21 March

I see this all playing out in a complicated, multifaceted clash of power, one that ultimately compels governments to accelerate the implementation of new regulatory framework for the coming era of digital money.

On one level, the bank failures underscore the need to divorce payments from crisis-prone fractional reserve banking – precisely the solution for which fully reserved stablecoins are designed.

Given the USDC stablecoin’s hiccups this past week, the argument will grow for requiring stablecoin issuers to hold banking licenses with access to the Fed’s discount window, rather than storing their reserves at third-party traditional banks. This is what Wyoming-based Custodia Bank applied to do, only to be rejected by the Fed last month, in what now seems an especially bone-headed response. Circle, too, has long expressed a goal to become a bank.

Might governments revert to direct control via a central bank digital currency (CBDC)? Complicating things for governments, people could just exit their national currency altogether and put their savings in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. As the struggle to control the digitization of fiat money progresses, the OG digital currency will stand as a hard-money alternative.

The countervailing force in all this is the public perception of crypto technology, which right now is deep in negative territory following the blowups of last year.

At its core, money is a confidence game, a matter of faith and trust among the population that uses it. It’s likely confidence in governments and their banking partners will wane in the aftermath of this banking crisis. But crypto is, for now, dealing with an even bigger mistrust problem.

As this battle to redefine money unfolds, it’s incumbent on members of the crypto community to engage in behavior that breeds confidence. If they can achieve that, the future is theirs.”

See Also: It’s Not Just Fraud That Chilled Crypto Regulation

Carole House, co-author of President Biden’s executive order on crypto, said keeping crypto in the country is a matter of national security. It is also important that crypto and financial innovation stays under the guidance of U.S. regulators, she said.

Driving any of the actors in cryptocurrency and other financial markets to have centers of gravity outside of the United States is also counter to U.S. national security objectives.

House, who is chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s new Technology Advisory Committee, said her committee is trying to figure out the ‘practical reality of what the developments in the technologies look like [and] where the greatest risks are.'”

See Also: Over 80 crypto firms eyeing presence in Hong Kong: Financial Secretary
See Also: Crypto.com Moves Closer to an Operational License in Dubai
See Also: Taiwan’s Crypto Industry Welcomes Regulatory Announcement

“Web3 gaming developer platform Immutable is forming a strategic partnership with blockchain protocol Polygon Labs to accelerate the development of Web3 gaming.

By combining the number one Web3 gaming platform – currently serving hundreds of game studios and millions of players – with Polygon’s best-in-class zkEVM technology, we are building an Ethereum-centric gaming ecosystem that is poised to take Web3 mainstream and bring digital ownership to millions of people around the world.

Billions of dollars of skins are sold each year with no rights for players – we’re changing that so players are in control, and ownership is the expectation.

In June, Immutable launched a $500 million venture fund for Web3 games, while Polygon launched a business unit devoted to advancing Web3 gaming in July. Immutable also launched an all-in-one passport system in January to make the sign-in and management process easier for Web3 gamers, while gaming engine Unity expanded support for Immutable X in its developer toolkit last month.”

See Also: Market Maker DWF Labs Invests $20M in Derivatives Trading Platform Synthetix
See Also: Decentralized Exchange Camelot Crosses $100M in TVL Ahead of Arbitrum Airdrop
See Also: Arbitrum IOU, Futures Markets Heat Up Ahead of ARB Token Airdrop

“A legislative proposal from Florida Gov. (and possible Republican U.S. presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis would prohibit the use of a national central bank digital currency (CBDC) as money within his state.

Today’s announcement will protect Florida consumers and businesses from the reckless adoption of a ‘centralized digital dollar’ which will stifle innovation and promote government-sanctioned surveillance.

In addition to privacy concerns, DeSantis said a federal CBDC would diminish the role of community banks and credit unions. The proposed law would also prohibit in Florida the use of a CBDC issued by any overseas central bank. The governor’s statement calls on other states to adopt similar legislation.”

See Also: U.S. Supreme Court to Hear First Crypto Case Tuesday

“First Republic Bank’s (FRC) deposit rescue package by multiple institutions should make it obvious that this is a “generic banking problem” and crypto isn’t to blame.

This is the perfect setting for bitcoin, ethereum and the rest of the decentralized-financial system to stand out as an alternative system, delinked from the traditional centralized banking system.

The banking on-ramp to crypto may be weaker in the U.S, but continues to be stable internationally, with access through over-the-counter hubs in Asia and Europe, the note said. OTC hubs in the U.S. also seem to be working without interruption, the note added. As more outside money is forced to participate, the moves higher should become sharper.”

See Also: Bitcoin, Ether Trade Lower After Breaching Technical Indicator

“Noncrypto-related deposits held by former Signature Bank (now Signature Bridge Bank) will be assumed by Flagstar Bank, N.A., a subsidiary of New York Community Bancorp, as of Monday under a purchase and assumption agreement.

Flagstar Bank’s bid did not include $4 billion of deposits related to the former Signature Bank’s digital banking business. The FDIC will provide these deposits directly to customers whose accounts are associated with the digital banking business, according to the press release.

See Also: Credit Suisse’s Buyout Shows Banks Still Have a Banking Problem
See Also: EU Contagion Risk Spreads As CDS Market Puts Focus On Deutsche Bank

Polygon and Immutable zkEVM Partnership

The Disrupt Weekend

“On weekly timeframes, BTC/USD is in line for an impressive candle close, having last acted around $27,000 in June 2022. Rekt Capital highlighted the ongoing significance of the 200-period moving average (MA) on weekly timeframes, currently sitting at $25,350 and primed for a resistance or support flip.

BTC has finally broken out from its Accumulation Range.”

UBS Group doubled its initial offer and agreed to buy its competitor Credit Suisse for nearly $2 billion on March 19, in a historical deal for the two biggest banks in Switzerland, the Financial Times reported.

To close the deal, Swiss authorities also agreed to change the country’s regulations to bypass a shareholder vote and announce the deal over the weekend, ahead of the markets opening.

Also, as part of the deal, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) committed to provide over $100 billion in liquidity line to USB. According to the FT, the deal was heavily influenced by the SNB and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). United States and European regulators are said to have approved the deal, with coordinated statements to be released later on Sunday.

Swiss authorities considered alternatives to Credit Suisse in case the deal with UBS failed over the weekend, including a full or partial nationalization of the bank as an emergency option.”

See Also: Fed Panics, Announces “Coordinated” Daily US Dollar Swap Lines To Ease Banking Crisis
See Also: US midsize banks seek FDIC Insurance on ‘all deposits’ for 2 years: Report
See Also: More than 186 US banks well-positioned for collapse, SVB analysis reveals
See Also: SVB’s UK arm issues 15M pounds in bonuses after symbolic bailout: Report

“As crypto firms in the U.S scramble for alternatives to Silvergate and Signature Bank, an opportunity to capitalize on the calamity presents itself for Europe.

The longer it takes U.S banks to declare they’re open for crypto business – i.e., receptive to taking in some of the millions of dollars once parked at Silvergate – the more likely it is that crypto firms could choose somewhere like Europe with more regulatory clarity and easier fiat payment rails.

Regulatory clarity in Europe in the form of MiCA, the Markets in Crypto-Assets Act, paints a stark contrast to the ambiguity in the U.S., where firms face new regulatory headwinds seemingly every day. This creates an increasingly challenging environment for the operations of any crypto organization. For new and existing market entrants this is going to be a significant consideration.

In addition, it seems that U.S. policymakers are doing their best to suffocate dollar on-ramps into crypto, leaving the door wide open for the rest of the world to gain a competitive edge over the U.S.

Early indicators are that the euro may be a big winner of a U.S. crypto banking cutoff, with volumes spiking for the BTC-EUR pair as the Silvergate troubles ensued. The bitcoin-euro pair hit its highest level of market share against the U.S. dollar ever, rising to 21% of BTC volumes last week from 7% in November.”

“Web3 operates on transparency, traceability, and most importantly: verifiability. In order to be fully integrated as a tool for Web3, AI has to be verifiable.

For AI to become reliable and trusted, you need to ensure that the data being fed into it is accurate and it hasn’t been tampered with.

The CTO’s firm, which landed $20 million in investment led by Microsoft’s M12 Fund, is focused on doing precisely this. Space and Time has rolled out a unique protocol called Proof of SQL to help verify that incoming data has been untampered with. This allows an external verifier, such as a smart contract or an oracle network, to “double-check” the data warehouse.

The consequences of an AI trained on malicious or inaccurate data could be disastrous.”

See Also: OpenAI co-founder’s ‘World ID’ project launches, along with SDK waitlist
See Also: Finding Alpha in AI-Related Crypto

“In a March 16 Reddit post on the r/ethereum community titled “How I think about choosing guardians for multisig and social recovery wallets,” Buterin gave a detailed run down of how he approaches wallet security.

According to Buterin, it’s important to decentralize wallet guardians, as owning more than one of your guardians provides a ‘tricky tradeoff: you get to trust other people less, but you’re also concentrating more power into yourself, which can create a risk if you get hacked, coerced, or incapacitated or die.’

Buterin went on to advise that someone’s set of guardians should not know of each other, as this “greatly reduces the risk that they collude” to attack their wallets and assets. Additionally, the Ethereum co-founder suggested that people should “instruct guardians to ask a security question” that only they and the guardian will know when confirming an operation — and only confirmed when the correct answer is given.”

“Fortnite developer Epic Games expects to add a flurry of crypto-powered games to its marketplace by next year. Epic Games executive Steve Allison recently told Axios the brand currently has five crypto games in its marketplace and there are plans for nearly 20 more.”

“Long story short, there was someone planning to launch a LLAMA token without approval of a single person on the defillama team. There is an ongoing attempt to launch a token that does not represent us. We don’t want to be associated with it.

According to 0xngmi, a person controlling both defillama’s Twitter and domain decided to launch a token ‘despite everybody in the team not wanting it,’ said the developer before adding that ‘the DefiLlama team who have built the site […] for the past three years have decided to fork Defillama and start fresh on llama.fi.'”

On March 18, roughly 3,000 Ether (ETH) ($5.4 million) were returned to Euler Finance’s deployer address from the Euler Finance hacker’s address. However, chances that the hacker will return the entire loot of $197 million remain slim, as no more outbound transactions were recorded at the time of writing.

On March 16, Euler Finance announced a $1 million reward to track down the hacker and retrieve the funds.”

Joselit Ramirez, the top authority on cryptocurrency policies in Venezuela, has been arrested, according to Venezuelan media, under investigation for participating in a scheme to steal from Venezuela’s oil operations.

According to an Official Gazette published by the Venezuelan government on March 17, his removal affects not only Ramirez but also a significant portion of the institution’s management staff, as it calls for a comprehensive restructuring of the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (SUNACRIP).

Últimas Noticias explains that Venezuelan authorities are investigating a corruption scheme through which $3 billion from Venezuelan oil sales were diverted so as not to appear in the official accounts of the Venezuelan government.

To coordinate the restructuring of SUNACRIP, a mixed commission was appointed, consisting of a president and four directors endorsed by Maduro who will be supervised by the Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Commerce.”

Crypto VS Banks (Meme)

18 March

The narratives around bank failures, stablecoins and interest rate hikes seem strong enough to propel the price of bitcoin. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed on March 10, and since then the price of bitcoin (BTC) has been on a tear.

At least three banks have failed, others – both American and non-American – are failing. Credit Suisse (CS) just received a 50 billion Swiss franc loan from the Swiss central bank, and 11 banks just injected $30 billion into California-based regional bank First Republic Bank (FRC) in order to save it.

On the former, it is telling that the central bank wants to save Credit Suisse. On the latter, it is even more telling that banks want to save a competitor for fear of contagion.

That all said, we know one thing that isn’t causing these banks to fail. These banks aren’t in trouble because of bets on bitcoin, crypto or the companies in those industries. What appears to be happening is the fractional reserve banking system is under stress due to rising interest rates, and it’s showing cracks.

And so the narrative goes: As the banks fail, opt out and buy bitcoin.

[Further], it looks like we might have a suspension of interest rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which would give the entire market a well-needed breather. On Wednesday, the CME FedWatch Tool, a predictor of interest rate decisions, forecast a 45% chance of a zero basis point rate hike. It’s now predicting an 80.5% chance of a 25 basis point (bps) increase. Both numbers contrast sharply from last week when the CME showed a 68% chance of a 50 bps rate boost.”

See Also: Bitcoin, Ether Swing From Cold to Hot in Event-Filled Week
See Also: Crypto market cap reclaims $1T, and derivatives point to further upside

“Salesforce will help their clients onboard to Polygon with its management platform to help its clients create token-based loyalty programs. Monitor real-time blockchain data from collections launched on Ethereum and Polygon within your CRM.

The news comes after the enterprise software giant said on March 15 that it is expanding its client services to include management of non-fungible token (NFT) loyalty programs.”

Microsoft is working on a non-custodial built-in Ethereum crypto wallet for Microsoft Edge to allow users to send and receive cryptocurrency and NFTs.

This is a non-custodial wallet, meaning you are in complete control of your funds. We will not have access to your password and recovery key. It is embedded in Edge, making it easy to use without installing any extension.

After finishing the onboarding process, the wallet generates an Ethereum address to allow users to receive funds through the Ethereum network. The Edge crypto wallet can connect to decentralized apps (dApps) and has a news section to keep track of the latest developments in cryptocurrency. Microsoft has [also] partnered with Consensys to offer a built-in cryptocurrency swap feature.”

“Today, the Filecoin community is proud to announce the successful launch of the Filecoin Virtual Machine (FVM). The Filecoin blockchain now supports smart contracts and user programmability via the Filecoin Virtual Machine, unlocking the enormous potential of an open data economy.

The launch of FVM kicks off the final step in the Filecoin Masterplan, which aims to bring large-scale computation and the ability to power web-scale apps to the world’s largest decentralized storage network.

This launch is a landmark milestone in Filecoin’s larger roadmap, which aims to bring open access and public verifiability to the three key arms of the data economy (storage, compute and content-delivery). FVM allows developers to orchestrate where, when and how data gets placed, governed, and monetized on open markets.

The FVM not only brings closer a more resilient, accessible and decentralized cloud, but also opportunities to own and reward individual contributions to the data economy in previously unimaginable ways for the many thousands of developers, storage providers, entrepreneurs and other network participants from all over the world. For example, Waterlily, a prompt-based AI tool that generates images in the style of specific artists, uses tokens to directly reward the creator of the original AI training data.

The launch of FVM solidifies Filecoin’s position as the Layer-1 blockchain uniquely poised to power an open data economy. Many leading web3 projects have announced plans to use, support, or integrate with FVM to upgrade their services.”

Coinbase is considering setting up a crypto-trading platform overseas and is discussing the move with institutional clients, Bloomberg reported. A decision hasn’t been taken on the location for such a trading platform, which comes as U.S. regulators are cracking down on crypto.

As the exchange is looking to increase global crypto adoption, it assesses geographic options and is meeting with government officials in high-bar regulatory jurisdictions.

Coinbase isn’t alone. Several other U.S. crypto firms are looking to find new banking partners in other jurisdictions. Sygnum in Switzerland and Bank Frick in Lichtenstein told CoinDesk they’ve received an increasing number of requests to open accounts from offshore companies, including those based in the U.S.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation denied it would require any purchaser of Signature Bank to divest its crypto activities.

The acquirer will tell the FDIC ‘what assets and liabilities from the failed bank it is willing to take,’ the spokesperson said, citing the agency’s resolution handbook. The spokesperson also referred to two joint statements published by the FDIC, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, one of which states that banks are “neither prohibited nor discouraged” from providing services to any sector.

The receivership does not end until all the bank’s assets are sold and all the claims against the bank are addressed, and the acquirer decides the conditions of their bid.”

See Also: Former NY Regulator: Crypto Isn’t the Reason Why Signature Bank Was Closed
See Also: SVB Collapse Shows the Rot in U.S. Banking and Dollars

“Following the receipt of final authorization from Hong Kong’s SFC, it will manage the STO platform using the brand name “CS-Pro.“ This platform will be a pioneering development in Hong Kong, according to Signum.

Recently, Hong Kong has displayed much interest in becoming a crypto hub, investing heavily in supporting the potential of technologies like Web3. Under the upcoming licensing system scheduled to begin in June, the SFC mandated that digital currency exchanges submit license applications that would let everyday investors trade specific high-capitalization tokens.”

17 March

“Fidelity Digital Assets quietly opened access to Fidelity Crypto for the masses.

Millions of users can now trade bitcoin and ether commission-free on the platform. The app was previously restricted to a waitlist, with users given access on a rolling basis. Fidelity Crypto is open to new and existing customers.

Fidelity, which has 37.1 million total retail accounts, has acted sooner than most of its peers in the U.S. in offering crypto to retail clients.”

Arbitrum, the biggest player in Ethereum’s layer 2 scaling landscape, is finally getting a token. The Arbitrum Foundation said on Thursday that ARB, Arbritrum’s new token, will be airdropped to community members on Thursday, March 23.

ARB will mark Arbitrum’s official transition into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), meaning ARB holders will be able to vote on key decisions governing Arbitrum One and Arbitrum Nova. Unlike ether (ETH), which is used to pay out fees on Ethereum (and Arbitrum), the ARB token will only be used for protocol governance.

ARB’s introduction has been timed to coincide with the launch of Arbitrum Obit, which will allow third-party apps and protocols to build new “layer 3” blockchains based atop Arbitrum’s low-fee infrastructure.

Arbitrum worked with Nansen, the crypto analytics firm, to “snapshot” user activity in February in order to determine who should be eligible for ARB tokens. ‘How many transactions you did, how many different applications you used, and how long you’ve been using‘ Arbitrum One and Arbitrum Nitro were among the factors used to determine eligibility. Arbitrum users will be able to check their eligibility for the airdrop and claim tokens by visiting gov.arbitrum.foundation.

ARB’s total circulation will number 10 billion. The Arbitrum community will control 56% of those tokens – the airdrop will grant 11.5% of the total supply to eligible Arbitrum users, and 1.1% to DAOs that operate in the Arbitrum ecosystem. The remaining community tokens will go to a treasury controlled by the new Arbitrum DAO, which will allow ARB holders to vote on how to disburse the funds.

The other 44% of ARB’s circulation will go to the investors and employees of Offchain Labs. These tokens will be subject to lock-up periods and vesting schedules.”

See Also: Google Searches for Arbitrum Soar Amid Airdrop Announcement

“The “attempt to restrict liquidity” was the result of governments trying to strangle many of the weaker, relatively unregulated players and eventually set back adoption.

It may end up having the opposite effect as exchanges and other players in the industry move offshore to jurisdictions that are courting financial technology innovators, leading to more robust infrastructure and less hostility.”

See Also: Banking Chaos a ‘Reminder’ of Fractional-Reserve Risks: Circle Global Policy VP
See Also: US credit crunch means it’s time to buy gold and Bitcoin: Novogratz
See Also: Investors Flock to Tokenized Diamond as Crypto Banking Crisis Props Hard Assets
See Also: Tether’s Stablecoin Market Cap Now Double USDC After SVB Chaos

Signature Bank is on the market after being shuttered by New York state regulators on Sunday, but any potential buyer reportedly has to agree to a major caveat: no crypto. Reuters first reported the development on Wednesday evening, citing people familiar with the matter. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said bids for the bank must be submitted by Friday.

Many in the crypto industry – including former acting Comptroller of the Currency, and one-time Binance.US CEO, Brian Brooks – have speculated the closure of the three banks is indicative of a coordinated effort by regulators to choke the crypto industry off from the banking system.

Barney Frank, a Signature Bank board member and former Democratic U.S. congressman who co-authored the Dodd-Frank Act, also suggested the takeover was spurred by an anti-crypto motive, telling CNBC that Signature Bank was solvent – and that regulators intervened anyway to send a message.”

See Also: Banking Giant State Street Cuts Ties With Crypto Custody Firm Copper

In a March 16 notice, the Blockchain Association said it had submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for documents and communications that could potentially show regulators’ actions “improperly contributed” to the collapse of the three banks.

BA is investigating troubling allegations — including account closures and refusal to open new accounts — which have grown more concerning in the wake of this week’s banking crisis. A crisis that long term crypto opponents have rushed to blame, incorrectly, on the technology.

According to Blockchain Association CEO Kristin Smith, crypto firms ‘should be treated like any other law-abiding business‘ in the U.S. with access to bank accounts.”

See Also: Stop Blaming Crypto for Traditional Finance Failures
See Also: Former FDIC Regulator: Friendliness Toward Crypto ‘Does Not Exist’

Ethereum developers set a target date of April 12 for its long-awaited Shanghai hard fork.

The Shanghai upgrade, more accurately called “Shapella,” marks the completion of Ethereum’s full transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network, and will enable staked ETH withdrawals. All three tests on Ethereum’s testnets ran smoothly.”

A $1 billion bid by Binance.US to buy Voyager Digital’s assets should go ahead, a bankruptcy judge ruled in a Wednesday court filing, denying a bid by the U.S. government to put proceedings on hold.

Government filings exaggerate and in some places mischaracterize what I have done and the authorities on which I have relied, and in other instances rely on hyperbole or on ‘straw man’ arguments.”

“The Swiss Bankers Association released a white paper on how Swiss banks can support the development of the country’s digital economy. A Swiss franc “joint” deposit token is the solution the group settled on.

The authors of the paper suggest a variety of stablecoins — that is, a deposit token “issued by regulated and adequately supervised intermediaries” — issued and redeemed by smart contracts and denominated in Swiss francs.

Joint tokens are issued by a licensed and supervised special purpose vehicle consisting of participating banks. The token would ideally be a layer-2 solution usable in decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and capable of self-custody or bank custody.

From a technical standpoint, all the economic and legal requirements that have been identified can be met. […] In principle, the DT should operate on a public blockchain with additional protocols to ensure sufficient privacy and transaction efficiency.”

See Also: European Parliament votes to form final law on EU digital wallet

16 March

The U.S. Congress is in the very early stages of making legislative progress on crypto oversight, with different ideas being reviewed for how much bipartisan support they can get, said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

All the ideas coming from various offices are under that review. We’re completing that inventory now and hope to share it over the next couple of weeks.

A number of bills made progress on Capitol Hill last year, including a stablecoin oversight bill in the House Financial Services Committee and a bill in the Senate Agriculture Committee that would have set up the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a direct regulator of non-securities crypto trading.”

See Also: Rep. Tom Emmer: Is the FDIC ‘Weaponizing’ Market Chaos to Kill Crypto?
See Also: U.S. Federal Reserve’s Real-Time Payments System Coming In July

Circle’s CEO, Jeremy Allaire on USDC, SVB’s Collapse, & the U.S. Banking System

“Cross River Bank – a venture capital-backed, FDIC-insured regional bank in New Jersey that’s part financial institution and part fintech – has an increased profile in crypto circles thanks to the collapses of crypto-friendly Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in under a week.

Founded in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 2008, Cross River has grown to $9.9 billion in assets and has originated more than $100 billion in loans. The state-chartered bank has the regulatory and compliance infrastructure to originate loans – unlike most traditional fintechs – and financial infrastructure like the Real-Time Payment system, which can facilitate crypto-to-fiat conversions at all hours.

A number of venture capital firms were exposed to the three bank collapses, and Cross River might seem like a natural move considering its ties to some top venture capital (VC) players. Cross River isn’t the only bank that crypto companies are considering for payment infrastructure. Circle has moved its USDC reserves to BNY Mellon.”

See Also: Brian Brooks: U.S. Government Using Crisis to Choke Off Crypto Access to Banks
See Also: Crypto firms may turn to ‘shadow banks’ following major collapses — Molly White

“On Wednesday, banking troubles trumped monetary policy considerations. Shares of the Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse (CS), which has been rocked by scandals over the past year and posted losses for five consecutive quarters, tanked on Wednesday after the bank’s largest investor, Saudi National Bank, said it wouldn’t invest capital beyond the $1.5 billion it sank into the bank last year.

The Swiss National Bank seemed to at least temporarily halt the damage after announcing it would provide CS with liquidity.

Credit Suisse is a bigger story than Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and this has Wall Street extremely nervous. Bitcoin’s decline isn’t that bad when you consider how much pressure is hitting stocks, oil prices and the euro.

Meanwhile, the CME FedWatch Tool showed that currently around 55% of traders believe the Fed will not raise interest rates at its next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting starting March 22. An additional 45% expect the Fed to boost the rate by 25 basis points (bps).”

See Also: Bitcoin to $100K next? Analyst eyes ‘textbook perfect’ BTC price move
See Also: Ethereum’s Network-to-Value Ratio Slides to 3-Month Low as ETH Rallies 20%

“The proposal is an “HTTP-style” URL to directly access on-chain Web3 content, such as decentralized applications (DApps) front-ends and NFTs. ERC-4804 was approved and finalized on the mainnet on March 1.

Under ERC-4804, internet users have the option to type in “web3://” (as opposed to “http://”) in their browsers to bring up DApps such as Uniswap or on-chain NFTs directly. The standard allows users to directly run a query to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

Entire websites can theoretically be accessed by these means as long as their content is stored on the Ethereum blockchain or a compatible layer-2 protocol. However, the costs of doing this are still very prohibitive. ‘The critical issue here is that the storage cost on Ethereum is super, super expensive on mainnet.

Xiang suggested that, given the costs, the new URL standard makes sense only for specific applications. ‘The new standard would be useful for DApps or websites at risk of censorship, with Tornado Cash as an example.'”

The suite of products that make up Salesforce Web3 will help companies build, manage and integrate NFTs into their businesses. Salesforce is also releasing NFT Management, a platform that allows companies to create and monitor the success of their NFT collections and blockchain data through the Salesforce interface.

Adam Caplan, Salesforce’s senior vice president of emerging technology, said in a Salesforce blog post the company is enthusiastic about embracing Web3 and the capabilities it offers businesses to build communities and propel digital ownership.

We’ve seen a lot of interest from customers who want to understand and tap into this new world of Web3 and NFTs.”

See Also: VC-Backed NFT Social Platform Metalink Launches Mobile App

The U.S. Banking System, Federal Reserve, & USDC Post-SVB Collapse with Ram Ahluwalia

15 March

“February inflation in the U.S. dropped to 0.4% from 0.5% in January, in line with economists’ estimates. On a year-over-year basis, inflation slowed to 6.0% from 6.4%, also in line with estimates. The core rate of inflation – which strips out food and energy costs – increased by more than forecast to 0.5% in February versus 0.4% in January, and against forecasts for 0.4%. The year-over-year core rate was 5.5%, as expected.

The bitcoin price (BTC) rose to a nine-month high of $25,484 in the minutes following the report. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap then extended the advance, surpassing the $26,000 mark for some time before recently settling back.

Less than one week ago, traders had been betting the Fed would hike the benchmark fed funds rate by 50 basis points at its March meeting. Following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on Friday and the shutdown of Signature Bank over the weekend, traders quickly pivoted and are now pricing in only the slimmest chance of any rate hike in March and rate cuts by mid-summer.

The macro backdrop is transitioning from that of tightening to significant loosening, or at least this is what the market is predicting. Bitcoin and digital assets tend to lead the way in terms of anticipating these kinds of macro shifts, and this is why we’re seeing a pronounced rally in the crypto market.

The conditions for a sustained rally for Bitcoin and other digital assets are ripening – and, indeed, these conditions of banking instability and resulting monetary turbulence are exactly why Bitcoin was created in the first place.”

See Also: Bitcoin Is Pumping—But It’s Not Yet ‘Decoupling’ From Stocks, Analysts Say
See Also: Bitcoin Gains Early, Fades Late to Trade Below $25K

“Crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group (DCG) is trying to find new banking partners for portfolio companies following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank (SBNY) and Silvergate Bank, according to a memo viewed by CoinDesk.

Santander (SAN), HSBC (HSBA), Deutsche Bank (DB), BankProv, Bridge Bank, Mercury, Multis and Series Financial are still willing to connect with crypto firms, according to the memo.

The memo notes that banks may restrict some services for crypto firms such as brokerage and money market services and the ability to wire money to third parties. Traditional banks may be willing to set up banking accounts for crypto firms but would place restrictions based on the level of crypto exposure, according to the messages.

Western Alliance and Bridge Bank are still opening accounts for crypto firms, despite the fall in their share prices. DCG had also reached out to international banks including Revolut in the U.K., United Overseas Bank (UOB) in Singapore and Bank Leumi in Israel.”

See Also: Gibraltar’s Xapo Bank Enables GBP Payments, Prepares USDC Option Amid U.S. Crypto Banking Crisis
See Also: Banking Crisis in U.S. Likely to Push Crypto Firms Offshore
See Also: Signature Bank’s Signet Platform Still Works, but Some Clients Have Moved On

Blackstone (BX) and Apollo Global Management (APO), two of the world’s largest asset managers, are considering acquiring assets of Silicon Valley Bank, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. New York-based investment manager KKR (KKR) is also reported to be interested.

Blackstone and Apollo are looking to purchase a book of loans held by Silicon Valley Bank, according to the report. Silicon Valley Bank’s assets were seized by financial regulators at the end of last week, with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. named as its receiver.”

See Also: Signature Bank Shutdown Caused by ‘Crisis of Confidence’ in Leadership, NYDFS Says

“In a recent interview, Circle’s CEO pointed out the irony of a traditional bank disrupting the wider crypto industry.

We are really trying to make sure that we’ve got the most solid infrastructure possible for [USDC], and it’s somewhat ironic that there has been a lot of talk of protecting the banking system from crypto, here we are in a situation where we are trying to protect a digital dollar from the banking system.

We took a lot of precautions late last week as we started to see a lot of things unfold. We’ve moved all of our reserve assets to the Bank of New York Mellon, which is an extraordinary custodian.

The Boston-based company also said that the $3.3 billion USDC reserve deposit held at SVB is now fully available, reiterating that ‘as a regulated payment token, USDC remains redeemable 1:1 with the U.S. Dollar.’ Though USDC has edged back to its dollar peg, he said Circle was prepared to intervene amid the recent chaos and use its corporate balance sheet if needed.

Circle also announced automated USDC minting and redemption for customers via new banking partners that are going live this week.”

See Also: Vitalik Buterin-Named Wallet Sent 500 Ether to Mint RAI, Buy USDC Amid Depegging

“A 2022 European Union bill known as the Data Act included provisions intended to give people more control over information from smart devices, but has generated concerns in the Web3 community.

Provisions included in del Castillo Vera’s redraft of the bill would mean that smart contracts must have to have access controls and protect trade secrets. They would also need to have functions to stop or reset – something that experts worry could undermine their purpose.

Article 30, as currently drafted, goes a step too far in addressing the issues raised by immutability.

Schrepel, a specialist in blockchain legal issues, believes that the legal text is unclear about who in practice would have to hit the kill switch on a smart contract and that it interferes with the fundamental principle that the automated programs can’t be altered by anyone.

The vote empowers del Castillo Vera and other lawmakers to negotiate with governments in the EU member countries to hammer out a final version of the law.”

See Also: U.S. Treasury Poised to Release View on How DeFi Used in Illicit Finance
See Also: SEC Is ‘Completely Out Of Control,’ Says a16z Crypto’s Head of Policy

“Coinbase is in the process of recruiting a bunch of protocols to Base. Uniswap and Aave are two of those.

Coinbase’s Base layer 2 network is built using the Ethereum-scaling protocol Optimism and uses Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency ETH for fees on the network.”

“According to Rollkit, its new rollup solution lets users produce rollups by retrieving and storing data on the Bitcoin blockchain. A sovereign rollup is one that does not need a smart contract or use a settlement layer for validation—scalable and secure and with the “sovereignty” of a layer 1.

However, proponents of Ethereum, a network known to use layer-2 “rollups” as a transaction scaling solution, have taken issue with Rollkit’s use of the term. According to Alexei Zamyatin, founder of the Bitcoin DeFi protocol Interlay, sovereign rollups as proposed by Rollkit inherit “nothing” of Bitcoin’s security.

A sovereign rollup is actually an alt L1 that stores its block data on Bitcoin. Data availability—okay, but honestly, that’s been used since 2012.

14 March

“Bitcoin (BTC), the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, surged 18% to over $24,200 over the past 24 hours even as fallout from the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank widened. The surge has come amid the sort of short squeeze that historically sends prices higher. Data from Coinglass shows that traders liquidated $300 million worth of crypto positions on Monday.

The bitcoin rally comes as some investors are recognizing the fragility in the central banking system.

Bitcoin is leading the market because there is a cohort of investors that recognize the fragility of central banking. Crypto is responding to the anticipated change in liquidity conditions as it should.”

See Also: Could the Silicon Valley Bank Crisis End Crypto Winter?

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is a blessing for bitcoin (BTC), crypto observers said, drawing parallels with the 2013 Crypus crisis that underscored flaws in the fractional reserve system and brought attention to decentralized, censorship-resistant BTC as a hedge against centralized banking.

Silicon Valley Bank, the 18th largest bank in the nation, collapsed yesterday – with it, we learn how last year’s record sell-off in U.S. Treasurys has created billions of dollars worth of unrealized losses within the banking sector and gain yet another example that in a system of fractional reserve banking, there are no depositors, only lenders.

Bank runs happen because fractional reserve banking requires lenders to maintain only a small portion of deposits available for withdrawal while the rest are lent out. The solution to the 2013 Cyprus banking crisis actually involved regulators raiding customer accounts.

Though measures taken to address the SVB crisis aren’t as draconian as the one taken for Cyprus, the entire episode underscores the point that customers’ funds aren’t as safe in regulated banks as we are made to believe. This point validated bitcoin’s appeal as a decentralized peer-to-peer network and seizure-resistant cryptocurrency facilitating self-custody of funds.

Bitcoin rallied sharply as the Cyprus banking crisis unfolded in March 2013. The cryptocurrency surged 178% to $93 that month and hit a record high of $265 in May 2013.

The [Federal Reserve’s] aggressive rate hikes and balance sheet reduction have caused a historic bank failure – fashioning a real-time ad for bitcoin self-custody. Ten years ago this week, there was a bank run in Cyprus, where ATMs were emptied and vaults were depleted. This event triggered the largest-ever rally (in percentage terms) in BTC.”

See Also: Bitcoin Was Built for This Moment

Crypto exchange Binance said it will convert $1 billion worth of Binance USD (BUSD) to bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), BNB coin (BNB) and other tokens to support the market. The transaction from Binance’s industry fund to BUSD took 5 seconds and cost merely $1.29.

The move likely contributed to buying pressure. Bitcoin jumped over $22,500 in Asian hours on Monday while ether regained the $1,600 market. BNB rose over 10% to trade over $300.”

Depositors of Silicon Valley Bank will have full access to their money beginning Monday morning, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said, after confirming a successful transfer of deposits to a new bridge bank. The new bridge bank, called Silicon Valley Bank N.A., will be operated by the FDIC. It will have normal opening hours, and customers have been automatically switched.

All depositors of the institution will be made whole.”

See Also: HSBC Subsidiary to Acquire Silicon Valley Bank’s UK Unit for 1 British Pound
See Also: Silicon Valley Bank’s Parent Looking at Strategic Alternatives
See Also: Is This a Crypto Banking Bailout?

Circle has revealed that Cross River Bank — recognized for its services to fintech and crypto firms like Visa and Coinbase — is now its new commercial banking partner for producing and redeeming USD Coin (USDC).

In addition, Circle has “expanded relationships” with other banking partners to assist with USDC redemption, including Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), which already provides custody services for Circle’s reserves.

During the weekend, Circle issued a press release confirming 100% of USDC reserves are safe and secure. The company said it would complete the transfer of the remaining Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) cash to BNY Mellon, and liquidity operations for USDC will resume at banking open on Monday. At the time of publication, USDC has recovered and trades at $0.99.”

See Also: USDC Stablecoin Regains Dollar Peg After Silicon Valley Bank-Induced Chaos
See Also: USDC’s ‘Black Swan’ Depegging Could Have Been Avoided With Proper Regulatory Framework
See Also: Coinbase CEO ponders banking features after Silicon Valley Bank crisis
See Also: Burning USDC and Minting DAI Prove to Be Popular On-Chain Activities Amid SVB Collapse

“Trading was temporarily halted for dozens of United States regional banks amid volatility and falling prices.

The Wall Street Journal reported early in the morning that trading was halted for First Republic Bank, which led bank losses when its price fell 65% by the time trading was stopped. Trading in PacWest Bancorp, down 25%; Zions Bancorp, down 25%; and Regions Financial, down 9%, was also halted.

Those banks saw uneven recovery when trading resumed, with Regions Financial and Zions Bancorp springing back, and the others rising slightly. The largest banks saw smaller losses. Citigroup was down 7.3% at the time of writing and JPMorgan Chase was off 1.3%. At the same time, the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq index were all up slightly.

U.S. President Joe Biden made a short statement on the economy just prior to markets opening March 13, in which he said: ‘America can have confidence that the banking system is safe. Your deposits will be there when you need them.'”

See Also: President Biden Calls for Stronger Bank Regulations in Wake of SVB, Signature Bank Collapses

Ex-congressman and the man behind the Dodd-Frank Act Barney Frank has said Signature Bank was shuttered in part to attack the digital asset industry. The former lawmaker, a Signature Bank board member, said in a Monday interview with CNBC that regulators targeted the bank to send an “anti-crypto message.”

New York regulators decided to abruptly shut down crypto-friendly Signature Bank on Sunday, citing system risk—which surprised management at the firm, according to a Bloomberg report. Regulators have not yet provided any further reasoning for shuttering the bank.

I think part of what happened was that regulators wanted to send a very strong anti-crypto message.”

See Also: Banking Crisis Won’t Kill Crypto-Banking Despite Short-Term Pain
See Also: ‘Nobody left to bank crypto companies’ — Crypto Twitter reacts
See Also: The Banking Crisis Is Not Crypto’s Fault

“Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s head of commerce and financial services, wrote in a Twitter thread on Monday that the shutdown will allow the company “to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses.”

Kasriel specified that Meta won’t give up on its mission to help creators connect with their fans, and will pivot focus on other products such as Reels for messaging and monetization. Meta will also continue to work with NFT and Web3 content creators who leverage its suite of tools to help them grow their community.

We learned a ton that we’ll be able to apply to products we’re continuing to build to support creators, people, and businesses on our apps, both today and in the metaverse.

While the feature gained some traction, it appears that Meta is shifting its strategy to explore other areas, including decentralized social media platforms.”

“Eurler finance faced a flash loan attack on March 13, with the attacker managing to steal millions in Dai (DAI), USD Coin (USDC), staked Ether (StETH) and wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC). The exploiter carried out multiple transactions, stealing nearly $196 million. The ongoing attack has already become the largest hack of 2023.

A detailed analysis of the attack by blockchain security firm Slowmist indicates that the attacker used flash loans to deposit funds and then leveraged them twice to trigger liquidation.

There appears to be a bug in one of the Euler smart contracts, where it doesn’t check for the health factor when executing the donateToReservers() function. We are aware and our team is currently working with security professionals and law enforcement.”

How Do Ethereum Withdrawals Work? All You Need To Know

The Disrupt Weekend

“After receiving a recommendation from the boards of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve, and consulting with the President, Secretary Yellen approved actions enabling the FDIC to complete its resolution of Silicon Valley Bank, Santa Clara, California, in a manner that fully protects all depositors.

Today we are taking decisive actions to protect the U.S. economy by strengthening public confidence in our banking system.”

See Also: Joint Statement by Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FDIC
See Also: Bitcoin Rises on Report Government Weighing Plan to Protect All Silicon Valley Bank Depositors
See Also: U.S. Lawmakers Met With Fed, FDIC to Discuss Collapse of Silicon Valley Bank: Source

“In a statement, New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrianne Harris said the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation (FDIC) had taken receivership of the bank. This marks the third bank collapse in under a week, following Silvergate Bank’s voluntary liquidation and Silicon Valley Bank’s shutdown on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

A joint statement from the Federal Reserve, FDIC and U.S. Treasury Department said all depositors who used Signature would be made whole, in a joint statement outlining actions the federal regulators would take to protect depositors in SVB.

Signature Bank is a New York state-chartered commercial bank and is FDIC-insured, with total assets of approximately $110.36 billion and total deposits of approximately $88.59 billion as of December 31, 2022.

All depositors of this institution will be made whole. As with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank, no losses will be borne by the taxpayer.”

Circle Scrambles to Right USDC After Signature Bank Failure

“Signature’s sudden failure leaves a key part of the crypto industry’s backend infrastructure in limbo: Signet. It’s a blockchain-based real time payments system that’s supposed to work 24/7. Circle, Coinbase and many crypto trading firms used Signet. But with the death of Signature, Signet, too, has gone kaput.

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire acknowledged on Twitter that this meant the company could no longer mint or redeem USDC through Signature’s Signet product. Allaire said in another tweet that the company would be ‘bringing on a new transaction banking partner with automated minting and redemption potentially as soon as tomorrow.’ Circle holds no USDC reserves with Signature Bank.

The fate of Signet may prove important for Coinbase, too. In its third quarter shareholder letter, Coinbase – another key company for USDC – said it had joined Signet to allow for real-time payments and settlements.”

Circle Internet Financial said Saturday it will “cover any shortfall” in the assets backing its stablecoin USDC in the event it does not receive the entirety of a $3.3 billion cash reserve it was holding at Silicon Valley Bank.

Circle will stand behind USDC and cover any shortfall using corporate resources, involving external capital if necessary.

Circle was holding $3.3 billion of USDC’s cash backing at Silicon Valley Bank when the FDIC seized the bank’s assets on Friday. The value of the stablecoin fell as low as $0.88 in last 24 hours, before rebounding to $0.97, after the announcement.

Circle said it attempted to move its assets out before SVB’s collapse and that the transaction could settle on Monday, when U.S. banks resume normal operations.”

See Also: Circle Confirms $3.3B of USDC’s Cash Reserves Stuck at Failed Silicon Valley Bank

11 March

The future of finance will be bank-free, Bernstein said in a research report Friday. Banks will still exist, but in the background as “custodians of old wealth.”

New wealth creation and financial-services innovation will move to a new financial app universe on the Ethereum ecosystem.

A revival of decentralized finance (DeFi) is in the works, one that is far more sustainable, scalable, transparent and with improving token economics.

Bernstein estimates that by 2028, bank-free DeFi will have revenue of $40 billion and total assets will grow to $1 trillion from about $65 billion now. It forecasts $5 trillion in assets over the next decade due to rapid adoption.

The next generation of DeFi will be built on a layer 2 network that is scalable with 95% lower transaction costs and products that generate real revenue and sustainable yields rather than being driven by token incentives, the note said.”

See Also: Brave Browser Now Lets Users Sell Crypto Within the Wallet
See Also: Facebook Parent Company Meta Exploring Decentralized App: Report

Circle’s USDC, the second-largest stablecoin, with $43 billion market capitalization, held an undisclosed part of its $9.8 billion cash reserves at failed Silicon Valley Bank.

SBV was one of the six banks that the firm used for managing the approximately 25% portion of USDC reserves held in cash. While we await clarity on how the FDIC receivership of Silicon Valley Bank will impact its depositors, Circle and USDC continue to operate normally.

The full list of banks that held cash for Circle’s USDC are Bank of New York Mellon, Citizens Trust Bank, Customers Bank, New York Community Bank (a division of Flagstar Bank, N.A.), Signature Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Silvergate Bank. Circle also keeps some part of USDC reserves in a dedicated BlackRock fund.

Circle said last week it had cut ties with Silvergate Bank, the crypto-friendly bank that halted operations and said it would “voluntarily liquidate” its assets earlier this week. Circle’s chief executive Jeremy Allaire said the firm held ‘most of their cash is in BNY Melon.’

See Also: Circle’s USDC Endured $1B of Net Redemptions Since Silicon Valley Bank’s Shutdown
See Also: USDC Stablecoin Depegs From $1; Circle Says Operations Are Normal
See Also: DeFi Protocol Curve’s $500M Stablecoin Pool Hammered as Traders Flee USDC
See Also: Crypto Wallets Withdraw $902M USDC From Centralized Exchanges in Past 24 Hours Amid SVB, Silvergate Shutdowns

The DFPI said in a statement that it had taken possession of the bank, “citing inadequate liquidity and insolvency.” The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has taken receivership of the bank. SVB’s collapse with $211 billion in assets is among the largest in history, second only to Washington Mutual Bank’s failure during the Great Financial Crisis in 2008.

While not perceived as “crypto-friendly” as Silvergate, the tech-forward Silicon Valley Bank did count a number of crypto entities as clients – especially hedge funds and VC firms. Blockchain Capital, Castle Island Ventures, Dragonfly and Pantera all had relationships with the bank.

Among the bank shares moving lower on the news are fellow West Coast lenders First Republic Bank (FRC), now off 15%, and Western Alliance Bancorp (WAL), now down 25%. Crypto-friendly Signature Bank (SBNY) has also added to losses, the stock now off 13%.

The broader stock market has turned from modest gains to modest losse. The S&P 500 is now lower by 0.3%. Bitcoin is little changed at just above $20,000.

All insured depositors will have full access to their insured deposits no later than Monday morning.”

See Also: A Tale of 2 Banks: Why Silvergate and Silicon Valley Bank Collapsed
See Also: Signature Bank Stock Down 12% in Volatile Action as Sell-Off Continues
See Also: Replacing Silvergate’s Network Is a Challenge for Crypto Industry: JPMorgan

“On March 10, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ruled against a change that would allow investment manager VanEck to create a spot Bitcoin (BTC) trust. Commissioner Mark Uyeda joined his colleague Hester Peirce in releasing a statement criticizing the commission’s decision not to approve the listing.

In our view, the Commission is using a different set of goalposts from those it used—and still uses—for other types of commodity-based ETPs to keep these spot bitcoin ETPs off the exchanges we regulate.

The commissioners said the SEC had not required any connection between the spot and futures markets to be demonstrated for other commodity-based ETPs. The SEC is required by law to explain changes to its policy for approving commodity-based ETPs, they added.”

See Also: U.S. Justice Dept. Appeals New York Judge’s Decision to Approve Voyager’s Sale to Binance.US
See Also: Coinbase Updates Staking Service Following Regulatory Crackdown

“Tonya Evans, a professor at Penn State University Dickinson Law, said that if the New York Attorney General prevails, defining ether as a security could have huge ramifications for the crypto world. Whether it is deemed one is likely to depend on what approach state and federal regulators take in defining the digital asset, but she said she doesn’t see how ether could be considered a security.

Once there are ‘federal guidelines, rules, regulations and laws that may preempt state law, oftentimes you’ll see things percolate up from the states and eventually make it before the [U.S. Supreme Court] to render the ultimate determination. And this is what we often see‘ in new and emerging asset classes and industries, she said.

Nonetheless, the U.S. should be cautious about alienating the crypto industry and forcing it out of the country because it would be operating without U.S. regulatory oversight to protect investors, she said.

If we’re pushing this type of ecosystem offshore it will be more and more difficult for lawmakers and regulators to actually reach the point of keeping this ecosystem vibrant in the United States with clear and defined rules.”

The manifesto suggests reviewing existing Nigerian Security Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations on digital assets to make them more business-friendly. The manifesto’s release coincides with Nigerians’ increasing crypto adoption, which is among the highest in the world.

We will reform the policy to encourage the prudent use of blockchain technology in banking and finance, identity management, revenue collection and use of crypto assets. We will establish an advisory committee to review SEC regulation on digital assets creating a more efficient and business-friendly regulatory framework.”

Account Abstraction Explained

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