14 April

“Crypto custody firm Fireblocks has teamed up with FIS, the Fortune 500 technology provider to banks and capital markets firms. FIS’s client list of 6,400 asset managers, banks and brokers will have access to platforms like Aave Arc with more institution-friendly DeFi pathways to come.

It’s another signal to the market that institutions are edging closer to crypto – even its more esoteric realms. Many of the big banks are exploring structured products in the form of crypto derivatives, if not directly exposing themselves to the asset class.

There are investors who will seek out synthetic exposure as their only means of access to crypto and digital asset investing. But for the market makers and the brokers, they will need access to the underlying physical assets.

The appetite of traditional clients to control their own wallet technology and get exposure to different types of these assets will grow over time, either for their own portfolios or to support their structured products or derivatives businesses on top.

This is going to be a great opportunity to empower FIS’s clients to access all the weird and wonderful things of digital assets.”

See Also: MetaMask Institutional Adds Ethereum Gnosis Safe, Custody Options for DAOs and DeFi
See Also: Synthetix Adds Perpetual Futures, Commodities and Forex Pairs

Commercial paper, a type of unsecured debt issued by companies, constitutes 30% of Tether’s reserves. Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino told CNBC Wednesday that the company is already scaling back its reliance on commercial paper and ‘will keep reducing the commercial paper‘ in its reserves.

According to Tether’s most recent breakdown, from December 31, 30% of its reserves (worth $24.2 billion) are held in commercial paper or certificates of deposit. That represents a reduction in both absolute and percentage terms from September 30, 2021, when $30.6 billion (44%) of its $69.2 billion in reserve was in commercial paper.”

“The Polygon network announced on Tuesday its commitment to going carbon neutral and climate positive this year by releasing their “Green Manifesto: A Smart Contract with Planet Earth.” Going carbon neutral means that every nonfungible token (NFT) minted, token bridged or decentralized finance (DeFi) trade made on Polygon will be accounted for and its environmental impact will be offset.

Polygon is collaborating with KlimaDAO, an organization of developers that provides on-chain carbon offsetting technology, as well as Offsetra, which provides Polygon with an analysis tool that gauges the network’s carbon intensity.”

“MoonPay announced today that Matthew McConaughey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Steve Aoki, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Brie Larson, Gal Gadot, Eva Longoria, Paris Hilton and others provided $86.7 million in funding to the payments infrastructure company.

According to MoonPay, ‘The strategic investors represent industries on the cusp of transformation by Web3 technology.’

Web3 is inspiring the entertainment industry, and commerce in general, to reimagine the way we create community, connect with fans, build value and manage intellectual property.

It’s been a rapid rise for MoonPay, which was founded in 2019. In December, it raised $555 million in a Series A round, bringing its total valuation to $3.4 billion. The service claims 10 million users across 160 countries. Its basic utility is that it integrates with other crypto services to let users buy crypto with a credit card or debit card. The service processes NFT transactions for OpenSea and is probably best known for facilitating celebrity purchases of Bored Apes. It also facilitates purchases on Bitcoin.com and payments for plenty of other platforms.”

See Also: Nexo Unveils Payment Card Where Users Get to Keep Their Crypto

Thirteen franchises are set to announce a tie-up with fan token platform Socios, following the New England Patriots into the uncharted territory of NFL crypto deals. Socios’ current social token model has a presence in the world of European football. The company [also] announced partnership deals with 24 National Basketball Association teams in October.

Unlike in Europe, Socios’ U.S. deals have yet to include the release of any actual tokens, largely because of regulatory concerns. The deals are described by the teams as “multi-platform marketing” agreements that include in-stadium advertising and Socios-driven fan experiences like player meet-and-greets, but no tokens – yet.

In most countries in the world, you have a clear regulatory framework; in the U.S. it’s not yet completely clear.”

See Also: Dallas Cowboys Ink Deal With Blockchain.com as NFL Teams Begin Crypto Embrace

“Sega is embarking on a five-year plan to create “Super Game,” an interconnected framework of AAA titles that could incorporate Web3 technologies such as NFTs. Kikuchi also hinted at how its ‘Super Game’ plan could lead to a metaverse initiative in which different games are interconnected with each other.

We are developing Super Game from the perspective of how far different games can be connected to each other. It is a natural extension for the future of gaming that it will expand to involve new areas such as cloud gaming and NFTs.”

See Also: ERC721R: Bringing Greater Accountability to NFT Creators
See Also: Chinese Banking Associations Target NFTs
See Also: ‘Jack Dorsey’s First Tweet’ NFT Went on Sale for $48M. It Ended With a Top Bid of Just $280

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.”

12 April

“The Ethereum Foundation got a step closer to deploying Ethereum 2.0 and has been using “shadow forks” to make its testnet more closely resemble the Ethereum mainnet. Over the weekend, Ethereum DevOps engineer Parathi Jayanathi said on Twitter that the team had done three shadow forks of the Goerli testnet.

We’re very close to a historical event. Today will be the first mainnet shadow fork ever.

As of this writing, the new Ethereum shadow fork network had processed 1.8 million transactions. It’s a big milestone as Ethereum developers get closer to transitioning the mainnet itself from a proof-of-work to proof-of-stake consensus model.

A “shadow fork” is a term that refers to the copying of data from a mainnet network, in this case the Ethereum blockchain, to a testnet, where developers can test features before deploying their work to the main network. In doing so, Ethereum engineers have made their test environment more closely resemble the mainnet that’s processing well over 1 billion transactions per day.”

“The fall in price comes as investors weigh the risks of rising interest rates, soaring inflation and dislocation of global commerce as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ‘The macro environment has investors spooked.’

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday was already warning that the Consumer Price Index report for March, due out early Tuesday, would reveal inflation rising at an “extraordinarily elevated” pace. That could prompt the Federal Reserve to accelerate the pace of interest-rate increases to keep inflation, currently running at a four-decade high, from spiraling out of control.

The bitcoin market, which has become unusually synced lately with U.S. stocks, has been pricing in the Federal Reserve’s pledge to shrink its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet by as much as $95 billion a month. Traders are assessing the potential impact of the balance sheet reduction – referred to as “quantitative tightening” – along with multiple interest-rate hikes of 50 basis points each.

Rising interest rate fears and the expectation of tighter monetary conditions continues to be a focus for bitcoin investors.”

“Meta Platforms’ digital economy got rolling Monday with new tools for hawking virtual goods in the social media giant’s virtual reality game, Horizon Worlds. A “handful” of creators will be able to sell “virtual items and effects” in their respective worlds, Meta said. Only Americans and Canadians above the age of 18 will be able to purchase those items.

[However], the virtual items marketplace could see Meta take anywhere from 25% to 70% [in fees], according to The Verge.

These types of tools are steps toward our long-term vision for the metaverse where creators can earn a living and people can purchase digital goods, services, and experiences. Clearly the ability to sell virtual goods and be able to take them with you from one world to another is going to be an important part.

That language mimics the promise of user-owned non-fungible tokens (NFTs). But Meta’s monetization tools don’t have any crypto element to them – at least not yet.”

See Also: Fortnite creators Epic Games raise $2B from Sony and LEGO to fund metaverse plans
See Also: Mastercard files 15 metaverse and NFT related trademarks

None of the advisors who already have a portion of their portfolio in crypto planned to decrease it over the next year. The vast majority, 86%, plan to increase their crypto allocations. The 500 advisors, polled last month manage $26 trillion.

The vast majority of advisors we surveyed either plan to begin allocating to crypto or increase their existing allocation to crypto. As demand continues to surge, advisors will be looking for an institutional solution to the crypto question that now dominates client conversations.”

“Crypto executives and lobbyists, in the absence of federal regulations, are working with state lawmakers across the country to craft favorable legislation, the New York Times reported. Many states, eager to attract the jobs they think the industry will bring, are rushing to grant the legislative wishes of the crypto companies.

More than 150 pieces of crypto-related legislation are currently pending before state legislatures and Puerto Rico. In New York, the industry is spending more than $140,000 per month, the Times said, quoting state records. In some cases, legislators have used industry-suggested language almost verbatim.

While the article is notable for its overview of the growing power of the crypto industry at the state level, its publication, coming less than a month after the Times published a sophisticated and well-done introduction to cryptocurrencies, also speaks to the mainstreaming of cryptocurrency in the U.S. and a growing interest of traditional media in covering it.”

“The Bored Ape Yacht Club is getting its own film trilogy, with crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) behind the camera. Bored Ape owners are invited to submit their apes for consideration as characters in the trilogy, along with made-up character descriptions that will be reviewed by an actual Hollywood casting director.

The first of three installments for the series of animated short films, titled “The Degen Trilogy,” will premiere at NFT.NYC in June, with the NFT community of apes and non-apes alike having a say in parts of the film’s plot.

We’re seeing how NFTs are evolving to be vehicles of access and participation in networks, games, merchandise and now interactive entertainment. This is a breakthrough project and we’re excited to see how this shapes the future of Web 3 for all communities.

After their release, the films will be “wallet-gated” on the Coinbase website, with users having to create a Coinbase wallet before being able to view them. The series will also tie into Coinbase’s long-awaited NFT marketplace, which will be released ‘very very soon.'”

See Also: Bored Ape Yacht Club-Themed Burger Joint Debuts in California
See Also: NBA’s Crypto Chief Registers Second .Eth Domain as League Files for 4 NFT Trademarks

The Disrupt Weekend

See Also: Polynya: Modular Execution Layers
See Also: Arbitrum Launches Nitro Devnet

“Stablecoins are a real-world use case with product-market fit. And there’s a battle brewing between them. An epic battle for market share.

Stablecoins are deeply rooted in every single DeFi protocol, explicitly or implicitly. This means there’s a strong demand for deep stablecoin liquidity – the ability to regularly move millions with no slippage. Enter Curve. The Curve 3pool is a vital DeFi building block. It’s a stablecoin liquidity pool made of DAI, USDC, and UDST with over 3 billion in TVL.

Designed to compete with the 3pool, the 4pool is comprised of USDT, USDC, UST, and FRAX. By pooling CVX holdings, an alliance of Terra, Frax Finance, and [REDACTED] Cartel intend to drive CRV emissions to the 4pool and effectively starve the 3pool and drive LPs to deposit into the 4pool if they want to earn returns. Notably absent in the pool is of course DAI.

While many are skeptical of the long-term safety and decentralization prospects of UST, recently Terra has been making big moves to protect UST’s peg. Backing UST with BTC and AVAX creates alliances between Terra and the Bitcoin and Avalanche communities.

Meanwhile, MakerDAO isn’t resting on its laurels. MakerDAO has consistently pursued a strategy to diversify its collateral reserves into real-world assets and imbue further utility into DAI with the off-chain world. This week saw Tesla close a $7.8 million financing deal with MakerDAO, with the latter extending a line of credit to fund Tesla’s repair facilities.

Who will win? It’s too early to tell. Acquiring market share is one major test of a stablecoin’s prowess. But the harder tests involve resistance to market shocks, centralization, and regulatory capture.”

See Also: UST: New Paradigm or Ticking Time Bomb? (Video)

To some in the crypto world, the Ronin attack was evidence that the future of crypto, even if it is to be “multichain,” is unlikely to be “cross-chain.” With teams fleeing Ethereum for more centralized blockchains that are faster and cheaper, the Ronin attack also served as a reminder of decentralization’s importance.

Some members of the Ethereum community have pointed to the words of Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who described his feelings on the limits of cross-chain bridges in a January Reddit post. Sending assets across cross-chain bridges will never carry the same security guarantees as transacting within individual blockchain ecosystems, he explained.

The fundamental security limits of bridges are actually a key reason why, while I am optimistic about a multi-chain blockchain ecosystem … I am pessimistic about cross-chain applications.

If there are 100 chains, then there will end up being dapps with many interdependencies between those chains, and 51% attacking even one chain would create a systemic contagion that threatens the economy of that entire ecosystem.

Sky Mavis tried to scale up its ability to operate on Ethereum by building out a sidechain (Ronin). But scaling a layer 1 blockchain via a sidechain – which will always require a bridge – will arguably never be as safe as scaling via solutions like rollups, which inherit their security guarantees from a layer 1 chain.

In addition to highlighting the shortcomings of cross-chain bridges, the Ronin attack validated another core thesis among Ethereum devotees – one which is shared by bitcoiners and crypto-idealists in general – which is that true decentralization is vitally important to the success of any crypto ecosystem.

More and more crypto projects are emerging that throw decentralization to the wind, believing (perhaps rightfully) that today’s users don’t care about decentralization so long as they can transact quickly and cheaply. The Ronin attack reminds us that decentralization, regardless of what users might think, is of practical security importance for big-money applications.

Ethereum’s slow pace migrating to Ethereum 2.0 has left room for more centralized chains like Ronin to emerge out of sheer necessity. Nevertheless, as “the Merge” inches closer, last month’s Ronin attack showed why the hard work of decentralization at scale remains important.”

See Also: How to get price exposure to the Merge

Many of the collective action problems that pervade politics and real-world markets are fast being solved in Web3. Public blockchains like Ethereum are immutable, publicly accessible, and programmable substrate that excels at facilitating human coordination on a global scale.

Here are 3 examples that are in production, today.

  1. Informational asymmetries – Extensive financial regulations today try to eliminate information asymmetries by binding banks to transparent and fixed reporting standards so it offers investors certainty about the underlying security of assets. On the blockchain, the backings are transparent and publicly accessible. Analysts, journalists, and concerned citizens can verify for themselves the financial backings and overcollaterization ratios and determine the risk independently, instead of waiting for quarterly reports which when released are akin to lighting dynamite fuses to stock prices.
  2. Decentralized identities and occupational licensing – Decentralized identity systems make reliable information available and therefore render occupational licensing laws redundant. A person’s reputation and their job experience can be verified by anyone on the ledger, obviating the need for a state bureaucracy to issue a licensing regime that is vulnerable to regulatory capture by corporate lobbies.
  3. Public goods funding – Gitcoin employs a quadratic funding formula that scales funding in a democratically efficient way. They do this by matching every single donor’s contribution with the deep pockets of large foundations. The idea is that if a wide group of people signal the value of a public good through their willingness to pay, then it makes sense to prop them up with institutional funding. In effect, Gitcoin offers the best of both worlds: it effectively aggregates preferences in public goods while at the same time incentivizing the rich to pay a fairer share. [Further], blockchain-based protocols like Gitcoin not only raise money more efficiently but also provide a credibly neutral way for individuals to fund and build public goods.

Blockchain technology offers a credible solution to the many societal problems that our existing outdated and entrenched institutions have struggled to solve.”

The presented study examines the use of concepts and models of the Baseline Protocol in the context of the introduction of an EU-wide Intermediated Financing Platform at the European Investment Fund. The individual basic concepts of the Baseline Protocol are presented and evaluated for their applicability to the given application.

The authors of the study recommend the introduction of the Baseline Patterns and concepts in the design phase of the EIF Intermediated Financing Platform. The baseline patterns supports automation, scaling potential and inclusion of 3rd parties, without putting any of the applicant’s information at risk of being exposed to an unintended use.

We are pleased that Unibright have chosen to undertake this study. At EIF, it can be expected to feed into our thinking as we consider design and technology aspects of the digital transformation of our business that we are embarking on.”

9 April

Decentralized finance (DeFi) firm Truflation is building a new gauge to track inflation independent from the government and in real-time. Think of it as a competitor to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and one where officials can’t move the goalposts.

The centralized state isn’t going to provide reliable inflation stats. It’s the black box. We don’t know how they made the survey, how they executed it and so on … and the surveys are quite dubious to us as opposed to real price data of the sales point that you can get from real merchants or aggregators

The key difference between the CPI and the Truflation index is that while the government uses survey data to measure inflation, Truflation looks at price data. The Truflation index measures and reports inflation changes daily by using current real-market price data from sources like Zillow, Penn State and Nielsen, among others.

Truflation, which runs on Chainlink and is therefore accessible and visible for everyone, currently measures a 13.2% inflation rate, as opposed to 7.9% measured by the CPI in March.”

Mallers said Strike would partner with Shopify’s global network of merchants to allow for payments across the Bitcoin Lightning network – for those merchants who want to opt in. Strike [also] partnered with NCR (NCR), the world’s largest point-of-sale (POS) supplier, and payments firm Blackhawk.

Strike’s integration enables Shopify merchants to diversify their existing payment options and reach untapped global markets and purchasing power. By instantly converting bitcoin (BTC) payments to dollars, Strike removes certain complexities merchants face in holding bitcoin.

Maller’s announcement could supercharge an explosion in mainstream adoption for Lightning Network. Earlier Tuesday, stock and crypto trading hub Robinhood Markets (HOOD) said its new wallet would add support for bitcoin transactions on the Lightning Network.”

See Also: Shopify Bitcoin payments integration triggers legal questions from the community

“The update to Arbitrum will cheapen fees, speed up transactions, and make it easier for native Ethereum apps to interface with the Layer 2 chain. Arbitrum’s fees, which were usually around 50 cents to $1 before the update, will be cut by at least 50%.

Arbitrum is currently Ethereum’s largest rollup solution, with nearly $2.5 billion total value locked (TVL).”

“On Thursday, the FDIC issued a financial institution letter requesting that banks should notify their regional FDIC director of their crypto activities. According to the letter, the FDIC will review the information, ask more questions if necessary, and then issue “relevant supervisory feedback.”

Because the vast majority of banks – including every national bank – in the U.S. are FDIC-insured, the new requirements mean that nearly all banks with crypto exposure – including Wall Street titans like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs – must now disclose their crypto activities to the regulator.

Under Acting Chair Martin Gruenberg, the banking regulator has issued warnings about the potential for the “rapid introduction of … digital asset products into the financial system” to pose systemic risks. In February, Gruenberg said the FDIC and other regulators needed to provide “robust guidance” to the banking industry on how to manage the risks posed by crypto.”

See Also: Top US Bank Watchdog Warns of Stablecoins’ ‘Lack of Interoperability’
See Also: CLabs to Work With eCurrency to Integrate CBDCs With DeFi
See Also: South Africa finishes technical PoC for wholesale CBDC settlement system

“The policy arm of U.S. Senate Republicans has issued a policy paper on crypto, signaling the GOP is making its way toward a more unified approach to crypto regulation.

While the paper touts the potential for crypto to “reduce transaction costs and speeds and to increase privacy,” it also calls attention to crypto’s role in “nefarious purposes” like ransomware attack payments, scams, speculation and drug trafficking.

Though nothing in the paper is new information, the paper itself is noteworthy because it demonstrates the development of a more cohesive Republican policy position on crypto. Senate Republicans have been, on the whole, more supportive of the crypto industry than Senate Democrats, but policy efforts have been sporadic.”

Adam Back’s Blockstream and Jack Dorsey’s Block (SQ) are building a pilot crypto mine in Texas that will be powered by a Tesla (TSLA) solar installation and batteries.

The mine will have a relatively tiny 30 petahash/second in computing power and energy capacity of just 1 megawatt (MW). The project will be completely off-grid, said Back, with a Tesla 3.8 MW solar array powering the mine.

Real-time operational and financial information about the mine, including its energy consumption and hashrate, will be publicly available in a dashboard. The data is intended to inform the public debate around off-grid mining and whether it can fund the expansion of solar power.

See Also: Samson Mow’s new company JAN3 helping build Bitcoin City in El Salvador

“Russian payments to EU crypto wallets will be capped at €10,000 ($10,900) under sanctions measures published in the European Union’s official journal Friday. The limit is intended to stop wealthy Russians from circumventing a cap on investing in the EU introduced in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

The law prohibits providing high-value crypto wallet, account or custody services above the limit to Russian people or entities, with an exemption for those who are EU nationals or residents.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde recently warned crypto was being used to evade sanctions, despite little evidence.”

Russell Brand: BlackRock and Digital Currencies

8 April

“Notably, Teucrium and NYSE Arca filed the application under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, filing a 19b-4 form with the SEC. The already-approved bitcoin futures ETFs filed by other companies were under the Investment Company Act of 1940.

An approval under the Securities Act of 1933, under which Teucrium’s filing falls, may potentially open the door for a spot bitcoin ETF, Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart said on Twitter earlier this year.”

See Also: Spot ETF Speculation Grips Bitcoin Market
See Also: 21Shares Launches Metaverse ETP via Sandbox’s SAND Token

Bolt, a payments company providing one-click checkout services, agreed to buy Wyre Payments for $1.5 billion to add support for crypto transactions in one of the largest crypto-industry takeovers. The acquisition, expected to close later this year, would see the two firms power the industry’s first one-click cryptocurrency checkout.

The acquisition will allow Bolt’s retailers to accept crypto as payment for goods and services as well allowing for the purchase of non-fungible tokens (NFT) through Bolt using Wyre’s APIs.”

See Also: Robinhood Releases Crypto Wallet to 2M Users, Plans Integration With Bitcoin Lightning Network

“Speaking at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, Samson Mow, former chief strategy officer of Blockstream, named three new jurisdictions that would be adopting or proposing to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender.

As told by Mow, the first is that of the Caribbean island Roatán, which is part of Honduras. In addition, starting Thursday, the Prospera jurisdiction will enable municipalities in Honduras and corporate entities outside of the United States to float Bitcoin bonds within Prospera.

The next jurisdiction to make Bitcoin legal tender is that of Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal. Finally, Mexican Senator Indira Kempis floated the possibility of legislating Bitcoin as legal tender with the Mexican president:

In Mexico, 67 million people are not included in our financial system. Bitcoin is the solution to this problem.”

See Also: Slovenia Unveils Plan for Flat Tax on Crypto Transactions
See Also: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Calls Crypto ‘Transformative’ in Wide-Ranging Speech

Meta has put together preliminary plans to release virtual coins, tokens and lending services on its apps, according to the Financial Times. Meta has been exploring the creation of a virtual currency for the metaverse, or “Zuck Bucks” as it’s being referred to by company employees.

The FT reported that Meta doesn’t envision a blockchain-based digital currency, but in-app tokens that are centrally controlled by the company. The planning reportedly remains in early stages, and the project could be dropped or altered. Meta is also said to be exploring a move into traditional financial services, such as small business lending.

As a company, we are focused on building for the metaverse and that includes what payments and financial services might look like.

Efforts at integrating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into Facebook and Instagram are more developed, the report said. According to an internal memo, Instagram will soon support NFTs and there are plans for a mid-May pilot launch for posting NFTs on Facebook.”

See Also: Terra Backers Buy $200M in AVAX Tokens, Bolstering Crypto Reserves Beyond BTC

To mark the opening of the Bitcoin 2022 conference, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez unveiled a laser-eyed bull statue meant to symbolize Miami becoming the self-proclaimed “world’s capital of crypto.” The statue is a 3,000-pound robotic-looking bull fashioned in the same vein as the Charging Bull of Wall Street.

The bull will greet the 30,000 attendees expected at the conference this year before being put out to pasture at the Miami-Dade College campus after the conference ends. The conference will run for four days from April 6-9.”

7 April

“With the release of the minutes this month, the Fed is laying the groundwork for its upcoming meeting on May 4-5.

Participants generally agreed that monthly caps of about $60 billion for Treasury securities and about $35 billion for agency MBS would likely be appropriate.

In the 2017-19 period, when the Fed last attempted to shrink its balance sheet, the maximum reduction was capped at $50 billion, significantly lower than what the central bank is signaling this year.

U.S. stocks were already down ahead of the meeting, after several Fed officials hinted at what was discussed. Bitcoin (BTC) is down 5% over the last 24 hours.”

See Also: Observers Cautious for Bitcoin as US Inflation-Adjusted Bond Yield Hits 2-Year High

“A leading member of the Senate Banking Committee introduced a bill Wednesday to create a three-pronged regulatory framework for stablecoin issuers in the U.S.

As written, the discussion draft of the bill would define a “payment stablecoin,” authorize the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to create a new license specific to stablecoin issuers, allow insured depository banks to issue payment stablecoins and address state regulatory oversight of this segment of the crypto industry.

“Payment stablecoins” would include stablecoins issued by a centralized entity, are pegged to and can be converted to a fiat currency (or currencies), are “designed to be widely used as a medium of exchange,” do not confer interest and where transactions are recorded on a “public distributed ledger.”

Issuers would be subject to a disclosure regime that would require them to secure regular attestations, detail redemption policies and specify what actually backs the stablecoins they issue. OCC-licensed issuers would also have access to the Federal Reserve’s master account system, which would give them the ability to tap the broader financial system and larger amounts of liquidity in transacting.

The discussion draft of a bill is meant to circulate and garner feedback, rather than be immediately introduced as possible legislation. Toomey noted that stablecoins are currently mainly used for cryptocurrency trades, but suggested they could be used in the broader economy in future.”

See Also: Circle Enlists FIS, Crypto.com for Merchant Payments Settled in USDC
See Also: Sweden Wants to Test E-Krona Viability for Smart Payments

“Many have worried about Russia using crypto to get around U.S. sanctions. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says there’s no evidence this is happening on a large scale. Yellen alluded to the fact that large transactions would be easily viewable on public blockchain explorers—and spotted by private analytics firms.

We haven’t seen significant evasion through crypto so far. Trying to use crypto at a large scale, simply, we think is something that is not easy to do.”

“Fundamentally viewed as a protocol standard designed to optimize and unify the technical parameters of yield-bearing vaults, the newly passed ERC-4626 is gaining traction within the Ethereum community. The ERC-4626 standard is expected to enact widescale benefits across Ethereum’s decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, enhancing the composability and accessibility of yield-bearing vaults across multiple networks.

To build a single app on top of DeFi’s yield-bearing tokens, you have to write dozens of complex, error-prone adapters that can handle each unique variation. If you “build an app on top of one ERC-4626 vault, […] it will work for all other ERC-4626 tokens.”

6 April

“The committee will continue tightening monetary policy methodically through a series of interest rate increases and by starting to reduce the balance sheet at a rapid pace as soon as our May meeting.

Given that the recovery has been considerably stronger and faster than in the previous cycle, I expect the balance sheet to shrink considerably more rapidly than in the previous recovery, with significantly larger caps and a much shorter period to phase in the maximum caps compared with 2017-19.

The Federal Reserve last reduced its balance sheet in 2018, after its assets quadrupled following the financial crisis in 2008.”

See Also: Bitcoin and Stocks Briefly Dip After Fed Comments

“Elon has always been very public about the concept of a more decentralized and censorship-resistant social media platform, and this is something that blockchain and Web3 technology can help enable.

Elon Musk‘s investment in Twitter could help to increase the acceleration of Twitter‘s crypto adoption. It remains to be seen whether Twitter will begin adopting Elon‘s beloved Dogecoin moving forward.”

See Also: FTX US to invest in IEX stock exchange to launch digital securities

“Bitcoin is getting a boost by way of a new Taproot-enabled protocol known as Taproot Asset Representation Overlay, or Taro. Taro is an open-source protocol powered by the Lightning Network (LN).

Lightning Labs describes Taro an asset overlay network on Bitcoin. The security of Taro is based on embedded consensus, which means that transactions on Taro include Bitcoin data that needs to be verified on the Bitcoin blockchain.

The protocol is uniquely enabled by Taproot to embed spending conditions into MASTs without disclosing all details to the blockchain. Using MASTs, Taro embeds data for new assets such that these assets can all be treated as bitcoins.

A critical distinction between Taro and other stablecoins, like UST on Terra, is that Taro is only the infrastructure to enable the movement of assets over Lightning, be they stablecoins or some other asset. Taro is not a stablecoin, it is simply infrastructure to enable the movement of assets. Developers still need to build projects using Taro.”

“There are a couple of things going on here: One is that crypto enables you to move assets person to person without intermediaries, which is a virtue when you are in a conflict zone and access to financial intermediaries is unreliable at best.

Individuals, organizations and countries have had major security and logistical issues sending cash into conflict zones, said Tapscott. Notoriously, in 2007, the U.S. sent $12 billion to Iraq, including billions of dollars of shrink-wrapped cash on pallets, only to have much of it go unaccounted for. But cryptocurrency transactions are irrevocable, and for the most part transparent. So not only can cryptocurrency get to where the donor wants it to go but the donor has evidence that it went into the right hands –and crypto is allowing donors to give more directly than they have in the past.

Many of the suppliers to the Ukrainian military prefer to be paid in crypto. ‘Generals in Ukraine say that 40% of their suppliers are now accepting cryptocurrency directly.’

On the other side of the conflict, Russia’s population of more than 145 million is now cut off from the global financial system and the global economy, said Tapscott, and cryptocurrencies might be a refuge for Russian citizens amid international sanctions.

So far most crypto companies have resisted the mass exodus from Russia.

Here you have a situation in Russia where many people don’t care for this war and it isn’t fair to them that their bank accounts are frozen. Russians are increasingly turning to digital assets to make payments, save and make payroll.

As the world becomes more unstable, there’s a growing role for digital assets as a hedge against geopolitical risk and as a lifeline for people whose access to the global financial system has been removed or restricted.”

See Also: US sanctions Russia’s largest darknet market and crypto exchange Garantex

“The new product, called Ledger Nano S Plus, is the next generation to the original Nano iteration released in 2016, and is designed with NFT collectors’ needs in mind.

The Nano S Plus combined with the recent support of “clear signing” technology through Ledger Live aims to provide a safer user experience for Web3 customers. Clear signing technology aims to provide all the details of a transaction, removing the risk of “blind signing,” or consenting to a potentially risky transaction.

Ledger’s software application Ledger Live prioritizes NFT support where users can view their NFTs in Ledger Live and securely transact through clear signing.”

“A presentation given by ECB officials to finance ministers yesterday suggests in practice there could be multiple different kinds of wallets available to hold a digital euro with fewer checks associated with lower-risk payments. Smaller payments could potentially be fully offline and private, the presentation said, analogous to how cash is used today.

A digital euro should comply with AML requirements but this is different to the current discussion on cryptoassets. We will be assessing whether a higher level of privacy should be made available, in particular, for low-value transactions, depending on the risk characteristics of the digital euro.

In a recent, controversial vote, lawmakers at the European Parliament favored tough anti-money laundering (AML) rules for bitcoin payments, requiring customers to be identified for even the smallest transactions.”

See Also: EU Consultation Looks at Issues With a Digital Euro
See Also: US House of Representatives to Consider Legislation on El Salvador’s Bitcoin Adoption

Nearly 20% of Bitcoin’s hash rate is produced by public mining companies, up from just 3% in January 2021. There are currently 26 publicly listed Bitcoin mining companies, including Riot Blockchain, Bitfarms and Argo Blockchain.

Despite their larger share of the industry, public miners have “continually missed” recent hash rate growth targets. A more likely cause for their increased dominance, according to Arcane, is that many existing private miners simply became public over the past year. Furthermore, public miners’ increased access to capital allows them to expand operations faster than their private counterparts.”

In exchange for HONEY tokens, the map contributors install specially designed dashcams in their cars that share footage with Hivemapper, which is then used to create maps. Because Hivemapper sells equipment to independent contributors who have their own vehicles, the company’s cost is much lower.

Google’s maps are high quality but also very, very expensive. Your ability to refresh an area is, for places like Lagos, Nigeria, or Manila or other locations – it becomes cost-prohibitive over time.

Seidman said he was inspired by the success and rapid growth of Helium, a crypto-incentivized network of wireless hotspots. Hivemapper will generate revenue by building tools that can then be licensed by companies. The company’s first dashcam is expected to begin shipping in July.”

Bankless: The Bull Case for MKR

5 April

“The post-Merge bond-like appeal and ESG-compliant label would make ether more attractive than other layer 1 cryptocurrencies, according to BitMEX co-founder Arthur Hayes.

When the dust settles at year-end, I believe ETH will be trading north of $10,000.

The post-Merge cryptocurrency will have the characteristics of a commodity-linked bond and will have an intrinsic yield. In other words, the staked ether becomes a revenue-generating asset, similar to a fixed-income security such as a government bond.

According to Hayes, the classification of ether as a bond could see money managers take on exposure to the second-largest cryptocurrency. Annualized ether staking yields are likely to be in the range of 10% to 15%, implying positive returns when adjusted U.S. inflation.

Hayes added, fiduciaries can make a carry trade once ETH rests in a bond basket. Fiduciaries can borrow U.S. dollars at rates equivalent to Treasury yields to purchase 32 ETH, which will be staked. The entire Treasury yield curve is below 2.5%, which means the cost of getting dollars is significantly less than the forecast staking yields.

There are very few trades in which you get a higher yield investing foreign currency bonds, and the act of hedging back into your home currency actually earns you money.

Hayes also argued that more institutions might adopt ether following the merge because the proof-of-stake mechanism is considered more environmentally friendly than the supposedly energy-intensive proof-of-work mechanism.

This fact [ETH’s post-merge bond-like appeal], paired with ETH 2.0’s [environment, social, government]-compliant label (another stamp of intellectual ossification), makes ETH supremely undervalued on a relative basis vs. Bitcoin, fiat and other [layer 1] competitors.

Hayes added that MicroStrategy (MSTR) should issue debt and purchase ether instead of bitcoin (BTC).”

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“The measures we’ve outlined today will help to ensure firms can invest, innovate and scale up in this country.

One of the first steps will be to bring stablecoins into the U.K. payments system. ‘This will enable consumers to use stablecoin payment services with confidence.’ The Treasury [also] asked the Law Commission to consider the legal status of DAOs.

Meanwhile, the Treasury is looking to engage closely with the public on changes it wants to make to the tax system. ‘We don’t think the tax code will need major surgery to make it work more easily for crypto.’ The U.K. Treasury will aim to resolve specific issues like the treatment of decentralized finance loans and staking.

The government will form a industry group called the “Crypto Asset Engagement Group” to help guide the next steps in regulation. There are also plans for legislation establishing a financial market infrastructure, or “sandbox,” that will enable firms to test and enable distributed ledger technology.”

See Also: UK Government Plans to Create an NFT

Gensler said securities and commodities are “intertwined” on today’s crypto trading platforms, suggesting neither agency could act as a sole watchdog over such venues.

I’ve asked staff to work with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on how we jointly might address such platforms that might trade both crypto-based security tokens and some commodity tokens.”

A new digital euro will offer greater privacy for smaller transactions but won’t allow for full anonymity, officials said after a meeting of finance ministers from the currency bloc on Monday.

A risk-based approach could be followed allowing for more privacy for less risky and smaller transactions and vice versa.

The European Commission is due to present a consultation soon on any legislation that might be needed to back up the new digital euro, but has also been warned that an unduly centralized system could represent a “honeypot” of data for spies and constitute troubling mass surveillance.

The European Parliament last week agreed on controversial new anti-money laundering rules that would require identification of those participating in even small-value payments of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which many in the industry have said would invade privacy and stifle innovation.”

“Scientists can leverage blockchain tools, such as smart contracts and tokens, to improve collaboration in scientific endeavors between different stakeholders. This so-called decentralized science movement, or DeSci for short, combines blockchain and Web3 technologies to improve scientific research.

A primary goal of DeSci is wider participation and funding when approaching scientific challenges, as well as democratizing the peer-to-peer review process, which is dominated by a few journals in which it can be costly to appear, and combatting censorship.

Blockchain-based peer review ecosystems can be transparent, and they can lend credibility to research contributed by even pseudonymous participants. Scientists might, for instance, receive a stake or “reward” for participating, incentivizing a wider community to contribute.

To democratize science through decentralized science would allow for a new kind of interface layer for a modern Scientific Revolution. The way to do this is to decentralize access to scientific pursuits — in short, to allow citizen-scientists a role.”

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2 April

“The total addressable market (TAM) for the metaverse economy could be between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030, with up to five billion users, but getting to that market level is going to require sizable infrastructure investment, Citi said in a report on Thursday.

This “open metaverse” would be community-owned, community-governed and a freely interoperable version that ensures privacy by design.’ Its use cases include commerce, art, media, advertising, healthcare and social collaboration.

What counts as money in this open metaverse is expected to differ from the real world, with different forms of crypto currency expected to dominate, alongside fiat currencies, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins, the report said.”

See Also: Does the Metaverse Need a Free Trade Agreement?

Buyers on OpenSea can soon pay for NFTs with a credit card, debit card, or Apple Pay—without having any cryptocurrency. The move comes through a partnership with MoonPay, a fintech player that builds payment infrastructure in the crypto space.

Last month, OpenSea announced that it generated over $5 billion in total trading volume in January between Ethereum and Polygon sales. This broke OpenSea’s previous record, which was set in August of 2021.”

See Also: ApeCoin risks another massive selloff as APE drops 70% in two weeks

“In block 730002, mined by SBI Crypto, the 19 millionth Bitcoin entered circulation. SBI Crypto earned ‎6.32 BTC, roughly $293,000 for the trouble in transaction fees and block reward. Nineteen million Bitcoin are now in circulation, with just 2 million Bitcoin yet to be minted (or mined) until roughly the year 2140.

The 18,500,000 millionth Bitcoin was mined in September 2020, as the current issuance rate is 6.25 Bitcoin per block. The next halving, where the issuance rate is cut in half, is scheduled for 2024.”

Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon has conceded that a crash in the price of Bitcoin (BTC) would be “negative” for the stability of the TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin but that he expects Bitcoin to go up.

I’m sort of betting that the long-term scenario of Bitcoin going up, and the reserves being strong enough to withstand UST demand drops is the more likely scenario.

Kwon has been buying Bitcoin to hold in Terra’s treasury as 40% of the collateral for UST. So far, Terra has acquired 30,727.9 BTC and most recently purchased 2,943 BTC on Tuesday. This makes Terra the third-largest single-wallet BTC holder.”

See Also: Tezos Deploys Major ‘Tenderbake’ Upgrade

“So a lot that banks do wrong, if you think, ‘We could improve that in a digital world,’ the answer is, ‘Sure you could.’ But in that case, let’s do a central bank digital currency.

Yes, I think it’s time for us to move in that direction.”

See Also: Indonesia to Charge 0.1% Tax on Crypto Transactions, Investments: Report

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