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August 22,2022

Texas Senator Discusses Environmental Benefits Of Crypto Mining

In an attempt to try and dispel long-held concerns about the assets massive energy consumption and threat to the environment, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has indicated that Bitcoin (BTC) mining does infact have environmental and business-related benefits.

Senator Cruz suggested that crypto mining is advantageous to the environment, particularly if miners use renewable energy sources. Cruz, interestingly, proposed that Bitcoin mining could lead to the prosperity of families involved in the activity by breeding entrepreneurs and providing an alternative source of income.

He added that, in light of the criticism leveled at Bitcoin mining, the activity could coexist with various other forms of energy utilization by sharing the grid.

Moreover, as BTC mining has the ability to be switched on or off instantly, if there is a power shortage or a power crisis, whether it's a freeze or another natural disaster where power generation capacity may drastically decrease, Senator Cruz believes that this could create an opportunity to instantly redirect that energy and put it back on the grid.

August 21,2022

Alphabet Inc. Invests Over $1.5 Billion In Blockchain Companies As Institutional Interest Continues To Skyrocket

Alphabet Inc., Googles parent company, has invested over $1.5 billion in blockchain companies so far. By doing so, it has surpassed the likes of Goldman Sachs, Samsung, Blackrock, and Morgan Stanley to become the leading organization investing in the burgeoning sector.

Institutional interest in crypto remains high

Although the cryptocurrency market has yet to reach its previous heights, the fact of the matter is that numerous institutional investors including some of the top companies, businesses and firms across the world have nevertheless repeatedly expressed an interest in crypto. This is in part due to the sheer amount of mainstream attention being given to the industry, as innovative technologies such as Web3, NFTs, blockchain, and the metaverse are quickly becoming regular topics of discussion.

Whereas Samsung is mainly relying on blockchain services, NFTs, social networks and development platforms, both Alphabet and Blackrock are adopting a slightly different approach by concentrating their efforts on a smaller group of companies like Circles and Fireblocks. Samsung even previously announced that it was creating its very own metaverse, a development which the blockchain community was only too happy to see as it meant that the underlying technologies behind DeFi were indeed finally becoming mainstream.

Banks are adopting a more proactive approach towards crypto

For the longest time, various banks around the world scoffed at the idea of decentralized digital currencies and assets and believed them to be nothing more than a trend that will dissipate over time. However, as these digital assets gradually became more popular and a rising number of big names started investing in crypto, banks had little to no choice but to adopt a more progressive perspective. Perhaps the most famous examples of this would be the introduction of CBDCs and Warren Buffet infamously calling Bitcoin rat poison years ago, only for him to later invest a billion dollars in a crypto-friendly bank.

Additionally, 40 corporations invested in blockchain and crypto companies between September 2021 and June 2022, according to a study that observed the top 100 banks with such investment behavior.

Moreover, across 71 investment rounds, 61 blockchain and crypto companies received funding, with a vast majority of these companies reportedly being involved in rapidly growing fields like arts and entertainment, gaming, and distributed ledger technology.

Sundar Pichai, Alphabets CEO, acknowledged the growth that the industry was experiencing as of late and spoke about Web3 developments in February, disclosing the companys position on revolutionary blockchain technology, monitoring developments, and investigating how Googles parent company could indeed start contributing to Web3 development going forward.

August 18,2022

Risk Off In A Time Off Strong USD

Bitcoin, Ethereum and futures linked with the S&P 500 are currently trading weak whereas the safe haven known as the U.S dollar is rising against other international currencies.

Investors are therefore trimming their bullish exposure on risky assets, as the Federal Reserve of the United States could possibly utilize the minutes of its July meeting to counter expectations of slower rate hikes along with eventual liquidity easing.

The dilemma is whether the Fed intends to use these minutes as a communication tool to counter the view of an easing cycle beginning in 2023. The Fed usually examines market reactions following meetings and utilizes minutes to clarify misconceptions. Former Fed trader Joseph Wang tweeted that there is plenty to correct today.

Still, markets appear to have gotten ahead of themselves right now, as the central banks continuing battle against inflation will not end anytime soon, according to several Fed officials following last weeks CPI release. Interest rate hikes may thus continue into 2023, but Bitcoin on the other hand has a tendency to move in the opposite direction of the dollar index.

Nevertheless, many risk assets could experience renewed volatility if the minutes go further against the dovish expectations. According to ING analysts, further rejection of this market pricing has a high chance of helping the dollar.

August 17,2022

Tornado Cash, Zac Williamson, CEO Speaks About Web3

In the aftermath of heavily criticized U.S government sanctions against cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, Zac Williamson, CEO of the Aztec Network Ethereum privacy layer, recently discussed what the future of Web3 privacy may end up being.

The CEO claims that future networks would most likely not conform to existing regulatory structures but shall instead be consistent with regulators goals while simultaneously protecting user privacy. Essentially, he believes that regulators went about banning Tornado Cash incorrectly and that an alternative solution could have been explored.

A foresighted government would therefore contemplate directly issuing base money onto networks such as Ethereum, which, when combined with hyper-fungible real-world assets, private self-custody as well as low barriers to entry from open networks, would usher in a new financial golden age, according to Williamson.

He contended that, despite the current sanctions regime, cyber criminals from North Korea or elsewhere would continue to use Tornado Cash or a replica. According to the CEO, suspicious entities will thus undoubtedly provide off-ramps to fraudulent entities who have done the bare minimum for plausible deniability.


August 16,2022

Federal Reserve Give Guidance For Use Of Global Payment System

The United States Federal Reserve has publishing its final guidance for new financial institutions to gain access to its master accounts, which are required for these firms to partake in the global payment system.

The announcement seems to be indicative of the countrys central bank inching closer to potentially permitting Wyoming SPDIs (Special Purpose Depository Institutions) such as Custodia and Kraken Bank to gain access to these accounts without the need for any intermediary banks.

In 2021, the Federal Reserve issued its first guidance, inviting public comments and discourse. Approximately 300 people responded, prompting a second public feedback process which took place earlier on in 2022.

The guidance is broadly similar to what was initially proposed last year, as it shall reportedly establish a multi-tiered system that will enable the Federal Reserve to tailor its evaluation process for giving access based on the type of financial institution applying. Also, each tier would correspond to a more stringent review procedure.

As such, Tier 1 banks will be federally insured under the guidance. Although Tier 2 banks would not be federally insured, prudential supervision would still be applicable for these via a federal banking agency. Finally, Tier 3 includes firms which are not federally insured and are not subject to prudential supervision, which most likely includes Wyoming cryptocurrency banks.

August 14,2022

Situations Like The Terra Crash Could Be Avoided In The Future Through MiCA Bill

Given the rapid growth of the crypto and blockchain sector, governments all over the world are searching for viable ways to regulate the industry, including the European Union which recently provided their contribution to solving the issue via the MiCA (Markets in Crypto Assets) bill. Also, both the SEC and CFTC agree that cryptocurrencies are not going anywhere and that it is high time to regulate these assets properly, with the CFTC chairman even claiming that the agency is prepared to begin regulating crypto as soon as possible.

This increase in the number of regulatory policies is the result of various factors, including the recent market crash and the mainstream attention being given to crypto and digital assets in general.

Why is the new bill important and what can it do?

According to the European Commissions Cybersecurity Policy and Technological Innovation Advisor, Peter Kerstens, if the bill is passed then it shall bring numerous changes to the market, including the implementation of stringent standards designed to avoid situations like the Terra disaster, in addition to viewing NFTs as digital assets similar to cryptocurrencies.

Peter stated that the $40 billion Terra ecosystem meltdown would not have occurred if the MiCA bills provisions, which necessitate stablecoin projects to become more transparent as well as enable client withdrawals on request, had been in place. Due to this, MiCA would reportedly be able to prevent such schemes from entering the market, according to the advisor.

It should also be noted that the proposed rules and regulations outlined in the MiCA bill are set to become law in 2023, but are not expected to be fully implemented throughout the EU until at least 2024.

What about NFTs?

The MiCA bill outlines regulations for cryptocurrencies but it does not ignore NFTs either, as Peter pointed out that EU legislators have a very narrow definition of what an NFT actually is. According to the advisor, in the event that a token may be issued as a series or collection, even if the issuer calls it an NFT and every individual token within that particular series is indeed unique, it is still not considered as an NFT and the requirements would therefore still be applicable.

To put it another way, should the bill be passed, NFT issuers would be required to publish a whitepaper detailing all of the specifics concerning the underlying protocol as well as all relevant details. Additionally, it would prevent the issuers from making misleading or overly optimistic claims regarding the NFTs future worth.

Ultimately, many in the crypto and NFT community believe that this is a positive development as MiCA has the potential to finally eliminate scams and other kinds of fraudulent entities which would hence shift the focus to worthwhile and profitable projects which provide real value.

August 13,2022

FTX Predicts An End To Crypto Winter

FTX.US President, Brett Harrison, recently explained why he believes the ongoing crypto winter could be ending sooner rather than later.

According to him, the new Coinbase and BlackRock partnership is a strong indicator of the crypto winter coming to an end, citing the huge impact of rapidly growing institutional demand regarding cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

Moreover, Brett strongly believes that now is the time to continue building and developing the crypto and blockchain sector so as to have the necessary tools and capital for when investors eventually resume trading heavily in cryptocurrencies once more.

Lastly, when asked about the number of layoffs made by notable companies like Google, Microsoft, Robinhood and Coinbase, Brett stated that having additional employees does not necessarily lead to more growth, and that this is a lesson that every company should learn prior to the market finally getting back on track.

August 10,2022

The Goerli Testnet Merge On Ethereum Completed

The Goerli testnet merge was finally completed earlier today at approximately 1:45 AM UTC, thereby finishing the final trial run for Ethereum's Merge event.

The testnet merge, which included the Goerli testnet merging with the Prater testnet (a PoS Beacon Chain), is the last test run before the Merge. When Goerli reached a total difficulty of 10,790,000, the merge with Prater officially occurred.

The Goerli testnet merge is the clearest indication thus far that Ethereum's highly anticipated Merge event, which will involve the transition to a Proof-of-Stake network, will indeed occur this fall. During last month's Consensus Layer Call, Ethereum Foundation member Tim Beiko stated that September 19th is the tentative date that everyone should be marking on their calendars.

If successful, the Merge will have long-term implications for Ethereum including paving the way for sharding, significantly decreasing energy usage, and bolstering ETH's price. In a more general sense, the crypto industry would also benefit from the Merge as JPMorgan analysts claim that it could provide a strong basis for the market going forward.

August 09,2022

More Than 75,000 USDC In Crypto Funds Frozen

Circle, the creator of the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, has frozen more than 75,000 USDC in funds connected to the 44 Tornado Cash addresses sanctioned by the United States Treasury Departments Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list.

Tornado Cash is a dApp that hides the history of previous crypto transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. Presently, Tornado Cashs smart contract addresses hold an estimated $437 million in assets, including wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), Ethereum and stablecoins. Due to this, issuers are expected to try and prevent such assets from being traded or redeemed.

The digital currency mixers Ethereum and USDC smart contract addresses on the SDN list are hence not allowed for U.S individuals, businesses, and any other entity. Moreover, penalties for willful non-compliance could range from anywhere between $50,000 to $10,000,000 in fines along with 10 to 30 years in prison.

To make matters worse, Tornado Cash's new sanctions could even complicate simple interactions like Gitcoin donations, project work, and withdrawing or depositing from smart contracts as they could all be interpreted as violations from now on.

August 07,2022

BitMEX Expands Into Traditional Financial Markets

BitMEX is among the cryptocurrency markets longest-running derivatives exchanges. It has recently expanded into traditional financial markets via the launch of perpetual swap contracts which are tied to international currencies.

The company announced the debut of FX perpetual swap contracts, which shall reportedly enable users to trade over 20 foreign currency contracts. This is BitMEXs most significant move into non-cryptocurrency related products since it rebranded and hired exchange veteran Alexander Hoptner as CEO to replace founder Arthur Hayes.

Despite some initial setbacks, the launch of the contracts is indicative of BitMEXs continuing strategy wherein the company will keep on providing new and existing users with a wider range of cryptocurrency-margined contracts. These will also include products which shall enable traders to gain access to various commodities and currencies.

August 07,2022

BlackRock And Coinbase Announce New Partnership To Help Investors Get More Involved With Bitcoin

BlackRock Inc. is teaming up with Coinbase Global Inc. to simplify the process for institutional investors to manage and trade Bitcoin (BTC), ushering the worlds biggest asset manager into a crypto market roiled by falling prices, regulations, and government investigations.

Whats there to know about the partnership?

According to a statement issued last week, BlackRock clients will be able to utilize its Aladdin investment system to manage their exposure to BTC alongside other portfolio assets like bonds and stocks, as well as to facilitate trading and financing via Coinbase. Additionally, BlackRock representatives have stated that the partnership with Coinbase shall initially focus on Bitcoin with discussions for incorporating other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum to be considered at a later date.

Although 2022 has mostly been a negative year so far for many digital asset markets, BlackRocks move has nonetheless bolstered Wall Streets traditional financial players involvement in cryptocurrencies and related technologies. Still, there is no denying that Bitcoin has taken a massive hit this year thanks to incidents like the Terra disaster and the downfall of Three Arrows Capital. Incidents like these have raised concerns regarding the markets resilience which has since also resulted in more regulatory scrutiny as of late.

A new day for Coinbase and crypto?

The collaboration with BlackRock has provided a brief respite to the largest U.S cryptocurrency trading platform, as Coinbases stock had recently lost over two-thirds of its value this year. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has also been investigating Coinbase for allowing American citizens to trade digital assets which should have reportedly been registered as securities.

Nevertheless, Coinbases situation could soon improve thanks to the new collaboration. BlackRock selected Coinbase as a partner primarily because of its market scale and role in offering trading and custody services, as well as prime brokerage and reporting functionalities.Lastly, although both companies clients shall be able to use the services, perhaps the more important aspect of the partnership is that it is indicative of the sheer amount of interest in Bitcoin and digital assets by institutional investors. This would imply that although the cryptocurrency market is yet to fully recover, many large-scale companies and corporations are keen to explore the possibilities of crypto, blockchain, NFTs, the metaverse, and DeFi in general for their respective features and services going forward.


August 04,2022

Why Michael Saylor Stepped Down As CEO Microstrategy

Following the shock of Michael Saylor stepping down as MicroStrategys CEO, with his replacement being the companys President and CFO Phong Le, we now have an offiical explanation from Michael justifying his decision.

Saylor clarified that the primary responsibility of a CEO is to run a software company. He claims that the decision to make Phong Le CEO was made as the company grew to 2,200 employees and gained thousands of customers. There had hence reportedly been a succession plan in the works for about two years, with Phong first becoming COO and then President.

As Michael emphasized, MicroStrategy officially entered into a Bitcoin strategy while Phong was the companys President. Moreover, the now former MicroStrategy CEO stated that this was the underlying reason for the company to promote Phong to President and CEO.

Michael also stated that he has been wanting to take on the role of Executive Chairman for some time, and that he was going to step down as CEO eventually.

From now on, Michael will continue to serve as the Chair of the Investments Committee, which supervises the companys Bitcoin acquisition strategy, and his primary role will be advocacy, education, and innovation, with a focus on technology leadership opportunities.