GOP Rep. Queries FDIC on Alleged Efforts to Purge Crypto Activity

U.S. Republican Congressman Queries FDIC

• U.S. Repubican Congressman Tom Emmer sent a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Martin Gruenberg, regarding reports that the FDIC is “weaponizing recent instability” in US banking industry to “purge legal crypto activity” from the US.
• Emmer has also been questioning other US lawmakers and agencies about their actions against crypto businesses, including SEC Chairman Gary Gensler. He has also introduced legislation that would prohibit the US central bank from issuing a central bank digital currency directly to anyone.
• Former House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank had highlighted the targeted nature of these regulatory efforts to ’single out‘ financial institutions and ’send a message to get people away from crypto.‘

Letter To FDIC’s Gruenberg

Tom Emmer’s letter to Martin Gruenberg asked whether the FDIC instructed banks not to provide banking services to cryptocurrency firms. The Minnesota congressman added: Individuals from across the industry, including former House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank highlighted the targeted nature of these regulatory efforts to ’single out‘ financial institutions and ’send a message to get people away from crypto.‘

Barney Frank’s Commentary

The comments made by former lawmaker Barney Frank stem from his commentary about being surprised by Signature Bank’s collapse. Frank said he suspected there was an „anti-crypto message“ behind Signature Bank’s demise.

Response From New York Regulator

The New York State Department of Financial Services disagreed with Frank’s suspicions and stated that placing Signature into receivership of the FDIC had „nothing to do with crypto.“

Emmer’s Question To FDIC Chairman

Despite this denial, Tom Emmer’s letter implicitly asked Martin Gruenberg whether or not the FDIC specifically directed banks not to provide banking services to cryptocurrency firms: „Have you communicated—explicitly or implicitly—to any banks that they should deny service or otherwise discourage customers engaging in legal digital asset activities?“

Thailand Waives Tax for Digital Asset Investment Tokens – $1B in Revenue Lost


  • The Thai government has announced that companies issuing digital tokens for investments will receive a corporate and value-added tax waiver.
  • This decision is expected to result in the government losing more than $1 billion in tax revenue over the next two years.
  • The new rules also seek to protect digital asset users by requiring entities offering crypto custody services to have measures in place that guarantee efficient custody of digital assets and keys.

Tax Waivers for Digital Asset Investment Tokens

Thailand’s government has said companies that issue digital tokens will receive a waiver that exempts them from paying corporate and value-added tax. According to a report, the Thai government anticipates losing just over $1 billion in tax revenue as a result of the waiver.

Relaxation of Tax Rules

Thailand-based companies that issue digital tokens for investments are set to receive a corporate and value-added tax waiver, the Thai government has reportedly said. As a result of the waiver, the Thai government, which is projecting investment token offerings worth $3.71 billion (128 billion baht) over the next two years, said it expects to lose more than $1 billion in tax revenue. According to a government spokesperson, Rachada Dhnadirek, such investment token offerings add to Thai companies‘ traditional capital-raising methods such as debentures, hence the cabinet’s decision to waive the taxes. The government’s nod to the tax waiver came just over a year after it announced the relaxation of tax rules for investments in digital assets. At the time, the country’s finance minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, said the rule change would help promote and develop Thailand’s cryptocurrency industry. As per a March 2022 Reuters report,the new rules enabled „traders to offset annual losses against gains for taxes due on cryptocurrency investments.“ The report added that the rules would also „exempt a value-added tax of 7% for cryptocurrency trading on authorized exchanges.“

Protecting Digital Asset Users

Besides preserving the stability of the country’s financial system,the new rules also ostensibly seekto protectdigital assetusers. For instance ,Bitcoin .com News reportedin late Jan2023thattentitiesofferingcryptocustodyserviceswere nowrequiredtohaveinplacemechanismsthatguaranteethe“efficientcustodyofdigitalassetsandkeys .“Beforethis ,theThaiSecuritiesandExchangeCommissionhadissuedregulationswhichobligedcryptocompaniesto“informpotentialcustomersoftheinvestmentrisksintheiradvertisements .“

Conclusion It appears that Thailand is taking steps towards creatinga regulatory frameworkthat can bothpromoteitscryptocurrencyindustrywhileprotectinginvestors . Withtaxwaiversbeinggrantedtocompaniesissuingdigitaltokensforinvestments ,itseemsthatthecountryisstrivingtocreateafavorableenvironmentforthetradingoftheseassets .

Crypto Exchange Bitzlato Restores Access to User Funds

• Bitzlato, a Russia-linked cryptocurrency exchange, has begun allowing its customers to withdraw their funds after being shut down by law enforcement in the U.S. and Europe alleging that it had been used for money laundering.
• The Hong Kong registered exchange had been offline for over a month during which it was seized by French authorities and four of its team members were arrested in European countries.
• Bitzlato intends to relocate to Russia and restore operations and withdrawals from there, with co-founder Anton Shkurenko announcing that French investigators had seized the platform’s hot wallet with over a third of its assets.

Bitzlato Crypto Exchange Restores Access to User Funds

Russia-linked cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato has begun processing withdrawals of digital assets belonging to its customers. The trading platform was shut down in an operation carried out by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Europe alleging that it had been used to launder dirty money.

Users Allowed Withdrawals After Weeks Offline

Users who have deposited funds to Bitzlato can now start to withdraw their coins, the recently seized crypto exchange said in a Telegram message. The announcement comes after a period of over a month during which the trading platform was unavailable.

Alleged Money Laundering & Arrests

The Hong Kong-registered exchange, better known to Russian-speaking traders, was taken down in a coordinated law enforcement operation in January when French authorities took control of its website and their American colleagues arrested its co-founder Anatoly Legkodymov. The U.S. Justice Department believes Bitzlato has processed over $700 million in funds from criminal entities such as the darknet market Hydra and the Russian crypto pyramid scheme Finiko. According Europol, it exchanged over $1 billion of illicit money.

Backstage Games & Relocation Plans

„We were gone for 42 long days, but we are back,“ said Bitzlato on Telegram „A lot of work has been done to ensure that your data is safe and the coins are in your wallets.“ It also insisted it had been used as „a bargaining chip in backstage games.“ In late January, four more members of its team including three executives were arrested in European countries while other co-founder Anton Shkurenko was briefly detained before being released by Russian police in February.. Shkurenko announced plans for relocating operations and restoring withdrawals from Russia afterwards although he noted that French investigators had already seized Bitzlao’s hot wallet containing over a third of its assets so withdrawals would be partial at first .

Conclusion: Reactions To News Of Restored Access

Do you think Russian authorities will allow Bitzlato to operate from the country? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below!

Kenyan Senate Ready to Shape Crypto Policy with Central Bank

Kenyan Senate to Engage Central Bank on Crypto Policy

• The Kenyan Senate’s Information, Communication and Technology committee has said it is ready to engage the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and other stakeholders in shaping the country’s policy towards crypto assets and virtual asset service providers.
• The establishment of such a policy will help Kenya enjoy the benefits of innovation while minimizing the risks.
• The Joint Financial Sector Regulators‘ Forum (JFSRF) also said it would consider creating a technical working group with a mandate recommending the establishment of a crypto regulatory framework.

Kenyan Senate Ready to Engage Central Bank

The Kenyan Senate’s Information, Communication and Technology committee has declared that it is prepared to work with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and other stakeholders to develop its policy towards virtual asset service providers (VASPs) and „the use of crypto assets in Kenya.“ According to the committee, such a policy helps govern the use of crypto assets in the country „to ensure Kenya harnesses the benefits of financial innovation while minimizing the risks.“

Harnessing Benefits Of Financial Innovation

The Kenyan Senate has stated that they are hoping that by establishing this policy, they can ensure that Kenya takes advantage of financial innovation while also mitigating any potential risks associated with doing so. This follows two months after the Joint Financial Sector Regulators‘ Forum (JFSRF) announced their intentions to create a technical working group which will be responsible for recommending regulations related to cryptocurrencies.

Promoting Adoption Of Technology And Innovation Within The Financial Sector

The five-member JFSRF body further declared their intention to coordinate efforts which will lead towards fostering adoption of emerging technology and innovations within the financial services sector, as well as enhancing effective regulation and supervision.


In summary, by engaging with CBK and other stakeholders on developing a crypto-related policy, Kenyan senators hope to foster an environment where cryptocurrency can be used safely while taking advantage of its associated financial opportunities. Additionally, JFSRF plans on creating a working group which will recommend regulations regarding cryptocurrencies as part of their efforts to promote technological innovation within finance sector.

Norwegian Authorities Seize $6M in Crypto From Axie Infinity Heist With FBI’s Help

• Norwegian authorities, in collaboration with the FBI and DOJ, have seized about $6 million from the Axie Infinity heist.
• The attack was perpetrated by North Korean hacker group Lazarus and involved laundering money through
• This is the largest crypto seizure ever made by Norwegian police.

Axie Infinity Heist

Last year, the online video game Axie Infinity suffered an attack which resulted in a reported loss of $620 million. The attacker managed to gain control over Sky Mavis’s four Ronin Validators and a third-party validator run by Axie DAO. It was later determined that North Korean hacker group Lazarus was behind the heist.

Seizure of Stolen Crypto

Norwegian authorities, in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), have allegedly seized about $6 million that was stolen in last year’s Axie Infinity heist – the largest crypto seizure ever made by Norwegian police according to Økokrim, Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime.

Money Laundering Operation

The hackers began a large-scale and sophisticated money laundering operation immediately after the attack, Økokrim detailed. In May last year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned crypto mixer for being used in this process – processing over $20.5 million in illicit proceeds from the heist into various cryptocurrency wallets owned by Lazarus Group members or affiliates around the world.

Collaboration Between Nations

First State Attorney Marianne Bender commented on this international effort against digital crime: „We work with FBI specialists on tracking cryptocurrency,“ she said, „Such cooperation between countries means that we as a society stand stronger in the fight against digital, profit-motivated crime.“


Norway’s success at recovering some funds from Axie Infinity serves as an example for other nations looking to combat cybercrime involving cryptocurrencies – both domestically and across borders when possible through international cooperation efforts like this one between Norway and FBI!

South Korea Sanctions North Korea Over Crypto Theft – $1.2 Billion Stolen

• South Korea has imposed sanctions on North Korea in relation to a number of cyberattacks, often resulting in the theft of cryptocurrency.
• The affected individuals and entities are associated with North Korea’s main intelligence agency, and are believed to have stolen over $1.2 billion worth of crypto assets since 2017.
• The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced these sanctions, which are the first independently imposed by Seoul.

South Korean Sanctions on North Korea

South Korea has imposed sanctions on the North in relation to a number of cyberattacks often resulting in the theft of cryptocurrency. The authorities in Seoul say the regime in Pyongyang is using the digital assets to fund its nuclear and missile development projects.

First Cybercrime Sanctions by South Korea

The South Korean government has introduced sanctions in response to cyberattacks allegedly carried out by North Korea to finance its military programs. The measures target four North Korean individuals and seven entities, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul announced Friday.

Targets Under Scrutiny

The sanctions, which are South’s first independently imposed, are aimed at actors associated with North Korea’s main intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is considered responsible for Pyongyang’s cyberwarfare operations. Among them are the hacking collective Lazarus Group, linked to hundreds of millions of dollars of stolen crypto, and one of its members, Park Jin Hyok, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list of cybercriminals.

„Not Only Targets“

These are „not the only targets“ under scrutiny, a senior Foreign Ministry official quoted by the Korea Herald emphasized, without providing details. UPI reported that Pyongyang Automation University, believed to be training North Korean hackers, has also been blacklisted.

Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2017

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that these hackers have stolen digital currency worth more than $1.2 billion since 2017. Over half of it came from an attack last March on Ronin blockchain network for online game Axie Infinity.

Russia’s Crypto Mining Capacity Expands Despite Market Downturn


• The total capacity of crypto mining facilities in Russia has been increasing in the past year, despite the market downturn and sanctions.
• Depressed prices of mining equipment and stronger interest from domestic customers have been identified as major factors for the trend.
• The capacity of Russian mining farms has exceeded 500 megawatts (MW) at the end 2022.

Growth Despite Sanctions

The total capacity of crypto mining facilities in Russia has been increasing in the past year, despite the market downturn and sanctions. Depressed prices of mining equipment and stronger interest from domestic customers have been identified as major factors for this trend. Bitriver, which was specifically targeted by U.S. sanctions, has actually doubled the number of its data centers and available capacity, realizing several large-scale projects in Russian regions.

Mining Advantages

With abundant energy resources and cool climate, the Russian Federation has certain advantages as a mining destination. However, the ongoing clash with the West over the war in Ukraine has affected industry growth due to financial restrictions imposed on Russia’s ability to use currencies to circumvent sanctions.

Unclear Prospects

BWCUG reported that new European and North American clients are reluctant to use Russian facilities due to unclear prospects for crypto mining legislation in Russia; a bill designed to regulate it was submitted to parliament but is yet to be adopted. EMCD also noted that profitability may decrease if special electricity tariffs or taxes are introduced for coin minting enterprises.


Despite these challenges, Russia continues to expand its cryptocurrency mining capacity thanks to depressed prices of equipment and strong local demand. The total capacity is expected to reach 500 MW by 2022, setting up miners for continued growth provided they can overcome regulatory uncertainty and other potential limitations imposed by electricity costs or taxation policies.

Fed Rejects Custodia Bank’s Attempt to Join Federal Reserve System

• The U.S. Federal Reserve Board has rejected the attempt of Custodia Bank to become a member of the Federal Reserve System.
• The Federal Reserve Board argued that the business model proposed by Custodia Bank presented significant safety and soundness risks due to its focus on crypto activities.
• The Federal Reserve Board concluded that the bank’s application was inconsistent with the required factors under the law.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board has denied Custodia Bank’s application to become a member of the Federal Reserve System. Custodia is a special purpose depository institution which does not have federal deposit insurance, and wishes to engage in „untested crypto activities,“ including issuing a crypto asset. The Board determined that such activities are highly likely to be inconsistent with safe and sound banking practices.

In a statement released Friday, the Federal Reserve Board explained that the Custodia Bank’s business model presents significant safety and soundness risks. The Board noted that the firm’s risk management framework was not sufficient to address relevant concerns, such as the ability to mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks. Furthermore, the Board argued that the application, as submitted by the company, is „inconsistent with the required factors under the law.“

The Federal Reserve Board further detailed that Custodia’s focus on crypto activities is untested, and that the novel business model presented safety and soundness risks. The Board concluded that, due to the risks presented, the application was inconsistent with the required factors under the law and that the order will be released following a review for confidential information.

Custodia Bank’s attempt to become part of the Federal Reserve System was ultimately unsuccessful. Membership in the Federal Reserve System would have given Custodia, a bank chartered by the state of Wyoming, a number of benefits. These include access to the Federal Reserve’s payments system, the ability to borrow from the central bank, and access to a variety of financial services. However, the Federal Reserve Board ultimately decided that the risks posed by Custodia’s business model were too great.

Institutional Investors Bullish on Bitcoin: $100K Price Target Expected

•A new survey shows that institutional investors expect „a strong year ahead for bitcoin“ and are confident about the cryptocurrency’s long-term valuation.
•The survey, commissioned by Nickel and conducted by market research company Pureprofile this month, interviewed 200 institutional investors and wealth managers across the U.S., U.K., Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, UAE, and Brazil.
•In addition, 65% of institutional investors surveyed agree that bitcoin could reach $100,000.

Institutional investors have given a strong indication that bitcoin will have a successful year in 2021. A survey conducted by Nickel Digital Asset Management and market research company Pureprofile has revealed that a majority of institutional investors are confident about the long-term prospects of the cryptocurrency.

The survey, which interviewed 200 institutional investors and wealth managers from across the U.S., U.K., Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, UAE, and Brazil, collected responses from those who manage a collective $2.85 trillion in assets. The survey revealed that nearly nine out of 10 professional investors predict bitcoin price rise this year.

In addition, 65% of the investors surveyed agree that bitcoin could reach $100,000. Of this group, 58% believe this will happen within three to five years, while 25% believe it will take longer than five years. Furthermore, 23% forecasted that BTC will exceed $30,000 by the end of 2023.

The survey results demonstrate that institutional investors are taking bitcoin seriously, and are confident in its long-term prospects. This is reflected in the fact that many institutional investors are pouring money into bitcoin, leading to a surge in its price. According to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), investments in bitcoin futures have grown exponentially since mid-2020.

This growing demand for bitcoin from institutional investors is also reflected in the increased number of trading platforms offering services to them. For example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group now offers bitcoin futures and options for institutional investors, and more platforms are expected to follow suit.

The increasing confidence in bitcoin from institutional investors is a sign of its growing maturity and mainstream acceptance. This trend is likely to continue, as more investors recognize the potential of the cryptocurrency and its ability to provide a hedge against inflation. As such, the survey results indicate that the coming year could be a strong one for bitcoin.

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