13 April

CPI rose faster than expected in March to a four-decade high of 8.5% as supply-chain woes and the war in Ukraine pushed energy and food prices higher. Analysts and economists had estimated an 8.4% inflation rate.

The headline CPI, which includes prices for all items basic for living such as food, housing, car, energy, consumer products, is now at its highest point since December 1981, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Some analysts argue that March was the top for inflation and will slow in the coming months.

Investors had sold off risk assets such as stocks and cryptocurrencies amid fear that a spike in inflation would prompt the Federal Reserve to accelerate monetary tightening and rate hikes.

If [Fed governor Lael] Brainard shows signs of confidence that rate hikes and quantitative tightening remain on same schedule as she previously announced, it could give retail and institutions the confidence needed to return to the markets, including cryptocurrencies.”

See Also: Crypto Sell-Off Pauses as Volatility Fades; Altcoins Outperform

“Circle Internet Financial said it raised $400 million in a funding round that included investments from BlackRock, Fidelity, Marshall Wace LLP and Fin Capital.

Notably, a press release said BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, ‘has entered into a broader strategic partnership with Circle, which includes exploring capital market applications for USDC.’ According to Tuesday’s press release, BlackRock will function as ‘a primary asset manager of USDC cash reserves.’

This funding round will drive the next evolution of Circle’s growth.”

See Also: Pantera Capital Set to Close $1.3B Blockchain Fund

“Weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden released an executive order directing the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to look into a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC), one of the nation’s biggest financial services providers is building a prototype.

“Project Lithium,” a CBDC pilot from post-trade clearing and settlement firm Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) is intended to explore the potential benefits of a CBDC and the value it could bring to the financial services industry, such as how a CBDC could benefit the clearing and settlement of securities.

This is an experimentation on whether or not a digitalized form of a central bank digital currency drives any additional value to the industry in the capital market space.

DTCC is working on the project in partnership with the Digital Dollar Project, the non-profit formed to advocate for a U.S. CBDC. The DTCC board of directors includes executives from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BNY Mellon and Northern Trust as well as the foreign banks UBS and BNP Paribas.”

See Also: Banks May Face Competition From CBDCs, Study Suggests

Brokerage firm Fidelity has launched two new ETFs to track the general crypto industry and what’s quickly become known as the metaverse. The new funds make Fidelity yet another major asset manager, joining BlackRock and Charles Schwab, that’s looking for ways to offer clients exposure to cryptocurrencies.

We continue to see demand, particularly from young investors, for access to the rapidly growing industries in the digital ecosystem, and these two thematic ETFs offer investors exposure in a familiar investment vehicle.

The new funds—Fidelity Metaverse ETF (FMET) and Fidelity Crypto Industry and Digital Payments ETF (FDIG)—will trade on Nasdaq. They are thematic, meaning that all assets contained in these portfolios are related to the metaverse or crypto, but investors aren’t directly exposed to cryptocurrencies.”

See Also: IDEG Asset Management, Coinbase Prime to Launch Actively Managed ETH Fund

Starting April 15, only “accredited” U.S. investors will be able to add new assets and earn rewards on Celsius’ Earn platform. To be deemed accredited in the U.S., investors must have a minimum annual income of $200,000 or a net worth over $1 million.

We have been in ongoing discussions with United States regulators regarding our Earn product. As a result, there will be changes to the way our Earn product will work for users based in the United States.

The company is currently facing several legal investigations from regulators in various U.S. states on allegations its lending and earn programs might be in violation of securities laws.”

Griffith will serve 63 months in prison and pay a $100,000 fine for helping North Koreans use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions. In September, Griffith pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate international sanctions against North Korea.

Though the crime carried a maximum penalty of 20 years, Griffith’s plea deal with federal prosecutors brought the sentence down to a range of 63 to 78 months – approximately five to 6.5 years. Griffith has already spent approximately two years in custody.

The sentence handed down is on the lower end of the prosecution’s suggested sentencing guidelines, and is in line with the sentence recommended by the Department of Probation.”