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Monthly Report: The Central Africa Republic follows El Salvador’s footsteps in Bitcoin adoption

Kraken exchange offers traders the first Dirham trading pairs following the recent UAE licensing
Central Africa Republic follows El Salvador in adopting a Bitcoin as legal tender
Fort Worth, Texas, to become the first city mining cryptocurrency.
Cuba is issuing licenses to persons/organisations that want to operate digital assets
Deus Finance suffers another flash loan exploit in less than two months, this time losing more than $13.4 million.

Here are last month’s top headlines across the crypto regulation, adoption, mining and crime verticals

Kraken approved to operate in UAE as Bybit launches crypto options trading

Following the wave of licensing of crypto entities in the Middle East, Kraken revealed on April 26 that it had been approved by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to operate as a regulated crypto exchange in the United Arab Emirates. The approval means that Kraken satisfied the requirements of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM and is now a holder of the Financial Services Permission (FSP) license.

Kraken said it was setting up shop in Abu Dhabi, becoming the first exchange approved to allow investors direct trading in UAE Dirhams pairs with Bitcoin, Ether and several other tokens.

Elsewhere, Singapore crypto exchange Bybit launched crypto trading options last week to add to its inherent perpetual and expiration futures contracts. The options and perpetuals were initially launched for USDC and are available to investors via portfolio margin. Users who take up the new product would be able to speculate on the price of an underlying asset and, in the future, settle their speculative trades using USDC.

Crypto adoption: CAR adopts a Bitcoin legal tender, Buenos Aires considers crypto tax payments

The adoption of cryptocurrencies has taken another leap after the Central African Republic (CAR) became the second country to adopt a Bitcoin legal tender after El Salvador. The proposal to adopt crypto was unanimously voted in by lawmakers and assented into law by the president on April 27. The law created a provision to see BTC gain utility alongside the CFA Franc.

An official statement shared by the CAR president’s chief of staff detailed that the adoption of Bitcoin presented the country with a chance to gain from a new array of opportunities. The president, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, termed Bitcoin universal money following its adoption.

In South America, the Mayor of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires plans to start accepting tax payments in cryptocurrencies. Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta highlighted a 12-point plan in a virtual presentation she gave last Monday. The ‘Buenos Aires +’ plan aims to mould the capital into a digital hub.

The taxation structure is expected to launch in the coming months. Once enacted, all taxes paid in crypto would not be settled in crypto but rather pesos via leading crypto firms.

Fort Worth gains first-mover status as a crypto mining city

Fort Worth, a city in crypto-welcoming Texas, has announced plans to soon start mining crypto after its city council unanimously voted last Tuesday to allow this small-scale experimental program spearheaded by Mayor Mattie Parker. Approval of the project came bundled with a series of other crypto-friendly measures, MSN reported last week.

The Texas city plans to engage in crypto mining using the Antminer S9 rigs donated by the Texas Blockchain Council, TBC. Mining activities would occur in the controlled environment at the Information Technology Solutions Department Data Center at the Fort Worth City Hall. The rigs would be hosted on a private network to mitigate risks that could emerge.

Mayor Mattie Parker noted that were it not for the donation of miners, the city would have remained neutral on Bitcoin. However, she acknowledges that crypto will likely play a significant role in the future.

Fort Worth’s adoption represents a continuation of the state’s pro-crypto stance as it is the fifth-largest city in Texas. In contrast, while Texas is keen on cryptocurrency mining, New York is chasing a ban on mining Bitcoin for climate reasons.

Cuba to India: Developments around crypto regulation

Cuba’s central bank last Tuesday disclosed that it plans to issue licences to virtual asset service providers. The move is seen by many as part of the embargoed island’s efforts to skirt US sanctions. According to an official Gazette notice, the Banco Central de Cuba (BCC) will onwards issue licenses to domestic and international organisations/ persons.

This placed a requirement for those intending to operate virtual assets to cop themselves a license with one-year validity and a conditional extension option. The BCC explained that it would consider the legality, characteristics, and socioeconomic benefits of a project before granting it a license.

Elsewhere, “It will have to take its time. It can’t be rushed through,” was the message passed by India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while speaking on crypto regulation at Stanford University last week.

Sitharaman explained that avoiding haste would help ensure thoughtful judgment is used to control the misuse of crypto assets – terror financing and money laundering. The Finance Minister also clarified that the government remains pro-innovation and will support more distributed ledger endeavours, recognising the massive potential in this burgeoning scene.

Deus Finance hit again with DeFi flash loan exploit for $13.4 million

Blockchain security firm PeckShield revealed last Thursday that Deus Finance fell victim to a second exploit in the space of two months. The attacker was able to make away with $13.4 million after draining the pools. A thread by PeckShield noted that the attacker used a familiar route to manipulate the price oracle reading the StableV1 AMM – USDC/DEI pair via a flash loan. 

This bores a resemblance to an attack in mid-March, where an attacker stole about $3 million worth of Deus Finance stablecoin DAI and Ether. The course of the attack was the offender borrowed $143 million worth of USDC in a flash loan and used it to swap 9.5 million DEI. Consequently, the price of the dollar-pegged DEI stablecoin grew beyond the usual $1 rate. 

Via further price manipulation, the attacker then collateralised 71,400 DEI to borrow more than 17.25 million and, on repayment of the loan, netted $13.4 million. They then tunnelled the gainings via Tornado Cash, a mixing protocol that has often been leveraged to mask the trail of stolen crypto assets. 

Flash loans remain a controversial lending form because of the risk exposure they bring to DeFi.

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