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Weekly news summary for March 11 to March 17

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Friday, Mar. 11: Bitfinex Not Blocking Ordinary Russian Accounts

Bitfinex announced that it would not block accounts of ordinary Russian clients as part of the global sanctions unless the cryptocurrency exchange is otherwise told by regulatory authorities to do so.

Bitfinex chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino said the Tether affiliate had taken appropriate measures on accounts that belonged to sanctioned Russian customers, although the crypto platform refused to freeze non-sanctioned Russians over the Ukraine conflict as it may be unfair on a human level.

Monday, Mar. 14: SoftBank Sells $1B Worth of Coupang Shares

SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund has sold $1 billion worth of shares in South Korean e-commerce group Coupang, resulting in a decline of the company’s shares in the previous week.

A filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that Vision Fund sold 50 million Coupang shares for $20.87 per piece, 30% lower than September’s sale price of $29.69, underscoring SoftBank’s challenge to fund its broad holdings in tech startups, which has dropped in value.

Tuesday, Mar. 15: Oil Trades Below $100 on China Slowdown Concerns

Oil prices traded below $100 per barrel for the first time this month, while surges in other commodities continued to ease worries about China’s economy losing momentum due to issues with keeping the spread of COVID-19 in check.

The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost 5.9% to $96.97 per barrel, while global benchmark Brent crude futures remained above the $100 level at $100.70, although it has fallen by 5.8%.

Wednesday, Mar. 16: HSBC Ventures Into the Metaverse with The Sandbox

HSBC Holdings plc is set to venture into the metaverse as it buys a plot of virtual land in the world of blockchain-based video game platform The Sandbox, aiming to engage with its sports, e-sports, and gaming customers.

The British bank followed the US’s JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s metaverse entry in February when it acquired a piece of real estate in Decentraland to create a customer lounge to welcome visitors with a digital portrait of CEO Jamie Dimon and a roaming tiger.

Thursday, Mar. 17: Yen Weakens on Fed’s Rate Hike and Hawkish Stance

The Japanese yen traded at a six-year low against the US dollar on Thursday, as the Federal Reserve’s rate hike and hawkish stance showed how long the Bank of Japan (BoJ) may delay global policy tightening, while a better-than-expected employment data strengthened the Australian dollar.

Safe-haven yen hit 199.13 a dollar to mark its lowest since 2016, and last stood at 118.75, while it stumbled further on the Aussie to a four-year low of 87.05, having shed 1.6% on Wednesday, whereas the euro surged over 1% against the yen and 0.7% to $1.10 on the greenback.

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