ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 85

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 Messari Names BlackRock CEO and Senator Warren Among Top Crypto Influencers of 2024

Research firm Messari has published its list of individuals expected to have significant impacts on the cryptocurrency industry in 2024. The report points to ongoing debates around regulation and digital asset policy as top crypto figures face off against politicians. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and Ark Invest's Cathie Wood are seen as pivotal in determining whether the SEC approves Bitcoin ETF applications.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is predicted to clash with advocacy groups like the Blockchain Association, led by Kristin Smith. Meanwhile, decentralized finance is anticipated to experience innovation from teams on Solana as well as continued progress from MakerDAO. Messari also identifies public figures like Elon Musk, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tucker Carlson as supporting less restrictive discussions around digital assets.

 Chinese Legal Experts Flag Bitcoin, Stablecoins as Avenues for Illicit Activity

A Chinese state-run newspaper has called for a crackdown on the use of cryptocurrencies for corruption in a recent editorial. The Legal Daily, published by the CCP's Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, cited comments from several Chinese law professors at a meeting of the China Integrity and Legal Research Association. Academics like Zhao Xuejun from Hebei University warned that digital assets and gift cards provide "hidden channels" for bribery as they can be easily transported overseas. Wuhan University's Mo Hongxian specifically mentioned Bitcoin's anonymity enables illegal behavior.

The article urged authorities to strengthen oversight of emerging payment methods and expand the definition of bribery offenses. It comes after regulators flagged stability token Tether for potential use in sanctioned foreign exchange transactions.

 Etherscan Expands with Acquisition of Leading Solana Block Explorer Solscan

Etherscan, the primary block explorer and analytics platform for the Ethereum network, has acquired Solscan, a top block explorer dedicated to the Solana blockchain. According to announcements, the deal will see the teams from both firms collaborate on merging their existing services. Etherscan said the acquisition maintains its goal of providing neutral, equitable access to blockchain data while expanding across multiple networks.

It comes amid surging usage and price gains for the SOL cryptocurrency, with Solana recently surpassing volumes on decentralized exchanges. The merged entity plans to integrate additional features, drawing on the expertise of Etherscan in building user-friendly analytics tools and Solscan's track record of insights into the thriving Solana ecosystem. Industry observers say the partnership could help address the growing need for cross-chain data services.

 South Korea Considers Banning Crypto Credit Card Purchases

South Korea's top financial regulator has proposed banning the use of credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies. In a notice detailing amendments to the country's credit finance act, the Financial Services Commission cited concerns over illegal capital outflows, money laundering, and speculative behavior driving the decision. The regulator aims to restrict South Korean crypto traders from purchasing digital assets on foreign exchanges through the prohibitive measure. If approved following a public feedback period concluding in February, the rules could take effect during the first half of 2024. This is part of ongoing efforts by South Korean authorities to curb speculative crypto trading and enforce oversight of the local market. Last year, regulations were passed mandating crypto users trade through verified real-name bank accounts on domestic platforms only.

 Cipher Mining Acquires 16,000 New Canaan Miners Ahead of Bitcoin Halving

Bitcoin mining company Cipher Mining has announced plans to buy over 16,700 new Avalon miners from Canaan ahead of the approaching Bitcoin halving event. The machines are scheduled for delivery and installation at Cipher's joint venture facilities in Texas during the second quarter of 2023. This will boost the firm's self-mining hashrate to 8.4 exahashes per second. Cipher timed the purchase to have the miners online near the expected mid-April date when Bitcoin block rewards are halved.

The company believes the expansion positions it well for gains historically seen after previous halvings. Cipher also cited its experience successfully operating Canaan's Antminers previously. The deal is expected to help cement Cipher's position as a top industry player entering the period of reduced issuance that typically spurs BTC price rises.

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