31 March

Congressman Tom Emmer Tackles the War on Crypto

“An eventful March of bank failures, ongoing inflationary and other macroeconomic headwinds left investors mulling where to place their trust – and cash – and ultimately proved favorable for bitcoin and other cryptos considered stores of value impervious to turmoil.

Bitcoin (BTC) was recently trading at around $28,500, up over 21% in March. At one point Wednesday, the largest cryptocurrency by market value broke the $29,100 mark to reach its highest mark since June 2022. BTC has widely outperformed the S&P 500, Nasdaq and other traditional assets. The tech-focused Nasdaq rose over 4% for the month.

The macro landscape has been extremely constructive for ‘alternative money’ in March.”

See Also: Bitcoin price hits $28.5K on PCE data as macro ‘accumulation zone’ ends
See Also: ‘Killer use case’: Citi says trillions in assets could be tokenized by 2030

The license means Boerse Stuttgart Digital will be able to provide institutional investors with services for trading crypto as well as fiduciary custody, Germany’s second-largest stock exchange said in an email Thursday. Among the institutions it expects to make use of the offering are banks, brokers, asset managers and family offices.

Boerse Stuttgart, which is the sixth-largest stock exchange in Europe and which ranks behind the Frankfurt exchange in Germany, has been venturing into crypto services for several years. It unveiled a crypto trading app, Bison, in 2018, reporting that it reached trading volume of over $2.4 billion in 2021.”

See Also: Euroclear May Launch Digital Bond Settlement Platform This Year, Staffer Says
See Also: CBDC Can Be ‘Bridging Asset’ Between Bitcoin, TradFi: Bank of England

“Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex will shut down its U.S. platform on April 30 after nine years of operation, the company announced on Friday. The closure does not affect Bittrex Global, which operates in Europe, Canada and South America, among other locales, and will remain open for trading.

It’s just not economically viable for us to continue to operate in the current U.S. regulatory and economic environment. Regulatory requirements are often unclear and enforced without appropriate discussion or input, resulting in an uneven competitive landscape. Operating in the U.S. is no longer feasible.

See Also: U.S. Futures Watchdog Issues Compliance Rule for Crypto Activities Among Members
See Also: Sushi Swap CEO Says He No Longer Feels ‘Inspired’ Amid U.S. Regulators’ Crypto Crackdown
See Also: Polls suggest Elizabeth Warren’s anti-crypto army strategy won’t pay off

“Web3 domain provider Unstoppable Domains is rolling out artificial intelligence (AI)-generated profile pictures (PFP), allowing users to enhance their digital identities.

Unstoppable’s AI avatar software draws from a series of images to create unique and realistic PFPs that are computer generated. Users who pay a fee of $14.99 can upload up to 20 images of themselves, and within an hour can access 200 images generated by the software. These images can then be minted as a non-fungible token (NFT) on sidechain Polygon and used as an Unstoppable PFP.

Last week, Unstoppable rolled out a Polygon-based messaging service, allowing users to send encrypted messages to each other on-chain.”

See Also: Argentinian Airline Issues Every Ticket as an NFT

“In an academic thesis, Major Jason Lowery, who is also a National Defense Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), presented a new theory to the U.S. Department of Defense that Bitcoin is more than just a peer-to-peer payment system, but it is a new form of “digital-age warfare,” arguing that proof-of-work technologies will change the way humans compete globally.

Lowery’s research argues that the U.S. military could use Bitcoin to stop certain types of attacks, such as denial-of-service attacks, which overload servers with too many requests. The concept involves creating software programs that only respond to signals from large transactions recorded on the Bitcoin network.

Lowery also suggests that the Bitcoin network is like Maritime trade routes, which means it’s suited for economic exchange. Consequently, it’s crucial to protect freedom of navigation on the network, just as we protect trade routes.

According to the author, the U.S. should also stockpile Bitcoin, build a domestic Bitcoin mining industry, and extend legal protections to the technology. In his view, Bitcoin is a weapon of self-defense, and the country should protect it as it does other rights.

See Also: U.S. Government Sold $216M of Seized Silk Road Bitcoin This Month

Is This The END of the U.S. Dollar as World Reserve Currency?!

See Also: Russia talks up prospects of BRICS countries developing new currency

30 March

A bipartisan bill introduced earlier this month in the United States Senate could be applied in broad and unexpected ways if it becomes law, including to threaten crypto, the think tank Coin Center has warned.

The act would give the Commerce Department new powers that would ‘comprehensively address the ongoing threat posed by technology from foreign adversaries‘ by allowing it to ‘review, prevent, and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security.

The bill foresees penalties of imprisonment for 20 years and fines of $250,000. Legal experts say the act is vaguely worded and could be used to restrict a range of technologies, including virtual private networks, or VPNs.

The RESTRICT Act creates blanket authority, with few checks, to ban just about anything linked to a ‘foreign adversary’. Its potential implications for the cryptocurrency space cannot be ignored.”

See Also: U.S. CFTC Chief Behnam Reinforces View of Ether as Commodity

“In a March 29 hearing of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee exploring federal regulators’ responses to recent bank failures, Gruenberg said the deposits that were not included in the bid from a New York Community Bancorp subsidiary for Signature would be returned “by early next week.”

According to Gruenberg, Signature’s payments platform Signet — which, along with the digital asset deposits, was not included in the NYCB bid — was “in the process now of being marketed” to potential buyers.

Nellie Liang, under secretary for domestic finance at the U.S. Treasury Department, said she didn’t believe crypto “played a direct role” in the failure of either Signature or Silicon Valley Bank.

See Also: Top U.S. Treasury Official Says Crypto Had No ‘Direct Role’ In Bank Failures

The exit of FTX and the regulatory issues for Binance may end up leaving sizable market share up for grabs in international derivatives trading. The platform would specifically offer perpetual futures, a type of derivative that is banned in the U.S. for retail traders.

Indeed, in addition to the Gemini plans, it was reported earlier this month that leading U.S.-based exchange Coinbase (COIN) was looking to launchan overseas platform in order to offer perpetual futures.”

See Also: Binance concealed ties to China for years, even after 2017 crypto crackdown: Report
See Also: Coinbase Aims to Stay in Canada; Binance Could Be Poised to Exit Amid Regulatory Shakeup

“The bullish impulse stems from Ripple’s case vs. the SEC, where optimism for Ripple’s win seems to be becoming more dominant.

XRP has rallied 57% since March 22, reaching a 10-month high of about 58 cents. Since the rally began, the notional open interest, or the dollar value locked in unsettled and active contracts trading on futures and perpetual futures exchanges, has increased by nearly 90% to $843 million, the highest since December 2021.

An increase in open interest coming alongside an increase in price typically suggests an influx of new money on the bullish side and is said to confirm the uptrend.”

See Also: DeFi Platform Lido to Cease Staking on Polkadot, Kusama in August

Four of Warhol’s famous works were “partially acquired” from well-known art collectors, and each work will be available as shares in the form of security tokens. The collection plans to launch in May, though interested collectors can join the waitlist now. According to the website, the starting price for each tokenized lot will vary from $250 to $860.

Freeport will utilize Vertalo to tokenize the artworks so they can be bought and sold on decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms. The platform cleared a regulatory hurdle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday, allowing it to fractionalize shares of fine artworks in the form of security tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.

As more and more value moves on-chain, fractionalized art is increasingly being sought after.”

An unknown person or group may be collecting the IP addresses of Bitcoin (BTC) users and linking them to their BTC addresses, violating the privacy of these users, according to a blog post from pseudonymous Bitcoin app developer 0xB10C. The entity has been active since March 2018.

An entity I call LinkingLion, active since 2018 and on a Monero banlist, is opening connections to many clearnet Bitcoin nodes. Its presumably attempting to link transactions to node IPs.

To help protect the community from this privacy threat, 0xB10C has produced an open-source ban list that nodes can implement to ban LinkingLion from connecting to them. However, they also warned that the entity could get around this ban list by changing the IP addresses it uses to connect. In 0xB10C’s view, the only permanent solution to the problem is to change the transaction logic within Bitcoin Core, which developers have so far been unable to do.

The vulnerability exposed in the post seems to primarily affect users running their own Bitcoin nodes.”

Polygon zkEVM Launch with Mihailo Bjelic and Jordi Baylina

29 March

“As part of the ceremony of the announcement, according to the Polygon team, Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, was granted the privilege of initiating the first transaction on the new zkEVM, livestreamed at ETHGlobal.

The transaction that Buterin sent on the zkEVM was successful, where he sent 0.005 ETH to a random address with the corny message, ostensibly referencing Neil Armstrong’s famous first words upon walking on the moon: ‘A few million constraints for man, unconstrained scalability for mankind.

Over 50 companies shared that they would build using the Polygon zkEVM technology, according to Polygon’s press release. Nailwal said he believes ZK technology is the future of Ethereum.

In 18 to 24 months, you will see almost all of the large web3 applications being built on the zero-knowledge-proven layer 2 chains.

The race to come out with the first zkEVMs culminated last week when Polygon’s rival, Matter Labs, opened its zkEVM, zkSync Era, to the public.”

See Also: Matter Labs Opens zkSync Era to Users, Claiming First in ‘Zero Knowledge’ Tech on Ethereum
See Also: ConsenSys Launches zkEVM Public Testnet, Renames It ‘Linea’

“Binance.US is a minor part of the overall business and makes up less than 5% of the exchange’s global operations, the report said. Given that cryptocurrency trading is a global business, Bernstein expects that Binance will look to ‘safeguard its dominant international business, which is its cash cow, and where it has worked on licenses in Europe, Africa and Australia.’

The broker says this latest enforcement is not “material to overall crypto markets” as Binance.US operations are not material, and it doesn’t expect this news to trigger a large selloff in the market, as the “regulatory narrative” has pivoted from the U.S. to expected Hong Kong and China flows. The Hong Kong retail crypto market is expected to open as of June 1.

Bernstein says it continues to expect Hong Kong and China regulatory positives to offset the negative headlines emanating from the U.S. markets, until there is a regulatory shift in the U.S.”

There’s no shortage of banks currently “rolling out the welcome mat” for crypto firms who need accessing to banking after the blowup of popular crypto banks Silvergate and Signature Bank, according to a new report from WSJ.

New Jersey-based Cross River Bank was named among other regional banks like Customers Bancorp and Fifth Third Bancorp who are all “scrambling” to establish new relationships with crypto customers.

Additionally, large banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. are still doing business with crypto clients, the report notes. They’re simply being “selective” about their customer list and what services they provide.

The fears that Washington was going to cut off crypto completely, stoked by indications it was going to sever it from the banking system, appear to have “somewhat abated”, the Journal wrote.

There are dozens of other banks, both onshore and offshore, that are taking advantage of this opportunity.”

See Also: Hong Kong crypto firms seeing interest from Chinese banks: Report

“Ethereum’s “censorship” problem seems to have changed course over the past six months. The share of “censored” blocks has shrunk to less than a third – in what might be seen as a comeback for Ethereum’s anti-censorship ethos.

Now that validators have had the opportunity to experiment with MEV-Boost, many have started to turn to alternative relays like Agnostic and ultra sound. Noncensoring relays such as Agnostic and ultra sound are delivering more data blocks on Ethereum than Flashbots, the one-time king of MEV-delivering relays.

The number of validators that are connected to us is constantly growing.”

See Also: Ethereum Network DRPC Aims to Quell Centralization Risks Ahead of Shanghai Upgrade

“Crypto exchange Coinbase sees inflation-pegged “flatcoins” as one of four “critical” innovations that should be built on its recently launched layer-2 network Base. The other three include an on-chain reputation system, an on-chain limit order book (LOB) exchange and tools that make the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem safer.

In light of the recent banking crisis, Coinbase said it is now “more important than ever” to build an inflation-tracking stablecoin that negates economic uncertainty caused by the legacy financial system. While most stablecoins are pegged to a reference asset such as the U.S. dollar, flatcoins aim to be pegged to the “price of living” by tracking consumer price index and inflation data.

[We] are particularly interested in ‘flatcoins’ — stablecoins that track the rate of inflation, enabling users to have stability in purchasing power while also having resiliency from the economic uncertainty caused by the legacy financial system.”

“Lawmakers on two key committees in the European Parliament have voted in favor of imposing limits on payments by unverified crypto users, as part of a large scale overhaul of money laundering laws. The cap of 1,000 euros won’t apply if a regulated wallet provider is involved or the identity of the payer is known.

The vote allows negotiations to begin with the Council. In April the parliament is also set to provide final signing off to rules ensuring payers are identified when funds are transferred.”

The problem with the “just say no” approach to CBDC is that it acquiesces to the rampant and undue commercial and government surveillance of the existing analog financial system. It does so at a time when the rest of the world is building efficient, networked digital economies that may, if designed right, better protect financial privacy and economic freedom.

The sad fact is that our current financial system – before we even turn to digital currency – is far more subject to government surveillance than it has become socially acceptable to admit. With existing surveillance at unprecedented levels, many reckon that a U.S. CBDC would incorporate the same degree of government monitoring. In fact, the current widespread practice of financial surveillance impedes the development of a true freedom coin by both the private and public sectors.

In democratic societies, lawful transactions in digital money – sovereign or non-sovereign – must be immune from political surveillance and censorship regardless of who is in power today, four years from now and 10 years from now.

Americans and American multinational corporations will soon contend with CBDCs worldwide, whether or not the U.S. deploys a digital dollar at home. What remains unknown is whether surveillance coins, such as China’s e-CNY, will have the world to themselves, or whether they will encounter competition from freedom coins issued by traditional democracies such as the United States. The potential risks of failing to even consider a freedom coin form of digital dollar are too great to ignore.”

See Also: Crypto Is the Solution to Bank Runs, Not the Cause

Arthur Hayes Says, “Get your Bitcoin, and Get Out!”

See Also: Why Balaji and Hayes Are Wrong: Ben Hunt (Video)

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.