South Korea Strengthens Crypto Regulations With New Bill
South Korean lawmakers are zeroing on companies that issue or own crypto, with a draft bill that will mandate crypto disclosures. Companies that issue, provide or hold virtual assets will be required to submit information pertaining to their business models, accounting policies and token quantities. Although the Financial Services Commission (FSC) of South Korea announced the policy on 11 July 2023, the bill is only set to take effect from 2024, with the purpose of the bill said to improve “accounting transparency” in an official statement from the financial regulator.
The draft rules come at a time when South Korean authorities continue to build a case against the mastermind behind the Terra collapse, Do Kwon, while also dealing with a raft of other crypto-related crimes. In conjunction with the Virtual Asset User Protection Act–passed on 7 July 2023–the government aims to create a legal framework that will dictate rules for the crypto landscape in one of the most active cryptocurrency economies in the world.
U.S. Government Spooks Crypto Market With Sizeable BTC Transfers
On-chain data has revealed that the U.S. government moved a total of 9,825 BTC between wallets on 12 July 2023. These findings have sparked concerns of a price slump off the back of rumors about whether the whale will sell their BTC holdings, totaling over $300 million worth at the time of writing. Although price action remained largely unaffected by the wallet transfers, previous transactions have seen markets react negatively, most recently in March 2023 when a transfer of 10,000 BTC by the U.S. government drove prices lower.
The source of the U.S. government’s BTC holdings come in the form of seizures from 50,000 BTC linked to the James Zhong Silk Market wire fraud case of 2012. Recent analysis from Glassnode places U.S government BTC holdings at 205,500 BTC, making the Feds one of the largest whales in the BTC space.
Nigeria Leads The Charge In Crypto Interest Across Africa
A recent report by cryptocurrency data aggregator CoinGecko, shows that Nigeria has the highest level of crypto interest in Africa, almost more than 8 times that of the second-placed nation, South Africa. In third place was Morocco, with 5.43% of the interest market share.
Thanks to Nigeria’s keen interest in crypto, the West African powerhouse garnered 66.78% of the crypto interest market share. Using CoinGecko web page data from January 1 to July 4 2023, popular trends that emerged include meme coins, DeFi and blockchain networks. Meme coins were especially popular, with at least one meme coin variant making the top three most popular coins in the top 5 countries.
According to the report, the top three most popular tokens in Nigeria were revealed to be Peepo (PEEPO), Liquity (LQTY) and Conflux (CFX), while in South African interest shifted towards Truebit Protocol (TRU), Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dodo (DODO). Morocco’s most popular crypto are Dogecoin (DOGE), Ripple (XRP) and Bonk (BONK).
Google Play Opens Up Possibilities For NFT Gaming
In a move set to take blockchain more mainstream, Google Play has announced that it will allow app developers to sell non-fungible token (NFT) games on its platform. The news comes in a 12 July announcement from product manager Joseph Mills who states that “open new ways to transact blockchain-based digital content within apps and games on Google Play.”
The development marks something of an about-turn for the software giant, which previously banned crypto mining apps. Other gaming players like Apple and Valve have also been hostile to NFT games, with the latter banning Web3 games on its Steam marketplace. Google Play, however, has attached certain conditions to in-game NFT rewards, namely that developers declare upfront that the app “sells or enables users to earn tokenized digital assets,” while also not “glamorizing any potential earning(s) from playing or trading activities.”
Crypto Scams Down But Ransomware Still Abounds
Despite coverage of crypto scams still dominating headlines, a recent report by Chainalysis shows that illicit flows from such crypto scams are down by 65% compared to 2022. In its Mid Year Crypto Crime report, the analytics firm notes that “illicit crypto transaction volume is falling much more than legitimate crypto transaction volume.” This is the second year in a row that crypto scams are down, part of which Chainanalysis says can be attributed to investors being more guarded with their crypto purchases.
Traditionally, scam and hacking activity have generally followed market trends, making these mid-year findings something of an anomaly. Ransomware, however, is predicted to rise in 2023, far outpacing 2022’s heist volume and on course to appropriate $898.6 million from victims by the end of the year at current rates. This is all down to what Chainanalysis calls “big game hunting,” which involves extorting large organizations for mass sums of crypto. This usually involves bad actors exploiting security flaws or obtaining sensitive information, with the majority of ransomware revenue tied to Russia. This serves as a reminder to both institutions and retail investors to always invest and trade with caution, and to take extra security measures when interacting with digital assets.
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