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Robinhood Acquires UK Crypto Firm Ziglu

Robinhood said Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Ziglu. Ziglu is a London-based fintech app that allows users to trade bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies. The company said the acquisition would help its expansion plans in the U.K. and Europe.

The announcement comes nearly two years after Robinhood halted its U.K. launch plans.

Robinhood shares rose more than 5% on Tuesday.

The deal could significantly boost growth prospects for Robinhood, which has faltered since last year’s GameStop trading frenzy.

Robinhood reported that the number of monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2021 fell to 17.3 million from 18.9 million in the previous quarter and expects revenue in the first quarter of 2022 to be less than $340 million, a 35% decrease from the last quarter.

The company has lost about two-thirds of its market value since listing on the Nasdaq last summer.

The companies have not disclosed the terms of the acquisition yet. Robinhood said the deal is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

Founded in 2018, Ziglu allows users to make payments, invest in a range of cryptocurrencies, and earn interest by holding Bitcoin and GBP.

The company has raised $22.8 million so far, including £13.4 million from retail investors through the equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs. Now, the company’s total value is £85 million.

It is one of the few crypto companies that has successfully registered with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority. Registration is essential for digital asset companies wishing to operate in the country.

The regulator recently extended the deadline for companies to cut back after many companies withdrew their applications.

Australia’s First Bitcoin ETF Could Hit $1 Billion After Launch Next Week

Financial regulators have given the green light to Australia’s first bitcoin ETF, which will begin trading on April 27. The Australian Financial Review reported that as much as $1 billion could be inflows.

An ETF is a regulated exchange-traded fund that allows investors to benefit from the price of Bitcoin without owning any tokens themselves.

Cosmos Asset Management has beaten local rivals VanEck, BetaShares, and EFT Securities in the launch of Australia’s first bitcoin ETF. Every company has been racing to complete regulatory approvals since at least March.

The Cosmos Asset Management Bitcoin ETF will be listed on CBOE Australia and approved by the capital markets clearing house ASX Clearing. The approval comes after Cosmos made at least four market participants meet the 42% margin requirement required by the April 19 AFR terms to cover the risk.

The Cosmos Bitcoin ETF provides indirect exposure to Bitcoin spot investments through a Canadian-purpose Bitcoin ETF.

Australian wealth manager Zerocap trader Kurt Grumelart called the ETF approval exciting and commented that it validates yet another institutional adoption following the record launch of the Betashares CRYP fund, which invests in cryptocurrency exposure of U.S.

Stocks. When launched in November 2021, the fund saw a net inflow of $10 million in its first 10 minutes.

Grumelart expects the new Bitcoin ETF to be similarly successful.

This will be Cosmos’ second cryptocurrency-related ETF since it launched the Global Digital Miner Access ETF last year.

Over the past year, Australian regulators have struggled to create clear rules for the crypto industry. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission wants more powers over the sector. Still, Senator Andrew Bragg said it was inappropriate until cryptos were recognized as financial assets under Australian law.

Ireland Wants To Ban Crypto Donations To Political Parties

Darragh O’Brien, the local government minister in charge of electoral reform, said Sunday that he wants to amend the 2022 Election Reform Act to ban crypto donations to political parties and impose stricter rules on other non-crypto foreigners to prevent election interference.

O’Brien has been grappling with how to protect Irish elections from interference since early January when he set up a working group of experts to study new electoral legislation.

Several U.S. states have also banned crypto donations for political activity, including California in 2018, due to transparency concerns. States such as Oregon, Michigan, and North Carolina have also banned the use of cryptocurrencies for political donations.

Because everyone can anonymously make crypto donations, and these transactions are outside the preview of banks and other financial institutes, some, like O’Brien, worries people can also use it to influence elections anonymously.

However, crypto donations are helping Ukraine a lot at the moment.

Ireland’s proposed election rules come as Ukraine opens up to cryptocurrency donations as the Russian invasion enters its second month.

Ukraine passed a “virtual asset” law legalizing crypto on March 16. The country has already received around $100 million in cryptocurrency donations.

The government’s official cryptocurrency donation page allows people to donate to at least 16 cryptocurrencies. You can also buy or donate NFTs, and all proceeds go directly to the Ukrainian military.

The donations were used to buy non-lethal supplies for the Ukrainian military, including bulletproof vests and food.

Despite helping Ukraine with cryptocurrency donations, Western governments have criticized crypto exchanges that Russians use to avoid sanctions.

Some of the largest crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase and Binance, have dismissed calls to unilaterally ban Russian users, as other payment companies have done.

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