News Headlines (8th JANUARY 2024)

ARK Invest sold a further $20.6 million worth of Coinbase (COIN) shares on Friday across three of its exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Cathie Wood’s investment firm offloaded a total of 133,823 COIN shares, which closed last week at $153.98.

ARK Invest has a target of no individual stock surpassing 10% weighting of an ETF’s value. COIN more than doubled in price in the last three months of 2023, bringing about consistent sales of the crypto exchange’s shares by ARK.

Mercari, Japan’s digital flea market platform with over 22 million monthly active users, is planning to allow users to purchase products in bitcoin by June this year, according to Nikkei.

Payments in bitcoin are set to be hosted by the company’s Tokyo-based blockchain subsidiary, Mercoin. While prices on Mercari would remain displayed in Japanese yen, users of the app would be able to make payments with the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, according to the report.

Mercoin plans to serve as an intermediary that transfers bitcoin to the seller in yen, imposing transaction fees similar to those in sales made in fiat currency. It remains unclear if users would be charged the same amount of fees.

Nigerian cryptocurrency industry stakeholders have commented on the approval of the cNGN stablecoin by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its potential rate of adoption in the country compared with the eNaira central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The Africa Stablecoin Consortium (ASC) — a collaboration of Nigerian banks and fintechs — announced the new stablecoin in December 2023. It aims to bring advantages to tokenholders and the Nigerian economy.

Cointelegraph spoke to stakeholders in the Nigerian cryptocurrency industry to get their opinions on the potential adoption rate for the cNGN. Nigerian crypto analyst Rume Ophi said the nation’s crypto community will appreciate the new stablecoin.

According to Foresight News, Solana-based DeFi product Saros has completed a $3.75 million private funding round with participation from Solana Ventures, Hashed, Spartan, Arche Fund, GBV, Assym, IF, Genblock, K300, Cryptomind, Kyros, and Evernew. The funding round was completed at the end of 2022 and will be used to support the company’s expansion plans and the development of the Saros super app.

The Saros super app is a fully non-custodial application that provides comprehensive financial services, aiming to offer users a secure digital economy experience.

Starting January 1, 2024, a new U.S. tax law mandates individuals and businesses to report cryptocurrency transactions over $10,000 to the IRS within 15 days, detailing sender information and transaction specifics. Failure to comply could result in felony charges. This regulation, part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, applies to both individuals and businesses involved in crypto-related trade or business, but the lack of clear Treasury guidance on compliance specifics raises concerns among entities like Coin Center, a crypto policy advocacy group.

Odds of a spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) being approved in the U.S. have risen to more than 90%, two influential analysts at Bloomberg said, while crypto market participants at betting platform Polymarket became more pessimistic, trimming the odds to 85%.

Referring to the likelihood of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejecting proposals after Friday’s flurry of updated filings, Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas said in a Saturday post: “I probably go with 5% at this point. But you gotta leave a little window open for these things.” He previously tipped the odds at 90% in November, saying that updated forms at the time indicated providers were moving in the right direction.

The bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network announced today on X that it plans to unstake existing holdings of Ethereum  ETH +0.76%

 to facilitate asset distribution to its creditors.

Celsius added in a following X post that the “significant” unstaking event is scheduled to take place in the next few days. The staked Ethereum holdings have provided the defunct company an income stream to offset costs that it obtained in its restructuring process, according to the post.

Celsius filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in July 2022 after the spiraling crypto market forced the lender, met with a liquidity crisis, to freeze withdrawals.

The Nebraska Legislature saw the introduction of a bill seeking to establish basic crypto standards in the state.

On Jan. 5, Nebraska State Senator Eliot Bostar introduced the legislative bill 911, which seeks to adopt the Blockchain Basics Act. The bill aims to establish regulations to promote a safe and legal cryptocurrency mining, holding and trading environment for the citizens of Nebraska.

The Blockchain Basics Act would allow individuals to host blockchain nodes and conduct crypto mining operations in residential properties without requiring them to hold licenses. However, all operators would also be subject to compliance with local noise ordinances. Crypto businesses, on the other hand, would be required to operate from designated industrial zones only.

According to Foresight News, cross-chain protocol Orbit Chain has announced that it is currently working to recover user assets stolen from Orbit Bridge. As a result, all assets held by the Orbit Bridge team will remain frozen, regardless of whether the cross-chain bridge reopens, until the user assets are fully recovered. The Orbit Chain team is actively cooperating with national intelligence and law enforcement agencies in their investigation. Previously, Foresight News reported that the cross-chain bridge protocol Orbit Bridge was hacked on January 1, 2024, resulting in a loss of approximately $81.5 million in cryptocurrency assets.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued a warning on social media platform X Saturday about the risks of fear of missing out (FOMO). This is the fifth piece of advice in a recent series from the agency.

“‘NO GO to FOMO’ (fear of missing out),” the Office wrote, explaining that seeing others invest in a particular investment doesn’t make it the right choice for you. The SEC then urged investors to find out which investments are right for them and their investing goals.

SEC Issues ‘Fear of Missing Out’ Warning Ahead of Spot Bitcoin ETF Decision

The SEC’s warning post references an article on the regulator’s website about FOMO. The securities watchdog wrote:

We’ve all seen the increased interest in online investing and the explosion of digital assets and meme stocks. Understanding these kinds of investments may seem overwhelming.