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Crypto this Friday: Google Cloud Expands Blockchain Support, Bybit Ceases Operations in the UK, and More

Fernanda T
Latest News
September 22 2023 10:01AM

Bybit suspends UK services under new FCA rules

Cryptocurrency broker Bybit, located in Dubai, has decided to stop its services to UK residents. This decision comes as a proactive response to the imminent regulations set by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Starting October 1st, new accounts will no longer be accepted, and changes to contracts and positions for current users will be suspended on October 8th. Bybit expresses that this pause will enable a focus on adapting to future British standards, enabling eventual compliance by January 2024, subject to FCA approval.

FTX legal conflict: Battle for $157.3 million and witnesses challenged in fraud scandal

FTX has initiated legal proceedings seeking to recover US$157.3 million from former employees of its Hong Kong branch, Salameda, according to the September 21 filing. The defendants are accused of making fraudulent withdrawals from FTX and FTX.US prior to the company’s insolvency process. The accused include former employees and some associated companies. Furthermore, seven experts, who were supposed to testify in favor of Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, were refused, according to a decision dated September 21. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected the depositions for a variety of reasons, including flaws in the opinions presented and the irrelevance of the proposed depositions. However, Bankman-Fried can still call four of these experts, but only in retaliation for government witnesses. The prosecutors also intend to summon other former FTX collaborators as witnesses in the case, which involves accusations of fraud and money laundering.

Binance and CZ challenge SEC actions

Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao and his company are contesting charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), alleging excessive authority and a lack of clarity in regulatory guidelines on cryptocurrencies. This legal conflict comes at a time of intense challenges for Binance, whose US subsidiary, Binance.US, faces serious commercial and operational repercussions due to regulatory pressures.

Hal Finney and speculation about his connection with Satoshi Nakamoto

A recently resurfaced video from 1998 reveals Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney discussing zero-knowledge proofs, intensifying speculation about his possible role in the creation of Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD). Finney, known for his significant contributions to the crypto world, received the first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto, the cryptocurrency’s mysterious creator. Some theories suggest that Finney could be Nakamoto or part of the collective behind the pseudonym, but there is no definitive evidence to confirm these assumptions.

Google Cloud expands blockchain support on BigQuery with 11 new networks

Google Cloud has expanded support for its BigQuery service to include 11 new blockchains, enabling users to run complex queries and integrate with other applications. The new networks are Avalanche, Arbitrum, Cronos, Fantom, Near, Optimism, Polkadot, Polygon, Tron and the test networks Polygon Mumbai and Ethereum Goerli. This expansion allows for more in-depth analysis, such as evaluating NFTs and comparing transaction fees. Since its launch of blockchain data services in 2018, Google Cloud has continued to ramp up its capabilities, reaching a total of 19 supported networks.

Bitmain and Core Scientific conclude agreement to expand cryptocurrency mining

Bitmain and struggling mining company Core Scientific (USOTC:CORZQ) have formalized an agreement, combining cash and capital, to expand mining facilities. Bitmain will provide mining rigs worth 27,000 Bitcoins for $23 million in cash and $53.9 million in Core Scientific shares. The agreement also includes a new hosting contract, and is subject to court approval, aimed at increasing productivity in cryptocurrency mining.

Polkadot plans parachain expansion with new upgrades

Polkadot’s lead developers are devising plans to extend the maximum number of parachains from 100 to 1,000 through future software updates. One of these updates, “Asynchronous Support”, aims to decrease the block time of parachains from 12 to 6 seconds and multiply the block space by up to 10 times. Parity’s Sophia Gold stated that the enhancement will allow for greater flexibility and significantly increase the number of validators by 2024. Testnet implementation is expected to take place in approximately two weeks.

Ethereum performance post-Shanghai upgrade fails to meet expectations, says JPMorgan

Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD) failed to meet network activity expectations following the Shanghai update in April, as reported by JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM). Despite transitioning from proof of work to proof of stake, reducing energy consumption by over 99% and increasing Ether staking, activity on the Ethereum network has not increased as expected. Analysts noted declines in daily transactions, active addresses, and total value locked in DeFi, suggesting that several negative factors may have overshadowed the benefits of the upgrade.

Possible delay in Ethereum’s Deneb-Cancun upgrade could extend until 2024

The imminent upgrade of Ethereum, titled Deneb-Cancun or “Dencun”, may be postponed until early 2024, as discussed by the lead developers. This update seeks to address Ethereum scalability issues by applying Ethereum Enhancement Proposal 4844 (EIP-4844). Tim Beiko of the Ethereum Foundation expressed concerns about possible delays in mainnet deployment due to the lack of launches on public testnets so far. If there is no progress by November 2023, implementation of Dencun will possibly be delayed until next year.

Dogecoin volatility declines, presenting unexpected stability compared to Bitcoin

The volatility of Dogecoin (COIN:DOGEUSD), known as the main meme cryptocurrency, has decreased to a point where it is more stable than Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD), the market’s leading cryptocurrency. Dogecoin’s 30-day annualized volatility is at 30%, compared to Bitcoin’s 35%. This relative stability of Dogecoin does not necessarily indicate maturity in the market, but likely reflects a decrease in interest in alternative cryptocurrencies, with liquidity being transferred to Bitcoin.

Yen compensation for XRP holders by GMO

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange GMO will compensate certain XRP (COIN:XRPUSD) holders with the yen equivalent of Songbird (COIN:SGBUSD) tokens, a company post revealed. Recipients will earn yen equivalent to 0.1511 SGB for every XRP they held on December 12, 2020. Songbird serves as the test blockchain for Flare Network, which initially set out to be a DeFi platform using XRP tokens. The distribution of these tokens by GMO will take place until September 29, 2023.

India develops tool to monitor illicit crypto activities

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is creating an analysis tool, called the Cryptocurrency Intelligence and Analysis Tool (CIAT), aimed at combating the growing crypto crime by responding to the rise in cryptocurrency fraud and illegal activities. The goal is to monitor transactions on the dark web and identify irregular activity, allowing immediate action against illicit schemes, such as the recent fraud that cost a local software engineer $120,000. It will allow the MHA to compile detailed transaction records, including dates, times, exchanges used and services performed, and alert on any irregular or unusual crypto activity.

Security breach affects users of analytics company Nansen

Renowned blockchain analytics firm Nansen revealed in a post on social platform X that a third-party vendor had a security breach, compromising data on 6.8% of its users. This incident allowed attackers to access accounts with administrator privileges, exposing emails and, in some cases, blockchain addresses of affected users. Nansen assured users that funds had not been compromised and urged everyone to change their passwords.

Protocol exploitation compromises Linear Finance and drains LUSD liquidity

DeFi protocol Linear Finance was recently compromised by a malicious exploit that wiped out all liquidity for its stablecoin LUSD (COIN:LUSDUSD) on decentralized exchanges like Ascendix and PancakeSwap, driving the value of LUSD to zero. The exploiter generated an excess supply of LAAVE, exchanged it for LUSD and sold it on exchange platforms, removing all liquidity. Linear is investigating the incident, seeking to trace the compromised assets, and is working to restore the protocol and remediate affected users.