12 March

Exchange-traded fund (ETF) giant WisdomTree has applied to launch a bitcoin ETF, becoming one of many firms to apply for an ETF by filing an S-1 Form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. WisdomTree intends to list the shares of the ETF on Cboe’s BZX Exchange.

NYDIG applied in February, Valkyrie applied in January, and VanEck applied in December of last year. So far, VanEck has been the only couple to also file a Form 19b-4, kicking off the SEC’s regulatory review process.

Grayscale may soon be in the process of either applying for a new bitcoin ETF or converting Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF as it seeks to hire nine ETF specialists.”

See Also: Planned ETF Would Invest in Grayscale’s GBTC to Sidestep SEC’s Crypto Reluctance

A piece of digital artwork has sold for a mind-blowing $69.3 million at auction. Storied auction house Christie’s has wrapped its sale of “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” by crypto artist Beeple.

Ether (ETH) was supported as a payment vehicle in a first for the 255-year-old auction house. At press time, it is unclear if the buyer used fiat or crypto to buy the now-famous Beeple.”

See Also: A St Louis home is being auctioned off as an NFT on Mintable

Bitcoin (BTC) is proving its flexibility as an investment, rising along with tech and social-media stocks when those securities are rallying and still managing to eke out gains when traditional-market investors suddenly go cold on the technology trade.

The secret? Bitcoin’s investment narrative deftly shifted toward its potential use as an inflation hedge as a risk-off mood in recent weeks on Wall Street triggered a retreat from tech stocks and related investments.

Bitcoin enjoys the current macroeconomic environment as it is a hard asset that benefits from rising inflation. It also likes risk-on conditions, which are reflected by rising bond yields.

As of Thursday, bitcoin had gained for seven straight days, its longest winning streak this year, with prices currently around $57,500, just shy of the all-time high above $58,000 reached last month.”

The European Central Bank (ECB) said Thursday it would “significantly” accelerate a plan to buy as much as €1.85 trillion (US$2.2 trillion) of government bonds, addressing concerns that a recent tightening of financial conditions, in the form of rising market yields, might derail the region’s economic recovery.

Market interest rates have increased since the start of the year, which poses a risk to wider financing conditions. The introductory statement now sends a clear signal that PEPP purchases will be increased through Q2.”

“Amid the backdrop of ever-escalating Ethereum fees, the Ethereum Improvement Proposal seeks to replace the network’s existing bidding-based fee market with a fixed price and burn mechanism. However, EIP-1559 — which is scheduled to go live in July, will significantly impact the revenue of miners.

To signal their opposition to the proposal, some Ether miners are now planning a 51-hour show of force for April 1. Miners intend to direct their hash rate to the 1559-opposed pool, Ethermine, for 51 hours.

Part of the risk display here is not to attack the network, it’s to show that force projection is possible.”

Russia’s central bank is planning to showcase a prototype for its ruble-backed digital currency later this year. The prototype would be available for people to “kick its tires,” but won’t support any real money transactions.

Next year, based on that prototype and any additional developments needed, we will start testing it.

The absolute majority of the feedback we got on our report, 83% of it, supported the idea of the digital ruble.”

See Also: Jamaica to Pilot CBDC Later This Year

“The latest injection of capital will go toward doubling BlockFi’s 500-person team by the end of 2021, launching a bitcoin rewards credit card in the second quarter and expanding the focus of its retail products to markets outside the U.S.

Plus, BlockFi wants to add services outside of just crypto. This could include digital securities, but Prince declined to comment further. ‘We are interested in becoming a public company.’

I think that a crypto company or multiple crypto companies have the opportunity to replace traditional banks on a global scale for the primary banking relationship with consumers.”

“Blockchain analytics startup CipherTrace has released its anti-money laundering (AML) tool for cryptocurrency firms, called “CipherTrace Traveler.”

It’s a commercial offering but with an open-source and decentralized component that has involved 150 VASPs working on TRISA technical standards.

There are large financial institutions that need a commercial product to base their business on, as well as many small VASPs and OTC desks that aren’t going to hire a programmer at $10,000 a month to build this stuff.

The next FATF plenary meeting in June will see a review of progress made by countries and VASPs. While travel rule insiders emphasize this is not a hard and fast deadline, some jurisdictions, such as Singapore, already require firms to show a travel rule solution is in place.”