Top Stories of Last Week
- SEC pushed back making decision on VanEck’s proposed Bitcoin ETF to at least June. Regulator announced it was designating longer deliberative period for application, saying it needed to ensure it has “sufficient time” to evaluate proposal. Commission designated June 17, 2021 as date by which Commission shall either approve or disapprove.
- New German law approved by Germany’s parliament last week is expected to take effect on July 1 if approved by upper house, the Bundesrat, and could bring as much as €350 billion of institutional investment into cryptocurrency market. Wealth and institutional investment fund managers known as Spezialfonds will be able to invest up to 20% of portfolio in crypto.
- Paxos became third crypto-native company to be granted federal trust charter through U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, letting firm bring its new Paxos National Trust entity online as federally regulated entity offering custody services, stablecoin management, payment, exchange and other services. Paxos will set up Paxos National Trust to operate under OCC charter, while maintaining New York Department of Financial Services-chartered Paxos Trust Co.
- Head of Turkey’s central bank Governor Şahap Kavacıoğlu ruled out total ban of cryptocurrencies and said wide range of crypto regulations is coming within two weeks. Without giving details about coming regulations, Kavacıoğlu indicated they would clarify legal definition of cryptocurrencies and regulate how they should be stored by institutions.
- Iran’s central bank reportedly allowing country’s financial institutions to use cryptocurrency, derived from sanctioned miners, to pay for imports. Central Bank of Iran notified money changers and banks of amended regulatory framework for crypto payments, which said institutions will now be able to pay for goods and services from other countries in bid to circumvent U.S. economic sanctions.
- Deutsche Börse and Commerzbank working together to create blockchain-based marketplace for real estate and art. Fintech firm 360X will help to build digital asset marketplace with first reference transaction for each tokenized asset class planned for later this year.
- JPMorgan Chase allegedly preparing to offer actively managed Bitcoin fund to certain clients, with JPMorgan Bitcoin fund possibly rolling out as soon as this summer. NYDIG will reportedly serve as JPMorgan’s custody provider. Fund will be for private wealth clients and first product of JPM directly dependent on Bitcoin’s performance.
- Video game publisher NEXON said it made $100 million purchase of Bitcoin, or 1,717 bitcoins at average price of around $58,226, including fees and expenses. Purchase represents less than 2% of Nexon’s total cash and cash equivalents on hand. CEO added that given current economic environment his firm believes Bitcoin offers “long-term stability and liquidity” while also maintaining value of cash for future investments.
- JPMorgan, DBS Bank and Temasek teaming up to create blockchain-based joint venture for payments, trade and settlement. Platform “Partior” will seek to disrupt traditional payments model and is intended to develop wholesale payments rails based on digitized commercial bank money, allowing instantaneous settlement between financial institutions.
- South Korea Financial Supervisory Service set to approve crypto-related fund application by Hanwha Asset Management, a subsidiary of Hanwha Life Insurance. “Digital Hero” fund will reportedly invest in crypto-related firms, including exchanges and mining establishments.
- Tesla sold some of Bitcoin stash in first quarter for $272 million in proceeds. Sale trimmed Tesla’s position by 10%, according to CFO Zach Kirkhorn during company’s first-quarter earnings call. Kirkhorn also said on call that Tesla invested in bitcoin to earn yield on excess cash in low-interest-rate environment and that Telsa will continue to accumulate bitcoin through customer transactions.
- Investment app Wealthfront is offering cryptocurrency to clients later in 2021, according to announcement as part of broader shift allowing users to customize their portfolios. Wealthfront Chief Strategy Officer Dan Carroll said crypto exposure in any given account would be limited to “likely no more than 20%.” Wealthfront did not disclose which firm it’s using for crypto custody.
- Bitwise Asset Management filing to register flagship crypto fund as SEC reporting company. Shares of Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund would be registered under Exchange Act of 1934 if approved, meaning it would have to regularly file public updates on holdings and quarterly reports with SEC. Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund would become first non-Grayscale-owned crypto product with that distinction and first reporting company to offer investors broad exposure to coins.
- U.S. Bank, to offer new cryptocurrency custody product in partnership with unnamed sub-custodian. U.S. Bank also announced it has been selected to administer NYDIG’s Bitcoin ETF, should it be approved.
- Gemini partnered with Mastercard to launch crypto rewards credit card this summer. Gemini cardholders will be given option to transfer crypto rewards into interest-earning program Gemini Earn, and card will be made available to American investors across all 50 states later this year.
- Binance said it plans to launch NFT marketplace in June. Marketplace is aimed at creators and traders of collectibles in visual arts, music, games, sports and more, will run on Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum network will be supported as well, meaning users will be able to view Ethereum NFTs in their Binance wallet account. Premium events will feature select works and high-end exhibitions, while trading market will be for users to create and deposit their own NFTs for processing fee and royalty of 1%.
- Bitmain releasing ASIC miner for Ethereum called Antminer E9, which it claims will do work of 32 GPUs. Machines can produce up to 3 gigahashes per second, and product release follows Nvidia’s rollout of mining-specific graphics cards.
- Mining firm Genesis Digital Assets ordered $93.63 million worth of new machines from Canaan for latest AvalonMiner A1246 model. Machines will help Genesis add 117 MW of Bitcoin computing capacity to existing 140MW power. Genesis claims to have 1.2% share of global mining hashrate.
- Core Scientific completed purchase of 112,800 ASIC Bitcoin mining machines from Bitmain. Company bought S19, S19 Pro, S19J and S19J Pro Antminers to double inventory of mining machines. Shipment will reportedly help Core Scientific increase global share of Bitcoin’s hashrate from 5% to 12%.
- Paxos raised $300 million Series D funding round valuing company at $2.4 billion led by Oak, a growth capital firm focused on health care and fintech. Previous investors Declaration Partners, PayPal Ventures, Mithril Capital and others were also involved. Paxos CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla said funds will help to “scale the business and take advantage of opportunities to make acquisitions.”
- Institutional cryptocurrency infrastructure firm Securrency closed $30 million funding round, backed by U.S. Bank and State Street. Firm’s strategic Series B also included Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners and WisdomTree Investments.
- Finoa, a digital asset platform for institutional investors, closed $22 million Series A funding round. Finoa, which provides custody and staking to clients, serves more than 250 firms. Funding round led by Balderton Capital.
- Early-stage venture firm Volt Capital announced $10 million fund backed by CMT Digital, Balaji Srinivasan, Union Square Ventures’ Albert Wenger, Founders Fund’s Brian Singerman and others. VC firm made equity plays in analytics provider Nansen, BuyCoins.Africa, DeFi trading platform Parsec and others.
- Alchemy raised $80 million in round co-led by Coatue Management. Also involved in round was Addition, The Chainsmokers and the Glazer family, who own Manchester United and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Alchemy’s suite of cloud-based infrastructure powers over $30 billion worth of transactions a year and supports almost all non-fungible token platforms in existence today.
- Blockchain infrastructure provider Figment launched $16 million investment fund, Figment Capital, to support decentralized protocols and applications including Cosmos, Terra and Livepeer. New venture fund will be investment arm of Figment stack, and capital will support blockchain protocols and early-stage projects.
- Cryptocurrency wallet provider ZenGo received $20 million from Series A funding round led by Insight Partners. Other funders include Distributed Global and Austin Rief Ventures, among others. ZenGo allows users to send, receive, buy, sell, trade, earn and soon pay with over 50 cryptocurrencies in 180 markets.
Defi / NFT
- Aave launched liquidity mining incentives for v2 protocol, paying out governance token rewards exceeding 20% to users. Users who deposit stablecoins into protocol can earn yield of between 4.78% and 13.49% on top of regular gains in form of staked AAVE tokens. Liquidity mining program was passed through governance vote, with 2,200 staked AAVE set to be distributed until July 15.
- Uranium Finance lost $50 million in tokens in exploit, where attacker took advantage of vulnerability present in Uranium’s v2 contracts. After sending minimum required tokens into Uranium’s “pair contracts,” attacker drained liquidity pools for multiple token pairs.
- Polygon launched $100 million fund aimed at making DeFi more accessible to end users. #DeFiforAll Fund will focus on efficiently onboarding users to decentralized products and platforms. Funding, in MATIC tokens, will come from network’s ecosystem fund and be deployed over next two to three years.