Crypto Scam Based on TV Show The Boy’s Word Sweeping Russia, Warns Central Bank
Russia's Central Bank has issued a warning to citizens about a cryptocurrency scam project that is based on the popular TV show The Boy's Word: Blood on the Asphalt. The project, which also goes by the name "The Boy's Word," is described by the Central Bank as a pyramid scheme that has no official affiliation with the show. The project asks investors to pay $10 in exchange for tokens that supposedly represent the project's own cryptocurrency. The scammers promise high returns of up to 25% per day. Advertisements for the project are circulating on social media platforms, featuring music and images from the TV show, as well as stolen pictures from legitimate cryptocurrency providers' websites. The Central Bank warns that the scammers will eventually disappear with the investors' money, as the project is not licensed to operate in the financial market. Only financial organizations with permits from the Central Bank can request public investment. The project has been added to the Central Bank's list of probable financial pyramid schemes. The TV show has gained significant popularity in Russia and other Russian-speaking countries, surpassing searches related to the war in Ukraine and special military operations.
New Bitcoin ETFs See Record Daily Flows As Total BTC Holdings Rise to $3 Billion
Newly launched Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) experienced their highest daily inflows on the fourth day of trading, with $913.6 million invested on Wednesday. This influx of capital brings the total assets under management for all recently launched ETFs to $2.9 billion. These figures, provided by Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, do not include flows related to the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which is the largest and most actively traded Bitcoin ETF. The GBTC recently converted into an ETF on January 11 after accumulating over 600,000 BTC prior to conversion. Since the conversion, the fund has experienced consistent outflows as investors sell their long-held BTC or move to newer and cheaper Bitcoin ETFs offered by companies like BlackRock and Fidelity. On Wednesday, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust saw $450.6 million in outflows, bringing its total net outflows since the ETF conversion to $1.6 billion. Overall, all Bitcoin ETFs have seen net flows of $1.2 billion. The first day of the ETF launch remains the day with the highest Bitcoin ETF inflows when including GBTC, though this includes seed capital such as Bitwise's initial $200 million contribution. Other Bitcoin funds and investment products have also suffered following the ETF launch, including the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) and MicroStrategy, which has seen a 25% drop in value since last Thursday. Bitcoin itself has fallen approximately 11% to $41,250 since last week, and newly launched ETFs like the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) have yet to experience a positive trading day. Coinbase, the custodian for most ETF providers, has also seen a 19% decline in value year to date.
Ethereum Staking Platform Kiln Raises $17 Million in Funding Round Led by 1kx
Paris-based Ethereum staking platform Kiln has raised $17 million in a funding round led by 1kx. The funding will be used to expand internationally and support decentralized finance (DeFi) reward models. Other investors in the round include Crypto.com, IOSG, Wintermute Ventures, KXVC, and LBank. Kiln plans to use the capital to expand its global presence, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and further develop its product offerings in the DeFi space. The platform has seen significant growth, with staked assets under management reaching $4.2 billion in 2023. Kiln aims to democratize value creation in the digital assets ecosystem and is the largest operator of Ethereum validator nodes, representing about 4% of the Ethereum network. The funding will also support the integration of additional reward mechanisms in the DeFi space and the development of a DeFi product for integrator customers.
Crypto Trader Makes $1 Million in 10 Days Following Elon Musk’s Bio Update
A crypto trader has made $1 million in just 10 days by investing in TROLL tokens following Elon Musk's bio update. The trader initially invested $10,000 and purchased TROLL tokens before their value skyrocketed due to Musk's bio change. The trader turned $300 into $1.03 million by selling some of the TROLL tokens. Despite a slight decrease in TROLL's value, the trader still maintains a significant gain. Other traders have also profited from the price rally of TROLL tokens, with one trader making a $2.7 million profit from a $30,000 investment. Elon Musk's influence on the crypto market is evident, as his tweets and actions can shape the direction of certain assets. For example, his tweets about Dogecoin caused its value to increase by over 50%.
‘$3.5m Nursing Care Fund Crypto Thief’ Extradited to South Korea
A man suspected of stealing $3.5 million from a nursing care fund in South Korea to purchase cryptocurrency has been extradited back to South Korea. The suspect, named Choi, is a former middle manager at the National Health Insurance Corporation. He was apprehended in the Philippines after evading capture for over a year. Authorities are now focused on recovering the stolen funds. Choi is believed to have converted the stolen money into cryptocurrency and was living a luxurious lifestyle in the Philippines. The South Korean government is hopeful that more of the stolen funds can be recovered following Choi's arrest. In a separate incident, another individual was arrested for stealing cash in a fraudulent over-the-counter crypto exchange transaction.
Bitcoin Miners Sell 10,600 BTC, Worth $455.8M in Crypto Renaissance
Bitcoin miners have sold a significant amount of BTC, totaling 10,600 BTC or approximately $455.8 million in the past 24 hours. This selling activity is confirmed by on-chain data and analytics firm CryptoQuant. Despite this selloff, the Bitcoin network remains strong with high demand and a full memory pool. The recent approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF by the SEC and the upcoming Bitcoin halving event in April 2024 are positive factors that could drive the price of Bitcoin above $45,000 in the future.
Reddit User Loses $250,000 in ETH to Crypto Airdrop Scam — How Can Investors Stay Safe?
A Reddit user lost $250,000 worth of ether (ETH) in a crypto airdrop scam. The scam involved luring investors with promises of free tokens and then stealing their funds. The victim had 100 ETH deposited into Aave for lending purposes, but noticed that 100 ETH had been transferred out of their account without their knowledge. This theft occurred after the user interacted with what appeared to be a legitimate airdrop. Fake airdrops have become a common tactic used by fraudsters to phish credentials and steal funds. The scammer's wallet involved in this incident has been labeled as "Fake_Phishing270904" to warn others. Unfortunately, the victim was unable to recover their lost ETH. To protect against theft, investors should be cautious of suspicious links and websites, use secure crypto exchanges, enable 2-factor authentication, store holdings in secure cold storage or hardware wallets, keep seed phrases and passwords offline, and be wary of fake airdrops and giveaways. It is important for crypto investors to stay informed and alert to avoid falling victim to scams.
Ark Invest’s Crypto-Powered ESG Fund Emerges as Top Performer of 2023
Ark Invest's ESG fund, the Nikko AM Ark Positive Change Innovation Fund, was the top performer of 2023, achieving a return of 68% and surpassing the S&P 500 index. The fund's success can be attributed to its substantial investment in cryptocurrencies, with Coinbase being its largest holding. This is notable considering the setbacks faced by ESG funds focused on traditional clean-tech assets. The surge in Coinbase's market value contributed significantly to the fund's performance. The positive momentum for cryptocurrencies continued into 2024, with the approval of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds by the SEC. However, market fluctuations have led to a decline in Bitcoin's value. The Nikko Ark fund primarily focuses on disruptive technologies that align with sustainable development goals. ESG funds that embraced technology outperformed their counterparts, including the JPMorgan US Technology Fund. Despite volatility in the market, Ark Invest remains committed to its strategy and allocations.
Russian Central Bank ‘Turning a Blind Eye’ to Crypto-powered Trade – Senator
A Russian senator has accused the Central Bank of Russia of ignoring businesses that use cryptocurrency as a payment tool in international trade. The senator called for regulation in the crypto sector and the establishment of rules for the industry. Mainstream media outlets in Russia have reported an increase in the use of fiat-pegged stablecoins by smaller domestic importers and exporters. It is also reported that Russian traders are using cryptoassets alongside other foreign currencies. Despite the senator's claims, larger Russian firms are expected to avoid using cryptocurrency as a payment tool, while smaller companies are embracing it. The Central Bank of Russia remains opposed to the use of cryptocurrency in the domestic economy and wants to force industrial miners to sell their coins overseas. The bank's head, Elvira Nabiullina, is known for her skepticism towards crypto and is an ally of President Vladimir Putin. However, a top MP stated that Russian firms are already doing overseas business in crypto and do not need a law to do so. The Central Bank aims to launch its digital ruble project as an alternative to dollar- and crypto-powered business and trade by 2025.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse Says Gensler is a “Political Liability” – Report
During an appearance at the World Economic Forum, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse criticized SEC Chair Gary Gensler, calling him a "political liability" and suggesting that a new chair of the SEC would be beneficial for the American people. Garlinghouse's comments came after the SEC approved several spot bitcoin ETFs, although the agency faced scrutiny due to a hack on their Twitter account. Ripple is currently facing a lawsuit from the SEC, and Garlinghouse has been vocal in criticizing the agency's approach to regulation.
Benjamin Cowen Bearish on Fed Rate Cuts – How Will Bitcoin Price React to the Fed’s Policy Shift?
Crypto analyst Benjamin Cowen is bearish on the potential impact of Federal Reserve rate cuts on the price of Bitcoin. He believes that rate cuts could initially lead to a decline in Bitcoin's price, testing support levels around $36,000. Cowen explains that rate cuts are typically not bullish for risk assets like Bitcoin, as they indicate a faltering economy. He points to historical precedents where Bitcoin experienced a mid-cycle top and a subsequent 30% plunge when rate cuts occurred. Cowen warns that Bitcoin may dip further and test the bull market support band if it falls below the eight-week moving average. Overall, he advises investors to prepare for increased volatility and potential downside as the Fed's policy shifts back to easing. The crypto community is closely monitoring the Fed's upcoming meeting in March for any changes that could impact Bitcoin's price trend.
Major Crypto Moves: Celsius Shifts $125M ETH as FTX and Alameda Adjust Holdings
Celsius, a troubled crypto lender, has transferred more than $125 million worth of Ethereum to different cryptocurrency exchanges as part of its plan to repay its creditors. The transfers include $95.5 million to Coinbase and $29.7 million to FalconX. Despite these transfers, Celsius still holds over 550,000 ETH, equivalent to $1.36 billion. The company had previously unstaked 206,300 ETH valued at $407 million to cover expenses during its restructuring process and prepare for creditor repayments. Celsius has committed to distributing Bitcoin and Ethereum to its creditors but has not specified a date. FTX and Alameda Research, another distressed crypto firm, also made significant transfers, sending $28 million worth of cryptocurrency to exchanges to secure funds for creditor repayment. FTX's bankruptcy proceedings have recovered approximately $7 billion in assets, with $3.4 billion in cryptocurrency. Repayment for FTX customers is expected to start in 2024. Celsius has shifted its focus to crypto mining, with the approval to create a public company dedicated to Bitcoin mining called MiningCo. Creditors will receive recovery through shares in MiningCo, and the arrangement unlocks $225 million in crypto assets initially intended for new ventures. MiningCo will be operated by Hut 8 and will oversee five mining locations in Texas with a computing capacity of 12 EH/s and over 300 MW of power.
Hong Kong Licensed Crypto Exchange Hashkey Operator Raises $100M With $1.2B Valuation
Hashkey Group, the operator of one of Hong Kong's licensed crypto exchanges, has successfully raised nearly $100 million in a recent funding round, resulting in a valuation of over $1.2 billion. The specific investors involved in the funding round have not been disclosed. The funds raised will be used to expand HashKey's web3 ecosystem and develop licensed products in the Hong Kong market. OKX Ventures, the investment arm of OKX digital-asset exchange, is reported to be a participant in the funding round. HashKey aims to leverage Hong Kong's ambition to become a prominent digital asset hub. The funding success is significant considering the challenges faced by the crypto venture capital space in recent years. Hong Kong has implemented a virtual-asset regulatory framework to attract crypto companies while prioritizing investor protection. HashKey Exchange is one of the only licensed platforms for crypto trading in Hong Kong, but concerns remain about the city's long-term commitment to the sector. Since its inception in 2018, HashKey Exchange has experienced growth in its user base and spot trading volume.
Coin Center Responds to Scathing Letter from Senator Elizabeth Warren
Coin Center has issued a response to Senator Elizabeth Warren's harsh letter accusing the non-profit organization of undermining bipartisan efforts in Congress. Coin Center's Executive Director, Jerry Bitro, posted a letter rebuking Warren's demands for transparency and stating that the organization has no obligation to disclose its hiring practices beyond what is legally required. Bitro also criticized Warren for publicly chastising Coin Center and equating their engagement with undermining congressional efforts. He argued that Warren's proposed crypto bills are unfair, unworkable, and unconstitutional. Coinbase and the Blockchain Association, who also received Warren's letter, have similarly defended their intentions and expressed willingness to engage in further discussions. However, it is uncertain if and when Warren will respond.
Argentine Tenants Lead Crypto Adoption, Pay Rent in BTC Under Novel Contract – Pesos Out, Bitcoin In?
Argentine tenants are leading the way in cryptocurrency adoption by paying rent in Bitcoin. This innovative rental agreement, which took place in Rosario, Argentina's third most populated city, is a significant milestone for crypto adoption in the country. The contract stipulates that the tenant will pay $100 worth of Bitcoin each month to the landlord through a domestic crypto platform called Fiwind. Both parties involved in the agreement are experienced cryptocurrency users who have embraced virtual assets as a response to nationwide inflation. This achievement was made possible by recent decrees and amendments to the Argentine rental law, which aimed to deregulate the economy and legalize certain cryptocurrency activities. The government's efforts to adopt virtual assets have gained momentum, with Argentine citizens increasingly preferring cryptocurrencies over the rapidly devaluing peso. While it remains to be seen whether this shift away from fiat currency will be permanent, the Bitcoin rental contract in Rosario is a significant step towards mainstream crypto adoption in Argentina.
Web3 in Africa: Regulatory Challenges Impede Potential Transformation
Web3 in Africa is facing regulatory challenges that could hinder its potential for transformation. The lack of clear regulations surrounding Web3 technologies creates uncertainty for users and investors, potentially limiting their willingness to embrace its possibilities. However, despite these obstacles, Africa presents a fertile ground for Web3 adoption, with blockchain funding in the continent increasing by 1,668% in 2022. Countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa are leading the charge in Web3 adoption. To overcome challenges in education and knowledge accessibility, initiatives like the Cartesi masterclass in Nigeria have been launched. Africa's potential for a Web3 boom is undeniable, given factors such as its youthful demographic and volatile currency. Web3 has the potential to address issues like financial exclusion and transform how Africans engage with financial systems and cross-border trade. The Central Bank of Nigeria has recently approved the Africa Stablecoin Consortium to pilot the cNGN stablecoin, which adheres to regulatory requirements and aims to complement the eNaira. The consortium is committed to compliance, consumer protection, and transparency throughout the project.
‘No South Korea Bitcoin ETF Approval Before Elections,’ Say Experts
Experts are claiming that South Korean regulators will not approve a domestic Bitcoin spot ETF before the country's next general elections in April. The officials believe that new crypto regulations will have to wait until after the elections, when there may be an "overhaul" of crypto laws. South Korean regulators are not expected to follow the lead of their counterparts in Washington and will monitor the success of US Bitcoin spot ETFs before making any changes. In the meantime, South Korean securities providers have been warned against offering Bitcoin ETF access to overseas customers. It is predicted that the US Bitcoin ETF news will lead to a "revival" in the South Korean crypto market, which has been stagnant for the past two years.
Morgan Stanley: Spot Bitcoin ETFs Could Reshape Global Crypto Attitudes
Morgan Stanley believes that the introduction of spot Bitcoin ETFs could have a significant impact on global attitudes towards cryptocurrencies. Andrew Peel, the head of digital asset markets at Morgan Stanley, suggests that this development could lead to a paradigm shift in the perception and use of digital assets worldwide. Peel analyzes the challenges faced by the US dollar as the dominant reserve currency and highlights the growing adoption of Bitcoin, with major entities like Tesla and El Salvador embracing it. He also notes that stablecoins may become the "killer app" of the crypto industry, with trading volumes comparable to Visa and PayPal. In contrast, JPMorgan analysts predict that spot Bitcoin ETFs may redirect up to $36 billion from existing cryptocurrency instruments, including Bitcoin futures-based ETFs and the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. However, they express skepticism about the widespread optimism surrounding the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs and suggest that regulatory developments will have a greater influence on new capital entering the crypto sector. The recent approval of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC has opened the door for traditional financial giants like BlackRock and Fidelity to offer direct access to Bitcoin investment funds. On their first trading day, spot Bitcoin ETFs recorded a remarkable $4 billion in trading volume.
GameStop Retreats from Crypto Space, Shuts Down NFT Marketplace Amid Regulatory Hurdles
GameStop has decided to close its NFT marketplace due to regulatory uncertainties in the cryptocurrency space. The marketplace was launched in 2022 with a focus on gaming assets and a partnership with ImmutableX. This decision follows GameStop's discontinuation of its crypto wallet in August. However, customers will still be able to sell their NFTs on other platforms as they are hosted on the blockchain. The closure of the NFT marketplace is not surprising as it had minimal impact on the overall NFT trading landscape. This move represents a significant shift for GameStop, which had previously tried to engage its retail trader community through its venture into Web3. The regulatory uncertainty cited by GameStop is a common reason for the cancellation or reduction of digital asset initiatives. The decision reflects recent enforcement actions by the SEC, including lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has expressed concerns about fraud in the crypto market and the lack of investor protections. He has also cautioned investors about the risks associated with Bitcoin and crypto-related products.
Vanguard Holds Significant Stake in MicroStrategy, Indirect Bitcoin Exposure
Vanguard, a leading asset management firm, has acquired a significant stake in MicroStrategy, providing investors with indirect exposure to Bitcoin. While Vanguard has chosen not to launch Bitcoin ETFs on its platform, its investment in MicroStrategy positions it as a major player in the crypto space. Vanguard currently holds 1,126 million shares of MicroStrategy, making it the second-largest institutional shareholder. MicroStrategy has strategically diversified its balance sheet by accumulating a large amount of Bitcoin, leading some analysts to label it as a leveraged Bitcoin ETF. Despite Vanguard's stance on Bitcoin ETFs, its holdings in MicroStrategy indicate its indirect exposure to the cryptocurrency market. This means that Vanguard's mutual funds may be influenced by the price movements of Bitcoin. Other financial institutions, such as UBS and Citigroup, have different approaches to Bitcoin ETFs. The SEC's approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs has allowed traditional financial giants like BlackRock and Fidelity to offer direct access to Bitcoin investment funds. On their first day of trading, spot Bitcoin ETFs recorded a remarkable $4 billion in trading volume.
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