Paul Pierce settles with SEC for $1.4 million

A former NBA player named Paul Pierce has reached a settlement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in the amount of $1.4 million on allegations that he promoted a cryptocurrency token project on social media.

Pierce is accused of promoting EthereumMax (EMAX) tokens via social media platforms without revealing that he had received money for the promotion and of making “false and misleading representations” about the project, according to an announcement released by the SEC on February 17. In addition to his publishing posts on Twitter that reportedly showed incorrect information regarding revenues, promoters allegedly paid the former NBA great 244,000 worth of EMAX, as stated by the SEC.

In the past, the regulatory body for financial markets has gone against celebrities who were pushing EthereumMax tokens. Pierce was accused of failing to disclose a payment of $250,000 to publish a story on her Instagram promoting EMAX tokens. In October 2022, the SEC announced that it had reached a settlement with Kim Kardashian in the amount of $1.2 million for charges that were very similar to those that Pierce was facing.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler stated that “this case is yet another reminder to celebrities: The law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are getting paid to promote investment in securities, and you can’t lie to investors when you tout a security.” “This case is yet another reminder to celebrities that the law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are getting paid to promote investment in securities,” “When celebrities advocate investment options, including crypto asset securities, investors should be cautious to do research to see whether the investments are suited for them, and they should be aware of the reasons why celebrities are making such recommendations,”


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CleanSpark Buys 20000 New Bitcoin Miners to Boost

CleanSpark, a Bitcoin miner, is expanding its mining capacity in the United States by purchasing 20,000 additional Antminer S19j Pro+ machines for a total cost of $43.6 million. It is anticipated that the acquisition would increase the processing capacity of the firm by 37%. Additionally, the transaction will bring the total number of miners acquired during the bear market up to 46,500 units.

After applying coupons for a discount of 25%, CleanSpark will pay $32.3 million for the machines. This comes out to a total price per terahash (TH) of around $13.25, as stated in a statement released on February 16th. It is anticipated that the Pro+ rigs would be delivered in batches between the months of March and May, and they are 22% more productive than their prior versions.

The firm is increasing its mining capacity by taking advantage of the market’s decreasing rig pricing in order to do so while the price of Bitcoin (BTC) is on the rise. According to information provided by Hashrate Index, the price per TH of ASICs with the same Bitcoin mining effectiveness is presently at $15.09, which is a significant drop from the price of $90.72 that was witnessed one year ago. In comparison to other computers of the same ASIC generation, the Antminer S19j Pro+ model, according to CleanSpark, provides a higher return on investment.

According to the business, “Once they are fully operational, it is projected that they will add 2.44 EH/s to CleanSpark’s current 6.6 EH/s of bitcoin mining processing capacity (for a total of 9 EH/s),” which would represent an increase of 37%.

CleanSpark asserts that the acquired models continue to be more appealing to its operations in the present market circumstances and that this trend will likely continue in the foreseeable future. “The S19j Pro+ delivers 122 terahashes per machine and saves an average of 2 joules of energy per terahash when compared to the S19j Pro model of the same generation,” the company said, adding that a total of 15,000 of the new machines will be shipped to the company’s locations in the city of Washington, Georgia. It was announced in January by CleanSpark that the site will be receiving an extension costing $16 million. This expansion is expected to result in an increase in the hash rate of 2.2 exahashes per second (EH/s), bringing the overall hash rate to as high as 8.7 EH/s. Before moving into the premises that was previously occupied by Mawson Infrastructure Group in Sandersville, the firm bought the building in August of the previous year.

According to a research conducted by Hashrate Index, publicly traded mining businesses had an increase in their mining output as well as their hash rates in January, after a challenging year in 2022 that was marked by falling Bitcoin prices and rising power costs. The amount of Bitcoin that was mined by CleanSpark throughout the month increased by a whopping 50 percent, hitting a new monthly production high of 697 BTC. Since December, when it was 6.2 EH/s, its hash rate has increased to 6.6 EH/s.

Other public mining companies, such as Core Scientific, Riot, Marathon, and Cipher, have seen significant increases in Bitcoin production over the course of the past month. This was made possible by consistent increases in the cost of electricity in the United States as well as improved weather conditions.


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FTX Japan Plans to Resume User Withdrawals in February

It has been claimed that FTX Japan, the Japanese affiliate of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, intends to begin withdrawals for impacted consumers as early as the month of February.

As part of the procedure to start enabling withdrawals, FTX Japan is said to have sent out messages requesting customers to verify their account balances as part of the process that began on February 17 and was reported by Bloomberg. According to reports, the chief operating officer of the exchange, Seth Melamed, said that customers will be able to move assets to accounts on the Liquid Global platform, which is controlled by FTX, and that withdrawals would begin “very soon.”

Melamed expressed confidence that the deadline will be adhered to, saying, “We are certain that we will.”

In November 2022, FTX Group filed a petition for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. This action was taken in conjunction with three of the company’s 134 subsidiaries: FTX Japan Holdings, FTX Japan, and FTX Japan Services. However, the Financial Services Agency of Japan (also known as FSA) had recommended that FTX Japan halt business orders prior to the bankruptcy filing in the United States.

Forth response to a directive from the FSA, FTX Japan sent in a proposal with December 2022 in the hopes of getting user withdrawals back up and running. The strategy proposed that FTX Japan customer assets should not be included in the firm’s bankruptcy proceedings, noting requirements stating exchanges must keep customer money distinct from their own funds.

According to a report by the news organization NHK, FTX Japan had around 19.6 billion yen in cash when company suspended operations in November. This was equivalent to more than $138 million at the time. On the other hand, it has been claimed that creditors of FTX had collected more than $5 billion in cash and cryptocurrency as of January.


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Bank of Russia to Debut Digital Ruble in April 2023

The first consumer pilot for the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) will be rolled out by the Bank of Russia on April 1, 2023, as part of preparations for this day.

According to the first deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova, the Russian Central Bank is getting ready to launch the first real-world digital ruble transactions very soon. These transactions will include 13 local banks and many retailers.

According to a report by the regional news agency TASS, the official said that the future CBDC pilot would include genuine activities and real consumers in Russia, but that it will be restricted to a set amount of transactions and clients.

At the Ural Forum on Cybersecurity in Finance, Skorobogatova said that “We expect to begin the digital ruble project on April 1 with transactions including individual transfers as well as payments in trade and service organizations.” She went on to say that the financial institutions who were taking part in the pilot program had technically shown that they were prepared to begin testing the digital ruble.

The deputy governor provided clarification that regular consumers would not be allowed to participate in the pilot in the first stage, since banks would begin the pilot with clients who have been picked in advance. According to what Skorobogatova said, when the first stage of the pilot program is completed, the Bank of Russia intends to evaluate how to further grow the digital ruble.

The most recent declaration made by Skorobogatova is in line with the implementation strategy for the digital ruble that was publicly presented by the central bank in June of 2022. Because of Western economic sanctions against Russia, the consumer CBDC pilot was pushed up to a date that was originally planned for 2024 but was brought up to a date that was earlier because the Russian central bank was seeking for an alternative to the SWIFT payments system.

This information comes at a time when some Russian authorities are stating that the Bank of Russia is examining the possibility of a gold-backed coin that would target international commerce. Vladimir Chistyukhin, the first deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, is of the opinion that the creation of a “golden token” would assist Russia in the development of a new investment product that is appealing to investors and a payment mechanism that is required for international settlement.


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Japan to Launch Central Bank Digital Currency Pilot in April 2023

In April of 2023, Japan intends to launch a pilot program for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), even if the country does not permit the use of international stablecoins like Tether (USDT). It intends to include commercial companies and put a model of a CBDC ecosystem through its paces.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) published Shinichi Uchida’s opening remarks from a CBDC committee meeting on February 17th. Uchida is the executive director of the BoJ. In it, Uchida announces that the Bank has chosen to begin a pilot program for “digital yen” in April after concluding its proof-of-concept testing, which began in 2021. This decision was made after the Bank completed its testing in 2021.

During the pilot test, the investigation into the technological viability of “digital yen” will continue, and the experiment will be expanded to include the modeling of a CBDC ecosystem with the involvement of commercial businesses. According to the official, for the course of the pilot project, there will be no real retail transactions, simply simulations of such transactions.

In his address, Uchida focuses on the design of the future CBDC as well as the need of consulting with the business sector about alternative data models, architectures for offline payments, and other essential components of the system. In order to facilitate discussions of this kind, the CBDC forum will be established.

Since the local media first announced the BoJ’s plan in November 2022, everyone was quite excited to hear the news regarding the CBDC pilot project. The Bank of Japan is reportedly going to work with at least three Japanese megabanks as well as regional banks.

In the meanwhile, the authorities in Japan are contemplating whether or not to repeal the restriction on foreign stablecoins that was passed into law in 2022. The Financial Services Agency of Japan estimates that the revisions will be ratified by the end of June 2023 at the latest. Despite the fact that they won’t automatically allow any foreign stablecoin to enter the market, they will give the all clear to those currencies that are able to successfully pass individual tests.


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The top Mt. Gox creditor chose to have an early payout in BTC

The largest creditor to Mt. Gox made the decision to get their payment in Bitcoin (BTC) sooner rather than later, passing up the opportunity to receive an even higher sum.

According to reports, the largest creditor of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox Investment Fund, made the decision to take its chances with a smaller but earlier payout rather than waiting for all of the legal processes to be resolved. This move allowed the fund to receive its money sooner. This results in the creditor being paid by September of this year as opposed to having to wait for their money possibly for another nine years.

Bloomberg reports that choosing the early payout will result in the creditor receiving 90% of what is owing to them. Additionally, the bankruptcy trustee will not be required to sell tokens in order to obtain fiat monies for the payment since the creditor opted to be paid in BTC. Concerns in the market will be alleviated as a result of this news since token sales of that scale have the potential to have a detrimental effect on the cryptocurrency market.

Other creditors of the exchange have until March 10 to determine whether or not they wish to accept the early payback in September and wait for a greater payment percentage.

The trustee for Mt. Gox, Nobuaki Kobayashi, issued a call to action to creditors on January 6 to complete the required actions before the deadline. Kobayashi said in his writing that creditors who did not comply with this requirement would either be unable to get their monies or would be required to produce documentation to the headquarters in Japan in order to obtain payments in Japanese yen.

Mt. Gox was formerly the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, but it went out of business in 2014 when hackers made off with 750,000 bitcoins belonging to the company’s customers and 100,000 bitcoins belonging to the company itself. At the time of the event, the total value of the money was only around 473 million dollars. On the other hand, taking into account the state of the market now, its value is around $20 billion.


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The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is pushing for international regulations

A global financial regulator known as the Financial Stability Board (FSB) has the backing of the Bank for Worldwide Settlements (BIS). The FSB is now advocating for worldwide standards for decentralized financial systems (DeFi).

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a study on decentralized finance and the risks it presents to the overall financial stability of the country on February 16th. The research evaluated the hazards that decentralized finance posed to the overall financial stability of the country. The focus of the study was on identifying significant flaws, tracking transmission networks, and investigating the development of decentralized financial systems.

The authority said in the study that decentralized finance (DeFi) “does not vary materially” from conventional finance (TradFi) in its operations, despite the fact that DeFi offers a variety of “new” services. This was spoken in relation to the actions that DeFi was participating in. According to the reasoning of the Financial Stability Board, the fact that DeFi attempts to mimic certain aspects of TradFi’s activities raises the possibility for increased vulnerabilities brought on by the use of innovative technologies, a high degree of ecosystem interlinkages, and a lack of regulation or compliance. These three factors are what the Financial Stability Board considers to be the three main causes of increased vulnerability. This is the conclusion that one may reach by examining the evidence provided in the argument.

In addition, the authority said that the actual degree of decentralization in DeFi systems “frequently deviates greatly” from the statements that were initially made by the system’s founding fathers and mothers about the capabilities of the system. These assertions were made in the beginning, back when the technology was still in its infant stages of development.

In order to forestall the emergence of financial stability risks that are associated with decentralized finance, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) is collaborating with global standard-setting agencies to evaluate decentralized finance rules in a number of different jurisdictions. This will allow the FSB to prevent the risks from materializing in the first place. Because of this, the FSB will be able to forestall the appearance of these threats.


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Wyoming lawmakers pass bill prohibiting courts from forcing disclosure of digital asset

The legislature in Wyoming recently approved a measure that, with one tiny exception, would make it illegal for judges in the state to compel individuals to provide the secret keys to their digital assets.

On February 15, the measure was approved by the Wyoming House of Representatives with a vote of 41-13, one day after receiving approval from the Wyoming Senate with a vote of 31-0.

The new legislation is scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year if Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signs the measure into law.

According to the soon-to-be-enacted law in the state of Wyoming, “No person shall be compelled to produce a private key or make a private key known to any other person in any civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceeding[s],” in Wyoming. “No person shall be compelled to produce a private key or make a private key known to any other person.”

The legislation encompasses any private keys that are connected to a person’s digital assets, digital identity, or any other interests or rights that are provided by the private key.

The one and only exception to this rule is in situations in which a public key is either not accessible or is unable to divulge specifics of a digital asset, digital identity, or any other interest or right.

However, the act also states that the new law will not prevent anyone from being compelled “to produce, sell, transfer, convey, or disclose a digital asset, digital identity, or other interest or right” that a private key could provide access to. This provision states that the new law will not prohibit the disclosure of digital assets, digital identities, or other interests or rights.

In addition to this, it does not protect an individual from being forced to “disclose information about the digital asset, digital identity, or other interest or right.”

The new statute will be known as “Production of private keys; prohibition,” and its number will be W.S. 34-29-107.

The law pertaining to private keys is found in Chapter 29, which is titled “Digital Assets.” This chapter is a subset of Title 34, which is titled “Property, Conveyances, and Security Transactions.”

The private key legislation has been in the works since as early as September 2019, and the passage of the bill comes as a result of the law’s progress.

Wyoming has a long history of being recognized as one of the states in the United States that is most favorable to the use of cryptocurrencies.

It was the first state in the United States to declare a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as a limited liability company (LLC) in July 2021. Additionally, it had previously considered a state-issued stablecoin in February 2022; however, it appears that those endeavors haven’t progressed very much since then.


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Binance Expects Fines in U.S. Investigations

Binance, the biggest digital asset exchange in the world, is getting ready to resolve pending regulatory and law-enforcement investigations in the United States by paying fines and other types of penalties.

According to an article that was published in the WSJ on February 15 and that quoted the company’s chief strategy officer, Patrick Hillmann, Binance has been working with authorities to rectify previous compliance difficulties.

Binance is “working with authorities to find out what are the remediations we have to go through today to make apologies for that,” according to Hillmann, who is Binance’s Chief Compliance Officer.

He went on to say that the conclusion of the current investigations would most certainly be penalties, but that there is also the possibility that there may be other consequences.

In the United States, cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been the focus of many investigations, including one that was initiated in 2018 by the Department of Justice and concerns alleged breaches of laws against money laundering.

In addition, an investigation was conducted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in March 2021 to determine whether or whether the firm marketed cryptocurrency futures to consumers in the United States without first registering with the agency.

In February of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation into the U.S. subsidiary of Binance concerning trading entities that are tied to the company’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao.

Binance is “very confident and feeling extremely good about where those negotiations are going,” according to Hillmann, who also said that the company was unable to give a number on the amount of the penalties or a timeline on when they would be resolved with U.S. authorities.

According to him, this is a “particularly challenging period for us” since there is a lack of clarity on crypto in the United States.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has lately intensified what some in the industry refer to as a “war on crypto.” This “war on crypto” seems to be aimed at specific staking services and stablecoins, both of which the SEC has determined to be subject to securities regulations.

The CEO of Binance said, in reference to the current enforcement effort, that it “would have a tremendously significant and long-lasting chilling impact in the United States.”

Paxos came into trouble with New York authorities earlier this week, which resulted in the company being barred from releasing any more of the Binance-branded stablecoin BUSD.

As a result of SEC enforcement action, the American cryptocurrency exchange Kraken was forced to cease its staking services and given a fine of thirty million dollars only a week ago.

Patrick Hillmann came to the conclusion that finding a solution to the problems with the United States authorities would be beneficial for the company and its future.

“It will be a fantastic time for our firm because it will enable us to put it behind us,” said the CEO. “It will allow us to put it behind us.”

Binance does not want to provide any more remarks on the topic and hence refused to do so.


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SEC panel votes in favor of proposal that may make it more difficult

By a vote of 4-1, a panel of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided to approve a proposal that, if implemented, would make it more difficult for companies that deal in cryptocurrencies to act as custodians of digital assets in the future. This proposal could make it more difficult for companies to act as custodians of digital assets. There were five people on the panel altogether.

According to a statement that was issued by SEC Chairman Gary Gensler on February 15, the proposal, which has not yet been officially approved by the SEC, recommends amendments to the “2009 Custody Rule” that will apply to custodians of “all assets,” including cryptocurrencies. This rule will apply to custodians of “all assets,” including cryptocurrencies, according to the statement. The “2009 Custody Rule” would be updated to include these modifications.

According to Gensler, at the current moment there are a number of cryptocurrency trading platforms that are not in reality “qualified custodians” despite the fact that they are promoting the provision of custody services.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a qualified custodian is typically a bank or savings association that is federally or state-chartered, a trust company, a registered broker-dealer, a registered futures commission merchant, or a financial institution that is located outside of the United States. In addition, a qualified custodian must be able to demonstrate that it meets the requirements of the SEC.

These custodians will be required to jump through additional hoops such as annual audits from public accountants, among other transparency measures, as part of the newly proposed rules. In addition, U.S. and offshore companies will be required to ensure that all custodied assets, including cryptocurrencies, are properly segregated in order to become a “qualified custodian.” These new rules were proposed by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). To achieve the status of “certified custodian,” businesses based in the United States or abroad would further be required to guarantee the safety of any assets under their care.


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