• Russia Moves to Recognize Crypto as a Form of Currency

The Russian government and the country’s central bank have reached an agreement to draft legislation or amend existing laws recognizing crypto as a form of currency, according to a statement on Tuesday. Russia plans to introduce a new draft law on February 18. The draft law would apply to cryptocurrencies the same regulatory framework as foreign currencies, allowing banks to operate as intermediaries between users and crypto trading platforms.

The proposal suggests that cryptocurrency purchases in Russia must be conducted only through licensed and locally registered companies with full user identification. Crypto’s use as legal money will only be possible following proper identity checks via the country’s banking system or licensed intermediaries while operations exceeding 600,000 ruble ($8,016) must be declared, according to the document.

The law will enable the Russian government to track user transactions. However, it is unclear how this law will be applied to DeFi protocols. 

  • Feds seize $3.6 billion in bitcoin stolen from Bitfinex hack

The Justice Department announced Tuesday morning it seized more than $3.6 billion in allegedly stolen cryptocurrency. As part of the operation, authorities detained a New York couple on allegations they planned to launder the digital goods. It marks the agency’s largest financial seizure ever, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.

Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, were detained in the morning on February 8 and by late afternoon appeared at federal court in Manhattan. The two, who appear to have had colorful social media accounts ahead of their arrests, allegedly conspired to launder 119,754 Bitcoin stolen after a hacker breached Bitfinex’s systems.

“Today’s arrests, and the Department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement. “In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions.”

  • DeFi flashes early revival signs as retail and institutional inflows trickle in

DeFi flashes early revival signs as retail and institutional inflows trickle in Decentralized finance (DeFi) has had a rough go so far in 2022, and data from Messari shows the top ten-ranked DeFi assets currently down between 10% to 50% since the start of the year.,

The good side is the situation may change soon as Bitcoin bounces off six-month lows and funds have started to flow back into the DeFi ecosystem following a month of declines as data shows institutional and retail funds returning to crypto markets.

Data from Defi Llama shows that the total value locked in all of DeFi platforms has climbed to $211.1 billion on Feb 11, up from a low of $185.14 billion on Jan 31

A closer look at the individual protocols that contribute to the total TVL shows that the biggest drawdowns in TVL over the past 30 days were in stablecoin-focused protocols like Curve (CRV) and Convex Finance (CVX), which appeared to suffer from the collateral damage of popular rebase projects like OlympusDAO (OHM) and Wonderland (TIME) imploding.

Projects that were closely integrated with Curve also saw significant outflows, with Yearn.Finance experiencing a 28.57% decline in TVL and Abracadabra.money seeing its TVL fall by 46.3% amid the controversy surrounding members of its development team. Every crisis presents an opportunity, however, and in this instance, it is the decentralized stablecoin protocol Frax (FXS) that has benefited from the stablecoin shakeup. The protocol's TVL has increased 35.81% over the past 30-days.

  • KPMG in Canada adds Bitcoin and Ethereum to its corporate treasury

KPMG, one of the Big 4 companies added Bitcoin and Ethereum to its corporate treasury. This move suggests more and more institutions are embracing cryptocurrencies. Their goal with this is to stay with the trend of the blockchain world and not miss out on growth opportunities. 

As KPMG provides audit and other financial services, it needs to understand cryptocurrencies and the risks associated with them to help its customers, whose interest in cryptocurrencies is increasing.

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