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    Bitcoin Crosses $20K Mark, as Whales Continue to Accumulate Tokens

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    After slipping to lows of $18,000, Bitcoin (BTC) has gained some momentum and crossed the psychological price of $20,000.

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    The leading cryptocurrency was up by 7.77% in the last seven days to hit $20,154 during intraday trading, according to CoinMarketCap.

    The upward momentum is experienced amid Bitcoin whales on a spending spree based on heightened accumulation. Market insight provider Santiment explained:

    “Bitcoin whales are showing signs of sustained accumulation, which has been a rarity in 2022. Since September 27th, addresses holding 100 to 10k BTC have collectively added back 46,173 BTC back to their wallets as large USDT holdings have dropped.”

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    Source: Santiment

    Therefore, whales on the Bitcoin network are showing a sustained hodling trend, which can also be depicted by the fact that more coins have been leaving crypto exchanges.

    Santiment added:

    “Bitcoin continues to see its supply moving away from exchanges as traders show further signs of being content with their current holdings. With less than 9% of BTC on exchanges for the first time since 2018, it is a good bode of confidence for bulls.”

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    Source: Santiment

    Bitcoin exiting exchanges usually reflect a hodling culture because coins are transferred to digital wallets or cold storage for the future other than speculation. Therefore, it’s a bullish signal because it slashes selling pressure.

    Bitcoin hodlers have not shown signs of relenting in their quest to have more coins because more than 42 million addresses hold BTC despite the bear market. This is 4.5 million more than 2021; data analytic firm IntoTheBlock pointed out

    The bullish momentum being experienced in the BTC market is coming at a time when the UNCTAD has cautioned the federal reserve not to throw caution to the wind when tightening fiscal and monetary policies because this could prompt a global recession. 

    The Fed has been at the forefront of increasing interest rates, which have been detrimental to the crypto market as bears continue to bite. 

    Therefore, if the Fed heeds to this call, a bullish trend might be triggered in the crypto market because interest rate hikes have been the primary stumbling blocks. 

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    McDonald's in Swiss Town Accepts Crypto Payments in BTC & USDT

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    Multinational fast food chain giant McDonald’s now accepts Bitcoin and USDT as payment methods in the southern Swiss city of Lugano (Lugano).

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    Residents of the city of Lugano can order food using a McDonald’s digital kiosk and then pay at the regular check-in desk with the help of a mobile app.

    Apart from crypto payments, this region also supports cryptocurrency payments for taxes, parking tickets, public services, and student tuition in the local community.

    The City of Lugano has announced the acceptance of Bitcoin, Tether and LVGA tokens as legal tender. The local authority intends to allow residents to settle their annual tax bills and pay for goods and services in cryptocurrencies, with only Bitcoin, USDT and a certain Swiss franc-pegged Stablecoin for payments.

    Lugano, a city of 63,000 in Italian-speaking Switzerland, announced in March that it would be one of the first cities in the world to introduce a full cryptocurrency payments economy. More than 200 stores and businesses are expected to accept crypto payments for goods and services.

    To that end, Tether and Lugano will collaborate to make the city a major hub for blockchain adoption across Europe.

    Likewise, McDonald’s has begun accepting Bitcoin as a payment option in El Salvador after the nation became the first to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender on September 7 in 2021.

    McDonald’s customers in El Salvador can now pay for Big Macs and other items on the menu with bitcoin at all 19 McDonald’s locations in the country, as well as online and through delivery apps.

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    DelMonte Adopts Blockchain-Powered Traceability Solutions for Quality Assurance

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    Fresh Del Monte Produce has invested in Jordanian and UK-based startup Decapolis for blockchain-enabled traceability solutions to facilitate  innovative and best-in-class solutions for its products and services.

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    Del Monte, a leading vertically integrated producer, distributor, and marketer of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, invested a 39% stake in Decapolis with plans underway to roll out a blockchain-powered traceability solution dubbed Decapolis Food Guard (DFG).

    Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Fresh Del Monte CEO and chairman noted:

    “Now more than ever, consumers are very cognizant of what goes into their food. With this blockchain technology, they’ll know exactly what has gone into the product, and where it has traveled until the moment it was purchased for consumption. We’re excited to begin rolling out this traceability solution to all Fresh Del Monte products.”

    From planting up to the distribution level, the blockchain-based solution seeks to get control of assessments at every production stage by using QR codes. Per the report:

    “Deploying blockchain technology ensures data remains immutable and QR codes on product labels certify end-to-end traceability. Anyone who scans the QR code will be able to see a complete log of product information from farm to fork.”

    By leveraging blockchain, Del Monte seeks to push its technology-driven mission a notch higher. 

    On the other hand, Decapolis intends to render a future of healthy living and technology for good. Abedalrhman Habashneh, Decapolis CEO and founder added:

    “We remain steadfast in moving towards our vision of becoming the leading global reference platform for compliance and certification for food trade worldwide.”

    Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum (WEF) stipulated that blockchain technology was the vaccine and game-changer needed to make things run smoothly in the global seafood supply chain, irrespective of future disruptions. 

    This was based on the fact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic laid the bare knuckles of the inefficiencies and challenges faced by the seafood industry, Blockchain.News reported. 

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    No Plans to Launch Crypto Platform Yet: Nasdaq

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    Nasdaq plans to wait for further clarity in terms of crypto adoption globally, the company’s executive vice president and head of North American markets said.

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    Tal Cohen said that the world’s second-largest stock exchange is awaiting greater regulatory clarity and institutional adoption around crypto exchanges before planning to launch a platform of its own.

    “Those are discussions we are happy to have,” Cohen told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. 

    “But right now, on the retail side, the market is fairly saturated,” he added. “There’s a number of exchanges servicing the retail customer base.”

    Nasdaq instead plans to stay focused on its crypto custody services. Cohen said that these services are foundational for clients, citing “massive” demand ad opportunity there.

    “We think if you can safe-keep peoples’ assets, they’ll trust you to do everything else afterwards,” he said.

    Cohen added that along with safe-keeping services, Nasdaq is working on facilitating the movement and transfer of the assets by building out its execution capabilities.

    In September, Nasdaq announced it would offer custody services for Bitcoin and Ether to institutional investors. To do so, the firm hired Ira Auerbach, who ran prime broker services at crypto exchange Gemini, to head the new Nasdaq Digital Assets unit.

    The primary target market for the Nasdaq exchange is institutional investors, as adoption has grown remarkably amongst these classes in the past few years. While accumulating crypto is one thing, safeguarding them is another, and company-owned funds are not supposed to be handled by solely one person.

    According to Blockchain.News, This calls for the need for custodial services. While exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, and Kraken are already dominating the crypto custody space for institutional investors, many believe Nasdaq is not yet late to the party.

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    Crypto Exchange FTX Lists Dollar Spot Index Perpetual Futures

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    Cryptocurrency exchange FTX has listed perpetual futures linked to the US dollar spot index, and it is expanding its business scope to the field of foreign exchange derivatives trading.

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    FTX’s new perpetual contracts will be based on the so-called FTX Dollar Spot Index, which is designed to track the movements of four major currencies, including the Euro, Yen, Canadian dollar, and British Pound against the U.S. dollar.

    The FTX USD Spot Index (FTXDXY) is calculated as follows: 35.7*EURUSD^-0.6*JPYUSD^-0.2*CADUSD^-0.1*GBPUSD^-0.1

    On the other hand, the foreign exchange market volatility has increased significantly recently. Driven by the tightening of monetary policy and the rapid interest rate hike in the United States, the US dollar is currently at its highest level since 2022, especially after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates several times.

    The US dollar index broke through 111 level, refreshed a new high since 2002 and is currently hovering around the all-time high of 111.76.

    Non-US currencies generally fell. As the dominant currency in global trade and finance, the fluctuation of the US dollar will broadly impact the global economy.

    Given that Bitcoin (BTC) is still seen as a risk asset against inflation, many traders believe that a weaker dollar is needed for Bitcoin to rise.

    Conversely, the pound fluctuated amid the chaotic rollout of Prime Minister Liz Truss’ economic plan.

    The British government, on September 23, unveiled its most radical tax cuts since 1972 before making a U-turn by ditching its plan. The administration attempted to reduce taxes on workers’ wages and businesses to boost the economy as it heads into recession, which triggered investors to dumped sterling and government bonds.

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    Crypto Investment Firm M31 Capital Launches $100m Web3 Opportunity Fund

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    Crypto investment firm M31 Capital Management, LLC announced Tuesday the launch of a new Web3 fund, “Web3 Opportunity Fund,” focusing on investing in early-stage blockchain technology projects and protocols in the Web3 ecosystem.

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    M31 Capital is a global investment firm focused on crypto assets, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology, founded in 2016

    The fund, which has a cap. of $100 million, has already received commitments of $50 million from some investors. The funds raised will focus on investing in projects that centralize Internet infrastructure and applications and crypto projects such as liquidity tokens.

    Previously, M31 has launched a number of crypto fund products, including Bitcoin funds, DeFi funds and venture capital (VC) funds,

    New York-based crypto-blockchain M31 Capital has also pioneered the concept of a “liquid venture fund.” Provides liquidity after a 12-month lock-up, unlike traditional VC funds where capital is typically locked for 10 years.

    Nathan Montone, the founder of M31 Capital, said the current crypto market cycle is the first time in a decade that “prices are trending down, while fundamentals and revenue growth are hitting record highs almost daily.”

    Based on the new GAMEFI coin Petworld (PW) on the Binance Smart Chain, it has reached a cooperation with the New York encrypted blockchain M31 Capital to help PW enter the cryptocurrency market in the United States; supervise PW GAMEFI in resource allocation, risk pricing, income output, etc. Establish a complete model to support promoting the game’s high-quality development.

    Earlier in August, early-stage venture capital firm Shima Capital launched Shima Capital Fund I, the first fund to support emerging digital assets for web3 and crypto startups. The latest fund will give potential companies $500,000 to $2 million in pre-seed funding.

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    Crypto Bank Anchorage Digital To Make Entry into Asia

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    Anchorage Digital is making an entry into Asia with five new partnerships in the region.

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    The institutional crypto platform has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub, asset management firm Dream Trade, blockchain investment firm FBG Capital, venture firm IOSG Ventures and digital assets financial services provider Antalpha.

    The company has previously partnered with internet infrastructure provider GMO-z.com Trust Company in Asia.

    Anchorage has a record of becoming the first crypto bank to receive a federal charter in the US after its establishment in 2017. Diogo Mónica – Anchorage’s co-founder and president – told The Block that this is the highest order charter that banks can get in the US.

    He added that obtaining a charter isn’t all sunshine and paradise. Instead, it is also a burden as it requires a level of transparency and maturity to meet the charter’s requirements.

    The company said several Asian clients have selected Anchorage because of its strong regulatory status in the US.

    “We appreciate Anchorage’s attention to regulatory compliance and vetting of the digital assets they support,” said Will Chiu, Antalpha’s chief investment officer, in a statement. 

    “Through their combination of crypto-native fluency and understanding of traditional finance needs, they continue to support us in expanding the adoption of digital assets,” he added.

    The company’s business model involves providing institutions with integrated financial services and infrastructure solutions. They could include solutions such as custody, staking and trading services.

    Recently, the startup successfully raised $350 million in a Series D funding round led by investment firm KKR. Other participants included traditional players such as Goldman Sachs and Thoma Bravo, along with crypto-native firms such as Alameda Research and Blockchain Capital.

    “We work with institutions and what we see is that institutions have very long-term horizons; they are not stopping these partnerships,” Mónica said. 

    In another major development, Anchorage will become the preferred custodian for buzzy new layer one blockchain Aptos.

    In a recent interview with CoinDesk, Mónica said, “by partnering with Aptos, we are actually helping make sure that the next generation of layer 1 blockchains are taking these proper [security] considerations, and that will only spur future growth in the industry.” 

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    Latin Grammy Awards to Launch NFT Collections in Partnership with OneOf

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    The Latin Grammy Awards, the prestigious award ceremony that is dedicated to recognizing talents from the Latin American world, has announced its partnership with OneOf, a next-generation Non-Fungible Token (NFT) platform.

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    The partnership between the Latin Grammy Awards and OneOf will span for three years. The NFT outfit will launch a series of digital collectables tied to the award ceremony and the celebration of Latin music.

    “The Latin Recording Academy is committed to exploring innovative, new ways to celebrate excellence in Latin music and to connect music to other art forms in our culture, including visual and digital arts,” shares Manuel Abud, CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. “Together with OneOf, we are giving fans the opportunity to own a piece of the Latin Grammys.”

    The entertainment world is more concerned of the rising power of the revolutionary potential of NFTs gradually. As a Tezos and Polygon-based protocol, OneOf is known for its sustainable drops, making it a perfect partner for the Recording Academy.

    The partnership between the award organizer and OneOf was ignited in April when the protocol was named alongside Binance exchange as the key partners for the 64th Grammy. With the partnership at the time, OneOf also helped float an NFT Collection. 

    “OneOf is honored to be partnering with The Latin Recording Academy to host the Latin GRAMMYs’ first-ever NFTs,” adds Adam Fell, OneOf Co-Founder and President of Quincy Jones Productions. “The Annual Latin Grammy Awards are the most important night of the year for Latin music, and this partnership will bring fans closer to the ceremony than ever before.”

    From Marvel to Time, the number of media entities launching their NFTs has skyrocketed over the past year, re-emphasizing how much importance brands are placing on this practical representation of blockchain technology. By registering the piece of the Latin Grammy Awards history on the blockchain, the technology’s use case can be further emphasized.

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    Valkyrie Funds Introduces Crypto SMAs for Fund Managers & Advisors

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    Valkyrie Funds, an alternative asset management firm based in the US, announced on Tuesday the launch of a new Valkyrie Risk Managed Separately Managed Account (VSMA) platform that aims to enable financial advisors, fund managers, and other financial services providers to offer digital asset investments to their clients.

    Valkyrie SMA is targeting financial advisors, family offices, and other financial institutions in hopes that it will help these financial pros manage digital assets on behalf of clients or pitch these products to their customers.

    Valkyrie SMAs will initially support three active strategies such as a strategy focused on Bitcoin (BTC) alone, another strategy dedicated to investing in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), and another strategy focused on a more diversified option (Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Solana (SOL), Polygon (MATIC), and Polkadot (DOT).

    Valkyrie Funds Managing Director John Key commented about the development: “The SMAs will rely on Valkyrie’s research to rebalance positions for downside protection and upside exposure.”

    SMA is a form of financial wrapper that allows pools of assets to be structured and sold as a single security. In this case, cryptocurrencies are wrapped into an SMA.

    Unlike exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds, where investors own shares of the fund instead of the underlying securities, the securities in an SMA are owned directly by the investor. SMAs offer customization not available with ETFs and mutual funds and thus can more closely reflect an investor’s risk tolerance, objectives, and other needs. Crypto assets held in an SMA are placed with a qualified custodian.

    In Valkyrie’s case, while its SMAs’ Bitcoin and BTC/ETH accounts seek to maintain at least 50% of the portfolio in those assets, the diversified SMA aims for a minimum position of 40% in digital assets, with the remaining assets parked in cash. The three accounts each have minimum investments of $25,000 and carry a management fee of 150 basis points. Gemini is the custodian for the SMAs.

    The Valkyrie SMAs will allow these financial providers to design and administer personalized crypto trading strategies for clients and manage them from a single platform.

    Valkyrie is now the latest asset management firm to announce crypto SMA plans after, likes Coinbase, Ark Invest, Bitwise, and Franklin Templeton, launched their separately managed account offerings this year.

    In a recent survey, almost half of all financial advisors (45%) revealed that they intend to offer crypto assets in response to client demand. Besides that, 80% of advisors disclosed being asked about digital assets by clients of all ages, but only 14% are using or recommending digital assets.

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    Celsius Co-Founder Daniel Leon Calls it Quits

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    The embattled crypto lender Celsius Network Ltd. has lost another top member as co-founder Daniel Leon resigned this week.

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    The crypto lender that filed for bankruptcy early this year said in a statement Tuesday to Bloomberg News, “We confirm that Daniel Leon resigned from his position at Celsius and is no longer part of the organization.”

    His exit comes a week after the company’s CEO, Alex Mashinsky, submitted a letter of resignation last week.

    As contained in a Press Release from the company, the resignation letter was handed over to the Company’s Special Committee of the Board of Directors.

    In his resignation letter, Mashinsky said: “Effective immediately, please accept my resignation as CEO of Celsius Network Ltd, as well as my directorships and other positions at each of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, with the exception of my director position at Celsius Network Ltd. 

    CNBC reported, citing an internal email that Lior Koren, previously the company’s global tax director, is taking over and operating out of Israel.

    Celsius went into bankruptcy after leaving thousands of investors in limbo. The company has also made risky bets prior to the fall of cryptocurrency prices. In July, the company disclosed a $1.19 billion deficit.

    In a recent update, the judge governing the bankruptcy case appointed an external examiner to look into allegations of misconduct against the company and its management.”

    Celsius’ business model was built in a way to challenge traditional banks. It allowed people to invest in their crypto coins and receive interest in them.

    Currently, Celsius is accepting bids for its assets and may consider doing an auction on October 20, according to a Monday filing. 

    According to Blockchain.News, based on a filing with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the deadline for the final bid has been slated for October 17, but if need be, it will be pushed to October 20.

    According to a source familiar with the matter, Sam Bankman-Fried – the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of digital-asset exchange FTX – is considering bidding for the assets of bankrupt lender Celsius Network.

    A sale hearing is scheduled for November 1.

    Celsius recently revealed that it was not planning to ask its debtors to pay their outstanding loans during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, Blockchain.News reported.

    Founded in 2017, Celsius gave interest-bearing products to cryptocurrency owners who deposited their funds, with returns going as high as 18.6% annually. In turn, the firm would lend out cryptocurrencies to gain profits. 

    Mashinsky co-founded the Celsius Network alongside Daniel Leon back in 2017, and the firm grew to become one of the most celebrated crypto lending platforms in the crypto world.

    Before the freeze, Celsius was one of the largest crypto lending platforms, with more than $8 billion in client loans and almost $12 billion in assets under management. The firm had attracted 1.7 million customers by offering yields as high as 17% on crypto deposits.

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