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🔥 Crypto is slowly taking over the world!

Argentina’s new policies & more stuff happening this week

GM, frens! Ambire here with our weekly newsletter.

Holidays are fast approaching and so is the end of 2023. But before that, let's take a look at what happened during this week in crypto:

Today we’re talking about crypto taking over the world and new changes to Argentina’s policies, how an NFT community got their stolen NFTs back via a bounty, China dabbling in web3 and NFTs despite the blanket crypto ban in their country, Tether’s interesting ‘cooperation’ with FBI and DOJ and Elizabeth Warren's latest crypto beef. Let’s get down to it:

Crypto taking over the world: Argentina’s new policies

Not too long after electing a new pro-crypto president, Argentina made a significant step toward crypto adoption.

Diana Mondino, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, announced in a Dec. 21 post on X that a newly approved deregulation decree would allow the use of BTC and other crypto in the country under certain conditions.

While the decree itself does not explicitly mention crypto, it includes provisions that debtors can pay in currencies not recognized as legal tender in Argentina. This means that contracts and payments made in crypto technically will now be considered legally binding.

But Mondino went even further by stating that the new decree also applies to other forms of payment such as “liters of milk” or foreign currencies. Basically, this ratification confirms that Argentina is open to exploring alternative payment methods beyond traditional fiat.

It comes as no surprise given the recent election of libertarian economist Javier Milei as President, who earlier referred to crypto as "the return of money to its original creator, the private sector". Many in the space saw Milei's win as a positive sign for the future of crypto adoption in Argentina.

While details about any specific measures related to crypto were not provided, this early nod towards crypto reflects President Milei's views on monetary policy and his push for economic reform. With hyperinflation and currency devaluation plaguing the country's economy, crypto could be seen as a useful tool in countering the inefficiency and corruption of centralized financial systems.

Community gets their stolen NFTs back via a bounty

The recent security breach on the NFTTrader platform that resulted in the theft of nearly $3 million worth of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFTs has come to a successful resolution.

Thanks to the efforts of Boring Security, a non-profit web3 security-related community project funded by ApeCoin, and the support of Yuga Labs, all stolen NFTs have been recovered.

In response to the breach, Boring Security spearheaded a community initiative that involved paying a $267,000 bounty to the hacker in exchange for returning the stolen NFTs. The payment was made by Greg Solano, co-founder of Yuga Labs, who also supported negotiations with the hacker.

Boring Security confirmed the successful recovery of all 36 BAYC and 18 MAYC NFTs. This outcome was made possible through the efforts of "Foobar," a pseudonymous founder and developer of Delegate, who identified the vulnerability that led to the unauthorized NFT transfers.

China embraces blockchain tech despite crypto ban

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has released a document outlining plans to promote the development of NFTs and web3 dApps despite the country's ban on crypto trading.

In the document, the central government states that it plans to formulate strategy documents to clarify the path for the development of Web3. This includes a focus on key areas such as governance and industry, with encouragement for the exploration of new business models like NFTs and Web3. The ministry also plans to launch pilot projects related to distributed digital identity, further exploring the potential of Web3 in this area.

In the document, the central government states that it plans to formulate strategy documents to clarify the path for the development of Web3. This includes a focus on key areas such as governance and industry, with encouragement for the exploration of new business models like NFTs and Web3. The ministry also plans to launch pilot projects related to distributed digital identity, further exploring the potential of Web3 in this area.

This latest push towards Web3 development comes after several local governments in China pledged to develop the metaverse industry earlier this year. That included Sichuan, a province that was once a crypto mining hub prior to the country's ban on mining. The province aims to grow its metaverse industry to reach a market size of 250 billion yuan ($35.1 billion) by 2025.

Despite China's 2021 ban on trading crypto, NFTs still persisted in China within a regulatory gray area. And now, with the launch of a national-level real-name decentralized identifier system (RealDID), China is taking another step towards solidifying its embrace of blockchain technology. The new system allows users to register and log into commercial websites using their decentralized identified addresses and private keys. It's a two-edged sword: on one hand, it enables more secure and trustworthy transactions; on the other hand, it also allows for government surveillance and control over online activities.

So China is probably not going to use blockchain for good, like guaranteeing traceability in food supply chains or improving public services. Instead, the government's focus on Web3 development is more likely to be centered around using blockchain technology for its own benefit and control over its citizens.

China has been known for its strict control over the internet, heavily censoring content and limiting access to foreign websites. But with Web3, there is a potential for decentralization and anonymity, which could be seen as a threat to the government's power. Overall, the Chinese government's approach to Web3 development may bring both innovation and surveillance. It remains to be seen how China will balance these two aspects as it continues on its path toward becoming a major player in this space.

Tether froze $435M in cooperation with FBI and DOJ

Tether, the issuer of the stablecoin USDT, has publicly released letters sent to key U.S. committees, revealing its partnerships with the Secret Service and the FBI. The letters also revealed that the company has frozen 326 wallets with $435 million worth of USDT to assist law enforcement authorities.

Tether stated in its letter that the company has been actively involved in assisting with ongoing investigations across 19 jurisdictions worldwide. It also took action by freezing a total of 800 million USDT held in secondary market addresses that were linked to various hacks and thefts. In addition, the company also revealed that it has cooperated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) by responding to 68 different requests and freezing a total of 188 wallets holding 70 million USDT.

Tether's new CEO, Paolo Ardoino, has been ramping up efforts to prevent the misuse of USDT on its platform. In addition to freezing wallets in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, Tether also implemented a wallet-freezing policy on December 1. This policy involves freezing all wallets listed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control's (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

Ardoino noted that Tether aims to become a "world class partner" to the U.S. in order to assist law enforcement and expand the use of the U.S. dollar globally (interesting, isn’t it?).

The company also mentioned its ongoing efforts to prevent illicit activities on its platform, including a strong Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program that is on par with those found in "sophisticated financial institutions."

Tether also said it conducts regular due diligence and background checks on its customers using third-party services, and continuously monitors client activity for potential red flags.

That's a prime example of companies adapting their initial beliefs and values to comply with government regulations, all in pursuit of success and profitability. Rather than helping fight these regulations in the name of the original goal of crypto - decentralization - Tether is choosing the easy way out by conforming to the traditional financial system.

Elizabeth Warren's latest beef with crypto

In her latest efforts to crack down on the cryptocurrency industry, US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren has set her sights on its growing army of former defense, national security and law enforcement officials.

In letters sent to Coinbase, the largest U.S. crypto exchange, as well as the Blockchain Association and Coin Center, two leading industry groups, Warren demanded details on their employment of these former officials. Her actions were prompted by recent reporting on the crypto lobby's association with top experts and its potential role in facilitating financial crime, including funding the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Warren specifically called out Coinbase's recruitment of such high-profile names as former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Bush counterterrorism adviser Frances Townsend, as well as retired Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and former Democratic Reps. Tim Ryan and Sean Patrick Maloney. These individuals serve on Coinbase's Global Advisory Council, giving the company a "veneer of legitimacy" while it fights against regulations that could cut into its profits, she said.

But she did not stop there. Warren also took aim at the Blockchain Association's recent letter to Capitol Hill, signed by 40 former military officials and national security professionals, explaining the true numbers behind illicit activity in crypto and opposing policies that would drive digital asset players overseas.

Warren, unable to really do anything about the truth, called this "abuse of the revolving door" and criticized the industry for spending millions to protect its interests instead of restricting crypto from being used for terror financing. She also pointed out the significant gaps in the US ethics laws that have allowed this to happen.

The response from crypto leaders was immediate and uncompromising. Kristin Smith, CEO of Blockchain Association, defended the industry by stating that people are drawn to work in it because they value freedom, sovereignty of the individual, and permissionless innovation. Kara Calvert, head of U.S. policy at Coinbase, stood by the national security and law enforcement experts they employ, saying that they do not deserve to be maligned for working towards keeping the nation strong and safe. Coin Center's Executive Director Jerry Brito pointed out that engaging like-minded experts to oppose legislation is a fundamental right.

The corrupt "revolving door" between the government and corporate industries has been a long-standing issue, with both sides benefitting from it. It's been going on for so long that it's become a normalized practice, but what Elizabeth Warren is actually interested in is stopping crypto from evolving and becoming a legitimate player in the financial world.

The fun page

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That's all for now, frens.

We'll see you next week. And remember, the market conditions are temporary, but our commitment to building a better DeFi is here to stay.

Thanks for joining us and Merry Christmas / Hannukah/ Kwanzaa / Happy Holidays or just Happy Tuesday then if none of the above work for you! Cheers!

Yours, The 🔥 Team

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