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Crypto This Wednesday: Litecoin Halving Completed, GameStop Shuts Down NFT Wallet, and More

Fernanda T
Latest News
August 02 2023 01:13PM

Litecoin halving completed as cryptocurrency adoption grows in Africa and Latin America

The Litecoin (COIN:LTCUSD) halving event has concluded, reducing block rewards to 6.25 LTC. The Litecoin blockchain underwent the halving procedure at block 2,520,000 on August 2, halving the rewards for miners. The price of LTC has dropped since July, hovering around $87.05. The CEO of BitPay highlighted that Litecoin and Bitcoin Lightning payments have seen remarkable growth, with LTC overtaking BTC as the preferred cryptocurrency for payments on the BitPay platform. The adoption of cryptocurrencies for payments is growing in Africa and Latin America. There are currently 73.5 million LTC in circulation.

Estimates for Bitcoin ETF approval in the US are raised

Analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence have increased their estimates for the approval of at least one Bitcoin ETF in the US this year, assigning a probability of 65%, due to recent developments. Major institutions such as BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), Fidelity, WisdomTree and Valkyrie have filed applications to make investing in Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) more accessible. The SEC, led by Gary Gensler, may be more likely to approve some of these filings, especially BlackRock’s, given the recent approval of the Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) trading platform and the Grayscale case. However, Gensler’s anti-crypto stance could still be an obstacle.

Up to six asset managers order Ethereum futures ETFs after Grayscale’s tough trading period

As many as six asset managers have petitioned the US SEC to create exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on Ethereum futures (COIN:ETHUSD). The Volatility Shares Ether Strategy ETF was the first to file the application on July 28, followed by five other applications on August 1: Bitwise Ethereum Strategy ETF, VanEck Ethereum Strategy ETF, Roundhill Ether Strategy ETF, ProShares Short Ether Strategy ETF, and Grayscale Ethereum Futures ETF. Grayscale already operates the Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) with more than $3 billion in assets under management, but it has faced a trading period at a significant discount to net asset value.

Binance receives significant volume from China even with cryptocurrencies being illegal in the country

Binance continues to receive most of its business from China, even though cryptocurrency is illegal in the country. In May, the exchange had more than $90 billion in trading volume from China, mostly from futures trading. Binance has 5.6 million users in China, of which around 911,650 are active. The company has been lenient in verifying the identities of Chinese users, and despite restrictions, it directs them to its main website through redirected Chinese domains.

Coinbase to report Q2 earnings while praising Lightning Network potential

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) is expected to report second-quarter earnings, with its regulatory challenges highlighted. Despite this, its shares have appreciated by 180% since the beginning of the year, outperforming Bitcoin. Analysts are bullish, with the consensus price target for COIN rising. The company seeks to diversify its revenues, focusing on fees and subscription services. The launch of Coinbase International in Bermuda is also noted, but it faces competition and a growing market. Analysts forecast second-quarter earnings per share to come in at -$0.76 and estimated revenues at $628 million. In other news, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey both touted the potential of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Armstrong stated that Coinbase is looking at ways to add Lightning to its platform. The L2 payment solution solves scalability issues and enables faster and cheaper transactions. Major exchanges including Binance are also adopting the protocol. The number of BTC locked in Lightning reached an all-time high, reflecting its significant growth.

KuCoin suspends Bitcoin and Litecoin mining pools

KuCoin has announced the suspension of Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and Litecoin (COIN:LTCUSD) mining pools effective August 15, 2023, without providing further details. The team recommended that users migrate their miners to alternative pools during the temporary suspension. The decision could be related to KuCoin’s evolving business strategy or the Litecoin halving. The exchange has also implemented mandatory KYC requirements for its users since July.

Uniswap removes HEX token after SEC declaration of unregistered title

Uniswap, the largest decentralized exchange protocol, removed the HEX token (COIN:HEXUSD) from its interface after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deemed it unregistered. HEX appears as “unsupported”, blocked for legal reasons. Although excluded from the interface, tokens can still be traded in the protocol. The SEC cited Uniswap in a lawsuit against Richard Heart, alleging that he raised more than $1 billion in unregistered securities.

Exchanges in Ukraine do not contribute to taxes, government seeks to tax crypto transfers

Cryptocurrency exchanges in Ukraine have contributed no more than $81 million to the national budget over the past decade, resulting in around $3 billion in lost taxes. The Ukrainian government is considering how to tax these transactions, following the passage of the ‘On Virtual Assets’ law in 2022. Meanwhile, the country faces challenges, including the Russian occupation of some regions, but the technology sector continues to grow.

India supports global cryptocurrency framework with focus on developing economies

India, chairing the G20, supports the FSB’s recommendations for a global cryptocurrency framework, with an emphasis on developing economies. The country asks the FSB to implement guidelines considering these economies. In addition, India seeks to raise awareness of the risks, starting with countries with higher adoption of cryptos and expanding regulation for the digital economy. The so-called Synthesis Paper by the IMF and the FSB will be released at the end of August for analysis by the G20. The FSB already published guidelines for cryptocurrencies and stablecoins in July, addressing issues of asset separation and operating licenses.

Hex Trust obtains regulated registration in France and Italy

Cryptocurrency custodian Hex Trust has obtained registration with the French Financial Markets Authority and the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority, expanding its regulated presence in Europe. The company can now provide custody and trading services for digital assets in France and Italy. The registration in France is seen as a significant milestone for Hex Trust’s expansion plans in Europe. France has proven to be a favorable destination for cryptocurrency companies due to its welcoming approach and streamlined registration and tax processes.

Google Cloud validates Celo Network, seeks transition to Layer 2 Ethereum

Google Cloud is acting as a validator on the Celo network (COIN:CELOUSD), joining other contributors such as Deutsche Telekom. This initiative strengthens the relationship between Google Cloud and Celo, with the goal of simplifying the transition of the Celo network to a Layer 2 Ethereum solution. Using Google Cloud’s Blockchain Node Engine will facilitate node operations, aligning Celo 2.0 with the Ethereum network.

World Coin faces vector scrutiny as it expands with iris scanning technology

According to Reuters, Worldcoin plans to expand its operations to allow governments and companies to use its iris scanning technology and identity verification to enroll more users. The company plans to open source the technology for wider use and wants companies to pay to use its digital identity system without collecting personal data. However, the company faces scrutiny from regulators in different countries. For example, Kenya’s Home Office recently suspended WorldCoin’s operations, and launched an investigation into the company for collecting public data. Authorities are concerned about WorldCoin’s activities involving registration of citizens through iris scan data. The Kenyan government has assured that it will take measures to ensure public safety and the integrity of financial transactions involving a large number of citizens.

OpenChat launches ‘Communities’ for crypto enthusiasts

Blockchain chat app OpenChat now allows users to create “Communities”, similar to Discord servers, to form public groups and build crypto-related communities. The feature was launched to make the app more suitable for joining groups focusing on specific topics. In the future, “Communities” will allow cryptographic protocols to create communities directly on their own websites, eliminating the need for external apps like Discord or Telegram. The “integrations” feature is also planned to allow users to talk across Web3 protocols without leaving the applications they are using.

BTC Inc announces sponsorship deal with Marathon Digital for The Bitcoin Conference

BTC Inc., a provider of Bitcoin news and events, has announced a four-year sponsorship deal with Marathon Digital Holdings (NASDAQ:MARA). Marathon will be the main sponsor of The Bitcoin Conference, featuring prominently on the news desk and at other opportunities. In addition, Marathon will sponsor the Live Desk in collaboration with Bitcoin Magazine and the live stream in English. The event will take place in Nashville, Tennessee from July 25-27, 2024, with the expectation of reaching new heights with the support of Marathon.

Space and Time uses ZK-Proof technology to verify encrypted queries

Web3 decentralized data service Space and Time is utilizing zero-knowledge proof (ZK-proof) technology to cryptographically verify information queries across its ecosystem. The platform allows users to rely on accurate and unmanipulated data queries, delivering tamper-proof on-chain and off-chain data to industries such as finance, healthcare and gaming. The technology, called Proof of SQL, is already used by the Lendvest credit score blockchain protocol to verify and correctly associate credit scores with wallet addresses. Innovation has the potential to enhance blockchain and artificial intelligence-based solutions.

Nodle launches additional N1 bluetooth hardware to increase Internet of Things connectivity

Decentralized network provider Nodle has released the Nodle NanoComputer (N1) bluetooth hardware sticker to enhance Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity in industrial use cases such as tracking pallet shipments. The company will open source the N1 for general use in the IoT industry. The hardware features a Hardware Security Module (HSM) that enables bluetooth operations and uses blockchain technology to offer a decentralized alternative to conventional IoT networks. The N1 uses a zinc-based rechargeable battery with a low carbon footprint and is designed to host files, communicate with satellites and be part of mesh networks.

Abracadabra Money proposes raising interest rates to manage exposure to Curve DAO token

Cross-chain lending platform Abracadabra Money has proposed raising the interest rate on its loans to manage the risks associated with exposure to the Curve DAO token (COIN:CRVUSD). The proposal received mixed reactions from the community, with some questioning the loan terms modification, while others saw it as a way to reduce CRV exposure. The Abracadabra protocol allows users to earn money using assets such as CRV, Convex Finance (COIN:CVXUSD) and Yearn.finance (COIN:YFIUSD) as collateral to mint their dollar-pegged stablecoin, Magic Internet Money (COIN:MIMUSD).

Security companies present proposals to prevent future lending of Curve Finance tokens on Aave

Security companies submit proposals to prevent future borrowing against Curve Finance tokens (COIN:CRVUSD) worth $158 million on Aave. Gauntlet suggested that the LTV to CRV ratio be set to 0 to deter new borrowing due to diminished liquidity following the recent Curve Finance failure. This has raised concerns about liquidation risk for Curve Finance founder Michael Egorov. To increase liquidity, big players like Justin Sun started buying CRVs at a discount from Egorov. The Aave community must vote on the proposal by August 5th.

SBF vehemently denies allegations of witness tampering in the FTX fraud case

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) vehemently denied the allegations of witness tampering, saying he was exercising his Constitutional rights by offering comments to the press. Federal prosecutors are seeking to revoke his bail due to his sharing diary excerpts from his ex-girlfriend, a key witness in the FTX fraud case. SBF’s legal team argues that canceling the bail would jeopardize the preparation for the complex trial and proposes a gag order as an alternative. The FTX case continues to attract intense public scrutiny and controversy.

Kyle Davies alleges lack of US jurisdiction after hedge fund bankruptcy

Kyle Davies, co-founder of defunct hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, has claimed that US courts have no jurisdiction over him as he renounced his US citizenship when he became a permanent resident of Singapore in 2017. The fund went bankrupt after a liquidation order in the British Virgin Islands. Davies and his co-founder Su Zhu were the subject of a $1.3 billion claim from the liquidators. Living in Bali after the fund’s failure, Davies spent the summer painting and reading, while Zhu hobnobbed with surfers and UFC fighters. Both have been working at Open Exchange but face regulatory scrutiny in Dubai.

GameStop to shut down NFT wallet due to regulatory uncertainty in crypto space

Video game retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME) plans to shut down its NFT wallet due to regulatory uncertainty in the crypto space. The company will remove support for the wallet starting November 1, and advises customers to secure access to the secret password by October. This marks a change in their plans to support crypto games. The company still operates brick-and-mortar stores globally, but faces challenges in the US cryptocurrency regulatory environment, influenced by SEC actions under the leadership of Gary Gensler, who is concerned about fraud in the crypto market.