News Headlines (22nd FEB 2024)

South Africa’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group will conduct analytical work on use cases for stablecoins and consider an appropriate policy and regulatory response during the course of this year.

The group is also considering the impact of tokenization on domestic markets. Tokenization is the representation of real-world assets (RWA) like securities on a blockchain. The group plans to publish a discussion paper outlining the regulatory implications of tokenization and blockchain-based financial market infrastructure by December.

Alleged crypto crook Alex Mashinsky will be using the same lawyers as convicted crypto crook Sam Bankman-Fried, according to reports.

The ex-boss of collapsed crypto lender Celsius told a judge that he would be willing to waive any conflicts of interest there might be by using Marc L. Mukasey and Torrey K. Young, who represented the ex-FTX boss, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Mukasey and Young refused to confirm to Decrypt that they would continue to represent Mashinsky in a phone call. Mukasey is a high-profile lawyer who other than representing Bankman-Fried, has also represented the Trump Organization.

Korea Digital Asset (KODA), the largest institutional crypto custody service in South Korea, announced on Thursday that the value of crypto assets under its custody expanded by nearly 248% in the second half of 2023.

KODA — jointly set up by major Korean bank KB Bank, crypto venture capital firm Hashed and blockchain tech firm Haechi Labs — said in a statement that the value of the assets under its custody grew to around 8 trillion Korean won ($6 billion) at the end of last year from 2.3 trillion won at the end of June 2023.

Brian Armstrong told Twitter a year and a half ago that he intended to sell 2% of his Coinbase stake to fund other ventures.

“I’m sharing this as I want you to hear it from me first,” the exchange’s co-founder and CEO said.

He did exactly that. Between November 2022 and November 2023, Armstrong sold about 790,000 Coinbase shares, equivalent to 2% of the ownership stake disclosed in Coinbase’s prospectus ahead of its direct listing in April 2021.

Armstrong raked in nearly $53.2 million across that period, selling shares for $67.37 on average, per OpenInsider data compiled by Blockworks, which references filings from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to CoinDesk, the Law Commission, which reviews and recommends changes to laws in England and Wales, has published a consultation on draft legislation to label crypto as property. The independent statutory body’s report on digital assets last year showed that crypto tokens and non-fungible tokens were able to attract property rights. Responses are required by March 22.

“Personal property rights are important for many reasons, including in the event of insolvency or where assets are interfered with or unlawfully taken,” the commission said on Thursday. “However, because digital assets differ significantly from physical assets, and from rights-based assets like debts and financial securities, they do not fit within traditional categories of personal property.” The Law Commission also called for evidence for its project on digital assets and electronic trade documents in private international law. The deadline for comments is May 16.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Tax Justice Department — the most densely populated province in South Korea — collected 6.2 billion won ($4.6 million) of non-declared taxes in 2023 after implementing a digital tracking system aimed at the crypto accounts of tax evaders.

According to a report by Yonhap News Agency on Feb. 22, the Gyeonggi tax department used the resident registration data of “delinquents,” tracing their mobile phone numbers to detect their accounts on digital asset exchanges.

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.

The crypto market hit multi-month highs earlier this week, declining a bit, before recovering early Thursday, as traders took profits and market observers looked to the earnings report of chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) as a catalyst for movements.

Bitcoin (BTC) fell to as low as $50,700 late Wednesday, while ether (ETH) dropped just under $2890 before reversing some losses. Polygon’s MATIC led losses among crypto majors, slipping 7%, while Cardano’s ADA and XRP were down as much as 5%. Meanwhile, the CoinDesk 20 Index (CD20), a benchmark for the biggest and most liquid cryptocurrencies, dropped 1.2%.

US ether spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) could be approved as early as May this year, but certain funds with staking functionality could introduce new concentration risks for the Ethereum blockchain.

In a Feb. 20 report, analysts at S&P Global said that an increase in ether staking ETFs could affect the mix of validators participating in the Ethereum network’s consensus mechanism.

The S&P analysts, Andrew O’Neill and Alexandre Birry, noted that while the participation of institutional custodians could reduce the current concentration on the decentralized staking protocol Lido, it could also introduce new concentration risk if a single entity is chosen to stake the bulk of ether included in these ETFs.

  1. $150 Million Venture Fund: Why Hack VC Remains Bullish on Crypto and Web3

Having weathered “at least three bull-to-bear-market cycles,” Web3 venture capital firm Hack VC is committed to staying the course, the company said yesterday announcing its first venture fund. The company says it raised $150 million for the fund “opportunistically, in a bear market.”

The venture fund raise follows Hack VC’s initial $200 million crypto fund raise, which closed in February 2022. Combined with other investment vehicles, the firm’s total assets under management now exceeds $425 million.