Top Stories of Last Week
- Government of India may form panel of experts to examine regulating cryptocurrencies, according to Economic Times report. Committee’s remit would be to suggest ways of regulating crypto as digital assets rather than currency. Prevailing view is that proposals for blanket ban are now outdated, although discussions are at early stage and no formal decisions have been made.
- U.S. Department of the Treasury calling for businesses that receive transfers of more than $10,000 in crypto to report to Internal Revenue Service. Requirement is on par with transfers of $10,000 and more in U.S. dollars, but report highlighted virtual currencies and cash as potential ways to hide income from government.
- SEC Chief Gary Gensler said federal financial regulators should “be ready to bring cases” against bad actors in crypto and other emerging technologies, highlighting investor protection and regulators should be ready to pursue deceptive private funds, accounting fraud, insider trading and other potential regulatory pitfalls.
- Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu told House Financial Services Committee in hearing that he had spoken with fellow regulators Randal Quarles, vice chair at Federal Reserve, and Jelena McWilliams, chairwoman of FDIC, about forming interagency policy team to examine cryptocurrency sector. Work could include creating legal definition for what cryptocurrency is in U.S.
- Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of Bank of England, said it “looks probable” that United Kingdom’s central bank will issue digital currency if public money is to survive growing expansion of private alternatives during speech to Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, a central bank think tank. Cunliffe also said Bank of England would publish discussion paper on public policy implications of any shift to new forms of digital cash in next few months.
- Lawmakers in Nebraska adopted and passed bill to final stage that will allow state banks to offer cryptocurrency services. Legislature called LB 649 aims to adopt Nebraska Financial Innovation Act and create crypto asset depository institutions, while providing for charter, operation, supervision, and regulation of institutions.
- Futu Holdings Ltd., the Chinese brokerage app and Robinhood rival, plans to offer cryptocurrency trading to “international clients” later this year. Senior Vice President Robin Li Xu said Tencent-backed trading firm has begun applying for “digital currency–related licenses” in U.S., Singapore and Hong Kong. Xu said feature should launch in second half of 2021.
- BlockFi incorrectly deposited excessive amounts of Bitcoin to users’ accounts as part of March promotional giveaway, in which qualifying clients were eligible for Bitcoin reward bonus if they traded certain volume during promotional period. BlockFi tweeted there was issue and some participants might see inaccurate bonus displayed on transaction balance. Some users withdrew erroneous bitcoin rewards and emails threatening legal action have allegedly gone out.
- Robinhood Markets LLC will reveal initial public offering filings as soon as next week, according to Bloomberg report. Timing and details could change even though platform’s plans are at “advanced” stage.
- Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management division reportedly will soon be rolling out actively managed crypto strategy, which has been in development for months and is likely to be available to qualified investors around mid-June, according to Darrell Cronk, president of Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
- Bank of America joined Paxos Settlement Service, a platform that uses blockchain technology to achieve same-day settlement of stock trades. Bank joins Credit Suisse and Nomura Holdings on Paxos Trust’s network, and will offer service to clients if approved as clearing agency.
- MicroStrategy bought another 229 BTC for $10 million in cash. Purchase was for an average price of $43,663 per bitcoin. MicroStrategy now holds 92,079 BTC bought for total of $2.251 billion at average price of $24,450 per Bitcoin.
- Ark Investment reported holdings of 639,069 shares in Grayscale’s Ethereum Trust for Q1, currently worth roughly $20.9 million.
- Saxo Markets, the digital investing subsidiary of Danish bank Saxo, launched service enabling trading of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin against euro, U.S. dollar and Japanese yen, initially for Saxo Markets’ clients in Singapore and Australia. Rollout to other key markets will follow in coming weeks.
- White Star Capital, a tech-focused venture capital firm, closed $50 million fund dedicated to investing in blockchain firms and cryptocurrency networks. Round led by Bpifrance and Ubisoft, and marks White Star’s first specialized blockchain and digital assets fund.
- Coinbase in reportedly in process of acquiring asset management firm Osprey Funds, although talks allegedly at high level and informal at this stage. Osprey Funds declined to comment. Also announced first quarter earnings report showing revenue and net income skyrocketed on boom in crypto prices and corresponding interest from investors. Results largely matched estimates that Coinbase delivered a week before public debut. Company’s net profit for quarter was over $771 million, more than fourfold Q4 2020′s figure of $177 million.
- FTX and Blockfolio announced users now allowed to fund accounts with USDC stablecoin after plugging into Circle’s payments infrastructure. Users can settle bank transfers and credit card transactions in dollar-pegged crypto, as FTX and Blockfolio are now “USDC native,” which means token is built into their systems.
- Figure Technologies raised $200 million in Series D funding round that values company at $3.2 billion. Investment was led by 10T Holdings and Morgan Creek Capital Management and included contributions from Digital Capital Management, DST Global and Digital Currency Group. Figure uses its own blockchain, Provenance, as marketplace for loans and mortgages, capital table management, fund management, banking and payments.
- Cryptocurrency custody firm Copper raised $50 million in Series B funding, co-led by Dawn Capital and Target Global, and included Illuminate Financial Management, as well as existing investors LocalGlobe and MMC Ventures.
- DeversiFi, a DeFi trading platform, raised $5 million in funding round led by ParaFi. Defiance Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Blockchain.com Ventures, Delphi Ventures, Fenbushi Capital, OKEx and others also took part. DeversiFi’s aim is to help scale layer 2 trading on Ethereum network.
- Vertalo, a start-up that helps issue and manage digital securities, raised $5 million in Series A funding round from Coinbase, Tezos Foundation, Wedbush Capital and others. Company helps to digitize assets from real estate to equity in form of security tokens, relying primarily on Tezos and Ethereum blockchains.
Defi / NFT
- Dapper Labs being sued for allegedly selling NFTs as unregistered securities. Allegations filed by lead plaintiff Jeeun Friel in Supreme Court of New York. Documents claim NBA Top Shot moments are securities because value increases with success of project, and therefore should be registered with SEC. Company also said to have used control of NBA Top Shot to prevent investors from withdrawing funds for “months on end,” ensuring money stays on platform “propping up” value.
- Zapper, the DeFi dashboard, raised $15 million in Series A round led by Framework Ventures. round was joined by Sound Ventures, Mark Cuban, ParaFi Capital, Scalar Capital, Spartan Group, DeFiance Capital, Long Hash, Sino Global, among others. Zapper boasts 150,000 monthly active users and recently crossed $3 billion in total transacted volume watermark.
- Venus Protocol faced liquidations of over $200 million due to possible price manipulation of native XVS token. Venus occurred bad debt of more than $95 million in form of 2,000 Bitcoin and 5,700 Ether, which Venus won’t be able to collect dues from users. Venus Protocol founder Joselito Lizarondo claimed “the protocol worked as intended” and no funds were lost, and that Venus would use grant program and “utilize XVS” to cover shortfall.
- PancakeBunny suffered exploit that allowed hacker to make off with more than $200 million worth of crypto assets. Protocol was subject to flash loan attack from external actor, who borrowed BNB before manipulating asset’s price and dumping it on platform’s BUNNY/BNB market. BUNNY/BNB was only pool to be drained by hacker, making off with 697,000 BUNNY and 114,000 BNB.
- Vitalik Buterin burned 90% of his Shiba Inu coin holdings, an amount worth $6.7 billion. Trove of over 410 trillion tokens was sent to dead blockchain address, taking them out of circulation. Buterin had been gifted half of SHIB’s total supply in what appeared to be a marketing stunt.