News Headlines (28th FEB 2024)

Finoa, a regulated German cryptocurrency custodian, is set to offer clients access to tokenized, real-world assets (RWA) through Centrifuge, one of the first companies to bring non-crypto assets to blockchains.

The first RWA token is derived from one of Centrifuge’s Anemoy funds, an actively managed, on-chain pool of short-term U.S. Treasury bills set up and regulated in the British Virgin Islands. The token will be available to Berlin-based Finoa’s 300-plus institutional customers using the FinoaConnect wallet system, the companies said Wednesday.

Bitcoin shot past $59,000 early Wednesday morning and Ethereum reached the $3,300 mark amid growing bullish sentiment among crypto traders.

Together, BTC and ETH now account for $1.5 trillion, or 67%, of all digital assets globally. In the past day, the global market capitalization has grown by 3% to $2.3 trillion.

The Bitcoin price, currently $59,266.94 has risen 5.4% since this time yesterday and 15% since a week ago, according to CoinGecko data.

Terraform Labs co-founder Kwon Do-hyeong will likely miss the start of the March 25 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission trial on fraud charges amidst the delay in his extradition, Reuters reported citing Kwon’s defense attorney.

Kwon’s lawyer David Patton said Monday in a letter filed to a New York federal court that the former Terra leader does not seek to postpone the trial date, Reuters reported. Kwon previously expressed desire to attend the trial in person, pushing back the trial originally set in January to March.

Goran Rodic, Kwon’s lawyer in Montenegro, reportedly said in a declaration attached to Patton’s letter that “numerous unanticipated mistakes” from the local lower court have caused delays in Montenegrin legal proceedings.

The crypto and blockchain industries have made significant headway in becoming functional sectors around the world. However, in some parts of the world, such as Southeast Asia, there is a greater tendency to welcome these financial and technological advancements.

The Southeast Asia region was highly represented in Chainalysis’s 2023 global crypto adoption index, with countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand on the brink of a crypto revolution.

With five countries in South and Southeast Asia being among the global top 10 for crypto adoption, Cointelegraph spoke with Nathan Kim, marketing director at Unopnd, who is spearheading Southeast Asia Blockchain Week, to understand more about the region’s rise in prominence and friendliness toward the industry.

According to BlockBeats, on February 28th, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) appointed two cryptocurrency tax experts from the private sector to help lead the agency in establishing services, reporting, compliance, and enforcement plans focused on digital assets. The official US tax season began on January 29th, and since then, the IRS has issued multiple notices urging citizens to report their cryptocurrency and digital asset income, including NFTs.

These appointments come as the IRS continues to emphasize the importance of reporting digital asset holdings and income. The two experts will play a crucial role in shaping the agency’s approach to digital assets, ensuring that taxpayers are aware of their obligations and that the IRS has the necessary tools and resources to enforce compliance. This move highlights the growing recognition of digital assets within the US tax system and the need for clear guidance and enforcement in this rapidly evolving sector.

On Feb. 23, 2024, the value of the meme coin market stood at an $22.26 billion. Just three days later, it increased by $3.77 billion, reaching a new height of $26.04 billion. In the most recent 24-hour period, meme tokens have seen a global trading volume of $4.13 billion. Dogecoin (DOGE) enjoyed an 11.6% increase over the last day, while the second-leading meme asset shiba inu (SHIB) saw an 8.7% rise against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday.

Bonk (BONK) outperformed both DOGE and SHIB, ascending by 16.8%, with pepe (PEPE) leading the charge among the top five, boasting a 35.5% increase against the greenback. Over the past week, PEPE’s value has skyrocketed by 71.1% compared to the U.S. dollar. In contrast, CORGIAI appreciated by 29.4% over the week, despite a slight 2.3% decrease in the last 24 hours. Dogwifhat (WIF) surged by 45.3% on Tuesday alone, marking a 49.3% uptick over the past seven days.

Ilya Lichtenstein, one of the crypto industry’s most high-stakes criminals, is now helping federal prosecutors in their case against Bitcoin Fog, one of the mixing services he said he’d used to conceal assets.

Lichtenstein – known for the multi-billion Bitfinex hack of bitcoins worth $3.6 billion when he pleaded guilty to money laundering last year – appeared this week in a Washington, D.C., trial of the accused operator of the mixing service associated with darkweb criminality, according to a report from Bloomberg News.

Lichtenstein, who had been charged and pleaded guilty alongside his wife, Heather “Razzlekhan” Morgan, told the jury that he used various mixers including Bitcoin Fog to “obfuscate” the funds from the Bitfinex hack, but it wasn’t his major method of laundering, according to Bloomberg. He said he moved on from that particular mixer once he discovered other services “suited his purposes better.”

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said he is concerned over current fiscal policies and skeptical about the market’s optimism for a “soft landing.” And while he never mentioned Bitcoin—he promised he wouldn’t—American financier Anthony Scaramucci said Dimon’s risk-averse comments suggest that he needs to ”do more homework” on the digital asset.

It started with an inflation-focused interview with CNBC at the annual Global High Yield & Leveraged Finance Conference in Miami, where Dimon said he was “kind of cautious about everything.”

Crypto exchange Kraken has launched a new division to offer dedicated services to institutions as it angles for a piece of the spot Bitcoin $59,886 exchange-traded fund (ETF) pie.

Kraken announced its new institutional brand on Feb. 27 that folds in its existing institutional offerings of spot and over-the-counter trading along with crypto staking — for those outside the United States — and is aiming it toward asset managers, hedge funds and high-net-worth individuals.

Staked co-founder Tim Ogilvie, who joined Kraken when it acquired his firm in December 2021, will head Kraken Institutional and said in a statement that “institutional adoption of crypto is growing rapidly.”

According to BlockBeats, on February 28th, a trader spent 12.5 million DAI to purchase 219 Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) at an average price of $57,167 before the BTC price increased. This transaction demonstrates the continued interest in the cryptocurrency market and the growing popularity of wrapped tokens, which allow users to access decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms using their Bitcoin holdings.

Wrapped Bitcoin is an ERC-20 token that represents Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain, enabling users to participate in DeFi applications without converting their BTC to ETH. This allows for greater flexibility and increased liquidity in the DeFi ecosystem. The purchase of 219 WBTC at an average price of $57,167 indicates that the trader sees potential in the DeFi market and is willing to invest a significant amount of capital.