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Crypto Mixer Tornado Cash Won’t Comply with Sanctions

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One of the founders of Tornado Cash, one of the most popular obfuscation services for crypto transactions, said it does not have to comply with sanctions imposed after Russia attacked Ukraine.

The protocol is designed to preserve privacy by disconnecting the sender and receiver addresses in transactions over the Ethereum blockchain.

The project is based on smart contracts, which means ready-made software programs rather than individuals making decisions. It also does not offer to host services, nor does it have a central host for its website.

Individuals can access Tornado Cash using the Ethereum Name Service. It is a credential-free distributed naming system that the co-founders say helps make monitoring users impossible.

Regulars may have a different opinion. Thus, the agreement could fall under regulations affecting virtual asset service providers.

Even if the project uses a decentralization system, the creators and those who retain control or sufficient influence over the application may need to have compliance controls, including sanctions compliance.

Tornado Cash has overgrown in the last year and has become one of the most popular cryptocurrency mixers. According to data compiled by Crystal Blockchain, the monthly value of Ether sent to Tornado Cash peaked in November. At that time, the crypto market hit an all-time high.

Value exceeds bitcoin sent to Wasabi wallet, another similar protocol used to shuffle bitcoin transactions. The increase is significant as the price of Ether is much lower than that of bitcoin.

Nicolas Smart, director of blockchain intelligence and data at Crystal, said Tornado Cash’s dominance has partly increased due to the growing popularity of DeFi, which has led to more crypto wallets containing more wealth.

Bitcoin’s $40,000 Price Is Within Reach, What Do Analysts Warn?

With no rest for weary crypto traders on March 10, an overwhelming 7.9% CPI made headlines for the day, weighing on global financial markets and erasing the previous day’s gains for Bitcoin as prices retreated to 40,000 less than U.S. dollars.

BTC’s sell-off began in the early hours of Thursday’s trading session and escalated into midday. Bitcoin’s price hit a low of $38,562 before bargain-hunting buying back above the $39,000 support.

The choppy nature of BTC price action over the past few weeks has been debated by research fund Stack Funds, which noted in its latest weekly report that Bitcoin had taken a hit over the past few weeks, trading between $35,000 and $45,000. Constantly fluctuating strong directional dynamics are intact.

According to Stack Funds, recent price action has mainly been news-driven. Analysts don’t see any relief in the short term as a conflict in Ukraine and rising inflation remain active.

Evidence of less interest among traders in gaining more exposure to current market conditions can be found by looking at the Bitcoin Spend Output Profit Ratio (SOPR), which reflects the total profits and losses realized on any given day.

Stack Funds noted that long-term holders of BTC SOPR are moving towards the 1.0 threshold. This is an important level as it marks the line between selling at a profit and selling at a loss.

The total crypto market capitalization is now $1.744 trillion, with Bitcoin dominance at 42.6%.

U.S. Department Of Labor Warns Of Crypto Risks In Retirement Planning

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has directed 401(k) investors to exercise extreme caution when dealing with cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, calling fraud, theft, and financial loss significant risks.

In a compliance report released Thursday, the DOL warned employers of attempts to increase their 401(k) exposure to cryptocurrencies, noting that any significant crypto investments in company-sponsored retirement accounts could raise legal concerns.

Most U.S. employers offer a 401(k) retirement plan that provides tax benefits and long-term financial security for those who opt-in.

Regarding 401(k) asset legislation, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) does not specify which asset classes must be included in a 401(k). However, it did instruct trustees to exercise care, skill, care, and conscientiousness in making investment decisions to minimize the risk of substantial losses.

ERISA also expands the fiduciary’s legal obligations to monitor all investments to mitigate further losses continuously. This means that highly volatile assets such as cryptocurrencies must become increasingly obscure regarding 401(k) investments.

President Joe Biden’s recent executive order on cryptos has highlighted the risks of investing in digital assets. Meanwhile, the actual regulatory clarity surrounding crypto and other digital assets has yet to be clarified. This adds to investor confusion about what digital assets can and cannot do.

Bank Of Thailand Enters Metaverse; Builds Virtual Headquarters

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) from Thailand has officially announced opening its first Metaverse headquarters in The Sandbox Metaverse. This is done through SCB 10X, the venture construction and investment arm of SCB. The Bank of Thailand was the second major financial institution to gain a foothold in the virtual world; the first was JPMorgan.

Additionally, SCB said it would host a Metaverse Open House on March 11 to showcase its virtual headquarters. Workshops and discussions will take place here.

Panich further explained that Metaverse would play an essential role in enabling infinite creativity in the digital world while shaping new frontiers for the future economy. The bank also said that the headquarters’ design would reflect past, present, and future Thai culture.

At the headquarters, users can explore three carefully designed environments. Additionally, they can participate in product demonstrations, share workspaces, and connect with participants worldwide. They hope the launch will increase Thailand’s presence in the virtual world.

SCB Is Not Only The Largest Bank In Thailand But Also The Oldest. The bank opened in 1906. At that time, Standard Chartered was the first bank in the country. Therefore, a traditional bank’s foray into new digital realms could spark divisions among many financial institutions in the world of cryptocurrencies and the Metaverse.

Stripe Announces Fiat Payment Support For Cryptos And NFTs

U.S.-based fintech giant Stripe has significantly expanded its crypto plans after launching a service that allows payments for NFTs and digital assets via fiat currencies.

Businesses can use Stripe’s new application programming interface (API) to accept fiat-to-crypto payments. Moreover, they can offer digital wallets, pay users in fiat, leverage identity and know-your-customer (KYC) solutions, and leverage data for fraud detection and Block transactions.

The company is also working with FTX, FTX US, Blockchain.com, Nifty Gateway, and Just Mining to develop a crypto business suite.

Stripe first introduced Bitcoin support in 2014. However, they overturned that decision four years later due to the network’s slow transaction speeds and fees at the time.

However, the company also stated that it would re-enter the space once crypto payments become more lucrative. It has been gradually re-entering the crypto space since the end of 2021.

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