Weekly Cryptocurrency News. Friday, March 17


Friday, 17th of March. As the week comes to an end, we can focus on the highlights of the crypto industry over the past few days.

EU lawmakers aim to regulate smart contracts

The European Parliament passed a bill on data protection concerning smart contracts, reports The Block.

Rather than referring directly to the bitcoin industry, the paper is instead dedicated to connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) industry.

Nevertheless, some experts fear that the proposed regulations may affect the cryptocurrency industry in terms of software, which is widely used in the DeFi sector.

According to project author Pilar del Castillo Vera, it is intended to “optimize existing business models and processes, boost the development of new ones, and by doing so creating new values and jobs.”

According to the bill, developers of smart contracts are required to abide by the EU’s general rules of compliance.

“We see Article 30 as a marginal provision applicable to smart contracts facilitating data transfers involving IoT products — not those deployed in DeFi applications,” commented ConsenSys lawyer Natalie Linart.

It admitted a further application of the requirements to the Web3 industry software.

“It would be really hard, almost impossible, for most smart contracts that we have  today to be compliant with this article,”

Marina Markezic, head of EUCI,  told The Block on a call.

Analysts believe that the adopted regulations may trigger an exodus of industry-related projects from Europe. However, they recognize the relevance of the act’s enforcement practices.

The Block also noted that lawmakers softened a number of the originally proposed requirements.

As you may remember, the EU Parliament postponed the final voting on a comprehensive bill regarding the regulation of crypto until April.

US demands Binance.US and Voyager Digital deal be halted again

Binance.US crypto exchange’s proposed deal to acquire the assets of the bankrupt broker Voyager Digital is set to be put on hold, said Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Authorities fear that the agreement between the companies would effectively reinstate Voyager and its employees after violating the Securities Act. 

“Nothing in the Bankruptcy Code permits courts to exculpate parties from liability to the Government for past and future conduct, nor to subvert statutes of limitation that govern how long after conduct takes place the Government may investigate and charge wrongdoing,” the prosecutor explained. 

Williams’ claim followed an appeal by the U.S. Department of Justice on the same case. 

He believes that the procedure of purchasing the assets should be frozen until all the legal objections have been considered and resolved. 

As of December 2022, Binance.US bid the highest price for Voyager’s assets at $1.02 billion. 

Yet regulators, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the New York State Department of Financial Services, objected to the deal. 

Throughout the hearings on the case, the SEC alleged that the U.S. unit of Binance operates an undocumented securities exchange. 

Back in March 2023, Lookonchain experts reported a ~$56 million sale of Voyager assets. 

Coinbase revealed the post Ethereum-hardfork Shapella steps

Coinbase, a crypto exchange, is to begin accepting applications to withdraw Ethereum (ETH) from staking during the next 24 hours once the Shanghai and Capella renewal, commonly referred to as Shapella, is enabled on the network.

Such a feature will be provided by the Shanghai upgrade, due sometime in mid-April. On March 14, Ethereum developers activated Shapella in the Goerli testnet, which was the final test of the upgrades.

Coinbase indicated that no action would be required of users during the upcoming forks. They would still be able to hold assets staked at a rate of up to 6% per annum.

What’s more, the exchange will start accepting requests for withdrawal of cryptocurrencies over a period of 24 hours after the hardfork. That said, the Coinbase team expects that there might actually form quite a queue of customers.

Voyager Digital transferred $27.7M worth of crypto to Coinbase

Voyager Digital, a crypto brokerage currently going through bankruptcy, sent $27.7 million in digital assets to the Coinbase exchange on March 15.

As per PeckShield analytics company, 270 billion SHIB (~$3 million), 7,000 ETH (~$19 million), 12 million native Voyager tokens dubbed VGX (~$4 million) were transferred from the company’s addresses. 

Back in February, Lookonchain analysts captured a ~$56 million sale of the broker’s assets. By the end of the month, Voyager held $631 million in cryptocurrency reserves, a total of 6.5 trillion worth of SHIB for $81M.

On July 5, 2022, the company filed for bankruptcy in New York court. The broker’s alleged liabilities ranged from $1 billion to $10 billion. 

To recap, Binance.US offered the highest price for Voyager assets in December, that is, $1.02 billion. 

However, a number of regulators, including the SEC and the New York State Department of Financial Services, voiced opposition to the deal. 

Earlier this month, authorities called for a pause in the asset bailout process until all legal objections had been considered and resolved.

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