Crypto Spotlight – Amazon, crypto ETFs, South Korea regulation, FTX Turkish arm, and Panama crypto regulation

Over the weekend, Bitcoin rose to a peak of $23,900, a level not seen since August of last year. However, it has since corrected with a moderate drop to around $23,200. Despite the dip, Bitcoin has still seen a 40% increase in 2022. Ether has also spiked by 30% with many of the industry's major Altcoins following this bullish trend. Nevertheless, the Fear and Greed Index, used to measure the mood of the cryptocurrency market, changed from neutral to greed on Sunday, kicking off the new week with a tentative level of optimism that the market can hold its ground. Here are the day's major stories. 

  • Amazon is reportedly launching a blockchain-based NFT project in April 2023, according to a report by Blockworks. The company has reached out to major industry players to begin its move into the crypto space. The team responsible for the new venture is still unknown, but blockchain gaming appears to be the main focus of the tech giant. The regulatory complexity of the Web3 economy poses obstacles for Amazon, but they have ample legal resources at their disposal. Amazon's entry into the NFT market has the potential to bring legitimacy and momentum, but regulatory challenges need to be overcome first.
  • Cryptocurrency-focused ETFs have recorded sharp gains in 2023, with the $3.9mn Valkyrie Bitcoin Miners ETF leading with a 101% return. The rebound of the crypto market and a potential peak in inflation drive the recovery. The ETFs with the best returns include crypto mining ETFs and blockchain ETFs, up 77% and over 60% respectively. Most crypto ETFs are still down for longer-term investors due to last year's crypto winter and tech sell-off however these trends are a positive sign for the market as a whole.


  • South Korea's Ministry of Justice has announced its intention to monitor cryptocurrency transactions to prevent money laundering, according to a report released on Thursday. The Ministry will initially rely on third-party software to keep track of transaction history, gather information on transactions, and verify the origin of funds. South Korea has plans to create its system, which is expected to be completed in the latter half of the year. Last October, South Korean police joined forces with domestic crypto exchanges, including Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Corbit, and Gopax, to cooperate in criminal investigations related to cryptocurrencies. Currently, Bithumb is being investigated for potential tax evasion and price manipulation.
  • FTX crypto exchange is seeking to remove its Turkish units from its bankruptcy case, claiming that Turkish authorities are unlikely to follow U.S. court orders. FTX filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. on November 11th and its new owners are working to unwind the affairs of as many as 134 entities globally. After the bankruptcy, Turkish authorities announced a probe into FTX's activities and seized nearly all of its assets, making it difficult for the company to include them in restructuring plans.  
  • Panama's Supreme Court will rule on the country's crypto legislation, known as the "crypto bill." The bill was introduced in September 2021 to regulate cryptocurrencies in Panama. It allows the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum as alternative payment and regulates the tokenization of precious metals and digital value issuance. President Laurentino Cortizo has sent the bill to the high court for review, claiming it violates the constitution and is unenforceable. The Supreme Court must decide whether to approve the bill with modifications or declare it unenforceable.