Blockchain This Week – Lawmakers and Crypto, AUDN, Crypto Layoffs and Exploits

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CAR Forms Committee for Crypto

The Central African Republic has set up a committee, which includes representatives from various government ministries. The council is tasked to draft crypto legislation that paves the way for broader crypto adoption.

South Africa’s New Crypto Diktat

The Advertising Regulatory Board of South Africa has issued new guidelines for crypto advertisers. First, they are mandated to put out words of caution in their adverts, warning users of potential investment risks. Furthermore, social media influencers are banned from offering trading services in the country.

Stricter Restrictions for Holding Crypto

The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee voted to levy stringent restrictions on banks seeking to offer crypto custody services. The banks will be required to hold a euro of their own capital for every euro pegged to crypto.

Laxer Regulations

On the contrary, the French National Assembly voted in favor of easing the licensing requirements for crypto firms. Following the FTX collapse, an amendment to enforce stricter rules for the crypto business was put forth by Sen. Herve Maurey.

Australia’s New Stablecoin

The National Australia Bank aims to launch its newly minted stablecoin AUDN by the mid of 2023. AUDN would enable its customers to settle transactions on the blockchain in real time using AUD and could also serve other purposes, including carbon credit trading and overseas money transfers.

Azuki Twitter Account Hacked and Phishing Scam

The Twitter account of a popular NFT project, Azuki, was hacked yesterday. The hacker promoted a fake “land mint” that led to some unsuspecting NFT enthusiasts losing over $750,000 worth of USDC, 11 NFTs, and over 3.9 ether within 30 minutes.

Fake Coin Promotion By Account Hack

Similarly, Robinhood’s Twitter account was exploited to advertise the fake coin’s launch. The scam appears to have been largely unsuccessful since only 25 people spent less than $1,000 to buy the bogus $RBH token that was supposedly available on Binance Smart Chain for $0.0005.

Moonbirds’ Founder Loses NFTs

In another incident, Kevin Rose, founder of the NFT project Moonbirds, claimed that his wallet was hacked. Kevin, seemingly, has lost over $1 million in NFTs. The NFTs stolen included Cool Cats, Squiggles, and OnChainMonkeys.

FBI Confirms Harmony Bridge Perpetrators

The FBI affirmed that North Korea’s Lazarus Group and APT38 were behind the $100 million Harmony Bridge heist, last June. It claims North Korea funded its ballistic missile and mass destruction weapons program with the stolen dough.

Gemini Layoffs

Crypto exchange Gemini has reduced its headcount by 10%. Co-founder Cameron Winklevoss has blamed poor macroeconomic conditions and “unprecedented fraud” in the crypto industry for the company’s decision.

Luno Cuts 35% of Its Workforce

Crypto exchange Luno has laid off 35% of its employees, affecting between 210 to 330 jobs. An “incredibly tough year” supposedly truncated the overall growth and revenue numbers, necessitating layoffs, as per the crypto firm. Luno is owned by the embattled Digital Currency Group. 

CoinTracker Lets Go of 19 Employees

Unicorn crypto tax firm CoinTracker is the latest crypto company to reduce its workforce, citing market conditions. Nineteen people lost their jobs as the company leadership lamented about recruiting too many people.

Binance Mix Up

Crypto exchange Binance accidentally mixed customer tokens with its B-tokens. Binance issued 94 Binance peg tokens, and reserves for over half of them were stored in a cold wallet called Binance 8. The wallet supposedly had more assets than the number of B-tokens issued. The excess was attributed to customer assets, which the exchange says, it is moving out of Binance 8.

Web3 Shorts

Binance reportedly processed $345.8 million worth of bitcoin transactions for Bitzlato, the crypto exchange that shut down last week after the US DoJ charged it with money laundering.

Binance introduced an optional feature for its API users to prevent self trading on their platform. Website and app users are not affected.

Previously crypto friendly bank Signature reportedly is imposing a minimum limit on the crypto transactions. As per Binance, Signature would not support any of its clients’ crypto customers from buying and selling amounts less than $100,000 from Feb 1, 2023.

The Dutch Central Bank has levied a fine of $3.6 million on crypto exchange Coinbase for offering crypto services in the Netherlands without registering there.

NFT price tracker Floor has acquired NFT analytics firm for an undisclosed amount and terms.

Web3 Investments

Blockchain infra firm Calimero Network raised $8.5 million in a seed round co-led by Khosla Ventures, Lyrik Ventures, and Near Foundation to build private sharding infrastructure.

Another web3 infra business QuickNode reached an $800 million valuation after securing $60 million in a Series B funding round led by 10T Holdings.

Through convertible notes and secured loan financing, bitcoin miner and hosting service Blockstream garnered $125 million to expand its mining services.

Game studio Voldex raised an undisclosed amount in a Series A financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

Blockchain Capital led the $10 million seed round of Spatial Labs, which intends to improve commerce and metaverse experiences with money.Injective, a layer 1 blockchain used for building finance apps that can connect to other blockchains, launched a $150 million ecosystem fund. It has partnered with other web3 players, including Pantera Capital, Kucoin Ventures, and Jump Crypto, to fund DeFi and interoperability projects.

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