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Crypto Neobank Wallbit Leaves Venezuela Due to Sanctions

Crypto Neobank Wallbit Leaves Venezuela Due to SanctionsWallbit, a crypto-enabled neobank, announced it would stop serving users in Venezuela after its banking partner in the U.S. called on it to do so. The platform announced this move was the direct result of the economic sanctions that the country is currently facing, and that Venezuelans outside the country would continue to be served. […]

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Uphold exchange denies owing millions to failed crypto lender Cred

Cred sued Uphold in June over a jointly promoted crypto yield product called CredEarn.

Crypto exchange Uphold has denied owing around $784 million to the liquidation trust of bankrupt crypto investment platform Cred.

At a court hearing on Jan. 11, Uphold filed a motion to dismiss all counts in the suit served against the firm by Cred in June.

Cred was a crypto lending service that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2020. In June, Cred’s liquidation trust filed an adversary complaint against Uphold and two affiliates.

It claimed that Uphold worked with Cred co-founders to promote CredEarn and that it owes the crypto lender $783.9 million.

According to the lawsuit, Cred claimed that Uphold worked with Cred's co-founders to promote CredEarn, claiming that crypto investments channeled from Uphold at the time of the market peak would have been worth upwards of $700 million.

The product promised high yields which lured in retail investors, however, Cred’s investments turned sour leading to customer losses and a bankruptcy filing in November 2020. Cred’s bankruptcy case has similarities to those of Celsius Network and Voyager Digital.

Furthermore, it alleged that Uphold “aided and abetted alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by Cred co-founders Daniel Schatt and Lu Hua and other key Cred officers in connection with the CredEarn program,” according to Law360.

The suit also alleged that Uphold was aware that Cred was “implementing a highly risky hedging strategy and that there was regulatory risk associated with cryptocurrency yield earning programs.”

However, in its motion to dismiss the case, Uphold called Cred trust’s allegations against it “incoherent, conclusory, and conspiratorial,” urging the Delaware bankruptcy court to reject them.

Uphold’s attorney, Zachary Taylor of Baker & Hostetler, told the court that “unsupported speculation is all the trust has,” before adding “it makes no sense.”

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Uphold denied the allegations it was aware of the risks at Cred, claiming Cred was owned and operated entirely independently. It also claimed that it was unaware of CredEarn’s financial troubles when it promoted the product to Uphold customers.

The motion also argued that it had nothing to do with Cred’s insolvency.

CredEarn “was owned, managed, and operated independently by Cred, and it was internal fraud and mismanagement that caused Cred's downfall,” it read.

Related: Uphold becomes registered crypto-asset firm in UK post-FCA approval

At the hearing, the Cred trust’s attorney — Joseph B. Evans of McDermott Will & Emery — said that “claims against the insiders regarding their collaboration with Uphold had been resolved separately.”

Bankruptcy Judge John T. Dorsey said he wanted to see that settlement agreement, as the court took the matter under advisement.

Uphold is a global multi-asset digital trading platform that claims to have more than 10 million users across 150 countries. It offers trading services for crypto assets, fiat currencies, equities and precious metals.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Mastercard Debuts Blockchain Surveillance Tool for Banks and Crypto-Centric Card Issuers

Mastercard Debuts Blockchain Surveillance Tool for Banks and Crypto-Centric Card IssuersOn Tuesday, the multinational financial services corporation Mastercard revealed that it is launching a new crypto monitoring product called Crypto Secure. The Crypto Secure software aims to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in order to help banks and crypto-centric debit card issuers identify fraudulent crypto transactions. Mastercard, Ciphertrace Introduce New Crypto Monitoring Product Called Crypto […]

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Cryptocurrency Exchange Uphold Leaves Venezuela Due to US Sanctions

Cryptocurrency Exchange Uphold Leaves Venezuela Due to US SanctionsUphold, a New York-based cryptocurrency exchange, has announced it is closing its operations in Venezuelan markets. The company, which has already had problems with users in the country in the past — shutting down accounts and requiring KYC controls that some users deemed excessive — declares that the exit from Venezuela has to do with […]

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Uphold withdraws with Venezuela, citing US sanctions

The platform advised users to withdraw funds quickly, noting it would halt trading for Venezuela-based clients on July 31, with all accounts “fully restricted” beginning Sept. 30.

Crypto trading platform Uphold said it will be withdrawing support for users in Venezuela due to sanctions imposed by the United States government.

In a Thursday announcement, Uphold said “owing to the increasing complexity of complying with U.S. sanctions” the platform would “very reluctantly” be moving out of Venezuela. The platform advised users to withdraw their funds as soon as possible, noting it would halt trading for Venezuela-based clients on July 31, with all accounts “fully restricted” starting on Sept. 30.

“As a U.S. financial institution, Uphold has to comply with U.S. sanction programs administered by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), including those against the government of Venezuela, state-owned entities and their employees,” said the platform. “Without a change in applicable law, or specific permission from OFAC, these regulations may prohibit us from releasing funds to a small number of our Venezuelan customers.”

Many of the sanctions currently imposed by the U.S. government against Venezuela-based entities went into effect in August 2019, when the previous administration barred transactions with U.S. citizens and companies in addition to ordering all Venezuelan government assets in the United States to be frozen. In May, President Joe Biden eased some of the sanctions, focusing on restrictions around U.S.-based oil companies including Chevron.

Related: Venezuelans reportedly hit by new Bitcoin tax of up to 20%

Prior to many of these economic measures, the Venezuelan government was reportedly able to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) to evade sanctions in certain circumstances. The country was also one of the biggest leaders in crypto peer-to-peer transactions in 2021 according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Uphold becomes registered crypto-asset firm in UK post-FCA approval

A total of 200 crypto firms have applied for the U.K.’s “crypto license,” but tough requirements have forced many to withdraw their applications.

A European subsidiary of United States-based crypto trading platform Uphold has received approval from the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

According to the FCA website, Uphold’s U.K. subsidiary Uphold Europe Limited gained regulatory approval on Thursday, joining the select list of 32 firms that have received FCA approval as Registered Crypto Asset service providers out of the 200 that applied. The approval signifies that the firm is in compliance with the U.K. Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing regulations.

FCA Registered Crypto Asset firms. Source: FCA

For crypto exchanges and service providers to offer their services to U.K.-based customers, they must register with the FCA and comply with the existing Anti-Money Laundering rules. The FCA has granted three crypto licenses — to eToro, Uphold and Light Technology — in 2022.

Related: BitPanda to provide crypto custody with the acquisition of FCA-approved Trustology

The U.K.’s Crypto Asset Firm Registration is considered one of the most stringent, as some of the leading global crypto exchanges such as Binance have failed to secure the license. The 32 approved include major names like Gemini, Genesis, Coinjar and Robinhood.

With the approval, Uphold aims to expand its range of services to U.K. customers. The CEO of the firm believes the FCA approval highlights its commitment to compliance and regulations. Uphold didn’t immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comments.

The U.K. has emerged as one of the leading nations in terms of strict crypto compliance requirements. Even though the crypto market is not formally regulated there, AML compliance and registration have made it one of the tougher regulatory markets to crack for crypto firms.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Latin America stands to benefit most from crypto, says Uphold exec

Uphold CEO JP Thieriot said that the nature of life in Latin America begs for use cases based on Bitcoin.

El Salvador’s Bitcoin (BTC) adoption has triggered a digital asset revolution in Latin America, and the region could benefit even more if people can exchange cryptocurrencies, fiat money and the upcoming central bank digital currencies (CBDC) on the same infrastructure, said the head of multicurrency investment platform Uphold.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Uphold CEO JP Thieriot underscored that the nature of life in Latin America begs for Bitcoin-based use cases, saying the region will benefit the most as crypto adoption continues to grow.

Venezuela and Colombia are the two most prominent crypto adopters in the region besides El Salvador. However, other nations are closing the gap rather quickly, with El Salvador acting as a catalyst, Thieriot explained. Of Uphold’s 7 million users, 1.4 million originate from Latin America, and the high adoption rate in the region continues to attract global players.

Bitcoin would be embraced first by the unbanked and those who send or receive remittances, he said. However, CBDCs would become more popular than the largest cryptocurrency for merchants. “Many businesses may understandably prefer something stable for transactions, but investment portfolios would be much more benefited by Bitcoin,” he added.

“With the appropriate channels in place to convert between Bitcoin, U.S. dollars and any potential CBDCs, users could really just use whichever form of currency works best for their use case.”

Speaking of CBDCs, Thieriot noted that not every country needs to make its own digital currency, as it would be easy to adopt an existing one. He added that the main goal for Latin American countries should be a functional system where anyone in the region could simply exchange between assets.

Related: Puerto Rico sees resurgence of interest among crypto rich

As Thieriot mentioned, Latin America has enjoyed significant growth in crypto funding in 2021. Mexican cryptocurrency exchange Bitso became the first crypto unicorn of the region thanks to a $250-million Series C capital raise in May.

Mercado Bitcoin, a Brazilian crypto exchange, also completed a mega-funding round, securing $200 million in SoftBank financing. “That’s fantastic, and we expect many more are coming,” Thieriot commented, adding:

“Seeing as banking the unbanked is one of the main philosophical and practical pillars of cryptocurrency, this could mean offering people, for the first time, access to financial services that rival or surpass anything in the legacy system.“

This means families who are dependent on remittances don’t have to see 10%–20% of their income siphoned off by money transfer companies, Thieriot continued. “This means that literally, anyone can begin building an investment portfolio. It will basically change the standard of living.”

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Payments Giant Mastercard Acquires Blockchain Intelligence Firm Ciphertrace

Payments Giant Mastercard Acquires Blockchain Intelligence Firm CiphertraceMastercard, the American multinational financial services corporation, announced the company is dipping further into the digital asset ecosystem by acquiring the blockchain intelligence firm Ciphertrace. The partnership announcement says the firm will help bolster Ciphertrace’s and Mastercard’s cyber security solutions. Mastercard Purchased Ciphertrace for Undisclosed Sum On Thursday, the financial payments giant Mastercard (NYSE: MA) […]

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Mastercard Enhancing Program for Cryptocurrency Wallets and Exchanges

Mastercard Enhancing Program for Cryptocurrency Wallets and ExchangesPayments giant Mastercard has announced that its crypto card program is being enhanced for cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges. The company said, “Making the process simpler will allow more banks and crypto partners the opportunity to offer their consumers the choice of paying with cryptocurrency.” Mastercard Making It Simpler to Convert Cryptocurrency to Traditional Fiat Currency […]

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Uphold obtains FINRA approval to acquire US broker-dealer

The acquisition will reportedly allow Uphold to launch fractional equities in the United States in 2021.

Cryptocurrency wallet and trading platform Uphold has received regulatory approval to purchase JNK Securities, a U.S. broker-dealer.

In an announcement from Uphold today, the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, gave the firm the green light to acquire JNK Securities. Uphold said the acquisition is aimed at allowing the platform to launch fractional equities in the United States later this year in addition to providing an interface for users to trade between crypto, stocks, carbon credits, precious metals, and other assets.

“Bitcoin to Tesla stock in one seamless user experience will soon become a reality for our U.S. customers,” said Uphold CEO JP Thieriot. “The move will introduce unprecedented speed and convenience for retail investors seeking to trade between traditional and emerging asset classes.”

According to Uphold, this would make the platform one of the first crypto firms to own a broker-dealer approved to offer equities on an omnibus basis to retail investors in the U.S. Investors would be able to purchase fractions of a stock in much the same way crypto users do not have to buy an entire Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), or any number of tokens. The firm said it plans to increase its equities offering from 50 U.S. stocks to 3,500 stocks and options in 2021.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney