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- Binance is to shut down its South Korean operations with almost immediate effect, citing “low usage and volume with limited trading pairs of [its South Korean won-pegged stablecoin] BKRW, resulting in limited liquidity for its users” as its reasoning. In an official announcement, the firm stated that Binance Korea would commence its closure procedures today and would execute a “hard shutdown” on January 29, adding, “After the hard shutdown, user accounts of Binance KR will be inaccessible.” The firm’s exit will leave Huobi Korea as the only major non-domestic crypto exchange still plying its trade in the nation.
- Bitfinex said it launched ETH 2.0 staking services. There will be no minimum requirement on the amount of ethereum (ETH) needed to be held in order for a user to participate in staking. ETH will be staked in batches of 32 ETH on a first-come, first-served basis, they added.
- US-based major remittances company MoneyGram, co-owned by Ripple, said it has not currently been notified or been made aware of any negative impact to its commercial agreement with Ripple but will continue to monitor for any potential impact as developments in the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit against Ripple evolve. MoneyGram does not utilize Ripple’s ODL platform or RippleNet for direct transfers of consumer funds – digital or otherwise, they added.
Elad L. Roisman has been named Acting Chairman of the SEC, according to Commissioner Hester Peirce. Roisman was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to the Commission in 2018.
- Online payments giant PayPal is not going to acquire US-based major crypto custodian BitGo as the talks had fallen through, but PayPal is exploring other potential acquisitions, Fortune reported, citing a person close to the payment giant.
- BitGo said that it has reached USD 16bn in digital assets under custody (AUC). “We’re seeing unprecedented interest from institutional investors as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact, as well as Bitcoin’s extraordinary performance,” Mike Belshe, CEO of the company, was quoted as saying in an emailed press release.
- The East London-based crypto company BitcoinPoint said that bitcoin (BTC) holders can now cash out BTC at 16,000 Cashzone ATM machines across the entire UK.
- Recently established Blockcap Inc., a cryptocurrency mining operator in North America, said its current mining fleet already includes close to 13,000 next-generation Bitmain S19 mining rigs and 500 upgraded S17s. Present hashing power is approximately 800 petahashes, with projections to reach close to 1 exahash at full deployment, they added.
- The American President’s Working Group on Financial Markets has stated that stablecoin operators should ensure their offerings fall into line with the conventional financial system, adhering to the same money-laundering standards as traditional financial offerings. In an official release, the group said that when stablecoins that are “primarily used for retail payments” are “adopted at a significant scale, the “associated risks may require additional safeguards.” The group recommended that “relevant participants engaged in the design of such stablecoin arrangements and their functions, operations, transactions, and risk management” should “align with key principles.”
- The South Korean software giant Hancom’s Hancom With subsidiary and major insurer Kyobo Life Insurance are set to co-launch blockchain-powered elderly care and insurance platform. Per Newsis, the companies are now co-developing a solution that will make use of Hancom With’s blockchain networks and Kyobo’s latest fintech offerings. The new platform will also make use of other industry 4.0 advances, including robotics technology, dementia-fighting virtual reality innovations and wearable devices.
(This article was updated on December 30 as the SEC confirmed that Elad L. Roisman has been named Acting Chairman of the SEC).