Cryptocurrency Exchange

Coinbase appeals SEC rulemaking petition denial as promised

Coinbase filed an appeal the same day its petition for a rulemaking on crypto used as a security was denied.

Coinbase is continuing its efforts to ensure adequate legislation on cryptocurrency used as securities. After the United States Securities and Exchange Commission denied Coinbase’s petition for rulemaking on cryptocurrency on Dec. 15, the crypto exchange appealed the decision on the same day.

Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal promised immediate action as soon as the SEC’s denial became known. On Dec. 18, the U.S. Third District Court of Appeals ordered the SEC to file the record of its decision by Jan. 24, 2024.

In its appeal, Coinbase documented the lengthy process that was necessary to compel the SEC to respond to its petition. It called the SEC’s denial of its petition “arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.” In addition:

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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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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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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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SEC responds predictably to Coinbase’s 2022 crypto rulemaking petition: No

The existing laws are sufficient, according to Chair Gensler. Coinbase says it’s not done yet.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has denied a Coinbase petition for rulemaking on transactions with cryptocurrencies that are securities. Coinbase filed the petition in July 2022 and pushed steadily for a response.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler announced the commission’s decision in a Dec. 15 statement. He gave three reasons for denying Coinbase’s petition, which requested “rules to govern the regulation of securities that are offered and traded via digitally native methods, including potential rules to identify which digital assets are securities.”

Gensler first argued that existing laws and regulations already apply to crypto. His phrasing was nuanced:

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Security engineer pleads guilty to Nirvana Finance exploit and one other hack

Shakeeb Ahmed was arrested for hacking an unspecified DEX, and then admitted to the Nirvava Finance hack too.

A software engineer pleaded guilty in the Southern District Court of New York on Dec. 14 to one count of computer fraud in connection with the hacking of Nirvana Finance and an unnamed decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The United States Attorney’s Office said the case was the first-ever conviction for hacking a smart contract.

Shakeeb Ahmed, described as a “senior security engineer for an international technology company,” was arrested in July in connection with the hack of the unnamed exchange on or about July 2 and 3, 2022. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office statement:

Ahmed returned all but $1.5 million to the exchange, which “agreed not to refer the attack to law enforcement.” The exchange “allowed users to exchange different kinds of cryptocurrencies, and paid fees to users who deposited cryptocurrency to provide liquidity on the Crypto Exchange.”

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Coinbase introduces spot crypto trading for institutional investors outside US

Institutional clients on the Coinbase International Exchange will be able to trade Bitcoin and Ether against USD Coin starting on Dec. 14.

United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that institutional investors on its international exchange can access spot crypto trading services.

In a Dec. 13 announcement, Coinbase said institutional clients based outside the U.S. will be able to trade Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) against USD Coin (USDC). The exchange said the services would launch on Dec. 14 and later expand to include retail investors, additional tokens and “features that enable new trading strategies and enhance capital efficiency.”

“We recognize the hesitancy among some asset issuers and members of the crypto community to engage with U.S. exchanges due to the evolving and uncertain regulatory landscape in the United States,” said Coinbase.

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Dubai regulator grants crypto license to Bahrain’s CoinMENA

The permit allows CoinMENA to provide retail and institutional customers in the United Arab Emirates with the ability to deposit and withdraw in UAE dirhams.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has awarded a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license to Bahrain-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange CoinMENA to operate and offer services in and from the Emirates.

The license acquired by CoinMENA FZE, the Dubai subsidiary of CoinMENA B.S.C., permits the platform to offer virtual asset broker-dealer services, the Dec. 12 announcement shared with Cointelegraph said. It comes a year after the platform obtained a provisional license from the Dubai regulator.

The exchange said it is already in partnership with digital banking platform Zand.

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Crypto hacking losses plunge by nearly 50% in 2023: Report

Blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs credits this decline to enhanced security measures, law enforcement and industry coordination.

Blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs says losses from cryptocurrency hacking in 2023 are down more than 50% from 2022, thanks to improvements in industry security.

TRM Labs’ report published on Dec. 13 reveals that losses from 160 hacks to crypto projects amounted to about $1.7 billion in 2023, less than half the $4 billion stolen from internet protocols in 2022.

TRM Labs said the decline is due to enhanced security measures, which have seen the cryptocurrency industry incorporate real-time transaction monitoring and anomaly detection systems, strengthening digital wallets and exchange platforms.

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