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European Union Issues Fresh Sanctions Against Russia, Bans All Cross-Border Cryptocurrency Payments From Russian Accounts

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European Union Issues Fresh Sanctions Against Russia, Bans All Cross-Border Cryptocurrency Payments From Russian Accounts
  • The European Union has issued a list of fresh sanctions imposed on Russia 
  • In the newly announced sanctions by the EU, the organisation is banning Russia from conducting cross-border payments in cryptocurrency.

The European Union has issued a new statement online, outlining a new set of restrictions imposed on Russia.

As per the new sanctions imposed, the European Union has now banned Russia from conducting cross-border payments in cryptocurrency.

The EU Issues New Sanctions Against Russia

The European Union has issued a new press statement on October 6, in which the organisation has imposed a ban on all crypto payments from Russian accounts. The new set of prohibitions includes banning all crypto assets and custody services irrespective of the amount stored in the users’ crypto wallets.

EU Bans All Crypto That Belongs to Russians

As part of its tightening of sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of what it deems to be fake secession referendums in four Ukrainian regions, the European Union has announced a comprehensive ban on offering crypto services to Ru…

— WizMoJo (@Softvaders) October 6, 2022

“The existing prohibitions on crypto assets have been tightened by banning all crypto-asset wallets, accounts, or custody services, irrespective of the amount of the wallet (previously up to €10,000 was allowed).” The statement later adds 

The new sanctions were introduced in light of the escalating war situation in Ukraine, with Russian troops recently announcing the annexation of four Ukrainian territories. 

“Additional individuals and entities have been sanctioned. This targets those involved in Russia’s occupation, illegal annexation, and sham “referenda” in the occupied territories/oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions. It also includes individuals and entities working in the defence sector, such as high-ranking military officials, as well as companies supporting the Russian armed forces. The EU also continues to target actors who spread disinformation about the war. ” The statement further reads,

The EU’s statement further reiterates how its decision to impose a blanket ban on Russian cross-border crypto payments has been taken to “deprive the Kremlin’s military and industrial complex of key components and technologies and Russia’s economy of European services and expertise.” The newly announced sanctions also include banning the export of coal (used in Russian industrial plants), specific electronic components (used in the manufacturing of weapons), certain chemicals, and aviation sector materials to disable the Russian army’s strength and restrict the nation from accessing industrial and technological items.

“The sanctions also deprive the Russian army and its suppliers of further specific goods and equipment needed to wage its war on Ukrainian territory. The package also lays the basis for the required legal framework to implement the oil price cap envisaged by the G7. “

Russia has always expressed a keen interest in pursuing crypto-related payments to conduct cross-border settlements. According to a recent report issued by Kommersant, the Deputy Finance Minister of Russia, Alexei Moiseev, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Russia, had earlier agreed to draft a policy aimed at promoting cross-border crypto payments in the region.

Image: Christian Lue/Unsplash

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FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried Knew More About Alameda Research Finances Than Let On: Forbes Report

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FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried Knew More About Alameda Research Finances Than Let On: Forbes Report
  • A report by Forbes reveals that Sam Bankman-Fried knew about Alameda Research’s financial dealings.
  • SBF previously denied being “deeply aware” of Alameda’s finances. 
  • The former FTX chief regularly shared documents related to Alameda with Forbes over the past 2 years. 
  • The report indicates that SBF was well aware of Alameda’s business activities. 

An exclusive report published by Forbes has shed light on information that is in contradiction with recent claims made by Sam Bankman-Fried, the man behind the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. 

Sam Bankman-Fried was aware of Alameda’s finances

In an interview at the DealBook Summit, SBF claimed that he was surprised by how big Alameda’s position was, referring to the risky trades made by his quantitative trading firm. The disgraced CEO tried to avoid accountability for Alameda’s actions by claiming that he was not involved in its day-to-day operations. “Alameda’s finances I was not deeply aware of. I was only surface-level aware of Alameda’s finances” he claimed. 

However, the report by Forbes provides an insight into the discussions they had with SBF in order to calculate his net worth for their annual World’s Billionaires list. During these discussions, Bankman-Fried shared several details that indicated that he was in fact well aware of Alameda Research’s finances. 

In order to prove his net worth, SBF detailed some of Alameda’s major holdings and several transactions involving Solana and Serum tokens as well as the notorious FTT. Some of these details were shared as recently as August 2022. The level of information found in the documents shared by Sam Bankman-Fried suggested that he knew more about Alameda than he revealed during his controversial interview. The former FTX CEO included details about his quant trading firm’s funds along with its token holdings, which at the time included 53 million SOL, 176 million FTT, and more than 3 billion SRM. According to this, the value of his share of Alameda’s funds under management was $8.6 billion. 

FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried Knew More About Alameda Research Finances Than Let On: Forbes Report 11

While it is still unclear as to how involved Sam Bankman-Fried was in the day-to-day operations at Alameda Research, the detailed description of the trading firm’s finances shared by him suggests that he knew more than he let on. 

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Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital might buy crypto custodian GK8 from Celsius

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Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital might buy crypto custodian GK8 from Celsius

Summary:

  • Galaxy Digital won a bid to buy one of Celsius’s assets as part of bankruptcy proceedings for the crypto lender.
  • Mike Novogratz’s company will buy GK8, a custodial business that Celsius acquired over a year ago in November 2021.
  • The custodian plans to launch crypto trading and lending for institutional investors.

Galaxy Digital submitted a successful bid for GK8, a crypto custodial service listed as an asset by Celsius during the lender’s bankruptcy proceedings. Both entity did not disclose the acquisition sum at press time. 

GK8 was acquired by Celsius in November 2021 when the bull run was near its peak. Months after, the lender was crippled by slumped crypto prices and Terra exposure. Celsius paused withdrawals shortly after LUNA and UST imploded in May, before declaring bankruptcy in July,

CEO Mike Novogratz said in a statement that adding GK8 to Galaxy Digital’s businesses offers a key ingredient for growth. Novogratz also addressed concerns regarding possible conflict of interest from the deal, ensuring that “clients will have the option to store their digital assets at or separate from Galaxy”.

Adding GK8 to our prime offering at this pivotal moment for our industry also highlights our continued willingness to take advantage of strategic opportunities to grow Galaxy in a sustainable manner.

Galaxy will also expand its workforce by some 40 employees as part of the deal. The firm hopes to onboard blockchain developers and cryptographers to name a few.

Galaxy Digital scoops Celsius asset after $76.8 million FTX exposure 

The digital asset firm reported losses in Q3 earnings after weathering contagion from Terra’s $40 billion crash. Galaxy’s earning report also revealed exposure to the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. 

EWN reported that Novogratz’s firm tried to withdraw $47.5 million of the total sum from FTX before Sam Bankman-Fried’s exchange froze withdrawals.  The company

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Coinbase Calls Out Apple For Blocking NFT Transactions On iOS

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Coinbase Calls Out Apple For Blocking NFT Transactions On iOS
  • Coinbase has revealed that its latest app update was blocked by Apple.
  • Users of Coinbase Wallet iOS can no longer send NFTs.
  • Apple reportedly wants 30% of the gas fees levied on NFT transactions.
  • The exchange has warned that this will have a major impact on iPhone users that interact with NFTs.

Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the United States, has called out tech giant Apple Inc. for its monopolistic policies on commissions on NFT transactions. In a lengthy Twitter thread earlier today, Coinbase Wallet revealed that Apple had blocked its latest app release. The reason for this restriction is the gas fees associated with NFTs. Apple has reportedly claimed that the gas fees required to send NFTs need to be paid through their In-App Purchase system so that they can collect 30% on the fees. 

Coinbase: 30% commission not possible

The crypto wallet provider has clarified that the demands made by Apple are not possible to meet. The company has further alleged that Apple’s new policies are aimed at protecting their profits at the expense of consumer investment in NFTs. Additionally, this move also creates a hindrance in developer innovation across the crypto ecosystem. 

For anyone who understands how NFTs and blockchains work, this is clearly not possible. Apple’s proprietary In-App Purchase system does not support crypto so we couldn’t comply even if we tried.”

According to Coinbase, iPhone users that own NFTs stand to lose the most from Apple’s policy change. The policy will make it difficult for users to transfer NFTs. Coinbase has indicated that it is willing to work with the tech giant to find a solution. 

We hope this is an oversight on Apple’s behalf and an inflection point for further conversations with the ecosystem. @apple – we’re here and want to help

— Coinbase Wallet (@CoinbaseWallet) December 1, 2022

Apple’s de-facto ban on NFT trading

Apple has ignored repeated calls to exempt NFTs from its notorious 30% cut, which has been dubbed the “Apple Tax”. On 24 October 2022, the firm updated its App Store policy, which included guidelines for NFTs as well. This was the official nod from Apple for iOS apps offering in-app NFT buying and selling as well as minting, as long as the “Apple Tax” is paid.  

Per a report by The Information, Apple’s app store policies have had a direct impact on NFT startups. Due to these policies, NFT marketplaces don’t even consider selling through mobile apps, leaving a large portion of potential buyers untapped. According to Magic Eden’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Sidney Zhang, Apple’s commissions are the reason why her NFT startup has never offered buy and sell functions on its app. 

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