QQI5G52VEJKERKTOYNP4T2HTBQ.jpg

Factbox: Singapore’s rise, and falter, as Asia cryptocurrency hub

Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

HONG KONG/SINGAPORE, July 12 (Reuters) – Singapore’s burgeoning cryptocurrency sector has been shaken by the recent collapse of Three Arrows Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund, and signs of tighter scrutiny by regulators at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. read more

Following are key facts about the rise of Singapore as an Asian cryptocurrency hub, and the fallout from the Three Arrows collapse.

HOW IMPORTANT IS SINGAPORE TO ASIA’S CRYPTO SECTOR?

Investment in Singapore’s crypto and blockchain companies surged to $1.48 billion in 2021, according to KPMG, ten times the previous year and nearly half the Asia Pacific total for 2021.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

PwC says 6% of the world’s crypto funds are based in Singapore, ranking it a joint third globally – along with Switzerland and Hong Kong – behind the U.S. and UK.

Singapore, one of Asia’s main investment banking and asset management centres alongside Hong Kong, is keen to establish a leading role in financial technology, including blockchain and crypto.

WHY HAS SINGAPORE ATTRACTED CRYPTO BUSINESS?

The scale and range of Singapore’s crypto companies and service providers attracted digital asset companies fleeing regulatory crackdowns elsewhere.

These include Huobi, a crypto exchange initially focused on China that now has a major presence in Singapore.

U.S. firms like crypto exchange Gemini have set up regional Asia headquarters in Singapore.

The citystate was also a forerunner in developing a licencing regime for crypto companies, which attracted many companies hoping the endorsement of a leading regulator would help them to win business.

Other industry leaders such as crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN.O) have applied for licences in Singapore.

DBS (DBSM.SI), Singapore’s largest bank, has launched its own crypto exchange.

WHY DID 3AC COLLAPSE?

Digital currencies have been on the backfoot for months, with Bitcoin losing roughly half its value since the start of May.

The sell-off was triggered by the collapse of stablecoin TerraUSD and its paired token Luna, resulting in large losses for holders such as 3AC. The company lost about $200 million of its investment in Luna, an executive told the Wall Street Journal last month, adding that the company was still trying to quantify its losses.

According to U.S. court filings, several of 3AC’s lenders have issued it notices of default.

WHAT IS SINGAPORE’S REGULATORY STANCE?

The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s statements have indicated a welcoming approach, encouraging crypto-related services.

At the same time, some companies say the authorities’ soothing rhetoric belies an occasionally harsh regulatory stance.

Only a handful of approvals have been granted so far among well over 100 applicants for new crypto payments licences.

Chia Hock Lai, co-chairman, Blockchain Association Singapore, said there were currently well over 200 crypto businesses in Singapore, but several had shut down or moved out after the licencing regime came in.

The most high-profile of these is Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, which left Singapore last year as it came under close scrutiny around the world. read more

Like regulators elsewhere, MAS has also indicated that it would take a tough stance on money laundering, consumer protection, and other risks that may be associated with the digital currency sector.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and chairman of the MAS, told parliament last week that the regulator was considering additional consumer safeguards for cryptocurrency trading, although he did not mention 3AC.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Alun John and Chen Lin; Editing by Edmund Klamann

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Source link

P67754PAZBPSRLWEEF6LIOLWQY.jpg

Explainer: Can crypto holders recoup losses in court?

June 24 (Reuters) – A downturn in cryptocurrency prices and crash of one stablecoin has led some investors to try to recover their losses in U.S. court. Here is how cryptocurrency litigation has fared so far and the challenges investors may face.

WHO IS BEING SUED?

Companies that created cryptocurrencies, exchanges that facilitated their sale, and individuals who promoted them have all been sued.

Kyle Roche, who represents cryptocurrency holders in several lawsuits, said U.S. claims over cryptocurrency often involve alleged violations of federal securities or commodities laws, which prohibit fraud and manipulation and require products and operators to be registered with U.S. authorities.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

The latest lawsuit took aim at Terraform Labs, the company behind Terra USD, over the stablecoin’s recent collapse.

A crytocurrency investor sued the Seoul-based company and its Chief Executive Do Kwon on June 17, alleging they failed to register the company’s digital assets as securities and worked with several venture capital funds that backed Terra USD to defraud investors.

A Terraform Labs spokesperson called the claims meritless.

Tether, which is behind the world’s largest stablecoin, has been accused of rigging cryptocurrency markets in a lawsuit in New York. And Ripple, whose founders created the token XRP, has been hit with a lawsuit in California, claiming it sold unregistered securities.

Both lawsuits have survived motions to dismiss.

A spokesperson said Ripple disputes the allegations and will defend against them. Tether did not respond to a request for comment.

Cryptocurrency exchanges have been another target for investors seeking to recoup losses.

Binance U.S. was sued on June 13 by investors claiming it falsely marketed TerraUSD as a safe asset ahead of its collapse. And in March, investors accused Coinbase of selling 79 digital assets as unregistered securities. read more

Binance and Coinbase have denied the allegations.

Investors are also suing celebrities who have publicly touted cryptocurrency. A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles claims Reality TV star Kim Kardashian and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. engaged in a cryptocurrency pump and dump. Representatives for Kardashian and Mayweather did not respond to requests for comment. read more

LEGAL HURDLES

A wave of lawsuits brought in 2020 against exchanges alleging they fueled an illegal boom in digital coins largely failed after judges found some of the claims were filed too late or had too little connection to the United States.

Timing should not be an issue for newer lawsuits, but cryptocurrency holders seeking to sue overseas companies in U.S. court could still face hurdles.

Token holders won a default judgment in New York against Singapore-based exchange KuCoin, but dropped the case after a Singaporean court would not make the company provide information to enforce the judgment.

KuCoin did not respond to a request for comment.

Another potential hurdle for investors filing claims under securities or commodities laws will be showing their tokens meet the legal definition of those assets. Some courts have ruled that certain cryptocurrencies fit the bill, but the issue remains unsettled.

Cryptocurrency holders may face additional obstacles when going after exchanges. In the Coinbase lawsuit, the exchange has argued that it was not a party to the transactions, and that private litigants cannot enforce registration requirements.

HAVE ANY CRYPTO HOLDERS WON MONEY IN COURT?

While many cryptocurrency lawsuits are pending, the SEC has reclaimed some funds for investors in a handful of digital assets through settlements.

But even after a settlement, investors may face long waits and still end up with less than they shelled out.

Last year, blockchain company Block.one agreed to pay $27.5 million to settle token holders’ lawsuit alleging it had violated securities law.

More than 100 token holders filed claims worth more than $75.7 million, according to court filings. The settlement has not yet received final approval.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Jody Godoy;
Editing by Noeleen Walder and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Source link

Q3BYP5IB6FNL5HFJAYS5YNVBIM.jpg

CFTC eyes potential oversight of cryptocurrencies, carbon trading – commissioner

HOUSTON, June 8 (Reuters) – Cryptocurrency developers and U.S. lawmakers are moving toward putting the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in charge of regulating digital currencies, said CFTC Commissioner Summer Mersinger.

The designation would expand the CFTC’s mandate to oversee agricultural, energy and financial options markets and pave the way for the agency to regulate other digital assets such as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

Separately, the CFTC is considering how carbon trading markets operate, with a view toward their use in hedging and risk management.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Mersinger, one of five commissioners on the independent board that oversees commodity and financial futures markets, was speaking on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Reuters Commodities Trading USA conference in Houston.

Major crypto companies have backed the CFTC and on Tuesday U.S. senators Cynthia Lummis, Republican of Wyoming, and Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, filed a bill that would make CFTC the industry’s main overseer.

“You’re seeing the industry coalesce around the CFTC becoming the primary regulator,” said Mersinger.

Lawmakers have not decided which agency would oversee cryptocurrencies but the proposed Lummis-Gillibrand bill offers a starting point for Congressional debate. read more

The CFTC has begun its own review of a potential role over cryptocurrencies, with staff looking for opportunities in areas such as spot-market crypto trading “where we could have some expanded role making,” Mersinger said. She cautioned that the agency historically has not regulated spot markets and its reviews are preliminary.

“We’re still a strong regulator but our registrants have a lot of flexibility,” she said. “They have been very interested in that approach versus the top-down way of some other financial regulators,” she said.

Carbon trading is another area where the CFTC has an interest. Its regulation now is largely policed by industry groups and voluntary on the part of participants.

“We have interest in that space but we don’t regulate that space,” Mersinger said. One consideration is what changes may be needed for the voluntary markets to work properly, she added.

In 2020, when U.S. oil futures prices turned negative for the first time on fears of a lack of physical storage amid collapsing demand, CFTC issued an advisory warning of the risks that not enough people took seriously, she said.

One lesson it learned was that there was a need for broader inter-agency collaboration and discussion of contract settlement terms with the exchanges and traders, she said.

“At the end of the day, storage wasn’t as big an issue” as feared, but it was not well communicated, she said.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Gary McWilliams and Arathy Somasekhar; Editing by Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Source link

TDGIJVYRNNPJ5FHTOSE24F6IVY.jpg

Bored Ape NFT company raises around $285 million of crypto in virtual land sale

A representation of cryptocurrency Ethereum is seen next to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of Yuga Labs “Bored Ape Yacht Club” collection displayed on its website, in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – The company behind the “Bored Ape” series of NFTs has raised around $285 million worth of cryptocurrency by selling tokens which represent land in a virtual world game it says it is building.

Last year, U.S. start-up Yuga Labs created the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, blockchain-based tokens representing a set of 10,000 computer-generated cartoon apes.

As non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – crypto assets that represent digital files such as images, video, or items in an online game – exploded in popularity, Bored Ape prices surged to fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars each. read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

They became one of the most prominent NFT brands, with Apes sold at top auction houses and owned by celebrities including Paris Hilton and Madonna. read more

Now, Yuga Labs – which raised $450 million in March in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz – has set its sights on the so-called “metaverse”. read more

In an online sale on April 30, Yuga Labs sold NFTs called “Otherdeeds”, which it said could be exchanged as plots of virtual land in a future Bored Ape-themed online environment called “Otherside.”

The “Otherdeeds” could only be bought using the project’s associated cryptocurrency, called ApeCoin, which launched in March.

There were 55,000 Otherdeeds for sale, priced at 305 ApeCoin each, and the company wrote on Twitter that these had sold out.

This means the sale raked in 16,775,000 ApeCoin, worth around $285 million as of Sunday, according to Reuters calculations based on the price of ApeCoin on cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase at 1210 GMT.

It was not clear how the funds would be distributed, although the company said the ApeCoin would be “locked up” for one year.

The sale indicates the continued high demand for speculative, high-risk crypto assets related to online virtual worlds. NFTs are largely unregulated, and reports of scams, fakes and market manipulation are common. read more

While many are baffled by the idea of paying real money for land which does not physically exist, some virtual land NFTs have already fetched millions of dollars. read more

The Otherside metaverse will be a multi-player gaming environment, according to its website, which says it is currently under development.

Yuga Labs declined to say how many people were working on building Otherside or when it would be launched.

Yuga Labs’ Otherdeeds sale comes shortly after the Bored Ape Yacht Club official Instagram account was hacked and a phishing link posted, allowing scammers to steal victims’ NFTs.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Source link

PKJQY4TBEVMRZNVN3OPZ7XHXLY.jpg

Cryptoverse: Ether prepares for epic ‘merge’ in quest to eclipse bitcoin

April 26 (Reuters) – Ether has promised to do better. It has promised to go to the next level, edging out crypto rivals and even outshining the godfather, bitcoin. But the clock’s ticking.

The No.2 cryptocurrency was supposed to be weeks away from the “merge”, a transformative June upgrade of its blockchain Ethereum to make it faster, cheaper and less power hungry, holding out the prospect of a meaner and cleaner crypto future.

The anticipation had supported ether this year, even as inflation and monetary tightening shackled bitcoin. But that merge – which would see ether mining transition away from the energy-intensive proof-of-work method to proof-of-stake – has been delayed, frustrating investors.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

“The timeline for seeing this launch continues to extend,” said Brendan Playford, founder and CEO of decentralized financial data platform Masa Finance.

“It’s certainly plausible that Ethereum’s highly anticipated upgrade to a proof-of-stake system could be delayed again given that this transition is highly complicated and still uncertain as to whether it can actually deliver on its promise of lowering costs and increasing transaction speeds.”

Ether fell 8% from $3,215 to $2,947 on April 11, the day Ethereum lead developer Tim Beiko said on Twitter that the June rollout had been pushed back as tests continued. It is down 13% this month, at $2,844.

“It won’t be June, but likely in the few months after,” Beiko wrote in his tweet. “No firm date yet, but we’re definitely in the final chapter.”

The timing of the merge – Ethereum’s EH1 chain will meld with a new chain to create ETH2 – remains unclear, although many crypto watchers expect it to happen some time this year. Beiko didn’t reply to a request for comment via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Ether’s market capitalization of $363 billion is less than half bitcoin’s , and together the two make up 60% of the crypto market.

Yet bitcoin remains just an investment without any real ability to be used for contracts in decentralized finance applications. For this reason, many investors believe a flipping of the market is inevitable – dubbed “the flippening” in crypto circles – with the merge acting as a catalyst for Ethereum becoming the dominant platform.

“We are seeing funds rotate into Ethereum in preparation for the merge, even though we don’t know when it’s going to be,” said Noelle Acheson, head of market insights at Genesis Trading. The buying interest, she said, did “hint that more funds seem to be appreciating that (Ethereum) is perhaps undervalued at this stage”.

Both bitcoin and ether are mined, or produced, using a proof-of-work (POW) method, where thousands of miners, or network nodes, compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles.

This is a massively power-thirsty process that’s estimated to cause more pollution than a small country every year, fostering fears about crypto in a low-carbon world.

The alternate proof-of-stake (POS) method uses much less power because, rather than have millions of computers race to process puzzles, it allows nodes that stake the most coins to validate transactions.

Ethereum has long been hobbled by issues of speed and processing costs. It only processes 30 transactions per second as a proof-of-work blockchain, but expects to process as many as 100,000 transactions per second once it moves to POS.

That will allow it to compete with other, smaller altcoins such as Solana and Cardano , which use POS partly or entirely, for decentralized finance applications such as trading, investing, borrowing and even non-fungible tokens.

That’s provided Ethereum gets its upgrade.

“Ethereum maxis, people who believe in ‘the flippening’, believe it will come very soon,” said Acheson at Genesis Trading. “But it is only a theory and it remains to be seen.”

Ethereum vs ethereum killers
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Medha Singh and Lisa Pauline Mattackal in Bengaluru
Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Pravin Char

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which, under the Trust Principles, is committed to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.


Source link

4DYZIT7CGROY3BMDX2WBOOJZFY.jpg

Payments company Bolt to buy Wyre in cryptocurrency push

Bitcoin cryptocurrency representation is pictured on a keyboard in front of binary code in this illustration taken September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

April 7 (Reuters) – Online checkout company Bolt Financial Inc said on Thursday it is buying cryptocurrency infrastructure provider Wyre Payments Inc in a bid to enable digital-currency payments on its platform.

The company did not disclose the terms of the deal, but a Wall Street Journal report earlier in the day said it was valued at $1.5 billion. (https://on.wsj.com/3xeWbhE)

San Francisco-based Bolt was last valued at $11 billion after a funding round in January. It provides online retailers and shoppers a checkout service for payments.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

The company, which counts apparel retailers Forever 21, Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand among its customers, expects to close the deal by the end of the year.

Founded in 2013, Wyre provides payments infrastructure for cryptocurrencies.

Since last year, the crypto market has seen a surge of investor interest with large venture investors, celebrities and blue-chip companies doubling down on crypto investments.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Source link

5KHWYF53XBNEFLDIU4B47BZYQE.jpg

Crypto exchange FTX US valued at $8 bln as first fundraise draws SoftBank, Temasek

A representation of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Jan 26 (Reuters) – Cryptocurrency exchange FTX US said on Wednesday it had notched a valuation of $8 billion after raising $400 million in its first funding round from investors including Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings (TEM.UL).

The Series A funding also includes investments from crypto investment firm Paradigm and Multicoin Capital.

“What this raise means to us is that we are officially establishing ourselves on the stage of the largest competitors of cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S., and signaling to the world that we are going to continue to expand very rapidly,” FTX US President Brett Harrison said.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

With the value of cryptocurrencies surging, surpassing $3 trillion in November, venture capital investors are increasingly looking to put down stakes in the industry.

Venture capital firms invested $30 billion in crypto in 2021, according to research firm PitchBook.

Chicago-based FTX US was launched in 2020 by former Wall Street high frequency trading executives, and competes with leading crypto exchanges Coinbase and Binance.

In October, FTX US acquired LedgerX in a move to expand into crypto futures and options trading.

FTX US had an average daily volume of about $360 million in the third quarter, according to the company. Its users increased by 52% quarter over quarter, though the company has declined to share how many users it has overall.

FTX US said it intends to use the funds to grow its user base and launch new business lines, and will also consider strategic investments and acquisitions.

It also plans to expand its 100-strong staff, said Harrison, who previously worked at Citadel Securities.

“By having this capital, we’re able to go out and be competitive and hire the best people,” he said.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Source link