UK plan on digital securities sandbox laid before Parliament

The regulations will take effect on Jan. 8, with the Bank of England and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority operating the sandbox.

The United Kingdom Financial Services and Markets Act’s provisions on a digital securities sandbox are scheduled to come into force in January 2024 after being presented to Parliament.

In a Dec. 18 publication, the U.K. government announced the Digital Securities Sandbox (DSS) regulations of the 2023 Financial Services and Markets Act, which were laid before Parliament, paving the way for crypto firms to test products and services in the country. According to the government, the regulations will take effect on Jan. 8, with the Bank of England and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority operating the sandbox.

“The DSS will allow firms and the regulators to test the use of new technology across our financial markets,” says a memo explaining the bill. “In particular, this will involve trialling the use of developing technology (such as distributed ledger technology, or in general technology that facilitates what are commonly referred to as ‘digital assets’) to perform the activities of a central securities depository (specifically notary, settlement and maintenance), and operating a trading venue.”

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Revolut Business reportedly cuts crypto services ahead of new UK rules

The neobank will halt crypto purchases by businesses while it sorts out new ad requirements.

Neobank Revolut will temporarily halt cryptocurrency purchases on its business platform in the United Kingdom at the beginning of the new year, according to a media report. An email informing customers of the decision mentioned only purchasing, implying holding crypto and selling it could go uninterrupted. 

Revolut said the pause was needed to give it more time to comply with new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules on promoting crypto that come into force on Jan. 8, 2024. Revolut Business will halt crypto purchases on Jan. 3, it said. In a message reproduced in an X (formerly Twitter) post, Revolut Business told customers:

Revolut is the latest of several firms impacted by the FCA rules, which the regulator itself described as “tough.” The rules were announced in June and were intended to bring crypto advertising into line with other high-risk investment products.

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Zilliqa on-chain transactions plunge amid ‘technical issue’

“We are still investigating & we should be able to share an update soon,” wrote a Zilliqa community moderator.

Update December 18, 2023 10:09PM UTC: The Zilliqa mainnet has been restored and is now fully operational. 

The $383-million Zilliqa ecosystem is experiencing disruptions due to a “critical situation” impacting the network.

According to a Dec. 18 post by developers, the Zilliqa blockchain faces a “technical issue that has resulted in an interruption to block production.” Blockchain data shows that daily transactions on Zilliqa subsequently plunged by roughly 50% to 30,906, compared to an average of 61,000 in the past few days.

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Bitcoin miner Cipher buys 37K Bitmain Antminers for $99.5M

The new crypto mining equipment to be bought by Cipher is expected to deliver 7.1 EH/s of self-mining capacity by the first half of 2025.

Publicly traded Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm Cipher Mining is scaling operations with a new mega purchase of cryptocurrency mining devices.

Cipher will buy 37,396 units of Antminer T21 miners from the Chinese crypto mining giant Bitmain under a new agreement, the firm announced on Dec. 18. The new mining equipment to be bought is expected to deliver 7.1 exahashes per second (EH/s) of self-mining capacity by the first half of 2025, the announcement notes.

According to Cipher CEO Tyler Page, the purchase will allow Cipher to build its first 135 megawatts (MW) at its newly acquired Black Pearl site. Cipher has also secured the option to acquire an additional 45,706 miners, representing 8.7 EH/s, in 2024.

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Hut 8 agrees to develop mining site to build equity with Celsius creditors

Hut 8’s new mining site in Cedarvale, Texas, will house almost 66,000 miners and be powered by more than 215 MW of energy.

The Canadian Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm Hut 8 has signed an interim agreement to launch a new mining site in Cedarvale, Texas, in connection with the Celsius Network bankruptcy proceedings.

Announcing the news on Dec. 18, Hut 8 said that the mining site will house almost 66,000 miners and be powered by more than 215 megawatts (MW) of energy.

Hut 8 president Asher Genoot said that the agreement targets a “twofold” goal, which is to build equity with creditors of Celsius while also growing the strength of the managed services business. “We anticipate having more than 895 MW of infrastructure under our umbrella once the site is up and running,” the executive noted.

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Spot Bitcoin ETF will be ‘bloodbath’ for crypto exchanges, analyst says

Spot Bitcoin ETFs could trigger unwanted consequences for crypto exchanges like Coinbase due to lower transaction fees, according to ETF analysts.

While the crypto community eagerly awaits the possible approval of a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States, some analysts are warning this could potentially trigger unwanted consequences for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Several industry observers have predicted that a spot BTC ETF could start trading in early 2024, in an event that, when paired with Bitcoin’s upcoming block reward halving expected in April, Blockstream CEO Adam Back believes could propel BTC to $100,000.

Bitcoin proponents such as Jan3 CEO Samson Mow have said that approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. could even drive Bitcoin as high as $1 million in the “days to weeks” following.

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Palau advances CBDC with Ripple in phase 2 of PSC program launch

The second phase of the PSC program will prioritize the development of a digital ecosystem and increased user engagement, emphasizing adherence to regulatory compliance.

The Ministry of Finance of Palau officially launched the second phase of its Palau Stablecoin (PSC) program. Jay Hunter Anson, a cybersecurity consultant in Palau and adviser to the Ministry of Finance, confirmed the program’s second phase launch on Dec. 15 in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Anson said that Palau aims to extend its partnership with Ripple in phase two, allowing the PSC team to leverage Ripple’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform and technical expertise.

PSC is a digital currency pegged to the United States dollar, which uses Ripple’s XRP Ledger. 

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Who is Javier Milei, Argentina’s market-friendly president?

Javier Milei, also known as “El Loco,” has proposed dissolving Argentina’s central bank and envisions a society in which contracts will replace governments.

Argentina welcomed a new president on Dec. 10, pledging profound economic reforms in the country, including the dissolution of the central bank along with a number of other measures aimed at reducing government size and spending.

President Javier Gerardo Milei is also known as “El Loco” (the crazy one), a nickname he earned at school due to his explosive personality. During his campaign, Milei pushed his “crazy” persona onto the stage, proposing disruptive measures to a population heavily burdened with a 161% annual inflation rate as of November.

His economic proposals are based on his decades of experience as an economist, ranging from advising politicians to working on private pension funds and banks, and as a professor of macroeconomics and microeconomics, having published several papers about economic growth.

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SEC accused of ‘gaslighting’ in Coinbase rulemaking dispute

Pro-XRP lawyer John Deaton said that the SEC’s stance in the Coinbase rulemaking dispute directly opposes the SEC chair’s statements during his congressional testimony earlier in 2023.

In the ongoing legal dispute between Coinbase and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), pro-XRP lawyer John Deaton accused SEC Chair Gary Gensler of gaslighting the public and disagreed with his stance on cryptocurrencies.

The accusation comes amid the SEC rejecting Coinbase’s crypto rulemaking petition for three reasons: applying current securities laws to cryptocurrencies, the SEC’s engagement with the crypto securities markets through rulemaking, and the significance of preserving the commission’s discretion in establishing its rulemaking priorities.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Deaton emphasized Gensler’s statement outlining the reasons for the SEC’s decision, where the SEC chair states, “there is NOTHING unique or new about cryptocurrencies.” Gensler added that Coinbase’s rulemaking request relies on the belief in the distinctiveness of the crypto ecosystem concerning asset volatility and the categorization of all assets as securities under current laws.

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Ripple exec predicts crypto landscape shifts in 2024

Stuart Alderoty predicts the possible resolution of Ripple’s SEC lawsuit and U.S. lawmakers agreeing on the need for crypto regulations.

Ripple chief legal officer Stuart Alderoty has shared insights on the future of the cryptocurrency landscape in 2024. He discussed predictions about Ripple’s legal dispute with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the judiciary’s influence on crypto regulations and potential legislative challenges in the U.S. Congress.

Alderoty predicts the possible resolution of Ripple’s lawsuit with the SEC in 2024, and he cautions against the SEC’s persistent “regulation by enforcement” strategy, highlighting its potential consequences for the crypto industry.

Alderoty predicts a significant role for the judiciary in curbing SEC overreach, suggesting that ongoing legal conflicts could escalate to a confrontation in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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