July 12, 2024

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Crypto NFT Today: The Latest News in Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and NFTs: March 22 – 28

Welcome to another edition of Crypto NFT Today! If you enjoy cryptocurrency, NFTs, and riding emotional, and sometimes, sketchy rollercoasters, you’ve come to the right place. So put on some soothing music and let’s go!

US Senator Ted Cruz Introduces Another Bill to Block CBDC

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas introduced a new bill to prevent the US Federal Reserve from issuing a “direct-to-consumer” digital currency.

In a statement Cruz wrote that his bill was intended to prevent the Fed from engaging in a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) “which could be used as a financial surveillance tool by the federal government.”

“The American people ought to be able to spend their money how they choose without the possibility that every transaction could be tracked by the government,” Cruz said. 

Last month, Congressman Tom Emmer of Minnesota has also introduced a House bill barring a CBDC, saying it could be “easily be weaponized” as a tool of government control to “choke out politically unpopular activity.”

Legislation has also been introduced in several states to prohibit the use of a CBDC. 

Advocates Push Back on White House Report Slamming Crypto

Crypto industry insiders are expressing outrage over a recent White House report that features a chapter that undermines confidence in digital currencies. 

Released March 20, the annual Economic Report of the President, was the first to include a section on digital assets. The 35-page chapter is dedicated to discrediting the “Perceived Appeal of Crypto Assets” and includes a section on a FedNow payment system, which is a retail CBDC.

The chapter argues that cryptocurrencies have failed to deliver on promised benefits such as financial inclusion and improved payment methods. “Instead, their innovation has been mostly about creating artificial scarcity in order to support crypto assets’ prices — and many of them have no fundamental value,” the report states. 

Instead, the report claims crypto innovations have been about creating artificial scarcity to support asset prices. It also argues that cryptocurrencies are inferior to sovereign currencies, like the U.S. dollar, because crypto prices fluctuate too widely to be a reliable store of value. 

Treasury Secretary Now Says US Could Back Deposits as Smaller Banks Too

On Tuesday, Janet Yellen said in a speech to the American Bankers Association that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will provide deposit support to smaller, regional banks in case the banking crisis deepens. 

After failures at several large banks, including Silicon Valley and Signature, the government guaranteed all deposits, over and above the $250,000 promised by the FDIC.

Janet Yellen testifies. Credit Federal Reserve via Wikimedia

Yellen had previously testified before the US Senate that uninsured depositor protections will not be extended to every bank that fails – only those that pose a systemic risk to the financial system. This prompted accusations from senators that the administration was setting up a system to pick winners and losers.

“The steps we took were not focused on aiding specific banks or classes of banks. Our intervention was necessary to protect the broader U.S. banking system. And similar actions could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion,” Yellen told the bankers.

Study Estimates Almost $70 Billion in Crypto Stolen Since 2011

On Tuesday, Crystal Blockchain, released a report detailing the fraudulent activities and security exploits of digital assets since 2011. The report states there were 461 incidents in 45 countries that resulted in $16.7 billion stolen. 

The report states that until 2021, crypto-exchange was the biggest target for thefts, but since then attackers have focused on decentralized finance. Centralized exchange (CEX) hacks are now causing the least amount of loss to theft. 

“In 2022, the ratio of cex versus decentralized exchange hacks was as high as 1:13,” note Crystal’s researchers. The largest decentralized exchange hack to date was $650 million against the Ronin network bridge in March, 2022. Most of the funds stolen from Ronin were transferred to the crypto mixing service, Tornado Cash.

Crystal researchers noted that “Tornado Cash remains the most popular service for laundering funds on the Ethereum Blockchain.”

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