Fiji Elects New Pro-bitcoin Prime Minister

Sitiveni Rabuka, the newly elected Prime Minister of the Pacific Islands of Fiji, is reportedly a supporter of Bitcoin. It mean Fiji Elects New Pro-bitcoin Prime Minister

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Fiji Elects Pro-Bitcoin Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

He assumed office on Dec 24th. Lord Fusitu’a, a Tongan noble and a former member of the Tongan parliament, tweeted that he had helped Rabuka understand “how Fiji can do Bitcoin legal tender like Tonga.” He indicated that there could potentially be two “Legal Tender Bills for the Pacific in 2023.” 

Lord Fusitu’a explained to Cointelegraph in Twitter messages that “The new PM is definitely pro-Bitcoin.” He said: 

“He asked to meet with me, which we did via Zooms since last year to walk him through step by step, how he could adopt bitcoin legal tener.” 

Tonga’s timeline for introducing Bitcoin as a legal tender is public and could pass as early as February 2023. Fiji faces similar economic and developmental challenges to Tonga due to its location and history. 

However, with almost 900,000 people, Fiji’s population is more than nine times the size of Tonga. 

The potential for Bitcoin to improve financial inclusion in Fiji is particularly significant given the country’s geography and economic situation. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Fiji is made up of over 330 islands. 

It is classified as a middle-income country but still faces significant development challenges, including high poverty rates, limited access to financial services and energy dependence on fossil fuels. 

The World Bank reports that remittance into Fiji is over 11% of its GDP. Plus, while Fiji’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy reports strong growth in financial inclusion in recent years, just half of the female population has access to a bank account. Bitcoin could act as a tool to improve remittances and bank the unbanked, following El Salvador’s example. 

In addition, Fiji may experiment with Bitcoin mining across the volcanic islands. Fusitu’a continued: 

“Like Tonga, how to do nationalized Bitcoin mining, specifically how we were going to do geothermal volcano mining so they could both do the same but also make use of their massive hydro and other renewable stranded energy they have, which we don’t.” 

Fiji’s 20-year National Development Plan requires that all power on the islands must be generated from renewable sources by 2030. 

The country requires an additional 120MW of renewable energy to achieve this target. Bitcoin mining could be the lever that unlocks renewable energy gains. 

Fiji’s approach to Bitcoin is in contrast to other countries in the Asia Pacific region, such as Vanuatu, which has taken a more cautious stance toward crypto. Until 2021 banned the use of cryptocurrencies, the Satoshi Island crypto project appeared to pave the way for digital asset adoption. 

Overall, the election of a pro-Bitcoin prime minister in Fiji is an ongoing development. It remains to be seen how support will translate into concrete policy, but the potential for Bitcoin to improve financial inclusion in Fiji is significant. 

Lord Fusitu’a explained that Bitcoin could aid with GDP remittance by undermining reliance on costly money transfer services such as Western Union: “Replace commercial retail banking with BTC custody of a citizen’s finances in their pocket on a phone/hardware wallet instead of a commercial bank.”

Alameda Research Liquidated Ether-Based Token Holdings for Bitcoin In Past 24 Hours, On-Chain Data Shows

According to on-chain data cited by crypto research firm Arkham Intelligence, 30 cryptocurrency wallets linked to Alameda Research became active on Dec. 28 and have swapped and mixed over $1.7 million worth of crypto assets through various crypto-mixing services. 

On-chain sleuth ZachXBT noted four bitcoin wallets where the funds are being consolidated. These wallets hold a combined total of 47.6 BTC, which is currently worth about $800,000. 

The value of the transactions ranged from a fraction of an ETH to over 15 ETH. 

Notably, the sudden fund movements come just days after former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was released on bail. 

According to Arkham Intelligence data, Alameda still holds over $112 million worth of various cryptocurrencies, down from $140 million held in mid-November. 

FTX filed for bankruptcy in November after revelations that Alameda, a “sister” hedge fund that Bankman-Fried also owned, was largely backed by FTT tokens, which are digital assets that FTX created out of thin air.

Gemini & Winklevoss Twins Sued For Fraud Over Earn Accounts

Gemini Trust Co. and its founders, Tyler and Cameron Winkevoss, are reportedly facing a potential class action lawsuit for failing to register its interest-bearing accounts as securities. 

The lawsuit was filed by investors Brendan Picha and Max J. Hastings on behalf of themselves and “others similarly situated” with the U.S. Southern District Court of New York. 

The complaint alleges that “Gemini marketed GIAs with repeated false and misleading statements, including that GIAs were a secure method of collecting interest.” 

It further states, 

“Gemini also omitted and concealed significant information concerning the risks associated with Gemini Earn, including information concerning its so-called partner and borrower in connection with the program.” 

In mid-November, the Winklevoss twins halted redemptions after Gemini’s business partner Genesis Global ran into financial issues due to FTX’s sudden collapse. According to reports, Genesis had $175 million locked in FTX before the exchange filed for bankruptcy. 

Picha and Hastings allege that Gemini then refused to honor any further investor redemptions, leading to the loss of all holdings in the program. 

Shortly after the withdrawal suspension, reports revealed that Genesis and its distressed parent company, Digital Currency Group (DCG), owe about $900 million to users of the Gemini Earn Program. 

Gemini has been trying to recover the funds to no avail. The crypto exchange even established a creditors’ committee to help with the process. 

Genesis, on the other hand, has been working to avert bankruptcy. Earlier this month, the firm’s creditors hired restructuring lawyers to save the company from sinking like other firms such as FTX and BlockFi. 

Although the crypto broker has no imminent intention of filing for bankruptcy, the firm would be forced to do so if it fails to raise new funds to resolve its liquidity issues. 

Meanwhile, Gemini has not yet commented on the class action. However, the crypto exchange said in an update on its website published on December 23 that it was working with “utmost urgency” to resolve liquidity issues at Genesis and would continue to work on behalf of its customers through the holidays.

Luke Baldwin