Top Stories of Last Week
- Japan’s Financial Services Agency announced it will implement FATF “travel rule” for nation’s crypto industry to tackle money laundering, requiring virtual asset service providers to share transaction data of senders and recipients in the country by April 2022. FSA requested Japan Virtual and Crypto Assets Exchange Association advise members to prepare for implementation.
- Tether published attestation verifying it had $35 billion in assets backing a similar amount of USDT token last month. Produced by Cayman Islands-based accounting firm Moore Cayman, document examines Tether’s holdings as of Feb. 28, 2021, finding company had at least $35.28 billion in total assets against total liabilities of $35.15 million. Attestation is first third-party verification Tether has produced indicating reserves match amount of USDT in circulation since 2018.
- Bakkt launching digital wallet app with companies such as Starbucks among roster of merchant partners. Bakkt is aiming to aggregate cryptocurrency holdings with other digital assets. Customers can use Bakkt to reload Starbucks Card through Starbucks app for iOS. Other partners include Best Buy, Choice Hotels, Fiserv and GolfNow.
- Visa processed USDC payment on Ethereum for new service that they plan to introduce to partners later this year. Crypto.com sent USDC transaction to account at Anchorage custody under Visa’s name. Crypto.com issues Visa cards which allow users to spend coins in their Crypto.com wallet. New program will allow Crypto.com to pay card provider in USDC going forward.
- Morgan Stanley giving handful of its mutual funds ability to invest indirectly in Bitcoin through cash-settled futures contracts and Grayscale’s Bitcoin trust. Initial rollout features five Morgan Stanley fund families: Institutional Fund, Institutional Fund Trust, Europe Opportunity Fund, Insight Fund and Variable Insurance Fund, with each fund able to invest up to 25% of total assets in Bitcoin.
- Goldman Sachs confirmed it is close to offering crypto to private wealth management clients and appointed a new global head of Digital Assets Group, Mary Rich. Rich said offering is “full spectrum” of investments in Bitcoin and digital assets “through physical bitcoin, derivatives or traditional investment vehicles.”
- BlackRock allegedly has “started to dabble” in Bitcoin market, according to regulatory filings showing asset manager held $6.5 million in CME Bitcoin futures contracts earlier this year.
- Chicago Mercantile Exchange will launch smaller-sized bitcoin futures contracts, with new contracts sized at one-tenth of one bitcoin and will be available for trading on May 3, cash-settled based on CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate.
- PayPal announced PayPal’s Checkout will allow BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC to be seamlessly converted into U.S. dollars or other fiat currencies when making purchases, meaning merchants will not actually be recipients of cryptocurrencies. Company said product is rolling out to some PayPal customers in U.S. and will be available broadly to customers in U.S. in coming weeks.
- Digital asset manager 3iQ Corp announced agreement with CoinShares to launch new Bitcoin ETF called 3iQ CoinShares Bitcoin ETF. Trading under ticker BTCQ, vehicle for investing in bitcoin without holding digital asset itself will be listed on Toronto Stock Exchange in early April, pending regulatory approval.
- Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank launched first asset-backed securities token in partnership with Securitize. Instrument is first security token compliant with FIEA to launch and received a-1 rating from Rating and Investment Information, Inc. Token was created by tokenizing paper-based beneficiary certificates representing investor ownership to underlying asset.
- Coinbase will begin public trading of stock on April 14 and will also hold first-quarter earnings call on April 6, providing financial outlook for 2021. $100 billion debut would make Coinbase more valuable than Uber.
- Dapper Labs announced $305 million funding round from Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, Coatue and 30 other athletes, among others, placing Dapper’s current valuation at $2.6 billion. Dapper’s NBA Top Shot platform raked in nearly $500 million in sales and has seen its secondary trading market eclipse $2 million in volume daily.
- Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis announced it secured $100 million in Series D funding, pushing company’s valuation above $2 billion. Paradigm led round, with additional participation from Addition, Ribbit Capital, and Marc Benioff.
- Crypto wallet startup imToken raised $30 million in Series B round led by Qiming Venture Partners, with participation from IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, Longling Capital, Hashkey Capital, SNZ, and Signum Capital, among others.
- Enjin secured $18.9 million in private token sale led by Crypto.com Capital, DFG Group and Hashed. Additional support for raise came from Hypersphere, BlockTower, Blockchain.com Ventures, Fenbushi, Iconium, HashKey, Arrington XRP Capital, and DeFi Alliance, among others. Funding was conducted via new token EFI, which Enjin says has been created as currency for transaction fees that can earn by staking Enjin Coin on Efinity.
- Crypto venture firm Dragonfly Capital launched new fund worth $225 million to invest in DeFi protocols, NFT projects, Ethereum Layer 2 solutions, and CeFi infrastructure. Sequoia China backed fund as strategic limited partner, and other partners in fund include OKEx, Huobi, Bitmain, and Bybit.
- SuperRare raised $9 million funding round led by Velvet Sea and 1confirmation, with participation from Mark Cuban, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Marc Benioff. Artists are generating over $25 million in total sales per month on SuperRare.
Defi / NFT
- Aave reportedly working with Layer 2 Polygon to address congestion on Ethereum blockchain. Aave will be exploring scalable sidechains with Polygon to escape high transaction fees and will use a soon-to-be available smart-contract bridge that will port assets from one network to the other
- NFT marketplace OpenSea planning to integrate Ethereum scaling solution via decentralized protocol Immutable X, which will provide instant trade confirmation, increased scalability and zero gas fees.