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Circle freezes blacklisted Tornado Cash smart contract addresses

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Circle freezes blacklisted Tornado Cash smart contract addresses

Stablecoin issuers can blacklist interactions with the Tornado Cash DApp on the Ethereum smart contract level.

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Circle freezes blacklisted Tornado Cash smart contract addresses

Crypto data aggregator Dune Analytics said that, on Monday, Circle, the issuer of the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, froze over 75,000 USDC worth of funds linked to the 44 Tornado Cash addresses sanctioned by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list. Tornado Cash is a decentralized application, or DApp, used to obfuscate the trail of previous cryptocurrency transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. 

All U.S. persons and entities are prohibited from interacting with the virtual currency mixer’s USDC and Ethereum smart contract addresses on the SDN list. Penalties for willful noncompliance can range from fines of $50,000 to $10,000,000 and 10 to 30 years imprisonment. An estimated $437 million worth of assets, consisting of stablecoins, Ethereum, and wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), are currently held in Tornado Cash’s smart contract addresses. As a result, issuers are expected to take steps to prevent the transaction or redemption of such assets. 

Both the entities behind USDC and Tether can freeze their stablecoin transfers to and from Tornado Cash on the Ethereum smart contract level. Meanwhile, Palo Alto, California-based BitGo, would also, theoretically, need to restrict access to Tornado Cash to comply with such sanctions. One possible method is suspending the redemption of Tornado Cash-linked WBTC.

As told by pseudonymous DeFi educator BowTiedIguana, the new Tornado Cash sanctions apply across the board for U.S. individuals and entities. Simple interactions such as Gitcoin donations, working for the project, running or downloading its software, visiting its website, and depositing/withdrawing from smart contracts could be interpreted as violations. 

Circle just frozen 75,000 USDC belonging to unsuspecting Tornado users, as well as 149 USDC donated to the project. pic.twitter.com/GBS41FtZvB

— banteg (@bantg) August 8, 2022

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Grayscale Launches New Investment Product While Bitcoin Trust Crashes to 35%

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Grayscale Launches New Investment Product While Bitcoin Trust Crashes to 35%

Grayscale Investments is offering investors an opportunity to invest in Bitcoin mining hardware in the bear market.

The new investment opportunity, called the Grayscale Digital Infrastructure Opportunities LLC (GDIO), is now open to qualified individual and institutional investors, even as the asset manager allows ETF-related court proceedings to run their course.

Grayscale putting capital to work

Grayscale will use investor capital from the GDIO to buy mining hardware for a minimum of three years. It will use the hardware to mine and subsequently sell bitcoin. Mining is the energy-intensive process undertaken by a computer network to create a new transaction block and verify it. The node in the network that creates the block is known as a miner. A miner is rewarded in bitcoin for his effort, which typically requires large amounts of cheap electricity and computing power.

Part of the proceeds Grayscale will earn from its efforts will be paid out quarterly to GDIO investors.

“Grayscale’s unique position at the center of the crypto ecosystem enables us to create offerings that allow investors to put capital to work through differing market cycles,” stated Michael Sonnenshein, Grayscale’s chief executive.

GDIO represents another way the company has sought to provide investors with exposure to bitcoin without directly holding the asset.

Investors can also purchase shares from its GBTC trust and gain exposure to bitcoin through Grayscale’s legally regulated business in the U.S.

But Grayscale has a problem. Because investors cannot redeem shares in the trust for bitcoin, the price per share has dropped drastically, trading at a discount of 35% to its Net Asset Value. 

At the close of the trading day on Oct. 5, shares were trading at a shade over $12, despite being backed by $18.45 worth of bitcoin.

To mitigate this discount, Grayscale has pursued the conversion of GBTC into a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which has so far been unsuccessful. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission denied the company’s latest application in June 2022, prompting Grayscale to pursue legal action against the federal agency. 

Nic Carter of Castle Island Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage public blockchain startups, said that Grayscale could wind down the ETF:

watching the GBTC discount. looks like ATL at -35%. on top of discounted spot BTC. paths to breaking open the piggy bank: SEC can approve ETF conversion, or Grayscale can wind down the trust themselves if they so choose.

— nic carter (@nic__carter) June 17, 2022

The SEC maintains that spot bitcoin ETFs are prone to underlying market manipulation.

Grayscale undeterred by SEC rejection

Despite consistent resistance from U.S. regulators, Grayscale launched its first European ETF in May 2022, which tracks the Bloomberg Grayscale Future of Finance Index, offering customers exposure to institutions at the crossroads of finance, technology, and cryptocurrencies.

Grayscale raised investors’ eyebrows recently when it announced that it had applied with the SEC to distribute 3 million ETHPoW tokens that were distributed to all Ethereum (ETH) holders after the controversial proof-of-work fork went live. 

At the time, Grayscale said it was seeking the rights to sell the tokens and pay out shareholders. 

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Colorado is accepting crypto for tax payments — it could be a mess or a shining example

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Colorado is accepting crypto for tax payments —  it could be a mess or a shining example

Colorado is now accepting crypto for tax payments — but if you choose to use that option, it could change the amount you owe…
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BNB Chain confirms BSC halt due to ‘potential exploit’

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BNB Chain confirms BSC halt due to ‘potential exploit’

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