Bitcoin City wins prize + other stories for the week 

Temitope Akintade
Bitcoin City El Salvador

Although layoffs and contagion caused by the FTX crash continued to inundate the crypto space this week, there seems to be a silver lining. Over a year after becoming the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, El Salvador has won an international award for its ambitious and environmentally friendly Bitcoin City, which is set to be built at the base of a volcano.

Recall that President Bukele is fully committed to his grandiose plan to build a Bitcoin City that will attract investment and attraction globally to enrich his country and citizens. That lofty ambition got a major boost with this prestigious recognition. 

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Also this week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed that the Lazarus Group and APT38 are the culprits behind the $100 million Harmony Bridge Hack in June 2022. The North Korea-linked cyber group had long been suspected of being behind the attack, but authorities hadn’t confirmed their involvement until now.

Here are the crypto stories from around the world this week

CZ talks about strict crypto regulations 

Speaking on the recently released 5-point crypto regulation scheme by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday, Binance CEO CZ claims them to be highly beneficial and “good” for crypto & its related businesses. 

Binance, CEO, Chinpeng Zao
Binance, CEO, Chinpeng Zao

According to CZ, the most effective method of user protection is risk-based regulation that is implemented on a worldwide scale. And, while talking about the potential threats of crypto facing outright bans in certain jurisdictions, he says:

“Outright bans will just lead to users operating in the shadows, at their own risk, and without any safety net.”

According to the CEO of the world’s largest crypto exchange, the crypto industry wants robust, comprehensive, and globally consistent crypto legislation to accommodate its cross-border nature. He further stresses the fact that, for a global strategy to be successful, it must evolve along with the shifting landscape of the sector.

Bitcoin City wins prize 

The El Salvador government’s Bitcoin City project has received recognition from the global design platform LOOP jury, among the 705 proposals submitted from 56 countries, according to media outlet Noticias de Bariloche (NDB) report on Wednesday. 

Bitcoin City El Salvador

The urban project Bitcoin City, which will be built in the southeast of El Salvador, was created by Mexican architect Fernando Romero and his company Enterprise Free, who described the project as “an efficient and sustainable city, based on its innovative model of a smart metropolis.”

When it is complete, Bitcoin City will generate its own clean energy from the two nearby volcanoes, Tecapa and Conchagua. Specifically, it will be provided with the geothermal energy from the Tecapa volcano and will later become completely dependent on the closer Conchagua volcano.

Coinbase fined $3.6 million 

According to a Reuters report on Thursday, Dutch Central Bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), has fined crypto exchange Coinbase 3.3 million euros ($3.6 million) due to non-compliance with local regulations for financial service providers. 

The exchange reportedly failed to obtain the necessary registration to offer services in the Netherlands before beginning operations in the country. The DNB said it considered the size of Coinbase as a company and the fact that it has a “significant number of customers in the Netherlands.”

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The authorities claimed Coinbase was non-compliant during the time between November 2020 and August 2022.

Lazarus Group behind hack 

The FBI has confirmed the involvement of North Korea’s Lazarus Group and APT38 in the $100 million Harmony Horizon hack last year.

In collaboration with the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team and other agencies, the FBI’s investigations confirmed that Lazarus Group and APT38 were responsible for the $100 million hack. Lazarus Group and APT38 are cybercrime groups associated with the government of North Korea.

Peter Obi and internet fraudsters

The hackers used the privacy protocol Railgun to sneak over $60 million worth of Ethereum on Jan.13. The on-chain sleuth, ZachXBT, caught this activity and reported it on Jan. 16. The North Korean exploiters deposited the funds on three different exchanges, using 350+ addresses. However, Binance and Huobi collaborated to stop the movement of the stolen funds and recovered over 124 BTC.

EU backs more stringent crypto rules 

European Union lawmakers on Tuesday voted to back a draft law to implement the final stage of post-financial global bank capital rules. According to a Reuters report, the draft law added “prohibitive” requirements to cover risks from crypto assets. 

The “prohibitive” measures would require banks to hold a punitive amount of capital to cover more than 100% of any loss from cryptocurrency companies and is in line with Basel III capital rules and is set to take effect from January 2025. The approval of this draft law is just an interim measure pending further and more comprehensive EU legislation in line with recommendations from global banking regulators. 

That is all from us this week, see you same time next week! 

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