Fun Fact: More than 2,500 crypto-related complaints have been filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the past two years, after a presidential order tasked the agency with performing enforcement duties “against unfair, deceptive or abusive practices” in the crypto industry. wonder if this will spur greater scrutiny – or regulation – of the volatile industry during times of continued market turmoil.
After the Ethereum merger, some miners are taking their GPUs and letting them heat up their homes, AI data centers, and even greenhouses. According to Decrypt, one miner even developed a “complete aquaponics system inside a 200 square foot greenhouse.” (How’s that for a movement towards greener mining?)
Terra and more legal issues
Terra co-founder Do Kwon faces a potential freeze of around $67 million in Bitcoin holdings on crypto exchanges KuCoin and OKX, with Kwon’s company denying the developer transferred the assets to his accounts at following his legal troubles in South Korea.
SBF and Celsius?
After FTX US said it had successfully won a bid to buy bankrupt crypto firm Voyager Digital on Monday, unconfirmed reports have surfaced that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried may also pick up the beleaguered crypto lender ( and also bankrupt) Celsius.
Texas and Vermont block Celsius
Texas and Vermont are blocking bankrupt crypto lender Celsius from selling off its stablecoins to bolster its finances ahead of bankruptcy proceedings. Vermont even said Celsius may be engaging in illegal activity “in violation of state law”, with Texas pointing out that Celsius’ claim was “of a disturbing magnitude”.
Mining in the mountains
Lebanon is currently facing one of the biggest economic disasters in the world, but its scenic Chouf Mountains are home to a thriving crypto mining industry, as it’s the only place with 24-hour stable electricity, according to the Carnegie Endowment.
MYANMAR DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS ADOPT CRYPTO
This summer, Myanmar’s government-in-exile, the National Unity Government (NUG), unveiled its own cryptocurrency called Digital Myanmar Kyat (DMMK). The goal was simple: bypass traditional banking systems controlled by the military junta, which has ruled Myanmar since the February 2021 coup.
The newly launched cryptocurrency is pegged to the Myanmar kyat, which has fallen in value sharply due to political conflict. It runs on the open-source Stellar network and has seen over 50,000 transactions occur so far, resulting in $620,000 worth of crypto circulating.
To help increase usage, pro-democracy fighters in exile released a digital mobile wallet called NUGPay, which they said was a way to showcase the “courage, stamina and resilience” of citizens in “this march to win the revolution”.
But just as quickly, the military stepped in to complicate matters.
The military has declared all mobile phone payments on unofficial platforms illegal, making NUGPay transactions and cryptocurrency effectively illegal.
This did not discourage activists. From the start, the DMMK’s goal has been to take monetary control back from the military, who currently control Myanmar’s central bank. The official DMMK announcement even stated that it was designed “to bring about the eradication of [the] military dictatorship” and “eliminate dependence on banking systems under the control of the illegal military council”.
It is important to note that Myanmar’s economic situation is in dire straits: it is increasingly difficult to obtain physical treasury notes throughout the country and the government has banned foreign currency for domestic use while s attacking the bank accounts of opposition activists.
The operation of the DMMK project is of more concern: it is very unusual for the degree of human intermediaries involved. The cryptocurrency network uses volunteer pay agents, who can open accounts for 10 other people if exiled anti-coup activists believe they are legitimately connected to the revolution. This means that anyone seen as military-friendly might have a harder time gaining approval or engaging in crypto transactions on the network.
There are also other concerns: some activists worry that cryptocurrency offers poor data security and could be vulnerable to attack or infiltration, increasing the risks for pro-democracy activists. The NUG is already the subject of online surveillance, and their associated cryptocurrency is of no less interest to the military.
It is equally important to point out that access to the crypto network requires a mobile phone number in Myanmar, as well as a mobile bank account, not to mention fiat currency to log into NUGPay. It also takes a human to create an account. All of this could potentially lead to military surveillance.
And where is famous democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi during this economic turmoil? A pro-crypto group paid tribute to her by launching Suu Tokens in her honor, although it’s unclear what she thinks of the DMMK project.
Ultimately, while Myanmar’s crypto movement is rooted in revolution and system overthrow, making it loosely aligned with the original ethos of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it’s unclear how it will advance or displace the country’s traditional banking system. for now – but we are watching closely.
This message originally appeared in the Crypto Investor newsletter sent on September 30, 2022.