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Skybridge Capital Applies For Cryptocurrency ETF And Accumulates $100 Million For ALGO Fund

A statement from Anthony Scaramucci has revealed the total crypto worth of an Alternative investment firm in Australia’s SkyBridge Capital. He stated that SkyBridge holds crypto worth $700 million presently.

The alternative investment firm has filed for a cryptocurrency company ETF which simply means a crypto-based exchange-traded fund.

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They did this on Tuesday, aiming to increase their digital currency offerings. SkyBridge Capital also revealed its plans for the Algorand fund during the SALT conference held within the week in New York.

SkyBridge Crypto Assets Worth

SkyBridge founder Anthony Scaramucci while addressing CNBC, stated that the firm raised over $100 million for the new Algorand fund. Anthony was also the former Director of White House Communications. It was Scaramucci who valued the company’s crypto-assets to be about $700 million.

The CEO reaffirmed that crypto has come to stay. However, he added that if regulations plan to fan the increasing adoption of digital asset technology, they should take quick action.

Anthony explained the crypto adoption as similar to Uber, which the regulators planned to knock out of the system. But the people later won because they accepted its use. He predicts that the United States will start recording up to 200 million crypto users in no distant time.

The SkyBridge CEO made these comments when spectators were concerned about having a regulatory crackdown maned by SEC.

Gary Gensler, the head of SEC, had characterized the crypto sector as rife associated with abuse and fraud. But Anthony Scaramucci, despite his disagreement, appreciated Gary for his stake in crypto.

He explained that Gary had many people that are yet to understand crypto in Congress fully. As a result, they have a lot of negativity, and he will call on elites like Elizabeth Warren to attend such a conference.

However, sitting with members of the industry will make her understand the protocols better. Anthony suggests that the need to carry everyone alone by educating them.

Other Finance Magnates Opinion

Other finance lords in their speech didn’t share Anthony’s optimism. Instead, they doubted the possibility of crypto adoption outrunning the grip of strong-handed regulations.

Related Reading | While Broader Crypto Market Holds Its Collective Breath, Whales Are Loading Up On Bitcoin

Ray Dalio predicted that as the digital assets popularity increases, it would attract the attention of lawmakers.

ALGO is currently down by 4% at the time of writing | Source: ALGOUSD on TradingView.com

However, while speaking to CNBC, he said that even if the crypto adoption successfully increases, the lawmakers will kill it. He believed that lawmakers would succeed in killing it as they have their ways of doing so.

Dalio explained that every monetary asset that offers a cash alternative is worth considering, including Bitcoin.

Featured image from Finance Magnates, chart from TradingView.com

U.S. Treasury Targets Stablecoins in Latest Regulatory Risk Assessment

As regulatory pressure mounts in the U.S., policymakers are putting stablecoins at the top of their agendas.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg has reported that officials are crafting a policy framework set to be released in the coming weeks. Their primary concern is ensuring that investors can reliably move money in and out of tokens, it added.

The anonymous insiders are worried that a “fire-sale run on crypto assets could threaten financial stability and that certain stablecoins could scale up dangerously fast.”

Strengthening Regulatory Efforts

The Financial Stability Oversight Council is also preparing a formal review into whether stablecoins pose an economic threat.

The officials are focusing on how stablecoin transactions are processed and settled and whether market conditions have an impact, it added. Tomicah Tillemann, global head of policy at a crypto fund run by venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, commented:

“It is significant and very consequential that we are witnessing early steps to create a regulatory framework around digital assets. That’s a big deal.”

The report, when released, will go to the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. The body includes key agency heads such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and Securities and Exchange Commissioner Chair Gary Gensler.

In late July, Yellen called for urgency in regulating stablecoins after stating that they are not adequately supervised. Gary Gensler echoed the sentiment in early August, stating that regulators must act to protect investors from fraud.

Also, in late July, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, said regulators are looking into Tether’s commercial papers to see whether each USDT token was really backed by the equivalent of one U.S. dollar.

Tether has repeatedly issued assurances that its reserves are fully backed but has yet to produce a full independent audit.

Stablecoin Ecosystem Update

Tether remains the market leader with a current supply of 69.4 billion, according to the Tether Transparency report. This is close to the all-time high for USDT, which tapped 70 billion earlier this week.

Of that total, 36 billion or 51.8% is based on the Tron network, with 33.8 billion or 48.7% running on Ethereum. USDT supply has grown by 232% since the beginning of the year.

Rival stablecoin, USDC, from Circle currently has 29.3 billion in circulation after gaining 651% in terms of supply growth so far in 2021.

Bitcoin usage has ‘immediate implications’ for El Salvador’s credit rating, TradFi says

Standard & Poor (S&P) warned that El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender might negatively affect its credit rating.

The U.S credit rating agency said the knock-on effects could undermine El Salvador’s attempt at securing IMF funding, in turn triggering problems within its economy.

Despite the backlash, President Bukele has always insisted that Bitcoin adoption was brought about for the benefit of the people.

Reading between the lines, El Salvador may well turn out to be a battleground in the showdown between crypto and fiat.

What does S&P say about Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador?

S&P is considered the biggest of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies, with Moody’s and Fitch Ratings placing as the other two.

These firms issue credit ratings for the debt of public and private companies and other large-scale public borrowers, such as governments.

Lenders use agency ratings to determine whether an entity can secure borrowing. It follows that a low rating indicates high credit risk and a greater likelihood of defaulting on loan repayments.

According to Reuters, S&P Global said Bitcoin adoption in El Salvador has “immediate negative implications” for its credit rating.

S&P Global points out that the consequences of this could impact current attempts at securing money from the International Monetary Fund. They also mention more general concerns of increased “fiscal vulnerabilities,” and in hurting banks due to “currency mismatches.”

“The risks associated with the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador seem to outweigh its potential benefits.”

S&P currently grades El Salvador B-. This rating was issued coming up to three years ago, on December 28, 2018.

This rates El Salvador as a speculative-grade borrower, with major uncertainty surrounding its ability to repay. A slide from its current position would make securing loans much harder.

Source: thebalance.com

President Bukele talks IMF

International bankers have made clear their position on El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption.

But President Bukele insists the process was about exercising their sovereign right to adopt legal tenders. He sees little difference between adopting Bitcoin and adopting the U.S dollar in 2001.

“We adopted the U.S dollar in the year 2001. What’s the difference?”

Having said that, President Bukele implied that the backlash boils down to El Salvador actively working to loosen the grip of bankers through Bitcoin adoption.

“The only difference, probably, is the reasons why we are doing this. In 2001, it was probably done for the benefit of the banks. And this decision is done for the benefit of the people.”

The post Bitcoin usage has ‘immediate implications’ for El Salvador’s credit rating, TradFi says appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Recent Analysis Compares Waste From One Bitcoin Transaction To Throwing Out Two iPhones

There have been many studies that have highlighted the carbon footprint and electricity usage problems of Bitcoin transactions. Founder of Digiconomist Alex de Vries and researcher at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Christian Stoll, released a new study that shines a light on the electronic waste that Bitcoin generates.

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This study, “titled Bitcoin’s growing e-waste problem”, provides new insights into another major component of Bitcoin’s wasteful design.

The Electronic Waste Problem Of Bitcoin

Most studies have ignored the fact that Bitcoin miners go through a large amount of short-lived hardware that could increase global electronic waste growth.

“E-waste represents a growing threat to our environment, from toxic chemicals and heavy metals leaching into soils, to air and water pollutions caused by improper recycling.”
According to the study, a single transaction generates 272 grams of e-waste, the same amount of electronic waste as throwing two iPhone 12 minis in the bin. In 2020 the bitcoin network processed 112.5m transactions (compared with 539bn processed by traditional payment service providers in 2019).

“Bitcoin’s annual e-waste generation adds up to 30.7 metric kilotons as of May 2021,” they claim. “This number is comparable to the amount of small IT and telecommunication equipment waste produced by a country like the Netherlands.” This figure could increase to more than 64.4 metric kilotons of waste.
They also point out that the demand for mining hardware already today disrupts the global semiconductor supply chain, which is currently suffering a global shortage due to increased need in the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a US-China trade war and drought in Taiwan.

BTC trading at $47.6K | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Additionally, Bitcoin mining has evolved from a simple activity done on a laptop to a complex and very expensive game done through powerful ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). These ASICs are specifically designed to mine crypto transactions. And as technology changes, miners have to constantly replace their ASICs with newer, more powerful ones to stay competitive. Therefore, these single-purpose ASIC chips quickly become waste. According to the researchers, “The lifespan of bitcoin mining devices remains limited to just 1.29 years,”

Researchers in Europe and the U.S. also claim that miners have been dumping tens of thousands of tonnes every year of ASIC rigs and contributing to the ever-growing environmental challenge.

Alex and Stoll also warn that the e-waste problem will probably grow further if the price of the cryptocurrency continues to rise since it will incentivize further investment in and replacement of ASIC hardware.

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If the community were to try to reduce its e-waste problem, the paper concludes, it would need to replace the bitcoin mining process in “its entirety with a more sustainable alternative,” One of those alternatives is “proof of stake” instead of “proof of work”, as an experimental replacement. “The first miner who finds a PoW [proof of work] that satisfies predetermined conditions broadcasts the block to all nodes in the network. The receiving nodes express their acceptance of the new block by building on top of it”, the paper explains.

Featured image from Interesting Engineering, Chart from TradingView.com

Celsius CEO Refutes Allegations of Uncomplying With US State Laws

Several US state regulators have gone after the popular cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network for failing to comply with local securities laws.

The project’s CEO was quick to refute the allegations, promising that all protocol services will remain unaffected for now.

US State Regulators After Celsius

United States watchdogs have intensified their actions against the cryptocurrency industry lately, and the latest example became known on Friday. Firstly, the Texas State Securities Board filed for a hearing that could potentially impose a cease and desist order against Celsius.

The regulator argued that the lending company has continuously provided unlicensed securities. The hearing will take place on February 14, 2022, before an Administrative Law Judge. Should the Judge agree with the watchdog’s allegations, Celsius would likely have to stop offering its cryptocurrency services in the state without the necessary license.

Shortly after, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities took the clampdown a step further by “taking action to protect investors from sales of unregistered securities in the form of interest-earning cryptocurrency products.” To do so, the regulator ordered the digital asset firm to “stop offering and selling those products.”

The statement justified this cease and desist order by claiming that Celsius has funded its cryptocurrency lending operations and proprietary trading “at least in part through the sale of unregistered securities in violation of the New Jersey Securities Law.” As such, the company has raised $14 billion through those “unlawful sales.”

“Financial companies operating in the cryptocurrency marketplace are on notice. If you sell securities in New Jersey, you need to comply with New Jersey’s investor protection laws. Companies dealing in cryptocurrencies are not immune from oversight.” – commented Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck.

It’s worth noting that BlockFi also went under the regulatory scrutiny in New Jersey recently. As CryptoPotato reported in July, the local watchdog ordered the trading and lending company to stop accepting new customers as of July 22nd.

No Such Thing Says Celsius CEO

Alex Mashinsky, the CEO of the cryptocurrency lending company, took it to Twitter to comment on the aforementioned regulatory actions. He classified them as disappointing and asserted Celsius “wholeheartedly disagrees” with the allegations that the firm failed to comply with the law.

2. We always have, and will continue to, work with regulators in the US and globally to operate in full compliance with the law. Given our commitment to regulatory adherence, we look forward to addressing this matter quickly.

— Alex Mashinsky ©️ (@Mashinsky) September 17, 2021

After asserting that Celius has “always” worked with US regulators, Mashinsky added that customers will continue to be able to use all services without any changes.

Crypto Fraudster Gets Seven Years in Prison for Stealing $90 Million in a Ponzi Scheme

The 24-year-old Australian national – Stefan He Qin – will spend the next 90 months in federal prison for defrauding his customers out of $90 million. The courts also ordered him to forfeit nearly $55 million from the embezzled money.

The Road to Prison

According to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, Stefan Qin received a prison sentence for seven and a half years after stealing nearly $90 million from his clients.

The Australian was in charge of two cryptocurrency investment funds – Virgil Sigma and VQR as their headquarters were in New York. Both companies’ operational structure was to collect money from investors, which later to employ in arbitrage trading strategies. What’s more, they promoted themselves as “market-neutral,” meaning that the volatility of the digital market does not expose their clients to any risks.

Per the marketing reports, Virgil Sigma has had only one month where it did not register profits – March 2017. Qin was also in constant relation with his customers, often bragging about the success of his investment funds. He even reached the Wall Street Journal pages after Virgil Sigma had yielded an annual return of 500% in 2017.

However, it all sounded too good to be true, and “Qin’s investors soon discovered that his strategies weren’t much more than a disguised means for him to embezzle and make unauthorized investments with client funds.”

The 24-year-old actually used the money for his own purposes, such as services, food, and renting a luxurious penthouse apartment in New York. Qin did not stop there – he also used a substantial portion of the investors’ capital to make allocations in other entities that are not related to cryptocurrencies at all.

The investigation revealed that he received a prison sentence of seven and a half years and the court also ordered his investment funds to cease operations. Apart from this jail time, Qin would have to restore almost $55 million of the stolen funds.

Even More Time Behind Bars

While the aforementioned court decision of more than seven years in federal prison might sound like a long time, it is not the largest ever given for crimes involving digital assets.

As CryptoPotato reported, the Swedish resident – Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson – was sent to prison for 15 years after luring more than 3,500 people into a fraudulent Bitcoin investment scheme.

Assuring investors that their money (mainly in cryptocurrencies) was in safe hands, he used the funds entirely for his personal enrichment, acquiring a resort in Thailand, luxurious condos, and even a racehorse.

Karlsson’s prison sentence could have been longer, but he pleaded guilty to all charges against him. In addition, the US authorities ordered him to forfeit the Thai resort alongside other properties as part of the punishment. He also had to restore all the money he stole from his victims.