In today’s edition of Bitmama’s weekly crypto news roundup, we cover interesting developments in the cryptocurrency industry. Top picks – Bitcoin (BTC) exchange reserves drop to lowest point in 3 years, Dubai approves first law to regulate digital assets, Russians liquidating crypto in UAE in hunt for safe havens.
Let’s get started.
Bitcoin exchange reserves drop to lowest point in 3 years
Bitcoin is being pulled off exchanges in greater numbers these days, as the metric shows the amount — 2.32 million bitcoin (BTC) held today — hasn’t been this low in over three years. In fact, three years ago in March, the number of BTC stored on various trading platforms was larger, with roughly 2.73 million bitcoin held. Moreover, the day after the infamous ‘Black Thursday’ on March 11, 2020, exchanges held just over three million BTC, according to cryptoquant.com’s metrics.
During the last few weeks, crypto asset prices have been lower and exchange balance metrics really started to slide in August 2021. Today, Coinbase is the largest balance holder in terms of bitcoin with 853,530 BTC according to Bituniverse stats. Bituniverse leverages data from peckshield.com, chain.info, and etherscan.io. The Transparent Balance Rank tool also measures ethereum (ETH) and tether (USDT) balances.
Dubai approves first law to regulate digital assets
The emirate of Dubai has adopted its first law to regulate crypto assets and established a regulator to oversee crypto activities and regulate crypto service providers.
The official Twitter account for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced Wednesday that the first virtual assets law has been approved in Dubai and the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has been established.
Noting that this law is the first of its kind to regulate virtual assets, Sheikh Mohammed opined:
‘’We established an independent authority to oversee the development of the best business environment in the world in terms of regulation, licensing, and governance’’.
According to the announcement, the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority is tasked with overseeing the trading and issuance of “virtual assets and virtual tokens.” It is also responsible for authorizing and regulating virtual asset service providers (VASPs).
In addition, the authority must ensure the “highest standards of protection for beneficiaries’ personal data.” It must also monitor virtual asset transactions to prevent price manipulation.
Russians liquidating crypto in UAE in hunt for safe havens.
Crypto firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are being deluged with requests to liquidate billions of dollars of virtual currency as Russians seek a safe haven for their fortunes, according to company executives and financial sources.
Some clients are using cryptocurrency to invest in real estate in the UAE, while others want to use firms there to turn their virtual money into hard currency and stash it elsewhere,
One crypto firm has received lots of queries in the past 10 days from Swiss brokers asking to liquidate billions of dollars of Bitcoin because their clients are afraid Switzerland will freeze their assets, one executive said, adding none of the requests had been for less than $2bn.
“We’ve had like five or six in the past two weeks. None of them has come off yet – they’ve sort of fallen over at the last minute, which is not rare – but we’ve never had this much interest,” the executive said, adding his firm normally receives an inquiry for a large transaction once a month.
Russians were buying property in Dubai, using crypto as a way of getting their money out of other jurisdictions and into the Gulf state.
Cryptocurrency exchanges have said, while giving few details, they are blocking the accounts of Russians sanctioned by the West over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation”. Major exchanges such as Coinbase Global Inc and Binance say they are taking steps to ensure that crypto is not used as a vehicle to evade sanctions, and they collaborate with law enforcement on the issue.
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