Saudi finance minister calls on Arab financial institutions to review their strategies

Crypto Moves – Ether Down; US Imposes Sanctions on Bitriver; Coinbase Launches NFT Marketplace

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Thursday, rising 0.25% to $41,533 as of 09:00 Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $3,082, down 0.29%, according to data from Coindesk.

US imposes sanctions on crypto miner

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities, including a Russian commercial bank and a virtual currency mining company, Bitriver, in hopes of targeting Moscow’s circumvention of existing sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The US Treasury Department says it has designated a virtual currency mining company for the first time, alongside more than 40 individuals and entities led by US-appointed Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev.

“Treasury can and will target those who evade, attempt to evade, or help evade U.S. sanctions on Russia because they help support Putin’s brutal war of choice,” the Treasury’s undersecretary for the Treasury said. Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, in a statement. statement.

UN panel coordinator calls for heightened vigilance on North Korea

The coordinator of the UN body monitoring the implementation of sanctions against North Korea said on Wednesday that increased attention was needed on cybercrime, which had become fundamental to Pyongyang’s ability to finance its programs. prohibited weapons.

Eric Penton-Voak of the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on North Korea noted that despite the most sweeping sanctions regime ever imposed by the UN on a nation-state, North Korea Nord had markedly accelerated its missile testing, particularly in the past six months. .

“It may not be a coincidence that the words cyber and cryptocurrency do not appear in UN sanctions resolutions,” he said in a discussion hosted by the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington.

Penton-Voak said he believes cyber activity has become “absolutely fundamental” to North Korea’s ability to evade UN sanctions to raise funds for its nuclear and missile programs, but reports six-monthly reports of the group of experts had not reflected this because the Member States had been reluctant. to report deficiencies.

“We rely on UN member states to inform us of violations in order to investigate. But very many member states are quite cautious about their own cyber capabilities,” he said.

Coinbase Launches NFT Marketplace For Select US Users

Leading U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. launched its NFT market on Wednesday, in a sign of confidence in the niche digital asset even as the market shows signs of cooling.

The platform, first announced in October, will initially be available to a “small number” of people in the United States, a Coinbase spokesperson said. More users will be added from a waiting list over the next three to five weeks as the platform is tested.

NFTs are a type of crypto asset that uses blockchain to record ownership of digital files such as an image, video, or piece of text.

They exploded in popularity in 2021, echoing the massive adoption of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin by mainstream investors and businesses. Some NFTs have brought in millions of cryptocurrency dollars, but growth has slowed in 2022.

On the popular OpenSea marketplace, sales of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain halved to around $2.5 billion in March from $5 billion in January.

“We believe NFTs are here to stay,” a Coinbase spokesperson said.

(With contributions from Reuters)

Marianne R. Winn