Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Celsius prepares for bankruptcy; $100m heist hits crypto firm Harmony – Arab News
RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Sunday, rising by 0.93 percent to $21,420.15 as of 8:10 a.m. Riyadh time.
Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,237.88, rising by 1.38 percent, according to data from Coindesk.
Celsius Network hires advisers to prepare for bankruptcy 
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Celsius Network LLC hired restructuring experts from Alvarez & Marsal to advise on a potential bankruptcy filing.
Early this month, the New Jersey-based cryptocurrency lending company froze withdrawals and transfers due to “extreme” market conditions.
CoinDesk reported that Goldman Sachs plans to raise $2 billion from investors to buy Celsius’ distressed assets.
If the cryptocurrency lender files for bankruptcy, investors can buy the assets at potential discounts, according to a report citing two sources.
As of last month, Celsius had assets worth $11.8 billion.
Investors have dumped risky assets amid fears that rate hikes could plunge the economy into recession, leading to extreme volatility in digital assets in recent months.
A $100 million heist hits US crypto firm Harmony
In the latest cyber heist on a long-targeted sector, US-based crypto firm Harmony said hackers stole around $100 million in digital coins from one of its key products, Reuters reported.
The company develops blockchains for decentralized finance, peer-to-peer sites offering loans and other services without banks’ traditional gatekeepers, and non-fungible tokens.
According to the company, the heist targeted its Horizon bridge, which transfers crypto between different blockchains.
According to Harmony, it has been working with forensic experts and national authorities to identify the culprit and retrieve the stolen funds.
Harmony said its global team was “working around the clock to address the issue.”
According to Elliptic, which tracks publicly visible blockchain data, the hackers stole Ether, Tether, and USD Coin from Harmony, which they later traded for ether using decentralized exchanges.
(With inputs from Reuters)
RIYADH: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, also known as ICBC, said on Friday its wealth management joint venture with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had received the country’s banking regulator’s approval to begin operations.
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission’s nod comes as the world’s second-largest economy opens up its giant financial sector to investments from foreign players, allowing them to collaborate with domestic banks.
Goldman Sachs ICBC Wealth Management, set up in May last year with a 51 percent funding contribution from US banking giant Goldman and 49 percent by ICBC, will now offer a broad range of investment products to the Chinese market over time, including quantitative investment strategies.
ICBC will “push forward” the joint venture to execute all the relevant procedures “in strict compliance with laws, regulations and regulatory requirements,” China’s biggest bank said in a statement.
Regulate private pension investment via mutual funds
China’s securities regulator proposed rules to regulate private pension investment via mutual funds, setting the criteria for qualified products and sales agents under a scheme that will channel fresh savings into the country’s capital markets.
The draft rules, published by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) late on Friday, came after Beijing in April launched a milestone private pension scheme to tackle the challenges of the aging population.
Under the scheme, eligible Chinese citizens can buy mutual funds, savings deposits and insurance products via their own individual pension accounts, potentially boosting a pension market that has lured foreign asset managers including Fidelity International and BlackRock.
The proposed rules “have set a relatively high bar for products and institutions, and are designed to ensure safety of pension fund investment and protect investors’ interest,” the CSRC said in a statement on its website.
Initially, pension target funds with at least 50 million yuan ($7.48 million) of assets over the past four quarters are eligible under the pilot pension scheme, the CSRC said.
Senators seek update on US security review of TikTok
A group of six Republican senators on Friday asked US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about an ongoing Biden administration national security review of the social media platform TikTok.
The US government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, which reviews deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks, in 2020 ordered Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest TikTok because of fears that US user data could be passed on to China’s communist government.
Last week, TikTok said it has completed migrating information on its US users to servers at Oracle Corp., as it seeks to address US concerns over data integrity.
Senators Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, Mike Braun, Marco Rubio, Todd Young and Roger Wicker asked Yellen numerous questions saying the administration “has seemingly done nothing to enforce” the August 2020 divestiture order.” They noted, “the results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year.”
The senators want to know “will TikTok be locally managed in the United States?” and “Will the US government have the ability to routinely access and inspect the algorithm’s source code?” It also asks “what assurances does the US government have that TikTok will store US data and adopt privacy policies with adequate protections?” 
(With input from Reuters)
RIYADH: Saudi Venture Investment Co. has invested in a global specialty lending fund that focuses on offering venture debt instruments to high-growth startups, small and medium enterprises in sectors, such as technology, fintech, healthcare and life sciences. 
The first venture debt fund that SVC is investing is managed by Partners for Growth, a California-based firm that provides venture and growth stage debt instruments to startups and SMEs, according to a statement. 
“The investment in the venture debt fund by PFG is part of SVC’s Investment in Funds Program, and is to implement SVC’s latest strategy related to the launch of the ‘Investment in Venture Debt Funds’ product in order to fill the financing gaps in the venture capital ecosystem,” CEO said. 
“Venture debt funds provide financing solutions to high-growth startups and SMEs to prevent equity dilution for founders and existing investors and allow startups and SMEs to achieve greater progress during their growth journey,” Nabeel Koshak added. 
Established in 2018 by Monshaat as part of the Financial Sector Development Program, SVC is a government venture capital that contributes to the development of the VC ecosystem. 
RIYADH: Air Arabia, a low-cost airline based in the UAE, has announced 14 daily shuttle flights from Sharjah International Airport to Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar starting from Nov. 21 until Dec. 18 to cater to visitors to the FIFA World Cup.
These shuttle flights are meant only for world cup ticket holders and will operate in conjunction with Air Arabia’s three daily scheduled flights to Doha, Zawya reported. 
“We are pleased to announce Air Arabia’s shuttle flights between Sharjah and Doha during the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will provide fans with easy, reliable, and timely access in and out of Doha to enjoy the matches and return right after,” Adel Al-Ali, CEO of Air Arabia said. 
The airline stated that passengers will be allowed 10 kg of hand luggage. 
RIYADH: Egypt has launched a digital platform for petroleum products and natural gas, as the country moves ahead on the path toward digital transformation, Daily News Egypt reported. 
Announcing the launch of the initiative, Tarek El Molla, minister of petroleum and mineral resources, said the new digital services will provide an integrated system to manage and follow up on the supply of fuel to cars using a smart card instead of paper coupons. 
He said the new digital service platform will ensure secure transportation and circulation of petroleum products, which will preserve the rights of the contracting parties, through data that can be accessed through the smart card. 
El Molla further noted that cashout services will be available in gas stations, and the public can withdraw cash from gas stations using their bank cards. 
The minister revealed that withdrawal services are now made available at 400 petrol stations in the country.
CAIRO: Egypt has strategic reserves of wheat sufficient for 5.7 months, Supply Minister Aly Moselhy said in a news conference on Sunday, adding that the country has procured 3.9 million tons of wheat in the local harvest so far.
Egypt is often the world’s biggest wheat importer.
He added that the strategic reserves for sugar were sufficient for more than six months and those for vegetable oils are sufficient for 6.2 months, while the country is self-sufficient for rice for 3.3 months.


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