1 February

“Powell is likely to stick to his hawkish script during Wednesday’s post-meeting press conference. The Fed will begin its two-day meeting later today and announce its rate decision at 19:00 UTC on Wednesday. Powell’s press conference will follow the rate decision at 19:30 UTC.

Expectations are firmly centered on the Fed to slow the pace of tightening to 25 bps on Wednesday. In other words, a 25 basis point rate hike is priced in. The focus will be on whether Powell acknowledges the recent softening in inflation and economic activity, bolstering markets’ hopes for an early pivot toward easing.

The odds, however, are stacked against such an outcome, as the recent rally in stocks and bonds and the decline in the U.S. dollar have eased financial conditions in the economy for the first time since April. That has dented the Fed’s effort to counter rampant price pressures in the economy with tighter credit standards.

There is a strong possibility that in the press conference Powell will be more hawkish and retighten financial conditions. For that reason, we could see a healthy short-term correction in crypto and all risk assets.

The expected Powell-induced pullback could be short-lived, as the market has recently become resilient to hawkish Fed talk.”

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) admitted on record that the sale of LBRY Credits (LBC) tokens in the secondary market doesn’t constitute a security. The settlement came during an appeal hearing in the LBRY vs. SEC case on Jan. 30.

In what many called a victory for the entire crypto industry against the SEC’s overreach, Attorney John Deaton settled a major debate during the appeal hearing.

The SEC was awarded summary judgment in its favor during the Nov. 7, 2022 hearing. The judgment categorized each sale of the LBC token during a six-year period as an investment contract without going into detail about the transactions’ specifics. The SEC hoped to advance its effort to gain legitimacy in the secondary market and bring it under its purview as well. The SEC asked the New Hampshire district court judge to affirm the wide, ambiguous injunction prohibiting its sale.

Deaton persuaded the judge that LBC’s secondary market transactions were not securities. The SEC requested an order that does not make a distinction between LBRY, the company’s management, and users in an effort to avoid providing clarification for LBC.

I’m going to make it clear that my order does not apply to secondary market sales.

The ruling in the case came as a relief for many in the crypto community, especially XRP holders. Ripple is currently facing a securities lawsuit from the SEC over the sale of XRP tokens. The recent ruling that indicates LBC token sale in the secondary market doesn’t qualify as securities can work in favor of the long-running Ripple lawsuit.”

Hamilton Lane (HLNE) – an investment-management firm with $824 billion in assets under management and supervision – has opened the first of three “tokenized” funds that it had said it would create in an effort to give more investors access to private markets.

Pennsylvania-based Hamilton Lane said that its flagship Equity Opportunities Fund V recently closed with $2.1 billion in investor commitments and that the firm is making a portion of that accessible to individual investors through a tokenized feeder fund on Securitize that’s backed by the Polygon blockchain.

A feeder fund collects money from a pool an investors. With the tokenized version of the feeder fund, the minimum investment amount drops to $20,000 from at least $5 million for the traditional version.

The new Hamilton Lane tokenized fund is a major step in the continued democratization of the private markets by significantly expanding access to the historically high-performing private-equity asset class.”

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“Ethereum scaling system ImmutableX will soon launch the Immutable Passport, which provides an all-in-one way for gaming studios looking to onboard gamers into Web3.

The new tool, scheduled to launch in April 2023, will act as a non-custodial wallet, gamer profile and authentication solution for Web3 gamers. Players are able to access a suite of tools integrated into the Immutable Passport, including a secure digital wallet, fraud protection and seamless authentication across Web3 games and marketplaces.

Customer research conducted by the ImmutableX team found that ease of onboarding, security, compliance and plug and play features were the top priorities for development studios integrating Web3 components into their game.

Blockchain-based gaming has made strides in recent months, with major companies like Ubisoft and Square Enix embracing crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFT) to create new revenue streams for creators. Development and investment in Web3 gaming have also been significant, according to a report from blockchain data firm DappRadar, which said that $748 million was raised in August 2022 for the development of new Web3 games.”

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Coinbase has become the latest crypto wallet provider to roll out transaction previews and blocklists amid a rise in crypto thefts. The crypto exchange joins the ranks of several other crypto wallet providers that have either rolled out or announced similar features aimed at combating crypto scams and phishing attacks.

On Jan. 30, the crypto exchange announced that it had integrated a new suite of safety features to its wallet app to make it easier for users to spot and take action on potential foul play from scammers. Such integrations include a transaction preview feature that gives the user an estimation of how users’ “token and NFT balances will change” during a transaction before the confirm button is hit.

These types of protections are sorely needed to protect not only consumers, but businesses as well. We’ve seen that even those who have been in the space for a while are not immune to getting scammed.

When you take an action in Phantom, like minting an NFT, we scan your transaction and proactively find anything that looks fishy. Website looks fishy? You get a warning. Trying to obfuscate code? Warning. Interacting with suspicious tokens? Warning.”

“The hotly anticipated consultation, to be published by His Majesty’s Treasury on Wednesday, asks for feedback from industry members and experts on rules that focus on protecting consumers that also align with the country’s ambition to become a hub for crypto.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to grow the economy and enable technological change and innovation – and this includes crypto asset technology. But we must also protect consumers who are embracing this new technology – ensuring robust, transparent, and fair standards.”

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“Celsius Network misled its investors – and on occasion used new customer funds to pay for other customers’ withdrawals, the usual definition of a Ponzi scheme, an independent examiner for the U.S. bankruptcy court in New York said in a Tuesday filing.

In every key respect – from how Celsius described its contract with its customers to the risks it took with their crypto assets – how Celsius ran its business differed significantly from what Celsius told its customers.

Promises of a community-led lending system offering lavish returns and financial freedom clashed with a reality where the company itself was largely creating the market in native token CEL, and wasn’t open with customers about the risks they faced, Pillay said.

An unnamed Celsius manager is quoted as saying ‘we spent all our cash paying execs and trying to prop up alexs [Mashinsky, sic] net worth in CEL token.'”

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