News Roundup — Javier Milei Is Now President In Argentina With A Pro-Bitcoin Agenda

November 27, 2023

Major news stories this week;

  1. Javier Milei Is Now President In Argentina With A Pro-Bitcoin Agenda
  2. $225,000,000 in USDT Frozen by Tether Following Investigation Into International Crime Syndicate
  3. New Zealand Dollar Stablecoin Regulated by New Zealand Financial Markets Authority Goes Live
  4. Binance cold wallet sent $3.9 billion worth of USDT days before guilty plea
  5. Santander Private Bank Introduces Bitcoin, Ethereum Trading for Clients in Switzerland

Story Summaries;

  1. Argentina has chosen Javier Milei, a pro-bitcoin and far-right populist figure, as its new president. Milei, celebrated for his critical stance against central banks, won the presidential run-off on November 19 with an impressive 55% of the votes. This decisive victory, placed him nearly 3 million votes, Bloomberg reported, ahead of his opponent. The election results reflect a significant political shift in Argentina, influenced heavily by Milei's strong opposition to the central bank, which he labels a "scam" and an instrument for politicians to levy inflationary taxes on the populace. His views have found impact within Argentina's inflation crisis, with the Argentine peso experiencing in excess of 140% annual inflation over the past year. Milei's victory is not just a political statement, but also a potential game-changer for bitcoin. The president-elect sees bitcoin as a key to reviving the economy, advocating for monetary control to return to the private sector. However, it is important to note that Milei has not yet formally proposed making Bitcoin legal tender in Argentina.
  2. The firm behind USDT has voluntarily frozen over $200 million worth of stablecoins to assist the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In a new announcement, Tether says they are freezing $225 million in USDT funds in certain Southeast Asian wallets allegedly connected to “pig-butchering” romance scams. In a pig butchering scam, bad actors form a relationship with a victim online to gain their trust and convince the victim to invest in cryptocurrency platforms that the scammers control. Once the victim has invested a significant amount of money, the con artist disappears with the funds. The fraudsters refer to their victims as “pigs” because they use elaborate storylines to “fatten up” the victim into believing they are in a close relationship. According to the announcement, Tether and OKX are assisting the DOJ by freezing the funds of wallets associated with an international human trafficking syndicate behind the alleged scams.
  3. Easy Crypto, a cryptocurrency exchange based in New Zealand, has partnered with Labrys, an Australian blockchain development firm, to introduce a stablecoin called NZDD. The NZDD stablecoin was launched on November 22 and is initially available on the Ethereum blockchain. However, there are plans to expand its availability to other platforms such as Polygon, BNB Smart Chain, Arbitrum, Optimism and Base. To ensure transparency and compliance with financial regulations, the NZDD stablecoin is backed 1:1 with cash held in trust and regulated by the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority. The collaboration between Easy Crypto and Labrys aims to address the difficulties faced by New Zealanders when using U.S. dollar-pegged tokens, offering them the opportunity to optimize their profits within a local currency framework.
  4. Binance sent $3.9 billion worth of stablecoins from one of its cold wallets to a separate Binance wallet days before the announcement of a settlement on US federal charges amounting to over $4.3 billion. On-chain data from TronScan shows that a multi-billion dollar transaction was completed on Nov. 9 from a wallet labeled ‘Binance-Cold 2’ to a wallet labeled ‘Binance 3’. The ‘Binance 3’ address, created in August 2022, currently holds $3.6 billion worth of assets, with the majority of it being tether (USDT). At the time of writing, it has a lifetime transaction count of only 338. A majority of the 88.3 billion USDT currently in circulation has been issued on Tron, about 46.8 billion, compared to 40 billion on Ethereum, according to Tether. Binance-Cold 2’ currently has $6.6 billion worth of assets remaining, with a total of 2498 transactions since it was first created in November 2018. Binance has previously noted in a blog post that its cold wallets, otherwise known as offline wallets, are responsible for receiving overflow funds and holding the bulk of the company’s funds.
  5. Santander Private Banking International, part of Spanish financial services giant Banco Santander, is offering high-net-worth clients with Swiss accounts trading and investing in the major cryptocurrencies bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH). Over the next several months, Santander will offer additional cryptocurrencies that meet the bank’s screening criteria, the announcement said. Santander said the service is provided only upon client request through relationship managers, and the assets are held in a regulated custody model in which the bank stores the private cryptographic keys in a secure environment. This is a bold move, given that most big banks prefer to be twiddling around with tokenization and tend to avoid exposure to open-access blockchains and the cryptocurrencies that run on them.
    Banco Santander is more than 160 years old and has 166 million customers. The private bank caters to 210,000 wealthy clients, with assets and deposits accounting for about $315 billion.

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

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