January is the time to make some changes. See our new format of Staff Picks where we section articles by their topics. We want to give you our picks about news, adoption, top stories and so much more. You have a chance to let us know what you like to read most on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll check out your suggestions and try to deliver more stories that fit your interests.

Read away!

Regulation news

The Netherlands has introduced new KYC rules for off-exchange addresses. Users of certain exchanges now have to link their identity to off-exchange withdrawal addresses. There have been rumors saying this kind of regulation might also appear elsewhere. Check out how this is affecting users from the Netherlands on Bitstamp exchange.

Bitstamp To Track Off-Exchange Addresses Via KYC | Crypto Briefing
Bitstamp’s Netherlands service will require users to link their identity to off-exchange withdrawal addresses, according to user messages.

Decentralized finance or DeFi saw an exponential rise in locked up value in 2020. Crypto regulation and taxation is not something new as we reported in one of our blogs. The introduction of DeFi brings along new sets of tax rules for investors. Stay on the safe side and educate yourself before the upcoming tax season.

A Complete Guide to DeFi Taxes: Everything You Should Know | Forex Academy
2020 was revolutionary for DeFi markets, and investors flooded the young industry with over $7billion from a mere $1.2 billion. As the market cap and number of transactions surged, regulators came up with responsive ways to tax cryptocurrency income.

Institutional adoption

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has conditionally approved Anchorage Digital Bank’s application for a national trust charter. This will give institutions more clarity about digital assets within the broad financial system and could spur more confidence in the development of new digital first financial solutions.

Anchorage Digital Bank Becomes First Federally Regulated Digital Asset Bank
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has conditionally approved the Anchorage Digital Bank’s application application for a national trust charter, making it the first crypto bank allowed to opperate in all 50 states.

The latest inflation of cryptocurrency prices was mostly due to institutional interest. Check out which public companies are holding Bitcoin on their balance sheets and what this could mean. It could be the end of an era of retail interest and a sign that entering the Bitcoin market could become harder and more expensive as we go.

What Publicly Traded Companies Have Bitcoin On Their Balance Sheet — And Why
Many of these public companies are holding bitcoin on their balance sheet for different reasons, yet they hold a lot and are all aligned on being bullish on bitcoin.

Top stories

Some of the top stories this month feature movie-worthy details. The dark side of crypto was also on full display in January.

There is one about the programmer that lost a piece of paper on which his password for his hard drive was written. He now has only two attempts left to access $266M in Bitcoin. Just goes to show how important it is to properly store your passwords.

Programmer has two password guesses left before losing $266M in Bitcoin
The programmer’s story attests to the freedom — and risks — of total control over digital finances.

Remember, you can now always make sure something similar won’t happen to you with our new security solution - Wallet Protect for the XRPL.

Some Ledger users were targets of chilling threats after the hardware wallet manufacturer reported that 20,000 more of its customers have been affected by another massive data breach.

Ledger owners report chilling threats after 20K more records leaked
Around 20,000 more Ledger users are potentially at risk of physical attacks, blackmail, and phishing attempts.

To end on a lighter note, the last one is a bit more cheerful and it’s about a crypto user that recovered his long-lost private key. The story has a happy ending worth $4M in Bitcoin.

Crypto user recovers long-lost private keys to access $4M in Bitcoin
The Reddit user liquidated the more than $4 million in Bitcoin through an over-the-counter principal desk when the price of the crypto asset was in the $33,000s.

Ups and downs

We had a fair share of excitement in December. First we saw crypto prices rocket upwards at an unanticipated pace, but then the SEC hit XRP with a lawsuit alleging XRP is a security. Some exchanges were quick to act and disable trading in XRP. Some speculation was laid to rest but it seems unlikely that we’ll see a resolution any time soon.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse responds to questions surrounding the SEC’s lawsuit
In a new thread of tweets, Brad Garlinghouse addressed questions surrounding the SEC’s unregistered securities offering lawsuit.

January is usually the time to reflect on the performance in the past year and look forward to what could be in store in the new year. Bitcoin and Ethereum performed exceptionally well again after a 3 year hiatus. So did some pre 2017 cryptos and particularly DeFi. Losers were rare in 2020. Remember to do your research and only invest what you can afford to lose.

Bitcoin, stablecoins and DeFi: 2020’s top-performing crypto assets
2020 may have been filled with challenges, but Bitcoin, stablecoins and DeFi protocols are the clear top performing crypto assets for the year.