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In a week essentially marked by a new controversy around Bitfinex and the cash reserves backing the Tether (USDT), other events have emerged pertaining to AML, security (Zerocoin major flaw was found) and scams.
The rise in cross-border payments to non-US exchanges makes it harder for US agencies to audit transactions, though a first money-laundering conviction involving crypto has been made in New York. Crypto AML firm Chainalysis has raised another $6M.
But in spite of these negative news, institutional interest is rising as well as crypto hedge fund holdings: Bakkt, the Bitcoin exchange backed by the New York Stock Exchange, announced the acquisition of a crypto custody firm and Circle’s SeedInvest got FINRA approval as alternative trading system. But more importantly maybe, the French Societe Generale issued a massive 100M Euros bond on the Ethereum blockchain and JPMorgan may develop blockchain cross-border payments to fight Transferwise and Ripple. Analysis also shows that whales are scooping up Bitcoin while confidence in crypto appears to be rising in Europe. This trend should be strengthening with Samsung investing a lot of money and efforts in cryptocurrency and blockchain activities, new merchants accepting crypto payments and major brands like Jaguar or Nike testing crypto projects.
Technology improvements are also likely to trigger more adoption: Lightning Labs in particular is working hard to improve the Bitcoin network. CoinJoin transactions, which have tripled over the year, are making Bitcoin payments more anonymous.
In the Middle-East, the UAE has become the world’s biggest contributor to token sales. On the Chia side, Iran unveiled its first Bitcoin ATM and the Palestinian Hamas got more professional with its use of Bitcoin to raise donations.