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Not giving up: VanEck refiles with SEC for spot Bitcoin ETF

VanEck, one of the first firms in the world to ever file for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), is not giving up on its plans to launch a spot Bitcoin ETF in the United States.The firm has refiled an application for a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).Filed on June 24, VanEck’s latest Bitcoin ETF application comes months after the SEC rejected its previous spot Bitcoin ETF request on Nov. 12, 2021. The securities regulator based its decision on the ETF on its alleged inability to meet standards to protect investors and the public interest as well as to “prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.”In the latest filing, VanEck provided a wide number of reasons for the SEC to approve a Bitcoin ETF this time.The ETF company argued that the lack of a U.S.-listed spot Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETP) does not prevent U.S. funds from gaining exposure to Bitcoin. That is because many U.S. ETPs use Canadian BTC ETPs to gain exposure to spot BTC, VanEck argued, stating:“Approving this proposal — and others like it — would provide U.S. ETFs and mutual funds with a U.S.-listed and regulated products to provide such access rather than relying on either flawed products or products listed and primarily regulated in other countries.”As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Canada was one of the first countries in the world to debut a spot Bitcoin ETF with the launch of the Purpose Bitcoin ETF in February 2021.VanEck went on to say that approving a spot Bitcoin ETF would be a logical step for the SEC after the authority decided to allow Bitcoin futures-based ETFs. As previously reported, VanEck’s BTC futures ETF started trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Nov. 16, 2021.“After issuing the Bitcoin futures approvals which conclude the CME Bitcoin futures market is a regulated market […] the only consistent outcome would be approving spot Bitcoin ETPs on the basis that the Bitcoin futures market is also a regulated market of significant size as it relates to the Bitcoin spot market,” the new filing reads.Related: Grayscale’s legal challenge to SEC sparks response from the communityAccording to Bloomberg ETF analyst Henry Jim, the deadline for VanEck’s latest spot Bitcoin ETF is March 3, 2023.Van Eck tries spot #Bitcoin ETF againCboe re-files 19b-4 for the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, a spot Bitcoin ETF, after it was disapproved last NovSEC has not “noticed” this filing yet.Final deadline: Mar 3, 2023MVIS® CryptoCompare Bitcoin Benchmark Ratehttps://t.co/mTJF14okCy https://t.co/5ckwIiOJFT pic.twitter.com/7xpPkBTuic— ETF Hearsay by Henry Jim (@ETFhearsay) June 30, 2022VanEck is known as one of the first U.S. firms to ever file for a Bitcoin futures ETF. The company originally filed for a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF in June 2018 but the SEC repeatedly postponed its decision over the proposal to eventually reject it three years later.

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Former Monero maintainer Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni to surrender for South Africa extradition

Riccardo Spagni, the former maintainer of the privacy coin Monero also known as Fluffypony, faces extradition to South Africa months after his arrest by U.S. authorities.In a Thursday court filing for the Middle District of Tennessee, Magistrate Judge Alistair Newbern ordered Spagni to surrender to U.S. Marshals on July 5 for extradition to South Africa. He will reportedly face 378 charges related to allegations of fraud and forgery between 2009 and 2011 at a company called Cape Cookies. U.S. authorities arrested Spagni in Nashville in July 2021 at the request of the South African government, holding him in custody until September. The court filings hint at allowing Spagni to be in the United States for the Independence Day holiday weekend before being taken to Africa early on Tuesday. None of the charges in South Africa are related to Spagni’s time working on Monero (XMR), for which he was the lead maintainer until December 2019. Related: Privacy coins are surging — Will regulatory pressure stall their stellar run?Spagni, who posts on Twitter under the handle Fluffypony, has been involved in the crypto space since 2011. Since his arrest in the United States, he tweeted regarding his desire to return to South Africa to “address this matter” related to the fraud charges:I am very pleased that the U.S. court has released me. I am actively working with my attorneys on a way to return to South Africa as soon as possible so I can address this matter and get it behind me once and for all. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.— fluffy/pony (@fluffypony) September 21, 2021According to data from Cointelegraph Markets, the price of XMR has fallen roughly 8% in the last 24 hours, reaching $110 at the time of publication. As with many cryptocurrencies in the current bear market, the price of the privacy coin has fallen significantly in the last 30 days — roughly 46% from more than $206 on May 31. 

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US lawmakers say crypto industry has a 'tech bro' problem hurting innovation

According to some United States lawmakers in the House Financial Services Committee, the lack of diversity in the financial technology space could be hurting many companies’ bottom lines.In a Thursday virtual hearing on “Combatting Tech Bro Culture,” U.S. lawmakers and witnesses discussed how women and people of color were underrepresented in leadership positions in the financial technology industry, including crypto firms. Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch cited data that only 2% of venture capital funding went to firms in which the founders were women, while only 1% went to those with black founders, and 1.8% for Latinx. According to Lynch and some on the committee, this trend suggested an “old boys club” culture in companies including those involved with cryptocurrencies, in which many of those in leadership positions were white men. They claimed that many firms seemingly less deserving of funding were able to bring in money more easily due in part to relationships between leadership.“While lack of diversity is a trend in almost every industry that venture capitalists invest in, it is particularly troubling in the fintech space,” said Lynch. “The largest fintechs, including digital banks, payment processors, and cryptocurrency providers, actually market their products to women and people of color. Yet when we look at the founders and leadership teams, they clearly do not reflect the communities that they claim to serve.”Representative Stephen Lynch addressing the House Financial Services Committee“Multiple studies found that companies with diverse leadership, specifically with more than one gender and/or one race, are ethically representative, are more innovative and make more money,” said California Representative Maxine Waters. “I assume that venture capital firms are heavily profit driven, but it seems they’re ignoring clear data on how to boost those profits.”Related: Crypto innovators of color restricted by the rules aimed to protect themLynch cited the recent crisis around crypto lending platform Celsius — whose leadership team consists mostly of men — as an example of VC money not necessarily going to where it’s best utilized:“Venture capital firms continue to gamble on poor investments such as cryptocurrency companies like Celsius, which recently froze all customer deposits, while on the other hand women and founders of color with well thought out, substantive business plans remain in the waiting room.”

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Coinbase providing customer geolocation data to ICE: Report

A new report has indicated that crypto exchange Coinbase has provided Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents with a “suite of features” intended for tracking the company’s customers. According to the report, ICE has been granted access to an intelligence-gathering application, called Coinbase Tracer, that provides a variety of forensic data tracking capabilities.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is an government agency under the Department of Homeland Security. The primary purpose of ICE is to protect the country from cross-border crime and illegal immigration.Coinbase Tracer’s intent is to assist ICE with tracing malicious and fraudulent transactions on blockchains. According to The Intercept, the tool will allow ICE agents to “connect addresses to real world entities.” An additional email released by the Freedom of Information Act has shown that ICE wasn’t required to agree to an End User License Agreement with Coinbase. An End User License Agreement is used to describe what users can and cannot do with a company’s software products. Purportedly, this means ICE is free to use the data tracking tool as it wishes with minimal restrictions.When Coinbase was questioned about these developments, spokesperson Natasha LaBranche merely supplied a link to the company’s website with verbiage addressing the issue. The link on the Coinbase website states “Coinbase Tracer sources its information from public sources and does not make use of Coinbase user data.” The Coinbase spokesperson did not provide information regarding limitations on Coinbase Tracer’s use by ICE.Reports indicate that some Coinbase users are angry due to “poor” customer support. https://t.co/qBlMod8K7U— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) August 25, 2021ICE’s access to Coinbase Tracer stems from a $1.36-million contract it signed with the crypto exchange in September 2021. At the time, the nature of the contract was vague and primarily consisted of Coinbase delivering “application development software as a service” to the agency. Related: Coinbase to shut down Coinbase Pro to merge trading servicesCoinbase has been in the news a lot lately and for various reasons. As Cointelegraph reported, the exchange is seeking aggressive European expansion to broaden its footprint. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs downgraded Coinbase stock to “sell” on Monday following a more than 80% correction.

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CFTC brings $1.7B fraud case involving Bitcoin against South African national

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, has taken enforcement action against a South African national in what the regulatory body called its “largest fraudulent scheme involving Bitcoin.”In a Thursday announcement, the CFTC said it had filed a civil enforcement action in federal court for fraud and registration violations against Cornelius Johannes Steynberg. The South African national allegedly created and operated a global foreign currency commodity pool totaling more than $1.7 billion, only allowing the participants to pay using Bitcoin (BTC). The CFTC alleged that Steynberg used the South Africa-based firm Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited to solicit BTC from the public using social media and various websites. From May 2018 to March 2021, the regulatory body claimed that he accepted at least 29,421 BTC — valued at more than $1.7 billion at the time, but roughly $564 million at the time of publication — including from individuals in the United States.“The defendants misappropriated, either directly or indirectly, all of the Bitcoin they accepted from the pool participants,” said the CFTC. “The CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded investors, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent registration and trading bans, and a permanent injunction against future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations.”ENFORCEMENT NEWS: CFTC Charges South African Pool Operator and CEO with $1.7 Billion Fraud Involving Bitcoin. https://t.co/cvNlksPznw— CFTC (@CFTC) June 30, 2022Related: The CFTC’s action against Gemini is bad news for Bitcoin ETFsThe case against Steynberg is the latest in a series of enforcement actions the CFTC has taken against individuals allegedly using cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes or digital asset firms for violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. In June, the CFTC filed a lawsuit against Gemini, claiming the crypto exchange made false or misleading statements to the regulatory body in 2017. A federal court also ordered the founders of crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX to pay $30 million in penalties as part of the conclusion of a suit filed by the CFTC in October 2020.

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US govt delays enforcement of crypto broker reporting requirements: Report

The provision in the U.S. infrastructure bill signed into law in November, which will require financial institutions and crypto brokers to report additional information, could reportedly be delayed.According to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg, the United States Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service may not be willing to enforce crypto brokers collecting information on certain transactions starting in January 2023, citing people familiar with the matter. The potential delay could reportedly affect billions of dollars related to capital gains taxes — the Biden administration’s budget for the government for the 2023 fiscal year previously estimated modifying the crypto tax rules could reduce the deficit by roughly $11 billion.Under the current infrastructure bill, Section 6050I mandates that crypto brokers handling digital asset transactions worth more than $10,000 report them to the Internal Revenue Service with personal information likely including the sender’s name, date of birth and social security number. The requirements, aimed at reducing the size of the tax gap, were scheduled to take effect in January 2023, with companies sending reports to the IRS starting in 2024. “Delaying is smart,” said Jake Chervinsky, head of policy at the Blockchain Association, in response to the news. “We’re getting closer & closer to the effective date of the infrastructure bill’s tax provisions & we’re still waiting for guidance or rulemaking on implementation.”If true, this is good news.We’re getting closer & closer to the effective date of the infrastructure bill’s tax provisions & we’re still waiting for guidance or rulemaking on implementation. We’ve also seen legislative proposals that could make big changes. Delaying is smart. https://t.co/m7bMDiVFFU— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) June 29, 2022Related: Crypto miners exempt from IRS reporting rules, US Treasury affirmsSince the passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, many industry experts and lawmakers have suggested the crypto broker reporting requirements are overly broad, placing an undue burden on individuals who may not have the necessary information on transactions. In June, crypto and blockchain advocacy group Coin Center filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department, alleging the tax reporting requirement could “impose a mass surveillance regime on ordinary Americans.”

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That's 'Sir' Crypto Dad: French order knights former CFTC chair Chris Giancarlo

The French government has given former United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair Chris Giancarlo, also known as “Crypto Dad,” the equivalent of a knighthood.In a Tuesday tweet from Giancarlo, the former CFTC head said France’s National Order of Merit awarded him a Chevalier — the equivalent of a knighthood — in a ceremony at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington D.C. Those attending included current and former CFTC commissioners Rostin Behnam, Brian Quintenz, Christy Goldsmith Romero, Kristin Johnson, Caroline Pham, as well as Hester Peirce of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Merci for honor of l’Ordre National du Mérite at the Résidence de France before mes amis @CFTCbehnam @BrianQuintenz @HesterPeirce Dawn Stump Dan Berkovitz @CFTCcgr @CFTCjohnson @CFTCpham @CFTC ⁦@the_afx⁩ @WillkieFarr⁩ ⁦@WhartonCypher⁩ pic.twitter.com/rI9MYzaI8a— Chris Giancarlo (@giancarloMKTS) June 28, 2022The order announced Giancarlo’s appointment in May. Phillippe Etienne, France’s ambassador to the United States, said the award was due, in part, to the former CFTC chair’s “understanding of financial markets and the potentials of crypto finance.” “[This award] recognizes the creation of well-regulated crypto trading markets and strengthening of overseas regulatory ties with the help of many fine public servants during my time of government service,” said Giancarlo at the time.Giancarlo worked as the chair of the CFTC for five years before leaving in April 2019. During his time with the government agency, he oversaw the launch of regulated Bitcoin (BTC) futures and was alleged to have had a “do no harm” approach to blockchain regulation, earning him the nickname Crypto Dad.Since leaving the CFTC, Giancarlo has gone on to join blockchain investment firm CoinFund as a strategic adviser, the board of directors for blockchain startup Digital Asset, and briefly, the board of crypto lending firm BlockFi. He currently works as a senior counsel at the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher.Related: Emmanuel Macron on crypto: ‘I don’t believe in a self-regulated financial sector’Other individuals who have previously been knighted by their respective governments have joined the crypto space in various ways. Sir Richard Starkey, also known as Beatles member Ringo Starr, launched his own line of nonfungible tokens on June 13. Star Trek star William Shatner, who tokenized a series of trading cards in 2020, was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2019 — though many have said the honor is not equivalent to a knighthood.

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KPMG enters the metaverse, invests $30M in Web3 employee training

KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms in Canada and the United States, has revealed the opening of its first metaverse collaboration hub to help its employees and clients pursue growth opportunities in the digital era.KPMG is entering the metaverse with a new collaboration hub that will connect employees, clients, and others with Web3. The company is making a collective $30 million investment this year in Web3 experiences, with the metaverse hub as the “signature piece.”According to a Tuesday report by Fortune, the hub will be focused on education, collaboration, training, events and workshops with Cliff Justice, KPMG U.S. leader of enterprise innovation claiming that it is presently being utilized for such things but that KPMG intends to hire people to build it and expand it over time.The long-term objective for the company is to examine other potential metaverse use cases such as health care, consumer, retail, media and financial services. Global spending in the #metaverse could reach $5 trillion by 2030❗#eCommerce and #VirtualAdvertising are expected to be the main source of income in the space.What do you think❓Read the full @McKinsey report on @Cointelegraph https://t.co/zrakjjxoja pic.twitter.com/yfwDFHyAkw— THE RELEVANCE HOUSE. (@RelevanceHouse) June 28, 2022Laura Newinski, deputy chair and chief operating officer at KPMG in the U.S., said:”The metaverse is a market opportunity, a way to re-engage talent, and a path to connect people across the globe through a new collaborative experience.”The companies will continue to explore possibilities in the crypto and Web 3.0 space, co-create new tools and solutions that provide critical insights, launch immersive learning and development platforms, recruit talent to contribute knowledge and help navigate the changing confluence of the physical and digital worlds, among other things, as part of its innovation strategy.Related: Yahoo launching Metaverse events for Hong Kong residents under restrictionsThe COVID-19 epidemic sparked people’s interest in the metaverse. There has been an increase in the desire for methods to make internet contact more lifelike as more individuals work and go to school online. JPMorgan, one of the biggest banks in the United States, made headlines earlier this year by publishing a paper suggesting metaverse technology was a “one trillion-dollar opportunity,” along with establishing its own virtual headquarters in the Decentraland (MANA) metaverse.

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Celsius denies allegations on Alex Mashinsky trying to flee US

Troubled crypto lending firm Celsius is putting their best foot forward to recover operations alongside CEO Alex Mashinsky, who currently stays in the United States, the company has claimed.A spokesperson for Celsius has denied rumors that the company’s CEO tried to flee the U.S. last week amid the ongoing liquidity crisis of the Celsius Network.The representative told Cointelegraph on Monday that the firm continues working on restoring liquidity, stating: “All Celsius employees — including our CEO — are focused and hard at work in an effort to stabilize liquidity and operations. To that end, any reports that the Celsius CEO has attempted to leave the U.S. are false.”Celsius’ statement came shortly after Mike Alfred, co-founder of the crypto analytics firm Digital Assets Data, took to Twitter on Sunday to claim that Mashinsky attempted to leave the country last week via Morristown Airport in New Jersey.Citing an anonymous source, Alfred alleged that Celsius’s CEO was trying to go to Israel. “Unclear at this moment whether he was arrested or simply barred from leaving,” he added.Alfred’s claims followed a massive GameStop-like “short squeeze” of Celsius, with Celsius’ native token Celsius (CEL) jumping 300% in one week by June 21. CEL price also abruptly rallied more than 600% on June 14, with analysts attributing the event to an exchange glitch or liquidation of short traders.At the time of writing, CEL is trading at $0.741, down around 5% over the past 24 hours, according to CoinGecko. Celsius’ native token is still up more than 160% over the past 14 days.Celsius Network token (CEL) 30-day price chart. Source: CoinGeckoSome industry observers in the crypto community have expressed skepticism about Alfred’s tweets about Mashinsky, with many considering his allegations as FUD.If @Mashinsky attempted to leave the country this week, why are you reporting it now exactly when the CEL price is going down? Seems very coincidental Mike Alfud. And why no mainstream media or crypto media is reporting this? #CelShortSqueeze https://t.co/ynJbzWib9o— Otis — #CelShortSqueeze ©️ ⚡️ (@otisa502) June 27, 2022As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Celsius officially announced that it would be “pausing all withdrawals, swaps and transfers between accounts” on June 13. United States regulators subsequently started an investigation into Celsius as multiple accounts on the network were frozen.Related: South Korean prosecutors ban Terraform Labs employees from exiting the country: ReportAccording to some analysts, Celsius’ liquidity issues should be attributed to shortcomings of the existing crypto lending model in general, as other lenders in the market have faced similar problems recently.Celsius has been working hard to fix the consequences of the platform’s liquidity crisis, reportedly onboarding advisers and restructuring consultants to help the platform handle potential filing for bankruptcy. On June 18, Celsius’ lead investor BnkToTheFuture and its co-founder Simon Dixon offered to assist the network by deploying a recovery plan.

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CBDC may threat stablecoins, not Bitcoin: ARK36 exec

Central bank digital currencies (CBDC) do not pose any direct threat to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) but are still associated with risks in relation to stablecoins, one industry executive believes.According to Mikkel Morch, executive director at the digital asset hedge fund ARK36, a state-backed digital currency like the U.S. dollar doesn’t necessarily have to be a competitor to a private or a decentralized cryptocurrency.That’s because the use cases and value proposition of the decentralized digital assets “often go beyond the realm of simple transactions,” Morch said in a statement to Cointelegraph on Thursday.The exec referred to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell who earlier this year hinted that the United States government would not stop a “well regulated, privately issued stablecoin” from coexisting with a potential Fed digital dollar.As such, active commitment to the CBDC development does not mean that other countries like Singapore are unfriendly to non-state-backed cryptocurrencies, Morch said. The executive suggested that a CBDC roll-out may even “facilitate the proliferation of non-sovereign cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.”However, the concept of a CBDC is still associated with some risks in regard to stablecoins, Morch noted, stating:“Admittedly, though, a CBDC may diminish the role of and the demand for privately issued stablecoins provided that there is a market for stablecoins already in the country – which is more the case in the U.S. than it is in Singapore.”Morch’s remarks came in response to Singapore’s financial regulator and central bank pledging to be “brutal and unrelentingly hard” on any “bad behavior” from the cryptocurrency industry.On June 23, Singapore’s Monetary Authority’s (MAS) chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty expressed a lot of skepticism about the value of private cryptocurrencies. He also said that he expected a state-backed alternative to be launched within three years.ARK36’s Morch also tied Mohanty’s latest comments with the recent dramatic events in the crypto industry, including the failure of the Terra ecosystem last month, the liquidity crisis of the Celsius crypto lending platform and Three Arrows Capital’s insolvency.Related: Stablecoins highlight ‘structural fragilities’ of crypto — Federal ReserveMorch specifically suggested that MAS’ comments on going brutal make a lot more sense if one takes into account that Three Arrows Capital, also referred to as 3AC, is a Singapore-based firm. “If half of the rumors about how the fund handled the capital of its customers are true, there is little wonder that Singapore’s financial authority sees the need for more regulation in the space,” he added.

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Ripple CEO criticizes SEC for 'contradictions' on crypto regulations

Brad Garlinghouse, the chief executive officer of Ripple Labs, has claimed the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, has inconsistently imposed regulations on crypto firms in the country. Speaking to Wired editor-in-chief at the Collision conference in Toronto on Thursday, Garlinghouse pointed to Ripple’s current legal battle with the SEC, in which the federal regulator has alleged the company’s executives conducted an “unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering” with XRP token sales. Garlinghouse referenced the SEC’s approval of Coinbase’s public offering in April 2021 despite the fact the crypto exchange listed XRP at the time.“The SEC now seems to take the position when they sued us that ‘XRP is a security and always has been’, but they approved Coinbase going public even though Coinbase is not a registered broker-dealer,” said the Ripple CEO. “There’s some contradictions here of the SEC almost not, within its organization, knowing left hand, right hand.” Garlinghouse added:“The SEC, instead of doing the hard work to define a new set of clear rules, a new set of clear regulations […] they instead decide we’re going to do regulation through enforcement, which is not efficient and really I think has stifled innovation in the United States.”Garlinghouse, Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen, and chief technology officer David Schwartz have all leveled complaints against U.S. regulators prior to and following the SEC filing its lawsuit against the firm in December 2020. Larsen suggested in October 2020 that Ripple might consider leaving the U.S. behind given many authorities’ policy of “regulation through enforcement” — the firm is currently headquartered in San Francisco, but also has offices in Dubai and Wyoming. Related: Ripple counsel slams SEC for trying to bulldoze and bankrupt crypto“I don’t think [crypto is] the Wild West at all,” said Garlinghouse, in response to SEC chair Gary Gensler’s characterization of the space. “I think crypto certainly is a volatile asset class […] All asset classes have a certain volatility — I don’t think it’s a regulator’s job to determine how that volatility should be accessed by consumers, by businesses.” “I don’t think it’s the wild west at all.” Ripple CEO @bgarlinghouse thinks the SEC isn’t painting crypto in the right light. pic.twitter.com/iO30gVafTn— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) June 23, 2022The court case between Ripple and SEC is still ongoing, with many expecting the results to set a precedent for the regulatory treatment of cryptocurrencies in the United States.

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Uphold withdraws with Venezuela, citing US sanctions

Crypto trading platform Uphold said it will be withdrawing support for users in Venezuela due to sanctions imposed by the United States government.In a Thursday announcement, Uphold said “owing to the increasing complexity of complying with U.S. sanctions” the platform would “very reluctantly” be moving out of Venezuela. The platform advised users to withdraw their funds as soon as possible, noting it would halt trading for Venezuela-based clients on July 31, with all accounts “fully restricted” starting on Sept. 30. “As a U.S. financial institution, Uphold has to comply with U.S. sanction programs administered by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), including those against the Government of Venezuela, state-owned entities and their employees,” said the platform. “Without a change in applicable law, or specific permission from OFAC, these regulations may prohibit us from releasing funds to a small number of our Venezuelan customers.”#RegPills ÚLTIMA HORALa plataforma de intercambios UPHOLD @UpholdInc se RETIRA de Venezuela debido a la complejidad jurídica originada por las sanciones norteamericanas. pic.twitter.com/DeScs8260U— Criptolawyer.eth (@criptolawyer) June 23, 2022Many of the sanctions currently imposed by the U.S. government against Venezuela-based entities went into effect in August 2019, when the previous administration barred transactions with U.S. citizens and companies in addition to ordering all Venezuelan government assets in the United States to be frozen. In May, President Joe Biden eased some of the sanctions, focusing on restrictions around U.S.-based oil companies including Chevron.Related: Venezuelans reportedly hit by new Bitcoin tax of up to 20%Prior to many of these economic measures, the Venezuelan government was reportedly able to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) to evade sanctions in certain circumstances. The country was also one of the biggest leaders in crypto peer-to-peer transactions in 2021 according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

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