SBI Holdings and SMFG to launch digital securities exchange in 2022

The upcoming digital stock exchange is expected to be the first Japanese exchange to trade digital securities using blockchain technology.

Japanese finance giaSBI Holdings is building a digital stock exchange in collaboration with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, or SMFG.

According to a Jan. 28 Nikkei report, the new digital securities exchange is expected to be the first Japanese exchange trading digital stocks using blockchain technology.

The companies are reportedly planning to roll out the exchange in Osaka in the spring of 2020, while the platform is expected to start handling digital securities in 2023. In order to launch the exchange, SBI and SMFG will set up an operator, the Osaka Digital Exchange, or ODX. SBI will have a 60% stake in ODX, while SMFG will own 40%, the report states.

The new exchange will use a proprietary trading system, an electronic trading venue run by a securities company to enable trading outside of a traditional public exchange.

The new digital stock exchange will compete with the Tokyo Stock Exchange — reportedly the third-largest stock exchange in the world. The new initiative specifically aims to provide an alternative to the TSE after the exchange suffered a massive outage caused by a system glitch in September 2020.

SBI and SMFG are not the only companies that are workin on a digital securities exchange in Japan. In April 2020, Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings announced plans to develop a digital stock exchange in partnership with blockchain startup Hash Dash.

SBI and SMFG previously partnered to offer digital banking services via smartphone.

SBI is known for its positive stance on crypto and blockchain, as well as Ripple, a fintech firm that is now facing a federal lawsuit in the United States for alleged violations of securities laws.

Analyst: Chinese New Year could drive Bitcoin selling pressure

Stack Funds’ analysis suggests that Bitcoin’s floor price has yet to be found as the Chinese New Year approaches.

The upcoming Chinese New Year holidays on Feb. 12 could have an indirect impact on the Bitcoin (BTC) price and drive sell-offs on the market, according to a recent analysis. 

Per a Jan. 28 report by cryptocurrency investment firm Stack Funds, the ongoing selling pressure on the Bitcoin price is likely to continue in the short term due to Asian miners increasingly offloading their funds amid the upcoming week-long holiday.

With more than 60% of global Bitcoin mining pools are located in China, Stack Funds head of research Lennard Neo suggested that a lot of selling pressure is coming from Chinese miners. The researcher stated that the Miner Position Index, or MPI, has seen a massive surge recently, indicating a subsequent pullback of Bitcoin price. As Cointelegraph reported, MPI surged to its highest levels since 2019 in mid-January 2021.

Neo concluded that the ongoing sell-off coincides with the upcoming holidays, suggesting that the floor price is yet to be seen:

“With upcoming Chinese New Year holidays, we expect this selling pressure to continue in the short-term, providing good entry opportunities for market participants [...] We also expect this volatility to persist in the coming weeks, adding pressure to further corrections for Bitcoin prices.”

Also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in the country and is usually associated with increased spending. 

As previously reported, the crypto community has long speculated that Chinese New Year celebrations have historically driven Bitcoin price declines

At publishing time, Bitcoin is trading at $31,546, up 2.8% over the past 24 hours. After briefly dipping below $30,000 on Jan. 27, BTC is down 4.3% over the past seven days.

Top Ethereum conference Devcon is delayed again

The Ethereum Foundation decided to hold off on the major Ethereum event in Bogota without announcing a new date.

Devcon, one of the biggest conferences for the Ethereum community and developers, has been delayed again due to uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a Tuesday announcement, the Ethereum Foundation decided to hold off on the conference in Bogota instead of going ahead with its previously announced August target.

“We want to make sure we do this responsibly and that as many people as possible are able to make the trip from all around the world, which seems unlikely by early August,” the blog post reads.

The Devcon team said that it expects to announce a new date for the event soon:

“While nothing is guaranteed given the ongoing pandemic, we’re hopeful that a new date announcement is possible soon with the availability of COVID-19 vaccines ramping up now, and updated pandemic-related trends improving.”

The Ethereum Foundation added that the community still expects other Ethereum-themed events in the summer, including the Ethereum France-hosted EthCC event that is now scheduled to take place in July. The foundation promised to provide more information like ticketing and speaker applications as soon as it is able to make date-related announcements.

Devcon has been on hold since the Ethereum Foundation postponed Devcon VI in May 2020. The last Devcon V conference took place in October 2019 in Osaka. In 2018, the Devcon event was attended by 3,000 people from all over the world.

Major payments firm SIA to launch DLT-based secondary credit marketplace

Italian financial services firm SIA plans to launch an Ethereum-based platform for secondary credit trading in the second half of 2021.

SIA, an Italian company specialized in e-payment services, is working on a blockchain-based system to enable secondary credit trading.

The upcoming platform will allow banks, funds, and financial operators to negotiate secondary credit transactions via blockchain, SIA announced on Jan. 26.

A spokesperson for SIA told Cointelegraph that the company plans to pilot the platform in Q2 2021, while the full-scale launch is expected in the second half of this year.

SIA’s new credit trading platform is being developed in collaboration with fintech startup WizKey. The Milan-based firm is building financial solutions with a focus on structured finance products and the management and transfer of credit.

By implementing blockchain, SIA intends to provide financial operators with instant and secure access to credit portfolios as well as the underlying data and documentation. "The certification of information and workflow via blockchain provides to all secondary market purchasers the trust necessary to know that the data is consistent and certified, increasing the speed of transaction and the liquidity of the market," a representative of SIA said.

WizKey CEO and founder Marco Pagani said that the blockchain-powered project aims to create a “transparent, liquid and efficient secondary market for NPLs thus benefiting the entire country system.” Daniele Savarè, director of innovation and business solutions at SIA, also noted that the project will be developed in a standardized in line with European regulations.

SIA has been working with blockchain-related developments previously. In June 2020, SIA completed a project on cross-chain interoperability targeting services for banks and financial institutions.

Florida class action lawsuit alleges Ripple violated securities laws

Already facing a suit from the U.S. SEC, Ripple is now accused of violating securities laws in Florida.

Ripple Labs, a company behind the Ripple payment protocol and XRP-based products, is facing another lawsuit alleging the firm violated securities laws in the United States.

According to a Jan. 25 court filing, Florida-based XRP investor Tyler Toomey has filed a civil suit against Ripple Labs and Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to comply with Florida securities laws by failing to register with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

Toomey noted that Ripple Labs and Garlinghouse were already facing a similar lawsuit for reportedly violating federal securities laws. The $1.35 billion suit was brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 22, 2021.

The new class-action accuses Ripple of selling millions of dollars of unlicensed XRP tokens, and generating large revenues from those sales, stating, “The overwhelming majority of Ripple’s revenue came from its sales of XRP (over $1 billion), and Ripple relied on those sales to fund its operations.”

The plaintiff also claimed that Ripple made false statements about XRP by claiming that the token should not be classified as a security. Toomey argued that the defendants knew that XRP was indeed a security:

“Defendants made false statements and/or omissions regarding material facts related to the true nature of XRP. Specifically, Defendants knew that XRP was in fact a security, but affirmatively misrepresented to investors that it was not a security. Defendants knew XRP was a security before Defendants sold XRP into the market.”

Pursuant to federal rules of Civil Procedure, Toomey requested a trial by jury of any and all issues brought in the action.

Shortly after the SEC brought their action against Ripple in late 2020, a wide number of crypto companies including Coinbase and Binance.US delisted XRP from their platforms. Massive delistings apparently affected the XRP market, with Polkadot’s DOT overtaking XRP in terms of market capitalization on Jan. 15. XRP dropped more than 2% over the past 24 hours. At publishing time, the coin is trading at $0.26, according to Cointelegraph’s XRP price index.

Digital Currency Group’s crypto mining arm enters top 10 global mining pools

Foundry entered the cryptocurrency mining game in August 2020.

Foundry, a wholly owned cryptocurrency mining subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, or DCG, has entered the top 10 largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining pools in the world.

The firm's CEO, Barry Silbert, announced the news on Tuesday, predicting that Foundry will soon break into the top five mining pools list.

At publishing time, Foundry has a total hash rate of 2.74 exahashes per second, according to data from block explorer BTC.com. The mining pool is responsible for 1.85% of the total global hash rate.

Source: Btc.com

The news comes shortly after Silbert announced that global Bitcoin miners will be able to join the Foundry pool starting in February. The CEO also expressed optimism about the United States’ mining power, predicting that Foundry will “soon become the largest U.S.-based bitcoin mining pool.”

Officially introduced by DCG in August 2020, Foundry is still far from the world’s top mining pools like F2Pool and Binance Pool in terms of hash rate. China-based F2Pool — the largest mining pool, comprising 18% of the total hash rate — is generating a hash rate of more than 24 EH/s at publishing time.

Launched by Binance in April 2020, Binance Pool is now the second-largest mining pool, responsible for nearly 13% of total global Bitcoin mining power. The pool’s hash rate amounts to 19.16 EH/s at publishing time.

As Cointelegraph reported on Friday, F2Pool’s activity was likely a major reason behind Bitcoin’s recent sell-off, resulting in its price dipping below $29,000.

Winklevoss’ Gemini pushes presence in Asia, supports Singapore dollar

Major cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has rolled out support for the Singapore dollar and set up a local office.

Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss brothers, continues to strengthen its global presence by tapping into the Singaporean market.

On Jan. 25, Gemini announced a roll-out of several new features for its platform in Singapore, including the support of the Singapore dollar on mobile and desktop. According to the announcement, Gemini customers in Singapore can now use a debit card to buy crypto with Singapore dollars as well as use electronic funds transfer service FAST to make deposits on Gemini.

In a move to support the development of local decentralized finance, Gemini now also allows Singaporeans to trade major DeFi tokens like Yearn.Finance (YFI), Uniswap (UI) and Filecoin (FIL). Gemini’s platform in Singapore supports a total of 20 tokens including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and others.

Gemini has also integrated with local data services like Singapore Personal Access or MyInfoefforts to provide a more localized experience for its customers in Singapore.

The company has also established a local office and completed a series of senior hires, including ex-Leonteq Asia exec Jeremy Ng as Gemini’s head of Asia, former APAC financial crimes legal counsel Andy Meehan as chief compliance officer. Eugene Ng, a former derivatives sales executive at Deutsche Bank, joined Gemini’s Singapore office as head of business development.

Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said that Singapore is a financial epicenter and the “heart of Asia and is a fast-growing market for cryptocurrency.” 

As reported by Cointelegraph, Singapore has emerged as a major global hub for cryptocurrency exchanges, firms and blockchain enterprises in the Asia–Pacific region. The country’s regulators are known for their crypto-friendly stance, including zero capital gains tax on crypto income. In late 2020, Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, officially announced the development of a new crypto exchange division.

Bitcoin made up 97% of total crypto inflows in 2021

Bitcoin trading volumes surged significantly this year, jumping from an average of $2 billion in 2020 to $12 billion.

Bitcoin (BTC), the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, remains the most preferred digital currency for investors, according to a new report.

Bitcoin inflows accounted for 97% of total crypto inflows so far in 2021, according to a Jan. 25 report by digital asset investing company CoinShares.

Bitcoin comprises 83% of digital asset investment products under management, while BTC investment products represent just 6.5% of total Bitcoin trading turnover. Amid a major cryptocurrency bull run in January, daily BTC trading volumes have massively surged so far this year, increasing from an average of $2.2 billion in 2020 to $12.3 billion this year.

Crypto investment product inflows hit a record of $1.3 billion over the past week following a period of minor outflows, CoinShares noted. “We believe investors have been very price conscious this year due to the speed at which prices in Bitcoin achieved new highs,” the firm added.

Ether (ETH) — the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap — saw inflows of $34 million over the past week, according to CoinShares’ data. There were “little inflows since early December” as investors have been cautious, the report noted.

Both Bitcoin and Ether hit their new all-time highs in 2021. Bitcoin broke its historical high of $42,000 on Jan. 8, followed by Ether’s ATH of $1,430 on Jan. 19. Both cryptocurrencies were subject to a major price correction, with Bitcoin plunging below $30,000 and Ether dropping to around $1,000 on Jan. 21.

According to CoinShares, the recent price dip was partly prompted by recent comments from Secretary of the United States Treasury Janet Yellen. On Jan. 19, Yellen expressed concerns over cryptocurrencies, claiming that crypto is often used for illicit financing. However, she noted that crypto has some potential to improve the financial system.

Tor Project’s crypto donations increased 23% in 2020

Bitcoin remained the most popular cryptocurrency for the Tor Project’s donors in 2020, followed by altcoins like Ether, Monero and Zcash.

The cryptocurrency community has been doubling down on its support to privacy-centric applications like Tor Browser in 2020, according to new data.

The Tor Project, a non-profit organization behind the anonymous Tor Browser, saw a 23% increase in cryptocurrency donations in 2020. A spokesperson at the Tor Project told Cointelegraph that crypto-powered donations surged from $189,637 in 2019 to $233,019 in 2020.

According to a Jan. 25 announcement by the project, crypto donations made up nearly 26% of total individual donations, which amounted to $913,110. According to a Tor Project representative, Bitcoin (BTC) was the most popular cryptocurrency for their donors in 2020, followed by Ether (ETH) and privacy-focused altcoins like Monero (XMR):

“We have seen that Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency for our donors, followed by Ethereum and Monero — these two currencies are about evenly split for second most popular. Next most popular is Zcash.”

The Tor Project has emerged as a major Bitcoin-friendly nonprofit, having started accepting BTC donations back in 2013. In March 2019, the Tor Project expanded the number of supported cryptocurrencies for donations, adding eight altcoins including Ether, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) Dash (DASH), Stellar Lumens (XLM) and others.

The project’s move to support more cryptocurrencies for donations was apparently widely appreciated in the crypto community as Bitcoin holders got an opportunity to keep their BTC and donate in other digital currencies instead. In September 2019, Matt Odell, a Bitcoin maximalist and co-host of the Tales from the Crypt podcast, urged the community to support the Tor Project with altcoins, not Bitcoin. “Donate shitcoins. stack sats,” Odell wrote in his XLM transaction to the Tor Project.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were becoming increasingly popular as a tool for donations in 2020. Dave Portnoy’s Barstool Fund — an initiative to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — started accepting crypto donations through The Giving Block in late 2020.

ConsenSys partners with China’s Blockchain-based Service Network

ConsenSys has partnered with China’s Blockchain-based Service Network to accelerate the enterprise adoption of Ethereum apps in China.

ConsenSys, one of the world’s largest blockchain software companies, has partnered with the Blockchain-based Service Network, a Chinese government-backed nationwide blockchain project,

As part of the partnership, ConsenSys’ Ethereum-based distributed ledger protocol ConsenSys Quorum will be featured on the BSN ecosystem, the firm announced on Jan. 25. 

The protocol will be available in 80 different cities through BSN’s public city nodes across mainland China. ConsenSys director Charles d’Haussy told Cointelegraph that ConsenSys Quorum will be available in all major cities and provinces including Beijing, Xiong’an and Hangzhou.

ConsenSys’ GoQuorum — an open-source Ethereum client and part of ConsenSys Quorum — will be made interoperable with frameworks and protocols on the BSN through BSN’s Interchain Communications Hub. The BSN will also feature ConsenSys’ blockchain application suite known as ConsenSys Codefi, placing its apps like Orchestrate, Workflow, and Assets on the BSN marketplace.

ConsenSys Quorum will be packaged on the BSN with other mainstream permissioned and public blockchain networks to sell to businesses and governments. The BSN supports major blockchains like Ethereum, EOSIO, Tezos, Polkadot, and others.

Additionally, ConsenSys will cooperate with the BSN to provide training programs for the usage of ConsenSys Quorum in China. Yifan He, the executive director of the BSN Development Association, said that BSN will include Quorum in BSN’s training programs in 2021 to “substantially accelerate the enterprise adoption of blockchain technology and Ethereum-based solutions in China.”

Founded by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys is one of the world’s biggest companies building software products on top of the Ethereum blockchain. By entering the BSN, ConsenSys intends to tap a larger and deeper market in China, Lubin said:

“We believe that the different open source blockchain protocols need to interoperate, and with the BSN we are taking a significant step forward in bringing ConsenSys Quorum to many enterprises in China that could benefit from transparent collaborative business networks.”

The BSN is a Chinese government-supported blockchain initiative, backed by the State Information Center of China, a think tank under the National Development and Reform Commission. Piloted in late 2019, the BSN has become one of the largest global enterprise blockchain ecosystems, deploying more than 2,000 blockchain apps across enterprises and government organizations in China so far. In 2021, the BSN plans to complete the integration of 10 permissioned and 30 more public blockchain protocols.

Bahrain central bank licenses Sharia-compliant crypto exchange

Bahrain-based crypto exchange CoinMENA acquired a major license ahead of its launch in several countries including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

CoinMENA, a soon-to-launch cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain, has obtained a license from the Central Bank of Bahrain, or CBB.

The newly acquired “Crypto Assets Services Company License” allows CoinMENA to operate fully as a regulated crypto exchange and onshore platform, the company announced on Jan. 24. The CBB’s license ensures that CoinMENA meets all of the operational, technical and security requirements set by the central bank.

As CoinMENA plans to roll out its services in the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, countries — including Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman — CoinMENA is also certified by the Shariyah Review Bureau as a Sharia-compliant platform.

At the launch, CoinMENA will support five major cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), XRP, Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The exchange will also feature an over-the-counter, or OTC, platform for larger transactions, providing customers with a dedicated manager overseeing every OTC trade.

Dina Sam’an, co-founder and managing director of CoinMENA, said that the company aims to expand to more countries after its launch:

“As CoinMENA grows, we will be providing access to additional digital assets and expanding the jurisdictions we operate in, with the view of becoming one of the leading digital assets exchanges on a global scale.”

CoinMENA has been working to launch its crypto trading platform for more than two years so far. In late 2019, CoinMENA appointed the Shariyah Review Bureau as an outsourcing facility to manage and supervise the Sharia certification and Sharia audit services for its digital asset platform.

Some Russian officials are being forced to sell their crypto by April 2021

Some Russian public officials have to disclose their crypto holdings, while other officials are obliged to hold zero crypto by April 1, according to a new law.

Russia adopted its cryptocurrency law in January, but this legislation does not provide a direct answer to some questions, including how local officials should deal with their crypto holdings. There are at least two other legal initiatives requiring Russian public officials to declare or even get rid of their cryptocurrency holdings entirely in 2021.

On Dec. 10, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree obliging some public officials to disclose their crypto holdings by June 30. The decree was adopted as part of the country’s law “On Digital Financial Assets,” or DFA, which was made effective on Jan. 1.

According to the decree, Russian officials or individuals seeking to hold public office must disclose their digital assets, as well as those of their spouse and children. The legislation refers to a general scope of the official establishment, seeking to ensure that the government is as compliant with the local financial declaration rules as ordinary citizens already are.

But there is also another regulation that prohibits certain Russian officials from owning any cryptocurrency, in line with the country’s anti-corruption measures. On Dec. 28, 2020, the Russian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection published an informational letter reminding some officials that they are obligated to liquidate their digital financial assets and any digital currencies by April 1, regardless of the country of issuance.

This restriction specifically refers to individuals listed in Part 1 of Article 2 of the Russian Federal Law from May 7, 2013 No. 79-FL, which prohibits certain categories of persons to store their funds abroad as well as use foreign financial instruments. The list includes a broad number of key public positions, including running and deputy positions in public office, the board of directors of the Russian central bank, public corporations owned by the Russian Federation, heads of district administrations and several others.

In the letter, the ministry mentioned that other categories of public officials are not subject to these restrictions, though they still need to disclose their digital assets in line with a decree signed by Putin.

While Russian authorities keep introducing new crypto-related rules for public officials, it’s not immediately clear how they will monitor compliance from a technological standpoint. Artem Grigoriev, head of the research lab at the Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain, told Cointelegraph:

“There is still no law on the circulation of cryptocurrency. The authors of this initiative probably have their own vision about the implementation of these rules. Practice will show.”

Maria Stankevich, a member of the Russian Committee on Blockchain Technologies and Cryptoeconomics, also questioned the technological and legal feasibility of implementing the rules:

“The restrictions for the certain groups of the establishment for possessing the digital currency is actually a logical step in the attempts to stop corruption. [...] This is a clear signal for all the officials that the government now has another lever to show its power when needed. However, the main question is how they will monitor it, as there is no such law or process.”

VanEck files with SEC for ETF that tracks crypto companies’ performance

VanEck has filed with the SEC to launch the Digital Assets ETF related to the performance of top cryptocurrency companies.

VanEck, a major American investment management firm, is making another attempt to launch a digital asset-related exchange-traded fund, or ETF.

According to a Jan. 21 filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, VanEck’s new ETF is called the Digital Assets ETF. The new fund would track the price and performance of the Global Digital Assets Equity Index run by its subsidiary MV Index Solutions.

According to the document, the new Digital Assets ETF “normally invests” at least 80% of its total assets in securities that comprise the Fund’s benchmark index. The index tracks the performance of the digital assets segment.

VanEck elaborated that digital asset companies refer to companies that operate digital asset exchanges, payment gateways, mining operations, software, equipment and technology or services to the digital asset industry, and others. 

In order to be initially eligible for inclusion in the index, a company must generate at least 50% of its revenues from digital assets projects or projects having the potential to generate such revenues, the filing reads.

“Companies with less than 50% of their revenues from the global digital assets segment, including semiconductor and online money transfer companies, may be added to the Index to reach a minimum component number,” VanEck noted.

VanEck is famous for being the first company to file for a Bitcoin (BTC) ETF in the United States. After several failed attempts, VanEck filed a new Bitcoin ETF application on Dec. 31, 2020. As reported by Cointelegraph, VanEck is facing a lawsuit from blockchain firm and former-partner SolidX over its latest BTC ETF for alleged plagiarism.

Crypto Fear and Greed index drops to October 2020 levels

The Crypto Fear and Greed index shows that the cryptocurrency market sentiment has just shifted from “Extreme Greed” to “Fear.”

With the Bitcoin (BTC) price dipping below a $29,000 threshold, the investor mood is worsening and the Crypto Fear and Greed index has plunged to October 2020 levels.

On Jan. 22, the Crypto Fear and Greed index sharply dropped to a value of 40, moving the market sentiment from “Extreme Greed” to “Fear.” The index dropped to this low for the first time since Oct. 3, 2020, when Bitcoin was trading at around $10,500.

Crypto Fear and Greed Index one-year chart. Source: Alternative.me

Similar to the fear and greed indexes in the traditional markets, the Crypto Fear and Greed index is a tool that measures two of the primary emotions that influence how much investors are willing to buy crypto like Bitcoin. 

According to Alternative.me, the extreme fear level can be a sign that investors are too worried, which could mean a good buying opportunity. In contrast, when investors are getting too greedy, it could be a sign that the market is due for a correction.

Indeed, prior to dropping to 40, the Crypto Fear and Greed Index topped at 95 on Jan. 6, demonstrating that investors turned very greedy amid Bitcoin hitting its all-time highs of $42,000 on Jan. 8. The Bitcoin price subsequently saw a major correction, dipping to as low as $28,750 on Jan. 21.

Source: Alternative.me

As Bitcoin has been suffering a sharp correction in recent days, more people in the industry have been commenting on the price moves. On Jan. 21, Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at financial services firm Guggenheim, predicted that Bitcoin is poised to drop to $20,000. The exec still believes that Bitcoin will hit $400,000 in the long-term, but not this year.

Mike Novogratz, the founder of Galaxy Digital, is confident that Bitcoin will rally again. He tweeted on Jan. 21, “Humans aren’t meant to live in 150% vol environments. That was the tell. When vol recedes will we bottom, base and resume the rally.”

At publishing time, the Bitcoin price has slightly rebounded at around $31,000. The world’s largest cryptocurrency is down more than 10% over the past 24 hours but is still up about 30% over the past 30 days, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index.

Top Russian bank Sberbank plans to launch its stablecoin by spring 2021

Sberbank has applied with the Central Bank of Russia to launch a blockchain platform for its “Sbercoin” stablecoin.

Sberbank, the largest state-owned bank in Russia, has reportedly filed an application with the Bank of Russia to launch a blockchain platform for its “Sbercoin” stablecoin.

Sergey Popov, director of the transaction business at Sberbank, announced the news on Jan. 21 at a local financial event Russian news agency Interfax reports.

At “Digital transformation and prospects for regulating the digital economy,” Popov said that Sberbank applied with the central bank in early January, explaining that the registration procedure usually takes no longer than 45 days. As such, the bank may launch its platform and stablecoin by the spring this year, the official said. However, Sberbank is still working out how to tax Sbercoin:

“There is a high probability that this project will be launched in the spring. There is one more issue that has not yet been fully resolved, which is connected to the taxation of digital financial assets. But we hope that this question will be resolved soon.”

Popov reportedly added that Sberbank is “ready to work with such a fiat currency” from a technological standpoint so far. “We have completed an internal testing to see that the solution works,” he said.

Sberbank did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

As previously reported, Sberbank broke the news on developing its native Sbercoin token at the end of November, following long-running speculation about these plans. Sberbank’s latest announcement comes shortly after Russia officially adopted its crypto law “On Digital Financial Assets” on Jan. 1, 2021.

In late 2020, Anatoly Aksakov, a member of the Russian State Duma, said that the Duma’s Committee on Financial Markets expects Russian crypto issuance to surge after the adoption of the country’s new crypto law.

Older investors are getting into crypto, new survey finds

Wirex and the Stellar Development Foundation emphasized that age is “no barrier to adopting blockchain technology.”

Older generations have started recognizing the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in global payment systems, a new survey says.

On Jan. 21, digital payment platform Wirex released a special report devoted to the topic of cryptocurrency adoption in 2021. Compiled in partnership with the Stellar Development Foundation, the report includes survey results from 3,834 people across 89 countries, aiming to understand the latest trends in the global adoption of blockchain-powered digital payments.

The survey was conducted over the course of three weeks, with both Wirex and the SDF sending out emails asking for voluntary participation in a survey related to the use of cross-border transactions. Total responses included 81% European residents and 17% participants from the Asia Pacific region.

As part of the report, Wirex and SDF emphasized that age is “no barrier to adopting blockchain technology,” discovering that there is a sufficient appetite for the benefits of blockchain across all age groups. Nearly 60% of all survey participants were aged 45 or older, with many experimenting with blockchain-powered payments.

According to the survey results, more than 30% of respondents between the ages of 45 and 54 — the largest survey’s age group — were using crypto. The study also found that 26% of women aged from 55 to 64 invested in crypto, compared to 14% of men in the same age group.

Source: Wirex

Consumers are more likely to consider digital assets as an alternative to traditional money transfer services if they send higher amounts of up to $1,000, the report notes. Additionally, the survey found that 86% of respondents felt safe using cryptocurrency.

Other firms have also noticed a trend of older generations moving into Bitcoin. In June 2020, British crypto trading app Mode reported that Baby Boomers and Generation-X investors increased their monthly crypto investments by a factor of nine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

BitMEX operator joins digital finance standards and advocacy organization

BitMEX’s parent company has joined Global Digital Finance, or GDF, a major industry association advocating for the adoption of digital assets.

100x Group, BitMEX’s parent company and the holding structure for its platform, has joined Global Digital Finance, or GDF, a major industry association advocating for the adoption of digital assets. As a GDF patron board member, 100x will advocate for a more inclusive and better regulated digital financial system, BitMEX announced on Jan. 21.

The new partnership with GDF extends 100x’s efforts to promote collaboration between the public and private sectors to drive mainstream adoption of crypto. “Greater public-private collaboration is the only way to realise the wide-scale adoption of digital assets and we will be championing an advance in industry-wide operational standards and governance,” 100x Group CEO Alexander Höptner said.

GDF was launched in March 2018 with a mission to convene both the crypto assets industry and financial services professionals and regulators to build an efficient and transparent ecosystem for each type of digital asset. The association has so far secured a number of high-profile members from the industry including Coinbase, ConsenSys and Huobi. Malcolm Wright, 100x’s chief compliance officer, joined the GDF previously in 2018, and is a chair of its advisory council and co-chair of the GDF Anti-Money Laundering working group.

100x’s entrance into GDF comes amid an ongoing legal action brought against BitMEX by the United States securities regulators. In late 2020, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed civil complaints against the firm, accusing BitMEX of offering unregistered derivatives sales to U.S. retail investors. BitMEX is now expected to provide a response to the CFTC’s complaint by Feb. 12, 2021.

BitMEX has been struggling to boost its regulatory and compliance efforts since the action was brought. On Jan. 12, the company announced a new collaboration with blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis to “identify, investigate, and stop illicit transactions.” Earlier in January, BitMEX claimed that its entire user base completed the obligatory Know Your Customer checks.

Guggenheim CIO expects Bitcoin to drop to $20,000

Guggenheim Partners’ Scott Minerd now expects Bitcoin to drop to $20,000 after predicting a $400,000 long-term price target a month ago.

A senior executive at financial services firm Guggenheim Partners — which is planning to seek investment exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) — has argued that BTC is poised to drop to $20,000.

Scott Minerd, Guggenheim’s chief investment officer, believes that Bitcoin will not hit another all-time high in 2021, according to a Jan. 21 episode of CNBC's Closing Bell.

After hitting $42,000 price level on Jan. 8, Bitcoin is unlikely to climb any higher until 2022, Minerd said:

“I think for the time being, we probably put in the top for bitcoin for the next year or so. And we're likely to see a full retracement back toward the 20,000 level.”

Despite Minerd’s bearish short-term Bitcoin prediction, the CIO apparently still maintains a stance that one bitcoin will be worth as much as $400,000 one day. In late 2020, when Bitcoin was on its way to cross its new ATHs, the CIO called for a $400,000 long-term price target for Bitcoin. He subsequently went bearish on BTC in the short term, claiming that "Bitcoin's parabolic rise is unsustainable in the near term" on Jan. 10.

Some in the crypto community have gotten mixed signals from Minerd’s varying predictions. One Twitter user juxtaposed two separate headlines with Minerd's comments on the Bitcoin price:

Guggenheim Partners moved into the crypto industry in late 2020 after the company filed an application with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to “seek investment exposure to Bitcoin through Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust product.

Minerd’s bearish Bitcoin prediction comes amid another negative Bitcoin correction, with BTC dipping below $34,000 on Jan. 20. As Cointelegraph reported, the selling pressure on Bitcoin mostly came from Asia in the first two weeks of January, while the United States market also started to see weakness amid a correction on Jan. 19.

At publishing time, Bitcoin is trading at $32,997, down over 5% over the past seven days but still up about 45% over the past 30 days, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index.

Russian court order removes Binance website from regulator’s blacklist

The Binance website has been formally blacklisted in Russia since at least September 2020, but the restriction has not impacted Binance Russia trading.

The website of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is no longer formally blacklisted in Russia, according to a new court ruling.

According to a Jan. 21 report by Russian news agency Kommersant, the Arkhangelsk Regional Court has annulled a previous decision to blacklist the Binance website in Russia. Gleb Kostarev, Binance’s head of operations for Russia and the CIS, confirmed the news to Cointelegraph, stating that the court hearing took place on Jan. 20.

The latest court decision reverts a previous ruling made in 2020. In September, Binance announced that its website came on the list of prohibited websites by Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor. The regulator blacklisted the website based on a court decision charging the site for disseminating prohibited information. Despite the block, the website was still available in Russia without additional access tools like VPNs.

At publishing time, the Binance website still appears on Roskomnadzor’s list of prohibited sites, but access is not restricted.

Binance website on Roskomnadzor’s list of prohibited sites. Source: RKN

Kostarev said that Binance is still waiting for the court documents on the latest decision, which the company expects to receive in the next two weeks. “After getting a document we will send a notification to remove us from the list,” he said.

The executive also said that the blacklisting has not impacted Binance’s trading volumes in the Russian market. “Though the September ban had no impact on our volumes in Russia, for us it was important to protect our reputation and appeal in this case,” Kostarev stated.

The blacklist reversal comes shortly after Russia officially adopted its major crypto law “On Digital Financial Assets” on Jan. 1, 2021. In August 2020, Roskomnadzor banned another major cryptocurrency website in Russia, BestChange.ru.

Ether could be heading for $10.5K, says Fundstrat strategist

Ether’s ongoing Proof-of-Stake upgrade combined with its DeFi potential and new all-time high could trigger its price above $10,000, according to one analyst.

After hitting a new all-time high, the Ether (ETH) price could potentially head to $10,500, according to a strategist at major market research company Fundstrat Global Advisors.

Fundstrat’s strategist David Grider commented on ETH hitting new historical records of about $1,430 in an investor note on Tuesday, Bloomberg reports. Grider said that the second-largest cryptocurrency could climb more than sevenfold to $10,500 after setting a new record.

The strategist reportedly said that Ether is now “the best risk/reward investment play in crypto,” emphasizing that the Ethereum blockchain is the biggest foundation for decentralized finance, or DeFi, applications. “Blockchain computing may be the future of the cloud,” Grider noted.

As Ethereum has been progressing with its Proof-of-Stake upgrade, its network has the potential to scale significantly, and process transactions at a level similar to Mastercard and Visa, the strategist added.

The latest Ether prediction comes as ETH finally broke its new historical record on Jan. 19, 2021, about 10 days after Bitcoin hit its $42,000 ATH on Jan. 8. Despite Bitcoin outpacing Ether to be the first coin to post a new ATH after the 2017 crypto rally, Bitcoin is apparently less popular in terms of daily transactions so far. According to January data from crypto analytics firm Messari, the Ethereum network now has up to 28% more transactions daily than Bitcoin.

At publishing time, ETH is trading at $1,290, down about 9% over the past 24 hours. Over the past 30 days, the altcoin has surged more than 100%, according to Cointelegraph’s ETH price index.

Rick and Morty crypto art sells for $150,000 on Gemini-owned platform

Justin Roiland's piece was listed on a non-fungible token art exchange owned by Gemini.

A crypto art piece by Justin Roiland, co-creator of the famous animated series Rick and Morty, has sold for a handsome price on non-fungible token marketplace Nifty Gateway.

Dubbed “The First Ever Edition Of Rick And Morty Cryptoart,” the tokenized artwork was sold at silent auction for $150,000. Nifty Gateway announced the news on Twitter on Jan. 19.

The newly sold artwork is part of Roiland’s crypto art collection called “The Best I Could Do.” The collection includes multiple artworks inspired by the Rick and Morty series as well as other animations including the iconic American animated sitcom, The Simpsons.

Dubbed “The Smintons,” Roiland’s crypto artwork is expected to be sold later today as the auction ends at 7 pm EST. At the time of writing, the highest bid amounts to $188,137.

The latest news comes shortly after Nifty Gateway announced the auction of Roiland’s collection on Jan. 13. The Rick and Morty co-creator is apparently an early Bitcoin (BTC) adopter as he publicly endorsed the crypto back in 2015.

Owned by Winklevoss’ crypto exchange Gemini, Nifty Gateway is a major NFT marketplace that facilitates a number of NFT sales each day. In December 2020, a Star Wars-themed NFT piece sold for $777,777 on the platform. Previously, Nifty auctioned Trevor Jones’ NFT “Picasso’s Bull” for $55,555.

Crypto NFTs have been steadily gaining momentum in recent months, bringing famous creators and artists a new opportunity to sell their pieces directly to their fans. In late 2020, Sean Ono Lennon, a British-American musician, songwriter and producer, auctioned a tokenized digital artwork on nonfungible-token marketplace Rarible.

Rick and Morty crypto art sells for $150,000 on Gemini-owned platform

Justin Roiland's piece was listed on a non-fungible token art exchange owned by Gemini.

A crypto art piece by Justin Roiland, co-creator of the famous animated series Rick and Morty, has sold for a handsome price on non-fungible token marketplace Nifty Gateway.

Dubbed “The First Ever Edition Of Rick And Morty Cryptoart,” the tokenized artwork was sold at silent auction for $150,000. Nifty Gateway announced the news on Twitter on Jan. 19.

The newly sold artwork is part of Roiland’s crypto art collection called “The Best I Could Do.” The collection includes multiple artworks inspired by the Rick and Morty series as well as other animations including the iconic American animated sitcom, The Simpsons.

Dubbed “The Smintons,” Roiland’s crypto artwork is expected to be sold later today as the auction ends at 7 pm EST. At the time of writing, the highest bid amounts to $188,137.

The latest news comes shortly after Nifty Gateway announced the auction of Roiland’s collection on Jan. 13. The Rick and Morty co-creator is apparently an early Bitcoin (BTC) adopter as he publicly endorsed the crypto back in 2015.

Owned by Winklevoss’ crypto exchange Gemini, Nifty Gateway is a major NFT marketplace that facilitates a number of NFT sales each day. In December 2020, a Star Wars-themed NFT piece sold for $777,777 on the platform. Previously, Nifty auctioned Trevor Jones’ NFT “Picasso’s Bull” for $55,555.

Crypto NFTs have been steadily gaining momentum in recent months, bringing famous creators and artists a new opportunity to sell their pieces directly to their fans. In late 2020, Sean Ono Lennon, a British-American musician, songwriter and producer, auctioned a tokenized digital artwork on nonfungible-token marketplace Rarible.

Brave private browser integrates IPFS support to desktop version

Brave Browser has integrated IPFS into its desktop web browser for Windows, macOS and Linux.

Brave Browser, a popular blockchain-enabled web browser, has integrated native support of InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, to strengthen the access to the decentralized web.

According to a Jan. 19 announcement, Brave has integrated IPFS into its desktop web browser for Windows, macOS and Linux, enabling users to install the protocol in a couple of clicks.

IPFS is a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to make the web faster, safer, and more open. The protocol aims to supplement or possibly even replace the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, which is a major client-based protocol used to transfer web pages across a network. In the announcement, Brave pinpointed some crucial issues associated with HTTP:

“The underlying protocol of the web today is HTTP, which dictates where power exists in those applications. HTTP puts publishers in complete control of service availability and data access, making end users passive receivers instead of having agency in the relationship.”

As such, the IPFS integration with Brave browser is a big step toward redefining existing internet architecture, putting individuals in control instead of publishers, Brave said. “IPFS changes this dynamic by enabling direct communication and sharing between users over a cooperative public network,” the firm added.

The initial release of native support for IPFS provides basic node functionality, and Brave plans to introduce more IPFS implementations in 2021 including adding IPFS support to Brave’s Android browser. The firm will also experiment with integrating the features and economic models of the Brave network’s utility token, Basic Attention Token (BAT) and Filecoin (FIL).

Brave is not the only company actively experimenting with IPFS. In March 2020, Opera browser officially released IPFS native addressing in their Android browser, introducing default support for IPFS on Android 57.

New ‘market fear’ index lets traders bet on crypto volatility

COTI’s new Crypto Volatility Index allows traders to profit from highly-volatile cryptocurrency markets.

COTI, a blockchain-powered fintech startup, has launched a new cryptocurrency index enabling traders to profit from the market volatility.

The new Crypto Volatility Index, or CVI, brings the traditional “market fear index” to the crypto market, allowing users to deposit and open positions with Tether (UDST).

Gibraltar-based COTI explained that the new index allows traders to open CVI positions for high and low volatility. “Users who expect volatility to increase can open a CVI position. If correct, they can take profit by selling their position once the index has risen,” COTI wrote.

In contrast, traders who expect volatility to remain low can provide liquidity to the platform. If correct, traders will profit by collecting fees paid by traders who have opened CVI positions.

CVI liquidity providers are required to deposit USDT for a minimum of 72 hours, while CVI traders must maintain an open position for at least 6 hours before selling or closing it. 

Users can link their accounts to major wallets including MetaMask or Trust Wallet. COTI plans to add Ether (ETH) and COTI token (COTI) as deposit tokens in the near future.

With the CVI mainnet launch, users can also stake and unstake GOVI, which is the native governance token of the CVI index. The token enables users to earn platform fees and participate in voting.

Dubai financial regulator working on regulations for cryptocurrencies

The Dubai Financial Services Authority is reportedly looking to introduce two crypto-related consultation papers as part of its business plan in 2021.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority, the financial regulatory agency for the special economic zone, the Dubai International Financial Centre, is looking to enhance local cryptocurrency-related regulations.

The DFSA is planning to introduce a regulatory framework for diverse digital assets as part of its 2021–2022 business plan released on Jan. 18.

According to the DFSA, the upcoming crypto framework will further expand the DFSA’s regulation of digital asset issuers and associated trading platforms. The framework will include a number of digital asset types like tokenized securities and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC):

“We will build upon recent achievements in this space over the business planning period through developing a regulatory regime for digital assets (such as tokenised securities and crypto-currencies), having already implemented regulations supporting various innovative business models.”

According to a report by local news agency The National, the DFSA plans to publish two consultation papers seeking feedback on the upcoming rules. Peter Smith, the DFSA’s head of strategy, policy and risk, said that the two consultations will be released in the first two quarters of 2021. “We will look to regulate a wide range of digital assets, including security tokens, utility tokens, the various types of exchange tokens, such as cryptocurrencies and the firms that provide relevant services in these markets,” Smith noted.

The UAE’s first cryptocurrency-related rules emerged more than two years ago. In June 2018, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, or FSRA, of the Abu Dhabi Global Market published guidance on cryptocurrencies, exchanges and initial coin offerings. The FSRA continued to actively engage with the industry, granting several regulatory approvals to companies like the BitOasis cryptocurrency exchange in 2019.

Trezor crypto wallet warns users of doppelgänger scam app on Google Play

The fake Trezor app has been downloaded by at least 1,000 people on the Android’s app store Google Play.

Trezor, a major hardware cryptocurrency wallet supplier, has warned its users about a fake Trezor application on Google Play.

According to Trezor, the fake app is malicious and has no relation to Trezor or SatoshiLabs, a company that created the Trezor wallet. Announcing the news on Jan. 18, Trezor asked its clients to not install the malicious application, reminding users that they should never share their seed phrase with anyone.

Trezor also provided its users with a short manual on using Trezor wallet with Android. In the manual, the company listed major third-party Trezor apps including Mycelium, Sentinel or Walleth.

At publishing time, the malicious app is still available on Google Play. As of Jan. 18, the app was reportedly downloaded more than 1,000 times. The doppelgänger app also has about 200 reviews on the app store, with the majority warning that it is a scam. “This app is a scam. Never enter your recovery phrase in anything except an official hardware Trezor. Anyone that asks for this phrase (besides a physical Trezor) is trying to scam you),” one supposed user wrote.

Trezor did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

This is not the first time that a fake app has been listed on Google Play. In May 2019, Cointelegraph reported on a malicious Google Play app imitating Trezor wallet. The app was found by ESET antivirus researchers, who said that they expect more crypto scam apps to enter the Android store as the crypto market grows.

Online scammers have been targeting other popular crypto companies to impersonate their apps on Google and steal money from users. In May 2020, a cybersecurity researcher discovered 22 malicious Google Chrome extensions imitating crypto services like Trezor’s rival Ledger and major Ether (ETH) wallet MetaMask.

Huobi Korea scores certification from Korea Internet and Security Agency

The South Korean arm of global crypto giant Huobi has acquired an ISMS certification to comply with the upcoming Special Payment Act.

Huobi Korea, the South Korean arm of the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has been certified by a major regulator.

According to an announcement on Jan. 18, the Korea Internet and Security Agency, or KISA, has granted Huobi Korea an information security management system, or ISMS, certification. 

The ISMS certification will provide Huobi Korea with a comprehensive management system to ensure security and compliance with the Special Payment Act — new legislation requiring local crypto businesses to report transactions in line with revised Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering policies. 

Specifically, exchanges must report the real names of their users to the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit in addition to verifying them against personal data, such as resident registration numbers. The Special Payment Act will come into force in March 2021.

Park Si-deok, CEO of Huobi Korea, said that the acquisition of ISMS will further strengthen the company’s position as a provider of institutional-level crypto services. As previously reported, Huobi Korea officially launched trading in March 2018.

While Huobi continues to cement its position in South Korea, some global crypto exchanges have faced some issues in maintaining their business in the country. Binance KR, the South Korean wing of the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, shut down operations due to low volumes in January 2021.

After alleged hack, Russian crypto exchange Livecoin shuts down

Russian cryptocurrency exchange Livecoin has announced a full shutdown following an alleged hack in December 2020.

Russian cryptocurrency exchange Livecoin has announced it is shutting down after abruptly halting operations in late December 2020.

According to Livecoin’s main page, the exchange is unable to continue operations due to financial and technical damages caused by an alleged attack on its servers in late 2020. Livecoin announced the shutdown on Jan. 16 on Twitter, linking to its new domain “Livecoin.news.” Livecoin’s previous domain Livecoin.net is not available at publishing time.

Livecoin said that it is looking to “pay the remaining funds” to its clients, asking users to contact the exchange via email to complete verification. In order to initiate the procedure, Livecoin users have to send their usernames and the registration date on the platform.

The exchange promised to provide detailed instructions in a reply, noting that reimbursement claims will be accepted until March 17, 2021. “After this date no new requests will be accepted,” Livecoin said. The exchange did not specify when Livecoin expects to repay its customers.

Livecoin also warned users about unofficial Livecoin chat groups that may be spreading false information and trying to defraud users. “Participating in these groups you run a high risk, because we [do not have any] groups,” Livecoin wrote, claiming that its website is the only source of official information. The company also said that there is an ongoing investigation.

Livecoin did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

As previously reported, Livecoin halted operations on Dec. 24, claiming that the exchange suffered a “carefully planned attack” causing it to lose control of all of its servers.

As part of the incident, hackers managed to take over Livecoin’s infrastructure and modify the prices on the exchange to abnormally high values. As such, Livecoin reportedly traded Bitcoin (BTC) at above $300,000, while its market price amounted to around $24,000 at the time. Some users subsequently suggested that Livecoin's “hack” could be an exit scam.

While Livecoin urges its users to stay away from media channels, its supposed clients are struggling to get their funds back using Livecoin’s unofficial Telegram group. Some reported users speculated that Livecoin’s latest announcement could have been made by hackers, while others filed complaints with local enforcement proceedings.

Some users have refused to send their personal data to Livecoin over privacy concerns. One alleged exchange user provided a list of data supposedly required by Livecoin’s reimbursement procedure including passport scans, residence information, high-resolution selfies, data about the first transaction on the exchange, devices used on the platform, as well as a video of a withdrawal of the first incoming transaction.

British financial advisor calls on the gov’t to ban crypto transactions

Veteran financial advisor Neil Liversidge came to the U.K. Government and Parliament with a petition to ban crypto transactions.

Neil Liversidge, a veteran financial advisor, has called on the government of the United Kingdom to ban transactions in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).

Liversidge, the owner of the independent financial advisory firm West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, started a petition urging local financial authorities to stop crypto transactions in the U.K. The petition reads:

“Legislate to prohibit the payment by or acceptance of cryptocurrencies by UK resident businesses or individuals, and require UK regulators (the FCA and PRA) to prohibit transactions by UK financial institutions in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.”

Liversidge cited a common anti-crypto narrative, arguing that cryptos like Bitcoin have no intrinsic value and “can be a destabilising influence on society, and often used for criminal activity.” The advisor also thinks that cryptocurrency mining is “harmful to the environment.”

According to the U.K. Government and Parliament website, the petition’s deadline is July 7, 2021. At time of publication, the petition has collected 108 signatures.

In a Jan. 13 interview with finance-focused publication Professional Adviser, Liversidge noted that a blanket ban on crypto transactions in the U.K. will help the enforcement to reduce the power of criminals using cryptos like Bitcoin for illicit activity. “Law enforcement will never catch them all, it won't even catch most of them, but destroying their financial base reduces their power,” the IFA argued.

Liversidge also said that a crypto ban would immediately trigger a crash on the market: “If the UK government takes a lead by banning transactions on cryptos as my petition requests, that will set off a chain reaction, crashing cryptos overnight,” he said.

The IFA’s verdict is that all crypto investors should immediately sell their holdings: “So if you're holding cryptos now, my advice to you is to find a bigger fool than you and dump them quick.” Liversidge also told Cointelegraph that he has “never owned any and never would buy any,” crypto, even if he knew that it would bring him hundreds of percent of returns.

Bitcoin’s ongoing rally driving its price up to $42,000 has definitely pushed global Bitcoin naysayers to finally talk Bitcoin after mostly keeping silent in 2020. On Jan. 14, Russian State Duma member Anatoly Aksakov suggested that global authorities should ban crypto payments because Bitcoin is a bubble that is poised to burst “sooner or later.” On Jan. 13, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde declared that Bitcoin is a “highly speculative asset” and a “funny business” helping money launderers.

Canada’s first public Bitcoin fund hits $1 billion

3iQ’s Bitcoin QBTC fund has surged 900% in market cap since October 2020, breaking a $1 billion milestone.

Canadian regulated digital asset manager 3iQ has recorded another massive milestone of its public Bitcoin (BTC) fund.

On Jan. 14, 3iQ’s Bitcoin Fund (QBTC) hit the $1 billion mark, the company announced on Twitter. The new milestone demonstrates QBTC’s parabolic growth after 3iQ launched the fund in April 2020. QBTC is now up 900% from its previous milestone of $100,000 recorded in October 2020.

As previously reported, 3iQ’s QBTC is Canada's first public Bitcoin fund listed on a major stock exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss' Gemini provides custody services for 3iQ’s QBTC.

At publishing time, QBTC.U is trading at $48.63, up 330% from $11 when it was listed in April.

3iQ is apparently one of the largest cryptocurrency firms in Canada. In January 2018, 3iQ reportedly became the first crypto fund regulated by the Ontario Securities Commission and the Canadian Securities Administrators. In February 2020, 3iQ also partnered with blockchain startup Mavennet to launch a stablecoin pegged to the Canadian dollar that will be regulated by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

3iQ’s former senior executive Shaun Cumby is now also the CEO of Arxnovum, a company that on Jan. 11 filed an application with OSC for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. Winklevoss’ Gemini will also provide its custody for the Arxnovum’s Bitcoin ETF.