Top Stories of Last Week
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.