Malaysia’s SC Orders Malaysia to Shut Down All Operations in the Country

Malaysia’s Security Commission has ordered the largest crypto exchange Binance to shut down all its operations in the country. The commission has also warned investors to stop all their transactions with the exchange and urged them to withdraw all their investments immediately.

According to the SC, Binance continued carrying out illegal operations in the country even after its inclusion to the investors’ alert list in July 2020. It will be given 14 days to cease its operations starting July 26. It was also ordered to stop all media and marketing activities to investors in the country to restrict them from accessing the exchange’s Telegram channels.

“Investors are advised to stop dealing with and investing through [the] illegal [digital asset exchange]. Those who currently have accounts with Binance are strongly urged to immediately cease trading through its platforms and to withdraw all their investments immediately.”

But a spokesperson from Binance reiterated in reports that the company is fully aware of the warning and that Binance.com did not operate out of Malaysia.

“Binance takes a collaborative approach in working with regulators in navigating this emerging industry, and we take our compliance obligations very seriously.”

The spokesperson further added:

“We are actively keeping abreast of changing policies, rules and laws in this new space.”

On July 30, Binance also announced in a blog that it will stop offering derivative products for Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands effective immediately. Users from these countries will not be able to open new futures or derivatives products accounts and will be given 90 days after the announcement to close their open positions.

The country is another addition to the growing list of countries that have either launched a crackdown or an investigation against the biggest crypto exchange by trading volume.

On July 27, Binance CEO and founder CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed in a press conference his intention to cooperate with regulators worldwide amidst the series of crackdowns against Binance by regulators around the world.

“We need to be a licensed financial institution everywhere that we operate. If regulators expect Binance to have a headquarters, then Binance will establish regional headquarters around the world, the CEO said. This will give regulators a “very easy to understand structure.”

He further stated:

“We’ve taken a very strong pivot now. So for the last four years, we are a technology startup. From now on we’re going to be a financial institution … I think that mindset is a very strong shift.”

Countries that have either issued a warning or launched an investigation against the crypto exchange include the Cayman Islands, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Poland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Biden Backs Infrastructure Bill Amendment Aim at DeFi Sector

Biden administration backs Portman's amendment on an infrastructure bill aimed at DeFi sector

According to reports, the Biden administration backed an amendment on the infrastructure bill that will expand tax reporting obligations in different sectors of the industry. The amendment was forwarded by Senators Rob Portman (R-Oh) and Mark Warner (D-Va). White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates stated that the administration believes that implementing stricter crypto rules will assure compliance from high-income taxpayers. He further adds:

“We are grateful to Chairman Wyden for his leadership in pushing the Senate to address this issue, however we believe that the alternative amendment put forward by Senators Warner, Portman, and Sinema strikes the right balance and makes an important step forward in promoting tax compliance.”

The amendment has obviously favored BTC (bitcoin) after providing an exemption from the tax reporting obligation for developers and validators who worked on proof-of-work (PoW) networks only.

Although final voting was previously scheduled on Thursday night, it will be moved to take place on Saturday instead as revealed by Sen. Cynthia Lummis.

The backing from the Biden administration has given the amendment leverage and will likely win.

The other amendment proposed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Or), Pat Toomey (R-Pa), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy) could have been more advantageous for the crypto industry.

The approval of the Portman amendment was more likely to strike the whole crypto industry as suggested in a tweet by Ryan Selkis, the founder of research firm Messari. It will be carried out by disabling proof-of-stake (PoS) networks then launching an attack on BTC (bitcoin) over environmental concerns.

Crypto investors have expressed their disappointment over the Portman amendment and vowed to challenge it in court if passed. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has commented on the matter.

“If the last-minute amendment to the Infrastructure Bill introduced by Senator Warner passes, it will be a stunning loss for America and our ability to remain the innovation epicenter of the world. The proposed amendment recklessly imposes an unworkable reporting requirement on the shoulders of software developers and proof-of-stake blockchain validators.”

In a tweet, Bitcoin maximalist Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey expressed his support for the Sen. Pat Toomey amendment.

The infrastructure bill seeks to raise $28B infrastructure funding by broadening taxation on crypto transactions and implementing new reporting requirements for crypto “brokers.”

Venezuela to Launch Digital Bolivar by October

Venezuela launches CBDC

Venezuela will be launching its own CBDC, the “Digital Bolivar” by October.  The move was primarily to counter the country’s rising economic and monetary inflation.

The news came into circulation after the Central Bank of Venezuela posted it on its social media accounts. On Aug. 5,  it was confirmed in an announcement by the  People’s Ministry of Economy and Finance through a post on its website.

The launching of the Digital Bolivar will be alongside the implementation of a monetary redenomination that will eliminate six zeros from the currency. This is the third time that a redenomination will be implemented in the country. In 2007, under President Hugo Chávez’s administration, three zeros were removed from the ledger. In 2018, President Nicolás Maduro took off five zeros after creating Petro, the country’s own cryptocurrency.

But according to the Central Bank of Venezuela, the issuance of the CBDC and monetary redenomination will have no effect on the bolivar’s value, and that the makeover is just to simplify the use of the currency. The bank further stated:

“The bolivar will not be worth any more or any less, in order to facilitate its use, it is being taken to a simpler monetary scale.”

In a report by Bloomberg, Luis Vicente León, economist, and president of Caracas-based Datanalisis has raised his criticism of the new policy. He stated:

“Removing those zeros does not solve, at all, the reason that originated the problem. Without resolving the root of the issue, we will have the same problem in months.”

The country has been plagued by high inflation rates that by 2020 alone, the inflation rate has reached 2,300%. With the creation of the CBDC, the government hopes to curb hyperinflation in the country.

Marvel Partners With Orbis Blockchain, Joins the NFT World

Marvel joins NFT world

Marvel Entertainment has recently partnered with Orbis Blockchain Technologies Limited a digital collectibles company that operates the VeVe Digital Collectibles App. With the announcement, the comic giant has now officially joined the NFT world. Commenting on the partnership, Dan Buckley, the President of Marvel Entertainment stated:

“Since the beginning, collecting has always gone hand in hand with being a Marvel fan. Like us, VeVe understands collecting is about the experience just as much as the product, and we look forward to extending that experience for our fans over the years to come.”

Marvel has announced that it will be releasing NFTs via the VeVe marketplace and will debut with five different Spider-Man collectibles which will be made available on August 7. The price range of each item will be from $40 to $400.

In a press release, VeVe addressed the issue of the growing concern of NFTs carbon footprint by claiming that it will be the first-ever carbon neutral NFT platform and pledged to 100% carbon neutral NFTs. Also, the app uses more energy-efficient distributed ledger technologies as compared to competitors in the market.

The NFT market is now one of the fastest-growing markets in the crypto industry which gave rise to blockchain gaming platforms like Axie Infinity.