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December 09,2022

Ledger Partners Up With iPod Designer To Launch New Crypto Wallet

Ledger, a security-focused company which sells crypto hardware wallets, has collaborated with Tony Fadell, the designer of the iPod, in the hopes of creating a simpler, more accessible means for customers to secure their cryptocurrencies.

Crypto hardware wallets have grown in popularity in recent weeks, owing to users wanting to self custody their digital assets in the aftermath of industry changing events such as the FTX and Terra disasters.

Following the FTX collapse, Chief Experience Officer Ian Rogers said the company had its biggest sales day ever, followed by its largest sales week ever, in mid-November, indicating that demand for hardware crypto wallets is rapidly increasing.

As per the company, it has sold over 5 million devices to customers in 200 countries and has secured approximately 20% of the global crypto assets held to date. The new Ledger Stax joins existing hardware products such as the Nano S Plus and Nano X.

Additionally, the new credit card-sized cryptocurrency wallet supports NFT collections along with more than 500 coins and digital assets. In the United States, the product shall be available for $279 in the first quarter of 2023 on the company's website or at retail stores such as Best Buy.

Lastly, according to Rogers, the first 10,000 products sold would include a free NFT which can be redeemed.

December 08,2022

Representative Torres Calls Out Gary Gensler In Strongly Worded Letter

A Democratic congressman has called for an independent investigation into the inability of the U.S. SEC to prevent the FTX disaster. Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) asked the GAO (Government Accountability Office) to conduct an independent review of everything that happened in the SEC within the months leading up to the collapse.

A strongly worded letter by Representative Torres took umbridge with SEC Chair Gary Gensler for claiming exclusive regulatory authority over cryptocurrency exchanges while also seemingly failing to properly regulate them.

Torres claimed that if the SEC has the authority which Mr. Gensler claims, it would certainly have been able to prevent the biggest crypto Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. The letter indicated that it is extremely irresponsible to assert authority while avoiding accountability, which the SEC seems to be doing.

In the past, the SEC has had no problems putting the hammer down on the crypto industry, as was the case with the still ongoing Ripple Labs lawsuit. In October, the SEC also fined Kim Kardashian $1.26 million for reportedly promoting EthereumMax, an exchange which the agency considers an unregistered security.

December 06,2022

Nexo Leaves U.S. Behind After Regulators Seemingly Fail To Provide Clear Path Forward

According to a blog post published on December 5th, the crypto borrowing and lending platform known as Nexo intends to slowly cease operations in the U.S. over the coming months. Nexo has stated that leaving the United States is a regrettable yet necessary step.

Nexo indicated that the company has been in discussions with U.S. regulators for 18 months in order to determine how to comply with local financial laws. However, no agreement has been reached between the company and U.S. officials so far.

As per the company, the decision was made following countless back and forth discussions with state and federal regulators in the United States that have since come to a halt. According to the post, despite rhetoric to the contrary, the U.S has reportedly refused to offer a path forward for empowering blockchain businesses.

As a result, Nexo believes that it cannot grant its customers confidence that regulators are looking out for their best interests. Most recently, Nexo announced that it has deactivated customers from New York and Vermont and has also halted new registrations for their Earn Interest product in the country. Furthermore, current customers in eight other states shall also lose access to this product on December 6th, 2022.

After the FTX collapse, U.S. lawmakers have contended that regulators should be given greater authority to monitor cryptocurrency exchanges. On the other hand, several industry leaders have claimed that overregulation is precisely why so many U.S. investors are leaving the country behind in the first place.

December 04,2022

Telegram Founder Announces Plans For New Crypto Features Including DEX And Non-Custodial Wallet

Telegram founder Pavel Durov has unveiled plans to launch a suite of decentralized crypto products, which will reportedly include a non-custodial wallet along with a DEX. Despite the recent fallout associated with the FTX collapse, the popular messaging app is rapidly expanding its crypto infrastructure.

The announcement also serves as the first confirmation regarding the incorporation of the TON blockchain into the messenger app. The system, formerly known as Newton and Toncoin, is one of two competing projects which arose through the early Telegram Open Network (TON) concept. Both were created by the Telegram community, but only one received official recognition via Telegram.

What led to this moment?

The blockchain sector was established on the promise of decentralization, however it quickly ended up in the hands of a select few who started abusing their power, Durov said through his official Telegram Channel. He directly mentioned FTX in his opening paragraph, emphasizing that the developments of this year, which also include the Terra disaster and what happened to 3AC, have clearly demonstrated that the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole must return to its decentralized roots.

Durov believes that trustless transactions and self-hosted wallets which do not depend on a single third party ought to be utilized by crypto users. The founder also called on developers to help move the blockchain sector towards becoming more decentralized by constructing quick and easy to use dApps for the masses, which he claims are now feasible.

What happens now?

Durov stated that blockchain based auction platform has sold $50 million in usernames in less than a month. The figure reflects the success of the platform trying its hand at building its very own crypto infrastructure. Fragment is built atop the Telegram Open Network, a blockchain that Durov abandoned in 2020 due to regulatory pressure but later returned to after its community managed to keep it alive.

Now, Durov is steering Telegram toward deeper crypto buildouts, buoyed by the strong sales of Fragment. He stated that the company would try to become more decentralized with the goal of reaching millions of users worldwide. Telegram is already a popular messaging app among cryptocurrency traders, which already provides the platform with an engaged audience. Moreover, with the market on its slow road to recovery, Durov believes that the time to act is now and make crypto a permanent part of the platform.

December 03,2022

Brazil Approves Crypto Law But Leaves Out Green Mining Tax Exemptions And Asset Segregation Issues

A crypto law that had been in the works for several months was recently approved by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies after the Senate proposed some changes.

The proposal omitted two suggested tax exemptions for green mining operations, as well as the issue of separating customer assets from company funds for VASPs (Virtual Asset Service Providers).

The law, which has been delayed numerous times because of the general elections held last month, must now be officially recognized by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has to sanction it prior to declaring it law.

Moreover, deputies voted to eliminate the majority of the Senates proposed changes, enabling the law to be approved in a more general form and allowing for more specific rules which shall be formulated at a later date. The bills rapporteur, Deputy Expeditto Neto, emphasized the significance of the legislation for the country and called it a truly historic moment.

The passing of the new law represents the start of the countrys regulation of VASPs and other companies that utilize crypto, which would also now be overseen by a regulator appointed by the executive. This executive could be the Central Bank of Brazil or any another specific institution.

December 01,2022

Animoca Brands Fuels Metaverse Growth And Web3 Recovery Initiative

According to company Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Yat Siu, Animoca Brands intends to launch a fund of up to $2 billion to invest in metaverse businesses.

Animoca Brands is best known for its Sandbox metaverse game, which enables users to purchase plots of virtual land and decorate them with NFTs. Animocas investors include Singapores Temasek, the United States' GGV Capital, and South Koreas Mirae Asset Management, and the company is valued at more than $5 billion as of its most recent fundraising.

Siu stated that the fund would make it easier for investors to gain access to Web3 companies. Some Animoca investors previously sought exposure to its portfolio companies, but now prefer more direct investments, he says.

Siu also indicated that Animoca would contribute $10 million to the Web3 Industry Recovery Initiative which is being spearheaded by Binance in order to support the ecosystem. He stated that depending on the situation, his company is also open to increasing the amount of this contribution.

November 28,2022

BlockFi Officially Declares Bankruptcy And Sues FTX, BlackRock Loses $24 Million

BlockFi and several of its affiliates have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In related news, BlockFi also filed a lawsuit against Sam Bankman-Fried to seize his $575 million stake in Robinhood.

With reference to certain loan documents, it was revealed that Robinhood shares held by FTX pledged to utilize BlockFi as collateral. This development happened shortly after BlockFi had filed for bankruptcy.

The company reportedly has more than $256 million in cash on hand, which should be enough to support certain operations during the restructuring process.

BlockFi has over 100,000 creditors and assets and liabilities ranging from $1 billion to $10 billion. Ankura Trust Company, LLC is among the major creditors named in the petition.

As stated in the petition, the company's unsecured claim is worth approximately $729 million. West Realm Shires, also known as FTX.US, and the SEC have unsecured claims in the amount of $275 million and $30 million, respectively.

Mark Renzi, the company's financial advisor, stated that following the failure of FTX, the BlockFi management team and board of directors acted quickly to protect both the company and its clients.

BlockFi previously admitted to having significant exposure to FTX and its associated corporate entities, including obligations owed to BlockFi. They additionally have assets on the platform and an undrawn line of credit with FTX.

Financial difficulties at FTX are rapidly spreading to other crypto companies as well. Gemini and Genesis are two notable firms that have been impacted by the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, also confirmed that the asset manager had lost $24 million which it had invested in FTX.

November 27,2022

New ConsenSys Policy Involves Collection Of IP Addresses Through MetaMask

On November 24th, MetaMask developer ConsenSys revised its privacy policy to begin tracking MetaMask users IP addresses as well as Ethereum addresses whenever they send a transaction. The update is for MetaMask customers who use Infura as their RPC (Remote Procedure Call) provider. Infura is a ConsenSys affiliate and the default RPC provider for all MetaMask wallets.

In related news, ConsenSys successfully generated $450 million in a series D round earlier this year, valuing the company at $7 billion which ranks it among the biggest players in the cryptocurrency sector.

Important details

MetaMask and Infura are both owned by ConsenSys. Infura manages blockchain nodes for wallets and individuals. When users make a blockchain transaction using their MetaMask wallet, the transaction is broadcasted to the Ethereum blockchain by Infura. Additionally, MetaMask communicates with Infura via a RPC.

Essentially, the update informs users that if they switch their RPCs to another provider, ConsenSys will not collect their data. They will, however, be subject to the information collection policy implemented by the RPC provider of their choice.

Moreover, according to the updated ConsenSys privacy policy, if the users choose Infura as their default RPC provider in MetaMask, Infura would collect their IP address as well as their Ethereum wallet address whenever a transaction is sent. Also, if users connect MetaMask to their own Ethereum node or a third party RPC provider, neither Infura nor MetaMask shall gather their IP address or Ethereum wallet address.

What comes next?

The decision by ConsenSys to gather user data was made shortly after the announcement by Uniswap wherein it was revealed that the decentralized exchange had begun collecting on-chain data via its users. The exchange stated that the main reason for this was to try and make decisions driven by and based on empirical data which could then significantly enhance user experience.

To that end, many companies collecting on-chain data, such as blockchain addresses and transactions, and off-chain data, such as IP addresses, are concerned that individuals could easily be identified and thus the amount of privacy available on the network would drastically decrease. Nonetheless, MetaMask Founder Dan Finlay stated on Twitter that he believes MetaMask does not use IP addresses, even if they are temporarily stored.

November 25,2022

News: Binance Announces New Recovery Fund To Aid Struggling Crypto Industry

Binance plans to allocate $1 billion to a proposed industry recovery fund. It would later be revealed that an another $1 billion has also been added to this recovery amount, bringing the total to $2 billion.

Elsewhere, CEO Changpeng Zhao also revealed plans for Binance US to make a new bid for the assets of bankrupt crypto lending firm Voyager, which went bust after the Terra (LUNA) disaster.

The new recovery fund aims to provide financial assistance to projects with potential who find themselves in financial trouble following the recent collapse of FTX.

The Binance CEO stated that details pertaining to the fund would be published soon, and that it will adopt a relatively loose structure. Contributions via various other members of the crypto ecosystem are also welcome, Zhao added.

The fund will reportedly be open to the public, with contributors directed to a centralized, transparent blockchain address. Zhao indicated that the fund is scheduled to go live before the end of 2022, while also saying that we could see significant recovery occur within the next six months.

November 24,2022

News: Mysterious Transaction Involving 10,000 BTC And Defunct Crypto Exchange

On November 23rd, a crypto wallet belonging to the defunct crypto exchange BTC-e transferred 10,000 Bitcoin to various exchanges, personal wallets, and other sources. For those who may not know, BTC-e was reportedly involved in the theft of Mt. Gox Bitcoin and user funds.

According to a Chainalysis report, although this is the biggest withdrawal made by BTC-e since April 2018, BTC-e and WEX both sent small quantities of Bitcoin to Russian electronic payments service Webmoney on October 26th. This was also done prior to making a test payment on November 11th, shortly after which a further 100 Bitcoin was transferred on November 21st.

Of the full sum sent, it is believed that 9,950 BTC are still in personal wallets, while the rest was routed through intermediaries before arriving at four deposit addresses in two major exchanges.

November 22,2022

JP Morgan Digital Wallet Patent Application Is Approved

After spending over two years in limbo, JPMorgan Chases application for a trademark for a digital wallet with crypto features has finally been approved by the United States Patent Office.

As per the filing, the bank filed a trademark for the JP Morgan Wallet in July 2020, which was approved on November 15th, 2022. The trademark text indicates that the new wallet can be applied to online services such as crypto payment processing, electronic transfer of digital currencies via an online community, and the exchange of various virtual currencies.

It should also be mentioned that the trademark does not only cover crypto services, as it can additionally be used for other financial services such as virtual checking accounts, ACH payments, bill payments, and e-check processing.

November 20,2022

FTX Collapse Continues To Batter The Industry As Genesis And BlockFi Suffer

Prominent cryptocurrency lender Genesis recently sought out a $1 billion emergency loan via investors before suspending withdrawals on its website, citing a confidential fundraising document. According to the document obtained, Genesis is experiencing a liquidity crunch as a result of certain illiquid assets on its balance sheet. The development comes shortly after the recent FTX disaster which has shattered confidence in the market, particularly regarding crypto exchanges.

What happened?

FTX filed for bankruptcy in the United States last week. Shortly afterwards, its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, resigned as CEO, after rival exchange Binance backed out of a proposed acquisition even though CEO Changpeng Zhao had initially agreed to a non-binding letter of intent to acquire the exchange. Since then, the development quickly snowballed into what became one of the worst events in the history of this sector.

Amid the liquidity crunch caused by the FTX controversy, Genesis had been considering all possible options. The company also stated that it made the decision to temporarily suspend redemptions too. This decision was made due to the fact that the FTX collapse reverberated throughout the industry, limiting liquidity at firms with exposure to the crypto exchange and prompting regulators in several countries to launch investigations including both in the United States as well as in The Bahamas (where Sam and his team were operating).

What comes next?

As a result of the Genesis changes, Gemini exchange said it would halt withdrawals regarding its interest-bearing Earn accounts. Interestingly enough, Genesis is the programs lending partner.

In other news, BlockFi is reportedly preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The cryptocurrency lender had already suspended customer deposit withdrawals and admitted to having significant exposure to FTX along with its sister trading house, Alameda Research. Furthermore, BlockFi intends to lay off more employees as it prepares for a possible Chapter 11 filing, though the company stopped short of saying that the majority of its assets are held by FTX.

Ultimately, many believe that we have yet to see the full effect of the FTX collapse. Rather worryingly, FTX may very well have over one million creditors, indicating the massive impact of its collapse on crypto traders and the overall industry going forward, particularly in the context of regulations.