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The Institutions Are Coming!
Or maybe they just didn’t leave since the last bull run? Fascinatingly, this bear market is seeing them start to shift and build more quietly. This week has a slew of those examples
- On Wednesday, $1.4 trillion asset manager Franklin Templeton announced that it would be putting its Nasdaq-listed OnChain U.S. Government Money Fund (FOBXX) on chain via Polygon, thus becoming the first US-listed fund to use blockchain for recording ownership and processing transactions
- Another example is Deloitte. They listed 331 available crypto jobs last week
- Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank has just released a report suggesting that Bitcoin could reach $100,000 by the end of the year, driven by factors including the recent banking crisis
- Another telltale sign that big money is interested in the space is a recent KPMG survey which found that over 90% of family offices and high-net-worth individuals expressed interest in digital assets, with 58% already investing in this emerging asset class
The Global Crypto Roundup
- European Parliament votes in favor of MiCA
- The Bank of Russia announced that they’re working on a bill to allow crypto to be used in export-import deals
- Bhutan has invested millions in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptos via their sovereign wealth fund apparently
- Binance US pulling out of its deal to acquire Voyager Digital
- Coinbase obtains offshore exchange license from Bermuda
- 2 US states pass Bitcoin “right to mine” bills
- India targets one million CBDC users in three months
- Suzhou, located in China’s Jiangsu province, will allow workers in certain government departments to receive a portion of their salaries in digital yuan
- Solana labs launches ChatGPT plugin enabling the AI to retrieve Blockchain data
European Parliament votes in favor of MiCA
The European Parliament has voted in favor of introducing the MiCA (Market in crypto assets) regulation, opening the doors to the first dedicated crypto regulation on such a large scale. The text, initiated in 2020, still needs to receive approval from the European Council. Once on track, the MiCA regulation is expected to go into effect as early as next July.
Mica aims to create a harmonization of crypto regulation across the EU.
Forge (Societe Generale) launches a stablecoin €
FORGE, the digital assets division of Société Générale, has announced the launch of CoinVertible (EURCV), a stablecoin backed by the euro (€) on the Ethereum blockchain (ETH) and aimed at institutional clients for now.
Unfortunately, although considered a real step forward for the bank towards the crypto sector, the stablecoin has been heavily criticized on social networks, especially because of the way it is developed.
Binance US pulling out of its deal to acquire Voyager Digital
Lest week, big news on this front included Binance US pulling out of its deal to acquire Voyager Digital’s assets after intense opposition from various parts of the US government and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority heartily changing its tone from the last few years and saying they want to work with the crypto industry on sensible regulations
Coinbase obtains offshore exchange license from Bermuda
Coinbase, one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, has received a license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority to operate in the island nation, according to a blog post. The license will enable Coinbase to offer its services to users in Bermuda. It also opens up the potential for Coinbase to launch a derivatives exchange as early as next week.
Coinbase is not the sole cryptocurrency company that is scaling its operations globally. Kraken recently declared that it has received regulatory approval in Ireland, and Binance expanded to Sweden in January.
The company has encountered multiple issues in the United States. It received a Wells notice from the SEC in March, settled with the NYDFS (New York State Department of Financial Services) on an unrelated matter in January, and also settled with the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) in 2021.
The launch of an offshore exchange could be a significant move for Coinbase, as it would allow the company to offer its services to users in jurisdictions where it does not currently have a presence. It could also provide a means for Coinbase to expand its offerings beyond the existing platform.
The Next Phase of Ethereum
On the night of April 12-13, the Shapella update was successfully performed on the Ethereum blockchain. This was a highly anticipated event, which finalizes The Merge of Ethereum, paving the way for the withdrawal of staked ETH. For many observers, the release of about 18M ETH on the market risked to make the price of ETH fall. But due to its success, the ETH price moved up after the update.
Last week saw a record inflow of staked ETH, with investors locking up 71,950 ETH worth more than $1B. Bullish unlocks, indeed.
2 US states pass Bitcoin “right to mine” bills
Arkansas passed one of these bills and this week, Montana followed suit. Both bills are simply waiting for their governor’s signature. In Texas, however, State Bill 1751 is set to curtail many of the benefits that have made the state so attractive to miners, leading to a major advocacy campaign from both local advocates and miners and national US organizations. Truly, it’s progress and peril all around us.
Stellar CEO Urges US Government to Regulate Stablecoins for Dollar Strength
The Chief of Stellar Development Foundation has warned that both the US and the US dollar may suffer if stablecoin regulations are not implemented this year. As financial regulators in the US tighten their grip on the cryptocurrency industry, Stellar’s CEO sees regulation of stablecoins as a crucial step to protect the US dollar. The call for regulation of stablecoins comes at a crucial time for the industry, as their use continues to grow and raise concerns about potential risks to the financial system.
Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged to a fiat currency or a commodity, such as the US dollar or gold. They are designed to provide price stability and reduce volatility in the cryptocurrency market. However, their growing popularity has raised concerns about their impact on the financial system and the potential for market manipulation.
The State of Stablecoins
The US finally introduced stablecoin legislation the past week (although it was the same bill that Democrats wouldn’t go for last year). Stablecoins have had a bit of a run recently, with their total market cap down 23% from $161B to $124B. The biggest losers have been BUSD – which was officially regulated out of existence – and USDC. The total supply is now close to where we were two years ago in May 2021. Will the trend continue?
India Targets One Million CBDC Users in Three Months, Prioritizing Offline Transfers
An estimated 100,000 users have participated in India’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot since its launch in December 2022. However, according to anonymous sources cited by CoinDesk, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is privately aiming to scale the user base of its digital rupee to one million users within the next three months.
India’s digital rupee design has garnered interest, with RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das revealing that an “eminent person from the international financial sector went to the extent of complementing the design of our CBDC, adding that the only thing he missed in the CBDC was the smell of new currency.”
While the digital currency could be a boon for India, the RBI is still working through issues related to scalability, transactions per second, and offline transactions.
Chinese City to Pay Government Salaries in Digital Yuan
The city of Suzhou, located in China’s Jiangsu province, will allow workers in certain government departments to receive a portion of their salaries in digital yuan, according to a statement released by the local government. The statement did not specify which departments would be included.
The Chinese government has been ramping up efforts to promote the use of digital yuan, with several pilot programs taking place across the country. In addition to salary payments, digital yuan can also be used for everyday transactions, such as buying groceries and paying utility bills.
FTX back soon?
FTX’s lawyers have claimed that the exchange platform could reopen in the coming months. The company has reportedly managed to get its hands on $7.3 billion in cash and crypto liquid assets. A significant amount, but still not enough.
While the possible reopening of FTX poses many, many questions, the news alone was enough to send the FTT price soaring (+126% in 1:30).
Solana Labs Launches ChatGPT Plugin to Retrieve Blockchain Data
Blockchain company Solana Labs has released a new plugin that connects ChatGPT to your wallet, allowing the artificial intelligence (AI) to retrieve blockchain data. The plugin is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 architecture and is designed to fetch data from the Solana bloc
Buying cryptos on twitter ? it’s coming soon
Elon Musk wants to make twitter an “everything app”. One of the development axes is to implement payment and trading services directly on the network. In this context, the giant has partnered with the eToro platform, in order to facilitate access to trading cryptos and stocks.