Today in Crypto: Nexo’s Bulgarian Offices Raided, Samsung to List Bitcoin Futures Active ETF in Hong Kong, Trezor Saw a 300% Spike in Sales

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Legal news

  • Crypto lender Nexo‘s Bulgarian offices have been raided by local police, with authorities investigating suspected money laundering, tax offenses, computer fraud, and other violations. Over 300 people are involved in the operation in Sofia, according to a statement by the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office. “We are always cooperating with the relevant authorities and regulators, and we are hopeful that we will have some exciting news in the weeks to come,” Nexo tweeted. “Unfortunately, with the recent regulatory crackdown on crypto, some regulators have recently adopted the kick first, ask questions later approach,” it added.

Investment news

  • Samsung Asset Management Hong Kong (SAMHK), a subsidiary of Samsung‘s investment arm Samsung Asset Management, is set to list the ‘Samsung Bitcoin Futures Active ETF’ on the Hong Kong stock market on January 13, Investing.com reported. The ETF (exchange-traded fund) is being released with the goal of tracking spot bitcoin (BTC) performance by investing in bitcoin futures products listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). Also, the Bitcoin futures ETF will invest primarily in the CME Bitcoin Futures, alongside minor investments in CME Micro-Bitcoin Futures, it said.
  • Major investment company WisdomTree released monthly metrics for December 2022, reporting: 2022 net inflows of over $12 billion, nearly 16% firm-wide organic growth, with net inflows in 7 of its 8 major product categories during the year; Q4 net inflows of over $5 billion, WisdomTree’s best quarter since 2015; and 9 consecutive quarters of net inflows with record year-end assets under management (AUM) of nearly $82 billion.

Wallet news

  • Hardware wallet company Trezor experienced a 300% spike in sales as users moved their crypto to the safety of self-custody following the collapse of FTX and the contagion experienced by other centralized crypto exchanges, said an announcement.
  • Trezor appointed Matěj Žák, formerly Chief Product Officer, as its new CEO. Žák takes over the leadership of Trezor from co-founder Marek ‘Slush’ Palatinus, who will remain in the company, helping to guide the strategic, technical and visionary direction of the business. Žák will be focused on enhancing the overall usability of Trezor’s products to help stimulate wider crypto adoption, it added.
  • Pontem, a product studio building for the Aptos ecosystem, announced that Ledger users can now connect to the Aptos Layer 1 blockchain and interact with dapps on Pontem Wallet. “The integration makes it possible to swap APT and other assets on the Liquidswap DEX, as well as interact with other dapps using Ledger hardware wallets,” said the announcement.

Exchange news

  • Binance announced that Binance Nordics AB was granted registration as a financial institution for management and trading in virtual currency by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA). This enables Swedish residents to access Binance’s crypto and Web3 services, including euro deposits and withdrawals, crypto buying with euro, trading, staking, and the Binance Visa Card.

Blockchain news

  • Ava Labs, the company building out layer-1 blockchain Avalanche, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) partnered to accelerate enterprise, institutional, and government adoption of blockchain, said an announcement. AWS supports Avalanche’s infrastructure and dapp ecosystem through the AWS Marketplace, while Avalanche node operators can run in AWS GovCloud for FedRAMP compliance use cases, which is “a vital capability and a pre-requisite for enterprises and governments,” it said.
  • The Celo Foundation, which promotes the layer-1 Celo blockchain and its ecosystem, unveiled its new brand identity and vision designed in collaboration with New York-based agency Red Antler, alongside a series of partner launches and awareness campaigns aimed toward mainstream adoption of Web3 by everyday users around the world, said a press release. “The brand evolution sees planned launches from Opera, GoodDollar, and an NFT auction with Valora and Arigallery featuring artists from Celo’s global ecosystem,” it said.

DeFi news

  • Decentralized exchange (DEX) Hashflow announced the launch of its Hashverse Early Access staking, which enables token holders to stake their HFT, earn rewards, and participate in Hashflow governance ahead of the full launch of the Hashverse, said an announcement. The Hashverse is Hashflow’s storyverse-driven, non-fungible token (NFT)-powered, gamified decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), expected to fully go live in the coming months, it added.

Investment news

  • Quasar, an application-specific capital management blockchain, raised $5.4m USD for its bridge round, with a $70 million valuation, led by Shima Capital alongside Polychain Capital, Blockchain Capital, HASH CIB, and Osmosis founder Sunny Aggarwal. The new investment comes from Anagram, Cosmostation, Keplr, and Everstake, said an announcement. In total, Quasar raised more than $11.5 million for the development of its interchain decentralized asset management (DAM) protocol, which is powered by IBC-enabled smart contracts and a dedicated Cosmos appchain, it added.

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