News Headlines (1st FEB 2024)

DZ Bank, Germany’s second-largest bank, plans to roll out a cryptocurrency trading pilot later this year, Bloomberg reported.

Board member Souad Benkredda told Bloomberg the bank, the central institution for some 700 cooperative lenders, wants to list a variety of cryptocurrencies and that the offering will be for customers who can invest “without advice.”

“According to a study by the Genoverband, every second bank wants to offer this solution for their customers,” Benkredda said. “Ultimately, each institute makes the decision independently.” Genoverband is an auditing and consulting association for more than 2,500 cooperative organizations.

More than 18 months after filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the U.S., crypto lending firm Celsius has emerged from bankruptcy and started paying out creditors.

In a Wednesday press release, the firm announced that it had completed the transactions under its confirmed reorganization plan, which was approved by 98% of its account holders.

As per the terms of this plan, Celsius will start distributing $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency and fiat to its creditors, with the company saying that it had increased the amount available to creditors by $250 million by converting altcoins to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is demanding crypto miners report their energy consumption for the next six months after concerns about a recent increase in the price of Bitcoin, which is leading to a rush of crypto mining.

On Jan. 31, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) — the statistics agency of the DOE — said it is initiating a provisional survey to gauge the electricity usage of local crypto mining companies starting next week, with miners “required to respond with details related to their energy use.”

The Office of Management and Budget greenlit the survey on Jan. 26 after an emergency request from the EIA days earlier claimed Bitcoin’s price “increased roughly 50% in the last three months” would “incentivize more cryptomining activity, which in turn increases electricity consumption.”

According to CryptoPotato, a Chinese-British woman named Jian Wen is facing charges in London for allegedly helping a fugitive, Yadi Zhang, launder Bitcoin (BTC) obtained from proceeds of a previous investment fraud that affected nearly 130,000 investors. Authorities seized devices holding over 61,000 Bitcoin that came from $6.34 billion previously stolen by Zhang from investors in China.

Jian Wen, who is currently on trial, is facing a three-count charge of money laundering following her involvement with alleged fraudster Yadi Zhang, whose real name is Zhimin Qian. According to prosecutors, Zhang, through a fake wealth management scheme, stole £5 billion ($6.34 billion) from unsuspecting investors in China between 2014 and 2017, which was later converted to Bitcoin. She fled China to London in 2017 and assumed a fake identity to evade Chinese authorities.

India has not introduced any changes to its controversial tax deducted at source (TDS) policy that is affecting the crypto industry.

The nation’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed the budget in parliament on Thursday as usual. Expectations were low for a change in the stiff taxes on crypto transactions, which include a 30% tax on profits and a 1% TDS on all transactions. However, there was a glimmer of hope because of efforts from the domestic crypto industry and a study from a think tank pushed hard for a reduction in the TDS.

Argentina’s President Javier Milei has opted to remove proposed cryptocurrency taxes from a controversial omnibus reform package. It’s a strategic move to expedite the approval of the sweeping set of reforms and avoid long debates on matters he deems less critical.

The “Ley Ómnibus” bill—formally known as the “Law of Bases and Starting Points for the Freedom of Argentines”—initially included provisions requiring taxpayers to declare ownership of previously undeclared assets, including cryptocurrencies. However, in removing those clauses, Minister of Interior Guillermo Francos said there is a greater need for rapid economic development and legislative efficiency.

Leaders of the United States House Financial Services Committee and Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion called for a longer comment period on a proposed rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), claiming its impact on the digital asset space would be “unclear” if implemented.

In a Jan. 30 letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, Representatives Patrick McHenry, Mike Flood and French Hill questioned how a November 2023 proposal “would apply to specific entities within the digital asset ecosystem.” The CFPB rule suggested extending its supervisory authority over depository institutions, including digital assets in its definition of “funds,” and allowing it to target wallets.

According to CoinDesk, Germany’s second-largest bank, DZ Bank, plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading pilot later this year. Board member Souad Benkredda revealed that the bank, which serves as the central institution for around 700 cooperative lenders, aims to list a variety of cryptocurrencies for customers who can invest without advice. Benkredda cited a study by the Genoverband, an auditing and consulting association for over 2,500 cooperative organizations, which found that every second bank wants to offer a similar solution for their customers.

According to CoinDesk, the UK government and the Bank of England (BoE) released the results of their digital pound consultation on Thursday, addressing privacy concerns raised by respondents. The consultation, which closed in June last year, received 50,000 responses, with many expressing concerns about privacy. Experts believe the government’s approach to tackling these concerns, including the proposed platform model and legislation, could be effective.

The platform model suggests that the BoE would only provide the core infrastructure and ledger for a digital pound, while private firms would act as wallet providers. These private platforms would require identity information of wallet account holders to comply with anti-money laundering regulations. The government has also committed to enshrining individual privacy and control in law before launching a digital pound, which could be decided in 2025 or 2026.

China is set to overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws, incorporating cryptocurrency-related transactions into its regulatory framework. This major revision, according to an article in, is the first since 2007 and comes amid increasing concerns over the use of digital assets in money laundering activities.

Prime Minister Li Qiang chaired a key executive meeting of the State Council on Jan. 22, to address the revised AML law. The initial draft for this revision was first proposed in June 2021 and later included in the 2023 legislative work plan of the State Council. The final law is expected to be enacted by 2025.