News Roundup — Hong Kong approves spot Bitcoin ETFs

April 15, 2024

Major news stories this week;

  1. Hong Kong approves spot Bitcoin, Ethereum ETFs by Bosera and HashKey
  2. Bitcoin Cash completes halving weeks before Bitcoin’s turn
  3. Crypto.com Wins Full License in Dubai, Expands Reach to Institutions
  4. FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried appeals conviction and 25-year sentence for fraud
  5. 1inch unveils crypto debit card in partnership with Mastercard and Baanx

Story Summaries;

  1. HashKey Capital and Bosera International have secured conditional approval from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to offer spot Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the region. In a blog announcement on Apr. 15, HashKey said the ETFs “bridge the gap for traditional institutions to invest in virtual assets,” adding that the move will “significantly expand” mainstream and retail investors’ exposure to cryptocurrencies. HashKey also expects the approval to stimulate the development of the crypto market in Hong Kong and Asia, as it’s anticipated to “attract more global funds and enhance the market’s underlying vitality.” However, specific details regarding the launch date of the ETFs haven’t been disclosed.
  2. Bitcoin Cash underwent its halving just a few weeks before Bitcoin’s quadrennial event. The halving for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) happened Thursday, reducing block rewards to 3.125 BCH. Unlike bitcoin, this is only the second such event for the forked network. The last halving took place in early April 2020, with block rewards falling to 6.25 BCH. BCH, a proof-of-work blockchain, was intended to be a cheaper and faster alternative to the original bitcoin chain, from which it forked in 2017. Bitcoin Cash’s market cap sits around $13 billion, far below the $1.3 trillion market cap set by bitcoin. The price, however, has gradually increased as the forked blockchain shadowed bitcoin’s gains.
  3. Crypto.com announced Tuesday that its Dubai-based entity achieved full operational approval from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). It will commence operational services by catering to institutional investors. It follows Crypto.com satisfying VARA’s pre-operational requirements in Nov. 2023. Notably, it represents the first instance of a global crypto exchange being authorized to operate with fiat currency within the United Arab Emirates. Crypto.com’s Dubai-based branch, CRO DAX Middle East, facilitates spot trading activities and brokerage services for staking.
  4. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has appealed his conviction and 25-year prison sentence for stealing billions of dollars from customers of his defunct cryptocurrency exchange. Bankman-Fried was convicted in November on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in what US authorities described as one of the biggest financial frauds in US history. The 32-year-old former billionaire was the poster boy for cryptocurrency,  gracing magazine covers and enjoying audiences with lawmakers, before the speculator collapse of FTX in 2022 amid a deluge of customer withdrawals. Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Marc Mukasey had announced his intention to appeal the verdict and sentence during his sentencing hearing on March 28. Bankman-Fried’s appeal could take years and would need to convince a higher court that Kaplan had made significant errors during the trial that infringed on his legal rights. US federal courts rarely side with criminal defendants attempting to overturn lower court decisions, granting fewer than 10 percent of appeals.
  5. Decentralized finance (DeFi) firm 1inch Network has debuted a new debit card with cryptocurrency-to-fiat bridge functionality. The new card was developed in partnership with Mastercard and Baanx. According to a blog post from 1inch, the new debit cards will feature full functionality, including a physical card featuring an account number, expiration date and the “CVC” security code required to conduct some transactions. It will also have a virtual card feature allowing users to conduct transactions digitally where supported.

And that’s all for last week’s news! Wishing you a great week ahead!

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