Top Stories of Last Week

Regulatory

  • Finance ministers from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands have called on EU Commission to issue regulation for stablecoins as well as sanctions for providers that break rules, saying stablecoin regulation is needed to protect consumers and preserve bloc’s monetary sovereignty from Big Tech firms.
  • Indian government reportedly planning to introduce new law to ban trading in cryptocurrencies. India’s union cabinet is said to be discussing crypto bill shortly before sending it to Parliament. Parliament’s session began yesterday and will run through October 1.
  • NY Attorney General senior enforcement counsel John Castiglione filed letter arguing it is time Bitfinex and Tether complied with 17-month-old document production order detailing financial information within next two months. Counsel representing two firms argue order is too broad, and scope should be limited first. NYAG is requesting all documents be submitted within 60 days and injunction preventing Tether from loaning funds to Bitfinex be extended further 90 days.
  • SEC settled charges with Unikrn Inc. for conducting unregistered ICO and that Unikrn will pay $6.1 million penalty, which will be distributed to investors, without admitting or denying regulator’s findings. Also, Unikrn will permanently disable UKG within 10 days of date of order. Unikrn raised $31 million in 2017 ICO with goal of creating betting platform that could be used to place bets on online games.
  • Binance sued in U.S. court by owner of Zaif crypto exchange, Fisco, for allegedly facilitating laundering of $9 million of stolen cryptocurrency. Fisco filed complaint in Northern District Court of California saying Binance’s lax KYC policies allowed cybercriminals to convert stolen crypto from Zaif exchange to other crypto or cash.
  • FinCEN announced it will be changing AML and counter-terrorist financing rules within financial sector. New policies seek to address evolving threats of illicit finance, such as money laundering, terrorist financing and related crimes, which suggests crypto firms will be firmly in sights of coming regulatory changes. New AML regulations aim to identify and combat illicit financial activity through record-keeping and risk assessment requirements and regulator hopes to tighten definition and requirements of AML program under Bank Secrecy Act.

Project Development

  • Michael Saylor, founder of MicroStrategy, said his business intelligence company acquired additional 16,796 bitcoin worth $175 million in a single purchase, increasing total size of MicroStrategy’s bitcoin holdings to 38,250 bitcoin that is worth roughly $416 million at current prices.
  • ETH 2.0 developer Danny Ryan announced pending deployment of Spadina, a mainnet-configuration test network, later this month. Spadina will run parallel with Medalla to test deposits and genesis ahead of mainnet.
  • BNP Paribas’ securities arm partnered with Digital Asset to develop number of real-time trade and settlement applications using DAML-based smart contracts. New DAML-driven apps will connect BNP Paribas Securities Services with global stock exchanges like Australian Securities Exchange and Hong Kong Exchange. Apps will provide market participants in Asia Pacific with real-time access to ASX’s and HKEX’s upcoming blockchain-based trading and settlement platforms.
  • Dapper Labs announced they are using USDC as global settlement solution for NFTs in move that permits Dapper Labs to add fiat payment options to website for first time. Startup’s current flagship offering, NBA Top Shot, launched in June and has amassed $2 million in revenue and 58,081 transactions.
  • Bank of Thailand announced launch of blockchain-enabled platform for issuance of government saving bonds. Thai central bank sold 50 billion Baht (approximately $1.6B) worth of government savings bonds over one week’s time. 
  • Blockchain-Based Service Network plans to make 24 public chains available in its network for Chinese users starting from second half of November. Developers can use technical frameworks behind these public chains to build and run dapps. However, public chains will be localized for Chinese market, changing chains to permissioned versions and replacing tokens with direct payment by Chinese currency renminbi to cover transaction fees on these chains.

Exchanges

  • Wyoming Banking Board voted to approve Kraken’s application for special purpose depository institution charter, making it first cryptocurrency firm to become a state-chartered bank. Kraken Financial now has regulatory passport into other states without having to deal with state-by-state compliance plan.
  • Coinbase Pro announced customers have to pay crypto withdrawal fees based on estimate of network transaction fee. Up until now, Coinbase Pro had taken care of transaction fees when users withdrew from exchange. Fees have risen due to higher transactional activity and gas prices, with ETH transaction fees consistently remaining above 100 gwei, leading to longer wait times and higher fees.
  • Bithumb raided by Seoul Metropolitan Police for third time this month, where police reportedly seized number of shares in Bithumb Holdings belonging to Director Kim Byung-Geon. Latest police raids tied to alleged financial fraud around Bithumb’s native BXA token.

Fundraising

  • Crypto-to-fiat gateway infrastructure provider XanPool raised $4.3 million in pre-Series A funding. Round was led by OK Group, with participation from HashKey and Gumi Cryptos. XanPool helps users convert cryptocurrency to local fiat currencies. Firm’s software supports local payment solutions such as FPS in Hong Kong, IBFT in Pakistan, and InstaPay in Philippines.
  • ParaSwap, a DEX aggregator, completed $2.7 million seed funding round from total of 32 investors including Blockchain Capital, Alameda Research, Arrington XRP Capital, Coinfund, CoinGecko, Aave founder Stani Kulechov and others.
  • SKALE announced completion of $5 million token sale on ConsenSys’ platform Activate with roughly 4,000 investors from 90 countries. Around 13,000 investors with total capital pool of $57 million expressed interest in project. SKALE raised $5 million because of regulatory constraints in Liechtenstein, where NODE Foundation is based.
  • PowerTrade, a mobile bitcoin options trading platform set to launch this year, raised $4.7 million via token sales in round led by Pantera Capital and joined by Framework Ventures, CMS Holdings, QCP Capital, Kain Warwick of Synthetix, Loi Luu of Kyber Network and Bobby Ong of CoinGecko, among others.

Defi

  • Uniswap launched governance token, UNI, minting 1 billion coins to be released to public over next four years. 60% of tokens will be allocated to community members, with remaining tokens split between team members and future employees (21.51%), investors (17.8%) and advisors (0.69%). Uniswap will launch liquidity mining program on Sept. 18, targeting USDT, USDC, DAI and wBTC pools.
  • NEO announced DeFi project known as Flamingo Finance scheduled for launch on 23rd of September. A product of Neo Global Development incubator initiative, FLM hopes to introduce interoperability between blockchain networks and corresponding assets. Vault staking begins Sept 23, with 50,000,000 FLM tokens distributed to users staking wrapped tokens during “Mint Rush” period. 
  • Huobi’s Global DeFi Alliance welcomed new members Curve Finance, Aave, Synthetix, Balancer, Loopring, Zapper, Zerion, Bitpie, Mykey, and CoinGecko in joining founding members Maker Foundation, Compound, NEST Community, dYdX, and Huobi DeFi Labs to explore cross-border collaboration opportunities and promoting development of DeFi ecosystem.
  • Set Labs launched Defi index product in collaboration with DeFi Pulse called DeFi Pulse Index, which will allow users to invest in ten popular DeFi tokens instead of manually acquiring assets from different exchanges. Index is available for purchase on TokenSets platform. 
  • Crypto.com launched liquidity swap platform called DeFi Swap, which allows users to seamlessly swap tokens in hosted pools and offers yield farming incentives to liquidity providers. Each swap incurs 0.3% fee, but will not be available in some nations including U.S. or Singapore.

Things to Watch This Week

  • Bitcoin Futures and Options Expiry
    • Over 83k Bitcoin options expire on September 25th across several exchanges including Deribit, LedgerX, Bakkt, OKEx, CME, and Huobi. With such a high number of options and futures expiring, it is safe to say that the probability of an increase in volatility next week is likely. As the price of Bitcoin currently sits under an important resistance level at $11,200, it will be important to monitor whether Bitcoin can overcome this level or if the impending movement is to the downside.
  • NEO Defi Entry
    • NEO’s announcement of the launch of their new Defi platform Flamingo caught the attention of many, as can be seen in the 20% price appreciation of NEO in the past 7 days. What differentiates their launch versus the many other protocols riding the Defi wave within their own platforms is that NEO is actively trying to build a bridge for users staking ERC-20 assets on the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem to also earn assets on NEO’s DeFi ecosystem. Staking and the beginning of their “Mint Rush” begins September 25th. It will be important to see the outcome of NEO’s launch this week and if the yield farming craze that has overtaken Ethereum can migrate to other major protocols.
    • Fomocap trades@Workedia
      Few words from myself. 1. Onchain analysis is still major factor in FA 2. Spot is leading the market since March crash 3. High demand for stablecoins, USDT+USDC 4. Correlation to tradfi trend 5. Price difference btw Spot and Futs 6. Options puts call ratio 7. Open interest ..

      Yassine Elmandjra@yassineARK
      Bitcoin is the most compelling monetary asset to emerge since gold. As the birth of a new asset class, it could scale more than an order of magnitude to the trillions during the next decade
      Part 2 is officially here: Bitcoin As An Investment
      ark-invest.com/white-papers/b…

      Five years ago, a $10,000 investment in bitcoin would have delivered a 119% CAGR and would be worth roughly $500,000 today. In fact, during any yearly holding period since inception through September 1, 2020, bitcoin’s return has been positive, significantly so in most case.
      READ MORE

      Willy Woo@woonomic
      Some takeaways from @APompliano‘s interview with @michael_saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, after their 38,250 BTC buy ($425m). Plot goes: “I’m a good thinker and a large financial player, this what I found researching Bitcoin coming from outside of the industry” Read on…

      Michael trained as a rocket scientist, MicroStrategy sells business intelligence software for large clients.

      He cites a total of 35,000 publicly traded companies carrying a total of $5T of spare cash getting negative real returns. (I make out if others follow MicroStrategy’s lead and even just 1% of that capital finds its way into BTC, that’s enough to blow Bitcoin cap to $2T.)

      There’s not a lot of inflation sheltering assets that you can easily sink large capital into that are not overvalued already. Tech Stocks are pumped high, commercial real estate is marked up and hard to deploy into. Bitcoin is 100x or 1000x better than Gold.
      READ MORE

      Theta Seek@thetaseek
      DeFi thread – Why I am calling the top (At least for now) 1/ DeFi is too difficult to use. While traction for DeFi (AMM + deposits/yield) has grown tremendously over the past few months, DeFi is difficult to use, the ability to lose funds scares most new users away.
      READ MORE
      skew@skewdotcom
      100k #bitcoin options are set to expire between now and month-end

      Paolo Ardoino@paoloardoino
      1/4 @Tether_to reached 15B+!! 
      A thread of success
      20/02/19: 4 billion
      11/03/20: 5 billion (20 days)
      26/03/20: 6 billion (15 days)
      18/04/20: 7 billion (23 days)
      6/05/20: 8 billion (18 days)
      25/05/20: 9 billion (19 days)
      21/07/20 : 10 billion (27 days)
      1/08/20: 11 billion (11 days)
      13/08/20: 12 billion (12 days)
      26/08/20: 13 billion (13 days)
      4/09/20: 14 billion (8 days)
      16/09/20: 15 billion (12 days)

      3/4 Ok, now this is mind blowing and great proxy representation of the growth of #crypto ecosystem.
      0 to 5 billion: took 5 years
      5 to 10 billion: took 102 days
      10 to 15 billion: took 54 days
      What’s next?

      PlanB@100trillionUSD
      “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” a.k.a Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) Is MicroStrategy exploiting EMH deviations by buying $425M bitcoin? Can we do the same by front running other cash rich companies that will follow? EMH & bitcoin article:
      medium.com/@100trillionUS…
      Preston Byrne@prestonjbyrne
      SEC possibly responding to criticism of the Eos settlement here – by not only dinging a coin issuer ( @UnikrnCo) but forcing them to kill the coin as well. One wonders what the thinking is on other, bigger schemes about which we have heard little.
      sec.gov/news/public-st…
      DonAlt@CryptoDonAlt
      I thought I’d do a trip down memory lane and compare alts against BTC. It’s interesting how once coins reach the top 10, they tend to stagnate. Bitcoin has so far been an iron ceiling. Opportunities have been brief and holding large market cap coins long term rarely pays off.

      READ MORE
      Andre Cronje@AndreCronjeTech
      We can ship so fast, because each expert takes care of their area;
      AMM? @UniswapProtocol
      Lending? @AaveAave
      Voting? @fcmartinelli
      DAO? @AragonProject
      Marketplace? @rariblecom
      Insurance? @NexusMutual
      Oracle? @chainlink
      yearn exists because we all work together