Luno Appoints New CTO After Co-Founder’s Departure

• Timothy Stranex, the co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of cryptocurrency exchange Luno, departed from the company in December.
• He was replaced as CTO by Simon Ince, who joined Luno two years ago as its vice president of engineering.
• Luno, whose parent company is Digital Currency Group, has over 10 million customers worldwide with offices in London, Singapore, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Sydney.

Cryptocurrency exchange Luno announced on Thursday that Timothy Stranex, their co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) had departed from the company in December. Stranex had been with the company since its founding with Carel van Wyk, Pieter Heyns and current CEO Marcus Swanepoel nearly 10 years ago. He has since been replaced as CTO by Simon Ince, who joined Luno just under two years ago as its vice president of engineering.

Luno, whose parent company is Digital Currency Group (which is also the parent company of CoinDesk), is a global cryptocurrency exchange with over 10 million customers worldwide and offices in London, Singapore, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Sydney. They have a wide range of services, from buying and selling digital currencies to their Luno Exchange, which allows users to trade and manage their crypto portfolios. The company has also recently launched its Luno Wallet, which allows customers to store, send and receive digital currencies.

The news of Timothy Stranex’s departure comes at a time when digital currencies are becoming increasingly adopted by the mainstream. With an ever-growing customer base, Luno is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend. With its wide range of services and a strong team of experienced professionals, Luno is set to continue its growth and remain at the forefront of the digital currency industry.

In a statement, Luno said that Stranex left the company to “pursue personal projects”. With the appointment of Simon Ince as the new CTO, the company looks forward to further developing its services and continuing its growth. Ince has a wealth of experience in software engineering, having worked with a number of leading tech companies, including Google and Microsoft.

While the news of Stranex’s departure is certainly sad, it appears that the company is in good hands with its new CTO. With strong leadership and an experienced team, Luno is set to continue its growth and remain a leader in the digital currency industry.

Crypto Assets: A New Way to Invest for the Future

• Noelle Acheson discusses a new philosophy of markets, which is based on the concept of tradable assets that embody innovation.
• This new philosophy of markets is a result of the emergence of crypto assets, which are now seen as a viable market by the mainstream.
• She emphasizes that crypto is not “over”, and it should be seen as a viable form of investment, governance value and money.

Noelle Acheson, a former head of research at CoinDesk and Genesis Trading, has recently proposed a new philosophy of markets based on the concept of tradable assets that embody innovation. This new philosophy is a result of the emergence of crypto assets, which have now become accepted by the mainstream as a viable market.

Acheson notes that the public perception of crypto has shifted significantly since the last time prices were bouncing along cyclical lows. Back then, crypto was seen as a new type of money, a global computer, an engagement incentive, and a governance value. Now, however, it is seen as a market.

In light of this shift, Acheson argues that crypto should not be viewed as “over”. Rather, it should be seen as a viable form of investment, governance value, and money. She emphasizes that the potential of crypto is still largely untapped, and that it is only beginning to be explored.

Acheson also points out that crypto assets embody innovation in a way that traditional assets cannot. Unlike traditional assets, crypto assets are digital, global and programmable. This means that they can be used to create new markets and new ways of investing.

Finally, Acheson stresses the need for caution when it comes to investing in crypto. While the potential of crypto is promising, it comes with an increased risk of fraud and scams. As such, investors should be sure to do their due diligence before investing in crypto.

Overall, Acheson’s new philosophy of markets is a testament to the potential of crypto assets. By recognizing the innovative nature of crypto assets, investors can tap into the potential of this new form of investment. As the crypto market continues to grow, it is likely that more and more people will come to understand the value of crypto assets and their potential to revolutionize the world of investing.

Kraken Exits Japan, Argo Sells Mining Facility, Bankman-Fried Borrows Millions

• Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is exiting Japan and deregistering from the Financial Services Agency as of Jan. 31.
• Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain has agreed to sell its Helios mining facility in Texas to Galaxy Digital for $65 million and will receive a new $35 million loan from financier Mike Novogratz’s crypto-focused financial-services firm.
• Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Alameda Research, the trading firm he owned, to purchase his stake in trading app Robinhood Markets.

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has announced it will exit Japan and deregister from the Financial Services Agency as of Jan. 31. The decision was prompted by “current market conditions in Japan in combination with a weak crypto market globally,” the company said in a blog post. Users in the country have until the end of next month to withdraw their fiat and crypto holdings, with the option of transferring crypto to another wallet or wiring Japanese yen to a local bank.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin miner Argo Blockchain has agreed to sell its Helios mining facility in Dickens Country, Texas, to Galaxy Digital for $65 million. The miner will also receive a new $35 million loan from financier Mike Novogratz’s crypto-focused financial-services firm, which will be secured by Argo’s mining equipment. The transaction will help Argo bolster its balance sheet and avoid bankruptcy after it found itself in a precarious situation when a deal for $27 million in funding fell through in October.

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried also made headlines after revealing he borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from Alameda Research, the trading firm he owned, to purchase his stake in trading app Robinhood Markets. In an affidavit provided to a Caribbean court before his arrest, Bankman-Fried said he and FTX co-founder Gary Wang had struck a deal with representatives of Robinhood in August 2020 under which they received equity in the trading app in exchange for a loan of $400 million. Bankman-Fried also said the loan was secured by his and Wang’s shares in FTX, which were valued at around $2 billion at the time.

Ethereum’s Merge: Reducing Energy Consumption and Triggering Debate

Bullet Points:
• Ethereum completed its radical shift to a new, energy-efficient system for powering its network in 2022.
• The Merge resulted in a massive reduction to the network’s energy footprint, but also led to charges of decentralization.
• The Merge did not address Ethereum’s transaction costs and slow network speeds, and failed to trigger a long-hoped-for bump to the price of ether.

In 2022, Ethereum made great strides toward creating a global computer and decentralized financial system by completing its radical shift to a new, energy-efficient system for powering its network. This upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain, dubbed the Merge, replaced the blockchain’s former power structure, which was a power-hungry crypto mining system, with a new method for issuing and validating transactions on the chain. This new system, which is based on a “proof-of-stake” system, drastically reduced the network’s energy consumption and was met with great enthusiasm from the Ethereum community.

However, the Merge also raised some serious concerns about the chain’s decentralization, as the new system requires validators to “stake” ether (ETH) with the chain in order to write transactions to the ledger. This has caused some to worry that the chain is becoming too centralized. Additionally, the Merge did not address Ethereum’s relatively high transaction costs and slow network speeds, and the event failed to trigger the long-hoped-for bump to the price of ether, which has sunk more than 20% since the Merge.

In addition to the Merge, the Ethereum network was faced with a number of issues throughout the year, including concerns around censorship and record-shattering hacks on Ethereum-linked infrastructure. Despite these issues, Ethereum’s development team was able to make significant progress in its mission to create a global computer and decentralized financial system.

Ethereum’s Merge was a major milestone in the blockchain’s history, and it is clear that the chain is on its way to becoming a more efficient, secure, and decentralized platform. While the Merge was not the silver bullet that many had hoped for, it is a step in the right direction for Ethereum and for the entire blockchain industry. As the Ethereum network continues to develop and evolve, it is likely that it will become increasingly difficult to keep up with all the changes and advancements. But, Ethereum’s development team is sure to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the blockchain world.

Kraken Exiting Japan: Crypto Exchange To Deregister From FSA at End of January

• Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange, will be deregistering from the Financial Services Agency in Japan at the end of January.
• Kraken users in Japan have until the end of January to withdraw their fiat and crypto holdings.
• The decision was prompted by the current market conditions in Japan in combination with a weak crypto market globally.

Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange, announced plans to deregister from the Financial Services Agency in Japan and cease operations in the country as of January 31. This decision was prompted by the current market conditions in Japan in combination with a weak crypto market globally.

Kraken users in Japan have until the end of January to withdraw their fiat and crypto holdings, with the option of transferring crypto to another wallet or wiring Japanese yen to a local bank. The company is prioritizing resources and investments to ensure the long-term stability of the exchange.

The decision to leave Japan comes after the departure of Kraken’s co-founder, Jesse Powell, from his role as CEO in September. He was replaced by Chief Operating Officer Dave Ripley. In November, Kraken cut 30% of its global workforce as the crypto market continued to stagnate following the collapse of rival exchange FTX.

Kraken’s departure from Japan is part of a larger trend of cryptocurrency exchanges leaving the country due to regulatory issues. It is unclear how this move will affect the Japanese crypto market in the long run, but it is certain that the exchange’s exit will have an impact on the industry.

Crypto Prices Frozen as Gold Hits Record Highs

Bullet Points:
• Bitcoin prices have remained largely frozen near levels they’ve held for the past week.
• CoinDesk’s Chief Insights Columnist David Z. Morris recently highlighted the seriousness of charges brought against crypto exchange giant FTX’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
• CoinDesk TV offers insightful interviews with crypto industry leaders and analysis.

Cryptocurrency markets have been largely frozen in the last week of 2022, with the price of Bitcoin (BTC) drifting lower in Tuesday trading, albeit not by much. At the time of writing, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was trading at around $16,700, off 1.3% over the past 24 hours but near its most recent support just under $17,000. BTC’s price has remained resilient over the past two months, despite the widespread introduction of new regulations in the crypto space.

The resilience of the crypto market has been further tested by the events of the past few weeks. In November, CoinDesk’s (CD) Chief Insights Columnist David Z. Morris highlighted the seriousness of the charges brought against crypto exchange giant FTX’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. The U.S. Department of Justice subsequently charged Bankman-Fried with wire fraud and other alleged crimes, and after posting bail, he is confined to his parents California home except to exercise, and must wear a tracking device.

To gain further insight into the crypto space, investors and traders can tune into CoinDesk TV, which offers insightful interviews with crypto industry leaders and analysis. Additionally, First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter, provides a comprehensive look at the moves in crypto markets in the context of a rapidly-changing industry.

Cryptocurrency investors are also paying close attention to the price of gold, which recently hit a record high of $1,821, up 1.4% for the day. Gold prices have been steadily increasing since the beginning of the year, and have been buoyed by the current low-interest rate environment.

It remains to be seen how long cryptocurrency prices will stay frozen near their current levels, but with the introduction of new regulations and the continued rise in gold prices, the crypto space will continue to be an area of close scrutiny in the coming year.

Nexo Sends Open Letter to Vauld Creditors in Push for Acquisition

• Nexo sent an open letter to creditors of Singapore-based rival Vauld after the latter announced it had suspended all withdrawals, trading and deposits on its platform, filed for creditor protection, and was looking at restructuring options.
• Nexo said it had presented a revised proposal on Dec. 2 and was facing challenges in receiving slow and incomprehensive financial and legal due diligence information.
• Vauld has until Jan. 20 to work on a restructuring plan.

Nexo, a crypto lender, has sent an open letter to creditors of its Singapore-based rival Vauld, who recently announced that it had suspended all withdrawals, trading and deposits on its platform, filed for creditor protection, and was looking at restructuring options. The intention of the open letter was to create transparency regarding the merits of Nexo’s acquisition plan, as well as to contribute final improvements to some of the proposal’s commercial terms based on feedback from Vauld’s community.

In the letter, Nexo revealed that it had presented a revised proposal on Dec. 2, and was facing daily challenges due to the slow and incomprehensive financial and legal due diligence information that it was receiving. Despite the challenges, Nexo remained hopeful that it will be able to complete the acquisition.

Vauld has until Jan. 20 to work on a restructuring plan and present it to the creditors. The creditors are required to approve the plan before it can be implemented. Kroll, Vauld’s financial adviser, is yet to respond to a request for comment.

Nexo’s open letter was issued in order to provide transparency and clarity to Vauld’s creditors regarding the progress of the acquisition process and the terms of the deal. It is hoped that the acquisition will be successful if the restructuring plan presented by Vauld is accepted and approved by the creditors.

Crypto Markets Steady Over Christmas Despite Macro Uncertainties

Bullet Points
• Bitcoin held steady throughout the Christmas holiday weekend at about $16,900.
• Most other major cryptos were flat, with a tint of green over red.
• Investors largely ignored crypto and the macroeconomic uncertainties that have plagued the world in 2022.

It was a quiet Christmas weekend for the crypto markets, with Bitcoin holding steady at about $16,900 and most other major cryptos flat or slightly green. This lack of movement in the markets comes as investors largely ignored crypto and the macroeconomic uncertainties that have plagued the world in 2022.

First Mover Asia took a look back at CoinDesk’s best and most impactful stories from the past year and considered one of the upsides to the series of debacles that have deeply wounded the industry. Columnist David Z. Morris argued that investors’ growing uncertainties about crypto’s future will root out careless speculation and refocus attention on “good deals and ideas.”

The CoinDesk Market Index (CMI) was at 799.40, up 3.7 points, or 0.5%, while Bitcoin was at $16,872, up 50.8 points, or 0.3%, and Ethereum was at $1,224, up 6.6 points, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 closed at 3,844.82, up 22.4 points, or 0.6%, and gold was at $1,809, up 13.4 points, or 0.7%. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.75%, up 0.1%.

Investors were keeping a close watch on the markets, as all eyes turn to the new year and what it might bring for the crypto market. After what has been a turbulent year, many are hoping for a more stable 2021. With Bitcoin holding steady, it looks like investors may be cautiously optimistic about the future.

SEC Doubles Crypto-Asset Enforcement Team, Sets Stage for 2023 Regulation

• The SEC nearly doubled the size of its crypto-asset enforcement team in early 2022 and is likely to continue its enforcement-based regulation in 2023.
• SEC Chairman Gary Gensler believes that the “vast majority” of crypto assets are securities and that only a few may not be securities.
• The SEC classifies many crypto assets as “investment contracts” and is reportedly investigating non-fungible tokens.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been regulating crypto assets since the introduction of Bitcoin by Satoshi more than a decade ago. After a year of significant developments in the world of crypto, many are wondering what the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will bring in 2023.

One notable change is the expansion of the SEC’s crypto-asset enforcement team, which has nearly doubled in size since early 2022. This suggests that the SEC will continue to regulate crypto assets by enforcement in 2023.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has expressed the belief that the “vast majority” of crypto assets are securities and that only a few may not be securities. To this end, the SEC classifies many crypto assets as “investment contracts”. This is in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of an investment contract in SEC v. W.J. Howey & Co., wherein an investor invests money into a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits derived from the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others.

In addition to this, the SEC is reportedly investigating non-fungible tokens. Gensler has commented that he may “think CryptoKitties is not a security”, and yet the SEC’s investigation into these tokens shows that it is still taking a cautious approach when it comes to crypto assets.

The SEC’s approach to crypto regulation is similar to the approach taken by Gensler when he was Chairman of the CFTC. When he was at the helm of the CFTC, Gensler disregarded industry opposition and leveraged the existing futures regulatory framework in order to implement new swap market regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2008.

It is clear that the SEC will remain a key player in the world of crypto in 2023. With its increasing enforcement team and its steady approach to crypto regulation, the SEC will likely continue to play an important role in protecting investors and maintaining the integrity of the crypto markets.

Catch the Wash Traders: Report Reveals 58% of NFT Trading Volume on Ethereum is Fake

• A recent report compiled on blockchain data site Dune Analytics has revealed that wash trading accounts for over half (58%) of the total NFT trade volumes on Ethereum in 2022.
• The researcher used four filters to weed out odd trading behavior that most likely pointed to wash trading.
• The report shows that over $30 billion of NFT trading volume from all time could be linked to wash trading, which represents about 1.5% of all trades that have taken place on Ethereum.

The non-fungible token (NFT) market has recently been plagued by wash trading – a form of market manipulation where the buyer and seller in a transaction are the same or collude together. To better understand the prevalence of this issue, a recent report was compiled on blockchain data site Dune Analytics. The analysis revealed that wash trading accounts for over half (58%) of the total NFT trade volumes on Ethereum in 2022.

The researcher used four filters to weed out odd trading behavior that most likely pointed to wash trading. First, they filtered out obvious trades of NFTs between the same wallet address. Second, they looked at back-and-forth trades of the same NFT between two different wallet addresses – one of the most common wash trading tactics. Third, if a wallet address had purchased the same NFT three or more times, it was flagged as a wash trade because of the unlikeliness of the situation. Finally, if a buyer and seller in an NFT transaction had wallets that were first funded by the same wallet, it was obvious that there was a connection between them and was therefore flagged as a wash trade.

The report found that wash trading was most prevalent in January, accounting for over 80% of the total NFT trading volume that month. In total, over $30 billion of NFT trading volume from all time could be linked to wash trading. This number is staggering, though it only represents about 1.5% of all trades that have taken place on Ethereum. This data shows that the majority of NFT trades are legitimate, but happen at a generally lower price than the wash trades.

Given the prevalence of wash trading within the NFT market, it is more important than ever to be vigilant when engaging in any NFT transactions. It is important to research the details of any potential transactions and the parties involved in order to ensure that the transaction is legitimate. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the potential risks of wash trading and to avoid engaging in any suspicious activities. With these precautions, NFT traders can protect themselves and the NFT market from market manipulation and malicious actors.