News Headlines (20th FEB 2024)

As predicted in December, the U.S.-based spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) approved in January are impacting not only the cryptocurrency’s price, but also order book liquidity, or the ability to trade at stable prices.

These effects are increasingly evident a month after the nearly a dozen ETFs began trading.

Early Tuesday, bitcoin’s 2% market depth across 33 centralized exchanges, or the combined value of buy and sell orders within 2% of the market price, rose to $539 million. That’s the highest since October and a roughly 30% increase since the spot ETFs hit the market on Jan. 11, according to data tracked by Paris-based Kaiko.

The UK government will introduce new regulations for stablecoins and crypto staking services within the next six months, according to Economic Secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami.

He was speaking at a Coinbase-hosted industry event in London on Monday, adding that the government is “pushing very hard” to get legislation on the books.

The Treasury made a commitment in October to clarify regulations in the crypto domain by 2024. Since then it’s had a number of consultations on fiat-backed stablecoins and the enactment of the Financial Services and Markets Act.

Altr adviser Davide Rovelli believes that asset tokenization could give an extra layer of security to a sector where “transparency was never the strength.”

A Polygon-based lending platform will use blockchain technology to solve the liquidity issues luxury collectible item owners face when converting their assets into cash.

Davide Rovelli, an adviser to asset-backed lending platform Altr, told Cointelegraph that luxury item collectors face several problems when converting their assets into cash. When selling to dealers, collectors could receive lower offers as dealers need to profit when reselling the items. Taking the auction route could raise better prices but also takes a lot of preparation and requires the payment of third-party fees.

According to CryptoPotato, a fake version of the Rabby Wallet app has been draining users’ cryptocurrency on the iOS App Store. Rabby Wallet, a crypto wallet developed by Debank, announced the launch of its beta mobile app on February 16th. However, the app available on the iOS App Store is not the official version and has been scamming users who installed it.

Users have reported their crypto assets being completely drained after installing the fake app. The issue was first discussed on Reddit and then continued on the official Apple forums. The real Rabby Wallet app is still pending approval by Apple, while the fake app, published by ‘VIET LONG FINANCIAL INVESTMENT JOINT STOCK COMPANY,’ has been approved. One user reportedly lost nearly 14 ETH to the scam.

Coinbase Commerce has ditched bitcoin payments from self-custody wallets due to the difficulties these present for Coinbase’s processes. The measure, which extends to other UTXO-based chains like Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dogecoin, marks a pivot in Coinbase’s vision of payments.

Lauren Dowling, product lead for Coinbase Commerce, explained this change derived from implementing a new system that uses Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and smart contracts to address a series of inefficiencies in its payments stack. These included asset volatility, solving incorrect payment amounts, and limited support for cryptocurrency assets.

Crypto hedge fund Tyr Capital is battling a dispute with one of its clients over its exposure to bankrupt digital assets exchange FTX, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Tyr has been accused of “criminal” mismanagement by one of its clients, TGT, and had its offices raided by a Swiss prosecutor, the report said. TGT is now looking to close its account with Tyr and recover the remaining assets, including a $22 million claim against FTX.

The whistleblower turned international fugitive described his opinion as “unpopular but true” in a post on Twitter. Referencing a quote by Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, Snowden added, “If you don’t believe me or don’t get it, I don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry.”

Snowden is a long-term user of Bitcoin. He’s previously explained that in 2013, he pseudonymously used BTC to pay for the servers used to host the materials he leaked to journalists.

The regulator suggests “stopping transfers to crypto-asset exchange service providers if the sender’s name is different from the account name. The current FSA request is written as a recommendation, and it doesn’t demand compliance with specific requirements but instead refers to initiatives. How exactly the banks will react to these recommendations and whether they will disrupt the P2P market remains to be seen.

South Korea’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has also publicly announced tightening scrutiny over crypto. As a part of its work plan for 2024, the agency will introduce a preemptive trading suspension system for suspicious transactions on platforms already operating in South Korea. This will freeze transactions even during the pre-investigation phase. Moreover, the FIU intends to “expand and reinforce” its crypto team in 2024, providing the necessary education and training and launching a “virtual asset analysis system,” tracking and analyzing virtual asset transaction details and “complex movement paths.”

According to PANews, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) believes it is time to provide guidelines for activities related to tokenized products, offering clear regulatory requirements for the banking industry. This move aims to ensure that banks have a comprehensive understanding of the expectations and standards set by the regulatory body when dealing with tokenized products.

The HKMA’s decision to provide guidelines comes as the popularity of tokenized products continues to grow, with more financial institutions exploring the potential benefits of these digital assets. By offering clear regulatory requirements, the HKMA aims to promote a safe and secure environment for the development and use of tokenized products within the banking industry.

Digital asset investment products experienced an unparalleled inflow of $2.45 billion, elevating the year-to-date inflows to $5.2 billion. This monumental influx, coupled with recent positive price movements, has raised the total AUM to $67 billion, Coinshares Research lead analyst James Butterfill detailed on Monday.

Crypto Funds See Record $2.45 Billion Global Inflows in a Single Week: Coinshares

Coinshares Report Volume 170: Digital Asset Fund Flows Weekly

The latest milestone signifies the highest point the crypto investment sector has reached since the tail end of 2021, highlighting the growing confidence and enthusiasm among investors towards digital assets. The United States emerged as the dominant player in this recent wave, accounting for 99% of the total inflows, which amounted to $2.4 billion.