ProBit Bits — ProBit Global’s Weekly Blockchain Bits Vol. 41

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 Bankrupt Celsius Identifies Users That Can Withdraw Assets

Accordi​​ng to a 1,400-page document filed with a New York bankruptcy court last week, crypto lending platform Celsius, has identified users that can withdraw 94% of their assets, while the distribution of the remaining 6% will be determined later by the court.

Some of the criteria set aside for the eligible users include that transfers had to be less than $7,575 when they were made. Withdrawals will be processed only if the users have enough assets on the platform to cover any withdrawal fees, and only if they update "specific customer information related to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) information."

 Bitcoin Still Set for A $1m Price Tag Come 2030, Report Claims

Having settled ~$100 trillion of value in ~791 million transactions since its inception, Bitcoin price could still exceed $1 million in the next decade, a new report by Ark Invest has suggested.

The authors deem Bitcoin’s long-term opportunity to lie in the strength of its network, while also projecting that the market value of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts could touch the $20 trillion and $5 trillion mark respectively in the next ten years.

They calculated that despite the severe five drawdowns since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has delivered positive annualized returns over 3-, 4-, and 5-year time horizons.

 Nigeria on Top for Crypto Use, Ownership

The findings of a study released last week by online casino guide Trading Browser, has identified Nigeria as being at the top spot for cryptocurrency use and ownership. Done by calculating the percentage of the population that reported that they used or owned cryptocurrency each year from 2019 to 2022, the research finds that almost half the Nigerian population (45% or over 90 million people) have used or owned cryptocurrency over the period. Nigeria saw a 17% total increase in ownership and use from 28% to 45%, thus equating to over 34 million people adopting cryptocurrency over the three years, it states. Nigeria is followed by Thailand, Turkey, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Others are the Philippines, Vietnam, India and Singapore in joint eighth place, Brazil and South Africa.

 Top South African Retailer Starts Accepting Bitcoin Payments

In line with an announcement made late last year to expand a pilot of adding cryptocurrency as a payment option to more stores, one of South Africa's largest grocery retailers, Pick n Pay, last week started accepting Bitcoin for payments.

Working with payments platform CryptoQR, paying with Bitcoin is now possible at Pick n Pay stores across South Africa and for buying airtime, electricity, plane and bus tickets, as well as for paying municipal bills.

Pick n Pay had earlier partnered with Electrum and CryptoConvert on the first phase of the pilot in 10 Western Cape stores, before extending to a further 29 stores.

 US Blacklists Two Crypto Wallet Addresses Linked to Russia's Arms Exports Intermediary

Bitcoin and Ether wallet addresses linked to two Russians were among those sanctioned last week by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The addresses reportedly belong to Jonatan Zimenkov, who is among the 22 individuals and entities identified from across multiple countries as part of a sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex.

Jonatan and his father, Igor Zimenkov, are part of those that tried to sell defense equipment to "third-country governments." Jonatan was tied to the two addresses, which in turn were linked to both his father and Rosoboroneksport OAO, according to OFAC. The company is Russia's intermediary for arms exports, according to its website.

 Bitcoin Leads as Digital Asset Investments Record Largest Inflows Since Last July

Last week, Europe's largest digital asset investment and trading group CoinShares reported that digital asset investment products saw its largest inflows since July 2022— about $117m—the previous week. As a result, the total asset under management was reported to have risen to $28bn, or a 43% increase from November 2022 lows. Bitcoin was rated “the investor favorite” for the week with $116m in inflows.

Germany emerged as the top country of focus for the week as it recorded 40% of all inflows (US$46m). It is followed by Canada, the US and Switzerland which saw US$30m, US$26m and US$23m respectively.

According to GlassNode, Bitcoin markets saw their strongest monthly price performance since October 2021. The analytics firm notes that the performance was fuelled by both historic spot demand, and a sequence of short squeezes.

 HKMA Wants to Start Regulating Stablecoins

Last week, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) proposed to regulate certain activities related to crypto stablecoins.

Suggestions tabled by the financial body include governance of stablecoin creation; as well as oversight related to issuance. HKMA noted policy developments from major jurisdictions like Japan, Singapore, the U.S. and U.K. when compiling their recommendations around stablecoins and crypto asset regulation. Under the proposed regime, algorithmic stablecoins would not be accepted, and any interested parties would need to apply for an issuance license.

Further suggestions centered around stabilization and reserve management arrangements; along with the provision of services like wallets that allow the storage of the users’ cryptographic keys.

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