Značka: Cryptocurrencies

Binance hires audit firm that served Donald Trump to verify crypto reserves

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is working with accounting firm Mazars as part of its proof-of-reserve (PoR) audits triggered by the fall of FTX.Mazars, the accounting firm that worked for former United States President Donald Trump’s company, was appointed as an official auditor to conduct a “third party financial verification” as part of Binance’s PoR updates, the Wall Street Journal reported on Nov. 30.The accounting firm is reportedly already reviewing all of Binance’s publicly shared information on Bitcoin (BTC) PoR and will also be verifying future updates and tokens, a spokesperson for Binance reportedly said. “The first verification update for BTC will be completed this week,” the representative added.Mazars is an international accounting firm headquartered in Paris. Its United States division, Mazars USA, was the longtime accounting firm for Trump and had been involved in a controversy with a House Oversight and Reform Committee’s request for some of Trump’s financial records since 2019. The firm reportedly eventually cut ties with Trump and his family in 2022.The news comes amid Binance moving large amounts of cryptocurrency as part of its PoR audits. On Nov. 28, Binance sent 127,351 BTC, or about $2 billion, to an unknown wallet, with CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao subsequently announcing that the transaction was part of the ongoing PoR process.The action has triggered some concerns in the community, as previously, CZ argued that it’s bad news when exchanges have to move large amounts of crypto to prove their wallet address.As previously reported, Binance launched a PoR process and mechanism in response to the crash and bankruptcy of the FTX crypto exchange. On Nov. 25, the firm also published Merkle Tree-backed proof of funds for Bitcoin, which was just one of many Binance’s measures to prove its transparency.Related: OKX releases proof-of-reserves page, along with instructions on how to self-audit its reservesBinance is not alone in putting major efforts to maintain the trust of its customers in the aftermath of the FTX collapse, with many other exchanges like OKX and KuCoin rushing to release their PoR reports as well. In the meantime, some industry observers believe that the existing PoR process by exchanges is largely useless unless they also provide liabilities, which are very hard to fake.Binance did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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Axie Infinity is toxic for crypto gaming

Blockchain gaming is only four years old — a toddler compared to the rest of the industry. It has a lot of growing up to do, particularly when it comes to play-to-earn games.I’m a 28-year game industry veteran. I’ve produced 32 titles in that period of time on everything from Sega Genesis to Oculus Rift. Some of them were great. Many were forgettable. I didn’t hear much chatter about blockchain gaming from traditional developers and players until Axie Infinity began to take off. Cut to the peak of 2021, and the game had nearly 2 million players logging on daily.Most people outside the crypto community at the time were (and still are) extremely skeptical about blockchain’s ability to add anything meaningful to games. They see Axie as an example of the low production values and rampant speculation they want to avoid at all costs. Moreso, they see blockchain as a continuation of overreach by publishers. However, in 2021, many believed Axie would prove blockchain gaming skeptics wrong.It didn’t. Axie and most other crypto “games” to date have been awful experiences. They aren’t even really games. They’re more like digital sharecropping, rich NFT owners exploiting low-wage earning players. It’s shallow gameplay layered on a tokenomics model. This was highlighted most recently in October, when Axie’s SLP token plummeted in value as a result of an impending token unlock.Related: Crypto gaming needs to be fun to be successful — Money doesn’t matterMost players sell their tokens on the crypto market rather than in the game, meaning token numbers increase and cause a sort of crypto inflation. The game model relies on a constant inflow of new players to sustain it — something this month has shown to be very much not guaranteed.Axie’s value is primarily driven by this speculation rather than fun. The game, if it can even be called that, is literally a grind. Despite attempts to separate it from game economy reliance with iterations like Axie Origins, the toxic model of being hyper-dependent on tokenomics prevails. This continues to detract from projects that are trying to make fun games that utilize blockchain to enhance player experience.At the peak of its popularity, the team behind Axie arrogantly claimed that they were “freeing” players and enabling a world in which work and play merge. But the game’s decline following the massive $620 million hack on customer funds in March showed how hollow this language was. Axie creator Sky Mavis flip-flopped from the play-to-earn narrative towards a play-and-earn ethos, clearly aware that the game wasn’t going to deliver on its mission.For blockchain gaming to succeed, developers need to focus on awesome game design instead of trying to prop up their tokens. During an increasingly difficult global economic climate, even mainstream gaming is struggling. But those games that are doing well despite market sentiment are AAA titles like God of War Ragnarök and the latest Call of Duty, which have exciting lore and awesome gameplay.The ability for players to spend time creating things that people will love in terms of stickers, skins and weapons — while being able to monetize them — is key. People need an outlet where they can be creative and put together content that generates interest and emotion with a community that loves playing the game.If we are to turn the tide on the perception of blockchain gaming, we need to show how it can benefit gamers. Moving beyond words and actually demonstrating that it enhances gameplay and utility. Blockchain can do incredible things as a backend infrastructure, such as enabling players to truly own in-game items, prove attribution and the history of their weapons and loot, and get rewarded for their in-game creations.Related: The reason bots dominate crypto gaming? Cash-grubbing developers incentivize themPart of Vitalik Buterin’s drive to innovate with blockchain was driven by his distress when he lost a spell’s abilities in World of Warcraft overnight as a result of centralized control of the game. Blockchain ultimately restores true ownership of in-game features to players, meaning that they own them, even if changes occur in a game or it goes under.This asset ownership can extend into many areas. Right now, Microsoft and Sony let you capture video of your in-game activity and then post it to social media, but you don’t really own how it’s monetized. You’re locked into YouTube monetization. With blockchain, players could capture in-game moments, memorialize them as NFTs and then allow people to buy/sell them as they see fit. By updating gaming infrastructure and enabling new innovation, real-time integration of players into the creative process can also take place, which is rarely seen in the industry.Players want involvement in the creation of the games. They don’t want to be manipulated into paying more. Studios need to prioritize gameplay, rich graphics, and compelling narratives to bring players on board. The blockchain games that become successful will be the ones where players don’t even know there’s a blockchain operating in the background.Deception and speculative frenzies have been the central features of the wider crypto market this year. So bringing players on board is going to be that much harder. Studios will have to go the extra mile to demonstrate to players that blockchain gaming can achieve the security, fun, and adrenaline-pumping action that defines the games they love.Mark Long is the CEO of Shrapnel, a blockchain-enabled moddable AAA first-person shooter game. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in computer science before attending an executive education program at the Wharton School. He previously served as a director with HBO’s digital products group; as a group program manager at Microsoft; and as the CEO of companies including Aristia, Meteor Entertainment, and Zombie Studios.This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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US CFTC commissioner calls for new category to protect small investors from crypto

United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero spoke at the Futures Industry Association Asia Derivatives Conference in Singapore on Nov. 30. She talked about “how to harness the best that technology offers, while protecting against emerging threats,” with particular emphasis on cybersecurity and crypto. Goldsmith Romero had two proposals for protecting consumers and markets from the risks presented by cryptocurrency. The first was rather novel. “Protecting household retail investors starts with redefining who is a retail investor,” Goldsmith Romero said. Crypto investors are different, she said:“Most are young-born after 1980, diverse, and make less than $50k a year. That is not the typical customer that the CFTC is used to seeing.”Thus, they should not be treated the same, Goldsmith Romero reasons. “we also should not let them be crushed, which will happen without meaningful and targeted customer protections,” she said, while acknowledging the need to maintain financial inclusivity. Goldsmith Romero suggested creating two categories of retail investor “separating household retail from professional and high net worth individuals.” After that the CFTC would provide consumer protections across that division and for each categories individually.In traditional finance, a broker plays a role in determining the appropriateness of an investment for a consumer. In disintermediated transactions, “it is important for regulators to assess risk to customers,” she said. Moreover:“Today, I am calling publicly for the first time for the CFTC to invoke heightened supervision of crypto exchanges. […] It is well within our existing authority for derivatives exchanges.”The CFTC has not heeded her calls “for months” to implement that supervision, however. Goldsmith endorsed CFTC Commissioner Caroline Pham’s call for an Office of Retail Investor Advocate.Goldsmith Romero digressed in her speech to discuss blockchain use cases unrelated to cryptocurrency. “Distributed ledger technology has the potential to prevent disease, keep food safe, limit waste, and save our agricultural industry time and money,” she said. Related: CFTC commissioner compares crypto contagion risk to 2008 financial crisisGoldsmith Romero was nominated for a CFTC chair by U.S. President Joe Biden in September 2021 and sworn in on March 30. She has voiced her concerns about retail investors before, and received some industry support for her proposed household retail investor category.

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Sen. Warren: Biden administration worked to stop crypto being 'dangerously intertwined' with banks

Referring to the events surrounding the collapse of FTX as “a handful of magic beans”, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren seemed to frame the “contagion” spreading through the crypto space as a partisan issue.Speaking at a Senate Banking Committee nomination hearing on Nov. 30, Warren addressed committee counsel Jonathan McKernan, who confirmed that FTX’s bankruptcy had largely not affected traditional banking institutions in the United States. The Massachusetts senator, an outspoken skeptic of cryptocurrencies, used some of her time to applaud the work of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, acting chair Martin Gruenberg, who attended as part of his nomination to assume the position as part of a five-year term.“Our banks stayed safe even as crypto imploded because many of President Biden’s regulators, like acting chairman Gruenberg, fought to keep crypto from becoming dangerously intertwined with our banks,” said Warren. “He did this despite the Trump administration’s and crypto boosters’ aggressive efforts to bring crypto and all its risks into traditional banking.”Gruenberg responded in the affirmative to one of Warren’s questions in which she claimed the banking system would have been “less safe” had firms like FTX received similar insurance from the FDIC:“The evidence is clear now. We had companies that were engaging in highly speculative activity, highly leveraged, and vulnerable to a loss of confidence in a run. They did not have direct exposures to the insured financial institutions, and as a result the failure of those firms was really limited to the crypto space, and ended up not impacting the insured banking system.”Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Nov. 30Warren went on to refer to crypto assets as “toxic” and unsuitable to integrate in traditional banking, claiming taxpayers could suffer the consequences. The senator was one of the lawmakers behind a Nov. 23 letter calling on the Justice Department to investigate the collapse of FTX and potentially prosecute individuals involved in wrongdoing, specifically naming former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried for his role in the controversy.Related: How stable are stablecoins in the FTX crypto market contagion?The ripple effects of a major exchange like FTX declaring bankruptcy amid a bear market are ongoing. Crypto firm BlockFi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 28, saying FTX owed certain financial obligations to the company. Global lawmakers and regulators have also announced intentions to investigate the events surrounding FTX and potentially create new regulatory frameworks, including those from the European Central Bank, U.S. state governments, and securities regulators in the Bahamas.

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Kraken cuts workforce by 30% in an effort to survive crypto winter

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken announced on Nov. 30 that it has made one of its “hardest decisions”  and is cutting down its global workforce by approximately 1,100 people, comprising approximately 30% of its total workforce, amid current market conditions.According to CEO and co-founder Jesse Powell, Kraken had to triple its workforce due to the fast-growing crypto ecosystem, and the current pullback takes the size of the company’s team back to where it was 12 months ago. Powell shared in a tweet, “Macro was already tough and we held out but recent industry woes diminished near-term optimism about a crypto rebound.”Rough day at @krakenfx. Headcount rolled back 12 mos. Macro was already tough and we held out but recent industry woes diminished near-term optimism about a crypto rebound. Better positioned now. Glad we were able to take good care of our former colleagues. Been a privilege. ‍♂️ https://t.co/xfwShapS2N— Jesse Powell (@jespow) November 30, 2022Lower trading volumes and fewer client sign-ups amid turbulent market conditions have contributed to Kraken’s decision to cut down its expenses by slowing down hiring efforts and avoiding large marketing commitments. According to the exchange, these changes are necessary “to sustain the business for the long-term while continuing to build world-class products and services in selective areas that add the most value for our clients.”The company stated that employees being let go were given a decent severance package, which includes separation pay covering 16 weeks of base pay, performance bonuses, four months of healthcare coverage including counseling, immigration support and career support, among other benefits. Related: US lawmaker questions major crypto exchanges on consumer protection amid FTX collapseEarlier this year in June, Kraken announced that it would continue to hire over 500 roles in various departments amid a market downturn. The company’s hiring efforts were at the time in stark contrast to major layoff announcements from major blockchain firms such as Coinbase and BlockFi.In support of the decision to continue to expand its staff earlier in the year, Kraken had said: “We have not adjusted our hiring plan, and we do not intend to make any layoffs. We have over 500 roles to fill during the remainder of the year and believe bear markets are fantastic at weeding out the applicants chasing hype from the true believers in our mission.”Current layoffs, however, show a contrasting picture from the CEO’s statements made in June, when he took the opportunity to throw shots at supposed “woke activists” while discussing the company’s decision to hire hundreds of new employees.

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Senate Banking Committee chair calls for coordination with Treasury on crypto

Sherrod Brown, chair of the United States Senate Banking Committee, has called on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to work with financial regulators and lawmakers on comprehensive crypto legislation “in the wake of FTX’s implosion.”In a Nov. 30 letter to Yellen, Brown requested the Treasury secretary coordinate with regulators to address crypto based on recommendations from the Financial Stability Oversight Committee, or FSOC. The committee chair cited crypto exchange FTX’s “alarming fraud,” liquidity crunch and bankruptcy as examples of financial risks that should not “spillover into traditional financial markets and institutions.”“I ask that you coordinate with the other financial regulators to further work on the recommendations from the FSOC Report, including the development of legislation that would create authorities for regulators to have visibility into, and otherwise supervise, the activities of the affiliates and subsidiaries of crypto asset entities,” said Brown. “As noted in the FSOC Report, single regulatory agencies currently generally do not have a comprehensive view of crypto asset entities’ activities.”He added:“As the FTX failure makes clear, given crypto asset entities’ broad use of proprietary crypto tokens combined with opaque financial arrangements and the reliance on arbitrary valuation and data sources, the financial regulatory agencies should continue to find ways to enhance entity and crypto asset disclosures, market integrity, and transparency.”In October, the FSOC released a report in accordance with U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order on crypto, aimed at exploring potential regulatory gaps and financial stability risks of digital assets. The council recommended lawmakers pass legislation to determine which “rulemaking authority” will be responsible for regulating parts of the crypto spot market — i.e., the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. At the time, Yellen said the report provided “a strong foundation for policymakers” but did not offer a timeline for action.Related: Senate Banking Committee Democrats warn SoFi about meeting its compliance deadlineBrown’s response was the latest from U.S. lawmakers jumping in to offer their two cents on FTX’s bankruptcy and possible regulatory and legal action. On Nov. 23, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse penned a letter to the Justice Department to potentially prosecute individuals involved in wrongdoing at FTX as well as investigate the exchange’s downfall with the “utmost scrutiny.” Committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate will be conducting separate hearings in December to address the collapse of the crypto exchange.

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Secret Network resolves network vulnerability following white hat disclosure

On Nov. 30, Guy Zyskind, CEO of privacy smart contract blockchain Secret Network, said that developers had patched a privacy-related vulnerability and users’ funds remain secure. In a document dated Nov. 29, Secret Network wrote that users or developers required no action and that all active nodes were upgraded to correct the exploit on Nov. 2. 2/ You can read the post for the main details, but the important part is that the vulnerability was mitigated and unlikely to have been exploited. Most importantly, funds were never at risk, because Secret intentionally does not rely on SGX for correctness – only privacy.— Guy Zyskind (@GuyZys) November 29, 2022The sequence of events, unveiled late yesterday by the Secret Network developers, began when a group of white-hat computer science researchers contacted the Secret team on Oct. 3 regarding a recently disclosed xAPIC (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller) architectural bug. The exploit allowed uninitialized memory reads in certain Software Guard Extension-enabled (SGX) Intel CPUs. Secret Network leverages SGX technology to provide confidential execution of smart contracts. As stated in their paper, researchers first registered a server as a validator node on the Secret Network, even when they did not have sufficient funds to be trusted to actively validate transactions. The registration process then stored a copy of Secret’s global consensus seed inside its SGX enclave. Next, through the aforementioned CPU glitch, researchers extracted the consensus seed of its Secret Node and its private Intel Enhanced Privacy ID key. Finally, with these items, they were able to break Secret’s privacy-preserving features and decrypt the internal state of all smart contracts on the network, as well as the digital assets embedded in them. Secret developers verified the exploit on Oct. 4 and devised a plan to patch the vulnerability together with researchers and Intel staff. First, nodes were forcefully ejected from the network, and their secret keys deleted. After that, nodes could only rejoin the network if they patched all known vulnerabilities, which was completed on Nov. 2. “With this upgrade, it is now infeasible to mount xAPIC attacks against the Secret Network mainnet,” wrote the Secret Network team.In addition, new nodes joining the network will be limited to server-class hardware only, as to limit the attack surface that user-class hardware presents. Founded in 2015, Secret Network currently has a market cap of $131 million through its native token SCRT. The firm partnered with director Quentin Tarantino to launch Secret NFTs last November.

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Uniswap launches NFT marketplace aggregator

According to a new post on November 30, decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap announced that users can now trade nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, on its native protocol. As told by Uniswap, the function will initially feature NFT collections for sale on platforms including OpenSea, X2Y2, LooksRare, Sudoswap, Larva Labs, X2Y2, Foundation, NFT20, and NFTX.”To bring users the first-rate experience they’ve come to expect with Uniswap, we built the aggregator to deliver better prices, faster indexing, more unassailable smart contracts, and efficient execution.”Uniswap developers claim that users can save up to 15% on gas costs compared to other NFT aggregators when using Uniswap NFT. unifies ERC20 and NFT swapping into a single swap router. Integrated with Permit2, users can swap multiple tokens and NFTs in one swap while saving on gas fees.The NFT aggregator is powered by the Universal Router smart contract and optimized by UX smart contract Permit2, both Uniswap inventions. According to the DEX, it “unifies ERC-20 and NFT swapping into a single swap router. Integrated with Permit2, users can swap multiple tokens and NFTs in one swap while saving on gas fees.””We originally conceived Permit2 and Universal Router to improve our own products, optimizing gas costs, simplifying user transaction flows, and strengthening security. As we ideated, we realized that other applications could greatly benefit from integrating these contracts.”As part of launch efforts, Uniswap says it is airdropping approximately 5 million USDC to certain historical users of NFT aggregator Genie, based on a wallet snapshot on April 15, 2022, and offering gas rebates to the first 22,000 NFT users. However, the gas rebate will only run for two weeks and is capped at 0.01 Ether (ETH).

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Singapore’s Temasek sees ‘reputational damage’ due to FTX, official says

Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek has suffered a lot more than just financial losses due to investing in FTX, according to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.Wong, who is also the finance minister, believes that Temasek’s $275 million investment in FTX has caused significant damage to the company’s reputation. The official addressed the growing criticism over Temasek’s FTX exposure at a parliament meeting on Nov. 27, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.The prime minister emphasized that the collapse of FTX was a result of a “very badly managed company” as well as possible fraud and misappropriation of user funds.“What happened with FTX, therefore, has caused not only financial loss to Temasek but also reputational damage,” the official said, adding that Temasek has launched an internal investment review to improve processes and draw lessons for the future.Wong stressed that investments by other major institutional investors like BlackRock and Sequoia Capital do not mitigate that reputational damage.Temasek, which is fully owned by the minister for finance but operates independently, said on Nov. 17 that it wrote down its entire $275 million FTX investment. The amount accounted for just 0.09% of Temasek’s $403 billion portfolio as of March 2022. According to Wong, FTX-related losses would not affect investors’ contribution to the net investment returns contribution, which is the amount of the government revenue coming from interest earned on its reserves.Apart from addressing concerns around FTX and Temasek, Wong also argued that Singapore had no ambitions to become a crypto hub but rather seeks to be a “responsible and innovative digital asset player.”“Some of the earlier optimism about blockchain technologies has been proven to be […] not well-placed. I think there’s a more realistic sense of what these technologies can do,” Wong stated. He also emphasized that crypto investors must be prepared to lose all their investments on crypto, adding: “No amount of regulation can remove this risk.”Related: FTX collapse put the Singapore government in a parliamentary hot seatDespite Temasek writing down its investment in FTX, the state-owned company apparently still holds investments in many other industry platforms. Despite not directly investing in crypto, Temasek is known for participating in multiple investment rounds for big crypto companies, including Binance and Amber Group.In August, Temasek also reportedly led a $110 million strategic funding round for the major metaverse and blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands.Temasek did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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European Central Bank blasts Bitcoin —community responds

In light of the recent FTX collapse and liquidity scandal, regulators in the European Union have joined other global lawmakers in a push for more clear guidelines and regulations on cryptos.The European Central Bank (ECB) released a blog post titled “Bitcoin’s last stand” on Nov. 30, which summarized the financial career of Bitcoin (BTC) amid current price fluctuations. However, instead of outlining the entire picture, which would include both up and downs of the cryptocurrency’s lifespan thus far, it only portrayed its shortcomings.Written by Ulrich Bindseil and Jürgen Schaaf, the director general and advisor of the ECB, the piece says the digital currency is on “the road to irrelevance.” It also claimed that BTC is hardly used for legal transactions and that the regulatory attention it is currently receiving from lawmakers around the world can be “misunderstood as approval.” Additionally, it warned banks on interacting with the digital currency as it could taint their reputation. On Twitter the organization tweeted that any price stabilization BTC may incur now will be artificially induced: The apparent stabilisation of bitcoin’s value is likely to be an artificially induced last gasp before the crypto-asset embarks on a road to irrelevance. #TheECBblog looks at where bitcoin stands amid widespread volatility in the crypto markets.Read more https://t.co/Hk1LuYX2de pic.twitter.com/I3Uidks8Xo— European Central Bank (@ecb) November 30, 2022However, where there is crypto slander by traditional, centralized financial institutions, there is also the crypto community ready with responses to debunk and defend its assets.The tweet from the ECB alone received hundreds of responses, with the crypto community fact-checking the claims in the article and highlighting the background of its authors.One commenter tweeted on the background of Bindseil and pointed out a potential conflict of interest, as he has penned various articles on central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and their use cases.Author : Ulrich Bindseil I will just leave that here, so everybody knows about the conflict of interest. #Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/EKz9Mx3ndT— ₿aseload (@Endorsen) November 30, 2022

Another user said, while they tried to read it with an open mind, the paper’s claims of BTC not being used for legal transactions and rather “illicit activity” were outdated. I clicked on this article with an open mind, willing to have my mind changedBut it opens with a provable lieThe vast majority of Bitcoin usage is for legal spending, for-profit speculation, and gambling – not “illegal transactions”It’s not 2012 anymore… This is a joke. pic.twitter.com/037aehMyEN— FatMan (@FatManTerra) November 30, 2022

Others responded with the tried and true meme of “BTC is dead” while still having a rising value of the other. Some even reached back to Dec. 2021 to point out the ECB’s incorrect predictions of inflation decreases in 2022.In a similar vein, the decreased value of the Euro was also drawn as a comparison in many responses from the community. Related: FTX fiasco boosts Bitcoin ownership to new highs: Analysts weigh inMeanwhile, digital currency exchanges continue to spread across the European Union, with Bitpanda recently obtaining a crypto license in Germany and Gemini getting the greenlight in both Italy and Greece.

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Gemini gets regulatory greenlight in Italy, Greece amid lending halt

Winklevoss brothers’ cryptocurrency exchange Gemini continues expanding in Europe, announcing new regulatory approvals in Italy and Greece.Gemini has registered as a virtual currency operator with Italy’s payments services regulator, the Organismo Agenti E Mediatori (OAM), the firm announced on Nov. 30.The crypto exchange has also received registration as a custodial wallet provider and provider of virtual currency exchange with Greece’s Hellenic Capital Markets Commission (HCMC).According to official data, the OAM registration was issued on Nov. 3, while the HCMC granted its approval to Gemini on Nov. 7.The new registrations, combined with Gemini’s electronic money institution authorization from the Central Bank of Ireland, officially allow the exchange to provide crypto services to their customers in Italy and Greece. The approvals also aim to demonstrate Gemini’s compliance with applicable Italian and Greek Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing regulations.As of November 2022, Gemini operates in more than 65 countries, including new jurisdictions like Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and others, the firm said.The latest registrations came before Gemini encountered major issues on its lending platform known as Gemini Earn, which is designed to allow investors to get 8% in interest by lending their cryptocurrency. The product has reportedly halted withdrawals due to its connection with the troubled crypto trading firm Genesis Global Capital, with Gemini allegedly having $700 million of customer money locked in it.According to Gemini status, Gemini Earn started experiencing issues with deposits on Nov. 16, a few days after initial reports on FTX’s liquidity issues surfaced. At the time of writing, the product remains unavailable, while all other Gemini services, including exchange trading engine, Gemini Credit Card and others operate normally.Gemini Earn was launched in 2021 in the United States, providing services through a partnership with Genesis Global Capital, which halted withdrawals on Nov. 16 as a consequence of the ongoing FTX contagion.“We continue to work with Genesis Global Capital — the lending partner of Earn — and its parent company Digital Currency Group to find a solution for Earn users to redeem their funds,” Gemini said in a tweet from Nov. 21.Related: American regulators to investigate Genesis and other crypto firmsOn Nov. 29, Gemini also took to Twitter to announce Gemini Trust Center, assuring its customers that their accounts’ assets are segregated from Gemini’s assets. “Gemini is a full-reserve exchange and custodian. This means that all customer funds held on Gemini are held 1:1 and available for withdrawal at any time,” the company stressed.As previously reported, Gemini was one of exchanges hit by the ongoing crypto bear market, cutting up to 20% of its staff this year. The exchange is also among platforms targeted by the United States Senate Finance Committee as part of the information request regarding customer protection measures in the aftermath of the FTX collapse.

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Binance acquires regulated crypto exchange in Japan

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance plans to reenter the Japanese market after acquiring a 100% stake in a licensed crypto service provider in the country, Cointelegraph Japan reported.In an official public announcement on Nov. 30, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the crypto exchange was committed to re-entering the Japanese market under regulatory compliance. The acquisition of Sakura Exchange BitCoin (SEBC), a Japan Financial Services Agency-licensed business, would mark the re-entry of global exchange in the Japanese market after four years.#Binance Acquires JFSA Registered Sakura Exchange BitCoin, Committed to Enter Japan Under Regulatory Compliancehttps://t.co/xfdnaY2hiO— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) November 30, 2022Talking about the importance of the latest acquisition, a Binance spokesperson told Cointelegraph:“We can say that the acquisition of SEBC marks Binance’s first license in East Asia, and as Asia is a market with potential, we hope to expand in other regions.”Binance had to shut its operations and plans to open a headquarter in Japan in 2018 after an FSA notice for operating without a license. The Japanese government warned the crypto exchange again in 2021 on similar grounds. Binance’s acquisition of a regulated entity to enter a crypto market where it has found it difficult to acquire a license independently is nothing new. Earlier, Binance managed to reenter the Malaysian market after acquiring a stake in a regulated entity. Similarly, the exchange reentered the Singapore market with an 18% stake in a regulated stock exchange. The crypto exchange also managed to access United Kingdom’s sterling payment network with a partnership with Paysafe after the regulators declined it access to the same.Related: Bank of Japan to trial digital yen with three megabanksCointelegraph reached out to Binance to enquire whether the exchange had applied for an independent license in Japan as well, but a spokesperson declined to comment.Japan is considered one of the first crypto nations to introduce some form of regulation on trading crypto assets. While strict, the Japanese approach to cryptocurrency regulations was widely appreciated, and G20 nations even consulted the nation over global crypto parameters.Recently, Japan has eased up its regulatory policy further to encourage more crypto startups and allow them to flourish and has made coin listings easier.

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