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Arun Srivastav

Articles by Arun Srivastav

Indian Minister Says Crypto Transactions Are Fine as Long as They Follow Laws 

13 days ago

In a significant development that indicates that the Indian government may not fully chime with the central bank’s overly hostile stance against cryptocurrencies, a junior minister explained that such activities are fine as long as they follow existing laws. 
This is in sharp contrast to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on crypto in 2018 and not fully opening up to the sector even when the Supreme Court scrapped the RBI order in 2022, calling it illegal.  
Crypto Is Fine 
“There is nothing today that outlaws crypto as long as you follow the legal process,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Information Technology and Electronics, told an event on Thursday.
These remarks assume significance as the Indian government will be presenting the annual budget for the

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El Salvador’s Alejandra Guajardo Walks Miss Universe Stage in Glowing Bitcoin Suit

21 days ago

The Miss Universe 2023 contest had various show-stopper moments during its National Costume Competition today. 
But for the cryptocurrency sector, it came when El Salvador’s Alejandra Guajardo sashayed the stage in a Bitcoin suit. 
Alejandra Guajardo. Source: RedditBTC on Miss Universe Stage 
The 27-year-old actress and model showcased the evolution of her country’s currency through a dress she wore at the Miss Universe contest. She came on stage in a golden bitcoin outfit, holding a scepter with a BTC logo.
In a striking resemblance to the BTC logo, her outfit had three prominent colors – gold, silver, and bronze. Guajardo sported a big coin model on the back, with her country’s name engraved on it.
Guajardo’s bitcoin outfit quickly became the talking point in the

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The PI Network Controversy: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

26 days ago

Smartphone-based blockchain mining project Pi Network has issued another clarification on the unauthorized listing of Pi coins, saying they are not available for trading yet.
Pi Network has been in existence since 2018 and launched its Pi coin for mining by its community members, called “Pioneers,” in March 2019. These assets can be traded once Pi Network upgrades to Open Mainnet.
Pi Network Disclaimer
Right now, the network is in the Enclosed Mainnet state, which makes its interaction with any third-party “technically impossible.”
The blockchain project issued a similar disclaimer on December 29, in which it said it was aware of reports that several unauthorized exchanges sought to list Pi or other products purported to be the native cryptocurrency.
“It is important to

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$3.8B of Cumulative Volume Moved Overseas Since Indian Crypto Taxes Kicked In

28 days ago

While Indian crypto exchanges lost a significant portion of their trading volume after new taxes for the sector came into force, the losses, so far, were referred to in percentage terms, with most estimates quoting them to be above 90%, compared to the previous year.
Now, a new study has quantified the value of cumulative trading that shifted from Indian to foreign crypto exchanges after the new taxes kicked in.
CryptoPotato reported earlier that Indian traders are flocking to foreign exchanges after the tax and regulatory environment in the country has become “unviable.”
$3.8 Billion Moved
Esya Centre, an Indian think tank on technology policy matters, in a report published on January 3, said that Rs. 32,000 crores ($3.85 billion) of cumulative trade volume shifted from

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Low TDS Collection on Crypto May Spur Indian Government to Reduce Transaction Tax

December 18, 2022

A junior finance minister told the Indian parliament on Tuesday that the government has collected about $7.4 million in TDS on crypto transfers since July 1. 
Given the low numbers, the government may consider the local crypto industry’s demand to reduce the tax to a reasonable level – in the range of 0.01% to 0.05%.
Low TDS Collection
In a written reply in the upper house of the Indian Parliament, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary informed that the Indian government collected Rs 60.46 crore (Approx. $7.4 million) as TDS on crypto transactions since July 1, 2022, media reports said.
He also informed that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) conducts an awareness program for taxpayers and deductors. Additionally, it undertakes surveys, inquiries, and search

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Indian Crypto Association Seeks Relief from High Taxes

December 5, 2022

A prominent Indian cryptocurrency trade body – Bharat Web3 Association (BWA) – has red-flagged the high taxes and regulatory uncertainty in its draft of concerns and recommendations submitted to the Indian Finance Ministry, which is holding consultations in the run-up to the budget for 2023-24.
A meeting between the BWA representatives and the Indian finance ministry officials, particularly with officials of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), is expected to take place next week.
High Taxes Hurting Growth
As per media reports, BWA, which counts Coinbase, CoinDCX, CoinSwtich Kuber, and Polygon, among others, as founding members, has said unfriendly tax policies are hurting the growth of the crypto business in India.
“The BWA aims to highlight the impact of the

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Indian CBDC Fails to Impress Bankers in Initial Trials: Report

December 3, 2022

The initial excitement among Indian bankers over the launch of a central bank-sponsored digital rupee seems to be fizzling out. They find it adding to their paper and accounting work without bringing any significant benefits over the existing procedures.
Bankers point out that the real benefit of e-rupee may be in the retail and consumer sectors.
Bankers Not Enthused
It has been one month since the launch of the e-rupee for the wholesale segment, but bankers don’t seem to be excited by the entry of the digital alternative of the rupee, Reuters said in a report. They also pointed out some drawbacks.
With the e-rupee, the settlement has to be performed individually for each trade. In contrast, payments are netted off before sending them to the clearing agency for bulk

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Crypto Ransom Demanded to Restore Compromised Servers of Indian Hospital: Report 

November 29, 2022

India’s largest and most advanced government-run hospital, more popularly known by its acronym AIIMS (The All India Institute of Medical Sciences), suffered a hack of its servers on November 23. 
Even as they remained out of order for the sixth consecutive day, a new twist emerged in the ongoing multi-agency investigation and restoration effort. 
A leading news agency on Monday claimed that Rs 200 million ($25 million) in ransom has been asked by the attackers to restore nearly 50 servers that were down after the events.
Demand for $25 Million in Ransom
Press Trust of India (PTI) said in a report on Monday that hackers have demanded a ransom of Rs. 200 crores ($ 25 million) in cryptocurrency to restore the compromised servers. 
PTI broke this news on Twitter as well.

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Indian Crypto Companies’ Response to the FTX Collapse

November 27, 2022

The quick downfall of FTX with an $8-10 billion deficit in its balance sheet has left the broader cryptocurrency market reeling under its cascading effects.
Besides Proof of Reserves (PoR) and Reserves to Liability (R2L) Ratio data, Indian crypto exchanges, battling low volume caused by high taxation and an unfriendly regulatory environment, have responded to the evolving situation with some fresh initiatives.
Polygon CEO’s Self-Custody Buzz
Polygon CEO Sandeep Nailwal was the first to moot the idea of self-custody, which turned out to be the new benchmark of transparency and financial health in the crypto industry. In a 5-tweet thread on November 12, he blamed ignoring core fundamentals for the FTX’s collapse.
In particular, he referred to the failure to stick to

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Binance Has No Big Plans for India Due to High Taxation, Says CZ

November 18, 2022

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has all but given up on India. Pointing out the 1% transaction tax that came into force on 1 July 2022, CZ said it makes crypto trading unviable in India.
Speaking at the TechCrunch Session: Crypto 2022 on November 17 in Miami, CZ further pointed out that Binance is engaged with blockchain associations and influential persons in India to present the industry’s stance before the policymakers, a TechCrunch report said.
CZ Red Flags 1% Transaction Tax
“If you are going to tax 1% on each transaction, there is not going to be that many transactions… To be honest, I don’t think India is a very crypto-friendly environment,” he said.
While CZ maintained his negative outlook on India, first publicly expressed during the Singapore Fintech Festival

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High Taxes Can Kill the Crypto Industry in India, CZ Cautions

November 4, 2022

India’s anti-crypto policy came into sharp focus at the prestigious Singapore Fintech Festival (2-4 November), where Binance CEO flagged high tax rates as undoing the fledgling crypto business in the country. 
With over 60,000 participants and 850 speakers representing top global financial services, banks, and policymaking bodies, Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) is one of the most awaited events in the digital assets and fintech industry. 
CZ on Indian Crypto Taxes
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ), during a panel discussion at SFF that was live-streamed, said, “India has high tax, which is probably going to kill the industry.” He was referring to new crypto taxes that became effective from April this year, media reports noted.  
India introduced a 30% capital gains tax and

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3 Indian Crypto Exchanges on Investigators’ Radar for $3.5B Illegal Drug Transactions

October 30, 2022

Indian investigation agencies are probing three crypto exchanges for their roles in illegal drug trade transactions after they were alerted by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which has zeroed in on nearly 200 such transactions.
These financial dealings for suspected drug deals in Nigeria, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands were reportedly carried out through three Indian digital asset management companies, a report in the Economic Times said. 
Illegal Drug Transactions
Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax Department, among other agencies, are probing the case.
“Digital currency was used to buy and sell drugs and some of these companies facilitated it…So far the agency has been able to track transactions worth Rs 28,000 crore [$3.5 billion],”

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Rapid Tech Adoption and Talents Make India a Key Player in Global Web3 Market: Study

October 24, 2022

A series of enabling factors places India at the forefront of global Web3 transformation, said a report by Nasscom, a no-profit apex body of the $227-billion Indian tech industry.
It identifies the rapid adoption of new technologies, vast talent pool, and robust startup ecosystem as the key drivers of the nation’s push for a key role in the global Web3 market. 
India Web3 Landscape
Launched in Bengaluru last week, the report – The India Web3 Startup Landscape: An Emerging Technology Leadership Frontier – has been prepared jointly by Nasscom and a Web3 venture capital firm, Hashed Emergent. 
It says India has 450 Web3 startups, and four of them are unicorns. Also, these entities received $1.3 billion of venture funding in two years, from 2020 to 2022.
Although 60% are

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Reports of Do Kwon Escaping Via Dubai ‘Not False,’ Says South Korean Prosecutor     

October 21, 2022

South Korean Prosecutors have confirmed that Do Kwon might have fled Singapore as he was believed to be in hiding there.
In a text message on Thursday, reported by Bloomberg, they said reports suggesting that Kown flew to Dubai for a possible stopover before escaping to an unknown destination are “not false.”
Hunt for Do Kwon 
Kwon left South Korea in April, and certain reports suggested he was in Singapore until the arrest warrant was issued against him. His family and key finance personnel also left the Eastern Asian country in May. as he disbanded Terraform’s local operations. 
The Singapore police argued last month that Kwon was not present in the city-state. Reacting to the arrest warrant, Kwon said he was not on the run but cooperating with watchdogs in different

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Idea of Tech-Driven Regulatory Framework Under G20 Receives Mixed Reactions  

October 19, 2022

A day after Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about her plans to work towards a tech-driven regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies under the aegis of G20, industry leaders offered mixed reactions to her statements.    
Sitharaman spoke about crypto regulations to reporters on the sidelines of the fall meetings at IMF, World Bank, and G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governor (FMCBG) in Washington last week, media reports said. 
Positive but Contradictory 
India Blockchain Forum’s Co-founder Sharat Chandra said Sitharaman’s statement that technology should not suffer to uphold regulation has “sent a positive message to builders and entrepreneurs in the crypto-tech space. It’s a significant development for the digital asset and fintech industry,”

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India Police Launch Pilot Polygon-Based Complaint Registration Portal

October 15, 2022

An Indian district, Firozabad, about 40 km from Agra of Taj Mahal’s fame in the Indian province of Uttar Pradesh, would start the registration of complaints police complaints on the blockchain network. 
The district, with 2.4 million people and 21 police stations, aims to achieve immutability and transparency of complaints lodged by victims of crime by leveraging this emerging technology.   
Blockchain-Based Complaint Portal 
“Using emerging technologies like Blockchain, a pilot portal,, has been launched which is free of cost, dedicated to the city… The benefit of using Blockchain is that the complaints registered on it can’t be tampered with as data recorded is immutable and transparent,” Ashish Tiwari, Senior Superintendent of Police,

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Creditors Oppose Immunity From Future Bankruptcy Lawsuits Plans for Voyager Execs

October 14, 2022

Lawyers representing the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (UCC) of Voyager Digital have raised objections to sweeping legal immunity being planned for the firm’s senior executives.
Last month, the Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF)-led crypto exchange FTX won the bid for Voyager for $1.4 billion, beating Binance in the race. However, the Voyager management has reportedly added immunity from future lawsuits for its top executives as a precondition for the deal to get through. 
Creditor Group’s Objections  
In a filing with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on Wednesday, they said the “broad releases” being offered to Voyager’s top executives are, in effect, aimed at shielding those who are “principally responsible” for the financial

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India’s ED Freezes $1.6 Million in BTC of Accused in Gaming App Fraud

October 2, 2022

In a two-year-old gaming app fraud case, the top Indian financial crime investigating agency has frozen 85.9 bitcoins, equivalent to $1.6 million, held in an account on Binance. Separately, it also froze WRX, the native coin of WazirX, and USDT together, worth nearly $550,000.
Earlier this month, the agency raided several premises in Kolkata in this case and recovered Indian currency equivalent to $2.2 million. The accused in this estimated $8.5 million scam is 25-year-old Aamir Khan.
E-Nuggets Scam
E-Nuggets, which ran mainly during the Covid-19 lockdown, offered various games and an app wallet service for the participants to deposit their money and earn attractive incentives.
“Aamir Khan … launched a mobile gaming application, namely E-Nuggets, which was designed for the

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BIS Proclaims Success in Multi-CBDC Cross-Border Payment Pilot Project

October 1, 2022

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on Tuesday announced that a multi-jurisdiction CBDC pilot spearheaded by BIS Innovation Hub has been successful. The project saw 164 transactions worth nearly $22 million in real-value cross-border payments through a purpose-built multi-CBDC platform – mBridge.  
Apart from the central banks of Hong Kong, China, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 20 commercial banks also participated in the project, which lasted a little over a month.
Multi-CBDC Cross-Border Payments  
Over $12 million worth of official digital assets (CBDC) was issued by the four participating central banks to the test platform, BIS said in a Linkedin post. 
“It took place from 15 August to 23 September on the mBridge Ledger, a custom-developed #DLT

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Hackers Breach Jason Falovitch’s Wallet and Steal NFTs, ETH Worth $150K

September 26, 2022

Controversial crypto entrepreneur Jason Falovitch on Sunday reported that hackers breached his crypto wallet on OpenSea and stole four NFTs and six ETH.
The value of the stolen assets is estimated to be in the range of $150,000, media reports said.
In a similar incident, earlier this month, famous American actor and comedian Bill Muray became a victim of hackers and lost 119.2 ETH worth $185,000 that he had just finished raising through his NFT action for a charity.  
Asking to fix responsibility on the wallet service provider, a user sued OpenSea for $1 million after he lost his Bored Ape NFT in a phishing attack. The plaintiff claimed that OpenSea must accept some responsibility for the heist.
Falovitch’s Loss       
The four NFTs that hackers illegally transferred out

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CFTC Lawsuit Against Ooki DAO, $250,000 Settlement with bZx Creates New Precedents

September 24, 2022

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed an enforcement action lawsuit against Ooki DAO, a crypto margin trading and lending platform for engaging in digital asset margin trading that only CFTC-registered Futures Commission Merchants (FCM) can perform. 
Ooki DAO also failed to adhere to customer identification requirements prescribed under the Bank Secrecy Act, the commission further alleged in its lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  
CFTC Files Charges Against Ooki DAO
“The CFTC seeks restitution, disgorgement, civil monetary penalties, trading and registration bans, and injunctions against further violations of the CEA and CFTC regulations, as charged,” the Commission said in a statement on Thursday.  

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Twitch Reveals When it Will Ban Crypto Gambling Livestreams

September 21, 2022

The controversial crypto gambling sessions anchored by Twitch celebrities and live-streamed to their followers will be banned effective October 16, Twitch said in a statement. It mentioned that,,, and, the most notable crypto gambling sites using its platform, will no longer be able to use it to stream their activities.
Going forward, Twitch will identify other crypto gambling sites and disable their access to its platform. 
Twitch Bans Gambling Livestreaming
“Gambling content on Twitch has been a big topic of discussion in the community, and something we’ve been actively reviewing since our last policy updates in this area. Today, we want to update you on our plans…
So, we’ll be making a policy update on October 18th to

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SEC Charges Crypto Influencer for Not Disclosing Incentive to Promote Unregistered ICO

September 20, 2022

The United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against prominent crypto influencer, investor, and entrepreneur Ian Ballina over an initial coin offering (ICO) dating back to 2018.
The SEC accused Ballina purchased $5 million worth of SPRK tokens from Sparkster Ltd. and received 30% bonus tokens before he started promoting it on social media. He did not disclose that he was given an incentive to promote the ICO, the regulator has charged in its lawsuit in federal court in Austin, Texas, media reports said. 
SEC’s Case Against Sparkster   
Sparkster and its CEO Sajjad Daya hogged the media headlines in 2018 and 2019 for never launching the SPRK tokens for which they had already raised $30 million in ETH. In an interesting development, one of the

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XRP Giveaway Scam Launched on Crypto Exchange CoinDCX’s Twitter Account

September 20, 2022

The Twitter account of Indian crypto exchange CoinDCX remained compromised for hours on Tuesday.
Hackers posted a fake XRP giveaway scheme through the exploited Twitter handle @CoinDCX to the exchange’s over 230,000 followers. The giveaway message was interspersed with a phishing link.
CoinDCX Twitter Account Exploited
As CoinDCX tried to take control of its compromised Twitter account, it put out an alert through another Twitter handle, @CoinDCX _Cares.
It was also retweeted by CoinDCX officials, including CEO Sumit Gupta. The message cautioned the followers of the exploited status of its Twitter account and warned them not to click on any link or notice that they may receive from the Twitter handle @CoinDCX today. 
To make it look natural, the exploiters were

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Dubai 5-Star Hotel and Ukrainian Superstore Chain Embrace Crypto Payments

September 18, 2022

Five-star hotel Palazzo Versace Dubai has started accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for stay, dining, and spa services.
Guests can use BTC, ETH, and BNB to pay their bills, which will be processed through the Binance payment gateway.
Palazzo Versace to Accept Crypto Payment  
The 146-room ultra-luxury property ln Jaddaf Waterfront will also accept crypto payments for merchandise, mainly gifts and vouchers, on its e-commerce platforms, it said in a PR. 
“Palazzo Versace’s ability to now accept payments in virtual assets is a reflection of how the hospitality industry in Dubai is at the forefront of innovation as we move into a more digital world.
Payments are just the beginning and we look forward to building on this partnership together,” Nadeem Ladki, head of

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Hope for Spot BTC ETF Grows Stronger After DEFI Launch Under the Securities Act 

September 17, 2022

The prospect of a physically-backed ETF or spot ETF got a boost with the launch of Hashdex Bitcoin Futures ETF (DEFI) on Thursday, media reports said. The basis for the optimism is that DEFI was filed under the Securities Act of 1933, unlike other futures-backed ETFs, which were under the Investors Act of 1940.  
DEFI has been developed with Teucrium, which specializes in alternative investments.
Prospect of Bitcoin Spot ETF
As a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF would fall under the 1933 Act, the launch of DEFI is believed to pave the way for a BTC spot ETF someday soon. However, analysts believe the SEC may not allow a spot ETF until it gets the regulatory oversight of crypto exchanges, the coverage said.  
All other futures-backed Bitcoin ETFs are filed under the Investment

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Biden Administration Pitches for Regulation and Strict Oversight of Crypto 

September 16, 2022

In a series of reports, the Joe Biden administration on Friday has offered its response to the President’s executive order on cryptocurrencies – Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets – issued earlier this year, media reports said.
Here is all that you need to know about the Biden administration’s Friday reports:
The Joe Biden administration has asked the enforcement agencies to strictly pursue the digital asset sector and identify gaps in regulations. It also urged regulators such as the SEC and the CFTC to issue guidelines for potential risks of digital assets such as money laundering and fraud.
Despite a growing role, cryptocurrencies have the potential to be misused. They can global harm global finance, claimed the report.
Director of the National

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Suspension of Withdrawals: Poolin Brings in IOU Tokens to Mitigate the Impact

September 15, 2022

Poolin, the embattled crypto mining pool service provider, will offer freshly-minted IOU tokens to its users whose assets are frozen after the platform suspended withdrawals last week.
The distribution of IOU tokens will be made today, the 15th of September.
Poolin’s IOU Tokens
The IOUs will be minted under the ERC-20 protocol on Ethereum, the China-based company said in an official statement on its website.  
“The team has come up with the IOU-tokens scheme to minimize the impact of withdrawal suspension. The tokenomics of IOU-tokens will bring intuitive & various options and easy-to-use operations,” Poolin said in its statement.
Poolin accounted for 10.6% of all BTC blocks mined in the last 12 months, making it the fifth-largest mining pool after Foundry USA, AntPool,

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Court Rules Celsius Network’s Holdings to Be Probed by Independent Examiner: Report   

September 15, 2022

An independent examiner will look into various aspects of Celsius Network’s digital asset holdings, a US Bankruptcy Court ruled. It indicates that the failed crypto lending platform will face more stringent scrutiny of its financial conduct.   
US Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn approved a request to this effect on Wednesday, media reports said. However, the examiner has not been selected yet. 
Probe by Independent Examiner 
The court order to appoint an independent examiner comes in the wake of the Justice Department’s repeated call for greater transparency during the insolvency hearings.   
In this case, the examiner will probe how Celsius stores its crypto assets and if different types of accounts are mixed at some stage.
A committee of unsecured creditors, represented by

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SWIFT’s New Blockchain Pilot Project Aims to Drive Efficiency Around Corporate Events

September 14, 2022

Leading secure financial messaging system SWIFT is testing out blockchain in a pilot project with fintech company Symbiont Inc.
Previously, SWIFT explored ways how to enter the central bank digital currency space.
SWIFT’s Blockchain Experiment
The collaboration aims at driving efficiencies in the transmission of data related to corporate events like dividend payments and mergers, a Bloomberg report said, adding that Citigroup, Vanguard, and Northern Trust will also participate in the project.
“By bringing Symbiont’s Assembly and smart contracts together with SWIFT’s extensive network, we’re able to automatically harmonize data from multiple sources of a corporate action event,” said Tom Zschach, Chief Innovation Officer at SWIFT.
The experiment will focus on data tracking

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