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WHAT SOUTH KOREA’S CRYPTO CRACKDOWN MEANS FOR THE INDUSTRY

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With a blistering start to the year, cryptos have enjoyed the highs of what seemed like a never-ending bull run. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins made headlines every day, surging far past their previous highs as institutions rushed to get their hands on the red-hot asset class. But now, as significant regulatory challenges set in for cryptocurrencies, its future seems more uncertain than ever.

SOUTH KOREA LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR CRYPTO REGULATIONS

Just weeks prior, the Indian government proposed a total ban on cryptocurrencies, which would effectively criminalize the possession, mining, trading, and transferring of crypto-assets. Since then, other governments have followed suit by outlining their own regulatory frameworks in hopes to contain the rapidly growing industry.

South Korea, in particular, enacted stricter regulations for crypto exchanges and passed a new legislation that would mandate exchanges to undergo compliance audits and report customer data. In an effort to combat money laundering and tax-fraud, Korea’s regulatory and law enforcement agencies will require all crypto transaction data from service providers. Likewise, crypto businesses in the country are mandated to follow strict financial accounting standards.

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While necessary, these stringent measures come at the expense of businesses, as they are forced to absorb the increased costs in compliance and extensive Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. Ironically, its implications are already in full display — even before the laws have been officially enacted.

FACED WITH REGULATORY HEADWINDS, STRUGGLING EXCHANGE TO SHUT DOWN 

Crypto exchange OKEx has decided to shut down operations in Korea, due to concerns over the country’s regulations for cryptocurrency service providers that are set to go into effect tomorrow. In a blog post, OKEx announced to its users that it will be shutting down all operations on April 6th. It warned that the exchange would not be responsible for any losses incurred by users who fail to withdraw their holding before this date.

Per CoinDesk Korea, a spokesperson from OKEx explained the reasoning for the closure, stating that the new anti-money laundering regulations would make the local market too difficult for crypto firms. He added that the decision was also due to thinning margins and low profits, which would have been exacerbated by the upcoming regulatory changes. This is likely the sentiment shared across exchanges operating in South Korea, as even Binance shut down its operations earlier this year due to low trading volumes and declining liquidity.

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With a crypto capitals gain tax going into full effect next year, it’s certainly possible that Korea’s new regulations will be the final nail in the coffin — rendering cryptos inaccessible to the general public and killing the last of the remaining liquidity that’s left in the local market.

Binance

Binance to Support the Incoming Polkadot Parachain Slot Auction

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  • Binance exchange will support the Polkadot (DOT) parachain slot auction.
  • The company plans to start the event in November, this year.
  • Doing this will help Polkadot achieve its ecosystem development.

Amid the waves blowing around the incoming Polkadot (DOT) parachain slot auction, Binance exchange has also announced that they are ever-ready to support the Polkadot’s parachain event.

With this synergy, Binance emphasized that it will soon start its Polkadot parachain slot auction program mainly in November 2021. Additionally, the month set to begin the event by the Binance team moves in line with the proposed Polkadot parachain slot auction date.

Meanwhile, Binance didn’t officially give the exact day and time that it will start the event. At the moment, the only news we have is that the team aims to start the parachain event in November.

To clarify, Binance intends to do its part and what it can to help influence Polkadot towards achieving its ecosystem development milestone. In turn, doing this will also push up the growth and adoption of the Polkadot parachain slot project to the mainstream.

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Also, for further info about the event, the Binance team noted that they will keep their eyes on it and provide the community with more updates.

Until then, the team assured that the community should expect a separate announcement in no time and more details than what they have disclosed now. In addition, Binance advised that the community should stay tuned as they are bringing more initiatives ahead.

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CFTC slaps Tether and Bitfinex with $42.5 million fine over misleading statements

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  • Tether is hit with $41 million in fines to settle allegations of misleading statements. 
  • Bitfinex was fined $1.5 million for facilitating retail transactions for American citizens. 
  • Tether has been under the lens of financial regulators over claims of stablecoin reserves for years on end. 

Financial regulators have investigated Tether and Bitfinex for criminal probe into bank fraud and misleading statements. Currently, over $62 million worth of Tether is in circulation, which is likely to impact the broad cryptocurrency market. 

Tether and Bitfinex hit by CFTC fines; there may be an impact on the crypto market

US regulators have accused Tether of making untrue or misleading statements. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) slapped a penalty of $41 million on Tether and $1.5 million on Bitfinex. 

Bitfinex was fined for allowing American citizens to transact on its exchange. The CFTC announced the penalties earlier today.  

Tether has played a key role in the crypto ecosystem, and the US Justice department’s focus is on the stablecoin’s activity in nascent stages following its launch in 2014. Federal prosecutors investigated transactions that were linked to crypto, and banks were unaware of their nature. 

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Former probes remained confidential, according to sources close to the Department of Justice (DoJ). A criminal probe is one of the key developments in the crackdown on cryptocurrencies by regulators. 

Over $62 billion worth of Tether tokens are in circulation; proponents believe it is too big to fail. In a statement, Tether stated:

Tether routinely has an open dialogue with law enforcement agencies, including the DOJ, as part of our commitment to cooperation and transparency.

In light of recent events, however, Tether is faced with a more significant challenge, safeguarding the interests of the crypto community by not failing. Traders across fiat-crypto exchanges and peer-to-peer platforms exchange their fiat for stablecoins to access the cryptocurrency ecosystem. 

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If Tether fails, the inflow of stablecoins to exchanges could be impaired, triggering a drop in capital inflow to Bitcoin. 

In their concurring statements, CFTC was quoted:

The settlement with the Tether respondents finds that there were misrepresentations regarding the assets backing tether, specifically that the USDT tokens were backed 1-to-1 by US dollars. The evidence establishes that this assurance provided to tether customers was not 100% true, 100% of the time.

Tether officials are held accountable by the CFTC. Further, the CFTC has applied a commodities’ definition to stablecoins. Regulators are concerned that enforcement actions may confuse their role in cryptocurrency and stablecoin regulation. 

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The CFTC’s statement reads:

In a recent speech, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce asked an important question when it comes to the US regulators’ review of stablecoins: Are we fighting for investors or are we fighting for jurisdiction? This question is front-and-center in my mind as I consider these settlements.

Tether believes that,

As Tether represented in the Order, it has always maintained adequate reserves and has never failed to satisfy a redemption request.

Tether has suggested that the CFTC’s findings regarding Bitfinex are related to its activities before December 2018. The stablecoin issuer is focused on resolving the matter and moving forward. 

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The statement reads as follows:

We are grateful that the market has consistently demonstrated its trust and confidence in Tether. We will continue to earn that confidence and lead the industry in innovation and transparency.

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Crypto Market Cap Gained $90B: Bitcoin Taps $60K, SOL up 8% (Market Watch)

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After a six-month hiatus, bitcoin met the coveted $60,000 level before retracing by roughly $1,000. Ethereum went above $3,800 briefly.

Bitcoin skyrocketed by roughly $3,000 in hours following positive reports coming from the US and touched $60,000 for the first time since April. Some altcoins have also joined the ride, with ETH exceeding $3,800 and Solana spiking by more than 8%.

BTC and $60K Met Again

Just two days ago, bitcoin had retraced hard and was close to breaking below $54,000. This came after an unsuccessful attempt to overcome $58,000 for the first time in roughly five months.

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However, the bulls hadn’t given up yet and initiated another impressive leg up yesterday, as reported. This time, BTC reclaimed the aforementioned level and kept climbing upwards.

BTC went as high as $58,500 before another brief retracement drove it back below $57,000. At this time, though, reports emerged claiming that the US Securities and Exchange Commission could greenlight a Bitcoin Futures ETF as early as next week.

The implications of such a significant development in the US led to an immediate price surge. BTC added more than $3,000 of value and touched $60,000 for the first time since April this year.

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As of now, bitcoin has lost around $1,000 of value, but its market cap is still above $1.1 trillion. The dominance over the altcoins has increased to just shy of $46%.

BTCUSD. Source: TradingView
BTCUSD. Source: TradingView

ETH Reached $3.8K: SOL Up by 8%

Ethereum struggled in the past few weeks as it was unable to break above $3,600 decisively. It even retraced by a few hundred dollars but went on the offensive yesterday and continued north today. As a result, the second-largest crypto broke above $3,800 for the first time in months but it was short-lived and is back below it now

Solana is another impressive performer on a 24-hour scale. SOL has surged by 8% in a day and trades well above $160. Uniswap’s 4% increase has driven UNI to $26, but the rest of the larger-cap alts have stalled or retraced.

Binance Coin, Cardano, Ripple, Polkadot, Dogecoin, Terra, and Avalanche are all slightly in the red.

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Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto
Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto

The top 100 largest coins have a new representative in the face of NuCypher. NU has exploded by more than 500% in a day and has neared $2, but many community members speculate on Twitter that it could be a pump and dump scheme.

Polygon has increased by 25% to $1.6. The total crypto market cap is above $2.4 trillion for the first time in months as well, after a $90 billion rise in a day.

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