News Headlines (20th MAR 2024)

Crypto-friendly bank Meld plans to soon offer lending and borrowing against tokenized real-world assets (RWAs) to retail investors, which could allow them to “ape more into bitcoin.”

The bank, which is in partnership with the layer-1 blockchain of the same name, has signed a memorandum of understanding with decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Swarm Markets, a spokesperson told CoinDesk via email.

Swarm, which is licensed in Germany by financial regulator BaFin, started a permissionless RWA trading platform last December. Meld is using Swarm’s platform as a means of offering on-chain lending and borrowing for these assets, opening up cross-asset margining opportunities for retail investors that are not available today through traditional methods.

Bitcoin fell 8% yesterday in its biggest single-day drop since FTX’s collapse, leaving traders plenty cautious.

Early on Wednesday morning, the world’s largest and oldest cryptocurrency sank as low as $60,951.91 before rebounding. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin price is $$63,154.69. That means it’s 1.6% lower than it was this time yesterday, but 14% lower than it was this time last week, according to CoinGecko data.

The recent volatility hasn’t been enough to push the Crypto Fear and Greed Index back into fear, but the meter has ticked over from Extreme Greed to Greed.

A Nigerian High Court has directed the operators of Binance Holdings to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with comprehensive data and information relating to all persons from Nigeria who are trading on its platform.

According to local news outlet Sahara Reporters, the directive was given in an interim ruling delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite on Feb. 29 following an ex parte motion filed against the cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance by the EFCC.

An ex parte motion is one in which only one party is present, and the defense is not given prior notice of the motion, preventing them from presenting an argument.

In the motion, the lawyer representing the anti-graft agency, Ekele Iheanacho, contended that Binance’s activities in Nigeria contain elements of criminality.

According to PANews, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has won the latest round of a legal battle against YouTube, involving the use of manipulated videos featuring Wozniak’s likeness, which were used in a 2020 Bitcoin scam. The recent ruling by an appellate court overturns a lower court’s decision that had previously absolved YouTube of any responsibility.

The appellate court in San Jose ruled that YouTube cannot rely on controversial communications regulations to avoid liability for its fraudulent actions, which involved using Wozniak’s fame and manipulating videos to deceive people. The latest ruling will allow Wozniak to continue his lawsuit against the YouTube platform and may pave the way for amendments to federal law. Currently, federal law protects video streaming platforms like YouTube from any liability for videos posted on their platforms.

Nations are preparing to introduce fiat-equivalent money laundering controls to central bank digital currencies (CBDC) transactions. A group of lawmakers introduced Bill No. 576830-8, titled “On combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism to transactions with the digital ruble.” The bill, spearheaded by Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, Anatoly Aksakov, introduces a multi-level system for applying anti-money laundering (AML) controls to digital ruble movements.

Interfax reported that the Central Bank of Russia would receive the main functions of combatting money laundering and terrorism financing if this bill is passed. The bank would have to assess the risk degree of every platform participant to incur in suspicious transactions and would have the possibility of blocking them from accessing digital ruble services.

Ohio’s U.S. Senate race may be the biggest congressional contest this year for the crypto industry, now pitting a digital assets booster against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the sitting Senate Banking Committee chairman who has stood in the way of the development of regulatory legislation.

Bernie Moreno, an Ohio businessman and crypto enthusiast who founded a blockchain startup that focuses on property titles, won the Republican nomination Tuesday in the battleground state where Brown has previously held his ground, despite most of its statewide offices being held by Republicans. Moreno carried the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who is again his party’s standard-bearer in the presidential election.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange Binance who stepped down as CEO in November in a settlement over federal money laundering charges, announced plans Monday to launch a new nonprofit online education platform called Giggle Academy.

“Let’s make basic education accessible and entertaining to children all around the world,” he wrote on Twitter, noting that Project Giggle is hiring and that one of the benefits is the chance to work directly with him.

“Free basic (grade 1-12 ish) education for all, no revenue, gamified, adaptive,” he explained, providing a link to the Project Giggle concept paper and website.

Thanks to community support, Solana memecoin Slerfsol (SLERF) has seen a fairly successful launch after its creator mistakenly burned over $10 million worth of Solana SOL $175 from investors during the March 18 presale.

At the time of publication, SLERF is worth $0.79 with a total market cap of $505 million and listing on multiple exchanges. The day prior, its namesake creator had asked for donations after a blunder that saw 535,000 of investors’ SOL sent to a burn address during the minting of SLERF. The creator has publicly asked for donations to make users whole, with the coin’s wallet address receiving 3,000 SOL.

According to Foresight News, Thailand’s CP Group and Gulf Energy Development are vying for the country’s new virtual banking license as the Bank of Thailand opens applications. CP Group’s telecom subsidiary, True CorpPcl, and its partners, including Ant Financial Group, are preparing to bid. Gulf Energy will collaborate with Thailand’s Kasikornbank and its subsidiary Advanced Info Service Pcl to submit a bid. The Bank of Thailand plans to announce the winning bidder next year.

A report prepared by Moises Alvarado and published by the Salvadoran local press has raised questions about the true ownership of the BTC transferred by President Nayib Bukele to a cold wallet last week. According to Alvarado, 80% of the 5,690 BTC transferred to El Salvador’s “piggy bank” wallet came from addresses linked to Bitfinex, an international cryptocurrency exchange.

Alvarado states that “multiple indications make it unlikely that these crypto assets belong to the Salvadoran state,” given the strong links that the government has with this cryptocurrency exchange. An investigation revealed that the 4,569 BTC in El Salvador’s cold wallet were deposited in 5 transactions between March 13 and 14.