News Headlines (2nd FEB 2024)

Members of Congress are trying to delete the controversial U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accounting bulletin that implies restrictions on companies that want to hold their customer’s crypto assets.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Reps. Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.) and Mike Flood (R-Neb.) introduced matching resolutions in the Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday that would formally disapprove of the accounting rule and conclude that it has no legal force.

Venture Smart Financial Holdings Ltd. (VSFG), a Hong Kong-based financial services firm, is preparing to apply for a spot Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF) in anticipation of potentially launching its spot bitcoin ETF in the first quarter.

In a Friday interview with The Block, VSFG Chairman Lawrence Chu said that the firm is in the final phase of officially submitting its application for a spot bitcoin ETF to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Global crypto exchange Binance is having a hard time finding new partners to reenter the United Kingdom, according to a Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter.

Binance must have an authorized approver to come back to the U.K. market, as per local regulations. The approver is permitted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to authorize financial promotions, ensuring its compliance with FCA rules before being made public.

In recent months, Binance has been turned away by at least three firms with this regulatory permission, Bloomberg’s sources said. The exchange lost its U.K. partner in October after the FCA imposed restrictions on its then-approver, (REBS).

According to CoinDesk, futures data indicates that traders expect ether (ETH) to underperform bitcoin (BTC) in the months ahead. Despite Standard Chartered’s prediction that ETH could surge to $4,000 in the next three months, potentially outperforming BTC, the ETH/BTC forward term structure has been sloping downwards. Griffin Ardern, a volatility trader from crypto asset management firm Blofin, said that this shows investors are relatively more bullish on BTC’s performance.

The cryptocurrency world witnessed one of the largest token airdrops in its history on Jan. 31, as Jupiter, a Solana-based decentralized trading aggregator, launched its native token, JUP. The event distributed approximately $700 million worth of JUP tokens to nearly a million wallets.

Jupiter’s founder, known pseudonymously as weremeow on X, announced the launch details in a forum post, revealing that the initial circulating supply of JUP would be 1.35 billion tokens, a reduction from the previously projected 1.7 billion. This adjustment brought the total supply to 10 billion JUP tokens, split evenly between team and community wallets. The airdrop constituted 10% of the total supply, amounting to 1 billion JUP.

India’s central bank is taking a very cautious approach in developing its digital rupee, a senior official familiar with India’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot programs told CoinDesk, though it’s making some progress.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is now looking into technology solutions to solve privacy concerns posed by a digital rupee, the official said. While the bank is maintaining a careful stance on crypto, the person said, it wasn’t part of its mandate to have a point of view on reducing a controversial tax that has stifled the crypto industry. The RBI isn’t mandated with legislating taxes, so that decision falls out of its purview. However, the central bank has stepped beyond its role before to try to ban crypto, so its apparent willingness to stand back on this topic may be noteworthy.

According to prosecutors, Americans Robert Powell, Carter Rohn, and Emily Hernandez carried out SIM swap attacks between March 2021 and April 2023.

The court document cited by ArsTechnica, however, does not mention FTX or its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, by name. Instead, it used the moniker Victim Company-1. A subsequent Bloomberg report today cites unnamed sources confirming that Victim Company-1 is indeed

“Around Nov. 11, 2022, Hernandez used a fake ID with an FTX employee’s details to convince AT&T to transfer the mobile phone account to another SIM card,” Bloomberg said. “The alleged ringleader of the group, Powell—who uses online monikers ‘R$’ and ElSwapo1—then used various authentication codes to access FTX’s crypto wallets.”

Bybit cryptocurrency exchange has applied for a Virtual Asset Trading Operator (VATP) license with the Hong Kong Securities and Exchange Commission (SFC).

According to the SFC’s website, the exchange applied for the license on Jan. 31 through the business entity Spark Fintech Limited. The financial regulator is reviewing 14 similar VATP applications, including submissions from the crypto exchange OKX.

Only two crypto exchanges in Hong Kong are licensed by the SFC, including the OSL exchange, which received a license on Dec. 15, 2020, and HashKey Exchange, which was licensed on Nov. 9, 2022.

According to Foresight News, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui, announced that the one-year transition period for the virtual asset service provider (VASP) licensing system is coming to an end. All Hong Kong VASPs must submit their license applications by February 29th of this year. Any VASPs that fail to submit their applications by the deadline or receive a notice from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) stating they will not be granted a license must cease operations in Hong Kong.

Jupiter’s pseudonymous founder Meow has heard the complaints about yesterday’s massive JUP airdrop on Solana, and he insists the critics have got it all wrong.

“You know what I realized, guys? How many people don’t understand anything,” Meow said today on Rug Radio’s live “FOMO Hour” about crypto influencers pushing back on the drop. “They only understand buy/sell.”