Binance Exec Tigran Gambaryan Denied Bail by Nigerian Court

  • Tigran Gambaryan’s bail was refused by a Nigerian court on Friday.
  • Nigeria has taken Binance and its executives to court and is pursuing tax evasion and money laundering charges.

Detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan’s bail application was denied by a Nigerian court on the grounds that there is a likelihood that he will manage to jump bail, the spokesperson for the executive’s family said on Friday.

Binance and the executives’ money laundering, tax evasion and the exchanges detained Head of Compliance Tigran Gambaryans bail hearings all occurred on Friday in Nigeria. The court ruled that Binance can be served with the Federal Inland Revenue Service tax evasion charge through Gambaryan.

Tigran’s lawyers objected to the application on the grounds that they needed to review the amended charge to advise Gambaryan on taking his plea. The court agreed to adjourn the matter to May 22 for arraignment, where charges are formally laid against the defendant.

Gambaryan, who turned 40 on Friday, has been detained in Nigeria since February when he arrived with the British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla. Anjarwalla has since escaped.

“I truly cannot believe that my innocent husband is now – on his 40th birthday – having to face a trial for charges that he has nothing to do with,” said Yuki Gambaryan, the wife of Tigran Gambaryan.

“The whole world is watching what he is being put through, and I just pray that common sense and justice will prevail and that Tigran will be allowed to come home to us.”

A month after the exchange’s executives were detained in the country, they, along with the exchange, were charged with money laundering and tax evasion. Gambaryan was later moved to Kuje prison, which also houses the likes of members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) money laundering trial commenced on Friday with a Nigerian prosecutor who called on Abdulkadir Abbas from the Nigerian SEC as the first prosecution witness.

After the prosecution finished examining their first witness, Tigran’s lawyers asked for a stand down—which means to put a matter on hold for a short while—to obtain certified records of certain documents in the proof of evidence to be used in their cross-examination of the witness. The court adjourned the trial until May 23 at noon.

“We are deeply disappointed that Tigran Gambaryan, who has no decision-making power in the company, continues to be detained. Tigran has been dedicated to public service and fighting crime for most of his life. These charges against him are completely meritless. He should be freed while discussions continue between Binance and Nigerian government officials,” a Binance Spokesperson said.

Binance’s CEO Richard Teng recently released a blog post calling on the Nigerian government to release Gambaryan.

UPDATE (May 17, 13:12 UTC): Adds meaning of arraignment to third paragraph. Adds full form of EFCC to the eighth paragraph.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

Turkey Tables Crypto Bill in Parliament, Aims to Bring Crypto Licensing to the Country

  • The bill increases the CMB’s supervision over crypto.
  • The proposed law will also prohibit crypto intermediaries without a local origin.

Türkiye has introduced a legislative proposal aimed at reducing the risks of parties transacting with crypto assets in the country. The proposal has been presented to the parliament.

The bill, introduced by ruling party chairman Abdullah Güler, includes various regulations regarding crypto assets and will be implemented by the Capital Markets Board (CMB). This proposal establishes important rules regarding crypto service providers and increases the CMB’s supervision over them.

The bill aims to introduce a licensing scheme for crypto firms, which will be handled by the CMB and bring the firms under the regulator’s scope. To protect customers, the scope of inspections for crypto providers will also be expanded.

Although there is no provision regarding taxation in the bill, CMB and TÜBİTAK will obtain certain rates of income from crypto service providers. CMB and TÜBİTAK will receive 1% of these revenues from crypto service providers. The Scientific and Technological Research Institution of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK) is a national agency of the country whose stated goal is to develop “science, technology and innovation” policies, support and conduct research and development.

The proposed law will also prohibit crypto intermediaries without a local origin. This bill is expected to increase Türkiye’s compliance with international standards regarding crypto assets, eliminate criticism from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and make the country’s crypto ecosystem safer.

In March, the country’s economy minister, Mehmet Şimşek, shared the government’s efforts to get out of the FATF gray list with the public and stated that a delegation will come to Türkiye for inspection in April-May and emphasized that the gray list will be removed.

Also in March, the ruling AK Party Deputy Chairman of Information and Communication Technologies Ömer İleri said, “We find it very important to carry out a legal study in the field of crypto assets. This legal regulation is primarily a study that will regulate the platforms, but beyond that, it will be a regulation that will protect our citizens and investors.”

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

Dolce & Gabbana Sued for Messing Up Delivery of Its NFTs: Bloomberg

  • A customer sued Dolce & Gabbana USA for delaying the delivery of the products, causing him to lose value on the DGFamily NFTs.
  • Bloomberg reported that the customer also alleged that the digital outfits with the NFTs couldn’t be used for another 11 days after they were released because D&G didn’t get approval on time.
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Dolce & Gabbana USA has been sued for messing up the delivery of its non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Bloomberg reported. The customer spent $6,000 to purchase the asset.

The report said Luke Brown lost $5,800 on the NFTs he bought and filed the case in the Southern District of New York on behalf of others who bought digital assets from the NFT project.

The complaint alleged that the company promoted the NFTs, telling customers that buying the DGFamily NFTs would grant them access to various digital rewards, physical products and exclusive events.

However, the delivery of the NFTs was late. The customer alleged that the NFTs came with outfits to wear in the metaverse, but the digital outfits that showed up 20 days behind schedule “could be used only in a metaverse platform with barely any users,” the report said.

The digital outfits couldn’t be used for another 11 days after they were released because, the complaint alleges, Dolce & Gabbana had not got approval from the NFT marketplace UNXD ahead of time.

Dolce & Gabbana and UNXD, also named as a defendant in the case, did not immediately respond to CoinDesk’s request for comment.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.

Hong Kong Expands Cross-Border Digital Yuan Trial, Allows Residents to Set Up E-CNY Wallets

  • The Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Peoples Bank of China have expanded the digital yuan pilot to enable the use of e-CNY wallets in Hong Kong.
  • China and Hong Kong have been conducting cross border digital yuan trials.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) expanded the scope of their cross-border digital yuan pilot to allow the use of e-CNY wallets by Hong Kong residents.

The digital yuan is China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). China has been piloting the digital yuan for several years and is among the most advanced of the countries around the world that have been exploring the applications of digital version of their currencies.

Adopters will be able to set up the wallets using just a phone number, and use them for so-called cross-boundary payments, such to retailers, but not for person to person transfers, the HKMA said in a press release on Friday. The wallets can be used in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and other areas of mainland China where the pilot is running.

Users will be able to pay merchants directly from the wallets without needing to set up a mainland bank account, HKMA CEO Eddie Yue said in the statement. They are able to top up their wallets in real time through 17 Hong Kong retail banks using the Faster Payment System (FPS).

The HKMA intends to continue working with the PBOC to expand the application of the e-CNY. The HKMA plans to work with the Digital Currency Institute to explore including features like name verification, enhancing interoperability in payments and corporate use cases, such as cross-border trade settlement.

China and Hong Kong said they had successfully carried out the first phase of cross border digital yuan trials in December 2021 and entered a second phase following initial talks a year earlier.

The special administrative region has also been testing its own CBDC, the e-HKD, which entered the second phase of its pilot in March.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.

First Mover Americas: Bitcoin Regains $66K Following Bullish ETF Data

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter, putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

Latest Prices

Prices FMA, May 17 2024 (CoinDesk)(CoinDesk)

Top Stories

Bitcoin (BTC) rose to past $66,000 early Friday, reversing Thursday’s pullback below $65,000. At the time of writing, it was priced around $66,440, 0.4% higher than 24 hours ago, while the CoinDesk 20 Index (CD20), which offers a measurement of the wider digital asset market, was up about 1.4%. Inflows into spot bitcoin ETFs turned positive again this week, recording additions for four consecutive days. This week has also seen numerous big-name institutional players disclose sizable BTC ETF holdings. Morgan Stanley, for example, revealed a $269.9 million investment in Grayscale’s GBTC yesterday.

Ether may have underperformed other major digital assets this year, but Coinbase says it had potential to surprise to the upside. Ether does not have significant sources of supply side overhangs, the exchange said in a research report this week. “To the contrary, both staking and layer 2 growth have proven to be meaningful and growing sinks of ETH Liquidity,” wrote analyst David Han. “ETH’s position as the center of DeFi is also unlikely to be displaced in our view due to the widespread adoption of the EVM and its layer 2 innovations.” Coinbase also noted that the potential of spot U.S. ETH ETFs being approved cannot be overstated.

The Fantom blockchain’s FTM is one of the best-performing non-meme tokens of the past week as the market looks favorably on the roll-out of its Sonic upgrade and increases in the total value locked on the protocol. FTM has gained 13% in the past seven days to about 81 cents, according to CoinDesk Indices data, while the CD20 is just 1.5% higher. In the past few weeks, the Fantom Foundation has been pushing Sonic, its latest upgrade, which is expected to boost transaction speeds to 2,000 transactions per second with a 1.1-second finality. That compares with just over 2.5 TPS during the past month, on-chain data shows.

Chart of the Day

(Glassnode)
  • The chart shows bitcoin’s “hodler net position change,” which gauges the net buying/selling activity of addresses that have held coins for six months or more.
  • The metric has flipped positive for the first time since December, a sign holders have become net buyers.
  • Source: Glassnode

– Omkar Godbole

Trending Posts

Edited by Sheldon Reback.

Bitcoin Traders Target $74K Next Week as BTC Spot ETFs Log Four Days of Inflows

  • Bitcoin could potentially surpass its all-time highs of $74,000 as early as next week due to increasing institutional demand and risk appetite for assets.
  • The U.S.-listed spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracking Bitcoin have seen four straight days of inflows, with BlackRock’s IBIT receiving $94 million on Thursday, signaling a shift in investment sentiment.

Institutional demand and rising appetite for risk assets could cause bitcoin to breach all-time highs of $74,000 as early as next week, some traders say.

“Bitcoin was pulling back towards $65K on Thursday but is already trying to regain its footing above $66K on Friday morning. If cryptocurrencies get support from the global risk appetite on Friday, Bitcoin could exceed $70K over the weekend,” shared Alex Kuptsikevich, FxPro senior market analyst, in a note to CoinDesk, referring to increased inflows from spot ETFs.

“A test of the $71K-$74K highs area, in our view, could happen as early as early next week, triggering a new episode of FOMO,” Kuptsikevich.

Singapore-based QCP Capital gave out similar price targets in a client note earlier this week.

Such bullish outlooks come as U.S.-listed spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracking the asset have logged four straight days of inflows, ending Thursday at $257 million in net inflows. This is a nearly 180-degree turn from the action of the past few weeks – with some of the biggest ETFs seeing zero inflows on some days.

BlackRock’s IBIT received $94 million in inflows on Thursday, the largest among peers. GrayScale’s GBTC, which has mostly seen outflows since its January listing, received over $4.6 million in inflows.

Earlier this week, multiple regulatory filings showed that several big-name funds, such as Millennium Management and Elliot Capital, held millions worth of bitcoin ETFs in their portfolios.

The softer-than-expected US Consumer Price Index (CPI), which rose 0.3% versus 0.4% in March amid economist forecasts for 0.4%, triggered a break out of the range for BTC on Wednesday. The asset regained the $66,000 mark for the first time since April and posted its biggest single-day gain since March.

Edited by Oliver Knight.

Ether Bears Hit a Brick Wall as Price Collides With Bull-Market Trendline

  • Ether’s sell-off has stalled at an upward-sloping trendline, characterizing the rally from October lows.
  • The immediate resistance is seen in the range of $3,180-$,3225.

Ether’s (ETH) sell-off has stalled, with bears hitting a brick wall characterized by an upward-sloping trendline drawn off October and January lows, according to charting platform TradingView.

The bears’ inability to penetrate that bull-market trendline since Monday suggests they might have to back up a bit and allow a price bounce before making another attempt at extending recent declines. The native token of the Ethereum blockchain has dropped more than 15% to $3,000 from highs near $4,100 two months ago, according to CoinDesk data. The CoinDesk 20 Index (CD20), a measure of the broader crypto market, lost 17% in the same period.

Supporting the case for an ether price bounce is the daily MACD histogram, which has flipped positive, signaling renewed bullish momentum. The MACD is widely used to gauge trend strength and changes.

Intraday momentum is steadily improving, with the widely tracked 50-hour simple moving average (SMA) again trending north, providing reassurance.

The immediate resistance is seen at the 50-day SMA near $3,180, followed by a descending trendline representing the recent correction, currently at $3,225.

Ether’s uptrend line from October lows is still intact. (TradingView/CoinDesk) (TradingView/CoinDesk)

If the price drops below the bullish trendline, that would mean the broader uptrend has ended, opening the door for a more pronounced sell-off.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.

Ether Could Surprise to the Upside in the Coming Months, Coinbase Says

  • Coinbase said ether has the potential to surprise to the upside in the coming months.
  • The cryptocurrency unlikely to be displaced as the center of decentralized finance, the report said.
  • The market may be underestimating the timing and odds of a potential approval of a U.S. spot ether exchange-traded fund.

Ether (ETH) has underperformed the broader crypto market this year, but its long-term positioning remains strong and it has the potential to surprise to the upside, Coinbase (COIN) said in a research report on Wednesday.

The second-largest cryptocurrency by market value has risen 29% year-to-date, less than two-thirds the surge its larger rival bitcoin (BTC) which has gained 50%. The CoinDesk 20 Index (CD20), a measure of the broader crypto market, has advanced 28%.

“Ether may have the potential to surprise to the upside in the coming months,” the report said, noting that the cryptocurrency does not have “major sources of supply side overhangs” such as token unlocks or pressure created by miners’ sales.

“To the contrary, both staking and layer 2 growth have proven to be meaningful and growing sinks of ETH Liquidity,” wrote analyst David Han. “ETH’s position as the center of decentralized finance (DeFi) is also unlikely to be displaced in our view due to the widespread adoption of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and its layer 2 innovations.”

The EVM is the Ethereum blockchain’s native processing system that allows developers to create smart contracts and lets nodes interact with them. Layer 2s are separate blockchains built on top of layer 1s, or the base layer, that reduce bottlenecks with scaling and data.

Moreover, the importance of potential spot U.S. ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs) cannot be understated. “We think the market may be underestimating the timing and odds of a potential approval, which leaves room for surprises to the upside,” Coinbase said

“Even if the first deadline of May 23, 2024 encounters a rejection, we think there is a high likelihood that litigation could reverse that decision,” the note said. “In the interim, we believe the structural demand drivers for ETH as well as the technological innovations within its ecosystem will enable it to continue straddling across multiple narratives.”

Edited by Sheldon Reback.

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