Top Stories of Last Week
- FinCEN announced it will reopen proposed rulemaking period for additional 15 days for reporting rule that would require exchanges to store name and address info for customers transferring over $3,000 in crypto per day to private crypto wallets, and another 45 days for rule that would require exchanges to file currency transaction reports for customers transacting in over $10,000 per day. 15-day extension means that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is said to be spearheading effort, will be out of office by time comments close.
- Gary Gensler expected to be named chairman of SEC in next several days by President-elect Joe Biden. A former chairman of CFTC, Gensler served as key financial regulator for Obama administration and also served in Treasury Department during Clinton administration. At MIT’s Sloan School, Gensler taught course on cryptocurrencies and blockchains, calling technology “a catalyst for change in the world of finance and the broader economy.”
- U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Chief Operating Officer Blake Paulson will become Acting Comptroller of the Currency, replacing Brian Brooks who said he is officially stepping down on January 14, 2021.
- SEC’s Acting Enforcement Director Marc Berger will leave agency this month. Berger assumed SEC’s top investigative post and presided over prosecution of Telegram ICO and unregistered securities suit against Ripple.
- Anchorage became federally chartered digital asset bank by obtaining national bank charter from Office of Comptroller of Currency, giving it designation of qualified custodian under SEC. With banking charter, Anchorage Digital Bank National Association can provide sub-custody services for financial institutions.
- Dan Larimer left Block.one, the company that raised $4 billion to build EOS blockchain. Larimer co-founded company and had served as chief technical officer since April 2017. Block.one confirmed departure, saying Larimer “left to pursue new personal projects.”
- Fireblocks partnering with staking infrastructure providers Staked and Blockdaemon to offer hosted proof-of-stake services for Ethereum 2.0, Polkadot and Tezos tokens. In return for maintaining the service, Fireblocks takes a 10% slice of the yield the staker earns
- Propine, a Singapore-based digital asset custody provider, announced it has been awarded capital markets services license from MAS after graduating from MAS FinTech Regulatory Sandbox. Firm also exits sandbox with what it claims is first ISO 27001 certification, an international standard providing framework for preserving confidentiality and integrity of vital data, for crypto custody provider.
- Morgan Stanley boosted stake in MicroStrategy by almost 650,000 shares since end of Q3, according to filing made with SEC, and now owns 792,627 shares, bringing total ownership in company to 10.9%. Shares of MicroStrategy have soared over 300% since company bought its first bitcoin on Aug. 11, 2020.
- Bakkt inked business combination deal that will result in ICE subsidiary becoming publicly traded company. Agreement will see Bakkt merge with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, a Victory Park Capital SPAC, to create Bakkt Holdings and will be listed on NYSE with expected valuation of $2.1 billion. Gavin Michael, former head of technology of Citi’s Global Consumer Bank, is joining Bakkt as CEO. Investor presentation released in connection with new plan also notes cryptocurrencies could grow fivefold by 2025 into $3 trillion market.
- Deltec Bank & Trust, Tether’s Bahamas-based bank, announced it was investing customer funds in bitcoin, which raises new questions about whether USDT stablecoin, in theory backed by cash and “cash equivalents,” as well as “other assets and receivables made by loans,” is actually backed by bitcoin.
- HSBC has allegedly begun restricting customers in the U.K. from transferring funds to or from crypto exchanges and HSBC bank accounts, according to report in The Sunday Times. Unclear as to why restrictions have been placed, as no reply from bank has yet been given.
- NYDIG acquired Digital Assets Data to enhance crypto research and analytics offerings for institutional base. Digital Asset Data’s co-founders will join NYDIG as head of product and to oversee mergers and acquisitions.
- Visa called off acquisition of Plaid, the fintech firm serving as fiat bridge for number of crypto and DeFi applications, in wake of DOJ’s lawsuit that sought to block deal. DOJ filed civil antitrust suit on Nov. 5, 2020 to stop merger, claiming Visa is monopolist in online debit.
- Nexon representative said that firm “has not invested in Bithumb and has no plans to acquire company,” clarifying claims to previously alleged sale of South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb by local media.
- Chinese sports lottery firm 500.com announced entering of purchase agreement to acquire bitcoin mining machines, expecting to issue $14.4 mil-worth of Class A ordinary shares as consideration to acquire mining machines from unnamed seller. Company will issue around 11.8 million shares valued at $1.21 per share, with transaction expected to be completed in first quarter of this year to acquire S17, T17 and S9 mining devices from Bitmain and M20s from MicroBT.
- Poolin launched ERC-20 token backed by its bitcoin hash rate capacity in effort to bridge PoW mining and yield farming. Token called pBTC35A represents 1 TH/s of hashing power owned by Poolin at power efficiency of 35 Joule per TH. Users who stake pBTC35A in one of two liquidity pools on Mars Protocol can receive rewards in form of Mars governance token as well as wBTC.
- Galaxy Digital announced launch of miner financial services and proprietary mining operations. Galaxy Digital Mining will integrate existing business lines to miner-focused financial services, including lending, investment, and risk management offerings, and will also oversee proprietary mining operation.
- Mining company Bitfarms closed second private placement of shares worth CAD$20 million (US$15 million) a week after closing another $15 million placement. Proceeds will fund acquisition of additional mining machines and expansion of mining facilities.
- Arca announced it closed $10 million Series A round of funding, led by RRE Ventures with additional participation from Alex Tisch, President of Loews Hotels & Co. and coalition of financiers led by Littlebanc Advisors. James Robinson, Founder and General Partner of RRE, will join Arca’s advisory board.
- Conflux received over $5 million research grant from Shanghai Science and Technology Committee and Changning District government to develop public chain’s research. Project will also support aerospace supply chain proposed to be built on Conflux Network. Conflux’s project has also been included in latest Five-Year Plan by Shanghai government.
- Fidelity Investments’ international subsidiary Fidelity International increased investment in BC Technology Group Ltd, operator of crypto exchange OSL. FIL Limited purchased 3.3 million shares of BC Group for HK$52.3 million (US$6.7 mil), bringing ownership stake to 6.29%.
- Storage and infrastructure network Filestar received US$5 million in form of grant from Hong Kong’s HashKey Capital to steward Filestar’s network before decentralized autonomous organization is established. Filestar said it aims to improve upon Filecoin and its distributed storage mechanism by removing initial pledge collateral requirement.
- Internet hosting company Cloudflare unveiled direct gateway to support distributed web by connecting to domains hosted on Ethereum Name Service and Interplanetary File System by new indexing service. New resolver for distributed web gives alternative way to resolve queries to responses where IPFS content indexed by Ethereum Name Service can be accessed.