This week in crypto Jan 18, 2020: A look at some of the highlights

This week has seen a substantial amount of activity in the cryptocurrency space all around the globe. From exchanges shutting down to financial regulators continuing to put pressure on companies wanting to operate in the industry, there has been no shortage of newsworthy events.

Brazil is suffering a slight setback in crypto advancement. Banks across the country are poised to withdraw their relationships with exchanges and other entities, thanks to Brazil’s Administrative Council of Economic Defense. The government entity is backing banks in their endeavor, which was brought on by the financial institutions’ misguided belief that crypto is a haven for money laundering and other illicit activity.  

Telegram recently thought it might have received a reprieve in its fight with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the sale of its GRAM token, but the SEC is fighting back. It has asserted that it has information to support its claim that the social media company offered unregistered securities, and a court has now ordered Telegram to turn over financial documents to be used in the ongoing lawsuit. 

A lawsuit against Tether and Bitfinex continues to take baby steps forward. That suit, entered by two individuals who accuse the companies of manipulating crypto prices, was removed and then refiled, adding another plaintiff to the case. It is now expected to be heard in New York, and not in Washington State, where it had initially been filed. 

The SEC isn’t only going after Telegram for allegedly offering unregistered securities tied to its initial coin offering (ICO). It built a case against ICOBox for the same, and is suing the company for $16 million. The lawsuit was filed last September, and a court ordered the commission to file a motion for default judgment in December. That motion was filed and ICOBox, and founder Nikolay Evdokimov, are required to pay up within 14 days. 

Chinese crypto mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain has made several attempts to go public over the past year, but all of its efforts have fallen flat. It was ready to try again and wanted to put its initial public offering on a U.S.-based exchange. However, the company, apart from all of its other troubles, is now facing an investigation for possible involvement in a Ponzi scheme. That scam centers on the BitClub Network, whose mining operations were run by Bitmain subsidiary

Credit card behemoth Visa has maintained a strict no-crypto policy since digital currency really began to draw attention. It still doesn’t want its cards tied to the space, but this isn’t stopping it from getting further involved with crypto-based operations. It reportedly is going to pay $5.3 billion to purchase Plaid, a FinTech startup that connects developers to financial institutions. Its clients include Venmo, Acorns, TransferWise, American Express and others. 

Although they first appeared a couple of years ago, initial exchange offerings (IEO) haven’t received a lot of attention until recently. With many ICOs having failed due to various reasons, this next step is meant to bypass the negativity surrounding ICOs while serving basically the same purpose. The US SEC has sent out a warning to investors to proceed with a lot of caution if considering putting money into an IEO, as the offerings may not be any better than some of the scams and fraud seen with their predecessors. 

It’s been several years already, and India still can’t decide how to address digital currencies. It won’t even take the time to consider taking a stance, as the country’s supreme court has, yet again, delayed offering any guidance on the subject. In the meantime, the industry continues to suffer, and crypto-related companies continue to grow impatient. 

Venezuela’s Petro stablecoin has been seen more as comic relief than a substantial offering, but the government continues to try to find new ways to try to legitimize it. Every new possibility fades off into the distance before grabbing a foothold, and the latest effort takes a different tactic. As of now, all fuel sold to airlines for international flights has to be purchased with Petro. 

After several attempts at trying to introduce a crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF), Bitwise Asset Management appears to be ready to give up. It has been attempting to win over the U.S. SEC for more than a year, finding a brick wall at every turn. Bitwise might make another run in the future, but only after spending more time than should be required to appease the financial regulator with its presentation. 

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.