan 19, 2022

  1.  Crypto Ads in Spain Subjected to New Rules That Also Affect Social Media Influencers

Spain moved on Monday to regulate rampant advertising of crypto assets, including by social media influencers, tasking the stock market supervisor with authorising mass campaigns and making sure investors are aware of risks. The Spanish government said in its official bulletin advertisers and companies that market crypto assets will have to inform the CNMV watchdog at least 10 days in advance about the content of campaigns targeting more than 100,000 people. The rapid growth of cryptocurrencies and digital assets pegged to traditional currencies has drawn attention from regulators worldwide, who fear they could put the financial system at risk if not monitored.

Singapore-based Capital announced today that it is expanding the size of its fund to $500 million, from the $200 million it announced in March 2021. The fund will be focused on investing in DeFi, NFTs, and gaming. It will typically want to lead rounds. Jon Russell, its newly hired General Partner based in Bangkok, told CoinDesk the fund will do seed and series-A deals, typically up to a $10 million check for the series-A. While capital is expanding, management wants to keep the fund lean and entrepreneurial.

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which investigates serious and organized crime, said it will ask Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to block websites dealing in cryptocurrencies, according to a report by Dawn. Earlier this month the FIA said it wanted to talk with Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, as part of an investigation into a suspected scam it said has cost several thousand investors more than $100 million. SBP has already submitted recommendations for regulating cryptocurrencies, Abbasi said.

The U.K. government says it will bring cryptocurrency ads under tighter scrutiny and crack down on “misleading” claims that may cause investors to lose money. The government will introduce legislation to amend existing laws on financial advertising to include crypto. The regime requires firms to be authorized by regulators if they want to promote investment products. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak plans to bring the ads under the same rules for financial promotions, according to proposals announced Tuesday. The FCA has attracted criticism for not taking action against crypto ads, which flooded London’s underground rail network and buses in the past year.

Cryptocurrency exchange suspended withdrawals on its platform on Monday following reports from users of “unauthorized activity.” At around 16:00 UTC, CEO Kris Marszalek tweeted that final checks were being made prior to withdrawals being resumed in the following 30-60 minutes. The Singapore-based firm announced via Twitter early on Monday that it would be pausing withdrawals shortly while it investigated reports of suspicious activity on users’ accounts. All funds were safe, it said. Crypto exchanges have been known to suspend withdrawals and other services during spikes in demand at periods of high volatility.

Bahrain-based cryptocurrency exchange Rain Financial has raised $110 million in a Series B funding round co-led by Paradigm and Kleiner Perkins, according to a press release shared with CoinDesk. The new round comes a year after Rain raised $6 million in a Series A funding round led by MEVP with participation from Coinbase Ventures. The company will use the capital to pursue licensing in additional countries, enhance its technology platform and expand the team. Founded in 2017, Rain became the first licensed crypto-asset service provider in the Middle East two years later.

The $15 million in ether (4,600 ETH) stolen from Singapore-based is currently being laundered via Tornado Cash, an Ethereum Mixer, according to on-chain data. While some say that mixer protocols, or cryptocurrency tumblers, are used to protect the privacy of activists or other politically exposed individuals, they are often used to launder the proceeds of organized crime. Law enforcement has previously shut down other mixers such as Bestmixer, which was raided by EU authorities in 2019, and Helix, which was shut down by the FBI in 2021 for laundering Darknet funds.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee with hold a hearing this week on the energy and environment impacts of cryptocurrency. Producing the most well-known form of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, uses a process known as “proof-of-work” mining that can require significant amounts of computer power to be successful. For this reason, the amount of energy used by global Bitcoin production surpasses what is used by some industrialized nations, according to research. Companies have begun buying entire power plants to generate more Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  

Cryptocurrency advertisements will be soon be regulated like most investment products under UK financial promotions rules, the Treasury announced. In May, cryptocurrency exchange service Luno was told to halt “misleading” adverts in the Tube and on buses. Under the new rules, the promotion of cryptoassets will be subject to the same Financial Conduct Authority rules that apply to stocks and shares to ensure that the advertisements are “fair, clear and not misleading”. Firms that offer cryptocurrency products in the UK are required to register with the City regulator and show they meet strict money laundering requirements.

  1.  Singapore Restricts Crypto Ads — Central Bank Says Crypto Trading Not Suitable for the General Public

Singapore’s central bank has issued guidelines to discourage cryptocurrency trading by the general public. The central bank emphasized that “the trading of cryptocurrencies is highly risky and not suitable for the general public.” Companies can only market or advertise crypto services on their own corporate websites, mobile applications, or official social media accounts. Loo Siew Yee, the MAS’ assistant managing director for policy, payments, and financial crime, noted that the central bank “strongly encourages the development of blockchain technology and innovative application of crypto tokens in value-adding use cases.”