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Following significant developments in the crypto industry last week, including actions taken by companies like Chainalysis, Visa, Polygon, and Kraken, we are back this week to bring you the essential cryptocurrency updates.
This article covers a range of crucial topics, including the latest updates in the SBF Trial, alongside some less favorable events, such as the recent Hamas attack on Israel and its crypto-related aspects.
Stay informed about these and more as we recap the noteworthy occurrences in the crypto world from the past week.
SBF Trial Update
BlockFi’s CEO Testifies that the company trusted Alameda’s solvency based on the provided balance sheet.
Last week, BlockFi CEO Zac Prince testified against Sam Bankman-Fried, revealing that BlockFi’s involvement with FTX and Alameda Research led to the company’s bankruptcy.
BlockFi started significant lending to Alameda Research in late 2020 or early 2021, with loans exceeding $1 billion by May 2022. Substantial losses from the Terra Luna crypto ecosystem collapse prompted BlockFi to request repayment, and Alameda indeed repaid the funds.
However, Alameda received new loans worth $850 million, so BlockFi lost over $1 billion due to its dealings with FTX and Alameda, resulting in bankruptcy.
During the trial, Prince explained that they had received balance sheets and collateral to ensure Alameda’s solvency and clarified BlockFi’s due diligence process and the involvement of its legal team. He also mentioned that BlockFi’s customers were aware of the lending practice, contrasting with FTX’s lack of transparency.
The SEC Will Not Contest Grayscale Case Defeat
SEC’s non-appeal decision in Grayscale case bolsters GBTC’s Bitcoin ETF prospects, prompting a Bitcoin price surge.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed last week that it has opted against pursuing an appeal in a court case that cast doubt on its rejection of Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) transition into an exchange-traded fund (ETF).
This development raises the United States’ prospects to witness its inaugural Bitcoin ETF.
Earlier, a court had ruled that the SEC’s disapproval of GBTC’s ETF application was “arbitrary and capricious.” While the SEC retains the authority to reject the application on alternative grounds, this could trigger further legal contentions.
Grayscale has persistently contended that converting GBTC into an ETF would eliminate its discount and align its price with Bitcoin. BlackRock and Fidelity are among the entities awaiting SEC approval for Bitcoin spot ETFs.
The New CEO of Tether is Paolo Ardoino
Tether has named Paolo Ardoino its CEO, while the previous CEO, Jean-Louis van der Velde, has moved to an advisory role.
Tether, the prominent stablecoin issuer, has announced a strategic change in its leadership. Paolo Ardoino, who has been serving as Tether’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) since 2017, will ascend to the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Simultaneously, the former CEO, Jean-Louis van der Velde, will transition into an advisory position. According to a press release, Van der Velde will maintain his position as CEO of Bitfinex, and Ardoino will also preserve his CTO positions at Bitfinex and Holepunch.
Ardoino’s elevation to CEO comes on the heels of Tether’s impressive growth, marked by a remarkable surge in its market capitalization from less than $100 million to a substantial $83.5 billion, a feat primarily achieved during the transformative year of 2020.
In his new capacity, Ardoino envisions Tether as a technology-driven powerhouse poised to reshape the landscape of the financial world.
Tether’s progression under Ardoino’s guidance is poised to be a key development to watch in the evolving landscape of digital finance.
Hamas Collected Millions in Crypto Donations Over Time
Wall Street Journal published a report showing that the Hamas military group and its affiliates have received millions in crypto donations over the years.
A recent Wall Street Journal report reveals that Hamas and its associates have collected millions in cryptocurrency donations.
According to this report, one of its affiliates, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, received a substantial $93 million in cryptocurrencies from August 2021 to June 2023. During the same period, Hamas received around $41 million in digital donations.
However, although this cryptocurrency fundraising method is raising concerns, it’s important to know that their primary source of money is support from countries like Iran, which provides about $100 million every year.
Cryptocurrency donations, though noteworthy, make up only a small part of their overall financial strategy. Even so, this report has started extensive debates regarding the involvement of cryptocurrencies in such criminal activities.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Israeli Authorities Freeze Hamas Cryptocurrency Accounts with Binance Assistance
Israeli authorities and Binance exchange have frozen 190 Hamas-linked cryptocurrency accounts.
Before WSJ released the above-mentioned report, Israeli law enforcement had frozen cryptocurrency accounts associated with Hamas in response to the uptick in hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.
This operation involved the collaboration of Israel’s Lahav 433 unit, working with the defense ministry, intelligence agencies, and the cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
So, Israeli authorities and Binance have acted against approximately 190 Binance accounts suspected of having connections to various terrorist organizations since 2021.
Furthermore, Binance has previously assisted Israeli authorities in dismantling a “terrorism financing operation” with ties to Iran’s Quds Force and Hezbollah.
So, despite legal challenges, including a lawsuit against Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao by the U.S. Commodities Futures and Trading Commission, the exchange remains committed to actively countering terror financing.
Italian Luxury Automaker Ferrari to Accept Crypto Payments in the US
On October 14, Ferrari declared their acceptance of cryptocurrency payments for cars in the United States, facilitated by their collaboration with BitPay.
In the last few days, Ferrari announced its plans to change significantly: they will accept digital payments in the United States.
The decision is prompted by increasing customer demand, with many clients, particularly tech-savvy young investors, expressing a desire to conduct transactions using cryptocurrencies.
Ferrari’s Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Enrico Galliera, revealed the company’s plans to integrate cryptocurrency payments into its system. Initially, Ferrari partnered with BitPay, a major cryptocurrency payment processor, to facilitate these transactions, allowing customers to make payments in Bitcoin, Ether, and USD Coin.
Ferrari aims to test the waters with its cryptocurrency integration in the U.S. and plans to expand its acceptance of digital currencies to Europe by the first quarter of 2024.
Apple briefly removed the MetaMask wallet from the App Store for a few hours due to Apple’s background process policy.
On October 14, Apple temporarily removed the MetaMask wallet from its App Store, prompting concerns about its potential permanent removal.
This removal did not result from any security breach or malicious activity, according to a MetaMask spokesperson. Instead, Apple’s service policies, which prohibit apps from running unrelated background processes like cryptocurrency mining, are likely responsible. The removal was temporary (just for a few hours).
In the past, MetaMask faced challenges from Big Tech marketplaces, including Google Play, which suspended the app for alleged violations of financial service guidelines. Apple’s requirement for app developers to share 30% of transaction revenues has also posed challenges for crypto companies seeking iOS users.
Uniswap Introduces Android Mobile Wallet in Beta Version
Uniswap has introduced a beta version of its cryptocurrency wallet for Android users.
Currently, Uniswap is testing a beta version of their mobile wallet dedicated to Android users, following its earlier launch on Apple’s iOS. This Android app is still unavailable in Google Play but can be downloaded in beta from Uniswap’s official website.
The Uniswap team decided to launch only for members of the Uniswap crypto community to help test it before releasing it more widely. The Android wallet has features designed for quick and straightforward cryptocurrency exchanges. It can automatically switch between different networks, making it easier for users. They’ve also added protections to protect users from certain types of attacks.
In a few months, the wallet should be available to more people. This is part of Uniswap’s mission to make its services accessible to a global audience.
Mastercard and Reserve Bank of Australia Achieve Success in Wrapped CBDC Trial
Mastercard, in partnership with Cuscal and Mintable, recently successfully trialed a solution for wrapping Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) on diverse blockchain networks.
Recently, Mastercard collaborated with various organizations, and just recently, it accomplished a successful trial involving wrapped CBDCs. They worked with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and others to see how to use digital money from Australia’s central bank (CBDC).
So, they made sure that only specific trusted people could use this digital money, and they checked their identities and risks with licensed companies.
During this trial, Mastercard also showed that this digital money could be used to buy digital things assets on the Ethereum blockchain. They moved the digital money from the RBA’s system to the Ethereum system.
They used Mastercard’s Multi Token Network system to make payments, and businesses on blockchains work better. It ensures things are safe and can be used on different blockchain systems.
The RBA had already done a test with digital money, showing it could make payments easier, help new ideas in digital money, support financial innovation, and make more people part of the digital world.
The Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution determined that the term “disintermediated” more accurately characterizes DeFi than “decentralized” due to identified centralization patterns.
The French regulatory body, Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), recently concluded a two-month public consultation on regulating decentralized finance (DeFi).
They found that the term “disintermediated” better describes DeFi than “decentralized” due to centralization patterns. This paradoxical concentration in DeFi poses operational risks related to blockchain node hosting infrastructure involving cloud service providers.
Respondents largely support DeFi on public blockchains with regular audits and endorse regulating intermediaries and certifying smart contracts.
The ACPR advises creating rules for smart contract certification, defining customer protection governance, and implementing measures for DeFi’s blockchain infrastructures.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) also recognizes DeFi’s potential benefits and significant risks in a 22-page report.
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