Top Stories of Last Week
- Police crackdown on PlusToken Ponzi scheme in China resulted in cryptocurrencies worth billions of dollars being seized by law enforcement, with court documents accounting for 194,775 bitcoin, 833,083 ether, 487 million XRP, 79,581 bitcoin cash, 1.4 million litecoin, 27.6 million EOS, 74,167 dash, 6 billion dogecoin, and 213,724 tether. Digital assets worth almost $4.2 billion. As part of ruling, court said “seized digital currencies will be processed pursuant to laws and the proceeds and gains will be forfeited to the national treasury.”
- Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took to Twitter to announce U.S. Treasury Department’s rumored plans to attempt to track owners of self-hosted crypto wallets with data-collection requirements, alleging outgoing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is preparing to tamp down on ability of individual to hold crypto themselves. Proposed regulation would require financial institutions like Coinbase to verify recipient/owner of self-hosted wallet, collecting identifying information on party, before a withdrawal could be sent to self-hosted wallet.
- U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe wrote letter to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton over fears that China’s dominance in area of digital currencies could put U.S. at a disadvantage in effort to push agency to bring in rules that would allow U.S. businesses to be more competitive. Ratcliffe is said to have raised fact that over half of global cryptocurrency mining power is based in China, and that People’s Bank of China is already developing national digital currency.
- South Korean National Assembly’s planning and finance committee reportedly proposing to delay commencement of crypto income tax rule by three months to January 2022. South Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance amended tax code in July, finalizing plan for charging local residents 20% tax on gains from crypto trading starting from October 2021. Reported reason why National Assembly is delaying rule’s effective date is due to concerns raised by local crypto exchanges for not having enough time to build proper tax reporting infrastructure.
- Suzhou will hold second lottery of China’s CBDC on Dec. 12, during shopping festival known as Double 12. Giveaway designed to gauge usability of digital yuan and trial will be similar to one held in Shenzhen in October. Report also indicates another city, Chengdu, is holding closed beta trial of CBDC, allowing invited participants to use digital wallet for transactions via major bank.
- Brian Brooks, who currently serves as acting Comptroller of the Currency, nominated to full five-year term. Brooks took over office in May after departure of Joseph Otting. Brooks, former chief legal officer for Coinbase, has pursued number of policy initiatives on digital asset front since assuming office. Most notably, his office published guidance for national banks that allows them to custody cryprocurrencies as well as funds for fiat-backed stablecoin issuers.
- BlackRock CIO of Fixed Income Rick Rieder responded to question during CNBC’s Squawk Box asking if governments might try to regulate bitcoin. “I think cryptocurrency’s here to stay, I think it is … durable,” he said. Alongside central banks developing digital currencies, millennials’ “receptivity” to technology and cryptocurrency “is real, digital payments systems is real,” Rieder included. “Do I think it’s a durable mechanism that … could take the place of gold to a large extent? Yeah, I do,” Rieder concluded.
- Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract required for triggering first phase accrued enough funds to begin activation of Ethereum upgrade, having received more than 540,000 ETH and ensuring beacon chain for Ethereum 2.0 will launch Dec. 1. Target was hit with hours to spare after more than 150,000 ETH were deposited in 24-hour period before the Nov. 24 soft deadline.
- VanEck announced launch of Bitcoin exchange-traded note product for European market to allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without having to deal with security, regulatory, and storage issues. ETN is based on MVIS CryptoCompare Bitcoin VWAP Close Index and will be traded on Deutsche Börse Xetra.
- Libra announced it could launch as series of stablecoins, each pegged to a fiat currency, rather than one multi-currency basket as early as January 2021. Launch of single coin backed 1:1 by U.S. dollar is pending approval from Swiss financial regulator FINMA. Other currencies within basket and composite may still be rolled out at later time.
- Pendal Group, an Australian Securities Exchange-listed investment manager with over A$100 billion (US$73.6 billion) in assets under management, announced they are now investing in bitcoin futures on Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
- China Construction Bank suspended upcoming listing of $3 billion bond issuance that was intended to be tradable for bitcoin and U.S. dollars via Fusang digital asset exchange. CCB Labuan said the “proposed issuance will not proceed and the overall bond-issuance [program] is being re-evaluated.” Fusang Exchange was not able to provide any information as to why CCB had backed out of issuance.
- Coinbase announced it is discontinuing margin trading product due to regulatory concerns, stating product will be fully offline in December when all existing margin positions have expired. As of November 25 at 2 p.m. PT, customers will be unable to place new margin trades and any open limit orders will be cancelled.
- Binance sent email to users who have identified themselves as U.S. persons with notice to withdraw funds in 14 days in move to impose stricter measures on U.S.-based users and blocking them from accessing its platform.
- Sygnum, a digital asset finance firm with Swiss banking license, launched blockchain-based alternative to listing shares on stock exchange comprised of primary market issuance platform called Desygnate, and SygnEx, a secondary market trading venue. Solution will provide issuers way to raise capital, grow liquidity and transfer ownership and manage corporate actions.
- Bulk preorders for bitcoin mining hardware from Bitmain’s AntMiner S19 Pro, S19 and T19 products are already queued until May 2021 for delivery. Similarly, MicroBT is showing ”sold out” for WhatsMiner M30 series on its website, and is already selling April to May future preorders. Overall supply shortage follows bitcoin’s price jump since Q3 this year, and is due to both increase in institutionalized demand for bitcoin mining equipment and limited wafer capacity from Bitmain’s and MicroBT’s silicon provider, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
- Chainalysis reportedly on cusp of raising $100 million at $1 billion valuation in Series C funding round. Venture firm Addition is said to be leading round, with participation from existing investors such as Accel, Ribbit Capital and Benchmark Capital. Forbes reports that deal “has been signed by all counterparties and is awaiting final paperwork.”
- Globe, a crypto derivatives exchange that is launching in coming weeks, raised $3 million in seed funding round backed by Y Combinator, Pantera Capital, Tim Draper’s Draper Dragon Fund, and Wavemaker Partners, among others.
- Pantera Capital raised another $5 million for its bitcoin fund, bringing total to $134 million, according to form D filing with SEC.
- Around $89 million was liquidated on Compound due to DAI price on Coinbase driven up to a premium of around 30%, which caused liquidations as value of loans exceeded collateralization-ratio thresholds. Affected include third largest COMP farmer, who was liquidated for $46 million. Malicious actor may have manipulated price of DAI on Coinbase Pro, the only source of Compound’s price oracle.
- Yearn.Finance and Pickle Finance set to merge in first M&A agreement of DeFi space. Both teams behind protocols said they would work together to leverage shared expertise, and actual merger will occur when second version of Yearn launches, which is currently under development. Yearn Finance also published details of another upcoming integration with Cream, which outlines how two protocols will cooperate for launch of Cream V2. Teams will merge development resources and introduce several symbiotic interactions between two protocols.
- Andre Cronje, founder of Yearn.Finance, introduced new project called Deriswap, a protocol that combines different segments of DeFi like swaps, options, and loans into one platform. Deriswap is currently under audit, and other details, including specific launch date, remain unknown.