Check out the biggest breaking crypto market updates for today:
Binance Exits Russia With Sale To Just-Launched Exchange
Crypto exchange Binance has reportedly agreed to sell the entirety of its Russia business to CommEX – a crypto exchange that was officially launched on Tuesday. Noah Perlman, Binance’s chief compliance officer, has stated that the move comes as a result of recognizing that “operating in Russia is not compatible with Binance’s compliance strategy.”
While the financial details of the deal remain unknown, Binance spokesperson Simon Matthews has clarified that “neither Binance nor its executives have shares or profit-sharing with CommEX.”
Binance will ensure to provide its customers with an orderly process for the migration of users. In cooperation with CommEX, Binance will inform users how to migrate their assets to the newly created exchange.
The user migration process will allow a portion of Russian users with completed Know Your Customer checks to be immediately redirected to CommEX. Binance will gradually sunset its platform in Russia over the next several months.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao also noted that holders of Binace’s native token, BNB, will “continue to enjoy” a 25% trading discount on CommEX.
The announcement emphasized that Binance will fully exit russia and will have no ties with the exchange, stating:
“Unlike similar deals from international companies in Russia, Binance will have no ongoing revenue split from the sale, nor does it maintain any option to buy back shares in the business.”
The news comes just a day after CommEX announced its launch on Sept. 26. The platform is designed to provide cryptocurrency trading services, including spot, futures, and peer-to-peer trading. The platform seems to be targeting mostly Russian users at launch, as its interface is only available in Russian and English at the time of writing.
Binance has been preparing its departure from Russia for a while now, as the exchange has been facing major regulatory challenges related to compliance with Western sanctions against Russia.
But despite regulatory pressure, Binance was still promoting its services for Russian users as of August 2023. The exchange eventually had its top Russian executives leaving the firm in early September.
Security Platform Immunefi Launches Smart Contract Bug Bounty Vaults
Bug bounty platform Immunefi has announced the launch of Vault Systems – a smart contract system that allows developers to safely deposit funds earmarked for paying hackers or researchers for reporting vulnerabilities in their code.
The funds only get released to a hacker when a vulnerability report has been verified. The new system is expected to improve trust and boost participation from the community.
Immunefi founder and CEO Mitchell Amador stated,
“We’re releasing the first version of our Vaults System, primarily focused on proof-of-assets and providing a frictionless payment experience for bounty programs. This allows us to take a responsible first step, meticulously test everything and ensure that our Vaults work at the infrastructure level.”
The relationship between the hacker community and project developers can be complex. Developers are especially nervous about their projects being exploited, but even well-intentioned hackers can also be wary of running into any legal peril for discovering vulnerabilities. And even when they do make a report, they worry that they won’t e properly acknowledged – or paid – for their work.
To do this, Immunefi announced the launch of Vault Systems, a smart contract system that allows developers to safely deposit funds earmarked for paying hackers or researchers for reporting vulnerabilities in their code.
The funds only get released to a hacker when a vulnerability report has been verified. The goal of this, says Amador, is to develop trust between two often cautious parties.
“Everyone in this relationship is nervous,” Amador said, “Project developers are very anxious that someone out there who they don’t necessarily know has a big secret that could make their lives very difficult.”
The relationship between the hacker community and project developers can be a complex one. Developers are especially nervous about their projects being exploited, but even well-intentioned hackers can also be wary of running into any legal peril for discovering vulnerabilities.
And even when they do make a report, they worry that they won’t be properly acknowledged – or paid – for their work.
Immunefi aims to bridge the trust gap with Vault by demonstrating to both sides that there is a way to safely transact in this space, said Amador. The hope, he adds, is to motivate hackers sitting on the fence with knowledge of vulnerabilities to cash in on the intel in a secure setting.
“We can provide a compelling incentive for them to not do otherwise, but we can only capture them when they’re in this undecided middle seat,” said Amador.
In the second quarter of 2023, there was a 63% increase in hacks of blockchains from the same time last year, according to an Immunefi report from July.
The company also found that the bulk of the hacks happened on DeFi platforms, which lost $228 million across 79 incidents.
Over the weekend, the Mixin Network, a decentralized exchange for swapping digital assets, became the latest victim of a hack that cost it up to $200 million after attackers breached its cloud service provider.
The Immunefi founder predicts that large hacks will happen in the future “at relative scale” to what he expects will be a much larger DeFi ecosystem. To that end, Amador says that it is paramount to build more trust within the community now to reduce any losses down the line.
“Every little thing that we do to increase the level of trust the security community can have with projects is going to lead to huge cascading benefits towards projects down into the future and users by extension,” Amador said.
SEC Extends Ark, Global X ETF Deadlines As Government Shutdown Looms
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly extending its deadline to make a decision on the approval or rejection of spot Bitcoin ETF listings by Ark 21 Shares and Global X.
The extension comes at a time when the federal government is bracing for a potential shutdown brought about by a budget impasse in Congress. The new deadline for a response set by the SEC is Jan. 10.
Global X, which filed last month to become the ninth active spot-bitcoin application in the SEC’s hands, now has until November 21 to await its response. If approved, the fund would grant investors “exposure to bitcoin with important protections that are not always available to investors that invest directly in bitcoin,” lawyers said in the filing.
The regulator has rejected spot bitcoin ETF products, citing potential market manipulation and inadequate investor protections against, but a federal court ruling last month said the agency had been “arbitrary and capricious” in its ETF decisions and must reconsider its position.
These deadlines were expected, as the SEC has traditionally taken the full 240 days to make a final decision. However, the threat of a looming shutdown seems to have pushed its interim decision up to Tuesday.
Normally, the SEC waits until a few days prior to the deadline. In 2019, during the last shutdown, the SEC asked an applicant to withdraw its filing entirely.
In the Tuesday filings, the SEC said that it “finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action,” giving the regulator “sufficient time to consider” its decision.
Earlier on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of members of the House Financial Services Committee sent a letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, calling for immediate approvals of the pending spot ETF applications after the agency’s court loss.