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News Summary 3/8: Ukraine, Andre Cronje, Binance, Lugano, and EU

Ukraine has already received almost $60 million in donations in cryptocurrencies. DeFi guru Andre Cronje is leaving the crypto industry. His departure impacts dozens of DeFi apps. Binance brought back SEPA transfers to Europe. Bitcoin and Tether are de facto legal tender in Lugano. EU removed the Proof of Work ban from the new regulation.

Ukraine has received almost $60 million worth of crypto donations

The war in Ukraine is a major topic all over the world. Cryptocurrencies are also constantly in headlines in relation to Ukraine.

Donations are pouring into Ukraine from many directions. According to the analytics company Elliptic, the government of Ukraine has received almost $60 million worth of crypto donations. Ether is about 34% and bitcoins 31% of the total pot.

The Ukrainian government tweeted official donation addresses shortly after the crisis began.

Ukraine was even supposed to make an airdrop for all donors, but it was canceled.

Ukraine DAO raised $6.75 million by making an NFT drop of an image of the Ukrainian flag. The Ukrainian charity Come Back Alive has also raised several million dollars in bitcoins. The largest single donation was as much as 80 bitcoins, which is around $3 million.

Polkadot founder Gavin Wood promised to donate a large sum if Ukraine also accepted DOT tokens. He kept his promise and donated about 300,000 DOT, which was worth $5.7 million. Dogecoin has since also been approved by the Ukrainian Government for donations.

Ukraine has already used crypto donations to purchase weapons and other military equipment.

There are few popular Russian projects or project leaders in the crypto industry. The most famous Russian is probably the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, who now holds Canadian citizenship.

Buterin condemned the Russian invasion as soon as it began, and stated: “Ethereum is neutral, but I am not.”

Buterin or Ethereum haven’t really been attacked on social media since the Russian invasion started.

More and more people have woken up to the value of Bitcoin in western countries. A censorship resistance & global P2P payment protocol works when ATMs and debit cards are no more useful. Bitcoin is also an easy and secure way to carry holdings to other countries in case of emergency.

DeFi guru Andre Cronje has left the crypto industry

During the weekend we saw shocking news coming from the DeFi sector. One of the real superstars of DeFi, Andre Cronje, suddenly announced his retirement from the industry.

The news was actually tweeted by his colleague, Anton Nell, who is a senior solutions architect at the Fantom Foundation. Nell tweeted on Sunday that he would also step aside. The decision impacts the development of around 25 decentralized applications.

Many DeFi investors got scared by Nell’s tweet due to words he used: “There are around ~25 apps and services that we are terminating on 03 April 2022.” It may give the impression that 25 apps will be taken down. However, this is not the case. The development work will be simply done by other people.

The Defiant channel, which actively reports on the DeFi sector, posted a YouTube video you should watch.

Andre Cronje became famous for the Yearn Finance project. He has also played an important role in Fantom in recent years. Both YFI and FTM tokens dropped about 15 percent after Anton Nell’s tweet.

Cronje has also played a big role in other DeFi apps. A week ago, we wrote about the launch of the Solidly Exchange on the Fantom platform. Cronje was involved in this project too.

Most likely this DeFi superstar will talk about the reasons for his decision in the future. Cronje’s exit is a shock for many projects, but in the long run, it’s probably a good thing. The success of no DeFi app should depend on one developer – no matter how talented he is.

Binance brings back SEPA transfers and introduces Bifinity

Good news for Binance customers! The world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange has returned SEPA transfers for its European customers (excluding Switzerland and the Netherlands). We first reported on the subject a month ago. At that time, SEPA was only introduced for a small group for testing.

Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao confirmed the news on Twitter.

Binance was forced to remove the SEPA transfers in July 2021 due to regulatory issues. It has now partnered with payment operator Paysafe.

If you haven’t opened a Binance account yet, now’s the best time! There is the best selection of cryptocurrencies, as well as numerous other features such as staking and debit card. Get to know Binance in more detail with our user guide.

Binance made another announcement too: Bifinity was launched yesterday. This company has already been established in 2021 but was officially launched on Monday 7th of March.

Bifinity is primarily a B2B service. It offers an API that allows companies to easily accept crypto payments. Bifinity supports 50 cryptocurrencies and Visa & Mastercard debit cards for fiat-to-crypto payments.

Bitcoin will be de facto legal tender in Lugano

There was some interesting news from Switzerland last week. Switzerland is already known for its positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies. Many cryptocurrency projects have established development foundations in Switzerland. Zug, a city near Zurich, has even been named Crypto Valley, which is a reference to Silicon Valley in the United States.

Last week’s news is about the city of Lugano. It has made Bitcoin, Tether, and Lugano’s own LVGA token de facto legal tender. LVGA is a stablecoin tied to the Swiss franc.

The words de facto are good to bear in mind here. This means that the Swiss franc is still the official currency of the country. Hence, Lugano will not follow El Salvador quite just yet.

What does this news mean in practice? People will be able to pay taxes, tuition fees, and other public expenses with cryptocurrencies. Lugano aims to promote the use of cryptocurrencies for corporate payments too.

Tether is heavily involved in the project and will issue a development fund of 100 million Swiss francs. It supports blockchain startups in the Lugano region. Polygon also acts as an infrastructure partner specifically related to tether stablecoin.

With approximately 63,000 inhabitants, Lugano is the eighth largest city in Switzerland. It will also host the Bitcoin World Forum in October 2022.

EU removed the Proof of Work ban from regulation drafts

We received some good news last week regarding crypto regulation in the EU. The European Parliament removed a paragraph from a new bill about a Proof of Work ban. The new bill is an update to the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation.

Proof of Work has been widely in the headlines since last summer’s Chinese mining ban. Sweden, among others, has proposed an EU-wide ban for Proof of Work mining. However, even in Sweden, the idea was opposed by Vattenfall, which is responsible for the country’s energy production.

Last week, the European Parliament also changed it mind.

Quote from the news article:

The text proposed by the factions of the Left, Greens, and Social Democrats would have prohibited companies from offering services for the acquisition, custody and  trading of PoW-based crypto assets.

Green and left-wing politicians wanted to prevent companies from providing services to PoW-based cryptocurrencies. The most famous of these, of course, is Bitcoin. Fortunately, the lobbyists made their voices heard, so this absurd idea did not end up in the legal text.

Discussions on EU-wide regulation are still going on. There is also pressure to get the articles in order in relation to recent Russian sanctions. The new regulation is being rushed especially by the President of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, who is known for her anti-crypto statements.

Hopefully, in the midst of the rush, the EU does not cause significant harm to its own peoples through poor regulation.


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