Crypto News Weekly roundup February 19

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This week has seen regulators in several countries getting involved in the crypto industry, with the market cap pushing to $2 trillion. We at TheCoinRise are here to summarise it for you.

Major Funding round

Blockchain data indexing protocol The Graph has secured a $205 million ecosystem fund to entice new developers to its platform. This demonstrates that venture capital firms are interested in supporting growth funds focused on dApps.

Sequoia Capital, an American venture capital firm, has announced the launch of a new fund with a commitment of $500 million to $600 million to increase its involvement in the digital currency ecosystem. While Sequoia Capital is not a newcomer to digital currencies, the move is intended to alert its partners that it can now present itself as a more active investor than it has previously been.

Crypto adoption

The NBA merch designer Shawn Kurz has developed FoodChain Global (FCG), a blockchain-based non-profit organization to help charitable projects addressing global hunger. He aims to address the issues and challenges in traditional charity systems by FCG.

DBS, Singapore’s largest bank, is looking to expand its crypto, specifically its Bitcoin trading services, to retail investors and similar clients. Piyush Gupta, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, announced the idea during the financial institution’s Q4 earnings call, stating that the firm is working on plans to build up its crypto activities by the end of 2022.

NYSE has recently submitted a trademark application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to file the name “NYSE” for multiple blockchains and crypto-related products and services. 

Exchange News

Last week, the pseudonymous famous white-hat hacker “Tree_of_Alpha” warned crypto exchange giant Coinbase of a vulnerability in its latest exclusive trading system. The exchange took immediate action and suspended the trading facility for some time before resuming back to normal. The CEO of the company thanked the white-hat hacker for pointing it out.

The exchange has also announced its plans to hire up to 2,000 people across its Product, Engineering, and Design teams this year. 

A new crypto exchange Bitrue, which debuted in July 2018, has recently decided to list SUNDAE, the native utility token of the Decentralized Exchange and token-staking platform SundaeSwap.

Ariva.World, which represents the new generation of Decentralized travel and tourism featuring a portal powered by BSC, has listed its native token ARV on exchange platform AscendEX.

Here is an article on a new kind of traveling experience by Metaverse by TheCoinRise.

This week, AscendEX has listed two more tokens, namely, the Synchrony token (SCY) under the trading pair (SCY/USDT) and the Faith Tribe token (FTRB).

Crypto exchange giant Binance is reportedly under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on its connection with the trading firms. The regulator is scrutinizing and asking for information from Binance on the two firms.

Binance Exchange has joined the Association of Russian Banks (ARB), cementing its position as a prominent player in Russia’s financial ecosystem. Binance’s onboarding was supported by the establishment of a new department for the organization called the Expert Center for Digital Financial Assets and Digital Currencies, according to local news site Prime.

New Launches

The new gaming-focused proof-of-stake blockchain Oasys was launched on February 7, with the aim to enhance mainstream pay-to-earn (P2E) adoption. It has teamed up with 21 gaming and Web3- based tech firms to act as auditors.

Siddharth Menon, co-founder and COO of one of the world’s largest crypto exchange platforms, WazirX, and a leading Indian game developer SuperGaming has launched Tegro, a complete Web3 gaming ecosystem that empowers gamers, game creators, and investors to maximize Web3’s potential in the most sustainable, transparent, and fair way possible.

An Indian social networking platform Chingari with 100 million users, similar to TikTok, has planned an improved experience for its creator economy. For this, the company is bringing a native digital asset, $GARI, and a crypto wallet on the Solana blockchain.

KSM Starter will be rebranded Karus Starter to represent the company’s expansion beyond Kusama and new focus. The team will build $KST token bridges to support emerging new IDO initiatives on promising alternative blockchains as per popular demand and burgeoning new opportunities. 

Partnerships this week

Bybit, a Singapore-based digital asset trading platform, has signed a three-year deal as the Principal Team Partner with Oracle Red Bull Racing, representing the first time the sports team has done so. The deal, according to the Formula 1 side, is worth $50 million each year and is the world’s largest of its sort with a digital asset market.

The Layer-2 solution Polygon (MATIC) has joined hands with Cere, a decentralized data cloud platform, to launch a joint venture Web 3 media platform named DaVinci. The two companies aim to improve the security of the NFT-backed assets and ensure verifiable and truly decentralized data.

The issuer of the USD Coin (USDC) Circle has doubled its market valuation to $9 billion after joining hands with the Special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Concord Acquisition Corp.

NFT and Metaverse

The former first lady and crypto NFT proponent Melania Trump, who recently was in the headlines for launching its NFT collection, has reportedly spent $170,000 for an NFT from the Head of State Collection.

The largest bank of the United States, JPMorgan, has marked its solid entry in Metaverse with the construction of a virtual; lounge in the famous blockchain-based world Decentraland. The bank called the space a “$1 trillion opportunity.”

Regulatory involvement

Crypto lending platform BlockFi, after facing a year of scrutiny on whether the service is a securities offering or not, has finally agreed to pay the U.S. SEC $50 million and stop opening new accounts on its yield lending product.

The Bloomberg report also revealed that the company would also pay another $50 million to state regulators as part of the settlement.

The U.K.’s tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs or HMRC, has detained three people for £1.4 million in tax evasion. The seizure of NFTs was part of the crackdown, an unusual step that establishes a precedent in the crackdown on digital currencies.

India, which now shows some progression in crypto tax and regulation, is seeing the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) agreeing and working together to bring the new crypto laws that were highlighted in the budget session proposal.

Russia, which has seen continuous suggestions on regulating the crypto sector, has yet another proposal. The Ministry of Economic Development proposed to allow crypto mining operations in locations with a long-term surplus in electricity generation.

The trials for the Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC, called the Digital Ruble, have been started by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). According to the apex financial organization, two of the first batch of 12 banks that volunteered to participate in the trials successfully completed a full cycle of the new form of money transactions between clients using mobile banking apps.

Despite the ongoing tensions with Russia along its borders, Ukraine’s Lawmakers have passed a bill legalizing digital currencies, a move that has garnered praise from the worldwide bitcoin community. The Ukrainian Parliament – Verkhovna Rada – passed the bill with 272 votes, making it one of the most forward-thinking legislatures in the world and will give easier digital assets access to citizens.

Senators Jim Risch, Bob Menendez, and Bill Cassidy have come up with a proposal, The Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador or ACES Act, which demands a State Department report on how El Salvador is minimizing the risks to the U.S. financial system from its use of BTC as the legal tender.

The congressman from Ohio’s eighth district, Warren Davidson, has proposed the “Keep Your Coins” bill a pun to KYC, in the House of Representatives aiming to protect self-custodied crypto wallets of people against government control.

The former CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo said that the CFTC should supervise the crypto market rather than the U.S. SEC or the U.S. Treasury, or any other agency.

The country which was known for being crypto-friendly, Canada, is witnessing an Emergencies Act, implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This gives him the special authority to directly seize the bank accounts of the Freedom Convoy protesters and analyze “large and suspicious transactions,” including crypto.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI says that the crypto and deep-fake tech are the most common mode of payments for ransomware attackers. 

The FBI has formed a new group to combat crypto exploitation. Lisa Monaco, US Deputy Attorney General, said that the FBI would increase its efforts to address enforcement in the crypto sector.

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are looking into enacting legislation that will make it easier for Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) to open a store in the country. The Securities and Commodities Authority is in the final stages of revising legislation to allow VASPs to set up operations in the country, as per the Bloomberg report.

Netflix brings new documentary series on Bitfinex hack

The renowned streaming platform and production company Netflix has announced that it will launch a documentary series about the famous Bitfinex attack of 2016, which led to a loss of 119,756 Bitcoin worth $72 million at the time. It was one of the biggest financial crimes in the history of cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin flying high

On February 12, despite the bleeding market, the Bitcoin network witnessed the hash rate surging to a new all-time high (ATH) at 248.11 TH/s, proving to be a highly protecting decentralized ecosystem through a growing network of Bitcoin miners all over the world.

Not only this, after the continuous surge from its July low, the Bitcoin Network has touched a new all-time high in mining difficulty.

The analysis tool CoinWarz reported that the mining difficulty had achieved a new high at 27.97 trillion hashes. 

Charlie Munger calls crypto’ venereal disease’

Legendary investors and billionaire Charlie Munger have once again slammed Bitcoin, calling inflation the biggest threat to the U.S., besides nuclear war. He also praised China for banning crypto trading and mining and said that he is proud of not being a crypto investor.

ConocoPhillips to reduce ‘routine flaring’

One of the biggest oil and gas companies, ConocoPhilips has been experimenting with Bitcoin mining to reduce and eventually eliminate the wasteful process of flaring.

The company is now working in North Dakota’s oil-rich Bakken region to sell the byproduct of oil drilling, called flaring, to third-party Bitcoin miners who will use it as fuel.

Luxembourg Investors Remains “Cautiously Optimistic”

Auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has surveyed to find that investors are “Cautiously Optimistic” about the upcoming opportunities in the crypto world.

Of those surveyed, as many as 61% said they are “embarking or planning to embark on a crypto journey,” with some already assessing, developing, or notably providing services bordering on digital assets.

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TheCoinRise will be back with another weekly roundup next Friday.

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