Blockchain Association Seeks Information on De-banking of Crypto Companies

The Blockchain Association, a cryptocurrency advocacy group, has filed additional Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to regulators in the US. The group had initially filed for information from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The new requests were submitted to the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the New York Department of Financial Services, seeking further information on the de-banking of crypto-friendly banks.

The organization is interested in learning more about the de-banking of cryptocurrency companies after the closure of Signature Bank and the failure of Silvergate Bank. These two banks were known for their friendly stance towards cryptocurrency-related businesses, but both were closed down, leaving many companies in the crypto industry without a banking partner.

The Blockchain Association believes that these closures were a result of regulatory pressure, and that the lack of transparency around the issue is problematic for the industry. By filing these FOIL requests, the group hopes to shed more light on the situation and ensure that the regulatory process is fair and transparent.

The de-banking of crypto companies has been a contentious issue for some time. Many banks are hesitant to work with companies in the industry due to concerns around money laundering and other illegal activities. However, for companies in the crypto space, having a banking partner is essential for conducting day-to-day business operations.

The closure of Signature Bank and Silvergate Bank has highlighted the fragility of the relationship between banks and cryptocurrency companies. The Blockchain Association is seeking to understand what led to the closures and whether there was any unfair regulatory pressure involved.

This is not the first time that the Blockchain Association has filed FOIL requests to obtain information about the regulation of cryptocurrency-related businesses. The group has been a vocal advocate for the industry and has worked to ensure that regulators take a fair and balanced approach to the sector.

As the crypto industry continues to grow, it is likely that we will see more regulation and scrutiny from regulators. The actions of the Blockchain Association demonstrate the importance of transparency and accountability in this process, and highlight the challenges faced by companies operating in this space. By working together with regulators, the industry can ensure that it continues to thrive and innovate, while also addressing legitimate concerns around security and illegal activity.


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Legislation Introduced to Remove SEC Chair Gensler from His Role

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is facing new controversy, as United States Representative Warren Davidson has announced plans to introduce legislation that would remove SEC Chair Gary Gensler from his role. The move follows the SEC’s proposed rule amendments, which could bring certain brokers under additional regulatory scrutiny and redefine an “exchange.” While Gensler has said the proposed changes could benefit investors and markets, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has criticized the move, accusing the regulator of stifling new technology and entrepreneurship.

Peirce, who is known as “Crypto Mom” for her pro-crypto positions, has criticized the SEC’s approach to crypto regulations. She believes that the SEC has been expanding its reach to solve problems “that do not exist” and has refused to alter current regulations to allow room for new technologies and new ways of doing business. Peirce has also accused the SEC of using the “notice-and-comment rulemaking process” as a threat. In her opinion, a concept release should have been issued instead of the proposed rule amendments, given the concerns over their ambiguity and scope, and the SEC’s “limited understanding” of the space.

The SEC has faced criticism for using enforcement actions to develop the law on a case-by-case basis, rather than creating clear regulations. The regulator has launched more than a few high-profile actions against crypto companies such as Ripple, LBRY, and Coinbase over alleged violations. It has also taken aim at staking and stablecoins, prompting some critics to argue that the SEC has been stifling innovation in the crypto space.

Meanwhile, Davidson’s proposed legislation to remove Gensler from his role as SEC Chair has raised eyebrows. Gensler is widely regarded as a tough regulator who is committed to protecting investors and ensuring market stability. He has previously served as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is known for his work in implementing the Dodd-Frank Act, which was designed to reform the U.S. financial system after the 2008 financial crisis.

In conclusion, the proposed legislation to remove SEC Chair Gary Gensler from his role is the latest development in a long-running debate over crypto regulations. While Gensler has said that the proposed rule amendments could benefit investors and markets, Commissioner Hester Peirce has accused the SEC of stifling innovation and entrepreneurship. The SEC has faced criticism for using enforcement actions to develop the law on a case-by-case basis, rather than creating clear regulations. It remains to be seen whether Davidson’s proposed legislation will gain traction, but it is clear that the debate over crypto regulations is far from over.


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Ethereum Beacon Chain Sees Over $2 Billion Worth of ETH Withdrawn in Four Days

Ethereum’s Beacon Chain has been making headlines as over 1 million ETH worth $2.1 billion has been withdrawn from it in the first four days of the Shapella hard fork. This has resulted in Ether’s price rising above $2,100 for the first time in 11 months. According to data from, the withdrawals have come from 473,7000 withdrawal requests, with Saturday, April 15, marking the largest withdrawal day at 392,800 ETH.

As of now, nearly 87% or 469,000 out of 540,000 active validators are able to withdraw their staked Ether. The Shapella hard fork has been a topic of debate within the Ethereum community as many were uncertain about its impact on ETH’s price. However, the first four days have produced close to a 10% rise, indicating that the hard fork has been beneficial for Ether’s price.

According to experts, much of the stake that has been withdrawn over the last few days is actually going straight back into the Beacon Chain as validators are looking to compound their interest. So much so that net stake is currently increasing. This means that the withdrawn stake is being reinvested in the Beacon Chain to earn interest on it, rather than being sold off in the market.

The current macroeconomic climate has also played a role in the withdrawals. Many early stakers wanted to liquidate their stake after waiting nearly 30 months for some. The withdrawals have allowed them to finally reap the benefits of their investments. The reinvestment of the withdrawn stake in the Beacon Chain also indicates that investors are confident in the platform’s future and are looking to earn long-term returns.

The Beacon Chain is an important component of Ethereum’s transition to a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. It is currently running parallel to the existing Proof of Work (PoW) chain and will eventually replace it. The PoS algorithm is expected to reduce the energy consumption required for mining and increase the efficiency of the network. With the success of the Beacon Chain withdrawals, the transition to PoS is looking more promising than ever before.

In conclusion, the Beacon Chain’s recent success with over $2 billion worth of ETH withdrawn in just four days is a positive sign for Ethereum’s future. The reinvestment of the withdrawn stake in the platform is a strong indication of investor confidence in the long-term potential of the network. The transition to a PoS consensus algorithm is also looking more promising than ever before, and with the current macroeconomic climate, the future looks bright for Ethereum.


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Aave to Launch on zkSync with Overwhelming Support from Community

The Aave community has spoken, and the results are in. A proposal to launch the decentralized exchange (DEX) Aave on the zkSync Era Mainnet has received overwhelming support, with over 99% of AAVE tokenholders casting ballots voting in favor of the move.

The proposal, which was first pitched on March 26, outlined plans to launch the third version of the lending and borrowing protocol on the zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (zkEVM). The launch will initially be limited to USD Coin (USDC) and Ether (ETH).

The proposal’s success in the “temperature check” stage means that the next steps listed in the proposal will be pursued. This will involve further discussion, followed by risk parameter evaluation and the finalization of the proposal. If successful, the proposal will then be submitted for on-chain governance approval.

While only around 0.02% voted against the proposal, and a further 0.02% abstained from voting, the overwhelming support from the Aave community is a significant milestone for the project. Deploying on zkSync has the potential to introduce new users to decentralized finance, as well as cementing Aave’s position as a premier borrowing platform within the zero-knowledge ecosystem.

The Aave community previously voted to deploy the Aave V3 codebase on zkSync’s v2 Testnet, which was approved in another off-chain vote. With this latest vote, Aave is another step closer to deploying on the zkSync Era Mainnet.

Aave is not the only decentralized exchange looking to leverage the benefits of zkSync. Uniswap is also set to launch on the scaling solution from Polygon after a successful governance proposal was passed.

Aave’s journey to this point has not been without its challenges. In November 2022, the platform changed its governance procedures after it was hit by a $60 million short attack that ultimately failed. However, the project has emerged from this setback with renewed vigor and determination, as evidenced by the overwhelming support for its latest proposal.

Overall, the launch of Aave on zkSync has the potential to be a game-changer for the decentralized finance space, and it will be interesting to see how the project progresses in the coming months.


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Bittrex Faces Potential Legal Action from US SEC

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement division is reportedly considering recommending legal action against Bittrex, a Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange, over alleged violations related to investor protection. Bittrex’s general counsel, David Maria, confirmed that the enforcement unit had notified the company about the potential action in March. By that time, Bittrex had already begun the process of winding down its US operations.

The SEC’s notice of potential enforcement action, also known as a Wells notice, stated that Bittrex had violated laws by operating as an exchange, broker-dealer, and clearinghouse without registering with the regulator. In late 2022, Bittrex reportedly discussed with the SEC how to register its operations but found that there was no opportunity to comply with the SEC’s rules without essentially ceasing all of its revenue-producing activities in the country.

Bittrex has been operating in the US since 2014 and has been one of the larger cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The exchange has faced regulatory scrutiny in the past, including in 2018 when it was denied a license to operate in the state of New York.

The SEC’s potential legal action against Bittrex comes amid increasing regulatory scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry in the US. The SEC has been actively targeting cryptocurrency exchanges and other players in the industry for non-compliance with securities laws and regulations.

Many in the cryptocurrency industry have called for clearer regulatory guidelines to provide more certainty and stability to the market. The lack of regulatory clarity has been cited as a barrier to institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies, which some believe could help to legitimize the industry and bring in more investment.

In response to the potential legal action from the SEC, Bittrex has said that it is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations and that it has been working with regulators to ensure compliance. The exchange has also stated that it will continue to operate in other jurisdictions outside of the US.

In conclusion, the potential legal action from the SEC against Bittrex underscores the increasing regulatory scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry in the US. While many in the industry have called for clearer guidelines, regulators are taking a more active approach to enforcement, which could have significant implications for the industry going forward. Bittrex’s decision to wind down its US operations highlights the challenges faced by cryptocurrency exchanges in navigating the complex and evolving regulatory landscape.


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BNB Chain’s Red Alert Flags 191 High-Risk Projects

Binance’s BNB Chain has taken a proactive step to help users in their investment research by updating its red alarm list to include 191 high-risk projects and decentralized applications (DApps). The list, which is updated every Friday, is based purely on smart contract assessment and includes projects that are suspected of issuing fake tokens, having high or opaque tax fees, or simply because their websites or Twitter handles don’t work.

The red alarm list serves as a warning to users to carry out their own due diligence before investing in any of the flagged projects. It is important to note that the list is not investment advice and does not represent the risk level of the underlying DApp projects. Instead, it is aimed at helping users make informed decisions by highlighting potential risks associated with the projects.

In addition to the red alarm list, BNB Chain has also launched a portal that allows users to scan any BNB Chain project for risks. The portal provides users with detailed information about the flagged projects, including the reasons for the red alert, the smart contract address, and the token symbol.

Out of the 191 new projects added to the list, three were flagged for suspected funding by assets originating from Tornado. These projects are CycGo, Piston token, and Shorter Finance. BNB Chain’s red alert serves as a warning to users to be cautious when investing in these projects.

On April 10, BNB Chain also began testing BNB Greenfield, an in-house attempt to deliver decentralized storage solutions. The move is part of Binance’s larger strategy to expand its offerings beyond cryptocurrency trading and into the broader blockchain industry.

With the increasing popularity of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the risk of fraud and scams in the blockchain industry has also increased. BNB Chain’s red alarm list is a timely reminder for users to conduct thorough research before investing in any project. By providing users with relevant information about potential risks associated with projects, BNB Chain is playing an important role in promoting transparency and accountability in the blockchain industry.


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Chinese Banks Embrace Crypto in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s ambitious goal to become a leading crypto hub has opened an opportunity for many state-affiliated banks in China. The Chinese banks, despite a blanket ban on crypto-related activities in mainland China, are showing interest in building partnerships and onboarding regulated crypto companies in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong arm of the major Chinese state-owned Bank of Communications is collaborating with several cryptocurrency businesses registered in the city. The bank is in talks to open accounts for regulated companies, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal. This is a significant development in the world of crypto, where banks are traditionally hesitant to partner with companies in this industry.

In addition to the Bank of Communications, ZA Bank – Hong Kong’s largest virtual bank controlled by Chinese internet insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance – will also act as the settlement bank for the crypto companies. These banks will together facilitate the depositing and withdrawal of fiat currencies, providing a vital service to crypto companies looking to operate in Hong Kong.

These banks’ involvement in the crypto industry is an excellent sign for Hong Kong, which has been trying to establish itself as a leading crypto hub for some time. At the start of the year, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, Paul Chan, clarified that the city is pushing to collaborate with more crypto firms in 2023. The government’s progressive crypto approach has attracted nearly 80 cryptocurrency firms interested in opening or expanding their business in the city.

The Chinese banks’ involvement in Hong Kong’s crypto industry is a surprise to many in the crypto ecosystem, considering China’s multiple crackdowns on crypto-related activities in mainland China. However, the Chinese banks’ move towards crypto in Hong Kong signals a new direction for the country’s approach to crypto.

As settlement banks, these Chinese banks will enable token deposits at authorized exchanges to be withdrawn in Hong Kong dollars, Chinese yuan, and U.S. dollars. This development will further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a leading crypto hub, attracting more companies and investors interested in crypto.

The Chinese banks’ interest in Hong Kong’s crypto industry is a positive development, demonstrating the potential for regulatory clarity in the region. Additionally, this move could encourage other banks in the region to follow suit, strengthening Hong Kong’s position as a leading financial hub in Asia.

In conclusion, the involvement of Chinese banks in Hong Kong’s crypto industry is a significant development, demonstrating the potential for collaboration between traditional financial institutions and the crypto industry. This move could help build greater confidence in the crypto industry and attract more companies and investors to Hong Kong. As the city continues to embrace crypto, we can expect to see more developments in this exciting and rapidly evolving industry.


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Bhutan Sovereign Investment Fund Invests Millions in Crypto

The Kingdom of Bhutan’s sovereign investment arm, Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), has quietly built up a crypto portfolio worth millions of dollars without disclosing it to the public. DHI is a commercial arm of the royal government of Bhutan and is estimated to manage around $2.9 billion in assets.

According to a report released by Forbes, DHI’s crypto investments were brought to light following the crypto contagion in 2022 when companies like Celsius and BlockFi filed for bankruptcy. A Celsius filing showed that DHI withdrew over $65 million and deposited almost $18 million in crypto.

BlockFi lawyers filed a complaint against DHI to reclaim outstanding assets, alleging that the fund defaulted on its $30 million loan in March. BlockFi claimed that DHI refused to repay the loan in full after liquidating the 1,888 Bitcoin (BTC) collateral, worth $76.5 million at the time.

DHI CEO Ujjwal Deep Dahal said in a statement to Forbes that the issue with BlockFi is confidential and highlighted that the “matter with BlockFi has been settled.” However, the exact terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Celsius and BlockFi were two of the most prominent bankruptcy filings within the crypto space in 2022. On July 14, crypto lending platform Celsius filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, also known as a bankruptcy filing. Since then, the embattled crypto lender has been dealing with bankruptcy proceedings and is working on a restructuring plan. On Nov. 28, BlockFi also filed for bankruptcy after being affected by the infamous collapse of the FTX exchange.

Bhutan is a small landlocked country in South Asia, located in the eastern Himalayas. The country is known for its Gross National Happiness index, which measures the well-being of its citizens instead of just economic growth. Bhutan has been gradually opening up to the world in recent years, with a focus on sustainable development and environmentally friendly policies.

The news of Bhutan’s crypto investments is a reminder of the increasing interest in cryptocurrencies among governments and institutional investors. While many countries have been skeptical of cryptocurrencies and have implemented strict regulations, others have embraced them as a way to diversify their portfolios and hedge against inflation.

In recent years, countries like China, Russia, and Iran have explored the use of cryptocurrencies for international trade, while other countries like El Salvador and Ukraine have adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. The growing interest in cryptocurrencies from governments and institutional investors is expected to continue in the coming years, as the crypto market matures and becomes more mainstream.

In conclusion, Bhutan’s sovereign investment fund’s decision to invest millions in cryptocurrencies highlights the increasing interest in digital assets among governments and institutional investors. While the exact size and composition of DHI’s crypto portfolio remain undisclosed, the news is a reminder of the growing importance of cryptocurrencies in the global financial system. As the crypto market continues to evolve and mature, it is likely that more countries and institutional investors will follow Bhutan’s lead and invest in digital assets.


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MoneyTap Expands in Japan with Three New Bank Integrations

MoneyTap, the Ripple-based payment system, is continuing to grow in Japan with several local banks opening access to the application for their clients. SBI Remit, the remittance-focused arm of the Japanese financial services conglomerate SBI Holdings, has added support for its mobile MoneyTap application to three local banks, including Yamaguchi Bank, Momiji Bank, and Kitakyushu Bank.

Yamaguchi Bank is a major regional bank in Japan, featuring 156 branches and offices in Japan and four overseas locations. Kitakyushu Bank is a subsidiary of Yamaguchi Financial Group and has operated 24 branches since the start of the business. This integration enables the Japanese regional banks to offer a peer-to-peer remittance service to their customers through a mobile application. In addition to the bank account number, the remittance service enables the online remittance function through a mobile phone number. The app also features online identity verification and biometric authentication, aiming to ensure high security for customers of Yamaguchi, Momiji, and Kitakyushu.

SBI integrated the mobile MoneyTap settlement service in 2019, soon after launching MoneyTap in collaboration with the blockchain firm Ripple in October 2018. Based on Ripple’s blockchain solution RippleNet, the MoneyTap app is designed to enable instant domestic bank-to-bank transfers and P2P transfers for clients, initially supporting three Japanese banks, including SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank, and Resona Bank.

As previously reported, SBI Remit merged with MoneyTap in September 2022, allowing it to provide a next-generation financial infrastructure with high functionality and low cost. SBI has emerged as a major partner of Ripple, supporting the company amid its ongoing legal battle with financial regulators in the United States. Morningstar, an SBI Group’s financial data subsidiary, said in 2021 it will continue its XRP (XRP) shareholder benefits program despite Ripple’s legal issues in the United States.

SBI CEO Yoshitaka Kitao also said in 2021 that Japan was the most likely country for Ripple to move to if the company is eventually forced to leave the United States due to the tough regulatory environment. This statement showcases the strong partnership and support between SBI and Ripple, which has been ongoing since the launch of MoneyTap in 2018.

The MoneyTap application’s expansion through SBI Remit into Yamaguchi Bank, Momiji Bank, and Kitakyushu Bank further demonstrates the growing adoption and recognition of Ripple’s blockchain solution RippleNet in Japan. With the additional bank integrations, MoneyTap is expanding its reach and providing more customers with access to secure and efficient peer-to-peer remittance services.

Overall, MoneyTap’s expansion in Japan through SBI Remit and the three new bank integrations highlights the continued growth of RippleNet and the increasing adoption of blockchain solutions in the financial industry. With high-security measures in place, customers of Yamaguchi, Momiji, and Kitakyushu can enjoy fast and secure remittance services through the MoneyTap mobile application.


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BlackStar Seeks SEC Registration for On-Chain Stock Trading

Delaware-based BlackStar Enterprise Group has made an innovative move towards conducting over-the-counter (OTC) stock trading on-chain, seeking registration with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This represents a significant breakthrough in the adoption of blockchain technology in the traditional finance space.

The development of the platform started in 2018 and since then, the company has been working tirelessly towards the goal of integrating blockchain technology with the traditional stock market. BlackStar has been in communication with regulators and examiners over the past two years, answering dozens of questions and comments to ensure compliance with SEC regulations.

After years of research and development, the company has taken a big step forward by presenting a detailed plan to the SEC Trading and Market division. This plan outlines how its platforms will operate, and seeks regulatory approval for carrying out OTC trading on-chain.

By carrying out OTC trading on-chain, BlackStar aims to reduce the need for intermediaries and make trading more efficient and secure. The platform will leverage the transparency and immutability of blockchain technology, allowing investors to trade assets directly with each other in a trustless environment.

Moreover, BlackStar’s platform could also provide the SEC with increased transparency and oversight of the trading process. The blockchain’s ability to create an immutable record of transactions could assist the SEC in identifying market manipulations, insider trading, and other fraudulent activities.

BlackStar’s initiative has the potential to revolutionize the traditional finance industry, creating a more secure, efficient, and transparent environment for investors. However, the integration of blockchain technology with the traditional finance space poses regulatory challenges, and it will be interesting to see how the SEC responds to BlackStar’s registration request.

In conclusion, BlackStar Enterprise Group’s move to conduct on-chain OTC trading is a significant development for the adoption of blockchain technology in the traditional finance space. The company’s dedication to regulatory compliance and innovation is commendable, and its initiative has the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct financial transactions.


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