The debt crisis involving China’s second largest real estate developer, Evergrande Group, sparked a sell-off in cryptocurrency markets earlier this week. Below is a roundup of other important cryptocurrency news:
The Dubai World Trade Center Authority wants to support crypto trading
On Wednesday, the Dubai World Trade Center Authority (DWTCA) and the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) reached an agreement to enable the offering, listing, regulation and trading of crypto assets in the country.
Helal Saeed Al Marri, DWTCA’s general director, stated that in addition to growing the industry, DWTCA also needs to establish support for crypto-tech products like NFTs, which are expected to play a big role in the future financial world. In addition, it is expected that the SCA will help provide the necessary regulatory guidance for the introduction (issuance and listing) of these assets for all companies that wish to operate crypto assets under the jurisdiction of the DWTCA.
The FCA would be required to oversee, control and investigate the companies licensed to operate in the free zone. The UAE previously announced (July 2021) that they intend to introduce their CBDC by 2023.
Suex sanctioned for illegal business
The U.S. Treasury Department took a rather unique move on Tuesday when it announced it had imposed sanctions on the Suex crypto exchange for its link to money laundering for ransomware perpetrators. The exchange was sanctioned for allegedly processing ransom amounts for at least eight ransomware variants.
The sanctions against the Czech crypto exchange come at a time when President Biden’s government is busy trying to get a grip on cryptocurrencies and related laws. Until now, such ransomware activity has been linked to extremist groups, but in some cases nation-states are even suspected of being involved. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department found out that a Russian secret service had ties to a ransomware group called Evil Corp – a group that had come under the spotlight after a ransom attack on Colonial Pipeline.
Additionally, the Treasury Department stated that while cryptocurrencies may be legal, the technology that enables payments in those currencies can be easily exploited to allow malicious actors to escape with the money. In the past few months, several facilities in the United States have been victims of ransomware attacks. The increase in these ransomware attacks resulted in losses of $ 400 million in 2020, an increase of over 300% from 2019.
FTX expands its presence to the Bahamas and Gibraltar
The FTX crypto exchange got lucky this week as the exchange announced on Monday that it had received legal approval to operate in the Bahamas through its subsidiary in the country. This complements the announcement of a similar agreement in Gibraltar late last week.
FTX has received a license to operate as a DLT provider from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) through its subsidiary Zubr Exchange. However, the approval was conditional on the company addressing the issues arising from feedback from regulators. At the time, CEO Sam Bankman-Fried praised the move as a step that would bring FTX towards compliance and trust for all users around the world.
In the Bahamas, FTX subsidiary FTX Digital Markets has been registered as a digital assets company with the local securities authorities. With the announcement, it was announced that Ryan Salame would lead FTX Digital Markets, based in Nassau, Bahamas.
CEO Bankman-Fried has taken a more positive stance on regulatory requirements. In the last few days he has spoken out in favor of regulation, arguing that without regulation, illegal activities (fraud) would result in regulators suppressing the industry even more.
Coinbase is giving up its plans for the Lend program
The crypto exchange Coinbase had been planning to release a new lend feature for months, but the intervention of the SEC could have caused the lend product to fail. Coinbase announced late last week that it will stop the scheduled launch of the Lend feature as it tries to understand the regulatory hurdles it faces. The exchange added that hundreds of thousands of customers had signed up for the program prior to launch.
The exchange assured its customers that it would continuously find ways to offer its customers “innovative, trustworthy programs and products”. Coinbase’s decision comes at a time when the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, is taking an even more resolute stance on cryptocurrencies.
Gensler said before the US Senate Banking Committee that the crypto build-up would have to speak to the regulators. He also said that given the variety of tokens on these platforms, there is a good chance that some of them will be securities that must be registered under the law. In the specific case of Lend by Coinbase, the SEC believed the feature was a security, but Coinbase disagreed.
Turkish President declares war on crypto
Bloomberg reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday the country was at war with cryptocurrencies, with several measures being put in place to streamline their use, while the country plans to test and roll out its digital lira. In his speech to students from 81 provinces, the Turkish president said he had no problems with the proliferation of digital assets, but insisted that the sovereignty of the Turkish lira must be preserved.
Erdogan stated that the country’s currency is part of national identity. Turkey is unfriendly towards cryptocurrencies. The Turkish central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies in payment transactions as early as April.
The bank cited market volatility, regulatory uncertainty and criminal activity related to cryptocurrencies as the main reasons for the ban. A month later, the Turkish government made all providers of crypto assets subject to the existing regulations to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, as ordered in a presidential decree.