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A Letter to the President 📝
Who sent a homework assignment to Biden and Yellen on Hamas's crypto habits. A spooky NFT ski resort pops up in China. Microsoft's chip champ move and Solana's speedy surge.
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A cohort of US lawmakers, led by House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry and Majority Whip Tom Emmer, are turning their focus to a pressing and nuanced question:
To what extent is the terrorist group Hamas using crypto to fund its operations?
And these lawmakers penned a letter to President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Their primary concern? Quantifying Hamas's involvement in raising funds through digital assets.
Understanding the Digital Reach: The letter, spurred by Wall Street Journal reports and crypto analytics firms' insights, seeks to unravel the actual scope of Hamas's crypto fundraising activities.
It's not just about the raw numbers; the lawmakers are keen to understand these activities within the broader context of Hamas's traditional funding sources and methods.
The letter carries the signatures of over 50 House representatives, predominantly Republicans, including Reps. French Hill, Ritchie Torres, and Josh Gottheimer.
In the discussion, Chair French Hill initiated the discussion by referencing a Wall Street Journal article concerning Hamas's use of cryptocurrency for fundraising.
Who said what?
Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.
Quote: "I don't necessarily buy that argument as we have learned that it does not take much to fund terrorism."
Rep. French Hill, R-Ark.
Quote: "The goal is to 'debunk some of the myths. At the end of the day, bad actors will continue to use any means possible to conduct their illicit activity. But phones and the internet aren’t to be blamed for terrorist financing and crypto shouldn’t either."
Alison Jimenez, President of Dynamic Securities Analytics, Inc.
Quote: "But the depth and breadth of what the SEC has been doing just purely from a number of SAR [suspicious activity report] filings — the CFTC barely gets a couple of hundred a year, and there's tens of thousands that the SEC receives, so they're just a little more used to dealing with that financial crime."
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio
Quote: "[He] later pushed back against digital asset related SARs being an indicator of crime, comparing it to being declared 'guilty until proven innocent.'"
The hearing brought together experts from Consensys, Chainalysis, forensic specialists, and senior counsel from Hogan Lovells.
The Blockchain Association also released a letter signed by 40 former US military and intelligence officers now affiliated with the digital assets sector.
They expressed concern about the potential misuse of the aforementioned WSJ article to push legislation that could harm US national security interests.
Europe Takes Action
European lawmakers are considering requiring crypto firms to verify the identities of individuals involved in transactions under €1,000 in an effort to prevent Hamas from using digital assets to fund terrorist activities.
The move is part of new anti-money laundering legislation and aims to cut off funding for Hamas.
Officials are concerned that terrorism financing can occur in small amounts, not just large ones. No agreement has been reached yet, but discussions are ongoing.
New NYDFS Crypto Listing Guidance
The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has released new guidelines for listing and delisting tokens.
Higher Risk Assessment Standards for coin listing policies enhanced.
Mandatory Coin Delisting Policy for orderly delisting to protect consumers and minimise market disruptions.
Retail Consumer Protections with a focus on safeguarding against high-risk crypto.
Tailored Risk Assessments specific to crypto firms' unique business models.
Coin Delisting Concerns addressed with exceptions for advance notifications under exigent circumstances.
Clarity in Definitions improved in response to feedback for clearer guidelines.
Coin Listing and Delisting Policies required for department approval.
Comprehensive Delisting Procedures must address all aspects of coin removal.
Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF's managing director.
“CBDCs can replace cash which is costly to distribute in island economies. They can offer resilience in more advanced economies. And they can improve financial inclusion where few hold bank accounts.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is preparing to publish a handbook on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
What is that about? Detailing various steps for exploring CBDCs and offering a roadmap for interested countries, it will cover FAQs on policy objectives, legal considerations, cyber resilience, and issuance readiness.
Kristalina Georgieva spoke at the Singapore Fintech Festival, advocating for the continued development and possible implementation of CBDCs.
She says that 60% of countries are exploring a CBDC.
CBDCs: The Future of Money?
Potential Replacement for Cash: CBDCs are seen as a potential replacement for traditional cash, especially in island economies where cash distribution is costly.
Global Exploration of CBDCs: Various countries, including the US, are exploring the possibility of CBDCs, but face challenges in implementation.
High Interest from Banks: A Bank of International Settlements survey shows 94% of banks are interested in CBDCs.
Enhancing Financial Inclusion: CBDCs could improve financial accessibility in areas with limited traditional banking.
Cross-Border Payment Facilitation: CBDCs could simplify and improve the efficiency of international transactions.
“The public sector should keep preparing to deploy CBDCs and related payment platforms in the future,” Georgieva said.
Dairy Queen's NFT Venture in China
Dairy Queen partners with NFT project Weirdo Ghost Gang for a pop-up experience in Chengdu, China.
The event is hosted at Dairy Queen on Chunxi Road in Chengdu, Sichuan province, from today until December 31.
Ghost Ski Resort Theme
The Dairy Queen outlet is transformed into a "ghost ski resort," offering a unique year-end ski party atmosphere.
Limited-edition co-branded merchandise available, including a winter beanie and canvas bag, with designs inspired by the collaboration.
A "ski ghost mixing bowl" ice cream sundae, resembling a ski slope with various toppings, is featured at the Chengdu and Shanghai Dairy Queen locations.
Paris Saint-Germain x Blvck Paris
The renowned soccer club is collaborating with avant-garde fashion brand Blvck Paris.
And the first thing they do? NFTs.
Launched on Crypto.com, the NFTs will grant early access to the physical apparel collection and other potential benefits for holders.
A total of 1,000 NFTs are being offered at $50 each, with 10% being special edition NFTs redeemable for a physical box of items from the collaboration.
The NFTs are minted on Cronos, a blockchain supported by Crypto.com.
Physical Fashion Items: The physical items, set to release next week, include an all-black hoodie and soccer ball, a t-shirt, welcome mat, and scarf, all featuring the Blvck Paris monochrome aesthetic.
MoMA Acquires NFT Artworks
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has added two NFTs to its permanent collection, marking its first on-chain and AI holdings.
Generative Art Focus: The acquisition includes Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised — Machine Hallucinations” (2022) and Ian Cheng’s “3FACE” project edition.
MoMA has a history of integrating technology and art, evident in its exhibitions like “The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age” and recent digital art programming.
The collaboration features both digital NFT art and physical items.
Where’s ETF? 🚨
The US SEC has delayed its decision on the Grayscale Ethereum futures ETF application👇🏻
TTD Solana 📲
Cathie wood said this recently👇🏻
“Ether was faster and cheaper than Bitcoin in the day — that’s how we got Ether. Solana is even faster and cost-effective than Ether.”
And Solana’s SOL did this👇🏻
Solana's token value spiked over 18% in the last 24 hours and 52% over the past week, outperforming other blue-chip cryptocurrencies.
Solana's performance surpasses that of Bitcoin and Ethereum, which have seen increases of approximately 6% and 8% respectively in the last week.
In the last month, Solana gained over 197%, while Bitcoin and Ethereum are up 32% and 28%, respectively.
And throughout the year, an increase of over 350%.
CertiK's Vulnerability Claim
CertiK claimed to have found a vulnerability in the Solana Saga phone.
Solana, in a recent statement, denied any known vulnerability or security threat to Saga phone holders, as shown in CertiK's video.
Steven Laver, lead software engineer of mobile at Solana Labs, explained that unlocking the bootloader is an advanced feature, disabled by default on Saga phones, and does not constitute a security vulnerability.
Microsoft has stepped up its game in the AI and cloud computing arena.
Introduced two chips: the Azure Maia AI Accelerator and the Azure Cobalt CPU.
Azure Maia AI Accelerator
Designed specifically for AI tasks, particularly in data centre environments.
Optimised for handling generative AI and large language models like GPT-4 Turbo.
Ideal for natural language processing and understanding.
Energy-efficient and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Azure.
Azure Cobalt CPU
Built on ARM architecture, known for energy efficiency.
Tailored for general cloud computing workloads.
Aims to balance power and performance, similar to Apple’s M-series chips.
Evolved from ARM's Neoverse N1 design, featuring Neoverse N2 cores.
Both Maia and Cobalt prioritise reducing power consumption, a critical factor in large-scale data centre operations.
Microsoft joins other tech giants like Google, Apple, and Qualcomm in taking chip production in-house, tailoring performance to specific needs.
TTD Surfer 🏄
A court has rejected a request for class certification by plaintiffs who accused Robinhood of market manipulation.
The Manny Pacquiao Foundation, will be utilising the Shiba Inu network for fundraising and operational activities.
The NHL has launched a digital collectibles collection called NHL Breakaway, seemingly avoiding the use of the term NFT.
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