Cryptocurrency News: A subsidiary of blockchain video game maker Animoca Brands received a MegaGrant from gaming and development giant Epic Games. In Ukraine, officials announced cryptocurrency donations to aid the country hit $54.57 million. On Wednesday, minutes released from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting discussed the need to regulate digital assets and stablecoins.
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Cryptocurrency Price Action
Bitcoin bounced off $23,500 on Thursday and stumbled back to $23,350 by the afternoon. The world’s largest cryptocurrency fell along with the stock indexes on Wednesday, on news of missed retail sales and plans for further rate hikes from the Fed, according to minutes from the central bank’s latest meeting. BTC took off last week after July’s better-than-expected inflation report on Wednesday. The world’s largest cryptocurrency has been trending higher. The currency gained 16.8% in July, its best monthly performance since October 2021, but remains far below its November peak.
Ethereum jostled between $1,850 and $1,875 in the afternoon, and was at the higher end of that range by Thursday’s close. ETH climbed last week and hit $2,000 on Sunday – it’s highest level since late May – after successfully transitioning its Goerli network to proof-of-stake last Wednesday. Goerli marked the final test network before the official merge to a PoS blockchain, which was expedited to September 15.
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An Epic Grant for Animoca Subsidiary
Grease Monkey Games, an Australian subsidiary of blockchain video game maker Animoca Brands, received a MegaGrant from Cary, N.C.-based creators of Fortnite, Epic Games. Grease Monkey will use the grant to support its Torque Drift 2 motorsport game, which is currently under development.
Epic Games MegaGrants range from $5,000 to $500,000 and cover game development, architecture projects, film production, academic uses and software development for projects using its proprietary Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is a suite of 3D creation tools for game development, television content creation and model visualization. The total amount to Grease Monkey wasn’t disclosed, but it plans to use the funds to develop new drift physics for the upcoming game.
Cryptocurrency Donations Aiding Ukraine
Cryptocurrency donations aiding Ukraine’s defense against Russia reached $54.57 million, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted Wednesday. The funds were donated to Ukraine’s government-run initiative, Aide For Ukraine.
According to Aid For Ukraine, crypto donations included 10,190.84 Ethereum, 595.44 Bitcoin, 10,435,120 USDT, 435,645.14 Polkadot, 2,231,824 USDC and 7,874.76 Solana tokens.
Ukraine purchased a variety of military gear and equipment with the funds. The country spent $11.88 million on UAVs, $6.9 million on armor vests, $5.7 million on computer hardware and software, $5 million on weapons requested by the Ministry of Defense and $5.25 million on its worldwide, anti-war media campaign.
Federal Reserve Notes Digital Asset Risk, Need For Regulation
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s July 26-27 meeting. The committee members noted concerns over digital assets and the need for regulations to limit systemic risk.
“Declining risk appetite has also led to sharp declines in the price of some digital assets,” the committee noted. The Fed discussed issues regarding digital asset volatility as well as the financial stability of stablecoins and their rapid growth.
“These assets, including stablecoins, were subject to vulnerabilities—such as runs, fire sales, and excessive leverage—similar to those associated with more traditional assets,” staff noted.
While the recent turmoil in digital asset markets has not spread to other asset classes, its rising importance and interconnectedness with the financial system poses greater risk, the committee says. It underscores “the need to establish a robust supervisory and regulatory framework for this industry that would appropriately limit potential systemic risks,” the minutes note.
A few participants mentioned the need to strengthen oversight and regulation of some non-bank institutions. That would likely include exchanges such as Coinbase (COIN), which is currently under investigation by the SEC.
Tornado Cash Ban Raises Questions In Crypto Community
Ethereum mixing service Tornado Cash was sanctioned by the U.S. last week for laundering $7 billion since 2019. Tornado Cash is a privacy tool that mixes digital addresses so transactions can’t be traced. The sanctions banned all of the service’s activities and issued heavy consequences for anyone sending or receiving transactions through Tornado Cash. Now the cryptocurrency community is wrestling with a major question: Should decentralized networks come under regulation?
Earlier Crypto News
Crypto.com Registers in the UK
Crypto.com is expanding its footprint in the United Kingdom after receiving regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority, the cryptocurrency platform announced Wednesday. Singapore-based Crypto.com is now classified as a cryptoasset business and will be able to offer its suite of products and services to UK customers, compliant with local regulations.
“This is a significant milestone for Crypto.com, with the UK representing a strategically important market for us and at a time when the government is pushing forward with its agenda to make Britain a global hub for crypto asset technology and investment,” said co-founder and CEO Kris Marszalek.
The UK had a 650% increase in cryptocurrency adoption from 2018 to 2021, according to research from BanklessTimes. And Crypto.com has had its sights set on it for some time now. The company announced several senior hires in the UK back in March, including appointing a UK General Manager and Global Head of Sustainability and ESG. Crypto.com allows customers to buy, sell and store various digital assets and touts itself as the fastest-growing cryptocurrency platform with 50 million users worldwide.
Federal Reserve Crypto Letter
On Tuesday, The Federal Reserve Board outlined the steps banks should take before getting involved in cryptocurrency.
Banks under the Board’s supervision should notify them before engaging in cryptocurrency-related activities, ensure that the activities are legal, determine if regulatory filings are required, and have adequate controls and systems in place to conduct the activities.
“The emerging crypto-asset sector presents potential opportunities to banking organizations, their customers, and the overall financial system; however, crypto-asset-related activities may also pose risk related to safety and soundness, consumer protection, and financial stability,” the Fed Board wrote in its release.
The Board emphasized the potential risks involved with crypto including cybersecurity, money laundering and illicit financing, consumer protection, legal compliance and financial stability.
The Fed says it’s closely monitoring banking organizations’ participation in cryptocurrency activities and related developments, “given the heightened and novel risks posed by crypto-assets.”
Celsius Allowed To Mine, Sell BTC To Get Out Of Bankruptcy
Defaulting cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network will be allowed to mine and sell bitcoin to help maintain operations, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge decided on Tuesday. Celsius filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections in July after taking heavy losses from the broader cryptocurrency crashes.
Judge Martin Glenn approved Celsius’ proposal to continue mining during second-day hearings. But noted concerns it wouldn’t immediately be profitable due to required up-front investments.
Filings from the weekend revealed how cash-strapped the cryptocurrency lender is. Celsius expects to run out of money by October, at which point liquidity will be negative $33.9 million. The company forecasts negative net cash flows to total $137.2 million from August to October. Celsius currently has a $2.8 billion deficit for its net coin position through its various cryptocurrency holdings, the filings show. Plummeting from its peak of $25 billion in assets under management from October.
Galaxy Digital Backs Out Of $1.2B BitGo Buyout
Digital asset investment firm Galaxy Digital announced it is terminating its $1.2 billion acquisition of BitGo on Tuesday. Galaxy claims the institutional digital asset services company failed to deliver audited financial statements for 2021, as required in the agreement from last May.
BitGo fired back and says Galaxy Digital improperly terminated the deal, which wasn’t scheduled to expire until the end of this year. It also claims Galaxy owes the company a $100 million reverse break fee that was promised in March 2022 to extend the merger agreement. Galaxy Digital says there’s no required termination fee.
BitGo hired law firm Quinn Emanuel to pursue legal action. And partner R. Brain Timmons asserts that Galaxy is only backing out because it recorded a $550 million loss this past quarter stemming from the LUNA crash. “Either Galaxy owes BitGo a $100 million termination fee as promised or it has been acting in bad faith and faces damages of that much or more,” Timmons stated.
BitGo CEO Mike Belshe dismissed Galaxy’s concerns over the company’s financials. He noted BitGo ended 2021 with $64 billion in assets in custody. He claimed client growth tripled over the year, momentum he says has continued into 2022.
“I have never been more bullish about our future,” Belshe said.
Galaxy Digital Looks Forward
Meanwhile, Galaxy Digital plans to reorganize as a Delaware-based company. And seeks to be listed on the Nasdaq, dependent on the SEC and exchange reviewing and approving the listing. Galaxy Digital stock currently trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company is also rolling out its own in-house digital asset investing service for institutional clients, called Galaxy One Prime. “We are committed to continuing our process to list in the U.S. and providing our clients with a prime solution that truly makes Galaxy a one-stop shop for institutions,” CEO Mike Novogratz said.
Acala Burns Hacked Stablecoins
Late Monday night, Acala Network developers announced they “burned” — removed from circulation — 1.29 billion of its aUSD stablecoins that had erroneously been minted as part of a hack. The exploit from Sunday night caused aUSD to depeg and lose more than 99% of its value, falling below 1 cent. Hackers used a bug to mint the tokens from one of Acala’s liquidity pools, which are collateral used to maintain stablecoin prices. Polkadot blockchain-based aUSD nearly regained its peg Wednesday morning and climbed back around 90 cents by the time of writing.
Global Fintech Market to hit $8.7B By 2026
A new report from ResearchAndMarkets.com forecasts the market for financial services using blockchain technology will reach $8.7 billion in the next four years. The “FinTech Blockchain – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics” report predicts the global fintech blockchain market will have a 44.8% compounded annual growth rate for the period, skyrocketing from $1.3 billion in 2022.
ResearchAndMarkets notes fintech blockchain services rapidly increased during the Covid pandemic. Rising consumer demand for bitcoin investing and greater need for cross-boarder payment, security and compatibility within the financial services industry ecosystem fueled the increase. The U.S. market, estimated at $451.6 million in 2022, currently makes up 32.8% of the global market share.
But researchers expect China to lead the charge over the next few years. Experts forecast China’s market to hit $874 million by 2026, with a compounded annual growth rate of 52.6%.
Bitfarms Reports Results
Canadian Bitcoin mining company Bitfarms announced second quarter results Monday morning. The company reported a net loss of 70 cents per share, falling from a loss of 2 cents last year. Total revenue grew 14% to $42 million for the period. Bitfarms mined 1,257 during the quarter, up from 759 last year. But the average cost of production increased by $900 to $9,900 per bitcoin. The company sold 3,357 in the quarter, generating $69 million in proceeds. Bitfarms also recorded a loss of $77.9 million while disposing of its digital assets. And a $70.48 million loss on the revaluation of its digital assets. As of June 30, Bitfarms had $46 million in cash on hand and 3,144 BTC. Bitfarms shares rose about 7% to $2.15 by Monday’s close, but quickly tumbled more than 8% early Tuesday.
Zoomex’s Soccer Sponsorship
Over the weekend, Spain’s Villarreal CF added Zoomex as its ‘Official Crypto Exchange Partner’ for the 2022/2023 season. The La Liga soccer team will feature its logo on the back of their jerseys this season. Financial details weren’t disclosed, but Zoomex is just the latest cryptocurrency company breaking into sports sponsorships. Crypto firms spent more than $2.4 billion on sports marketing over the past 18 months, according to Bloomberg data.
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