Top Stories of Last Week

Regulatory

  • Legislation called “Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021” introduced to create working group composed of industry experts and representatives from SEC and CFTC to evaluate current legal and regulatory framework around digital assets in U.S. Under terms of bill, Congress would create working group within 90 days of bill’s passage composed of SEC and CFTC representatives, plus non-governmental representatives. Group would be required to file report analyzing current regulations, impact they have on primary and secondary markets and how regime impacts U.S.’ competitive position.
  • CI Global Asset Management announced regulators have approved final prospectus for CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF, which is expected to begin trading on Toronto Stock Exchange, subject to approval, under ticker “BTCX.”
  • WisdomTree applied to launch bitcoin ETF by filing S-1 Form with SEC. WisdomTree intends to list shares on Cboe’s BZX Exchange.
  • Jamaica planning to launch CBDC in 2022, according to announcement by Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, Nigel Clarke, who also stated CBDC will be piloted in December ahead of launch.
  • Legislation recognizing decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as companies was approved by Wyoming state senate. Bill now proceeds to vote in Wyoming House of Representatives, where it will become law if passed. DAOs are companies whose governance is built on smart contracts and where decision making is shared around organization rather than centralized.

Project Development

  • Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1559 will be packaged with London hard fork this coming July, according to All Core Developers call. At least five other EIPs are likely to join EIP 1559 in London. Over 60% of Ethereum network’s hash power is against proposal, led by Flexpool, Ethermine, SparkPool and other miners. Developers also decided to pair EIP 1559 with delay to difficulty bomb called “Ice Age,” ensuring no one would fork Ethereum at that time without having to undergo some technical hurdles.

Institutional

  • HK-listed Meitu Inc., which makes image and video processing software, said it purchased $22 million in ether and $17.9 million of bitcoin, marking first time firm disclosed major purchase of ETH for its treasury. Meitu said it bought 15,000 ETH and 379.1 BTC in open market transactions on March 5. Purchases were under terms of previously board-approved cryptocurrency investment plan that allows company to put up to $100 million of crypto, financed by cash reserves other than any remaining proceeds from Meitu’s 2016 IPO.
  • Aker ASA has set up new company dedicated to investing in bitcoin projects and companies. Holding company focused on energy, construction and fishing said its new entity, Seetee AS, will keep all liquid investable assets in bitcoin and will also enter bitcoin mining industry. Seetee is launching with 500 million Norwegian Krone ($58.3 million) in capital and has already partnered with Blockstream for work on bitcoin mining and sidechain projects.
  • Digital Currency Group said it’s authorized purchase of up to $250 million worth on open market of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, its subsidiary’s flagship product. Shares, which long traded at premium to price of bitcoin held in trust, recently started trading at discount. DCG said plans to use cash on hand to fund any purchases, in compliance with Rule 10b-18 of Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
  • PayPal confirmed it has agreed to acquire Curv, a provider of cloud-based infrastructure for digital asset security. Financial terms of deal were not disclosed, but company plans to use new purchase to accelerate and expand initiatives to support cryptocurrencies and digital assets. PayPal said it expects acquisition deal to be completed in first half of this year.
  • JPMorgan Chase looking to issue debt linked to cryptocurrency-focused companies called J.P. Morgan Cryptocurrency Exposure Basket, which is long on MicroStrategy, Square, Riot Blockchain and NVIDIA and has positions in 11 companies total. It does not invest directly in cryptos. Prospectus documents state notes will pay out based on basket companies’ performance less 1.5% deduction, with $1,000 minimum and maturation date of May 2022.
  • Israeli pension company Altshuler Shaham, one of largest investment houses in Israel with over $50 billion in AUM, invested $100 million into GBTC. Firm made investment into GBTC in second half of last year, when bitcoin was trading at around $21,000, according to report.
  • NYDIG raised $200 million from Stone Ridge Holdings Group, Morgan Stanley, New York Life, MassMutual, Soros Fund Management and FS Investments. Past investors Bessemer Venture Partners and FinTech Collective also participated. Robert Gutmann, co-founder and CEO of NYDIG, said company will likely manage over $25 billion in bitcoin on behalf of clients by end of 2021.
  • CoinShares listed on Nasdaq First North Growth Market after oversubscribed public offering consisting of 3,364,403 shares at 44.90 SEK ($5.29) apiece and totaling 151 million SEK ($17.8 million). Investment firm said offering was oversubscribed by over 400%, garnering subscriptions for 675 million SEK ($80 million) from 2,280 new shareholders. Shares jumped 33% in first day of trading, starting around 81.9 SEK and ending at 109.12 SEK, implying market capitalization of 7.3 billion SEK ($860 million).

Exchanges

  • Seychelles Financial Services Authority alerted investors over entity called Huobi Global Limited, believing entity is linked to Huobi Global and is operating in country despite never being licensed to do so. A Huobi representative said: “Huobi Global Limited is a Seychelles-registered company that is part of Huobi Group. It provides services to global customers in accordance with applicable laws.”

Mining

  • Cipher Mining Technologies, a newly formed bitcoin mining subsidiary of Bitfury, planning to list in U.S. via merger with Good Works Acquisition Corp, a SPAC listed on Nasdaq. Upon closing of merger, which is expected in Q2 2021, combined entity will be called Cipher Mining, with planned mining capacity of 745MW by end of 2025. Cipher Mining said combined company has valuation of $2 bil, including $425 mil fully committed Private Investment in Public Equity from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company and Counterpoint Global.
  • Argo Blockchain acquired DPN LLC, bringing it ownership of land in West Texas for construction of planned 200-megawatt cryptocurrency mining facility. Initial price of acquisition was $5 million paid via issue and allotment to DPN shareholders of 3.4 million new ordinary shares in Argo. Further payment of $12.5 million in shares will be payable if contractual milestones related to mining center are fulfilled.

Fundraising

  • Eco raised investment of $26 million in firm’s second fundraise led by a16z Crypto, with Founders Fund, Activant Capital, Slow Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Tribe Capital, Valor Capital Group and more also participating. Eco’s platform offers rewards on crypto-asset savings and spending, where users will see cashback of up to 5% on spending and earn 2.5%–5% annually on assets in accounts.
  • Crypto asset investment firm BlockTower Capital raised $25 million fund for DeFi projects. Fund will facilitate investment in range of longer-term, more illiquid assets. Investors include venture capitalist Howard Morgan, Niall Ferguson and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry.
  • Fei Labs, a project building a more capital-efficient decentralized stablecoin, raised $19 million from a16z, Framework Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, among others.
  • FalconX raised $50 million in round led by Tiger Global Management and B Capital Group, with participation from Accel, Accomplice VC, American Express Ventures. Coinbase Ventures, CMT Digital, Flybridge Capital Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Fidelity affiliate Avon Ventures.
  • Sommelier Finance released mainnet version of “Ethereum Coprocessor,” a tool for automating coins’ rotations in-and-out of DeFi positions. Sommelier also raised $3.5 million in seed round joined by Standard Crypto, Multicoin Capital and Alameda Research. Venture is looking at how liquidity providers function in DeFi.
  • Blockchain machine-learning platform Fetch.ai announced funding injection from GDA Group, a digital asset firm planning to invest $5 million in Fetch ecosystem over undisclosed period of time. Funding will be used for research and development of Fetch’s existing and future applications, which focus on autonomous AI agents deployed on behalf of large firms.

NFT

  • Christie’s sale of “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” by crypto artist Beeple ended, with the final price reaching $69,346,250. In the final minutes of the auction, price jumped from $20 million range to over $50 million, representing largest known sale of an NFT.

Things to Watch This Week

  • Ethereum EIP-1559 Miner Response
    • The EIP-1559 proposal set forth by the Ethereum Core Developers to be implemented in the July London Hard Fork received its response from Ethereum miners. An influential Youtube miners channel known as Bits Be Trippin called on home and mid-sized miners to coordinate their hashrate to Ethermine’s mining pool on April 1st as a “show of force” for miners to be heard. Sentiment from this group is that core developers have ignored miners for too long, and the EIP-1559 proposal is actually a threat to the security of Ethereum’s protocol in that “their efforts to pay as little as possible to secure Ethereum’s network is well within the risk boundry on making changes to the monetary structure for Ethereum.” The opposition is accusing miners of planning to facilitate a potential 51% attack on Ethereum with the aim to demand a compromise. In the face of such an attack, scenarios are being played out if Ethereum needs to defend itself, with an option being a DDoS attack to halt Ethermine if it gets anywhere near 51% of the network hashrate. This week, we’ll be keeping up with developments of this situation as they happen, as an event like this could cause major ripples with the price of Ethereum as well as ERC-20 tokens.   
  • Binance Regulatory Fallout
    • Last week, reports that Binance was being investigated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission surfaced, allegedly to determine if U.S. residents traded derivatives on the cryptocurrency exchange in violation of U.S. rules. This news came shortly after Binance announced it hired Max Baucus, a former U.S. senator and ambassador to China, as a policy adviser who would be able to navigate the exchange’s relationship with U.S. regulators. Although reports said the CFTC may not bring an enforcement action and the exchange’s founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao, called the report “FUD,” this news seems to be weighing heavily on the prices of Binance’s BNB and Binance Smart Chain projects. It will be important to watch for any updates this week to see what effect this will have on BNB and other tokens within Binance’s sphere of influence.
    • Willy Woo@woonomic
      Who has been selling? Apart from margin longs liquidating, my guess from the data, it’s hedge funds rebalancing for end of Q1 reporting. Many have mandates to rebalance when an allocation gets too big; BTC has outperformed incredibly. (Sell your winners, buy more losers).

      Analysis… Whales, 1000-10,000 BTC holdings, have been selling down their positions the last month…

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      Partial sell down, as they are popping up inside the tier lower, at 100-1000 BTC holdings. The tier below this (10-100 BTC) has been accumulating and jumping into this band too.

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      Looking at the age of coins in this sell off, Dormancy being low tells us, so it’s young coins. It’s new whales who bought in recently selling their positions.

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      Who are the buyers? Strong HODLers. Red here shows coins moving to HODLers with very little history of selling.

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      Documenting Bitcoin @DocumentingBTC
      JP Morgan says #bitcoin is “a portfolio diversifier” for their private wealth clients and includes a chart with “significant upside” metrics.
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      Alex Krüger@krugermacro
      Top NFT collectible sales in the past 30 days. Those are some big numbers.
      Data updates live here: cryptoslam.io

      READ MORE

      Seetee@Seetee_io
      Today, we announced the launch of Seetee! We are a new company in the Aker group, and will invest in ex­cit­ing projects and com­pa­nies through­out the #Bitcoin ecosys­tem. Bitcoin is our treasury asset. Our first purchase was 1,170 BTC and our strategy is to hodl.

      We have entered into a collaboration agreement with @Blockstream, with an initial focus on mining operations. We are excited about the potential in merging Aker’s industrial capabilities and experience with Blockstream’s leading position in Bitcoin.

      To learn more about our vision, and Aker’s de­ci­sion to en­ter #Bitcoin through See­tee, please visit http://seetee.io and read our shareholder letter.
      https://seetee.io/static/shareholder_letter-6ae7e85717c28831bf1c0eca1d632722.pdf

      Alex Gladstein@gladstein
      1/ The Aker shareholder letter from Kjell Inge Røkke is remarkable. Having worked in Norway since 2008, IMO this is a major step towards more Scandinavian Bitcoin discussion + adoption. Here’s a  on the letter’s unexpected highlights especially regarding Lightning + privacy:

      2/ Aker is a 180-year-old Norwegian corporation now launching Seetee, a Bitcoin company: “We will use bitcoin as our treasury asset and join the community. We will be hodlers. Perhaps not as rebellious as the cypherpunks… But more progressive than most established corporates”

      3/ A recurring theme in Røkke’s letter is an interest in privacy. Early on: “I am particularly interested in micropayments and how these may enable us to avoid usernames, passwords, and our personal data being monetised with, and often without, our knowledge or consent”
      READ MORE

      Lennix Lai (OKEx)@LennixOkex
      #Meitu is the very first listed company in HK that publicly announced they invested in #Bitcoin for cash-hedging purposes. It’s just the beginning of all cash-rich HK-listed companies’ start allocating to crypto.
      Vijay Boyapati @real_vijay
      When Lyn publishes an article about #Bitcoin, you stop what you’re doing, grab a coffee, find a comfortable place to sit, and immediately begin reading. Can’t wait!
      Lyn Alden @LynAldenContact
      I have a duo of new bitcoin articles out. The first is about the network effect:
      lynalden.com/bitcoins-netwo…

      dave the wave @davthewave
      A similar one year correction off the top of the curve, of a similar degree, would have price at the previous top of 20K.

      $₽Q₮₿£Q₮₮€₹@spotblotter
      as much as i don’t want this to be true, i’m watching closely right now and have protected some of my position dave made an epic top call in june 2019 must take note

      Messari@MessariCrypto
      NFT use cases:
      + Art
      + Digital Trading Cards
      + Provenance Tracking
      + Gaming items
      + Domain names
      + Content
      + Tokenized luxury goods
      + Financial Products
      + Event Tickets
      + Tokenized Content

      Everything you need to know about NFTs
      messari.io/article/explai…
      Mira Christanto@asiahodl
      2017: The retail ICO pump
      2021: The institutional adoption pump (prob bigger than 2017’s)

      Larry Cermak@lawmaster
      1/ Stablecoin have seen incredible growth in the last year – $54B issued and $380B monthly on-chain volume. We are finally releasing the 130+ page monster today. It’s the most comprehensive report on stablecoins released,
      you can read it for free here:
      https://theblockcrypto.com/post/97769/stablecoins-bridging-the-network-gap-between-traditional-money-and-digital-value-brought-to-you-by-gmo-trust…
      Image

      2/ Some summary growth stats since jan 2020:
      • Supply = $5.9B → $54.2B
      • Monthly Tx volume = $23.5B → $384B
      • Addresses holdings >$100 = 284k → 1.85M
      • Daily active addresses = 53k → 307k
      • Daily transactions = 98k → 594k
      Not many products with bigger growth.
      READ MORE

      Laurent Benichou@laurentbenichou
      Bitcoin, a gift to environment. A complete recap to understand why you should shift to #Bitcoin if you are concerned about the planet and the world we leave to our kids:
      READ MORE: laurentbenichou.medium.com/bitcoin-a-gift… 

      The Wall Street Journal@WSJ
      Take an early look at the front page of The Wall Street Journal