News Headlines (26th JAN 2024)

ARK Invest continued to offload shares of ProShares Bitcoin Trust ETF (BITO) in the last week while accumulating its own spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

Cathie Wood’s investment firm sold a total of 2,226,191 shares of the bitcoin futures ETF since Jan. 19, worth around $42.8 million at Thursday’s closing price of $19.22, from its Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW).

Meanwhile, it has bought 1,563,619 shares in the ARK 21 Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB), worth approximately $62.3 million. ARKB closed on Thursday at $39.87, up a negligible 0.68% on the day.

The United Kingdom isn’t releasing a digital pound—not yet, anyway.

In a report that examines the responses from a consultation paper from the Bank of England and His Majesty’s Treasury, the government department and central bank said that another study would be necessary before a central bank digital currency (CBDC) drops in the UK.

A CBDC is a digital currency that—unlike virtual coins Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin—is controlled by a central authority: a central bank, to be precise.

Bitcoin-focused financial services firm Swan Bitcoin revealed it launched a new Bitcoin mining venture in the summer of last year to expand its institutional offerings and is now “actively working” to become a publicly traded company within the next 12 months.

Swan Mining, which had launched and operated in “stealth mode,” has already mined 750 Bitcoin (BTC) from its current hash rate capacity of 4.5 exahashes per second (EH/s), the parent company said on Jan. 25.

The firm expects its hash rate capacity to exceed 8 EH/s when it deploys new mining equipment in March.

According to Foresight News, the Solana Foundation has announced a partnership with CoinCDX to launch a 2.5 billion rupee (approximately $3 million) funding plan in India. The initiative aims to promote local Web3 developers to design and develop products on the Solana blockchain. Over the next few months, the funds from this grant will be used to initiate advanced blockchain education programs and competitions similar to hackathons among Web3 developers.

An official with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), South Africa’s financial industry watchdog, announced on Jan.24 that the organization expects to determine the fate of some 50 crypto firms’ license applications in the coming weeks. Gerhard van Deventer, the head of enforcement at the FSCA, revealed that out of the 90-plus applicants, 20 have since withdrawn.

As reported by News in late 2023, the South African watchdog had received a total of 93 applicants just days before the Nov. 30 deadline. This figure, which ultimately rose to 105, consisted of both current holders of FSP licenses and fresh applicants. At the time, Diketso Mashigo, the FSCA’s compliance head, confirmed that some applicants had decided against pursuing the license. Some eventually opted to operate outside the South African market.

The group of recently launched spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are seeing combined negative flows for the first time since they opened for trade on Jan. 11 as money moving into funds like BlackRock’s IBIT and Fidelity’s FBTC has failed to keep pace with the exits from Grayscale’s GBTC.

According to data collected by Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart, the 10 spot bitcoin ETFs (GBTC included) saw a net outflow of $158 million on Wednesday. Day-to-day flows can, of course, be mercurial. Numbers compiled by CoinDesk from the issuers’ websites shows total bitcoin held by all of the spot ETFs (GBTC included) as of Jan. 24 of about 649,000 versus more than 660,000 a week earlier, a decline of roughly 11,000 tokens.

Airdrop season continues on, and the latest sizable token distribution comes from the Ethereum ecosystem, thanks to AltLayer. The scaling protocol launched its ALT airdrop on Thursday, and the number of tokens offered up to eligible community members tops $100 million worth.

ALT is available now to claim for early AltLayer users and select ecosystem participants, and the token has already jumped 18% today to a current price of about $0.327, according to CoinGecko. It began at a price above $0.27 just after 5am ET.

Troubled cryptocurrency exchange Binance.US continues to face pressure from regulators in the United States in the aftermath of the former Binance CEO’s guilty plea.

Regulators in Florida and Alaska have told Binance.US that the crypto exchange can no longer serve its residents, The Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 25.

The Alaska Division of Banking and Securities reportedly denied a renewal of Binance.US’s license in January 2024. Cointelegraph approached the agency for a comment regarding the denial but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

According to Decrypt, the United States has announced plans to sell approximately $117 million worth of Bitcoin seized from a convicted drug trafficker who operated on the now-defunct Silk Road dark web marketplace. A forfeiture notice from earlier this month is now available online, stating the government’s intention to ‘dispose’ of the cryptocurrency. The notice comes after the sentencing of 38-year-old Ryan Farace and his 72-year-old father Joseph Farace, both of Maryland, on charges of money laundering conspiracy.

The Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) has reached a settlement in principle with crypto lender Abra, following allegations of unregistered securities offerings. As per the agreement, Abra will return assets to Texan investors, with an opportunity for other U.S. clients to reclaim their investments.

Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles announced the settlement, highlighting the resolution of concerns regarding Abra’s interest-bearing cryptocurrency products, Abra Boost and Abra Earn. The enforcement actions, led by the Texas State Securities Board’s Enforcement Director Joe Rotunda, accused Abra and its affiliates of offering these products without proper registration, potentially putting investors at risk.