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December 26,2023

SEC Announces Deadline For Final Changes To BTC ETF Applications

The seemingly numerous Bitcoin ETF proposals are currently under scrutiny by the SEC, which has established a deadline for final modifications. There are indications suggesting a potential approval of the ETFs in early January. With just a few days left until the new year, enthusiasm surrounding Bitcoin exchange-traded funds has reached unprecedented levels.

As such, the US Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting thorough reviews with applicants to ensure meticulous preparation before potentially endorsing one of the most groundbreaking financial instruments, poised to reshape the financial landscape indefinitely.

Deadline set by the SEC

Reports reveal that the SEC is gradually becoming more receptive to Bitcoin Spot ETF proposals and is anticipated to make a significant decision by January 10th, 2024. This date serves as the ultimate decision point for the SEC to either grant or reject the application for the inaugural Spot Bitcoin ETF.

In anticipation of the January decision, US SEC officials have engaged with representatives via at least seven applicant companies, including BlackRock, Grayscale Investments, and 21 Shares, all seeking to launch Bitcoin spot ETFs. The SEC has also reportedly directed at least two firms to submit conclusive adjustments by the end of this business week on December 29th, 2023.

A decision with massive implications

Applicants failing to meet the aforementioned deadline for final adjustments will not be considered for the initial wave of potential Bitcoin ETF approvals in early 2024. Also, despite the mounting signs of a potential spot ETF approval in early January, it is crucial to recognize that the SEC maintains the authority to outright reject proposals on the deadline. Until now, the regulatory body has postponed its decision, leaving the market in suspense regarding whether it will accept or decline the proposal.

A crucial aspect of the potential ETF approval is the firm insistence by the SEC that investments in these assets must be executed exclusively in cash. This cautious stance on crypto spot ETFs underscores the view adopted by the regulatory agency that crypto assets are not on par with traditional ones.

In any case, the forthcoming decision to greenlight the inaugural spot Bitcoin ETF could redefine the dynamics between traditional finance and the burgeoning digital asset sector, paving the way for the latter to finally enter the mainstream.

December 26,2023

Crypto Fundraising December 19 - 25

On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 19th December and 25th December 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done! 

Wynd Network raised $3.5M - Funding will be used to enhance Grass's technological infrastructure, expand its network of nodes, and refine its data verification process.

Fiat Republic raised $7M - The new capital will support its growth and expansion, as well as key initiatives including strategic recruitment, strengthening banking partnerships, and expansion into new territories. It will also improve the availability of banking and payment services for cryptocurrency platforms.

Fyde Treasury raised $3.2M - The injection of funds will propel Fyde's mission to confront the substantial challenges of overseeing multi-billion dollars of on-chain crypto treasury tokens.

Moove Protocol raised an undisclosed amount - MOOVE Protocol aims to become a fully decentralized ecosystem suitable for other projects to build and launch. It has already signed partnership contracts with 50+ collections to be added to the protocol and become available for their holders to create videos with.

FORMLESS raised $2.2M - The funding will drive formless commitment to advancing the SHARE Protocol, powering the next generation of products and experiences in a multiplayer digital economy.

Frame raised an undisclosed amount - Frame, an blockchain focused on NFTs, has concluded a funding round led by Electric Capital, a prominent venture capital firm. Other investors include Ray Chan, the founder of 9gag, Luca Netz, and 0xMaki, the former CEO of Sushiswap.

ALEX Labs raised $2.5M - The strategic round was backed by Trust Machines, Gossamer Capital and other investors. Alex raised a $5.8 million seed round in 2021, which was led by White Star Capital.

4EVERLAND Organization raised $2M - The raised capital will be utilized to further the development and construction of 4EVERLAND, as well as to drive global ecological growth and development.

Academic Labs raised an undisclosed amount - HTX Ventures, announces its investment in Academic Labs, a platform that utilizes AI and Web3 technology to improve the educational experience. This investment will help Academic Labs onboard new users to Web3.

Seamoon Protocol raised $2.3M - The goal of this funding round was to bring in top global companies, both domestic and international, as our strategic partners in anticipation of the global expansion essential to web3 businesses.

TRES Finance raised $11M - The Series A round brings TRES' total funds raised to $18.6 million, with Faction, New Form, Cyber Fund and Ambush Capital among its backers.

To stay updated with news about future Web3 Funding Rounds, Follow CryptoWeekly

December 25,2023

Foreigners Invited To El Salvador If They Can Bring BTC Into The Country

The El Salvador government warmly embraces foreigners interested in contributing Bitcoin (BTC) donations to support local development initiatives. In a surprising turn of events, a recent legislative vote on December 20th, 2023, was officially approved and is set to take effect shortly. Through the BTC donations, foreigners can gain access to accelerated citizenship in the country.

Moving to El Salvador

Various reports highlight that the law does not specify a minimum Bitcoin donation for expedited citizenship access. Despite this, the favorable stance adopted by El Salvador toward Bitcoin has already attracted an influx of foreign residents to the nation, particularly in beach communities. Notably, El Salvador has progressed towards issuing its volcano Bitcoin bonds, with the investment vehicle obtaining regulatory approval, paving the way for bond issuance.

Bitcoin is the answer

It was on December 12th, 2023, that the National Bitcoin Office (ONBTC) of El Salvador announced that the aforementioned Volcano Bond initiative had received regulatory approval by the Digital Assets Commission.

The adoption of Bitcoin by El Salvador has been a prominent topic in the cryptocurrency community. As a matter of fact, it had been reported earlier this year that approximately 70% of the population in El Salvador lacks access to a bank account. The integration of Bitcoin is seen as an initiative to address poverty while simultaneously assisting the unbanked citizens.

December 25,2023

Nearly 10K Signatures Collected To Counter Potential Crypto Ban In The US

A petition that opposes the suggested Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act in the United States has garnered considerable attention lately. Launched on by the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), a prominent blockchain and digital asset trade association in the United States, the petition named Stop The Crypto Ban seeks to counteract the potential repercussions of the legislation introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren.

A need for change

The Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act has thus far secured backing by 19 United States senators, causing apprehension within the Chamber of Digital Commerce. They contend that, despite its intended purpose of combating money laundering, the act essentially functions as a crypto ban that could impede innovation, negatively impact job opportunities, and undermine the flourishing cryptocurrency sector.

Presently, the petition has amassed nearly 10,000 signatures via concerned citizens. Those signing pledge not to support any senator in future elections who endorses the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act in its current iteration.

While recognizing the necessity for regulation, the CDC emphasizes that the existing limitations of the bill could obstruct consumer access to a diverse range of financial tools and services offered by the digital asset ecosystem. They argue that this might impede financial inclusion and choice for consumers. The senators targeted in the petition are urged to reconsider their backing for the legislation and take into account the long-term implications on innovation, economic growth, and consumer freedom. The signatories call on these senators to play a pivotal role in shaping a future where digital assets are integrated into the economic framework in a manner that fosters innovation, protects consumers, and enhances the United States economy.

Innovation must not be stifled

This strategic maneuver by the CDC aims to influence the senators mentioned in the petition, such as Elizabeth Warren, Roger Marshall, Lindsey Graham, Joe Manchin, and others. While acknowledging the necessity of regulating the digital asset space for safety and integrity, the CDC expresses reservations about the present form of the legislation, asserting that it extends beyond required regulation and amounts to a prohibition on digital innovation.

The organization outlines diverse concerns, encompassing potential economic impacts, limitations on innovation, and matters related to security and privacy. Experts characterize the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act as a direct assault on the personal freedom and privacy of cryptocurrency users and developers. Since its introduction by Senator Warren in December of the preceding year, the bill has gained substantial support. The petition underscores the potential consequences of the legislation on innovation, economic growth, and consumer freedom.

December 24,2023

Türkiye May Become Crypto Friendly As Monetary Policy Committee Gets New Member

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently made a decision wherein Professor Fatma Ozkul, a distinguished expert in crypto assets and blockchain technology, has been designated as a member of the local Central Bank Monetary Policy Committee. This selection was officially confirmed on December 22nd, 2023.

Educational and professional background

Professor Ozkul, who has been a faculty member at the Istanbul Marmara University since 2012, brings a considerable wealth of expertise in accounting, finance, and auditing to her new position. Her academic pursuits extend to cutting-edge areas, particularly blockchain technology and digital assets. Notably, she authored a book on the accounting of crypto assets in 2022, demonstrating her commitment to comprehending the consequences of blockchain and crypto assets on the financial landscape.

It is worth mentioning that the decision to include Professor Ozkul in the Monetary Policy Committee is unlikely to alter the existing course of monetary policy. Her recent emphasis on blockchain, crypto assets, and their financial implications aligns with the local increasing interest in digital financial ecosystems.

A new approach towards crypto

The Turkish Central Bank has been actively exploring the crypto market, having introduced a digital Turkish Lira collaboration platform in 2021. Subsequent tests of digital Lira transactions in late 2022 marked a significant step toward embracing blockchain-based financial systems.

Moreover, the local economic landscape witnessed a gradual surge in crypto adoption, positioning Türkiye as the fourth-ranked nation globally in raw crypto transaction volumes. Between July 2022 and June 2023, the country recorded approximately $170 billion in crypto activity, following the United States, India, and the United Kingdom.

As crypto transactions gain momentum, Turkish authorities are reportedly contemplating regulatory measures for the crypto market. The focus is on licensing and taxation, with the goal of removing the country in the grey list of the FATF. Anticipated regulations are expected to establish specific licensing requirements, covering aspects like capital adequacy standards, digital security enhancements, custody services, and reserve verifications.

December 23,2023

Central Bank Of Nigeria Introduces Crypto Friendly Policies

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reportedly loosened its rules for banks facilitating crypto transactions. The new guidelines are designed to establish minimal standards and criteria for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) concerning banking relationships and the initiation of accounts in Nigeria.

Growing demand forces change in Nigeria

In a communication distributed to banks on December 22nd, the CBN acknowledged that the growing global demand and acceptance of crypto make it unreasonable to uphold the strict limitations imposed on financial institutions in 2021. The announcement highlighted that current trends globally have shown that there is a need to regulate the activities of VASPs which include cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

As such, the aforementioned guidelines aim to set forth minimum standards and prerequisites for establishing banking relationships and initiating accounts for VASPs in Nigeria. Furthermore, the new rules strive to guarantee robust risk management practices within the banking industry concerning the operations of licensed VASPs. However, financial institutions are still forbidden to possess, trade, or execute transactions in crypto using their own accounts.

Nigeria could become a financial powerhouse

Back in February 2021, the CBN imposed a ban on all regulated financial institutions when it came to providing services to crypto exchanges in the country. In more recent developments, the local blockchain industry has urged the federal government of Nigeria to implement regulations that would facilitate the widespread integration of the approved blockchain policy in the nation.

Obinna Iwuno, the President of the Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria (SiBAN), emphasized the imperative need to establish a regulatory framework to expedite the infusion of blockchain technology into various sectors of the economy. Iwuno conveyed that Nigeria is fully prepared for complete adoption now, and the blockchain policy initiated by the government positions Nigeria as a pioneer in the African digital economy landscape if fully executed.

December 22,2023

Contract Deals In Argentina Can Now Be Sealed Through Bitcoin

Diana Mondino, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Argentina, has affirmed the recent decision taken by the local government to acknowledge Bitcoin (BTC) as a legally sanctioned currency for contractual agreements. This development aligns with recent reports highlighting an ongoing depreciation in the value of the Argentinian currency (ARS).

Argentina goes crypto

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Mondino disclosed that Argentinian citizens can now utilize Bitcoin to engage in contractual arrangements within the country. The Minister went on to say that as of this moment, the government has officially affirmed and validated that contracts in Argentina can be formalized using Bitcoin.

This is a first for the country, although Argentina is not the inaugural nation to make BTC legal tender as that honor rests with El Salvador. It is still worth noting that, although the country is adopting a positive stance when it comes to crypto, President Javier Milei has embarked on a series of steps to reinvigorate the local economy since his inauguration on December 10th, which also reportedly involves following through with his promise to dollarize Argentina.

A big step forward

In the backdrop of the notable price surge experienced by the flagship cryptocurrency in recent months, wherein it recorded a surge of approximately 65.6% over the last three months and a 20.4% increase in the past 30 days, Argentina is embracing Bitcoin as a viable option.

Additionally, Mondino expressed that contracts could involve other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Cardano, and more, and even specific commodities such as any other crypto or type of investment asset including but not limited to stocks, metals, and even liters of milk.

December 22,2023

BTC And SOL Continue To Gain Momentum As Other Markets Make Steady Comeback

Bitcoin (BTC) recently surpassed $44,000 for the first time in over a year. However, the cryptocurrency has since lost some momentum and is currently trading just below this level. Solana (SOL) has demonstrated the most significant increase among larger-cap altcoins, with a daily gain of over 10%, reaching a 19-month peak above $80 and is currently trading at just over $90.

BTC still on track

Bullish activity prevented further declines in the crypto market, as BTC steadily gained momentum when it surged by nearly three thousand dollars within hours and reached above $43,000. Although there was a brief retracement that temporarily pushed the cryptocurrency below $42,000, it quickly rebounded.

SOL, along with a significant portion of its ecosystem, has been leading recent price surges. In the past 24 hours alone, SOL experienced a substantial 11% increase, reaching $85. This marks the highest price since May 2022, and SOL has surpassed XRP to become the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. To be fair, most of the price increase had to do with the recent BONK craze and the Solana Saga Web3 phone.

Other larger-cap altcoins such as Avalanche and Polkadot have also seen gains, with AVAX rising by 8.5% to trade above $45, and DOT nearing $7.5 after a 6% daily increase. Additional gains have been observed in IoTeX (22%), PancakeSwap (20%), Near Protocol (16%), and Neo (11%). The overall cryptocurrency market cap increased by $30 billion overnight, approaching $1.650 trillion on CMC.

Other markets

European and U.S. stock futures declined amid speculation that investors are adjusting positions ahead of the release of a U.S. inflation gauge, which could impact Federal Reserve policy. Shares in Asia also fell following the recent announcement bY China concerning new restrictions on online gaming, affecting major technology shares like Tencent Holdings Ltd. and NetEase Inc.

Oil prices continued their upward trend, with Brent near $80 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate above $74 a barrel, driven by renewed attacks in the Red Sea leading to altered shipping routes. The Southeast Asian stock markets are experiencing a nascent rebound too, attributed to an improving economic outlook which led to an outperformance of broader indexes for Asia Pacific and global stocks.

Finally, the MSCI ASEAN Index rose more than 3% since Fed Chair Jerome Powell made his recent speech, extending gains that began in November after a challenging year due to foreign outflows and a regional slowdown in exports.

December 21,2023

Nasdaq And BlackRock Come Together To Discuss Listing Terms With The SEC

BlackRock and Nasdaq have reportedly held multiple discussions with the SEC as of late to explore the possibility of introducing a new Bitcoin ETF (Exchange Traded Fund), with the goal of enhancing Bitcoin investment accessibility and ensuring market security.

Multiple entities meet with the SEC

Representatives via prominent financial entities recently engaged in discussions with the SEC. The purpose of this meeting was allegedly focused around the BlackRock Bitcoin ETF, presenting a novel avenue for individuals to invest in the flagship crypto through the stock market.

The disclosed memorandum in the report indicates that the conversation also delved into the  criteria put forth by Nasdaq for a potential ETF listing, crucial for guaranteeing the secure and equitable operation of the ETF.

These criteria encompass surveillance and compliance measures aimed at preserving market integrity and safeguarding against fraudulent activities. This is particularly pertinent as the SEC expresses concerns about potential market manipulation when it comes to cryptocurrency trading in particular.

Getting closer

BlackRock made a recent adjustment to its Bitcoin ETF proposal, opting for a cash redemption option in alignment with the various preferences established by the regulatory agency. Michael Saylor of MicroStrategy recently suggested that the potential introduction of this Bitcoin ETF could have significant implications for Wall Street, calling it the biggest financial development in over three decades.

Saylor envisions it could result in a substantial increase in the value of BTC in 2024 by facilitating easier access for a broader range of investors. Elsewhere, numerous market and tech analysts have predicted that it is only a matter of time before the ETF is approved.

December 21,2023

China Enhances Focus On Web3 Development By Onboarding 50K Developers

More than 50,000 developers are actively involved in a local blockchain platform endorsed by the Chinese government. Yin Hejun, representing the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, communicated the significant commitment by the local government to advancing the Web3 industry in a written response to the National Committee of the Chinese People Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) proposal.

China shifting to Web3

Yin emphasized that the suggestions related to enhancing resource support for Web3 technology research and development, fortifying technology supervision and management, promoting international cooperation, and intensifying publicity and promotion exhibit foresight and strategic alignment with the key priorities set forth by the Ministry.

The provided document recognizes the sturdy industrial base of China alongside its substantial potential for Web3, encompassing policy backing, technological exploration, and practical applications. The document highlights official directives on blockchain technology and ongoing innovation pilots exploring diverse applications, such as trade finance and intellectual property. Prominent Chinese technology enterprises like Ant Group, Baidu, and Huawei underscore the pivotal role of the consortium in this sector.

Advancement with a catch

To expedite blockchain adoption, the Ministry of Science and Technology, alongside other governmental entities, has introduced certain policies and standards. Local initiatives in Beijing and Shanghai specifically aim to nurture innovation within the Web3 sphere. Authorities are capitalizing on opportunities in this emerging field by creating a conducive environment through guidelines, committees, and targeted initiatives.

The embracing of Web3 technologies by China indicates a significant shift compared to its previous stance of prohibiting cryptocurrencies and cracking down on mining operations. Nonetheless, concerns linger around the Chinese CBDC, the digital Yuan, which, while positioned as an advanced payment mechanism, enables unprecedented surveillance and control by authorities.

December 20,2023

Michael Saylor Claims BTC Spot ETF Is Biggest Wall Street Development In Decades

The impending Bitcoin (BTC) Spot ETF applications hold considerable importance for all markets, according to Michael Saylor, the Executive Chairman of MicroStrategy (MSTR), who emphasized this point during a recent Bloomberg TV interview. Saylor has long since been a strong advocate for Bitcoin and its potential, to the point where he has bought a tremendous amount of the flagship crypto for MicroStrategy.

A historic development

Saylor suggested that the potential approval of the exchange traded funds could be the most significant development on Wall Street in three decades, drawing a parallel to the introduction of previous ETFs which helped provide investors with easy exposure to various markets.

Saylor highlighted the current lack of a high bandwidth compliant channel for mainstream investors, both individual and institutional, to invest in Bitcoin. He anticipates a transformative shift with the introduction of the ETF, predicting a surge in demand for BTC, followed by a supply shock during the upcoming halving event, reducing daily Bitcoin production to 450 as compared to its current levels which are at 900.

Saylor remains bullish

Saylor expressed optimism about a major bullish trend for Bitcoin as well as all of the other cryptocurrencies by association in the coming year but did not speculate on the potential price increase and did not provide any specific numbers or predictions.

Moreover, when it came to addressing concerns about whether a Spot ETF might divert investor interest regarding MicroStrategy, often considered a Bitcoin ETF proxy, Saylor clarified that MSTR is an operational company capable of using its cash flow or intelligent leverage to enhance its holdings. He also emphasized the absence of ownership fees for MSTR, which helps provide an important distinction when it comes to ETFs.

December 20,2023

New Crypto Sanctions Announced By EU Against Russia

The European Union (EU) has introduced its 12th set of sanctions against Russia, concentrating on crypto assets to curtail financial capabilities for the Russians while advocating for peace in Ukraine. This latest package of measures encompasses a broad prohibition on Russian involvement in crypto services, encompassing ownership, control, or participation in the governing bodies of crypto service providers.

Curbing Russia

The sanctions also reportedly include measures to cease the provision of wallets, accounts, or custody services related to crypto by Russians. The EU is implementing these actions to restrict the financial capabilities of Russians while also simultaneously addressing vulnerabilities in digital financial transactions.

Since early 2022, the European Union has been escalating its sanctions against Russia, encompassing various economic and individual measures, with the primary objective of pressuring Russia to cease its military actions in Ukraine.

These sanctions are allegedly designed to promote peace in the region and involve substantial measures such as limiting Russian access to crypto services within the EU. Similar measures have been enacted against Belarus and Iran. The global crypto-asset sector is affected by these sanctions, as the EU focuses on a critical area of finance.

More than meets the eye

Despite its critics, the EU remains adamant in maintaining a steadfast position, utilizing economic sanctions for geopolitical influence, indicating a shift in global power dynamics. This particular development represents a significant initiative by the EU to curtail Russia, particularly in the crypto-assets sector, with the aim of contributing to the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine.

Still, some believe that, like most traditional institutions, the EU may be overreaching its influence in order to try and manipulate the global geopolitical situation. After all, a large portion of the Russian population never wanted a war with Ukraine in the first place, and many believe that punishing all Russian citizens for the actions of the government is a tad too far.