Top Stories of Last Week
- India will propose law banning cryptocurrencies, fining anyone trading in country or even holding such digital assets, according to Reuters report speaking with senior government official. Bill would criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring crypto-assets, and would give holders of cryptocurrencies up to six months to liquidate, after which penalties will be levied.
- Kentucky’s state legislature gave final approval to two proposed bills that would introduce energy and tax breaks for crypto mining operations. House Bill 230 passes to Governor Andy Beshear for final approval. Under proposed law, sales tax obligations from electricity purchased for crypto mining purposes will be removed.
- Digital assets trade association CryptoUK has called on U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to act over delays for startups registering for FCA Money Laundering Registration for crypto-asset businesses. CryptoUK Chairman Ian Taylor says U.K. is “missing out on a major opportunity” as crypto companies trying to sign up under new regulatory regime experience an “arduous process” and with most of group’s members having received little or no response from FCA. So far, only four out of 200 applications have received a decision, claimed Taylor, adding, “For some, more than eight months have elapsed without a single response from the regulator.”
- EIP-3368 emerged amid opposition from miners to EIP-1559, advocating that block rewards be increased to 3 Ether and then reduced to 1 Ether over two years following 1559’s implementation to ease impact of Ethereum’s transition to Proof-of-Stake on miners. Ethereum developer Tim Beiko shared EIP-3368, encouraging debate over proposal within Ethereum community. While Beiko emphasized 3368 “is not accepted” or “scheduled for a fork” yet, developer described proposal as “most tangible thing to come out of miner conversations in past few weeks.”
- U.K.-based payments platform Bottlepay, which allows users to send Bitcoin via Twitter, announced full launch after leaving beta mode. Bottlepay aiming to disrupt payments space by enabling real-time cross-border transfers of both fiat money and cryptocurrencies. Bottlepay plans on extending service to Reddit, Discord, Twitch, Telegram and Mastodon in coming months.
- Euro-backed stablecoin EUR-L has been developed through partnership between Lugh Company and crypto trading platform Coinhouse. Stablecoin will be anchored to euro reserves held in account with Societe Generale. PwC France & Maghreb is providing attestations of backing on monthly basis. Stablecoin has been presented to French regulatory authorities.
- Rapper Post Malone’s concert streaming service, AUX Live, will begin minting Fyooz-based NFTs on March 18 with a series of NFTs meant to memorialize concert experiences. Collectible pieces by crypto artist Fvckrender and others also grant their holders access to exclusive events.
- Morgan Stanley reportedly issued internal memo saying they are providing select clients with access to three funds that provide bitcoin exposure in direct response to Morgan Stanley clients’ demand. Two funds from Galaxy Digital and other is joint effort from FS Investments and NYDIG. Investment firms need at least $5 million at bank and accounts have to be at least 6 months old to qualify. Funds will likely be open to clients as early as next month.
- Visa CEO Al Kelly said company is working on ways to support purchase of Bitcoin using Visa credentials along with working with Bitcoin wallets to allow Bitcoin to be translated into fiat currency. He added that enabling conversion of cryptocurrency into fiat would enable 70 million merchants to accept BTC as payment method, and that Visa is working with around 35 “players.”
- Valkyrie Digital Assets filed Form N1-A for Valkyrie Innovative Balance Sheet ETF with SEC in partnership with KKM Financial, which is acting as investment advisor to fund, and institutional asset manager SEI, acting as distributor of fund. Proposed ETF would invest majority of capital into companies that have bitcoin on their balance sheets or are otherwise connected to the cryptocurrency. Valkyrie defined Bitcoin ecosystem as Bitcoin network and “bitcoin trading platforms, miners, custodians, digital wallet providers, companies that facilitate payments and provide other technology, equipment or services in ecosystem.”
- SEC acknowledged VanEck’s 19b-4 Form for BTC ETF application, formally kicking off 45-day window to make initial decision on proposal. If approved, ETF would be first Bitcoin exchange-traded product in U.S. Industry pundits believe agency may finally be ready to approve one under incoming Chair Gary Gensler.
- eToro announced merger with special purpose acquisition company FinTech Acquisition Corp. V, with combined entity having implied equity value of about $10.4 billion. Deal includes $250 million in gross proceeds from FinTech V’s cash in trust from fully committed private placement in public equity at $10 per share that will close at same time as merger. eToro Group Ltd. will be listed on Nasdaq.
- Software firm Meitu announced new crypto currency investments through subsidiary Miracle Vision, buying another 16,000 ETH valued at around $28.4 million and 386 BTC valued at approximately $21.6 million. Company now has $50.4 million in ether and $39.5 million in bitcoin.
- Binance allegedly being investigated by CFTC to determine if U.S. residents traded derivatives on exchange in violation of U.S. rules. However, Binance hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing and CFTC may not bring enforcement action, according to Bloomberg report. Binance founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao, called report “FUD” on social media.
- Coinbase filed amended S-1 form, disclosing it has registered about 115 million shares for direct listing on Nasdaq. Revised form doesn’t yet mention date Coinbase’s shares will get listed. Coinbase also highlighted SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple in revised form and said such regulatory actions could ultimately impact operating and financial results.
- Bitpanda closed $170 million funding round to further firm’s international growth. Latest Series B funding round was led by Valar Ventures and DST Global. Valar previously led $52 million Series A round in September 2020. New funding round has raised company’s valuation to $1.2 billion.
- Fireblocks raised $133 million Series C round led by Coatue, Ribbit and Stripes. BNY Mellon and SVB Capital participated as strategic investors in the round.
- Investment platform Republic raised $36 million in Series A funding round led by Galaxy Interactive, a division of Galaxy Digital. Republic is crowd-equity platform aiming to provide greater access to investment opportunities in startups, real estate, gaming and crypto. Round included participation from Tribe Capital, Motley Fool Ventures and Broadhaven Ventures.
- DeFi lending protocol Alchemix said it completed $4.9 million funding raise led by CMS, Alameda Research and Immutable Capital, among others. Alchemix said it sold investors protocol’s native ALCX tokens at $700 per token.
- Decentralized derivatives trading protocol Vega closed $5 million funding round from Arrington Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Cumberland DRW, ParaFi Capital, Signum Capital, CMT Digital, CMS Holdings, Three Commas, GSR, SevenX Ventures, ZeePrime Capital and more.
- NFT marketplace OpenSea announced $23 million fundraise led by Andreessen Horowitz.
- Tally raised $1.5 million from Notation Capital, Castle Island Ventures, 1kx, Lemniscap and others. Firm looks to build easy-to-use governance dashboard for Defi protocols.
- Maple Finance closed $1.4 million funding round led by Framework Ventures and Polychain Capital to further develop and launch first undercollateralized lending market with stable rates in April.
- Social token platform Roll suffered hot wallet breach, resulting in hackers draining at least 3,000 ETH worth $5.7 million. Digital asset management platform MyCrypto first reported that hacker may have compromised private keys for Roll’s hot wallet, allowing them to transfer funds from users’ accounts at will. Roll responded that hacker had stolen and liquidated large number of tokens, and that withdrawals had been suspended across platform. Roll launched $500,000 fund to help creators and their communities affected by incident.
- $80 million deal between DeFi project Reef Finance, a multi-chain liquidity provider, and Alameda Research unraveled due to “doubts around Alameda’s long-term interest in being a strategic investor,” said Reef CEO. Reef first offered 20% discount on tokens. However, after large portion of initial token set was immediately transferred to Binance, presumably to be sold, a Twitter war erupted with allegations and threats of legal action being considered.