Wu said Zhou’s selection US Congressman proposes strong regulation on DeFi, Binance cuts welfare benefits, Opepen NFT triggers a craze, and Top 10 news (0715-0721).

Author | Wu Talks Blockchain

Top 10 News of the Week

1. The U.S. Senate plans to pass a bill for strict regulation of DeFi

On July 19th, according to Coindesk, the U.S. Senate is preparing to pass a new bill to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. The bill will impose strict anti-money laundering (AML) requirements on DeFi protocols. The bill will require DeFi protocols to implement banking-like controls on their user base. The bill aims to combat cryptocurrency crimes and cut off avenues for evading sanctions. The document states, “If no one controls the DeFi protocol, anyone who develops the protocol with an investment of more than $25 million will bear these obligations.”

@BillHughesDC pointed out that this should not be a legislative priority this year. The sponsors of the bill stated that they hope it will be the starting point for discussions on national security involving DeFi. U.S. supporters and promoters will be responsible for ensuring that the protocol complies with sanctions restrictions and AML due diligence requirements. The Department of the Treasury may prohibit U.S. financial institutions from engaging in such transactions or impose conditions on transactions or accounts that are beyond the jurisdiction of the United States but pose money laundering risks.

2. Gensler expresses disappointment with comments on retail investors in the Ripple case

On July 18th, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in an online interview with Yahoo Finance that it is “too early” to determine whether the agency he leads will draft more rules on cryptocurrencies after a federal judge made a dissenting decision in Ripple’s enforcement case last week. Gensler also believes that decentralized finance is actually quite centralized and refused to comment directly on the Ripple case, stating that “the litigation is ongoing.”

In addition, Gensler also discussed artificial intelligence at the National Press Club luncheon on Monday and said that the agency is “pleased” that the Ripple ruling protects institutional investors and rejects Ripple’s “fair notice” argument, but he is disappointed with the comments on retail investors and is studying and evaluating this viewpoint.

3. SEC starts reviewing applications for six spot Bitcoin ETFs this week

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will begin reviewing applications for six spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) this week. Applicants include BlackRock, Bitwise, Fidelity, WisdomTree, VanEck, and Invesco Galaxy. According to regulations, the review process will formally begin after the filing documents are published in the Federal Register, with an initial review period set at 45 days, which can be extended to a maximum of 240 days.

4. Binance Weekly Update

a. Binance announces the need to reduce expenses and adjust benefits during difficult times

On July 17th, according to a screenshot of a June email announcement disclosed by @adamscochran, Binance announced the need to reduce expenses and adjust benefits during difficult times. Starting from June 19th, the following benefits will be canceled: Covid care benefits, mobile phone reimbursements, fitness reimbursements, marriage allowances, allowances for 8-year-old children, and other employee-related benefits (coupon reimbursements, book reimbursements, etc.). The team building budget is adjusted to $35 per month. Further measures may be taken to reduce expenses depending on the situation.

b. Binance requires Palau digital ID users to re-upload passports for KYC verification

On July 18th, Binance displayed a “document about to expire” prompt for users with Palau digital ID verification and requested them to re-upload their documents. However, after selecting Palau on the verification page, it was found that only passports were supported. Binance responded that Binance KYC supports users to use Palau passports for verification. Many users had previously purchased Palau digital IDs for exchange KYC verification.

c. Binance terminates five-year partnership with Argentine Football Association citing contract violation

On July 18th, Binance terminated its five-year partnership with the Argentine Football Association (AFA) one year early citing contract violation. Binance stated in Spanish that AFA did not fully fulfill its contractual obligations. In January 2022, Binance became the main sponsor of the Argentine national football team and the title sponsor of its national football league for a five-year agreement.

d. The 24th BNB quarterly burn has been completed

On July 19th, according to an announcement by Binance, the 24th BNB quarterly burn has been completed based on the BNB automatic burn mechanism. A total of 1,991,854.33 BNB (approximately $485 million) were burned, including an additional 747.51 BNB (approximately $180,000) burned as part of the BNB anti-black hole program. The burn amount is based on the price of BNB and the activity on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC).

5. CoinDesk reaches deal with an investor consortium worth $125 million

On July 21st, the final stage of a deal between an investor consortium and cryptocurrency media company CoinDesk was reached, valuing the company at over $200 million. The investor group is led by Matthew Roszak of Tally Capital, a private investment firm focused on cryptocurrencies and Web3 technology, and Peter Vessenes of venture capital firm and family office Capital6.

CoinDesk was acquired by DCG for $500,000 in 2016, and its revenue exceeded $50 million in 2022. In February of this year, DCG sought to sell it for $200 million due to Genesis bankruptcy.

6. Coinbase to fully terminate Bitcoin collateralized loan program for retail customers starting from November 20th

Coinbase will fully terminate its Bitcoin collateralized loan program for retail customers starting from November 20th in order to focus resources on its most important products and services. Coinbase has notified affected customers and taken additional measures to ensure a smooth transition, including providing a four-month repayment period and offering priority customer support through Coinbase One.

7. Merchants on Telegram can now accept cryptocurrency payments

Merchants on Telegram can now accept cryptocurrency payments as wallets based on the TON chain now allow merchants to integrate cryptocurrencies into their payment bots on Telegram. USDT, BTC, and TON can be used for payments of goods and services. Previously, Telegram had allowed users to transfer cryptocurrencies in chats.

8. Kuwait Issues Cryptocurrency Ban

On July 20th, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of Kuwait, a country in Western Asia, issued a notice regarding the regulation and issuance of virtual assets in the country. The notice completely bans the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment tool/method or recognizes them as decentralized currencies in Kuwait. It also prohibits the use of cryptocurrencies as investment tools and bans all cryptocurrency mining activities.

9. Opepen NFT Sparks Social Media Craze

On July 18th, Opepen NFT sparked a craze on social media. OpenSea changed its Twitter profile picture to an Opepen derivative artwork and changed its name to “OpepenSea”. According to KOL @0xWatell’s interpretation, Opepen’s popularity on social media comes from a movement called “Become ThreadGuy”. On July 12th, the largest holder of Opepen, Bored Opepen, expressed willingness to exchange 001 Opepen worth 20 ETH for NFT KOL ThreadGuy’s MAYC, which would be used as a profile picture. At first, ThreadGuy was not moved and stated that he would not sell his MAYC. However, on the same day, he posted an unofficial Opepen derivative artwork, which caught the attention of Opepen founder Jack Butcher. Jack Butcher created a custom 001 Opepen in the style of ThreadGuy’s MAYC, which caused a sensation in the community. More and more people changed their Twitter profile pictures to this customized 001 Opepen in the style of ThreadGuy’s MAYC. Finally, ThreadGuy also changed his profile picture to this customized 001 Opepen. On July 17th, Jack Butcher launched Opepen Threadition, aimed at redirecting profits to creators, and it has already had over 40,000 minted.

10. Hubei Police Crack the First “Virtual Currency Case” in China

On July 18th, Ping An Hubei announced that the People’s Court of Shayang County made a ruling on a major cross-border gambling case with a transaction amount of 400 billion yuan. It confiscated a portion of the frozen virtual currency worth approximately 1 billion yuan in accordance with the law. This case became the first “virtual currency case” in China where confiscation was ruled. According to the article, the special task force coordinated with the virtual currency issuing institution, froze the relevant involved virtual currency accounts, and prevented the flow of the implicated virtual currency worth 160 million US dollars (about 1 billion yuan) into the hands of the criminal group. Three main suspects who were hiding overseas were also arrested.

Key Financing Events

  • Silent Protocol secures a $5 million financing led by Sora Ventures

  • Bitcoin mining company SAI announces that its subsidiary, HEATNUC, has raised seed funding with a post-investment valuation of $50 million

  • AI Metaverse startup Futureverse completes a $54 million Series A financing

  • Web3 infrastructure company RISC Zero completes a $40 million Series A financing

  • Web3 operating protocol dappOS announces a seed funding round with a valuation of $50 million, led by IDG Capital and Sequoia China

For more industry financing events, please visit crypto-fundraising.info.

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