Also today, why a screenshot in a presentation suggests eBay may accept cryptocurrencies soon.
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The U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 7.9% year on year in February — setting a fresh 40-year high — in the latest sign that inflation may be here to stay. Although Bitcoin has tended to enjoy a little uptick when grim inflation figures are released, the world's biggest cryptocurrency remained pretty static when the data emerged on Thursday. All of this might be linked to concerns about geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe — as well as the prospect of an interest rate rise from the Federal Reserve next week.
Chainalysis has launched two new tools to help the crypto industry screen for sanctioned individuals and entities. The blockchain intelligence firm says the free services are specifically designed to help decentralized exchanges, DeFi platforms, DAOs and DApp developers. Users will be able "to easily validate they are not interacting with cryptocurrency wallets associated with sanctioned entities." While the decentralized finance sector does pride itself on offering a higher degree of anonymity than centralized rivals, business risks can still emerge if tainted crypto runs through its systems.
Speculation is growing that eBay is on the brink of accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method — and this talk isn't going to die down following an Investor Day presentation. During a pitch to shareholders, the auction site showed off a slide featuring a landing page that invites users to register for a digital wallet. The new feature is going to launch in the second quarter of this year. CEO Jamie Iannone didn't explicitly confirm during the presentation whether cryptocurrencies will be supported, meaning shareholders will have to wait and see. Instead, he just vowed that "new forms of payment" are coming soon.
The U.S. Department of Labor is urging "extreme care" to be taken before crypto investments are offered in 401(k) retirement plans. In a statement, the government agency pointed to guidelines that fiduciaries need to act solely in the financial interests of clients — and any decision to offer crypto would fall under these rules. According to the department, the number of firms who are marketing crypto investments for 401(k) plans has risen in recent months — and officials fear this is too dangerous given the short history of digital assets. "These investments present significant risks and challenges to participants' retirement accounts, including significant risks of fraud, theft, and loss," the statement added.