News Headlines (29th December 2023)

The Canadian exchange suffered a security break earlier this month, resulting in the loss of an unknown amount of customer funds.

The company behind Canadian crypto exchange Catalyx has frozen all trading, deposits and withdrawals following a security breach that involved the loss of some customer funds.

CatalX CTX Ltd. said in a press release that it has opened an investigation into the incident, which may involve an employee. It did not say how much money was suspected to have been lost.

The launch of a highly anticipated spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) next year could lead to the price of the cryptocurrency to drop, a new report suggests.

Blockchain data firm CryptoQuant said in a report Thursday that the approval of the investment vehicle could be a “sell the news” event as investors are currently sitting on big gains in the run up to the potential launch.

The Singapore-based company added that this may see the price of Bitcoin plunge to as low as $32,000 per coin. It’s currently priced at $42,539, according to data from CoinGecko.

According to Foresight News, Indonesian authorities have raided ten locations suspected of stealing electricity from the national grid to mine bitcoin over the Christmas weekend. In the raids conducted in Medan, North Sumatra, officials discovered 1,314 bitcoin mining machines and detained 26 individuals. The suspects are believed to have stolen power from state-owned electricity company PLN’s power lines over the past six months, causing a loss of approximately IDR 144 billion ($10 million).

Under Indonesian law, electricity theft is considered a criminal offense, punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to double the value of the unpaid electricity charges.

Members of the South Korean parliament, the National Assembly, bought or sold almost $100 million in cryptocurrencies during a three-year period, according to a report published by the country’s Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on Dec. 29.

The report follows a three-month investigation into the digital asset transaction records of all 298 sitting lawmakers between May 30, 2020, and May 31, 2023. The probe found that 18 out of 298 Korean lawmakers have records of digital asset possession in the last three years, while just 11 lawmakers account for the total volume traded during the period.

The CEO of Ark Investment Management (Ark Invest), Cathie Wood, shared her perspective regarding spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Tuesday. Ark Invest is among the applicants seeking approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch a spot bitcoin ETF. The deadline for the securities regulator to make a decision on whether to approve or deny Ark’s application is Jan. 10.

Commenting on the SEC’s attitude regarding spot bitcoin ETFs, Wood opined: “Something did change within the last month to six weeks. After being denied several times by the SEC without hearing from anyone at the SEC, we and others we know have gotten questions from the SEC — very thoughtful, detailed, technical questions. That’s a very positive move. And it’s not just one set of questions. It’s follow-up questions. That is really good.”

The Avalanche Foundation, whose grants and investments help support the development of the Avalanche blockchain ecosystem, is considering buying meme coins as part of a drive that recognizes the distinct niches of the cryptocurrency market after a surge in tokens such as bonk (BONK) almost single-handedly kickstarted activity on the Solana network earlier this month.

The selection process for the collection will be based on criteria such as the number of holders, liquidity thresholds, project maturity, principles of a fair launch and overall social sentiment, among other factors, the foundation said in a post on X.

In the latest turn of global governments against the crypto industry, India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) announced Thursday that it has requested the effective ban of nine crypto exchanges within the country, including Binance and Kraken.

The agency, which regulates suspicious financial activity, issued a statement stating that the exchanges are operating illegally in India by failing to both register with the FIU and comply with national anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s 2021 ban on regulated financial institutions from servicing crypto exchanges significantly hampered the adoption of the eNaira central bank digital currency (CBDC), according to Nigerian tech and innovation legal expert Chinedu Albert.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Albert said the Nigerian CBDC is still a lofty idea representing the government’s response to its “ill-advised” blanket ban on cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

In 2021, Chainalysis ranked Nigeria high in its Global Crypto Adoption Index, reflecting the demand for a currency unaffected by government policies and inflation, which are features offered by some cryptocurrencies. However, Albert stated that the eNaira faces low adoption because it lacks this shielding element, an essential quality of cryptocurrencies.

According to Bloomberg, crypto pioneer and former Disney star Brock Pierce is facing a legal dispute over a resort in Puerto Rico. Pierce, who co-founded the cryptocurrency Tether and moved to Puerto Rico in 2017, lost the property in November, sparking a legal battle with the new owners who claim the transfer was legal and call his allegations baseless.

Since moving to Puerto Rico, firms linked to Pierce have purchased at least six properties around the island for about $35 million, including a 124-year-old masonic lodge in Old San Juan that serves as his headquarters. With the Vieques resort purchase, Pierce aimed to restart a major economic engine for the local economy.

On Dec. 27, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) released a public consultation paper to gather residents’ opinions on the proposed regulatory regime for stablecoin issuers. The consultation period began on the day of the announcement and will end on Feb. 29, 2024, the two bodies said in a joint statement.

In addition to releasing the consultation paper, the HKMA announced that it will introduce a sandbox arrangement whose purpose will be to convey supervisory expectations and guidance on compliance to prospective stablecoin issuers. The sandbox arrangement will also enable the regulator to get prospective stablecoin issuers’ perspectives on the proposed regulatory requirements.