News Headlines (23rd FEB 2024)

Former U.S. president and Republican front-runner Donald Trump said bitcoin (BTC) has “taken a life of its own” and will probably need some regulation.

Trump was speaking to Fox News during a town hall event in South Carolina on Tuesday ahead of the state’s Republican primary. Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, remains the only other contender and has vowed to remain in the race even if she loses the Saturday primary.

Bitcoin has “taken a life of its own,” Trump responded to Fox News anchor Laura Inghram’s question about whether the next logical step for the U.S. is to embrace bitcoin. “You probably have to do some regulation. But many people are embracing it. More and more I’m seeing people wanting to pay bitcoin. … I can live with it one way or the other.”

The company’s fourth-quarter 2023 earnings report was released on Thursday, prompting a stock price rally for NASDAQ:SQ, up 12.35% in after-hours trading to $76.10, from $67.96 when the markets closed.

“The total sale amount of Bitcoin sold to customers—which we recognize as Bitcoin revenue—was $2.52 billion, up 37% year over year,” the report explained. “The year-over-year increase in Bitcoin revenue and gross profit was driven by an increase in the average market price of Bitcoin as well as a benefit from the price appreciation of our Bitcoin inventory during the quarter.”

Crypto exchange Kraken has filed to dismiss a November lawsuit from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, arguing it sets a “dangerous precedent” for the agency’s remit.

On Feb. 22, Kraken filed its dismissal motion with a San Francisco federal court. In an accompanying blog post, Kraken stated:

“The SEC’s theory is that there can be an investment contract with no contract, no post-sale obligations and no interaction at all between the issuer and the purchaser.”

The theory means it “has no limiting principle” and would grant the SEC “boundless authority over commerce and potentially open up the floodgates to private securities law claims,” it argued.

“It would turn a broad range of ordinary assets or commodities, like sports memorabilia, trading cards, expensive watches, or even diamonds, into securities,” added the firm.

According to Bloomberg, an attorney for former crypto entrepreneur Do Kwon is looking to challenge the extradition decision. Goran Rodic, a lawyer in Podgorica, said in response to Bloomberg questions, “We are convinced that this illegal decision cannot hold before the Appellate Court, just as the previous two didn’t.” Rodic was referring to a protracted legal battle and opposing rulings by two different courts in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica.

Do Kwon and his associate Han Chang-joon were arrested in Montenegro almost a year ago while trying to travel with forged passports.

Social media company Reddit Inc. filed a registration statement (S-1 filing) for an initial public offering (IPO) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday.

The company disclosed in its filing: “We hold cryptocurrencies and experiment with blockchain technology, which may subject us to exchange risk and additional tax, legal, and regulatory requirements.” The filing adds:

We invested some of our excess cash reserves in bitcoin and ether and also acquired ether and matic as a form of payment for sales of certain virtual goods, which we may continue to do in the future.

Starknet’s STRK token jumped as much as 10% Thursday after developer firm StarkWare agreed to drastically reduce the number of tokens allocated to the team that are scheduled to unlock in April, following heavy criticism from the community.

The statement came after the Ethereum layer-2 project this week airdropped more than 700 million tokens to early users, contributors and other targeted groups, with the additional disclosures that developers and investors might be able to start sell much of their own allocations as early as next month. The market capitalization of the tokens, based on the circulating supply, currently stands around $1.44 billion.

Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency initiative led by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has soared to unprecedented heights—joined in flight by a dozen other AI-related tokens and stocks.

Worldcoin’s WLD digital currency registered a remarkable 21% price increase in the past 24 hours, catapulting from $7.08 to an all-time high of $8.96 per token—before settling at a robust $8.20 at the time of writing, according to CoinGecko.

The leap marks a staggering 300% appreciation in February alone, a month that began with WLD valued at a mere $2.20.

Two crypto wallet addresses belonging to Jeff “Jihoz” Zirlin, one of the five co-founders of Axie Infinity and Ronin Network, were hacked, and roughly $9.7 million worth of Ether $2,928 was stolen and siphoned across Tornado Cash.

On Feb. 23, blockchain investigator PeckShield alerted about a “whale wallet” compromise over the Ronin Bridge, reporting that the hacker made away with 3,248 ETH. Aleksander Larsen, co-founder of Ronin Network, immediately responded that “the (Ronin) bridge itself has top security” and suspected a wallet hack instead.

According to PANews, Ava Labs co-founder Kevin Sekniqi announced on the X platform that they are currently investigating a block production issue on the Avalanche mainnet, which seems to be related to a new inscription launched about an hour ago. It appears to be a complex bug stemming from some edge cases that should be addressed as soon as possible. The issue may involve some memory pool processing encountering untested edge cases of inscriptions.

Earlier today, it was reported that Avalanche developers were investigating a significant disruption issue on the mainnet.

The government of Argentina is putting its sights on regulating cryptocurrency service providers by an executive order. According to reports from local media, President Javier Milei would be preparing to issue an emergency decree to create a framework that would regulate the operation of these, putting it under the oversight of the national securities watchdog (CNV).

Milei would be focused on keeping Argentina out of the gray list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), where the country was included from 2010 to 2014 due to its lax money laundering policies. The upcoming visit of the FATF, programmed to assess the country’s money laundering countermeasure, would be fueling this measure.