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Crypto Market Bleeds as SEC Clamp Down on Kraken

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The broader cryptocurrency market bleeds on Thursday as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission came down heavily on a popular US crypto exchange, Kraken. A move which saw many crypto assets recording a double-digit loss. 

Amid this disappointing news, Bitcoin fell below $22,000 for the first time in three weeks while the crypto market lost more than $40 billion from its market cap, data from CoinGeko reveals. 

At the moment, the flagship cryptocurrency is trading under pressure as it struggles to scale above $22,000 with support at $21,500, data from Binance shows. 

Investors King learnt that the crypto industry was shocked on Wednesday when the U.S. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) slapped Kraken with a fine of $30 million for violating securities laws after it failed to register the offer and sale of its staking-as-a-service program.

Although Kraken did not confirm or deny the allegations about the SEC’s complaint, the exchange however agreed to halt its staking service for U.S. clients, a bad development which led to the recent market downturn. 

Reacting to the issue, a number of industry players have expressed the negative impact it can have on the broader crypto industry. 

For example, the Head of Research at Matrixport, Markus Thielen noted that “the SEC enforcement is negative for the industry”. 

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also took to Twitter to deliver a lengthy thread on what he called “rumours that the SEC would like to get rid of crypto staking in the U.S. for retail customers.”

“I hope that’s not the case as I believe it would be a terrible path for the U.S. if that was allowed to happen,” he said. 

“Staking is a really important innovation in crypto” as it “allows users to participate directly in running open crypto networks” and “brings many positive improvements to the space, including scalability, increased security, and reduced carbon footprints,” Brain Armstrong added. 

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SEC Director General Lauds KuCoin’s Action, Urges Compliance with National Guidelines

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Director General, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, has commended KuCoin, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform, for its proactive measures to delist the Nigerian naira (NGN) from its trading options.

This move aligns with recent directives aimed at safeguarding the nation’s economic interests and combating illicit financial activities.

In an official statement released by the SEC on Thursday, Dr. Agama expressed satisfaction with KuCoin’s decision to suspend peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions involving the Nigerian currency.

This decision comes as part of KuCoin’s ongoing efforts to adjust its platform to comply with regulatory directives issued by the Office of the National Security Adviser and the SEC.

The SEC’s stance underscores a broader initiative by Nigerian authorities to address concerns related to foreign exchange manipulation and safeguard the integrity of the nation’s financial system.

Dr. Agama emphasized the importance of adherence to established guidelines, emphasizing that regulatory compliance is essential for maintaining national security and economic stability.

The delisting of the naira by KuCoin follows similar actions taken by other cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, in response to regulatory scrutiny from Nigerian authorities. These measures signal a concerted effort within the crypto industry to cooperate with regulatory agencies and promote responsible trading practices.

Peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading platforms have come under increased scrutiny due to their potential for facilitating illicit financial activities, including money laundering and fraud. By delisting the naira and suspending related trading activities, KuCoin demonstrates its commitment to upholding regulatory standards and fostering a secure trading environment for users.

Dr. Agama reiterated the SEC’s commitment to collaborating with stakeholders, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to address challenges within the cryptocurrency space and combat financial crimes effectively.

He emphasized the importance of regulatory cooperation in tackling illicit trading practices and maintaining investor confidence in the market.

Furthermore, Dr. Agama highlighted the SEC’s ongoing efforts to implement the Revised Capital Market Master Plan, aimed at enhancing the resilience and competitiveness of Nigeria’s capital market.

He highlighted the potential of the capital market to drive economic growth and attract foreign investment, emphasizing the need for regulatory measures to protect investors and promote market integrity.

In response to Dr. Agama’s comments, the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to combatting financial crimes and emphasized the importance of regulatory collaboration in addressing emerging challenges.

He commended the SEC’s efforts to enforce regulatory compliance within the cryptocurrency sector and pledged the EFCC’s support in safeguarding Nigeria’s financial interests.

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KuCoin Announces Temporary Pause on NGN Services to Prioritize Compliance

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KuCoin, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges globally, has announced a temporary pause on its P2P Nigerian Naira (NGN) services and Fast Buy service via Naira cards.

This move, set to commence from 2024-05-15 08:00 (UTC), aims to prioritize compliance measures within the platform.

In a message addressed to its valued users, KuCoin expressed its dedication to providing a robust and secure trading environment.

The temporary suspension of NGN services is part of the exchange’s commitment to accelerating the compliance process.

During this period, ongoing orders will be completed normally, and all other services on the platform will remain available.

KuCoin assured its users that their assets are safe and secure on the exchange. While acknowledging that adjustments might be required in trading preferences, KuCoin explained that this decision is a step toward enhancing the overall trading experience for its users.

The exchange reiterated its focus on compliance and creating a secure environment for all users. KuCoin aims to resolve the compliance-related matters swiftly and efficiently to ensure a seamless transition back to full functionality of NGN services.

The decision to temporarily suspend NGN services underscores KuCoin’s proactive approach to regulatory compliance, reflecting its commitment to maintaining transparency and trust within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

KuCoin expressed gratitude for the understanding and cooperation of its users during this period of change.

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Crypto Exchange Giant Coinbase Grinds to a Halt in System Meltdown

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One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase, has been plunged into chaos as it experienced a catastrophic system-wide outage, leaving traders and investors stranded and unable to access their accounts.

The disruption, which commenced at 4:15 am UTC on May 14, has rendered both the desktop and mobile platforms of Coinbase completely unusable.

Users attempting to access the exchange are greeted with a frustrating “503 Service Temporarily Unavailable” error message, indicative of the severity of the situation.

Coinbase, known for its reliability and user-friendly interface, has been a cornerstone of the cryptocurrency market for years.

However, this unprecedented outage has shaken the confidence of countless traders who rely on the platform for their daily transactions and investments.

Coinbase swiftly notified its user base of the issue through its official status page, acknowledging the severity of the problem and assuring customers that their funds remain secure.

The exchange’s support team took to social media to disseminate updates, pledging to investigate the issue and work tirelessly to find a resolution.

This isn’t the first time Coinbase has faced technical difficulties during periods of heightened market activity.

Just months prior, on February 28, the exchange experienced temporary outages alongside several other platforms amidst a frenzy of trading activity during a Bitcoin flash crash. Such incidents highlight the strain that surges in traffic can place on even the most robust of systems.

While outages like these are undeniably frustrating for users, they often spark speculation within the crypto community.

Some enthusiasts view these disruptions as a bullish sign, interpreting the influx of traffic and subsequent downtime as indicators of growing interest and adoption in the cryptocurrency space.

Despite the inconvenience caused by the outage, there remains a palpable sense of optimism among certain factions of the crypto community.

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