Huobi Partners with AstroPay to Provide Fiat-to-Crypto Payment Services in Latin America

Huobi Global has partnered with AstroPay to provide fiat-to-crypto payment services for cryptocurrency exchange users in Latin America.


The partnership with AstroPay will help in facilitating a secure payment platform to enable traders on Huobi Global for frictionless buying and selling of crypto assets using fiat currency.

“Latin America lays claim to a young and vibrant population brimming with enthusiasm for the crypto industry, and we have observed a significant increase in the number of new Huobi Global users from this region,” said Lily Zhang, Chief Financial Officer of Huobi Global. 

The cryptocurrency exchange has users in 160 different countries and regions. Huobi Global’s partnership with AstroPay will see the exchange provide users in Latin America with fiat to crypto payment options through AstroPay digital wallet. 

The cryptocurrency exchange users will have access to trade cryptos through a variety of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, bank transfers and local alternative options, such as Pix in Brazil and SPEI in Mexico.

“Our collaboration with AstroPay underscores our goal to make the purchase and trading of digital assets a secure, convenient and enjoyable experience for everyone,” Lily Zhang said.

AstroPay provides an easy payment solution for online purchases on international e-commerce sites. According to the company, users can make payments easily using more than 200 payment methods in their local currency.

Huobi, last week, unveiled its plans to delist privacy tokens, counting Monero (XMR), Dash (DSH), Decred (DCR), Firo (FIRO), Verge (XVG), Zcash (ZEC) and Horizen (ZEN).

According to Blockchain.News, the delisting of these privacy coins can be attributed to mounting regulatory pressures and the failure of the coins to comply with their internal compliance policies.

While, also last week, Huobi announced that it will be one of the first digital assets trading platforms to be given permission to run regulated trading services in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). 

Brtuomi Worldwide Limited (BWL), a subsidiary of the firm, will be used for this trading operation. BWL got permission from the BVI Financial Service Commission (FSC) to work within the BVI regulatory Sandbox earlier this year.

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Crypto Miner Bitdeer Acquires Singapore Storage Facility Le Freeport for S$40M

Bitdeer, a mining company owned by Bitman co-founder Wu Jihan, spent Singapore dollars $40 million (about US$28.4 million) in July to acquire Le Freeport, the highest-security storage facility in Singapore, according to Bloomberg.

Wu Jihan himself has confirmed the transaction.

Formerly known as Singapore Freeport, Le Freeport is a highly secure storage and display facility in Singapore.

Wu, known as Asia’s Fort Knox, has acquired a repository of art, precious gems and bullion from Swiss art dealer and shareholders led by founder Yves Bouvier, people familiar with the matter said.

Le Freeport cost S$100 million (nearly US$71 million) to build and opened in 2010. About three-quarters of the purchase price went to creditors, including DBS, while Yves Bouvier, who once held a 70% stake in Le Freeport, and other shareholders received about S$5 million after paying down debt and paying costs, people familiar with the matter said. (nearly $3.55 million)

Last year, Bitman co-founder Wu Jihan officially announced that he would be stepping down from leading cryptocurrency mining firm Bitmain Technologies Limited as part of an effort to resolve a long-running internal power struggle with rival co-founder Zhan Mailei.

Bitman co-founder Wu Jihan has officially announced that he will be stepping down from leading cryptocurrency mining firm Bitmain Technologies Limited, as part of an effort to resolve a long-running internal power struggle with rival co-founder Zhan Mailei.

After the settlement, Wu will lead Bitdeer, a cloud mining company in Norway and the United States, which was spun out of Bitmain. He will serve as the company’s chairman and Kong Linghui will serve as the new company’s chief executive officer.

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Australian Senators Andrew Bragg Draft New Bill on Digitial Assets

Australian Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg has released a new draft of the titled Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2022, aimed at regulating on digital asset exchanges.

The Act aims to provide an effective regulatory framework for the Australian market and provides requirements for the introduction of digital asset exchanges, digital asset custody services, licenses for stablecoin issuers, and disclosure requirements for China’s central bank digital Yuan service providers.

In a Sept. 19 statement, Bragg said that “Australia must keep pace with the global digital asset regulation race” as “Parliament must push for legal reform.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has launched a year-long trial to explore business models and innovative use cases for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Since CBDC represent the digital form of a country’s fiat currency, they are directly controlled by the country’s central bank and backed by national credit and government power.

The Liberal senator said that Australia, as a global economy, has a large modern exposure to the issue of CBDC stablecoins, which is why relevant laws need to be drafted to manage the corresponding risks and require relevant banks to fulfil additional requirements. Responsibilities to provide relevant reports on information that may help Australia use or obtain digital renminbi.

But Andrew Bragg stressed just “preparing and gathering information” and added that Australia would not benefit from having a CBDC because of “the inability to manage privacy concerns”,

In March, the government announced plans to introduce legislation seeking licensing and custody measures for the country’s growing digital asset industry. The government has also announced potential changes to taxing this emerging asset class.

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Voyager to Receive $200m in Repayment of Loans from Alameda Research

Voyager Digital will receive about $200 million in repayment of loans from trading firm Alameda Research.


According to a court filing, the repayment will be in the form of 6,553 in bitcoin (roughly $128 million) and 51,204 in ether (roughly $70 million) in principal and loan fees. Smaller amounts will be in seven other tokens.

The deadline for the repayment set by the court filing is Sept 30, and the failure to do so will increase the loan by 9.59 $ETH and 1.07 $BTC per day.

Following the completion of the repayment, bankrupt crypto lender Voyager will then send Alameda back tokens that the trading firm had stumped up as collateral for the loans — comprised of 4,650,000 in FTX’s token FTT (roughly $112 million) and 63,750,000 in SRM (roughly $49 million), the utility token of decentralized exchange Serum.

This follows Voyager’s filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the collapse of the crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC).

Alameda has close ties with FTX and helped in multiple potential bailouts following a succession of collapses in the crypto lending sector. 

Alameda is a trading firm owned by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

However, Bankman-Fried has denied reports that FTX ventures and Alameda are merging venture capital operations.

The announcement came after Sam Trabucco, co-CEO of crypto asset fund Alameda Research, announced on Twitter on Aug. 25 that he would be stepping down from his leadership role.

BlockFi received a $250 million credit facility from FTX after the lender shut down withdrawals in June.

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Fed’s Interest Rate Hikes Attributed to Primary Catalyst of Crypto Bear Market

The decision by the federal reserve (Fed) to continuously hike interest rates to tame runaway inflation has been detrimental to the crypto market as bears continue to bite. 

The situation has become dire to the extent that the crypto market is positively skewed towards the decisions made at the federal open market committee (FOMC) meetings, according to market analyst Michael van de Poppe. 

“Crypto is heavily skewed towards the outcome of the FOMC meeting on Wednesday, while indices are acting relatively calm. What’s the best case? 1) DCA and have a longer perspective. 2) Wait until FOMC is out. 3) Avoid leverage trading.”

Interest rate surges usually have bearish impacts on high-risk assets like Bitcoin (BTC). For instance, Bitcoin (BTC) sank to $18.5K on September 19 based on global monetary tightening concerns, Blockchain.News reported. 

Speculations are high that the Fed will increase the interest rate by 75 basis points (bps) tomorrow, September 21, and this might further strain the crypto market. 

Crypto reporter Colin Wu disclosed:

“On September 21, the Fed will announce its decision to raise interest rates, and the market is expected to raise interest rates by 75bps.” 

With the Fed increasing the interest rate by 75 basis points (bps) in June, the highest since 1994, a similar fate was witnessed in July.

Mike McGlone, a senior Bloomberg Intelligence commodity strategist, noted that the Fed was using a sledgehammer on commodities and risk assets, resulting in bearish momentum. 

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of crypto exchange FTX, shared similar sentiments that despite the federal reserve being caught between a rock and a hard place, it was driving the current crypto downturn because both markets and people were scared, Blockchain.News reported. 

Even though the two leading cryptocurrencies have gained some momentum in the last 24 hours, how the interest rate review will transpire this time round remains to be seen.

Bitcoin and Ethereum were up by 4.7% and 4.84% in the last 24 hours to hit $19,332 and $1,359, respectively during intraday trading, according to CoinMarketCap

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HSBC Undertakes Blockchain-based Trade Finance Transacntion for Automotive Sector in the Middle East

Through the Contour platform, HSBC conducted a blockchain-based trade finance transaction between SAIC Motor, a Chinese car manufacturer and Taajeer Group, the exclusive agent for MG cars in Saudi Arabia. 

With its help from the Contour platform, it would significantly increase the speed of dealing with paperwork. HSBC noted that by using distributed ledger technology has the potential to revamp the trade finance sector by slashing transaction times to less than 24 hours from the present five to ten days.

Per the announcement:

“The Contour platform enabled end-to-end digitisation of the credit documentation required for Taajeer to import a shipment of cars from SAIC in a process that is up to 10 times faster than using physical documents.”  

Chaker Zeraiki, the head of global trade & receivables finance at HSBC UAE, stated:

“Our digitizing at scale means making customers’ lives easier and, with Contour it means we’re cutting costs, reducing risk and speeding up trade. Bringing these benefits to the automotive sector and Saudi Arabia are a measure of our international connectivity and our global leadership in trade banking.” 

Contour seeks to digitize the worldwide trade finance industry worth $53 billion through decentralized technology by integrating digital networks across present fragmented ecosystems and trade routes as a blockchain trade finance network.

Carl Wegner, Contour’s CEO, pointed out:

“This transaction marks an important milestone in the Middle East’s automotive sector, proving that distributed ledger technology is successfully transforming the trade finance ecosystem.”

The blockchain-powered trade finance transaction is a first of its kind on Saudi Arabian soil, and it is seen as a stepping stone towards the nation’s Vision 2030 initiative of becoming a regional trade hub. 

HSBC has emerged as a notable facilitator of blockchain-based trade transactions. 

For instance, the leading British multinational investment bank and financial services holding company partnered with Wave to execute a blockchain-powered trade between China and New Zealand, Blockchain.News reported. 

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Sparkster Settles SEC Charges for Unregistered ICO, Agrees to Pay $35M to ‘Harmed Investors’

Sparkster, a crypto firm based in the Cayman Islands, and its CEO, Sajjad Daya, on Monday agreed to pay more than $35 million in a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over an “unregistered initial coin offering (ICO)” in 2018.

The SEC issued a cease-and-desist order Monday against the two, alleging that they raised approximately $30 million from 4,000 investors between April and July 2018 by offering them unregistered crypto asset securities called “SPRK tokens.”

According to the SEC, Sparkster told investors the funds collected would go towards helping the crypto firm develop its “no-code” software platform for children and promised that their tokens would increase in value.

Sparkster and Daya were found guilty of defrauding innocent investors and violating federal securities laws without registering their crypto-asset offering.

Without admitting or denying the agency’s findings, Sparkster and its CEO agreed to pay a collective $35 million into a fund distributed to investors harmed by the SPRK ICO.

“The resolution with Sparkster and Daya allows the SEC to return a significant amount of money to investors and requires additional measures to protect investors, including the disabling of tokens to prevent their future sale,” said Carolyn M. Welshhans, associate director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

Sparkster will pay $30 million in disgorgement, $4.6 million in prejudgement interest, and a $500,000 civil penalty. The company also agreed to destroy its remaining tokens, remove its tokens from any trading platforms, and publish the SEC’s order on its website and social media channels.

Daya will pay a $250,000 civil penalty and also agreed not to participate in offerings of crypto asset securities for five years.

In relation to this case, the SEC also charged crypto investor and YouTuber Ian Balina over his involvement in promoting the above-mentioned SPRK ICO. Blockchain.News reported the matter today.

As per SEC, Balina did not disclose to investors that he had been paid to market the ICO. Balina also allegedly violated federal securities laws by conducting an unregistered sale of SPRK tokens he bought before the ICO.

Balina promoted SPRK on social media channels without disclosing that he would get a 30% bonus on the $5 million in tokens he bought, the watchdog stated.

SEC’s settlement with Sparkster is the latest indication the regulator is determined to clear its backlog of cases stemming from the ICO boom of 2017 and 2018.

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Interview with Noble Gold Investments CEO: Gold as Hedge Tool against Inflation?

Zimbabwe’s Central Bank launched gold coins in July as part of efforts to help curb surging inflation amid a slump in the country’s currency. The move sparked interest in whether gold could serve as a safe haven investment during a market crisis.

Based on Zimbabwe’s development, Blockchain.News recently had a conversation with Collin Plume, the President and CEO of Noble Gold Investments, regarding whether gold could be a safe haven investment that investors should rely on during turmoil times.

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The global pandemic raging for over two years has created unemployment, supply chain problems, and more that disrupted economic growth. With the rise of inflation, the US dollar has lost its value and purchasing power. But on the other hand, gold has increased its purchasing power because its value tends to rise with the price of goods.

In light of pandemic worries, rising debts, market downturns, business failures, and mounting inflation realities in regard to economic policies coming out of central banks and other regulators, investors have appeared to rush to invest in gold to secure their financial positions.

Meanwhile, several crypto companies are facing bankruptcy, while many tech firms (such as Klarna, ClickUp, Lacework, Bolt, PayPal, among others) recently announced massive layoffs of employees. But questions remain about how investors can protect themselves from the risks of the ongoing financial crisis.

In the current times of financial instability and turmoil, investors seek opportunities to protect their assets and values.

Inflation Hedge

Asked whether gold is a good investment, Plume said YES. While this can be demonstrated by Zimbabwe’s recent gold adoption, generally, gold is viewed as the ideal hedge against inflation. This is because fiat currency loses its purchasing power when things become more expensive, but gold tends to be priced in those currency units.

Plume explained: “Although the gold market can’t do anything about economic inflation on a macro level, it’s easily the best hedge against inflation for an individual’s investment portfolio”.

Nowadasy, gold’s uses and the demand for physical gold have increased. According to Plume, “Gold’s industrial uses are steadily growing (gold is used in electronics, cars, biotechnology, and even on Mars) while its global supply is quickly shrinking, so its value is guaranteed to go up over time.”

Geopolitical and Economic Instability

Gold also provides investors with a safe haven during economic and political instability. The precious metal has often taken the role of an inflation hedge and a portfolio stabilizer during turbulent financial markets.

The gold market rose above the $2,000 an ounce level in March for the first time since August 2020, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Geopolitical uncertainty has increased the attractiveness of the precious metal for investors seeking a safe haven for their funds.

Prices have since retreated, declining by around 6% year-to-date, and have struggled to regain ground above the $1,800 an ounce level where it started the year. 

This year, gold is getting investors’ attention following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions against Russia have already taken the commodities market for a wild ride, fueling concerns of stagflation — a combination of high inflation and slow economic growth — both of which is positive for gold.

In July, Zimbabwe’s central bank started selling gold coins to the public to help protect people’s savings against the country’s runaway inflation and offer an alternative to the widely used US dollar.

Zimbabwe still remembers the country’s economic collapse under the late Robert Mugabe, who ruled for nearly four decades.

Hyperinflation forced the nation to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009, and it opted instead to use foreign currencies, mainly the US dollar. During the worst of the crisis, the government stopped publishing official inflation figures, but current statistics put the inflation rate at 89.7%.

Gold Tokenization 

Despite physical assets like gold, silver, among others, having weathered countless financial storms throughout history, Gold might still need alternative trading platforms to help democratize access to gold using modern technology through tokenization.

Investment in physical gold has many advantages, but it has a few drawbacks. The main challenges that investors face in the investment of physical gold are issues associated with accessibility, storage, security and ability to resell on a regulated market.

While Gold is considered a safe bet, buying it is often a challenge for retail investors. For example, an average person will need to pay the costs associated with gold acquisition, trust an intermediary, and have a storage solution. 

In recent years, the excitement surrounding cryptocurrency has been attracting precious metal buyers away from their traditional investments as they dipped their toes into the crypto pool. But with the recent digital asset market crash, that seems to be changing. Many investors are returning to gold to tame the prevailing financial winds in the crypto markets.

Yet, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is in a tough year because of the recent market crash. Major Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, and Ethereum, have plummeted, triggered by inflation and Fed’s interest rate hikes.

For the long term, blockchain technology is increasingly being used to address all these constraints in today’s internet era. Blockchain enables the tokenization of gold and other commodities. The technology allows users to invest in digital gold, therefore helping to resolve various issues tied to physical gold ownership.

Gold as Key Portfolio of Investment 

Gold’s performance moves independently and has low correlation with other assets such as stocks, real estate, commodities, bonds. The precious metal may therefore help serve as a return diversifier within a broader multi-asset portfolio.

Therefore, based on the above analysis, gold is a good investment that investors can use to hedge and diversify their portfolios. However, according to Plume: “Some people believe gold is just for older investors, or they don’t understand the use for it. Many bullish investors focus on the hottest, newest assets, and while gold may not offer the same spikes in value as Tesla or crypto, it also doesn’t bring the same risk of loss as they do.”

Investors are advised to hold around 5-10% of their portfolio’s value in a form of gold, whether physical bars and coins, or digital coins, or instruments such as gold ETFs (exchange-traded funds), to diversify their holdings and potentially hedge against crashes in the value of cryptocurrency, stocks, and bonds.

Gold aligns perfectly with the investment mantra of “not putting all your eggs in one basket” — providing a safety net against events that may plummet the value of popular investments like cryptocurrency and stocks.

“Like any good financial advisor, we highly recommend using gold to diversify your portfolio. Gold is a low-risk, easy-to-access wealth-building tool that can balance out the volatility of other investments like tech stocks or cryptocurrency. It yields the best return when held over a longer period of time, but many younger investors just don’t know about it yet!”, said Plume.

Image source: Noble Gold Investments


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PGA Tour Partners With Autograph to Create Digital Collectibles Platform

PGA Tour, the organizer of the main professional golf tours played by men in the United States and North America, has partnered with Autograph, a non-fungible token (NFT) platform, to create a new digital collectables platform that will focus exclusively on the world of Golf.


According to the announcement from the PGA Tour, Autograph will help in creating NFTs from videos, pictures, and moments that are exclusive to the competitions being organized by the tour. 

“The PGA TOUR is excited to work with Autograph to offer digital collectables that highlight the most talented golfers in the world and their role in the sport’s history,” said Len Brown, PGA TOUR Chief Legal Officer and EVP, Licensing. “The TOUR is continuously looking for innovative ways to engage fans to bring them closer to the game and their favourite players, so we’re thrilled to start building the future of golf fandom with the Autograph team.” 

The prospective users of the platform will be able to mint the NFTs, giving them access to exclusive benefits, including access to exclusive digital, in-person and onsite experiences, along with other program benefits. 

Autograph came into the limelight in 2021 as an outfit to promote key events and historical moments in the world of sports. Co-founded by the legendary quarterback Tom Brady, the platform has the likes of Tiger Woods on its Board. 

The startup received a massive head started in January when it raised $170 million in a Series B funding round. Besides its existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Kleiner Perkins participated in the round at the time.

In April of this year, Autograph signed its first multi-year deal with ESPN to immortalize some of the best moments of Tom Brady’s sporting career. With the current partnership with PGA Tour, Autograph now stands as one of the most versatile Web3.0 platforms in terms of collaborations.

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Wachsman Appoints Cointelegraph CEO Jay Cassano as Chief Growth Officer

Wachsman, a major global public relations firm serving the Web3 and financial technology sectors, announced Monday for the appointment of Cointelegraph CEO Jay Cassano as the company’s new Chief Growth Officer.

Cassano will be responsible for spearheading innovation, working across Wachsman’s global network to scale new service verticals, including community management, content marketing, social media services, and digital marketing to support the company’s growing base of Web3 and fintech clients.

Cassano worked at Cointelegraph crypto media firm as Editor-in-Chief for one year before becoming its CEO. Cassano’s other significant accomplishments at the crypto media company include launching CT Studio, the media company’s marketing and branding agency.

Before joining Cointelegraph, Cassano served as a staff reporter at Fast Company and as an investigative journalist at Newsweek, among other editorial positions.

Wachsman Founder and CEO, David Wachsman, talked about Jay’s appointment: “Jay is an exceptional talent, possessing a unique mix of leadership and Web3 expertise, coupled with an in-depth understanding of the media and omni-channel marketing. With Jay’s leadership, we will be able to deliver even more integrated and impactful programming for our clients globally.”

Why are Crypto Executives High Demand?

Despite the crypto downturn, fintech and related companies have been keen to hire talents with relevant skills as they aim to add expertise to their blockchain projects. In the recent past, crypto firms from Bitpanda, Coinbase, BlockFi Inc., among others, slashed massive jobs positions. But many crypto workers with the right skills are finding themselves in demand at the heart of the finance industry.

This month, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., announced plans to hire staff with blockchain experience. And they are not the only ones. Many other related tech firms are also interested in hiring people with experience in the technology that underpins cryptocurrency, a market that continues to grab the attention of banking clients and regulators.

The downturn in crypto trading, with low transaction activities and slow hiring, has become an opportunity for traditional financial and tech firms. Most of these firms have avoided the spot market for cryptocurrencies due to regulatory uncertainty. But they are developing alternative ways to trade the volatile asset class while exploring wider uses for the blockchain in areas like web3, payments, and supply chains.

A crypto worker’s prospects depend on their previous role. Tech, security, compliance and client management staff are particularly in high demand, especially for executives with the most sought-after skills.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 27,361.33 1.35%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,652.21 0.43%
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Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 232.33 6.07%