Despite a significant fine from Iowa’s regulator just two weeks earlier, BlockFi has scored itself a license in the state.
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Just two weeks after being fined by Iowa’s regulators for offering and selling unregistered securities, crypto lending platform BlockFi announced on Tuesday that it has received a Money Services License in the state.
The Iowan license will allow the crypto lender to receive money and sell payment instruments in the state. BlockFi on Twitter stated it will begin by allowing Iowan residents to trade stablecoins.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve received our Money Services License in Iowa.
Iowa residents can now trade stablecoins on our platform and instantly transfer funds via ACH. pic.twitter.com/sNEFIlCeWY
— BlockFi (@BlockFi) June 28, 2022
BlockFi did not mention whether the license would cover its yield-generating product. According to BlockFi, its interest accounts have not been registered and are not offered or sold in the United States.
Previously on June 14 the Iowa Insurance Division (IID) responsible for securities sales in the state fined BlockFi over $943,000 for violations of the state’s Securities Act. IID alleged BlockFi had “offered and sold securities in Iowa that were not registered or permitted for sale in Iowa” along with failing to register as a broker-dealer or agent.
The fine was part of a larger penalty brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February for not registering an offering of high-yield interest accounts that the commission deemed to be securities.
The fine was one of the largest penalties ever imposed by a federal regulator on a crypto business. BlockFi was hit with $100 million in settlements, with half paid to the SEC and the other half to 32 states which brought forward similar charges.
Shortly after, BlockFi said it intended to register with the SEC for a crypto interest-bearing security for its U.S. customers to replace its current interest accounts offering.
The new license is a glimmer of good news for BlockFi which has struggled along with other blockchain and crypto companies in the worsening market conditions and falling crypto prices.
On June 16, BlockFi was among the lending firms forced to liquidate some of the positions from venture firm Three Arrow Capital (3AC), with the latter unable to meet a margin call on its Bitcoin (BTC) borrowings.
Celsius, a rival crypto lending platform, paused customer withdrawals on June 13, attributing the decision to the market conditions. Other reports followed that the company was facing liquidity issues and would soon be facing insolvency.
These conditions have also seen a round of layoffs from blockchain and crypto companies, with BlockFi CEO Zac Prince saying on June 14 that it would be letting 20% of its staff go in order to remain profitable. It’s unknown how much of an effect the SEC’s financial penalties had on the decision.
A week later on June 21, BlockFi received a lifeline from crypto exchange FTX which saw BlockFi sign a revolving credit facility agreement for $250 million to bolster the firm’s balance sheets and strengthen the platform.
Days later, it was reported that FTX may be in talks to purchase a stake in BlockFi, although a BlockFi spokesperson told Cointelegraph on June 24 that it “does not comment on market rumors” and is “still negotiating the terms of the deal.” Meanwhile, shareholders are reportedly unhappy with the move as it would wipe out shareholder equity.
It has recently been reported that Anthony Pompliano’s investment firm Morgan Creek is attempting to put together an alternative $250 million deal to buy a majority stake in BlockFi.
Bitcoin (BTC) Nearly Taps $25,000 Level For the First Time Since June
Bitcoin (BTC) is showing several bullish signs in the daily time frame but has yet to break out from a short-term corrective pattern.
Bitcoin has been moving upwards since reaching a long-term low of $17,622 on June 18. On July 19, it broke out from a long-term descending resistance line, which had been in place since the end of March.
On Aug. 11, BTC reached a local high of $24,918, which was the highest since June 12. However, it failed to sustain this increase and created a long upper wick in its daily candlestick (red icon).
If the upward movement continues, the closest resistance area would be found at $29,370. This target is the 0.382 Fib retracement resistance level.
An interesting reading comes from the daily RSI, which moved above 50 at the same time which the price broke out from the descending resistance line.
Since then, the RSI has created an ascending triangle (dashed), which is often considered a bullish pattern. The indicator is currently at 61, right at the resistance line of this pattern.
Therefore, a breakout above it would likely also cause the price to accelerate upwards.
Short-term BTC pattern
Despite the relative bullishness from the daily time frame, the six-hour chart shows that BTC has been trading inside an ascending parallel channel since the June 18 bottom. Such channels usually contain corrective patterns, meaning that an eventual breakdown from it would be expected.
Moreover, the price has created what resembles an even shorter-term double top (red icons), which is considered a bearish pattern made at the resistance line of the channel.
On Aug. 9 (green circle), the price rebounded from the midline of this channel and at a short-term ascending support line.
So, whether BTC breaks out from the channel or breaks down from the support line will likely determine the direction of the future trend.
Wave count analysis
The main wave count indicates that BTC is likely in wave three of a five-wave upward move (black). The sub-wave count is shown in yellow, and also suggests that the price is in wave three. So, this seems to be a 1-2/1-2 wave formation. If correct, it would mean that the upward move will accelerate in the near future.
In order for the count to remain correct, Bitcoin has to hold on above the slope of the original 1-2 (black).
The most likely long-term wave count is also bullish, aligning with the proposed short-term count.
For Be[in]Crypto’s previous Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here
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Binance recovers the majority of funds stolen from Curve Finance
Binance recovered and froze around $450,000 worth of the stolen assets, which is around 80 percent of the stolen funds.
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Crypto exchange Binance has recovered a big part of the funds from the recent hack that targeted the decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Curve Finance.
In a tweet, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that the exchange has frozen and recovered $450,000 of the stolen assets, which is more than 80 percent of the stolen funds. According to Zhao, the hacker tried to send the funds to the exchange in various ways but was detected by Binance. The exchange is currently working to return the funds to their rightful owners.
The Curve Finance team detected the hack on Tuesday and alerted their users to refrain from using their website. An hour after the warning, the team announced that it was able to find and resolve the issue. However, the attackers were still able to hijack around $537,000 worth of USD Coin (USDC) before the issue was resolved.
According to experts from the blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, a hacker compromised the domain name system (DNS) of Curve Finance, which ended with malicious transactions getting signed. The experts told Cointelegraph that the funds were then sent to various exchanges and crypto mixers in an attempt to hide the trail. In the end, the funds were sent to Binance and were caught by its team.
This is not the first time this week that the good actors in the crypto community have worked to return stolen funds. On Monday, whitehat hackers and researchers returned an estimated $32.6 million worth of USDC, Tether (USDT) and other altcoins to Nomad, following the recent $190 million exploit.
The Curve Finance exploit is only one of the many attacks that happened in 2022. According to analytics firm Chainalysis, $2 billion worth of funds were drained because of cross-chain bridge hacks. This is 69% of the overall stolen amount in the year.
Institutional staking won’t take off unless asset lock-up solved: Coinbase CFO
Coinbase’s new institutional-focused staking product won’t be a “near-term phenomenon” while liquid staking is still being worked out.
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Institutional staking of crypto assets, including the post-Merge Ethereum, could become a “phenomenon” in the future, but not while their assets still need to be “locked up.”
Speaking during a Q2 earnings call on Tuesday, chief financial officer Alesia Haas noted that she didn’t expect their new exclusive institutional staking service, rolled out in Q2, to be a “near-term phenomenon” until a “truly liquid staking option” is available:
“This is the first time we had the products available. Previously, the way that institutions could have access to staking is via Coinbase Cloud […] But offering it as the delegated staking service similar to what we have for retail customers.”
However, Haas said it was still “early days” for their new staking service, adding they’ll likely only see a “real material impact” when they have created a liquid staking option for post-Merge Ethereum, also known as Eth2.
Liquid staking is the process of locking up funds to earn staking rewards, while still having access to the funds.
Haas explained that many financial institutions “don’t want their assets held indefinitely:”
“So when you stake ETH2 you are locking in your assets into Ethereum until the Merge and then some period after. For some institutions, that liquidity lock-up is not palatable to them. And so, while they may be interested in staking, they want to have staking on a liquid asset.”
Haas reaffirmed this issue is “something we are looking to solve,” and added that once this liquid staking is available for financial institutions that can pool in funds at higher proportions, “we’ll see the real material impact of institutional revenue.”
Investors and institutions have been able to access Coinbase’s delegated staking service through Coinbase Prime, which was first launched in Sep. 2021. The platform also offers other integrated services, such as access to a custody wallet with enhanced security, real-time crypto market data and analytics, and other crypto-native features like decentralized governance.
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