News Headlines (1st MAR 2024)

DENVER, COLORADO – StarkWare, the developer firm behind layer-2 network Starknet, announced on Thursday at ETHDenver that it is building a new cryptographic prover, called Stwo.

A prover is a key component for layer-2s, since they generate proofs that are then posted to the base layer blockchain – a crucial process in linking the networks and sharing the security. With a faster prover, processing transactions costs should be lower, which in effect then will also lower fees for users and speed up transactions, according to the StarkWare team.

Clone, a protocol designed to make it simpler for Solana blockchain users to trade non-native tokens, revealed that it will launch the public mainnet of Clone Markets and Clone Liquidity tomorrow.

This launch will introduce markets on the Solana blockchain for non-native assets via “cloned assets,” otherwise known as “clAssets.”

The purpose of this protocol will be to simplify the trading of non-native tokens on Solana so that traders can optimize their trades to take advantage of the blockchain’s fast transaction speeds and lower fees.

More than $2.3 billion had been staked into the bridge from the Ethereum mainnet to Blast, according to the Blast website just before the scaling network went online. Blast was revealed in November, alongside the bridge and rewards campaign.

The total had been rapidly climbing over the last few days, in part because traders were attempting to get their funds onto Blast to take advantage of a growing slate of projects that will launch on the network and airdrop tokens and rewards to early users.

Eight state attorneys general in the United States filed a joint amicus brief, arguing that the Securities and Exchange Commission has overstepped its delegated power in the lawsuit against the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken.

The brief was filed on Feb. 29 by officials from Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas, along with other participants including industry lobbyists.

According to the filing, state officials said that it is not in support of either of the parties, rather, it “opposes the SEC’s regulation of crypto assets absent an investment contract because Congress has not delegated this authority to the SEC.”

According to PANews, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has reminded industry professionals and investors that the deadline for submitting virtual asset trading platform license applications to continue operating in Hong Kong was February 29, 2024. Under the transitional arrangements, virtual asset trading platforms that did not submit license applications before the deadline must cease their business activities in Hong Kong by May 31, 2024. The SFC emphasized that these platforms must obtain the appropriate licenses to resume their business activities or promote their virtual asset services to Hong Kong investors, and any unlicensed activities will constitute a criminal offense.

Regulatory officials in South Korea have opted to “indefinitely postpone” the easing of crypto regulations and the consideration of spot bitcoin ETFs. Following the U.S.’s broad approval of several spot bitcoin ETFs, a spokesperson from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced to the media that the prohibition would persist. Subsequently, the National Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee intended to soften regulations and potentially revoke the ban on ETFs before the April elections.

The update on the delay was covered by Chosun Biz, a South Korean news source, which conveyed that the People Power Party maintained “sufficient policy coordination is necessary” initially. The policymakers emphasized that confirming instances of fraud within the framework of prudential theory also plays a significant role. “Instead of announcing additional pledges, the leadership is focusing on nominations for constituencies and selecting personnel for the People’s Future, a proportional satellite party,” an official familiar with the matter told Chosun Biz.

Bitcoin (BTC) is on track to finish its strongest month since December 2020. Even with prices hovering near all-time records, this bull market isn’t close to peaking, analysts said.

The largest crypto asset by market capitalization has gained a staggering 44% in February, piercing $50,000 and $60,000 for the first time in years and hitting a $64,000 high Wednesday. The rally followed a sell-the-news pullback below $40,000 following the debut of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF) in the U.S. in late January.

Nigerian authorities who have detained two Binance executives are investigating whether the crypto exchange is facilitating terrorism financing, money laundering, and other forms of illicit finance, officials told DL News on Thursday.

As part of the probe, Nigerian officials are demanding access to details of Binance’s customers in the African nation, sources close to the investigation said. They asked not to be named discussing an ongoing probe.

The developments indicate that a probe into market manipulation and the potential impact of Binance’s offerings on Nigeria’s currency, the naira, is expanding.

BlackRock’s iShares spot Bitcoin $62,344 exchange-traded fund will be available in Brazil thanks to the launch of a new BTC BDR (Brazilian Depositary Receipts) ETF. Trading will begin on March 1, the world’s largest asset manager announced on Feb. 29.

BlackRock will partner with Brazilian financial market infrastructure provider B3 to offer the new product, BlackRock Brazil president Karina Saade said at the company’s headquarters in São Paulo. Saade stated:

“The launch of the iShares Bitcoin Trust ETF BDR, IBIT39, advances the innovation of ETFs and allows access to bitcoin for investors through a security — the ETF BDR — that can be incorporated […] into their portfolios.”

According to BlockBeats, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman in the San Francisco Superior Court on March 1, citing breach of contract. In the lawsuit, Musk claims that Altman and OpenAI have violated an agreement made when the artificial intelligence research company was founded, which was to develop technology for the benefit of humanity rather than profit. Musk alleges that OpenAI’s recent relationship with tech giant Microsoft has damaged the company’s original commitment to public, open-source general artificial intelligence.