Blockchain Analytics Firm Tracks Terra BTC Treasury to Major Exchanges

Key Insights:

  • More than 80,000 BTC was sent to Binance and Gemini after the Terra collapse.
  • It remains to be seen whether the Bitcoins remain on the exchanges.
  • Binance boss ‘CZ’  said hard forking gives the chain no value.

Late last week, on-chain analysis firm Elliptic published their findings on the LFG’s stash of Bitcoin purchased to help collateralize the UST stablecoin.

The Foundation purchased around 80,000 BTC between January and May this year to shore up UST reserves. Since the Terra ecosystem collapsed last week, many have been asking what exactly happened to that $3.5 billion worth of Bitcoin.

The non-profit organization formed to support the growth of the Terra ecosystem announced that it would purchase as much as $10 billion in Bitcoin and other crypto assets to back UST. However, everything has changed now.

Tracking The Bitcoin Stash

Elliptic reported that more than 80,000 BTC was moved to just two major exchanges, Binance and Gemini.

On May 9, the LFG announced that it would loan $750 million worth of Bitcoin to over-the-counter (OTC) trading firms to help protect the UST peg. Around the same time, 22,189 BTC was sent from a Bitcoin address linked to LFG to a new address, and a few hours later, a further 30,000 BTC was sent from other LFG wallets to this same address.

Elliptic tracked these two wallets and reported that the entire 52,198 BTC was sent to a wallet at regulated U.S. crypto exchange Gemini within hours of these two transactions. The remaining 28,205 BTC was sent to a wallet address at Binance on May 10, it added before stating:

“It is not possible to trace the assets further or identify whether they were sold to support the UST price.”

The firm concluded that those seeking to recoup UST losses might be interested in determining whether the BTC remains held on the exchanges.

Over the weekend, the Terra team promised a post-mortem and more updates, but nothing new was on their feed at the time of writing.

Binance Boss Weighs In

On May 14, Binance boss Changpeng Zhao aired his view on the system collapse, questioning the viability of a hard fork. He said “forking does not give the new fork any value,” adding that “one cannot void all transactions after an old snapshot, both on-chain and off-chain (exchanges),” before asking:

“Where is all the BTC that was supposed to be used as reserves?”

Maybe he should have read the Elliptic report since almost half of it went to his exchange.

On May 15, he continued with his narrative, stating that “failures can/will happen. But when they do, transparency, speedy communication, and owning responsibility to the community is extremely important.”

CZ confirmed that the company had no active investments in Terra and held no UST. However, that is of little comfort to the thousands of investors that held UST or LUNA on Binance as they were delisted by the company last week before it resumed trading them on May 13.

At the time of writing, UST was still way off its peg, trading around $0.148, while LUNA was on the floor at $0.00025.

UST Stabilizes Around $0.90, LUNA in Low $30s After Historic Volatility

Key Insights:

  • UST has stabilized near $0.90, after going as low as $0.60 in early Tuesday trade.
  • LUNA has stabilized in the low $30s, after dropping more than 50% in one day on Monday.
  • Binance has temporarily halted UST and LUNA withdrawals while the LFG has emptied its BTC reserve.

Having cratered as low as $0.60 in the early hours of Tuesday (according to FTX’s trading book), Terra’s flagship stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) has stabilized in the $0.90 area, up around 20% on the day versus Monday’s closing levels around $0.75.

UST, an algorithmic stablecoin that is supposed to be pegged 1:1 in value to the US dollar, initially came under pressure on Saturday, when it dropped as low as $0.98 on the dollar.

But a cascade of risk aversion in the broader cryptocurrency market on Monday saw UST’s losses really cascade.

UST/USD
UST/USD. Source: FX Empire

As UST slid, LUNA, the native token of the Terra blockchain, came under intense selling pressure. LUNA/USD shed over 50% of its value on Monday, a historic drop for a cryptocurrency of LUNA’s size, to fall from about $65 per token to just over $30 per token.

After dipping as low as the $23.00s in the early hours of Tuesday trade, LUNA/USD is now consolidating in the low $30s. On the week losses currently stand at just under 50%, following last week’s losses of just over 20%.

LUNA is now down more than 70% from the record highs it printed back at the start of April near $120, shedding more than $30 billion in market capitalization in the process.

LUNA/USD
LUNA/USD Chart. Source: FX Empire

LUNA’s latest drop in market capitalization has seen it fall out of the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap. It is now in 13th place, with a market cap of just under $12 billion.

UST seeks to maintain its peg to the US dollar through the utilization of an arbitrage mint-burn mechanism with LUNA. One UST can be swapped for $1.0 worth of LUNA at any time or vice versa.

As a result, when UST supply rises sharply (as has been seen amid the recent de-peg), this can result in heavy selling pressure on LUNA. Given that the market cap of LUNA has now fallen below the market cap of UST, some worry that UST might now be undercollaterized.

Binance temporarily suspends UST, LUNA withdrawals

A recent announcement from Binance that they would be temporarily suspending the withdrawal of both UST and LUNA may be helping to bring back some stability. The freeze on transactions should, at the very least, slow the pace of capital flight out of both cryptocurrencies.

“Withdrawals for LUNA and UST tokens on the Terra (LUNA) network were temporarily suspended on 2022-05-10 at 02:20 AM (UTC) due to a high volume of pending withdrawal transactions. This is caused by network slowness and congestion.

Binance will reopen withdrawals for these tokens once we deem the network to be stable and the volume of pending withdrawals has reduced. We will not notify users in a further announcement. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Luna Foundation Guard empties reserves

Despite the best efforts of leading figures with the Terra community to shore up confidence and Binance’s withdrawal freeze, UST still remains more than 10% below its peg.

But crypto analysts are concerned about the fact that the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG), a non-profit organization built to support the development of the Terra ecosystem, has already emptied its entire bitcoin (BTC) reserve.

LFG had been building up a reserve of bitcoin in recent weeks in the wallet address “bc1q9d4ywgfnd8h43da5tpcxcn6ajv590cg6d3tg6axemvljvt2k76zs50tv4q” to help back the UST stablecoin. On Monday this reserve stood at 42,530 bitcoins.

This bitcoin wallet had now been completely emptied, with the bitcoins thought to have gone to Gemini Exchange wallets.

The emptying of LFG’s wallet comes after they pledged to loan out $750 million in bitcoin and $750 million in UST to shore up the UST peg on Monday.

FUD about whether LFG and Terra’s founders Terraform Labs have the resources to defend the UST peg is set to remain elevated.

Opera Now Allows Users to Buy BNB With Fiat Through Built-In Crypto Wallet

Key Insights:

  • Opera integrates BNB Chain.
  • The strategic partnership aims to increase Web3 adoption.
  • The Opera Crypto Browser project already supports Ethereum and Ethereum dApps and Polygon.

One of the crypto-friendly internet browsers, Opera, has announced the integration of BNB Chain. The integration would enable BNB Chain-based decentralized apps (DApps) to run on Android, iOS, and desktop versions of Opera’s crypto browser.

Opera’s Web3 focused initiative

Earlier this year, Opera unveiled its new Web3 initiative, with beta versions of its latest browser available for PCs, Macs, and smartphones. In light of the firm’s Web3-focused initiative, the browser firm has added support for nine major blockchain ecosystems.

After integrating Bitcoin (BTC), Solana (SOL), Polygon (MATIC), StarkEx, Ronin (RON), Celo (CELO), Nervos Network (CKB), and IXO on March 30, the firm has now added support for the BNB chain.

This latest integration with BNB would enable Opera’s over 350 million users to buy Binance’s BNB token with fiat and send and receive the token through Opera’s built-in crypto wallet.

The move aimed at industry expansion and adoption will also let Opera users gain access DApps on the BNB Chain ecosystem.

Some of the top DApps on the BNB Chain include decentralized exchanges (DEXs) like PancakeSwap, 1inch, BiSwap, and DeFi products like DRIP Venus, Tranchess, Treehouse, ApeSwap, and AutoShark Finance.

On its way to becoming the leading Web3 browser?

Opera launched its first web browser with an integrated cryptocurrency wallet and essential Web3 support back in 2018. Now, the firm is focusing more on providing users with a dedicated Web3 browser to “accelerate the evolution of the next generation of the web.”

As of April 2022, BNB Chain was the largest smart contract blockchain in terms of daily active users (DAU). Thus, the integration aims to further the organizations’ narratives in the Web3 adoption.

Opera’s Crypto Browser launched in January facilitates navigation across DApps, games, and metaverses. Through various strategic partnerships, Opera apparently aims to become the leading Web3 browser. However, amid competition from Web3 browsers like Brave, how much market Opera could cover in the future remains to be seen.

CoinMarketCap Draws XRP Community Condemnation After XRP Jibe

Key Insights:

  • CoinMarketCap calls XRP a crypto imposter on Thursday, drawing the wrath of the XRP community.
  • News updates on the SEC–Ripple case has weighed heavily on XRP, which is currently down 23.5% for April.
  • Key technical indicators bearish. XRP sits below the 50-day EMA after a ninth loss in ten sessions.

It’s been a bearish April for XRP, which is currently down 23.5%. After briefly testing resistance at $0.80 in mid-April, XRP has fallen in nine out of ten sessions to test support at $0.60.

While the broader crypto has struggled in the month, news updates on the Ripple v SEC have weighed on XRP, with some pricing in a Ripple loss.

Extensions have not helped, with the SEC failing to close out the case in a timely manner.

With the case ongoing since December 2020, Ripple Lab and Brad Garlinghouse would not have anticipated a jibe from the crypto community.

CoinMarketCap Calls XRP an Imposter Cryptocurrency

On Thursday, CoinMarketCap shared a controversial image on Twitter drawing condemnation from the XRP community.

Now deleted, CoinMarketCap tweeted an image of a game asking players to identify the imposter among a list of cryptos, including BTC, ETH, BNB, LTC, XMR, and XRP, among others.

The tweet then went on to say,

“The answer: $XRP – for being controlled and governed by authorities, hence defeating the purpose of #cryptocurrency 😉

All the other coins in this are decentralized and are basically “people’s crypto”.

CMC XRP Tweet

After taking down the tweet, CoinMarketCap tweeted,

“We made a mistake – #CoinMarketCap does not want to compare the merits of any crypto over the other. A new team member was not familiar enough with our policy on commenting on other projects, but now they are! We aim to be unbiased and let the algorithms do the talking.”

The XRP Community not only responded to the first tweet but also the apology.

Binance Capital Management, behind crypto exchange Binance, acquired CoinMarketCap in 2020. XRP community members questioned CoinMarketCap’s motives, with others referencing the platform’s erroneous description of XRP.

XRP Price Action

At the time of writing, XRP was up 0.74% to $0.6159. This morning’s modest gain partially reversed a 4.88% slide from Friday, which marked a ninth daily loss in ten sessions.

XRPUSD 300422 Daily
XRP sees ninth loss in ten sessions.

Technical Indicators

XRP will need to move through the $0.6192 pivot to target the First Major Resistance Level at $0.6388. XRP would need broader crypto market support to return to $0.63.

In the event of an extended rally, XRP should test the Second Major Resistance Level at $0.6663 and resistance at $0.67. The Third Major Resistance Level sits at $0.7132.

Failure to move through the pivot would bring the First Major Support Level at $0.5917 into play.

Barring an extended sell-off throughout the day, XRP should avoid sub-$0.58. The Second Major Support Level sits at $0.5723.

XRPUSD 300422 Hourly
Failure to move through the pivot would bring sub-$0.60 into play.

The EMAs and the 4-hourly candlestick chart (below) send a bearish signal. XRP currently sits below the 50-day EMA at $0.6701. This morning, the 50-day EMA pulled back from the 100-day EMA. The 100-day EMA also pulled back from the 200-day EMA, XRP negative.

A move through the 50-day EMA would support a shift in sentiment and a return to $0.70.

XRPUSD 300422 4-Hourly
XRP will need to move through the 50-day EMA to support a return to $0.70.

Bitcoin Fails to Rise, but Downside Momentum Seems to Weaken

Bitcoin Technical Analysis

Bitcoin gained 2.1% on Thursday, ending the day around $39.9K, moderating Friday morning to $39.6K, cutting gains in the last 24 hours to 0.6%. Ethereum has added 1.1% in the past 24 hours. Prices of altcoins in the top 10 range from -4.4% (Terra) to +3.6% (Binance Coin). The total capitalisation of the crypto market, according to CoinMarketCap, rose 0.25% overnight to $1.81 trillion. The Bitcoin Dominance Index added 0.1 points to 41.6%.

The cryptocurrency Fear and Greed Index was down 1 point to 23 by Friday, remaining in “extreme fear”. Bitcoin developed an upward correction on Thursday amid strengthening stock indices. However, the first cryptocurrency faces increased selloffs as it attempts to climb above 40k. The former uptrend support line is temporarily working as resistance.

At the same time, the BTCUSD is in an oversold position. The RSI index on the daily charts formed a double bottom in April against declining local price lows, which feeds timid hopes of exhausting the downward momentum and the possibility of a more reliable reversal. Bitcoin now clearly needs global demand for risky assets and stock market support to push back the local negativity. At the same time, the adoption and proliferation of cryptocurrencies are running their course, building a foundation for long-term optimism about the industry.

Chart Description automatically generated

Crypto News

According to a survey by cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp, 88% of institutional and 75% of retail investors believe that cryptocurrencies will become widespread before the end of the decade. Meanwhile, the confidence level in digital assets in emerging economies is markedly higher than in developed economies, where regulation is stricter.

According to El Salvador’s National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), more than 20% of the country’s businesses accept bitcoin as a means of payment. A big luxury real estate developer in UAE, DAMAC Properties, has announced that it is ready to accept payments in BTC and ETH.

US Congressman Patrick McHenry called for a separate regulator for the crypto industry and specific federal legislation. He criticised US regulators for their short-sightedness and lack of attention to the cryptocurrency industry.

Another recalculation of the first cryptocurrency’s mining complexity showed that the figure rose by 5.56% to 27.79 trillion hashes, setting another record. The new record complexity will make bitcoin mining more labour-intensive and less profitable and often accompanies the rise in bitcoin prices.

by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich.

Bitcoin (BTC) and the Broader Market Slide as Risk Aversion Bites

Key Insights:

  • On Sunday, Bitcoin (BTC) rose for just the first time in 5-sessions.
  • Market sentiment towards Fed monetary policy left Bitcoin and the broader crypto market on the defensive.
  • Bitcoin’s technical indicators continue to flash red, with Bitcoin sitting well below the 50-day EMA.

On Sunday, Bitcoin (BTC) rose by 0.05%. Following a 0.68% decline from Saturday, Bitcoin ended the week down 0.56% to $39,466.

Last week, Bitcoin came under renewed selling pressure with market sentiment towards inflation and Fed monetary policy testing support for riskier assets.

It was a mixed Sunday session for the broader crypto market.

LUNA joined Bitcoin in positive territory, rising by 0.95%. It was a bearish session for the rest of the majors, however.

AVAX and SOL declined by 1.84% and 1.41%, respectively.

ADA (-0.11%), BNB (-0.52%),  ETH (-0.39%), and XRP (-0.93%) saw relatively modest losses.

Bitcoin Fear & Greed Index Hits Reverse

This morning, the Fear & Greed Index stood at 23/100. Despite Bitcoin’s brief return to $42,900 last week, the Index has remained within the “Extreme Fear” and “Fear” zones since April 07.

The “Fear” and “Extreme Fear” zones reflect investor expectations of further price deterioration.

For the Bitcoin bulls, the Index will need to move back through to 46/100 to bring April’s high of $47,433 into play.

Bitcoin Fear & Greed Index 250422

Across the global financial markets, the NASDAQ 100 mini was down 102.25 points this morning, with the Dow mini sliding by 267 points.

Last week, the NASDAQ 100 slid by 3.83%, with a 2.55% tumble on Friday doing the damage.

Earnings and Fed policy sank the US majors in the week, which spilled over to the crypto market. From the top 10 cryptos, LUNA bucked the market trend, rising by 16.8%.

This week, sentiment toward Fed monetary policy will continue to leave the crypto market under pressure.

News updates on China’s latest COVID-19 lockdown measures and the war in Ukraine are the key drivers as the global financial markets fret over supply chain disruption.

On the economic calendar, there are several key US stats to consider. On Tuesday, consumer confidence figures and Q1 GDP numbers on Thursday will draw attention ahead of inflation numbers on Friday.

Ultimately, the question will be whether the markets have been overly hawkish on the Fed’s interest rate trajectory to curb inflation.

Bitcoin Price Action

At the time of writing, Bitcoin was down by 0.93% to $39,101. A bearish start to the week saw Bitcoin slide to an early morning low of $38,753.

Bitcoin fell through the First Major Support Level at $39,026 before finding support.

BTCUSD 250422 Daily
Bitcoin kicks off the week testing support early.

Technical Indicators

Bitcoin will need to move through the day’s $39,482 pivot to target the First Major Resistance Level at $39,922. Bitcoin would need broader market support to break out from $39,500.

In the event of another extended rally, Bitcoin could test the Second Major Resistance Level at $40,384. The Third Major Resistance Level sits at $41,282.

Failure to move through the pivot would bring the First Major Support Level at $39,026 into play. Barring an extended sell-off, Bitcoin should avoid sub-$38,000. The Second Major Support Level at $38,586 should limit the downside.

BTCUSD 250422 Hourly
Failure to move through the pivot would leave support levels in play.

Looking at the EMAs and the 4-hourly candlestick chart (below), it is a bearish signal. Bitcoin sits below the 50-day EMA, currently at $40,366. This morning, we have seen the 50-day EMA pull further back from the 100-day EMA, delivering downside pressure.

A move through the 50-day EMA would support a run at last week’s high of $42,997.

BTCUSD 250422 4-Hourly
BTC sits well below the 50-day EMA, with resistance at $40,000 now key.

Broader Crypto Market Hits Reverse

Elsewhere, XRP slid by 2.97% with ADA (-2.60%) and ETH (-2.03%) close behind.

AVAX (-1.96%), BNB (-1.20%), SOL (-1.91%), and Terra (-1.47%) also struggled, however.

Binance Calls Out Reuters with False Claim Narrative

Key Insights:

  • On Friday, news hit the wires of Binance sharing user data with Russian authorities.
  • Overnight, Binance responded to a Reuters report, stating that the news was “categorically false.”
  • Before the user data story, Binance had announced limited services to Russians in response to the latest EU sanctions.

World-leading crypto exchange Binance has had plenty of news coverage in recent months.

In February, crypto exchanges were back in the spotlight following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In response to Ukrainian government calls to freeze all Russian crypto accounts, Reuters reported that Binance would block Russian client accounts targeted by sanctions but not freeze all accounts.

Binance was not alone in its position on account freezes, with several other leading exchanges choosing a similar path.

Binance Calls Out Reuters with False Claim

On Friday, news hit the wires of Binance sharing client data with Russia. According to a Reuters Special Report, Binance’s regional head met with Russia’s financial intelligence unit in April 2021. Reportedly, Russian intelligence wanted Binance to share client data to help the fight against crime.

Reuters went on to say that Russian intelligence was trying to trace Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Bitcoins (BTC) amounting to millions of dollars.

Binance’s head of Eastern Europe and Russia, Gleb Kostarev, reportedly consented to the request, saying to a “business associate that he didn’t have much choice in the matter.”

Reuters noted that Binance has continued to operate in Russia since the invasion of Ukraine. This is despite other payment platforms, including PayPal ceasing operations in the country.

In response to the Reuters report, Binance has denied that it helped Russian intelligence track down donations to Alexei Navalny.

On Friday, Binance posted,

“Suggestions that Binance shared any user data, including Alexei Navalny, with Russian FSB controlled agencies and Russian regulators are categorically false.”

Binance added,

“On the specific matter of not sharing data – today, any government or law enforcement agency in the world can request user data from Binance as long as it is accompanied by the proper legal authority. Russia is no different. Fulfilling disclosure obligations to the authorities in each jurisdiction is a large part of becoming a regulated business and Binance fulfills its legal obligations.”

Binance stated that it plans to lodge a formal complaint to Reuters. The exchange also shared a full email exchange with Reuters on Binance operations in Russia.

Binance Announces Limited Services to Russian Users

On Thursday, Binance announced that it will restrict the Russian account holders with more than €10,000 to withdrawal-only mode.

According to the announcement,

“Following the EU’s fifth package of restrictive measures against Russia, Binance is required to limit services for Russian nationals or natural persons residing in Russia, or legal entities established in Russia, that have cryptos exceeding the value of 10,000 EUR. As such, we require you to complete your proof-of-address verification.”

Binance added,

“Accounts that classify under this restriction will be put into withdrawal-only mode. No deposits or trading will be permitted on these accounts. The limit also covers all spot, futures, custody wallets, and staked and earned deposits. In addition, all deposits to accounts for Russian nationals or natural persons residing in Russia, or legal entities established in Russia with over 10,000 EUR will be restricted.”

The latest announcement comes despite Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao reportedly stating that his exchange “would resist calls to limit services to normal people,” calling such a move unethical.

FED Chair Powell Spooks Cryptos with Rate Hike and Recession Talk

Key Insights:

  • A bearish Thursday session left Bitcoin (BTC) down 2.14% to end the day at $40,491.
  • Fed Chair Powell sank the U.S equity and crypto markets with talk of a recession and a 50-basis point rate hike.
  • Technical indicators are bearish, with BTC tumbling through the 50-day EMA.

On Thursday, Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 2.14%. Following a 0.31% loss on Wednesday, BTC ended the day at $40,491.

A bullish start to the day turned sour as the markets responded to a scheduled Fed Chair Powell speech at the IMF.

Bitcoin had hit a day high of $42,997 to test resistance at $43,000 before tumbling to a day low of $39,865.

Elsewhere, AVAX (-4.00%), BNB (-3.25%), ETH (-3.03%), LUNA (-4.84%), and SOL (-3.63%) struggled.

ADA (-2.88%) and XRP (-2.53%) saw relatively modest losses.

Fed Chair Powell’s Speech Pummels Riskier Assets

On Thursday, Fed Chair Powell spoke at the Annual Economic Policy Conference National Association for Business Economics.

There were two key takeaways from the Powell speech. Firstly, the prospect of a fifty-basis point rate hike.

Discussing restoring price stability, Powell said,

“If we conclude that it is appropriate to move more aggressively by raising the federal funds rate by more than 25 basis points at a meeting or in meetings, we will do so. And if we determine that we need to tighten beyond common measures of neutral and into a more restrictive stance, we will do that as well.”

Secondly, Powell talked of the challenges of bringing down inflation without bringing down the economy.

Concerning growth, Powell said,

“I hasten to add that no one expects that bringing about a soft landing will be straightforward in the current context – very little is straightforward in the current context. My colleagues and I will do our very best to succeed in this challenging task.”

The combination of a more rapid move to policy-neutral and possibly beyond and the threat of recession weighed on riskier assets.

On Thursday, the NASDAQ 100 tumbled by 2.07%, with the futures in the red this morning to pressure the crypto markets further.

Bitcoin Price Action

At the time of writing, Bitcoin was down by 0.50% to $40,287.

BTCUSD 220422 Daily
Failure to return to $42,000 could leave Bitcoin under heavy selling pressure.

Technical Indicators

Bitcoin will need to move through the day’s $41,114 pivot to make a run on the First Major Resistance Level at $42,369. Bitcoin would need broader market support to return to $42,000 levels.

In the event of another extended rally, Bitcoin could test the Second Major Resistance Level at $44,252. The Third Major Resistance Level sits at $47,382.

Failure to move through the pivot would bring the First Major Support Level at $39,240 into play. Barring another extended sell-off, Bitcoin should avoid sub-$39,000. The Second Major Support Level sits at $37,985.

BTCUSD 220422 Hourly
Failure to move through the pivot would leave support levels in play.

Looking at the EMAs and the 4-hourly candlestick chart (below), it is a bearish signal. Bitcoin sits below the 50-day EMA, currently at $41,065. This morning, the 50-day EMA pulled back from the 100-day EMA, testing support. The 100-day EMA pulled back from the 200-day EMA, BTC negative.

A move through the 50-day EMA would support a return to $42,000 levels.

BTCUSD 220422 4-Hourly
A move through the 50-day EMA would bring $42,000 back into play.

Thai Energy Firm Gulf Concludes Investments in Binance.US and BNB

Key Insights:

  • Gulf Energy Development and Binance have entered a joint venture in Thailand.
  • Gulf has invested in Binance’s US affiliate and its signature crypto – BNB.
  • The company will apply for a digital asset exchange license in Thailand.

Thai billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi’s firm Gulf Energy Development PCL has finalized an investment in the US arm of the Binance crypto exchange and its signature cryptocurrency – BNB.

The move comes after both the firms entered a partnership in January to launch a digital asset exchange in Thailand. Binance described the collaboration as the “first step” in exploring opportunities in Thailand. Although, a criminal complaint on the exchange from the Thailand regulator for operating without a license still remains.

Investment To Deepen Crypto Market Involvement

Per a regulatory filing with the Thailand Stock Exchange on Monday, Gulf revealed investment in Series Seed Preferred Stock issued by BAM Trading Services, which operates Binance.US.

“As such, the investment in Binance.US not only provides an opportunity for the Company to participate in one of the fastest user scale-up exchanges in the world but also realizes potential higher investment value post Binance.US’ IPO.”

Binance is targeting an initial public offering (IPO) in two to three years, according to its CEO Brian Shroder. Binance’s US arm will utilize the funds to expand headcount and its product portfolio, launch ROI-based marketing efforts and make future acquisitions before its planned IPO, the filing noted.

Additionally, Gulf invested an undisclosed sum in Binance Coin (BNB), the native cryptocurrency that powers the BNB Chain ecosystem. 

In another regulatory record, the company announced a joint venture agreement with Binance to establish a crypto exchange unit in Thailand. 

“Following the establishment of the joint venture, it will apply for a digital asset exchange license and other licenses with relevant agencies.”

Binance said last week that it received primary approval for operations from Abu Dhabi Global Market. The approval will allow Binance to operate as a virtual assets broker-dealer and marks the third aggressive expansion in the Middle East after obtaining licenses from Bahrain and Dubai.

Gulf noted that the joint venture would create more opportunities for it to explore the digital asset market and open the scope of its investments.

Thailand Crypto Tax

Meanwhile, Thailand banned crypto payments last month, pointing out price volatility, lack of customer safeguards, money laundering, and cyber theft risks as significant reasons for the decision.

The financial regulator noted that crypto businesses will “not be permitted to promote or advertise crypto payments.”

The country initially imposed a 15% tax on crypto assets and later withdrew its plans following public outcry. However, this seems to be much lesser when compared to India’s 30% tax rule.

Dubai Leads The Way as Middle East Becomes Crypto Hotbed

Key Insights:

  • Dubai is welcoming global crypto exchanges with open arms.
  • Binance plans to bring crypto to the next generation.
  • Restrictions in Asia and the West could drive crypto companies to the Middle East.

The United Arab Emirates is gearing up to become the regional hub for crypto businesses following its acceptance of the world’s largest exchanges.

Last week, Binance received in-principal approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market, and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, has eyed Dubai for its global headquarters and his base.

Speaking to Arab News over the weekend, the firm’s regional head of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Richard Teng, said that Binance plans to offer more products to more clients in the region:

“We want to become the platform that builds tools to bring about faster crypto adoption and improve freedom of money in the region,”

Middle East Crypto Expansion

Now that it has an official license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, Binance can operate and expand in the region under the Emirate’s ‘test-adapt-scale’ model for crypto assets.

Teng added that the government is taking a proactive approach to digital assets and not lumping them together as securities, which U.S. regulators want to do.

“It is an extremely innovative approach from the Dubai government. It recognizes that crypto is quite different from securities, digital tokens, and commodities and proposes a dedicated framework that can serve different parts of the value chain, manage risks, and support innovation.”

With bans and restrictions emerging in Asian countries such as China, India, and Thailand, and America procrastinating on regulations, the Middle East is poised to become the world’s crypto hub.

Teng has a lot of experience in the field, having worked in the regional regulatory space for two decades and heading the Abu Dhabi Global Market for six years.

Crypto For The Next Generation

He said that working with the Dubai government offers the realization of how well the country supports innovation, crypto adoption, and blockchain development before adding these will become pillars of the economy in the future. Teng wants to prepare the groundwork for the next generation:

“We are working closely with institutions to ensure the next generation is ready for crypto, blockchain, and tokenomics.”

Binance entered into a partnership with the Dubai World Trade Center Authority in December to help it set up and regulate an international digital asset ecosystem. It has also gone on a hiring spree in the UAE to get those plans in motion. The firm also has a similar license to operate in Bahrain, while rival exchange FTX was granted a Dubai license in March.

The national carrier Emirates has also announced its crypto ambitions with plans to convert its Dubai Expo 2020 site into an innovation center to attract talent to the area. The airline plans to embark on a series of projects involving NFTs and the Metaverse.

Bitcoin Slides Into Support

Ethereum has lost 2.5% in the last 24 hours, and other leading altcoins from the top ten are predominantly declining, from -1% (BNB) to -7.3% (Terra). The exception was XRP, which added 5.4% during this time.

BTC Can Develop a Reversal

According to CoinMarketCap, the total capitalization of the crypto market decreased by 2.8% per day, to $1.87 trillion. The Bitcoin dominance index fell by 0.3% to 40.7%.

By Friday, the cryptocurrency fear and greed index returned to the extreme fear territory, losing 6 points to 22. US stocks failed to build on the offensive, losing all of the previous day’s gains, leading to a stronger selloff for bitcoin compared to alternative cryptocurrencies.

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From the technical side, Bitcoin is trading near the support level, which runs through the lows of January, February and March. A formal signal to break the support will be considered a failure under the previous lows in the $38K area. The ability to develop a reversal to the offensive from these levels, on the contrary, will reinforce the importance of this moderate uptrend line.

Crypto News

The head of Ripple noted that the court with the SEC is going “much better than expected,” which provoked a wave of XRP growth, allowing the coin to resist gravity.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said that the largest asset management company continues to study the cryptocurrency sector.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said that the company has no plans to introduce payments in cryptocurrency in the near future, although it is exploring the possibilities of digital assets. At the same time, he looks to the future of cryptocurrencies and NFTs with interest and optimism.

The Bank of Canada is exploring scenarios for the coexistence of digital and fiat currencies, the first regulator to decide to use quantum computing for this study.

Bank of Japan chief executive Shinichi Uchida said the upcoming digital yen will not be used to achieve a negative interest rate. The second stage of the launch of the digital yen started on March 24th this year.

by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich.

Is BTC About to Soar Above $100,000?

Bitcoin rose 4.3% on Wednesday to end the day around $41,300, Ethereum added 4% to reach 3100, and both remain near those levels early Thursday. The leading altcoins from the top ten have risen in price over the past day from 0.7% (Binance Coin) to 5.4% (Avalanche).

Demand on BTC

According to CoinMarketCap, the total capitalization of the crypto market has grown over the past 24 hours by 2.3% per day, to $1.92 trillion. The Bitcoin Dominance Index rose 0.3% to 41.0%.

Cryptocurrency index of fear and greed added to Thursday added 3 more points to 28 and moved into a state of “fear”.

Bitcoin was in demand in the US session amid a rebound in stock indices and a decline in the US dollar. The US currency began to correct downwards after a 9-day growth, which contributed to the revival of all risky assets.

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World’s first crypto credit card

Alex Mashinsky, CEO of the Celsius Network crypto-lending platform, said that Bitcoin will soar above $100,000 as early as 2022 as a result of capital flight from the stock market to cryptocurrencies. According to him, bitcoin began to behave as a protective asset against the backdrop of a deterioration in the general situation in the world.

Crypto lending platform Nexo has announced the release of the world’s first credit card secured in cryptocurrency based on the Mastercard payment system. The card will allow you to spend funds without having to sell crypto assets. They will be used as collateral to secure the loan.

According to IntoTheBlock, the number of long-term investors in the Shiba Inu token has grown 20 times since the beginning of the year. However, hodlers hold only 5% of the total capitalization of the meme token.

by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich.

Bitcoin is the Lame Duck of the Crypto Market

Cryptos Try to Stabilize

Ethereum added 1.8% during the same time. Other leading altcoins from the top ten are showing growth in the range from 0.9% (Avalanche) to 3.7% (Binance Coin). The Shiba Inu Token (SHIB) has also jumped by 15%, becoming the growth leader in the TOP-100.

According to CoinMarketCap, the total capitalization of the crypto market increased by 1.5% per day to $1.87 trillion. The Bitcoin Dominance Index fell 0.4% to 40.7% on a sharper rebound in altcoins.

Сrypto market attempts to stabilize after the downturn caused the Fear and greed index to strengthen. It added 5 points up to 25 by Wednesday morning and remained in a state of “extreme fear”.

Bitcoin remains the lame duck of the crypto market due to the prevailing price decline in traditional financial sectors. BTC tried to correct upwards on Tuesday after a strong drawdown the day before. According to CoinShares, institutional investors withdrew $134 million from crypto funds last week, the most in 13 weeks.

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BTC Can Outperform Bonds and Stocks

It is still difficult to find confirmation of the hypothesis that cryptocurrencies are a hedge against inflation. The latest US consumer inflation data showed an 8.5% rise in prices in the US. During the same time, the capitalization of the crypto market in dollars decreased by 13%, reducing the purchasing power of the initial capital by more than 20%.

Speaking of Germany, for example, with its 7.6% price increase per year, an 8% depreciation of the euro against the dollar should also be added to the equation, which will further increase the losses. Investments in gold, on the other hand, give real (inflation-adjusted) growth of 8%, and in euros – more than twice as much.

The FxPro Analyst Team emphasized that this relationship is critical for retail investors, most of whom make decisions based on rather impulsive estimates and proceed from the foreseeable horizon.

At the same time, the institutional approach still points to the attractiveness of cryptocurrencies. Bank of America believes that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could outperform bonds and stocks in the face of a potential global economic recession.

Investment agency Morningstar believes that cryptocurrencies have no equal in terms of income among assets, although they have too high volatility. This is similar to the issue of new assets that the US stock market went through about a hundred years ago. By the beginning of the new century: it was the sector of high-tech companies, and now is the turn of cryptocurrencies.

by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich.

Bitcoin Loses Strength Due to the Stock Sell-off

Ethereum lost 8.9%, while other leading altcoins in the top 10 fell in price from 6.7% (Binance Coin) to 13% (Terra).

Cryptomarket: extreme fear

According to CoinMarketCap, over the past 24 hours, cryptocurrency market capitalisation has fallen 5.2% overnight to $1.85 trillion, with the Bitcoin Dominance Index dropping 0.2 points to 41.1%.

The cryptocurrency fear and greed index lost 12 points to 20 by Tuesday, in a state of “extreme fear”.

Bitcoin collapsed on Monday, the most in almost two months, following global stock indices. In a sharp move, BTC plummeted under the 50-day moving average, dashing hopes that we saw a trend breakdown in March.

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Yesterday’s drop in bitcoin and the continued pessimistic mood in financial markets open a direct and quick path to the March support area – near $38K, or even lower – to $32.5-35K.

Miners dumped some bitcoins

Conventional financial market participants have just started laying down the accelerated pace of rate hikes, expecting +50 points in May and the same amount in June. This is in stark contrast to the 25 point rises per quarter that we have seen since the global financial crisis. In this environment, liquidity leaves the financial markets, hitting the highest risk sectors the hardest. Because of this, we see a steep drop in cryptocurrency capitalisation and the Nasdaq index.

According to CryptoQuant, miners dumped some bitcoins last week as the cryptocurrency declined. Bearish sentiment may dominate this week as the BTC exchange balance has risen again.

The cryptocurrency market is threatened by a decline in US stock indices soon, according to BitMEX cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Arthur Hayes. Bitcoin could fall to $30,000 by the second quarter, Ethereum to $2,500.

David Rubenstein, the co-founder of The Carlyle Group, believes that cryptocurrencies will increase amid growth in the crypto industry and political instability.

According to a Nasdaq survey, 72% of financial advisers would invest client funds in cryptocurrencies if they had access to spot crypto-ETFs.

by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich.

Binance Gets Preliminary Approval For Abu Dhabi Operations

Key Insights:

  • Binance received in-principal approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market.
  • The company is planning an aggressive expansion in the Middle East.
  • Binance’s boss wants to be based in Dubai, where the firm will be headquartered.

Binance Holdings has received in-principle approval from Abu Dhabi Global Market to operate as a crypto asset broker. The preliminary nod is a stage closer to full regulatory approval. The company still needs to complete the application process, according to Richard Teng, head for Binance Middle East and North Africa.

Once granted, a full license for the United Arab Emirates would enable Binance to expand across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region via a subsidiary, according to the announcement.

Middle East Expansion

Teng added that the firm has been working with regulators in the region to tap into the emerging crypto market.

“Binance has been actively engaging global regulators, such as ADGM [Abu Dhabi Global Market], as part of its ongoing commitment to uphold global standards and collectively foster the developments and sustainable growth of the crypto ecosystem,”

The ADGM is an international financial free zone that regulates and oversees financial services within its jurisdiction. On its official website, the ADGM claims to be the world’s first jurisdiction to introduce and implement a comprehensive virtual assets regulatory framework. It also reported that there were 4,258 active registered licenses as of Q4 of 2021.

It stated that the IPA (in principle approval) is part of Binance’s plans to establish itself as a fully-regulated virtual asset service provider in an internationally recognized and well-regulated financial center. Dhaher bin Dhaher, ADGM Registration Authority CEO, commented:

“Binance’s participation will add to its vibrant and trusted ecosystem of virtual asset trading venues, global exchanges, and service providers.”

Eyes on Dubai HQ

Binance has big plans for Dubai after being awarded a limited virtual assets license in mid-March.

Speaking to Bloomberg last month, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said that Dubai will be his base for the “foreseeable future” and that by “any common interpretation,” it is also the company’s headquarters.

One of the firm’s major competitors, FTX, also received a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license in Dubai last month. Crypto.com and Bybit are also expanding their presence in the region.

Cryptocurrencies Have Gone Downstream

Ethereum lost 4.9%, and other leading altcoins fell in price from 3.5% (BNB) to 9.7% (Solana).

Hydra servers were arrested

According to CoinMarketCap, the total capitalization of the crypto market sank by 4.7% overnight to $2 trillion. The Bitcoin Dominance Index added another 0.1pp to 41.3% on the back of more altcoins weakening. The crypto-currency index of fear and greed grounded at 34 by Thursday morning, having lost 14 points and turning into a state of fear. This is the lowest value in last two weeks.

News about the arrest of the servers of the darknet resource Hydra with the confiscation of 540 bitcoins, as well as sanctions against the Garantex crypto exchange could have a negative effect on the whole crypto market.

The FxPro Analyst Team emphasised that after several days of sliding, the fall of bitcoin accelerated during trading in Europe, reaching two-week lows just above $43,000. The negative dynamics of the cryptocurrency market was facilitated by the fall of global stock indices. The published minutes of the Fed meeting showed tougher rhetoric than expected, which put pressure on all risk-sensitive assets.

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DOGE: this dog is not able to swim yet

According to Glassnode, the number of bitcoins on exchanges has fallen to the lowest since August 2018. Investors have been withdrawing coins since the beginning of March, which is often taken as a signal to keep Bitcoin out of the market for a long time. This reduction in active supply often pushes the price up. However, now we are also seeing increased sales from institutionals.

Reports that Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk had become Twitter’s largest shareholder initially caused Dogecoin to soar more than 20%, as Musk had previously used the coin to pay for small Tesla goods. Potentially, there could be more applications for Doge on Twitter. However, by Thursday morning its price returned to the levels of the beginning of the week, still showing that this “dog” is not yet able to swim against the current, just as Bitcoin cannot become a meaningful fish against a big pond of stock markets.

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by FxPro’s Senior Market Analyst Alex Kuptsikevich.

UK Crypto Exodus Looming as Regulatory Deadline Approaches

Key Insights:

  • FCA deadline for crypto company registration is fast approaching.
  • Several companies are already planning moves to friendlier European countries.
  • Britain may see an exodus of talent and lose its financial status.

The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plans to close its temporary registration program for crypto asset businesses on March 31. This could leave some big names such as digital bank Revolut and crypto custodian Copper Technologies in limbo.

According to Bloomberg, there are 12 companies still on the temporary register as of March 29. They will have to suspend their services if they do not secure approval by the deadline on Thursday.

Exodus to Friendlier Climes

Just as crypto miners left China in droves when Beijing banned mining, the same could happen with fintech firms based in the U.K.

The Bank of England and the Treasury have ramped up their anti-crypto rhetoric in recent months as markets have gone through another bull run and prices have surged. Only 33 firms have achieved permanent registration with the FCA, leaving many others facing a move to Europe or beyond.

Six firms, including crypto market maker B2C2 and crypto digital banking apps Wirex and Trastra, were recently removed from the temporary register after failing to secure approval. The FCA may extend the deadline, but crypto companies have already started to plan their moves to countries such as Switzerland and Croatia, which have a more welcoming approach to digital assets.

CoinBurp Chief Executive Peter Wood told Bloomberg that it is not providing crypto services in the U.K., but it is “in the process of restoring this” shortly. The firm fell off the register on March 25, and several others, such as Wirex Digital, which plans to serve U.K. clients from a Croatian subsidiary.

London-based crypto custodian and trading services provider Copper, which has more than 150 employees, is pursuing regulatory approval in Switzerland. In recent years, the country has become a hub of blockchain, fintech, and crypto activity.

Falling Behind

Earlier this year, former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said that it was “frankly quite shocking” that the country is so far behind its European counterparts with regulations for crypto assets. He warned that the U.K. might face losing talent and its long-running status as a finance hub.

U.K. head of the already approved Gemini crypto exchange, Blair Halliday, commented:

“Our concern with any legislation is where it unfairly impacts firms going about it the right way in the jurisdiction, and by definition, drives customers to an easier location off-site. That’s a potential byproduct of some of these proposals — how on earth can that be positive?”

Binance (BNB) is probably the largest crypto firm that pulled its application to operate in the U.K. last year. It is still grappling with regulators to this day but may take the easy option and service British crypto traders from a friendlier nation.

Coinbase Could Reportedly Buy Mercado Bitcoin’s Parent Company

Key Insights:

  • Coinbase could reportedly acquire Brazilian Giant 2TM.
  • 2TM is valued at $2.2 billion and is Latin America’s largest crypto brokerage.
  • Crypto adoption saw a boom in Brazil as stablecoin trading tripled in 2021.

American cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase Global is in conversation to acquire 2TM, the firm behind Mercado Bitcoin – Brazil’s largest crypto exchange.

Coinbase to Acquire Brazilian Giant

A Brazilian newspaper Estadão reported on Sunday that negotiations between Coinbase and 2TM have been taking place since last year, and an agreement could be announced by the end of this month. No sources have been cited for now.

Estadão is the third-largest newspaper read by almost 212 million Brazilians. In 2021, Mercado Bitcoin had 3.2 million customers, with close to 1.1 million added just last year. Furthermore, the firm reached $7 billion in trading volume in 2021.

Mercado Bitcoin is one of Latin America’s largest crypto brokerages, owned by 2TM. It got its unicorn status as a billion-dollar company in 2021. 2TM is valued at $2.2 billion, and acquired firms like Meubank, MB Digital Assets, CriptoLoja, Bitrust, Blockchain Academy, MezaPro, Wuzu, and Portal do Bitcoin under its umbrella.

Furthermore, 2TM aims to expand its operations in Latin America through acquisitions in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Earlier this year, the Brazilian giant acquired a controlling stake in CriptoLoja – Portugal’s first regulated crypto exchange.

2TM raised $200 million in a Series B funding round and $50 million in a second closing of the funding in November last year. The funding rounds in 2021 took the firm’s value to $2.1 billion.

Exchanges Eyeing Latin America

As crypto adoption across the globe and in Brazil continues to rise, enterprises are turning their eyes towards Latin American countries. Notably, the Brazilian crypto adoption boom tripled stablecoin trading in 2021 as global exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance and Crypto.com turned their eyes to the Latin American country.

In November last year, Coinbase announced the creation of an engineering hub in Brazil and announced the expansion of its team in the country.

One of the most retail-friendly exchanges, Binance, plans to acquire banks and payment processors in Brazil. Recently, the firm signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to acquire Brazilian securities brokerage Sim;paul Investimentos.

It is also reported that Coinbase also identified Mexican crypto exchange Bitso as an acquisition target. Still, no deals have been made for now.

BAYC Floor Prices Touch 90 ETH As ApeCoin Token Lists Today

Key Insights:

  • BAYC launched its utility and governance token ApeCoin yesterday.
  • Holding APE NFT will be the only requirement for membership in the ApeCoin DAO.
  • ApeCoin floor price touched 90 ETH today.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection has launched its ERC-20 utility and governance token, ApeCoin. This is a step toward diversification for profile-picture projects (PFPs) to focus on culture, gaming, and commerce in the Web3 space.

The asset was created and released by the ApeCoin decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), a distinct legal entity from Yuga Labs, which has established a six-month tenured council committee led by Alexis Ohanian, Amy Wu, Maaria Bajwa, Yat Siu, and Dean Steinbeck to manage the DAO.

The ApeCoin team said that obtaining APE will be the “only requirement for membership in the ApeCoin DAO.” BAYC NFT holders, including prominent personalities like Neymar and Eminem, will get a part of the overall supply as an airdrop.

Bored Ape Yacht Club (Bayc)

Bored Ape Yacht Club is a community of 10,000 NFT Apes with distinct characteristics. Some characteristics are rare, which means collectors place a higher premium on them. As a member of BAYC, you may acquire future collections and other benefits and special access to other exclusive features.

The official Twitter account of ApeCoin announced Thursday that the members of the BAYC ecosystem would get 90 days to claim their share of 10,000 tokens beginning at 12:30 p.m. UTC on Thursday.

Consequently, investors rushed to buy BAYC NFTs to acquire the new token. According to Opensea, the floor price of BAYC NFTs rose from 92 ETH to around 107 ETH within a day or so.

This indicates that each BAYC NFT was worth roughly around $300,000. However, the same had declined and, at the time of writing, stood at 90 ETH. 

Regardless, others have taken advantage of the market frenzy by releasing similarly named tokens, such as APECoin.dev. The project has over $1.5 million market capitalization and is selling at $0.145.

ApeCoin Ape Price Drops by 80% on Its Debut Day

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection’s native token, ApeCoin (APE), rose to $40 before falling to $6.4 following its listing on various crypto exchanges. The price of the ApeCoin is fluctuating between $10 and $20 presently.

APE Chart FXEmpire
APE/USD price action source: Coinmarketcap

On the first day of trading, APE holders suffered as the price for their coins dropped rapidly right after listing. At the time of writing, The APE coin was trading at $8.23 with a market capitalization of $2.3 billion.

MoonPay Freezes Operations in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus

Key Insights:

  • MoonPay has suspended operations in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.
  • The firm has said that it’s impossible to continue operating owing to the sanctions.
  • However, Exchanges like Binance and FTX have argued against suspending payment options. 

In a direct statement released to customers, the MoonPay team informed that they have decided to suspend operations in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus due to recent events in Eastern Europe.

The Miami-based firm no longer supports customers’ accounts with physical addresses in the regions mentioned above. 

Russia, Ukraine, Belarus see Another Ban

On March 10, the MoonPay team informed all customers that owing to the political tension and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the firm had suspended operations in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. 

Reportedly, the firm explained their recent move by saying that they couldn’t continue operating in these regions and adhere to the current sanctions by countries across the world.

Notably, nations worldwide are tightening their sanctions on Russia, the US, the EU, and the UK are among the few doing so. 

The US and UK are banning Russian oil, and the EU has pledged to end its reliance on Russian gas. Responding to these sanctions, Russia has banned the export of several foreign-made products.

Earlier this week, FXEmpire reported US-based exchange Coinbase blocking over 25,000 addresses related to Russian users who were supposedly engaged in illicit activities.

Additionally, in late February, crypto exchange Binance highlighted how it was looking to block the accounts of any Russian clients targeted by sanctions. 

However, more recently, exchanges such as Binance and FTX argued that preserving the access of Russians to crypto is essential as the ruble falls amid heavy sanctions against Russia. 

MoonPay and Its NFT Craze

MoonPay launched in 2019 powers more than 250 wallets, websites, and applications in over 160 countries. In November 2021, the firm closed a Series A funding round at $555 million, bringing its valuation to $3.4 billion.

The firm claims that the funding was the largest and highest valued Series A for any bootstrapped crypto company. 

Of late, user-friendly payments infrastructure provider has made some bold moves in the NFT space. Recently, the startup spent $754,340 at the London Evening Sale at Christie’s auction house for a rare item in the World of Women (WoW) collection. 

The price paid by MoonPay makes the piece one of the most expensive WoW pieces ever sold.