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Bitcoin Daily: Lender Vauld Nets $2 Million To Expand To Full Crypto Bank; SEC Freezes Assets Of Virgil Capital In Alleged Fraud In Crypto Trading Fund; Japan’s SBI Holdings Claims Ripple’s XRP Is Crypto, Not A Security

Cryptocurrency lending platform Vauld raised $2 million to expand into full banking services, including issuing credit and debit cards and providing fiat and crypto order books, CoinDesk reported.

The funding round was led by Pantera Capital and included Coinbase Ventures and LuneX Ventures. The Singapore-based platform has an active presence in India and aims to move into Europe and the U.S.

“We see institutional capital come into the crypto space with the expectation of banking integrations to complement crypto credit offerings,” CEO Darshan Bathija said in a statement, according to CoinDesk.

In other news, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an emergency asset freeze against Virgil Capital and its affiliated companies after charging the firm and its CEO, Stefan Qin, with fraud related to Virgil Sigma Fund LP, the company’s cryptocurrency trading fund, according to a press release.

The SEC claimed that Qin and the company have been misleading investors since 2018 over Sigma Fund’s financial condition, assets and strategy. Qin and the company allegedly spent investment money on personal expenses and other “undisclosed high-risk investments.”

“This emergency action is an important step to protect investor assets and prevent further harm,” said Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, in the release. “Qin allegedly made false promises to lure investors and then continued his deception to conceal his misuse of investor funds.”

The SEC further claimed that Qin and Virgil Capital told investors they would transfer their interests to the VQR Multistrategy Fund LP, which is also owned by Qin but managed separately. But according to the SEC, no funds were transferred.

The SEC filed its complaint against Qin and Virgil Capital in the Southern District of New York on Dec. 22, also charging VQR Partners, Virgil Technologies, Montgomery Technologies and Virgil Quantitative Research.

Meanwhile, financial services firm SBI Holdings responded to an SEC lawsuit against Ripple on Monday (Dec. 28), claiming that XRP is a “cryptocurrency asset,” not a security, CoinDesk reported, citing the company’s press release.

The SEC filed suit against Ripple for selling the XRP cryptocurrency without registering it as a security in the U.S. However, SBI Holdings, which runs SBI Ripple Asia in partnership with Ripple, said in its statement that Ripple is not a security in Japanese law.

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