“The sanctions announced Thursday include technology export controls to limit Russia’s ability to work on its aerospace, ship-building and other industries; freezing assets belonging to Russia’s largest banks and freezing assets belonging to “Russian elites” and their family members. Biden said Thursday’s sanctions could cut off more than half of Russia’s “high-tech” imports.
The European Union is similarly freezing Russian assets and blocking bank access to European financial markets. Biden added the U.S., EU and other nations will coordinate to try to limit Russia’s ability to transact with euros, dollars, pounds or yen. Biden met with leaders of the G7 earlier in the day.
A U.S. Treasury Department press release said Thursday’s actions would “fundamentally alter” these banks’ ability to conduct operations.
On a daily basis, Russian financial institutions conduct about $46 billion worth of foreign exchange transactions globally, 80% of which are in U.S. dollars. The vast majority of those transactions will now be disrupted.
The U.S. will not attempt to expel Russia from the Swift global messaging network at this time. ‘It’s always an option but it’s not the position the rest of Europe wants to take.’“
“The National Bank of Ukraine announced a range of resolutions on Thursday in connection with martial law now throughout the country.
Among them, the bank banned the issuance of electronic money and the replenishment of electronic wallets. The orders also suspend the foreign exchange market, limit withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts and forbid the withdrawal of foreign currency from customer accounts.”
“Bitcoin (BTC) had tumbled to about $34,400 in the overnight hours following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but has been gaining ground throughout the day. Those gains have sped up since the Biden press conference. Stocks are in rally mode as well, with the Nasdaq – down nearly 3% at its worst levels – currently up 2.4%.
Bitcoin is paring losses as some investors think the majority of the brunt of the selling is over. The Russia-Ukraine crisis will remain a volatile situation, but most of that risk aversion has been priced in for bitcoin.”
“European Union (EU) lawmakers are preparing for inter-institutional discussions on proposed regulations for governing crypto assets, and may be set to ban energy-intensive cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
The Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory package up for discussion includes a provision that could limit the use of the consensus mechanism known as proof-of-work (PoW) across the union’s 27 member states.
The provision seeks to prohibit crypto services that rely on environmentally unsustainable consensus mechanisms starting in January 2025. The provision specifically refers to PoW.
EU lawmakers began focusing on energy concerns following an open letter from Swedish regulators in November 2021, which called for a bloc-wide ban on cryptocurrency mining. The call gained momentum, winning support from politicians in Germany, Spain and Norway. Crypto advocates pushed back, saying regulators might be rushing into a ban when regulation would suffice.
Berger, the lawmaker responsible for handling the procedure and content of the MiCA legislative package, said debate on the energy issue has escalated. Berger said he does not feel MiCA is the place for settling technological or energy-related rules, as the package seeks to regulate crypto as assets.
Three-way discussions between the European Commission, Council and Parliament on finalizing MiCA are set to begin at the end of February.”
“zkSync, a protocol responsible for implementing Ethereum scaling platforms, accomplished the unexpected yesterday, announcing the test network release of an Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible Zero-Knowledge rollup (zkEVM) years ahead of schedule.
The new test network is the first implementation of a ZK rollup capable of running the full Ethereum environment and will provide great insight into how capable zero-knowledge technology is at scaling blockchains.
If zkEVM is capable of offering fees similar to other ZK rollups, Ethereum’s scaling issues may be mitigated earlier than expected. Ethereum native applications will be able to manageably port over Solidity-based contracts and offer a full range of products in a cheap fee environment backed by Ethereum’s security. zkEVM will theoretically be able to host the industry’s favorite applications without sacrificing liquidity, decentralization or product offering.”
“Celsius, a crypto lending platform best known for paying out yield considerably higher than bank savings accounts on stablecoin deposits, announced Thursday that it is committing $30 million of wrapped ether (wETH) to Maple Finance’s liquidity pools.
Maple Finance provides liquidity to market makers such as Wintermute and Amber. In turn, Celsius would be able to get exposure to the yield generated by firms like Wintermute and Amber for its vast pools of capital.
The interesting angle is that Celsius is using DeFi to run its lending infrastructure. It’s a big move forward where you have a CeFi lender acknowledging that they need to be in DeFi and turning to Maple to run their infrastructure.
While the pool is starting at $30 million, Powell projects that it could be worth $500 million or even $1 billion after 12 months.”