Bybit Suspends USD Deposit, Launches Crypto to Fiat MasterCard
Bybit, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, has announced the suspension of its USD deposit feature, which will take effect on March 10th.
The exchange, based in the United Arab Emirates, has made this decision following similar moves by other exchanges such as Binance, the world’s biggest exchange in terms of trading volume, which suspended dollar transfers recently.
A statement issued by the company partially read, “We have temporarily suspended USD deposits via Wire Transfer (including SWIFT) due to service outages from our end-point processing partner until further notice”.
Investors King earlier reported how the Silvergate Bank crisis halted cryptocurrency’s bullish and subsequently plunged Bitcoin below the $20,000 support level.
The constant barrage of negative news related to the cryptocurrency industry is causing significant anxiety among industry participants.
Markus Thielen, who leads research and strategy at Matrixport, a provider of cryptocurrency services, has noted that Bybit’s recent decision to follow in Binance’s footsteps during the Silvergate crisis is a significant development for the entire crypto market.
“When Binance halted USD transfers in January, bitcoin prices dropped -10%. Obviously, Binance has a much bigger impact than other exchanges but also now ByBit will halt USD transfers from March 10 onwards. This indeed a BIG deal for the industry,” Thielen said.
Meanwhile, just after announcing the suspension of USD deposits, Bybit has announced that it will begin to roll out Mastercard debit cards, enabling users to convert their crypto into fiat at the point of sale and ATMs.
The company noted that Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, USDT and USDC are the first set of cryptocurrencies that will be available for the service. It added that digital assets could be converted to EUR or GBP, depending on the client’s country of residence. Meaning, this will only be available to customers in select countries in Europe.
“By launching Bybit Card, we are creating a full 360-degree journey for our users, offering next-level reliability, products, and opportunities,” says Bybit Co-Founder and CEO, Ben Zhou.
Binance on Chain Balance Stands at $64B Despite Investigation by U.S. Regulators
Binance’s on-chain balance remains high, standing at $64 billion despite a recent investigation by U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for violating federal laws.
Data shows that a significant portion of Binance’s on-chain portfolio currently contains USDT, BTC, ETH, BUSD and BNB, representing roughly 81% of the crypto exchange’s total balance at press time.
According to blockchain analytics firm Nansen, the reserve displays the asset backing and strength of Binance, which may cushion heavy outflows such as was seen in FTX. This shows the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume is healthy despite the recent panic created by the CFTC investigation.
Investors King could recall that on the eve of the FTX collapse, many traders hurriedly withdrew their assets from the exchange, thereby causing more panic and an irredeemable situation. Some traders were also caught in the web losing billions of dollars to the collapse.
The crypto exchange saw $6 billion worth of withdrawals in 72 hours after Binance cancelled its initial purchase deal as the US regulatory agency launched a probe against FTX for trading violations. Before the collapse, FTX was the third-largest crypto exchange by trading volume.
Speaking on CFTC investigation and Binance on chain balance, Charles Storry, head of growth at crypto index platform “Phuture” stated that traders and investors who have exposure to Binance attached no serious issue to the investigation, seeing it as “business as usual”.
“The news from the CFTC hasn’t caused investor panic. That’s extended into those holding value in Binance …Binance isn’t well known for being the most transparent exchange, yet they’ve managed to weather many storms,” Storry said.
Meanwhile, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) said the U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has given “an incomplete recitation of facts, stating that the exchange “does not agree with the characterization” of many of the U.S. commodities regulator’s allegations.
The crypto billionaire however assured that Binance will cooperate with the U.S regulators to resolve all grey areas.
Nigerian Convicted for Scamming Australian in Crypto Fraud
A Nigerian, Moses Upkonahusi has been convicted of $5,576 cryptocurrency fraud perpetrated in Abuja after obtaining a bitcoin value of 0.11088059 from Adam Murah, an Australian.
Moses was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before Justice Mohammed Zubair of the FCT High Court in Jikwoyi.
Investors King gathered that Moses was arrested on May 28, 2022, following Murah’s petition after falling for a cryptocurrency investment fraud scheme.
According to EFCC, Moses posed as the Chief Executive Officer of Crypto Infinite Trade, a fake investment platform to defraud Adam Murah, an Australian citizen.
The financial watchdog noted that the offence violated Section 321 of the Penal Code Act, LFN, 2004 and is punishable under section 324 of the same Act.
After Moses pleaded guilty, the judge sentenced him to one-year imprisonment with an option of a N300,000 fine.
The court also directed that the recovered $5,576 be paid to the victim through the Australian High Commission in Nigeria.
Investors King understands that the rate of cryptocurrency scams has been on the rise in Nigeria. This calls for more caution among unsuspecting investors.
Late last year, a Kaduna State High Court convicted and sentenced one Emmanuel Simon to three months in prison for offences bordering on cryptocurrency scam.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stated that Simon used Instagram fake accounts to send scam messages to unsuspecting persons to defraud them by telling them to invest in cryptocurrency trading with the promise that they will make profit in seven days.
Simon was however allowed to pay a fine of N100, 000.00 as an alternative to the three months jail term.
Meanwhile, an Israel-based blockchain analysis firm, Whitestream in its report has noted that bitcoin and crypto use has been booming in Nigeria, but the dark side is the rise of scams. The report added that scammers target new crypto users or investors who have no prior knowledge before.
Binance Temporarily Suspends BSC Deposits and Withdrawals
Binance has announced the suspension of deposits and withdrawals from its Binance Smart Chain (BSC) network.
The exchange attributed the suspension to technical issues which will take some hours to fix.
Investors King understands that this is the second time Binance has suffered a technical glitch within one week. On March 24, the exchange suspended all spot trading after the matching engine encountered a bug on the trailing stop order. In December 2022, a similar scenario also happened which took the exchange some hours to fix.
According to the world’s largest crypto exchange, suspension of both deposits and withdrawals are only temporary and often happens when the wallet is under maintenance.
Meanwhile, the United States has accused Binance of hiding substantial links to China for several years, contradicting executives’ claims that the crypto exchange left the country after a clampdown on the industry in late 2017.
According to U.S. regulators, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and others holding senior positions repeatedly instructed Binance employees to hide the company’s Chinese presence.
This included an office in use until at least the end of 2019, and one Chinese bank that was used to pay some employee salaries.
“We no longer publish our office addresses . . . people in China can directly say that our office is not in China,” Zhao was reported to have said in a company messaging group in November 2017.
Lately, Binance has been on the radar of U.S. regulatory agencies. Recall that on Monday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued Binance for running an alleged “illegal exchange” and a “sham” compliance program.
“For years, Binance knew they were violating CFTC rules, working actively to both keep the money flowing and avoid compliance. This should be a warning to anyone in the digital asset world that the CFTC will not tolerate willful avoidance of U.S. law,” the agency’s chair, Rostin Behnam said.
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