Crypto Moves — Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Australia’s central bank launches digital currency project

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Tuesday, rising by 2.33 percent to $23,889 as of 8:03 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,779 rising by 3.87 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Australia’s central bank launches digital currency project

The Australian central bank announced on Tuesday that it will conduct research into the possibility of a central bank digital currency in Australia, according to Reuters.

The year-long program is a partnership between the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Center.

In addition to better understanding some of the technological, legal, and regulatory considerations associated with the issuance of a CBDC, the project will identify innovative use cases and business models that would be supported by it.

An RBA-responsible CBDC pilot will be developed as part of the program and will operate in a ring-fenced environment.

The CBDC will be able to provide households and businesses with innovative and value-added payment and settlement services based on the specific use cases developed by industry participants.

BitMEX crypto exchange laundering case: new guilty plea

Following the guilty pleas of BitMEX’s three co-founders, BitMEX’s first employee has also pleaded guilty to violating US bank secrecy laws, reported Reuters.

In Manhattan, Gregory Dwyer, 39, of Australia and Bermuda, pleaded guilty before US District Judge John Koeltl. In addition, he agreed to pay a fine of $150,000.

In 2015, Dwyer and BitMEX founders Benjamin Delo, Arthur Hayes, and Samuel Reed willfully violated the federal Bank Secrecy Act by failing to implement anti-money laundering and “know your customer” programs, effectively transforming the exchange into a money laundering operation.

At BitMEX, the Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, Dwyer was head of business development.

Although Delo, Hayes, and Reed were each sentenced to probation, Dwyer could face up to five years in prison.

Requests for comment from Dwyer’s lawyer were not immediately returned, according to Reuters

Two US Financial regulators filed civil charges last August against BitMEX for failing to properly screen customers and accepting customer funds for crypto trading without registration.

(With inputs from Reuters.)