News Headlines (30th JAN 2024)

Invesco and Galaxy Asset Management have lowered the fee of its spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to 0.25% from 0.39%, the issuers announced Monday.

The move puts the sponsor fee for the Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO) in line with that of most fellow issuers. Only Ark and 21Shares, Bitwise and Franklin Templeton offer lower fees versus their peers.

Invesco said it will continue to waive fees for the first six months or until it reaches $5 billion in assets, according to the statement.

An Australian and two Americans have been charged with orchestrating a $1.9 billion cryptocurrency scam based around a purported DeFi platform, HyperFund, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Monday.

The DOJ accused Australian citizen Sam Lee of co-founding HyperFund and Rodney Burton and Brenda Chunga of promoting it, together defrauding investors of $1.89 billion by claiming that investment returns would come from what the court called “non-existent cryptocurrency mining operations.”

The central bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) conducted its first cross-border digital dirham transfer using the mBridge central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform on Jan. 29.

The 50 million dirhams ($13.6 million) cross-border CBDC transfer was sent to China using the multi-CBDC mBridge platform, according to Gulf News. The chairman of the board of the Central Bank of the UAE, Sheikh Mansour, conducted the CBDC transfer on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebration of the establishment of the central bank.

According to CoinDesk, altcoins are outperforming bitcoin and ether, indicating that investor interest is broadening beyond the largest cryptocurrencies. The total crypto market capitalization has rebounded to $1.74 trillion from $1.61 trillion in a week, with alternative cryptocurrencies like Solana’s SOL, Avalanche’s AVAX, and Internet Computer’s ICP leading the recovery. SOL has risen 27% to $103, nearly reversing losses seen following the Jan. 11 debut of spot-based bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. The rally comes amid surging user interest in Solana-based trading aggregator Jupiter, where volumes topped the $500 million mark on Monday, surpassing the activity on industry-leading decentralized exchange Uniswap.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday that a 40-year-old Indian national, Banmeet Singh, has pleaded guilty to “running a dark web narcotics conspiracy.” Specifically, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The announcement details:

According to the DEA, this case involves the largest single cryptocurrency and cash seizure in DEA history; the defendant has forfeited cryptocurrency accounts that ultimately became worth $150 million.

Crypto exchange Bitpanda will “off-board” Dutch residents from its platform to comply with regulations in the Netherlands, the company said in an email Tuesday.

“Bitpanda is committed to its mission to cooperate and comply with the latest regulatory landscape as dictated by local regulators, which is why Bitpanda has decided to off-board Dutch residents from the broker platform,” a spokesperson for the Vienna-based company said in the email.

Although 2023 was another year of multi-billion dollar crypto hacks, the amount of stolen funds recovered from them is a promising sign for market participants.

Blockchain security firm PeckShield found that of the $2.61 billion in losses that stemmed from more than 600 major crypto hacks, $674.9 million had been recovered.

PeckShield also noted that decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol still remained the prime targets for hackers, with these platforms accounting for 67% of the year’s thefts, 40% of which involved flash loans.

Harvest Global has submitted an application for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), Tencent News reported.

A spot Bitcoin ETF, if approved, would allow investors to trade shares of the fund on a traditional stock exchange, with the shares directly linked to the actual price of Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. This ETF would provide a regulated investment vehicle for both retail and institutional investors, potentially attracting a new wave of participants to the crypto market.

The move by investment management firm Harvest Global comes at a time when Hong Kong is positioning itself as a more crypto-friendly jurisdiction.

Crypto exchange listing scams are making a comeback amid a broader market recovery.

According to a Jan. 29 post by Yi He — a co-founder of Binance and the spouse of the exchange’s former CEO, Changpeng Zhao — a LinkedIn impersonator is using her name and position to offer token listings in exchange for payment.

“I do have a LinkedIn account, but I have long forgotten the password,” said He. “I am also not in charge of discussing with projects for a potential listing; please be wary of those who claim to be close to me and discuss with you about investments or listing.”

According to Coincu, Google has amended its advertising guidelines, allowing cryptocurrency trusts, particularly Bitcoin ETF ads, to be promoted on its platform. This move enables major players such as BlackRock and Franklin Templeton to actively market their funds, marking a pivotal moment in the advertising landscape. The decision coincides with the recent approval of the first batch of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Google’s green light for Bitcoin ETF advertisements amplifies the ongoing momentum surrounding these financial instruments, offering them a broader platform to connect with a wider audience.