News Headlines (21st FEB 2024)

Trading volumes of VanEck’s HODL, one of the ten spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds in the U.S. (ETF), surged over 2,200% on Tuesday in a move driven by individual traders.

HODL traded over $400 million in volumes on Tuesday, a 22-fold jump over its daily average of $17 million. The figures came ahead of a planned fee cut on Wednesday, when VanEck will reduce its offering fees from 0.25% to 0.20%, as per a filing.

HODL’s volumes were the third-largest after Grayscale’s GBTC and BlockRock’s IBIT, the usual leaders. The ETF now holds nearly $200 million worth of bitcoin as of Feb.20, data shows.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published an 11-page circular Tuesday on its standards for tokenization and digital asset custody for locally authorized institutions.

The document asked institutions to commit to comprehensive risk assessments and allocate sufficient resources for proper governance and risk management of their crypto custody services. Additionally, the HKMA requested the entities to establish internal policies to properly address potential or existing conflicts of interest.

Months after FTX co-founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty on seven federal fraud and conspiracy charges related to the collapsed exchange, the first photo of the disgraced crypto mogul in prison has reportedly emerged.

Shared on Twitter (aka X) by Tiffany Fong, a content creator who befriended Bankman-Fried and interviewed him several times after his downfall, the alleged prison photo shows the one-time crypto icon alongside other prisoners, all but one of whom have their face censored to protect their privacy.

Web3 venture capital firm Hack VC has raised $150 million to invest in early-stage crypto and artificial intelligence (AI) startups.

In a Feb. 20 statement, The New York-based VC firm said decentralized finance (DeFi), real-world asset (RWA) tokenization and blockchain infrastructure solutions would be the target sectors for most of its crypto-focused investments.

Its future investments will focus on projects that make crypto more user-friendly and “capital-efficient,” as well as on projects that aim to lessen smart contract and protocol hacks, which Hack says are reminiscent of viruses that plagued early internet users in the 1990s.

“Web3 needs an infrastructural paradigm shift across scalability, security, and usability before it is ready for prime time,” Hack said.

“The next Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Alibaba for Web3 is already here or will launch soon.”

According to CryptoPotato, Cardano has experienced significant growth in non-fungible token (NFT) sales and total value locked (TVL) recently. NFT sales on the network have surpassed $1.6 million in the last week, representing a 100% increase. In comparison, Solana’s figure stands at approximately $48 million, which is a 7% decline for the same time frame.

TVL on Cardano has also been on the rise lately, exceeding the $400 million mark and hovering close to the peak levels observed in mid-December 2023. The metric has soared almost 700% year-over-year, pushing Cardano’s ranking from 34th to 13th. Total value locked on Solana is currently around $2 billion, but the figure is far from the all-time high of approximately $10 billion registered in November 2021.

Bitget, a Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange, is preparing to expand its influence and operations in Latam. The company, part of the top 15 largest cryptocurrency exchanges, will focus on expanding in the region by targeting beginners in the field, offering tools that ease the handling of portfolios and investments for the less crypto-savvy.

Maximiliano Hinz, growth lead of Bitget for Latam, believes that copy-trading, a feature that allows users to mimic the trading movements of more seasoned investors using a part of their portfolio, can be the key to this plan. For Hinz, this can be a differentiating factor in facing the leading exchanges in the region, like Binance and Bitso, which have also tailored specific solutions for Latam markets.

Turkey’s planned rules for the crypto industry are primarily to ensure consumer protection – but in a way that also supports innovation, Ömer İleri, deputy chairman for the ruling AK Party, told CoinDesk Turkey in an interview on Tuesday.

İleri, who oversees Information and Communication Technologies for the AK Party, met with crypto industry representatives, including legal experts and members of the media, to discuss the planned legislative package.

“Our goal is to secure the citizen, to protect the investor, to regulate the platforms, but to put forward a draft law that also paves the way for innovators and innovation,” İleri said.

Bitcoin and Ethereum were mostly flat on Tuesday morning while the Solana price sagged by 5% compared to yesterday.

Even while trading mostly flat, the price of Ethereum managed to very briefly inch past the $3,000 mark before falling back to $2,932.95 at the time of writing, according to CoinGecko data. It’s down 0.4% from yesterday but has gained 11% since last week.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin seems to be taking a breather after looking like it was going to reach $53,000 yesterday. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is changing hands for $51,491.97—a 0.8% drop from the same time yesterday, according to CoinGecko data.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) — Japan’s principal financial regulator — has clarified its position on peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto transactions following its latest recommendations to local banks.

In its letter on Feb. 14, the FSA encouraged banks to “further strengthen their user’s protection” by “stopping transfers to crypto-asset exchange service providers if the sender’s name is different from the account name.” As Cointelegraph reported, this might compromise P2P transfers in the country since they usually feature two different users on the sender and the receiver ends.

Responding to a Cointelegraph inquiry, the FSA specified that its recommendation doesn’t envisage “any transactions from one individual to another:”

“We issued the request with the aim of asking banks and other financial institutions to strengthen measures against unlawful money transfers in cases where an individual deposits cash from the individual’s bank account to an account of a crypto asset exchange service provider.”

According to CryptoPotato, Commercial International Bank (CIB), one of Egypt’s largest banks, has partnered with Ripple to implement blockchain technology for enhancing the efficiency of cross-border payments. The financial institution has also entered the non-fungible token (NFT) space, allowing customers to create unique and collectible NFTs. The bank aims to establish a digital token ecosystem for the tourism industry, streamlining payments and offering loyalty rewards to travelers.