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June 20,2024

Iran Will Officially Launch New CBDC Initiative In June

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has initiated a public pilot for the Iranian national digital currency, targeting local micropayments. On June 18th, the CBI officially announced the launch of a trial program for a local Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the digital Rial. Beginning June 21st, coinciding with the start of the month of Tir, the digital currency will be accessible to banking clients and tourists visiting Kish Island.


Full Digitalization

Kish Island, the second largest in the Persian Gulf and a popular tourist destination with approximately 12 million annual visitors, operates as a free trade zone which does not require a visa for many nationalities. As part of efforts to expand the digital Rial pilot initiated in 2023, the CBI aims to integrate the digital currency into everyday transactions on Kish Island, enhancing payment options alongside cash and bank cards.

Unlike traditional electronic money requiring bank accounts and interbank settlements, the digital Rial facilitates instant transfers through barcode scanning and specialized software. This approach aims to simplify payments and bolster security compared to conventional card transactions, marking a significant step toward developing the local digital economy and enhancing domestic micropayment capabilities.


Enhancing The Local Infrastructure

The CBI highlighted the role of the digital Rial role in fortifying the local payment infrastructure, rejuvenating electronic currency usage for small-scale transactions, and managing risks associated with private currencies. Notably, the current usage of the digital Rial is confined within Iran itself, emphasizing its intended focus on domestic applications.

In the realm of cryptocurrency policy, Iran has permitted crypto trading while prohibiting its use as a medium of exchange for goods and services. The country has also regulated its local cryptocurrency mining sector since 2018, a move viewed by some U.S. lawmakers as potentially circumventing sanctions, posing national security concerns.


June 19,2024

Ethereum 2.0 Investigation To Be Formally Dropped By The SEC

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has concluded its inquiry into Ethereum 2.0 and will no longer pursue legal action alleging that ETH sales constitute securities transactions, according to a recent announcement by Consensys.


Ether Picks Up Huge Win

The aforementioned development is certainly a significant victory for Ethereum developers, technology providers, and industry participants. Consensys described it as a huge step in the right direction for Ethereum developers and businesses, eliminating uncertainty that could have otherwise hindered growth and stifled innovation.

In March, an update on the Ethereum Foundation GitHub repository revealed that the organization was under investigation by an unnamed state authority. After the discovery, Fortune reported that the SEC pursued an energetic legal campaign to classify Ether as a security. Uncertainty intensified after Consensys filed a lawsuit against the SEC in April. Part of the overall goal was to seek a court ruling that would classify ETH as not a security.


Consensys To The Rescue

FOX Business reported in late April that the SEC Enforcement Division, headed by Gurbir Grewal, initiated a formal investigation into the status of Ethereum in March 2023. This investigation, known as Ethereum 2.0, explores transactions and activities associated with Ethereum dating back to 2018.

As noted, the latest decision by the SEC comes after Consensys sent a letter to the SEC arguing that the recent approval of spot Ethereum ETFs implied ETH was not a security, and the SEC should close the investigation. The move likely hinged on considering ETH a commodity, much like Bitcoin (BTC), and signifies no forthcoming legal challenges.

Despite this progress, Consensys said the quest for definitive regulatory guidelines continues, especially concerning services like MetaMask Swaps and Staking. The team is still seeking broader clarity by the SEC on crypto regulations.


June 19,2024

Binance US Continues To Face Legal Hurdles As North Dakota Revokes License

The Binance saga continues as the financial regulator of North Dakota, USA, has withdrawn the money transmitter license for Binance.US, making it the seventh state to do so. Binance is currently navigating significant legal challenges stemming via regulatory issues across various jurisdictions.


Failure To Comply

The North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Commissioner Lise Kruse stated on June 17th, 2024, that BAM Trading Services, operating as Binance.US, did not comply with state money transmitter regulations.

The decision to revoke the license cites the federal conviction status pertaining to the crypto exchange back in November for conspiracy related to unlicensed money transmission and failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. Kruse emphasized that former Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, was recently convicted on felony charges for violating federal anti-money laundering laws.


Bad To Worse

The revocation order specifies that Binance.US has the opportunity to appeal the decision within 30 days, ending on July 17th, 2024. If no appeal is made, the order will take effect. Several other states, including Alaska, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, and Oregon, have also recently taken actions against BAM Trading Services regarding money transmission licenses.

Binance has been accused of operating without required licenses in several states like New York, Texas, Vermont, and Hawaii, where regulatory approval is mandatory for cryptocurrency exchanges. Additionally, allegations of insufficient implementation of AML measures have surfaced, triggering regulatory scrutiny and legal actions in multiple jurisdictions.


June 18,2024

SEC Senior Member Departs As Agency Faces Continued Scrutiny

A senior member of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), specifically within the digital assets department, announced his departure last Friday after nine years of service.The move comesa as many both within and outside the regulatory agency have become fed up with Chairman Gary Gensler and his seemingly endless vendetta against crypto and innovation.


TIme For A Change

David Hirsch, who previously headed the SEC Crypto Asset and Cyber Unit within the Division of Enforcement, shared on LinkedIn that Friday marked his final day at the SEC. He assumed leadership of the unit in October 2022, amidst significant upheavals in the crypto market following high-profile incidents, including the collapse of FTX. Hirsch began his tenure at the SEC in 2015 as an enforcement attorney based in Fort Worth, Texas.

In his post, Hirsch expressed enthusiasm about forthcoming challenges but did not disclose specific plans. He mentioned he will be sharing further details after taking a break and spending personal time with his family. Hirsch acknowledged the accomplishments of the Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit team under his leadership, emphasizing that securities enforcement is a collaborative effort.


SEC In Hot Water

During his time at the SEC, David pursued a vigorous campaign of enforcement actions in response to major collapses in the crypto sector, targeting companies like Terraform Labs and exchanges accused of violating securities laws.

Despite ongoing legal actions, including lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance, initiated during his tenure, Hirsch highlighted the progress made by the SEC in regulating the crypto market. His departure coincides with increasing political attention to crypto issues, which have emerged as a focal point in electoral campaigns.

Elsewhere, former President Donald Trump previously criticized the SEC and its hyper-aggressive stance on crypto, citing it as a key factor in stifling local crypto activities and pushing away capable individuals and successful businesses.

June 18,2024

AI Avatars Could Dominate TikTok Ads Going Forward

TikTok is poised to introduce advertisements featuring AI-driven digital avatars, allowing brands to create promotional content without using real actors. Recently announced on June 17th, TikTok is expanding its Symphony ad suite by offering stock avatars and an AI dubbing capability. These avatars are generated via video footage of paid actors licensed for commercial use. Users can select an AI-generated voice and accent to narrate a script, which is then dubbed onto the avatar.


AI Takes Over

A demonstration showcases a text-to-speech tool that overlays voices in multiple languages and attempts to synchronize mouth movements accordingly. The script itself can even be AI-generated. This feature supports ten languages and dialects, such as English, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean, automatically detecting and translating input languages into the desired target language.

This new avatar functionality is part of the new AI-powered ad suite introduced earlier this year, which includes a virtual assistant that monitors platform trends and can suggest content ideas and scripts. These AI avatars, translation services, and dubbing capabilities are currently in beta and accessible via a waitlist for a limited number of users.


Need For Caution

TikTok is also developing custom avatars that replicate the appearance of content creators and brand representatives, offering similar multi-language capabilities as the stock avatars. These custom avatars are being tested with the creator community.

To ensure transparency, TikTok will automatically label videos created using its AI tools as AI-generated. This labeling includes a small box denoting the origin of the content. However, the AI-cloned content creators demonstrate imperfections, such as mismatched mouth movements and gestures, a known challenge referred to as the uncanny valley.

More importantly, crypto scams on TikTok are a prevalent issue where users are targeted with fraudulent schemes promising quick financial gains through investments or giveaways. These scams often utilize fake profiles, impersonate reputable figures in the crypto industry, and the aforementioned AI avatars may only exacerbate this issue.


June 17,2024

Ripple Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place Thanks To SEC

Ripple (XRP) faces a pivotal decision following a significant development in its legal dispute with the SEC. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has adjusted its settlement demand dramatically, lowering it to $102.6 million. This leaves Ripple with a difficult choice, either accept the settlement, which comes with ongoing uncertainty about XRP, or gamble on a potentially harsher outcome in court.


A Difficult Decision

The initial request of $2 billion by the SEC drew widespread surprise and criticism within the cryptocurrency community. In response, Ripple proposed a $10 million settlement, citing precedent where SEC settlements typically ranged between 0.6% to 1.8% regarding the revenue of the defendant.

Ripple also pointed to a recent case involving Terraform Labs, which settled for $4.4 billion after halting operations due to bankruptcy. The SEC dismissed this comparison, emphasizing the differences in circumstances between the closure of Terraform and the still ongoing operations of Ripple.

According to the SEC, the $102.6 million settlement is essential to deter future misconduct in the crypto sector, considering the operational status of Ripple alongside its reluctance to agree to regulatory relief measures. While accepting the settlement could provide financial relief and demonstrate cooperation with regulators, it would not clarify the status of XRP as a security, potentially dissuading institutional investors and impacting market performance.


On The Other Hand

Rejecting the settlement could lead to a protracted and costly court battle with unpredictable consequences. A judge might impose a more severe penalty than the current offer, posing substantial risks to Ripple and the broader cryptocurrency market.

The revised settlement proposal indicates a willingness to negotiate. The final settlement amount, whether it remains at $102 million or is further adjusted through negotiation, could establish a critical precedent for future SEC actions in the crypto industry. This case holds significant implications for regulatory interactions and how other cryptocurrency firms manage security offerings.

A definitive resolution would bring stability and promote collaboration between the crypto industry and regulators. Conversely, a prolonged legal battle or an adverse ruling for Ripple could escalate uncertainty and lead to stricter regulatory measures going forward.


June 17,2024

Former House Speaker Believes Stablecoins Can Help The US Compete With China

United States Dollar (USD)-pegged stablecoins could mitigate the ongoing debt crisis and bolster the national currency amid increasing international trade competition, according to former House speaker Paul D. Ryan. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Ryan emphasized that the US faces a foreseeable debt crisis that could be addressed by dollar-backed stablecoins, which he views as a solution to maintain the appeal of the USD.


The Potential Of Stablecoins

Ryan, who served as the 54th speaker of the US House of Representatives, highlighted the potential of stablecoins in terms of generating significant demand for the US Treasury, going as far as to claim they could help avert failed debt auctions and associated crises. He currently works as a policy council member at Paradigm, a venture capital firm focused on crypto.

The existing $162 billion stablecoin market already plays a crucial role in supporting the dominance of the USD in global finance, Ryan noted. He argued that leveraging blockchain technology for fiscal spending could provide cost-effective financing and bolster influence worldwide.


Competing With China

Ryan also pointed out how China is trying to integrate the Yuan into digital infrastructure across emerging markets, urging the US to develop its own strategy promptly. He emphasized that stablecoins backed by dollars not only create demand for US public debt but also offer a way for the US to compete with Chinese initiatives in digital money.

The opinion piece has garnered support by various industry figures, with some like Emin Gün Sirer, CEO of Ava Labs, praising stablecoins. However, others, such as Adam Gladstein via the Human Rights Foundation, caution that greater reliance on stablecoins could reinforce the existing financial system that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) seek to challenge.

Overall, Ryan called for a robust regulatory framework for stablecoins, which enjoys bipartisan backing in Congress, to expand digital dollar usage during this critical juncture.

June 17,2024

Web3 Fundraising Deals - 11th To 17th June, 2024

Elys Network raised $2.5M in Seed funding, bolstering their mission to transform blockchain infrastructure. Elys Network is an oracle-based decentralized perpetual trading and leverage lending platform.



Qiro Finance secured $1.2M in Pre-Seed funding by Alliance DAO, advancing their decentralized finance solutions. Qiro Finance is a decentralized credit protocol designed to support credit applications through the use of tokenized real-world assets (RWAs).



Nuffle Labs raised an impressive $13.0M in undisclosed funding led by Electric Capital, focusing on blockchain gaming advancements. Nuffle Labs are the builders behind NEAR Data Availability (DA) and the NEAR Fast Finality Layer (NFFL).



Bondex received strategic backing via Animoca Brands, enhancing their position in blockchain gaming. Bondex is a Web3 Talent Network where users own part of the ecosystem via tokenized rewards



Carv secured an undisclosed amount of funding by double, Inc., driving innovations in digital assets. Carv is a ID infrastructure focused on gaming.



Folks Finance secured an undisclosed amount in Strategic funding with support by Black Alpha. Built on the Algorand blockchain, the protocol offers services of borrowing and lending in a decentralized and permissionless way. Through the lending operations, Folks users can lend their crypto-asset liquidity, and start earning a passive, economic return on their assets immediately.



REVOX (ReadON) secured an undisclosed amount in Strategic funding via SevenX Ventures, pushing boundaries in content consumption through blockchain. REVOX empowers developers, organizations, and individuals by providing a comprehensive suite of component APIs and diverse data sources.



Nexus Network secured $1.0M in Seed funding by Hashed Emergent, expanding their blockchain networking capabilities. Nexus Network is a non-custodial staking middleware designed for Ethereum rollups.



Skytopia raised $2.4M in Seed funding by Vertex Labs, advancing their vision for decentralized applications. Skytopia is a Web3 entertainment brand that aims to merge various forms of entertainment, including gaming.



Yuliverse secured $4.00M in Pre-Series A funding with help by DWF Labs. Yuliverse is an alternative reality metaverse parallel to the real world. As a game-based social application, it features thousands of engaging and imaginative storylines. Players can immerse themselves in these narratives and participate in role-playing activities to complete quests, earning $ARG and $ART tokens as rewards.

June 16,2024

75K Traders Affected By Bitcoin Liquidations As Volatility Continues

Over the past day, nearly 75,000 traders have been hit hard by recent market movements. Bitcoin (BTC) saw its price go on a rollercoaster, dropping to $65,000 yesterday, its lowest in about a month. This volatility also affected altcoins like NEAR, FIL, and FET, which saw significant declines.


More Of The Same

BTC started the week positively, briefly exceeding $70,000 on Monday. However, concerns over US CPI data and the upcoming FOMC meeting led to a drop to $66,000 on Tuesday. Following a surprise CPI increase, Bitcoin quickly bounced back to $70,000 before sliding to $65,000 by Friday evening. Despite a partial recovery, BTC ended the day down 1.5%. This volatility triggered liquidations totaling over $200 million which affected almost 75,000 traders within 24 hours.

Bitcoin also saw its market capitalization dip to $1.3 trillion, but it maintains dominance over altcoins, comprising just over 51% of the market. In response, most altcoins also saw declines, though some have since recovered slightly. SOL fell by 3% to $143, while DOGE and SHIB dropped nearly 5%. AVAX, DOT, and ADA saw declines ranging between 2% to 4%.

However, TON and UNI bucked the trend, each gaining 3% and 3.5% respectively, with TON now trading just above $8 and UNI at $11. Further losses were observed in NEAR, FIL, FET, and AR, contributing to an overnight decrease of approximately $50 billion in the total crypto market capitalization.


Other Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past the historic 40,000 mark for the first time, driven by investor optimism amidst expectations of imminent rate cuts. This milestone underscores growing confidence in the market despite contrasting signals by the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs revised its S&P 500 target upwards, buoyed by a robust profit outlook.

Globally, efforts to implement rate cuts face initial hurdles, reflecting complex economic landscapes. In a surprising twist, Asian junk bonds have emerged as top performers, outshining other investment options. Amid these market dynamics, Japan is reportedly considering expanding its nuclear power plants, potentially reshaping its energy strategy.

In South America, Argentina faces disruptions as unions announce strikes impacting production in the Vaca Muerta region, a key area for oil shale. In other news, the passing of William Donaldson, former SEC chairman and influential figure in investment banking, marks the end of an era. As uncertainties persist, the European bond market appears resilient despite internal turmoil in France posing minimal contagion risk. Lastly, various Chinese premium brands are experiencing a downturn in investor favor, reflecting broader market sentiments.


June 15,2024

Popular Layer 2 Bitcoin Scaling Network Faces 9 Hour Disruption

Stacks, a layer-2 scaling network for Bitcoin (BTC), recently faced a significant disruption on Friday when block production halted for nearly 9 hours. The incident, attributed to a Bitcoin reorganization (reorg) and unexpected miner behavior, caused upheaval within the Stacks ecosystem and led to a 12% decline in the STX token price over the past 24 hours.


The Context

Stacks was developed to support functionalities like smart contracts for decentralized applications (dApps) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Bitcoin network, addressing needs not originally accommodated by Bitcoin itself but which have thrived on competing networks over time.

The network leverages both the security and immutability of Bitcoin, offering a secure foundation for developers to build scalable blockchain applications while remaining deeply integrated with Bitcoin. The delay in Stacks block production was due to unforeseen mining behavior alongside a Bitcoin reorg. Core developers are actively investigating the issue to resolve it promptly.


The Problem

Notably, the disruption underscores the challenges faced by blockchain networks built atop Bitcoin during occasional reorganizations, which invalidate previously confirmed blocks and can disrupt applications and scaling efforts, as seen with Stacks.

Still, despite the setback, Stacks remains committed to enhancing network resilience, with plans for the Nakamoto upgrade aimed at introducing a new consensus mechanism to mitigate such issues in the future both quickly and efficiently going forward.


June 14,2024

Charles Hoskinson Dispels Rumors Of Collaborating With Elon Musk

In a recent segment of the Thinking Crypto podcast, Charles Hoskinson, the creator of Cardano (ADA), discussed ongoing rumors concerning a potential collaboration with tech magnate Elon Musk. On the podcast, hosted by Tony Edwards, Hoskinson talked about various attempts made by his team to connect with Musk, including proposals to assist in addressing bot-related issues on the platform previously known as Twitter, now referred to as X.


The Silent Treatment

Hoskinson refuted speculations about a partnership with Musk and shared his efforts to engage with Elon and his enterprises, particularly X, where they offered solutions to tackle prevalent problems such as fake accounts and bots. Hoskinson expressed disappointment at the lack of response despite multiple outreach attempts. He also mentioned his acquaintance with Kimbal Musk but clarified that Elon had never mentioned Cardano or discussed any potential collaboration personally.

Hoskinson mainly wanted to dispel rumors suggesting the use of Cardano and its technologies, like the Midnight sidechain, in prominent companies such as SpaceX or Tesla. Despite mutual connections like podcaster Lex Friedman, Hoskinson expressed bewilderment and some sadness over the absence of interaction by Elon, speculating on potential reasons for the lack of engagement. Charles commented on the challenge of understanding his motivations and actions.


ADA Does Not React Well

Regarding the price of ADA, there has been a 2.2% decrease in the last 24 hours, aligning with a broader downtrend in the altcoin market. Trading volume for ADA has also significantly decreased by 22% to $357 million during the same period.

The price has also consistently remained below the 20-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA), which has served as a crucial resistance level since mid-March. Although ADA briefly surpassed this threshold, it encountered strong resistance at the 200-day EMA, failing to sustain its upward momentum.


June 14,2024

Ethereum ETF S1 Could Be Approved This Summer According To Gensler

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler, speaking at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, recently hinted at the imminent approval of an Ethereum ETF S1, anticipated sometime during the upcoming summer season.


Coming Soon

Gensler foresees the approval process progressing smoothly for individual issuers, with a potential green light expected within the summer months. The endorsement of the ETF by the SEC, particularly regarding the 19b-4 forms for various Ethereum ETF issuers, including VanEck and BlackRock, marks a notable shift in regulatory outlook. However, the official debut and commencement of trading for these ETFs hinge on the approval of the S1 forms.

Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas has suggested that the approval timeline may be accelerated, drawing parallels with the prompt approval of Bitcoin ETFs earlier this year. He posits a potential target date of July 4th, 2024, for the S1 approvals.


The Importance Of ETFs

Cryptocurrency ETFs, or Exchange-Traded Funds, are investment funds that track the price of one or more cryptocurrencies. They allow investors to gain exposure to the crypto market without directly owning the underlying assets. These ETFs are traded on stock exchanges, making them accessible to a wide range of investors.

They are important because they provide a regulated and convenient way for investors to invest in cryptocurrencies, offering exposure to the potential growth of the crypto market while mitigating some of the risks associated with direct cryptocurrency ownership. Additionally, crypto ETFs can help bring more institutional and retail investors into the crypto space, potentially increasing liquidity and market stability.