Autor Cointelegraph By Jesse Coghlan

Coinbase expands to Australia with focus on institutions in 'months to come’

United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase will expand its services in Australia, launching a local entity and an updated suite of services for retail crypto traders, hinting that institutional products are soon to follow.Speaking to Cointelegraph, Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s VP of international and business development, said building during bear markets has “paid off big time during the bull run” and he’s confident in what he sees in the local market.The “baseline signals” Murugesan explains such as the local awareness of crypto and people who view it as the future of finance are “kind of on par or even better” in Australia compared to the U.S. and other markets.“Australia definitely punches way, way over its weight in the APAC region, certainly at a global level too and from a revenue contribution standpoint, I feel pretty good about what it’s going to do.”Murugesan explains it started with building a localized infrastructure, incorporating a local entity, Coinbase Australia Pty Ltd, and obtaining registration to provide digital currency exchange services with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the country’s financial intelligence agency.“We’ve been very impressed with the open door that we’ve received in Canberra and with different policymakers,” Murugesan says, adding the exchange has received “tough questions” regarding its platform and token listings.“Given the token mapping exercise that’s going on, there are a lot of technical questions that we are getting from the Treasury and other departments […] deep technical questions is another thing that we are seeing in Australia at a level deeper than some other countries.”Initially, Coinbase is providing Australian crypto traders with new “fast payments” for local bank accounts, access to its advance trading platform and 24/7 chat support which Murugesan says “opens the door” for the company to launch its full range of institutional and development products.While he didn’t have a specific timeline on when the products will become available, Murugesan added he knows Australian institutions will want to “do everything locally” and added that Coinbase will be “very much focused on institutions” in the coming months.The exchange will also collaborate with RMIT University’s Blockchain Innovation Hub to assess Web3 opportunities in the country, Murugesan adds it’s working with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and others to create related courses and assist in research programs.Related: Rushing ‘token mapping’ could hurt Aussie crypto space — Finder founderMurugesan says as Coinbase looks to further expand into Asia, he sees regulation as a business enabler as “resources are limited, especially during a bear market.” With some countries in the region having unclear crypto policies, it’s likely it will focus “more towards markets that have clarity or are going towards clarity,” he said. He mentioned the high level of interest G20 nations have in crypto and how blockchain and digital currencies fit into the future of finance, expecting it to be a “hot topic” among G20 member nations by next year, adding:“There’s a lot of interest among Australian policymakers to take a leadership role in those type of discussions, too.”

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Anchorage co-founder sees 'tons of opportunity' as it expands into Asia

Anchorage Digital co-founder and president Diogo Mónica believe there is immense opportunity in Asia’s institutional investors, with the digital asset infrastructure provider on Oct. 5 announcing a “major expansion” of its platform into the region. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Mónica said the company chose Singapore as a “jump point” into the wider Asia market as the country has become a hub for crypto companies and has a strong regulatory environment. Anchorage is currently undertaking the application process with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s central bank. “It’s about being in a regime that’s friendly towards crypto and that businesses want to do business in. We’re institutional only, institutions are going to Singapore, so we’re following suit.”However, Mónica said he sees “tons of opportunity” in the Thai, Indonesian, Japanese and South Korean crypto markets as well, after speaking to regulators there, though he expects the company will need a more local presence.“Right now our strategy is being regulated in Singapore as it’s recognized by all the other regulators as a great location,” Mónica says, adding other regulators in the region have “very strict, but very clear rules, which is amazing.”Anchorage provides infrastructure for use by financial institutions to enable digital asset custody, exchange, staking and other Web3-related services.Mónica said however that Asian institutional investors have changed their tune on how they approached crypto investments after the wake of the Terra ecosystem collapse. He said it was rarer for Asia-based institutions to care about the security of the assets up until recently, with a tendency of focusing more on product features. However, in the wake of the collapse and the resulting sluggish crypto market, the focus has shifted to regulation, risk management and business continuity.“I now have conversations about bankruptcy, and whether their assets are bankruptcy remote, and whether they’re on your balance sheet […] but a year ago, nobody’s asking me questions about bankruptcy. A year ago, everybody was asking me questions about DeFi and things like that.”Mónica says Anchorage already has a team in Singapore with clients from the region making up roughly 10% of its business. He sees that expanding to 25% over the next 12 to 18 months.He said the bear market is a good time to gain a foothold and build relationships with regulators as it demonstrates its ability to attract well-established clients who “are not just tourists to the space.”“You’re seen as the leader, and you’re seen as the people that expanded and have conviction, even during the bear market.”Related: State Street: Institutional investors undeterred by crypto winterThe most popular use case for crypto that Mónica is witnessing in the region is cross-border remittances and borrowing and lending. He also mentioned mining is a common use case, not just for Bitcoin (BTC) but also companies running proof-of-stake validators.As for the future, he says announcements of “some very large traditional firms” using its technology to offer services themselves are on the horizon, along with a focus on stablecoins and the infrastructure component which will serve use cases for those assets.

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Celsius founder reportedly withdrew $10M before bankruptcy filing: FT

Celsius Network founder and former CEO Alex Mashinsky allegedly withdrew $10 million from the crypto lending platform just weeks before the company froze customer funds and declared bankruptcy.The withdrawal was cited by sources from the Financial Times who said Mashinsky withdrew the funds in “mid to late May” prior to the Jun. 12 pause on all withdraws. Celsius was a popular crypto-lending platform with 1.7 million customers and $25 billion in assets under management but the prevailing poor crypto market conditions eventually led the company to a $2.85 billion gap in its balance sheet.This led Celsius to pause customer withdraws in June before filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy in July with Mashinksy attempting to restructure and revive the company to be based around crypto custody services.The withdrawal raises questions about whether Mashinsky knew ahead of time that the company would be freezing customer funds and withdrawals. However, a spokesperson for Celsius told FT that the founder withdrew cryptocurrency at the time to pay state and federal taxes.“In the nine months leading up to that withdrawal, he consistently deposited cryptocurrency in amounts that totaled what he withdrew in May,” the spokesperson said, adding Mashinsky and his family still had $44 million worth of crypto frozen on the platform.Meanwhile, sources told the FT the withdrawal was pre-planned in line with Mashinsky’s estate planning. Roughly $8 million worth of assets withdrawn were used to pay income taxes arising from the yield the assets produced, and the remaining $2 million was made up of the platform’s native token CEL.Related: Learn from Celsius: Stop exchanges from taking your moneyThe questions will likely be answered when the transactions in question will be presented by Celsius in court in the next few days as part of disclosures by the crypto-lender regarding its finances.There’s also a possibility Mashinsky could be forced to return the $10 million as in the 90 days leading up to a bankruptcy filing, payments by a company can be reversed to benefit creditors under United States laws.Mashinsky resigned as CEO of Celsius on Sept. 27 saying his role “has become an increasing distraction” but said he would continue to focus on helping find a plan to return funds to creditors.

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Nifty News: Enter the afterlife in style, Solana NFT game demo hits Epic store and more

The company behind the Spartan Race has released a nonfungible token (NFT) collection which will immortalize the names of the initial holders in stone, with plans to build a 35-foot (10.5 meter) statue in Ancient Sparta encircled with 15,000 name-engraved stones.Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena plans to bury his ashes under his stone at the site dubbed the “Spartan 300 Memorial” which will pay homage to the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartans were said to h fought and were killed.Of the 15,000 NFTs, 300 will be “Super Rare” with holders of that NFT type given the option of spreading their ashes over the memorial after their death, which could see it become one of the first NFTcollections to grant someone a final resting place.Owners can sell their NFT on markets such as OpenSea, but it’s unclear if this burial perk is transferred to the new owner.The passes sell for $3,000 and also permit holders up to nine years of unlimited access to all Spartan brand events, including its 70-hour long “Death Race” and its “Tough Mudder” obstacle race, as well as with exclusive merch drops.NFT holders will also be granted access to an exclusive yearly event in which they can train with pro athletes along with testing the fitness brands’ products and obstacles.Star Atlas launches demo on Epic Games storeSolana (SOL) based NFT game Star Atlas has launched its first playable pre-alpha on Sept. 29 through the Epic Games store for owners of its NFTs, allowing them to view in-game vehicles they’ve purchased within the games’ environment.Star Atlas is an open-world space exploration strategy game set in the year 2620 in which players can buy and sell NFTs representative of vehicles such as spaceships, players also mine for resources to sell on the in-game marketplace and join political factions.The “Showroom” pre-alpha demo is powered by the Unreal Engine 5, a 3D creation tool released in April by Epic Games, and is used in its flagship game Fortnite.The Star Atlas developers have also launched an open source tool, The Foundation Software Development Kit (F-KIT), which allows Unreal Engine 5 developers to more easily integrate their titles into the Solana blockchain.Build-A-Bear enters Web3Stuffed animal retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop is entering Web3, partnering with NFT marketplace Sweet to launch its first NFT collection in celebration of its 25th year in business.The NFTs will be minted on the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain and will begin with the October auction of a physical and digital bundle which includes a unique physical teddy bear studded with Swarovski crystals along with its NFT counterpart.A second November auction will offer five silver teddy bear NFTs also accompanied by matching physical counterparts before a December launch of 5,000 NFTs are made available for public mint.CryptoPunk sells for 3,300 ETHA rare CryptoPunk has sold on NFT marketplace OpenSea for 3,300 Ethereum (ETH), worth over $4.4 million, to an anonymous buyer on Sept. 28 marking the fourth-highest sale in terms of ETH spent according to data from DappRadar.Related: NFT trading volume plunges 98% from January despite rise in adoptionCryptoPunk #2924 features rare attributes such as being an “ape” type, of which only 24 exist in the 10,000-strong collection. It also has one “accessory” — a hoodie which is a rarity in the collection, and more so as it is the only “ape” to feature one. The most expensive CryptoPunk ever sold was purchased for 124,457 ETH, worth over $530 million at the time of purchase in Oct. 2021More Nifty News:Warner Music Group announced a partnership with NFT marketplace OpenSea to allow select artists to launch NFT collections on customizable and dedicated landing pages to build their Web3 presence.Facebook and Instagram users in 100 countries can connect their crypto wallets to post and share NFTs across both platforms with parent company Meta supporting digital assets from the Ethereum, Polygon and Flow blockchains.

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‘I've done nothing wrong’ — Lark Davis denies ‘pump-and-dump’ allegations

Crypto influencer Lark Davis has refuted new allegations from Twitter “on-chain sleuth” ZachXBT of shilling “low cap projects” to his audience “just to dump them shortly after.”Davis was responding to a Twitter thread posted by Zach on Sept. 29, containing allegations that he profited over $1.2 million through selling tokens from crypto projects which he was allegedly paid to promote without disclosing.In a 17-part thread, Zach pointed to eight examples of what is supposedly Davis’ crypto wallet receiving tokens from new crypto projects, with Davis subsequently tweeting or posting a video on them, and then selling the tokens shortly after.Speaking to Cointelegraph, Zach said he received requests from multiple people who lost money on the tokens shared by Davis asking to “take a closer look” at him.“Lark managed to dump with size on low cap projects time after time,” Zach said, adding they’ve investigated other crypto influencers, but the alleged amount was “never at this magnitude.”Zach alleged in the thread that the largest gain to Davis came from receiving 120,000 SHOPX tokens, with Davis tweeting hours later about the project whilst apparently simultaneously selling the tokens, gaining $435,000.6/ Example 3: $SHOPXa) Mar 31, 2021 at 3:31 pm UTC Lark receives 120k SHOPXb) Apr 1, 2021 at 12:32 am UTC Lark Tweets about the projectc) Meanwhile Lark is in the process of dumping all his 120k SHOPX for over $435k USD (finishes on 4/2) pic.twitter.com/mc3HvHrCdI— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) September 29, 2022This example along with seven others Zach presented purportedly shows Davis making over $1.2 million in a similar pattern.“Participating in seed rounds & sharing projects you genuinely like is completely fine as long as it’s done in a transparent manner,” Zach tweeted, adding:“This is not the case as Lark has a pattern of dumping his discounted launchpad bags right after shills across YT (YouTube), Twitter, & [his] newsletter.”Cointelegraph requested comment from Davis and was directed to a series of tweets posted late on Sept. 29 in which Davis calls the allegations made by Zach “ridiculous” and provided a response to each example Zach alleged he profited from.Related: ‘Far too easy’ — Crypto researcher’s fake Ponzi raises $100K in hours“I got nothing for free,” Davis tweeted to his over one million followers, adding his token sale investments are “always disclosed” on his YouTube channel of 485,000 subscribers and shared with his followers “well before the launch.”For the sales in question, I want to be clear that: 1. I disclosed that I was an investor when I initially discussed them2. I talked about it before the token sale, to give you a chance to get into the sale. 3. I paid for all of these coins, I got nothing for free.— Lark Davis (@TheCryptoLark) September 29, 2022

Davis added he was following an investing strategy he teaches, selling the tokens upon launch, which he claims is a common investing practice for token sales. Davis said the amounts he sold were “nowhere near enough to dump the price” of the tokens.“I teach this concept frequently to you all, none of this should be a surprise if you have been paying attention,” he tweeted. “What you choose to do with my opinions is completely up to you.”

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