- China’s digital yuan is expected to be highlighted at the forthcoming so-called “two sessions” after being written into multiple regional governments’ annual work reports, Global Times reported. “Two sessions” are the annual gatherings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC). They might shed some light on the central government’s priorities and plans for the coming year.
- Commenting on bitcoin and the US Treasury Secretary’s take on it, US Senator Elizabeth Warren described it in an interview with CNBC as “speculative in nature and going to end badly.” Warren added that she doesn’t think “Janet Yellen left a lot of room for ambiguity there.” Yellen stated in February that BTC is “a highly speculative asset” and “people should be aware it can be extremely volatile and I do worry about potential losses that investors can suffer.”
- The Thai financial regulatory Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has distanced itself from a controversial proposal that sought to fence off the crypto sector for institutional investors only. The SEC had created plans requiring that investors have a minimum annual income of over USD 33,000, well above the national average, and meet other criteria if they wanted to trade crypto. But according to the Bangkok Post, the regulator stated that the measure was “just meant to test public sentiment” from stakeholders. The media outlet reported that a “huge wave of public criticism” followed “within a few hours of its announcement” and that the regulator has reportedly held talks with domestic exchanges.
- Gary Gensler, the Biden administration’s nominee to chair the SEC, said that ensuring that cryptocurrency markets are free of fraud and manipulation is a challenge for the commission, Bloomberg reported. Gensler was speaking during a Senate confirmation hearing today.
- The crypto-blockchain-manga relationship is continuing to deepen in Japan. Shueisha, the manga publishing giant Shueisha, the Shonen Jump magazine team, and the wildly popular One Piece series, launched a blockchain platform. The platform, the company asserted, would allow artists to buy and sell original artwork created for One Piece and other best-selling titles. All works were issued with a tamper-proof, blockchain-powered certificate of authenticity. The firm claimed that the certificates would “continue to guarantee a work’s authenticity even after it had left the artist’s hands.”
- Binance announced it had made an unspecified strategic investment in Multicoin Capital, making the exchange a limited partner in the crypto-focused hedge fund. Other limited partners of the fund include Ribbit Capital, Union Square Ventures, and individuals including Marc Andreessen, a founding managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and David Sacks, the founder of Craft Ventures, the first chief operating officer of PayPal.
- Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of the FTX exchange and its parent company Alameda Research, announced that its users can now use PayPal to top up their trading accounts. Per his tweet, users can get “instant” fiat deposits on their FTX accounts, as well as a deposit “more or less” any currency, while PayPal converts it for the users.
- State Street Corporation said it had been appointed as the fund administrator and transfer agent of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, a new bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) currently pending approval by the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
- PayPal is said to be in the process of buying crypto custodian Curv, Coindesk stated, citing three undisclosed sources “familiar with the situation.” Israeli news website Calcalist first said that Curv is in negotiations with an unknown bidder, while the deal value might reach USD 200m – USD 300m. Per Coindesk’s source, who reportedly said that “from where I’m hearing it, I’m pretty sure it’s true,” the deal is valued at USD 500m. As reported in December last year, PayPal abandoned its plans to acquire US-based principal crypto custodian BitGo as the talks had fallen through. However, PayPal the company was still exploring other potential acquisitions.
- Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has restarted its cryptocurrency trading desk and will begin dealing Bitcoin (BTC) futures and non-deliverable forwards for clients starting next week, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The team is also a part of Goldman’s activities within the digital assets sector, including projects involving blockchain and central bank digital currencies. As part of this work, the bank is also exploring the potential for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund and has issued a request for information to explore digital asset custody, the report added.
- Evolve Funds Group announced it had filed a preliminary prospectus with the Canadian securities regulators for the Ether ETF (ETHR), designed to provide investors with exposure to ethereum (ETH).
- Canadian-headquartered crypto exchange Simply Digital Technologies Inc. – D/B/A CoinSmart – has recently closed a CAD 4.5m (USD 3.56m) seed round of financing through the issuance of interest-bearing convertible debentures. According to the press release, the company plans to fuel its platform into Europe and support operational updates.
- US-based crypto investment firm BlockTower Capital has acquired a USD 20m stake in the Fantom (FTM) ecosystem through investment. Per the firm, Fantom’s core value proposition – “a high-throughput, scalable, fast, and inexpensive layer 1 network that can serve as an Ethereum load balancer.”
- Malta-based blockchain sports venture Chiliz, which is involved with European football, will invest USD 50m in expanding to the United States, Reuters stated, CEO Alexandre Dreyfus. He said his company is now opening an office in the US as they target the country’s top sports franchises to launch Fan Tokens with leading franchises from the five major US sports leagues. Chiliz is also in talks with Formula One and e-sports teams, Dreyfus added.
- Listed Bitcoin miner Bitfarms stated it agreed to acquire 48,000 new miners from MicroBT to increase hashing capacity by approximately 5.0 EH. The company anticipates the initial shipment of miners to take place on or before January 2022.
- The South China Morning Post published that graphics card prices in Huaqiangbei, the world’s biggest electronics market, are “changing along with BTC” rates, adding that price volatility is “pushing vendors to demand same-day purchases” of a “dwindling” supply of units. The media outlet quoted an unnamed vendor at the market as stating: “Please keep a close eye on bitcoin prices, then you can get the price trend of graphics cards.” Vendors also said that foreign buyers were increasingly contacting them online with offers for GPUs.
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