4 March

“In response to a letter from four Senate Democrats raising concerns about cryptocurrencies’ potential use by Russia to avoid sanctions, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that the U.S. will monitor the situation. But by the sounds of things, she’s not too concerned.

We will continue to look at how the sanctions work and evaluate whether or not there are leakages, and we have the possibility to address them.

To be clear, exchanges, custodians and other crypto companies and individuals operating within the U.S. are already beholden to sanctions levied by the federal government. Exchanges have attested that they are complying with applicable sanctions against Russia—though they refused a request from the Ukraine Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, “to block addresses of Russian users.”

In a Twitter thread Tuesday, Blockchain Association Head of Policy Jake Chervinsky argued that the crypto markets are too small—and public blockchains too transparent—to be effective for Russia to evade sanctions.

Concerns about crypto’s use for sanctions evasion are totally unfounded.”

See Also: Hillary Clinton “Disappointed” with Crypto Exchanges That Haven’t Banned Russian Users

“Infura, which hosts Ethereum nodes and operates blockchain infrastructure on behalf of companies, [blocked] IP addresses from two separatist regions in Ukraine: Donetsk and Luhansk. [Notably], MetaMask tweeted that the Infura reconfiguration resulted in a knock-on effect for wallet users [in the region].

MetaMask relies on Infura as the default endpoint, but this setting can be modified by users if desired, or in case of any service interruptions.

U.S. sanctions apply to companies doing business in the U.S., including ConsenSys and its products, to make sure no assets can make their way to prohibited governments, companies or individuals. But transactions of cryptocurrencies between most private citizens are not supposed to be directly affected. Therefore, the wholesale Infura blockade of “certain jurisdictions” has raised fears that ConsenSys has restricted access to innocent people in a bid to comply with government directives.

Infura closely monitors changes to US sanctions programs announced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and narrowly tailors its internal controls to comply with the law. Currently, those regions are Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and the Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

Ethereum watchers have long complained that the project, which has been estimated to support most of the traffic on Ethereum applications, is already too centralized—though it does have competitors, among them Alchemy.”

See Also: OpenSea Bars Iranian Users as US Sanctions Talk Ramps Up

Schwab Asset Management is preparing to offer its first in-house crypto product to its 33 million clients: the “Schwab Crypto Economy ETF” – a vehicle that tracks equities engaged in the world of digital assets. Schwab ( SCHW) joins BlackRock (BLK), Fidelity and other financial institutions that have gradually warmed to the booming crypto markets.

The reason they’re doing it is that all of their customers are asking them how they can get exposure to crypto. A crypto equity product – it’s the first step. It’s the crawl in the ‘crawl, walk, run.

The planned ETF would offer Schwab’s massive client base tailored exposure to the crypto economy. Miners, exchanges, blockchain developers and other crypto companies will comprise that yet-to-be-formed index.”

The firm also used Lido to stake an undisclosed portion of a16z Crypto’s ether holdings on the Beacon Chain.

Lido solves the competitive incentives between staking and seeking yield in DeFi. By issuing an Ethereum-native liquid token, Lido allows you to use staked ETH as collateral within DeFi in the same way you can use ETH currently.

The Ethereum blockchain plans to switch this summer from its current proof-of-work validation system to PoS, which is more energy efficient and lets users validate network transactions through temporary token deposits (or staking) in exchange for rewards.”

“Lugano, Switzerland, has formed a partnership with stablecoin issuer Tether to establish bitcoin, Tether and Lugano’s own LVGA Points token as essentially legal tender in the city.

The move goes far beyond the actions of a number of other Swiss localities that for some time have been accepting crypto for tax payments. Somewhat similar to El Salvador, Lugano – in addition to allowing crypto for taxes – is aiming to have all of its businesses seamlessly use crypto for everyday transactions (in El Salvador, only bitcoin qualifies).

Switzerland’s ninth-largest city with a population just over 62,000, Lugano is in the Italian-speaking southern part of the country.”

“Oil prices rose earlier Thursday to their highest point since 2008, with the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude hitting $116.57. A concern expressed by a growing number of economists is that the higher oil prices might drive up inflation.

A question some crypto analysts are starting to ask is if bitcoin might decouple from stocks and start to trade more like a safe haven asset, similar to gold – that is, an asset whose price might benefit or even just hold its value when stocks are selling off.

I’m wondering if bitcoin is starting to show the first signs of maturity as a safe haven. If so, this could, theoretically, become a positive outcome for the asset.”

Bitcoin (BTC) and stocks traded lower on Thursday as geopolitical risks escalated. The second round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian diplomats ended on Thursday without an agreement, [while Russian forces attacked Europe’s largest nuclear facility afterhours]. The impasse kept markets on edge, contributing to gains in traditional safe-haven assets such as gold and the U.S. dollar.

In crypto markets, the correction over the past month appears to be stabilizing as bearish sentiment wanes. Some analysts remain optimistic due to persistent long-term demand, especially for bitcoin.

A larger proportion of investors are becoming long-term holders, which is beneficial for price appreciation as it is clear that more investors are seeking higher prices. Crypto adoption globally continues to soar and aligns with the thesis that we are in an accumulation phase.

Still, technical indicators show strong resistance at $46,000, which could create choppy trading conditions over the short term. Improving momentum, however, suggests limited downside, with a tight range of support between $37,000 and $40,000.”

See Also: Fed Hikes Could Drive Bitcoin Adoption in Emerging Markets

“The announcement was made by the country’s deputy prime minister and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, via his verified Twitter account on Thursday.

After careful consideration we decided to cancel airdrop. Every day there are more and more people willing to help Ukraine to fight back the agression. Instead, we will announce NFTs to support Ukrainian Armed Forces soon.

Wednesday’s announcement indicated the goal of the airdrop was to reward donors who have been sending crypto to support Ukraine as it stands against Russia.”

See Also: Anti-war Russians start donating crypto to support Ukraine

“Users can now make a swap of any token on 1inch supported chains without intermediaries. This feature allows users to specify the person or wallet that will fill the other side of the trade, as opposed to over-the-counter or OTC payments where 1inch matches the order with a taker.

According to the company website, this “opens the door to a whole new world” of possible use cases, including transactions within NFT marketplaces, auctions or reverse auctions.

Users can send orders via email or to any messenger using URLs that bypass 1inch’s backend. Within the Twitter thread, the company specified that participants are able to set the swap amount to the current market rate or to reduce and increase the rate by 5% intervals. Expiration dates can also be set to anytime between 10 minutes and 7 days.”