Source: Adobe/Ievgen Skrypko

Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

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Adoption news

  • Lightning Labs, a developer of the Lightning Network, announced Taro, a new Taproot-powered protocol for issuing assets like stablecoins on the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain that can be transferred over the Lightning Network. “This expands the reach of Lightning Network as a whole, bringing more users to the network who will drive more volume and liquidity in bitcoin, and allowing people to easily transfer fiat for bitcoin in their apps,” Ryan Gentry, Business Development Lead at Lightning Labs, said, adding that Taro is “as an important step in bitcoinizing the dollar.” Also, the firm said it raised USD 70m in Series B funding.
  • Vantage Bank Texas will offer its employees BTC savings plans through bitcoin company NYDIG, per Texas Border Business. They would also be offering education about bitcoin before the employees decide, they added.

Legal news

  • Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida, USA, forfeited approximately USD 34m worth of crypto allegedly tied to over 100,000 sales of illicit items and hacked online account information on several of the world’s largest Dark Web marketplaces.
  • German authorities seized BTC 543 (USD 25m) as they shut down Hydra Market, saying they had closed one of the world’s largest darknet markets. Federal police found 17m customers and 19,000 seller accounts.

Regulation news

  • The National Bank of Georgia is planning to regulate the country’s crypto market, The Financial reported, citing the central bank Governor Koba Gvenetadze. The draft law will include rules for registering virtual asset service providers, testing compliance procedures, and halting money laundering.
  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission warned social media influencers who discuss financial products and services online that they may be fined or prosecuted if they post content that fails to comply with the law. Influencers without an Australian financial services license should not provide financial product or service advice and must not provide misleading or deceptive information, they said.
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler said that his agency and the top US derivatives regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, should work together to rein in crypto exchanges, per Bloomberg. He said that the SEC is also looking into whether platforms that take custody of customers’ assets are protecting them adequately, and if that function should be segregated from normal trading operations.

Investments news

  • Crypto exchange FTX.US announced it has entered into an agreement to make a strategic investment in US national stock exchange operator IEX Group for an unspecified amount. The two will work towards establishing a market structure for digital asset trading, with the deal expected to close next month, pending regulatory approval.
  • Crypto wealth management platform Abra announced the launch of its asset management strategy, Abra Capital Management, with plans for five funds that provide exposure to early-stage Web3 protocols and companies. Three of those funds will target opportunities for stablecoins, bitcoin, and ether (ETH), and the two additional funds will target early-stage token and equity investment opportunities.
  • Proof-of-stake (PoS) staking systems provider Chorus One has launched a new fund called Chorus Ventures, to invest USD 30m in PoS networks, protocols, and related products over the next three years.
  • Decentralized lending and staking protocol Parallel Finance announced that Section 32, Coinbase, and other strategic funds have invested a combined USD 5m into the protocol, for a total valuation of USD 500m, in their latest extended strategic round. The funds will be used to build new projects, they added.
  • Decentralized exchange (DEX) Trisolaris Labs announced the closing of a funding round that raised an undisclosed amount and that was led by Electric Capital. They added that their priority, with the newly raised funds, is to expand their team.
  • Play-to-earn guild Polemos announced the close of a USD 14m seed funding round, giving the company a USD 100m valuation, which was led by Framework Ventures, Delphi Digital Ventures, IOSG, and others. Funds will go towards developing its tech platforms, they added.

Mining news 

  • Marathon Digital, which has a current market capitalization of around USD 2.9bn, is open to the possibility of being acquired for the right price, its chief executive officer Fred Thiel told Bloomberg.
  • Sphere 3D and Gryphon Digital Mining announced they have mutually agreed to terminate their merger agreement announced on June 3, 2021. They cite changing market conditions, the passage of time, and the relative financial positions of the companies, among other factors, as reasons for the termination.
  • Tech provider Ledger Enterprise announced a partnership with crypto mining company Blockware Solutions to provide infrastructure for financial institutions.
  • Digihost announced unaudited BTC production results for the period ended March 31, 2022, stating they mined BTC 75.24 (USD 3.4m) during the month and BTC 186.83 in the quarter. The value of the company’s BTC mined in Q1 2022 increased by approximately USD 2.3m, or 37% compared to Q1 2021.

NFTs news

  • The UK HM Treasury, the country’s economic and finance ministry, announced that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has asked the Royal Mint to create a non-fungible token (NFT) to be issued by the summer.

Career news

  • Crypto exchange BitMEX has laid off around 75 people, which make up around a quarter of its staff, The Block reported, citing undisclosed people familiar with the matter. Their sources added that former CEO Arthur Hayes, who recently pled guilty to violating the US Bank Secrecy Act, had a hand in the cuts as they’re aiming to “scale back everything.”
  • Financial services firm specializing in digital assets JST Capital announced the hiring of Martin C. Grant as Global Head of Regulatory Affairs and Integrity. Grant will be responsible for “navigating the evolving digital asset regulatory environment” and will continue JST’s discussions with global regulators. He joins JST from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he held the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer for over fifteen years.

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