Crypto Market Weekly News (1st to 7th May 2023)

The first week of May brought mixed feelings for traders and investors. While traders that showed interest in new coins made some gains, the market rebound seen in the first four (4) months of the year has not reflected in May. 

During the week, JPEX made a huge announcement by listing Pepe Token (PEPE), one of the most demanded cryptocurrencies over the past three weeks. Trading for PEPE/USDT began on May 3, 2023. 

Staying on the positives, it was reported that the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) of Dubai has awarded the first broker-dealer MVP operational license. 

Moving away from the positives, the non-fungible token (NFT) market saw bad news hit the sector. The first NFT insider trading case by an OpenSea manager hit the global newswires while Kenya, an East African country proposed taxes on crypto transfers. 

When millions of people felt that the adoption of cryptocurrencies was soaring to new milestones, the central bank of Argentina disclosed that it has halted cryptocurrencies from being used within payment applications. 

Below, JPEX takes an in-depth look into the news that made rounds during the week. 

JPEX Adds Support for Pepe Token (PEPE)

PEPE is a meme coin, like Dogecoin (DOGE), Floki Inu (FLOKI), and Shiba Inu (SHIB). Pepe gained traction in the early 2000s and has become one of the most talked about projects in the past two months. 

After appearing on crypto exchanges in mid-April, the token soared by more than 2,000% in just two (2) weeks. This is the reason why JPEX joined other exchanges in supporting the trading of the cryptocurrency so that users will be able to profit from the extensive liquidity being poured into the token. 

As of 09:30 UTC on Saturday, May 6, PEPE had crossed $1 billion in market capitalization, and the cryptocurrency had seen a minimum daily volume of approximately $245 million, data from crypto price tracker CoinMarketCap showed. 

Former OpenSea Employee Convicted in NFT Insider Trading Case 

Nathaniel Chastain, a former manager at OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace by all-time trading volume was convicted on Wednesday, May 3 for his involvement in using his knowledge as an insider to profit from the sale of certain NFTs.

According to prosecutors, Chastain purchased certain NFT collections before they appeared on the company’s homepage for NFT collectors to engage with them. Due to this, he was able to buy certain digital art for relatively smaller sums of money and resell them for relatively higher sums within a short period. It is believed he made more than $50,000 in illegal profit. 

Thomas Burnett who was part of the prosecuting team in Manhattan, New York, U.S. said that Chastain abused his role as an executive to make personal gains, and lied to authorities by pleading NOT GUILTY to cover his tracks. 

OpenSea has been struggling in its dominance as the largest NFT platform in 2023 due to the emergence of Blur, a new marketplace that has taken the sector by storm. While this news is tailored to a former employee, OpenSea being mired in this conviction does not bode well for the fortunes of the marketplace. 

OpenSea trailed Blur again in April by generating around $303 million out of $1.1 billion in total volume. 

Dubai Regulator Awards First Broker-Dealer MVP Operational License 

The Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) granted the first broker-dealer minimum viable product (MVP) operational license to BitOasis, a cryptocurrency exchange focused on providing digital asset trading services to traders in the Middle East on Monday, May 1. 

Many regulatory observers have branded this as progress in the issuing of licenses to virtual asset service providers (VASPs) in a region which wants to become a crypto hub. 

VARA takes a slow process in vetting companies and the latest license granted to BitOasis which could be granted to others makes it possible for the exchange to provide broker-dealer services to qualified retail and institutional investors headquartered in the region. 

The latest milestone in the issuing of licenses has consumer protection, enhanced investment opportunities, risk mitigation, and value creation at heart, Henson Orser, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VARA said. 

Argentina Central Bank Bans Payment Applications from Offering Crypto Services to Customers 

The Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) is the latest financial body to clamp down on the use of cryptocurrencies. On Thursday, May 4, the institution announced that it has banned payment platforms from offering Bitcoin and other crypto services to their customers. 

This news which is seen as negative for a country whose national currency “Peso” continues to depreciate will be affecting the businesses of Mercado Libre, an online marketplace and Uala, a financial technology (fintech) giant – these two were heavily involved in the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). 

The reason behind the decision is mitigation of risks and this has led many analysts to question why a country suffering economically is not given an innovation a chance to change the lifestyles of millions of its citizens. 

The latest clampdown has seen Argentina join a country such as China which does not tolerate the engagement of all forms of virtual assets by its citizens. 

Kenya to introduce crypto taxes 

Kenya elected a new president called William Ruto in 2022. The leader favours the use of crypto more than his predecessor but it comes with a cache. 

According to a report by Bloomberg, there could be a 3% tax on the transfer of digital assets in 2024. This report comes a few months after lawmakers in the country considered a bill that will introduce taxes for activities conducted by cryptocurrency exchanges, and those conducted via crypto wallets. 

Should this go through, Kenya will join a country such as India that has imposed taxes on capital gains from crypto. 


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