News Headlines (4th December 2023)

Global cryptocurrency platform has secured authorization as an Electronic Money Institution from the United Kingdom’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

The EMI license follows’s registration as a cryptoasset business with the FCA in August 2022. The Cryptoasset Register is aimed at firms engaging in cryptoasset activities in the UK with a focus on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing compliance. The EMI license is broader, allowing firms to issue and manage electronic money and provide a wider range of financial services.

The registration allows to offer a suite of UK-localized e-money products, according to a statement.

Lawmakers in the U.K. are asking the government to consider lowering holding limits for a potential digital pound and make sure its design won’t block the possibility of paying interest.

Both the U.K. and its 27-nation neighbor, the European Union, have said in proposals that retail digital currencies should not be allowed to earn interest as bank deposits do.

In a report published Saturday, U.K. legislators in the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons – the lower chamber of Parliament – expressed their concerns about the U.K.’s plans for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in a February consultation. The government has said a digital pound was “likely needed” in the future.*u1tkt2*_up*MQ..*_ga*NTQ0OTk3MjI4LjE3MDE2OTIxNjg.*_ga_VM3STRYVN8*MTcwMTY5MjE2Ny4xLjEuMTcwMTY5MjI0OS4wLjAuMA..

Jpm coin, the blockchain token used by JPMorgan to settle billions in same-bank transactions, will be used to complete interbank transactions. The asset recently debuted on Partior, a blockchain ledger that features inter-bank transactions using blockchain assets, which might expand its utilization.

Partior, launched in a joint effort of JPMorgan alongside DBS Bank, Temasek, and Standard Chartered, features quick multicurrency transactions alongside its members. Nonetheless, the network still relies on correspondent banking to settle the result of these transactions, preserving the banking status quo system.

According to Foresight News, South African news media My Broadband reported that the South African regulatory authority, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), has received 128 license applications from crypto asset service providers as of November 30, 2023 (the application deadline). The FSCA plans to review the statements of 36 licensees at the Licensing Enforcement Committee meeting on December 12. An additional 22 applications will be submitted on February 13, and the final 14 applications must wait until March 12.

The FSCA stated that its evaluation methods include a comprehensive assessment of ‘Know Your Customer’, data protection, cyber risk management, conflict of interest management, complaint handling, and credit transaction counterparty risk management.

Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco has launched a cryptocurrency trading service for its clients as part of its investment platform, Reuters reported on Dec. 4.

Itau, the largest bank by assets in Brazil and one of the leading lenders in Latin America, is debuting crypto trading with Bitcoin $41,675 and Ether $2,233, digital asset head Guto Antunes reportedly said. In the future, the bank plans to add more cryptocurrencies for trading, he noted.

“It starts with Bitcoin, but our overarching strategic plan is to expand to other crypto assets in the future,” Antunes stated, adding expansion would depend on regulatory developments.

It’s the first time that the price of Bitcoin has been that high since April 2022, right before the broader cryptocurrency market plunged. Bitcoin’s near 20-month peak represents a 15% climb over the past 30 days, with the price of the coin more than doubling since this time last year.

The rising price appears to reflect continued optimism and excitement over the anticipated approval of a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States. Numerous companies have filed applications to operate them, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently been meeting with some of the firms.

Tron’s native token (TRX) traded at a premium of up to 17% over the weekend on the recently hacked exchange Poloniex, creating a potentially lucrative arbitrage trade.

The premium has since shrunk to around 7%, with TRX trading at $0.10561 on Binance and $0.11005 on Poloniex, according to exchange data.

An arbitrage trade involves buying an asset on one venue and simultaneously selling it for a higher price on another. Traders take on an element of counterparty risk as they need to ensure capital can eventually flow between both venues.*u1tkt2*_up*MQ..*_ga*NTQ0OTk3MjI4LjE3MDE2OTIxNjg.*_ga_VM3STRYVN8*MTcwMTY5MjE2Ny4xLjEuMTcwMTY5MjI0OS4wLjAuMA..

“In November, digital assets worth $343,038,810 were siphoned from both centralized and decentralized exchanges, according to a new report by Immunefi. The figure includes digital assets stolen via hacks and fraud, making it the “highest monthly loss witnessed this year to date.” For perspective, nearly $22.2 million (15.4 less) was lost to similar incidents.

The data also shows that November is the third time in 2023 that losses suffered by digital assets platforms have exceeded $300 million. The other months are July ($320.5 million) and September ($340.4 million). The $21 million siphoned in January is the lowest incurred so far this year.

According to Cointelegraph: The House of Commons, part of the UK’s Parliamentary Committee, has requested that the Bank of England and the Treasury conduct further investigations into the potential merits of launching a digital pound. There are concerns around the significant costs associated with creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC), as detailed in a recent report by the House of Commons Treasury Committee.

As part of these concerns, the committee has recommended improved transparency surrounding CBDC-related costs. The committee suggested compartmentalization of these costs into a separate line item in the annual report and accounts starting from 2024, stating:

“It is important that the Bank of England and Treasury keep control of these costs to avoid spending more than necessary on a digital pound that might not proceed to being built.”

  1. South Korean financial authorities solicit reports on unlicensed crypto exchanges

Financial regulators in South Korea released an update on Dec. 4 asking users to report any unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges offering services to users in the region.

The Digital Asset Exchange Association (DAXA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of South Korea collaborated on the initiative. DAXA includes five of the major virtual asset exchanges operating in the country, such as Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit and Gopax.

According to the regulators, the goal of receiving these reports is to find domestic and foreign virtual asset business operators targeting Korean citizens and not working per Article 7 of the Specific Financial Information Act.