Top Stories of Last Week
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced federally regulated banks can use stablecoins to conduct payments and other activities in letter addressing whether national banks and federal savings associations could participate in independent node verification networks. Letter states that blockchains have same status as other global financial networks, such as SWIFT, ACH, and FedWire. It also specifically mentions use of stablecoins for transactions, saying blockchain networks can mitigate costs for cross-border transactions as a “cheaper, faster, and more efficient” means of payment.
- FinCEN announced intention to amend Bank Secrecy Act’s Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts regulations in rulemaking notice that means Americans must report if they have more than $10,000 in cryptocurrencies with foreign financial or virtual asset service providers. No timeline for when new proposal might be published or implemented was provided. Rule change would bring FBAR rules around crypto holdings in line with cash held outside U.S. by citizens.
- Ban on sale of crypto derivatives and exchange-traded notes began in U.K. Financial Conduct Authority now forbids sale, marketing and distribution of CFDs, options, futures and ETNs that reference cryptocurrencies to retail investors. Regulator reckons it will prevent in region of £53m in harm, but industry commentators have raised concerns that it will instead drive consumers onto unregulated exchanges or offshore beyond FCA’s reach.
- Tetragon Financial Group, lead investor of Ripple’s $200 million Series C, is suing company to “enforce its contractual right to require Ripple to redeem” Series C preferred stock. Tetragon also wants to block Ripple from using any cash or other liquid assets until payment is made. Company has asked court for temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, and expedited trial.
- Italian Banking Association affirmed support for implementation of sovereign European digital currency by beginning pilot studies on digital euro project. Association is working with its research and development arm, ABI Lab, and commercial banks in country to develop experimental digital euro. Italian enterprise network firm SIA will assist consortium in technical feasibility studies.
- Skybridge Capital confirmed launch of new bitcoin fund and said exposure to bitcoin has already reached $310 million. Increase in position was mostly due to market appreciation, with small amount of additional purchases.
- Greenpro Capital (NASDAQ:GRNQ) announced it intends to set up Bitcoin Fund for investment. Greenpro provides cross-border financial services for businesses and high net-worth individuals, and will use subsidiary exchange CryptoSX to acquire bitcoin. CEO CK Lee said he’s instructed Greenpro investment bankers to raise debt in Q1 up to $100 million for BTC investment, and also plans to invest Greenpro’s cash in BTC.
- Online lending startup Social Finance Inc said it has agreed to go public through merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp V, a blank-check acquisition company led by Chamath Palihapitiya. Deal values SoFi at around $8.65 billion and is expected to provide up to $2.4 billion in cash proceeds to SoFi. SoFi added crypto trading to its SoFi Invest platform in 2019.
- Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation inked memorandum of understanding with Stellar Development Foundation, agreeing to cooperate on number of digital asset-related initiatives including assisting Ukraine’s central bank on its digital currency efforts and development of strategy for virtual assets in Ukraine.
- Shenzhen giving away another 20 million digital yuan, worth $3 mil, as part of ongoing test of China’s CBDC. Shenzhen government will give away 100,000 red packets via lottery to residents with each packet worth 200 digital yuan, or $30. Lottery-winners will be able to spend digital yuan between January 7-17 among over 10,000 shops, restaurants and supermarkets in Shenzhen.
- ShapeShift announced it is getting rid of entire trading desk and routing orders through DeFi applications in bid to get rid of KYC regulations. Firm will gradually phase out centralized trading activity and KYC policy in favor of decentralized alternative as it becomes 100% DEX-based for customers. Exchange has now integrated with multiple DEXs including Uniswap, Balancer, Curve, Bancor, Kyber, 0x, mStable and more.
- Crypto custodian BTSE launched ERC-20 token that represents Monero on Ethereum blockchain. Represented by ticker symbol WXMR, Wrapped Monero is fully backed by Monero at ratio of one-to-one and is secured by BTSE.
- Bakkt reportedly in advanced talks to go public via merger with special purpose acquisition company VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, which is affiliated with Victory Park Capital. Deal would value combined company at more than $2 bil and could be announced as soon as next week.
- Bithumb reportedly signed MOU with Nexon, the multi-billion dollar gaming conglomerate, to acquire exchange at price of 650 billion won ($460 million). Nexon will reportedly work with one of major shareholders in Bithumb, Vidente, to buy out exchange and take control with a 65% stake in Bithumb.
- Argentina’s Ripio acquired BitcoinTrade, second-largest crypto exchange in Brazil, in bid to increase footprint across Latin American crypto market. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
- Coinbase acquired trade execution startup Routefire, with mission of bringing advanced trading infrastructure to cryptocurrency markets through suite of institutional products. Additional resources in trading infrastructure realm has proven to be a necessity, as Coinbase has seen intermittent outages in recent days as bitcoin has surged to highs. Terms of deal were not disclosed.
- Marathon Patent Group announced completion of $200 million capital raise, which company plans to use to pay for major purchases of bitcoin miners from Bitmain, as well as further expand business. Marathon has already bought 103,060 miners that, once delivered and deployed, are expected to produce approximately 10.36 EH/s in hash power. 15,200 units scheduled to be shipped in Q1 2021.
- Canaan released Avalon Immersion Cooling Miner A1066I, a device designed to be liquid-cooled by submerging electrical components in special dielectric fluid that carries heat away directly from boards. Canaan claims each unit produces 50 TH/s for power consumption of 3,400 watts, while each tank reaches up to 7,200 TH/s and 306 kilowatts of energy usage when fully stacked.
- Bitcoin mining firm Bitfarms closed fully subscribed private placement of common shares worth CAD$20 million, or over US$15 million. In total, sale consisted of 8,888,889 shares.
- BC Technology Group, parent company of crypto platform OSL, raised HKD697 million (~US$90 million) in form of top-up share placement. Morgan Stanley was appointed as sole placing agent of 45,000,000 placing shares owned by firm, representing approximately 13% of BC Group’s issued share capital. BC Group CEO Hugh Madden said raised funds will help meet institutional trading demand and bolster software-as-a-service business.
- TaxBit, a cryptocurrency tax automation software firm, secured investments from venture arms of PayPal and Coinbase, plus existing investor Winklevoss Capital. Amount invested not disclosed in announcement. TaxBit automates cryptocurrency tax compliance for consumers, businesses and exchanges.
- DeFi aggregator Furucombo raised $1.85 mil in seed funding backed by SevenX Ventures, Defiance Capital, 1kx, Multicoin Capital, and Aave founder Stani Kulechov, among others.