SEC Moves To Expunge XRP Holders From Ongoing Ripple Lawsuit With Latest Filing

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s ongoing lawsuit against blockchain firm Ripple Labs and its executives has taken a new twist.

SEC Files Opposition To Motion To Intervene

In a recent release, the agency filed a motion to stop XRP holders from intervening in the ongoing lawsuit. The filing termed the “Memorandum of Law in Opposition of the Motion to Intervene” seeks to ensure no third party is involved in the ongoing case.

The government agency said this is because the movants have no stake whatsoever and cannot be called in as reliable witnesses due to their association with the defendants.

It also noted that their grievances are properly represented by Ripple Labs and the company’s chairman Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

The SEC noted that this is not the first occasion the movants have tried infusing themselves into the case, citing their first filing in the Rhodes Island District Court.

It, however, said that the XRP holders might force the agency to take up a legal case against the body of interested movants since there has not been any reason to bring them into the matter.

The SEC said that this intervention is summarily against the agency’s sovereign immunity, and if the courts decide to let them state their case, it may be forced to bring in other disgruntled investors who feel the defendants were not honest in their dealings with them.

The financial agency also explained that the movants’ cause is a lost one given the fact that whatever funds they lost following the lawsuit on secondary markets cannot be recovered as they are not a party to the case.

The SEC said the recent filing by the lead counsel for the movants Jordan Deaton lacked any new substantive argument as they have repeatedly borrowed from the defendants’ narrative of XRP not being a “security.”

It says this sustained discourse is similar to XRP’s position and shouldn’t, therefore, be allowed to stand in order not to foster delay and confusion.

The regulatory body also jabbed at Deaton’s motive, subtly stating that this could be a platform for the lawyer to gain Twitter prominence following the growing media attention surrounding the case.

Ripple Scaling Up Despite SEC Lawsuit

The SEC’s lawsuit in the closing days of 2020 adversely affected Ripple Lab’s partnerships and its utility token’s valuation in the secondary market.

Following the December filing by outgoing Chairman Jay Clayton, crypto exchanges in the US swiftly delisted the XRP token from their platforms. If that weren’t enough, key partnerships with US companies, went underwater with MoneyGram reneging its agreement with the embattled company.

Ripple CEO Garlinghouse had noted that most of the blockchain company’s business was executed overseas, citing the regulatory haze in the American nation as a deterrent to innovative banking in the country.

He also pointed out that only the US SEC has a problem with the XRP token given that Asian nations, the area XRP has the most influence, do not classify the digital token as a “security.”

In the months that followed, XRP dropped from the 4th most valuable crypto position to the bottom ten, and its value traded way below a dollar.

But following preliminary victories in the opening case with the SEC, the XRP has rallied significantly, and calls for the digital payment firm to be relisted on exchanges have begun making the rounds.

And as the general crypto market has rallied, the XRP token has surged after it rose 17% in April and momentarily reclaimed its position as the 4th most valuable cryptocurrency.

The San Francisco-based fintech company has also been strategically repositioning itself since the SEC lawsuit was made public. Ripple said it was launching a private version of its XRP Ledger Protocol tailored for national banks in a release on its website. This private protocol would help apex banks in the issuance, maintenance, and monitoring of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), set to serve a secondary role to fiat.

The US tech company also recently appointed former US Treasurer Rosa Gumataotao Rios as a board member. Alongside, financial veteran Kristina Campbell will serve as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Rios’ former role as the currency maker is seen as a strategic move to sell the idea of digital currencies to anti-crypto critics. Campbell would be tasked with the responsibility of accelerating the company’s growth while delivering value to shareholders.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Reiterate Harsh Words Against Bitcoin, But it Doesn’t Matter

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Reiterate Harsh Words Against Bitcoin, But it Doesn’t Matter

Because as Avichal Garg of Electric Capital puts it, “they were the best investors of the industrial age. But we are now in the software age,” and they are already having a hard time catching up.

Warren Buffett avoided talking about Bitcoin during the recent Q&A session at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting, saying he doesn’t want to make the herd of longs mad.

However, the “Oracle of Omaha” did agree with Berkshire Vice Chairman and his longtime business partner Charlie Munger’s assessment of the trillion-dollar cryptocurrency.

As for what Munger had to say, which was a lot and not at all positive.

“Of course, I hate the bitcoin success,” said the 97-year-old Munger.

From here, he goes on to point out how Bitcoin is a currency that is useful to kidnappers and extortionists, and he doesn’t welcome such currency, and neither he likes to “just shuffling out of your extra billions of billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air.”

“I think I should say modestly that the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.”

This is no surprise coming from Munger because both he and Buffett have long been criticizing cryptocurrencies. And, of course, the crypto twitter (CT) didn’t like it one bit, to say the least.

While some pointed out how Munger had such harsh words for Bitcoin when the legendary investors themselves were involved with the sugar industry, responsible for obesity and diabetes, others noted that they missed out on the tech stocks as well.

It has only been recently that the duo became bullish on tech stocks and saw valuations of mega-cap as not “crazy” because of incredibly low rates on short-term government debt or Treasuries.

Trader and economist Alex Kruger, saying, “money managers that don’t adapt to technological changes have a hard time outperforming,” which they are currently having.

“They haven’t beaten the market since the market came to be dominated by software. They missed the biggest revolution in business and society since the industrial revolution,” said Avichal Garg of Electric Capital.

“They were the best investors of the industrial age. But we are now in the software age.”

Berkshire, meanwhile, is sitting at a cash pile of more than $145 billion at the end of 2021’s first quarter.

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Author: AnTy

UBS’s Latest Argument Against BTC: “Bitcoin Is Denied to Minority Groups With Reduced Online Access”

UBS’s Latest Argument Against BTC: “Bitcoin Is Denied to Minority Groups With Reduced Online Access”

UBS just can’t seem to get Bitcoin, and time and again, it tries to come up with some arguments to support their opinion.

Earlier this year, UBS’s chief economist said crypto had a fundamental flaw, and it was Bitcoin’s fixed supply. Then a couple of months later, they pointed to Bitcoin’s lack of real-world use and volatility to categorize it as a speculative bubble.

Now, they have found “something weird about Bitcoin.”

Yet again, UBS chief economist can’t help but point out how “Bitcoin seems to specifically defy the spirit of the age, in a way other cryptos do not.”

Paul Donovan argues that while some suggest Bitcoin as a safe haven from runaway inflation, not only does controlling supply not guarantee value, but major economies’ inflation has been low and stable for two decades and “Hyperinflation concerns for developed economy fiat currency seem to belong in a different era.”

He then notes that the trillion-dollar asset is increasingly destructive to the environment, which isn’t supported by data, and companies like Twitter CEO’s Square and Cathie Wood’s Ark are arguing for “bitcoin as a key driver of renewable energy’s future.”

In fact, according to Donovan, while politicians and economists increasingly value inclusion, “Bitcoin is denied to those minority groups who have reduced online access,” yeah, they went there.

He further says, Bitcoin warrants its miners to be rich, and the holdings are concentrated amongst a tiny number of people. “Its governance is more plutocratic than democratic,” he added.

The only modern trend, according to Donovan, bitcoin embraces is the power of narrative which he says matters hugely to the largest cryptocurrency’s evolution, “Otherwise, Bitcoin seems opposed to the modern Zeitgeist,” he wrote.

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Author: AnTy

Turkish Lira (TRY) Crashes 15% in a Single Day; Bitcoin (BTC) Starts A Green Week Above $58k

This big fall in Turkish Lira against USD to nearly record low from November has the country’s people curious and searching about Bitcoin.

The price of Bitcoin is on the rise today, going above $58,000 after a drop to just under $55,500 over the weekend.

While it has been a bad weekend for the Bitcoin longs, trader and economist Alex Kruger says, “we are up for a strong week.” From cryptocurrencies, stocks, bonds, to metals, everything will be up while the dollar makes its way down.

His reason for a risk-on week is the stimulus checks that Americans have been receiving since last week. Also, because bonds rallied on Friday’s major negative news, the Federal Reserve declined to extend its Covid-19 capital break-in, which is “very positive for tech, which dominates risk sentiment.”

The Fed said it would allow a change to the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) to expire March 31, when announced in April 2020; this allowed banks to exclude Treasury and deposits with Fed banks from the calculation of the leverage ratio.

According to some, it could be a signal that the central bank won’t buy $120 billion of bonds a month indefinitely.

However, Kruger said, the concerns in the form of portfolio rebalancing outflows for equities, crypto regulatory FUD re-emerging, and that the crypto curve steepens too fast can hurt the bulls.

Aggressive Moves

The gains to mark the start of the week are coming as the US dollar eases down after surging past 92 level, aiming for an early March level of 92.5, which was seen in late November before that, on Sunday. The greenback rallied on the back of higher Treasury yields following the Fed’s pushback against speculation over interest rate spikes but is having a slight red start of the week.

The US economy is heading for its strongest growth in about 40 years, with inflation expected to jump to 2.4% this year, above the central bank’s 2% target as policymakers pledge to keep on supplying aid, said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

According to BofA, US 10-year Treasury yields could rise to 2.15% by year-end, having revised its target citing “much more aggressive” US fiscal stimulus impulse and rapid vaccinations in the US.

Amidst all this, the Turkish Lira (TRY) crashed 15% on Monday, approaching its record low from November, and dollar bonds sold off following President Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to oust a central bank governor.

Turkish stock index also slipped 9% to a three-month low after the appointment of Sahap Kavcioglu, a former banker and ruling party lawmaker, which sparked fears of a reversal of recent rate hikes. Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX at Commerzbank said,

“It may well be that interest rate hikes are once again permitted by Erdogan in a phase of crisis-like lira depreciation, but the recent developments should have shown currency traders that even then a sustainable monetary policy regime change is not to be expected.”

“The calming effect of interest rate hikes has probably been largely destroyed.”

The South African rand has also slipped ahead of the central bank meeting, where the South Africa Reserve Bank is expected to keep the rates unchanged. Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation noted,

“A nation of 82 million sees its currency crash 15% in a single day. No coincidence that Turkey has some of the highest per-capita Bitcoin usage in the world. A growing number of Turks are peacefully choosing a different monetary system that their oppressors can’t control.”

Interestingly, the fall in Turkey’s fiat currency coincides with a surge in Google searches for the term “Bitcoin.” Ever since October, it has been on an uptrend and took a big jump today before normalizing.

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Author: AnTy

6,000 XRP Holders Want Their Voices Heard In SEC’s Lawsuit Against Ripple Labs

6,000 XRP Holders Want Their Voices Heard In SEC’s Lawsuit Against Ripple Labs

XRP holder and crypto enthusiast John E. Deaton of Deaton Law Firm on Sunday filed a renewed petition to have over 6,000 XRP holders testify as third-party defendants in the ongoing lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Ripple Labs.

6,000 XRP Holders Want To Testify

According to the filing, the SEC is not fully representing XRP holders’ interests in the lawsuit. With this new filing, Deaton and 6,000 XRP hodlers want to be involved in the case as a third-party defendant.

In a continued correspondence Deaton sent to Judge Analisa Torres, the legal representative said he had informed the financial regulator of his intention to file a class-action lawsuit against the agency, citing the SEC’s intentional misconduct and abuse of discretion as reasons.

In the letter to Judge Torres, Deaton said that he previously filed a writ of mandamus against the SEC in the Federal District Court of Rhode Island on Jan.1 following the lawsuit against Ripple Labs and two of its executives. The January lawsuit demands were for the regulatory agency to exclude present-day XRP held by XRP investors from the securities category.

He had also demanded that whatever funds were received from the defendants should be placed in a constructive trust for XRP holders who incurred losses in connection to the XRP enforcement action of December 2020.

Another subpoena was brought against the SEC on Jan. 12, 2021, with the commission dismissing both.

In a blog post published on CryptoLaw, Deaton said the SEC had claimed that the only region their claims could be heard would be in the Southern District of New York. According to him, Ripple Labs, Brad Garlinghouse, and Chris Larsen, the accused, were defending themselves, and it is up to affected investors of XRP to speak up and be heard.

He also said that the SEC’s action against Ripple Labs had seen investors incur $15 billion worth of losses, days after the lawsuit was initiated. If his requests are granted, we may likely see a new twist to the SEC vs. Ripple narrative.

SEC’s Lawsuit Snowballs

Ripple’s XRP price had slumped from a high $0.76 to a meager $0.18 two weeks into the case.

To further compound the blockchain company’s misfortunes, major crypto exchanges like Coinbase, Binance.US, eToro, Bittrex, and OKCoin delisted XRP from their platforms. Digital asset management firm Grayscale also liquidated its XRP holdings and channeled the funds into Bitcoin and Litecoin.

Ripple also lost its multi-year partnership with US payments giant MoneyGram after the company announced in its quarterly outlook that it would not be expecting any market development fees from the blockchain company in Q1 2021.

Ripple and Garlinghouse have since replied to the SEC in separate filings made to the courts. Ripple Labs presented a point-for-point response to the SEC’s allegations that it engaged in sales of unregulated securities in 2013. Garlinghouse said in a separate motion that the SEC was over-reaching in classifying XRP as a security. According to the Ripple Labs’ CEO, the SEC’s lawsuit can only be termed prejudiced and not based on facts.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

New York Attorney General Warns Against Crypto Investing, says It ‘Could Cause Devastating Losses’

New York Attorney General Warns Against Crypto Investing, says It ‘Could Cause Devastating Losses’

New York Attorney General Letitia James has issued a warning against investing in cryptocurrencies.

“There are extreme risks in investing in virtual or cryptocurrencies,” she said. According to her, it is imperative that they act to protect the wallets of the investors, and as such,

“I’m warning New Yorkers and investors across the country that investing in this unstable market is not prudent and could cause devastating losses.”

“What should New Yorkers invest in? The lottery? Dollars? How about negative-yielding bonds?” commented trader and economist Alex Kruger on her warning.

While the NYAG office is being bearish on cryptocurrencies, lately, banks like BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citi are indulging in the crypto market and releasing their reports on the market’s bullish future.

The same day, Cboe also filed with the SEC to list a Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). Trader Jonny Moe said,

“It is beyond disappointing that the AG of the state that led financial innovation for the prior century is this shortsighted. NY continues to prove that they will likely not continue to be the world financial leader through the next century, and as a local, that’s sad to see.”

James especially directed her warning towards cryptocurrency trading platforms.

“Let this also serve as a warning to those facilitating these trades: If you don’t play by the rules, we will not hesitate to shut down your operations.”

These comments came after last week NYAG settled with Tether and Bitfinex with the companies not admitting or denying any wrongdoing.

“We’re ending Bitfinex and Tether’s virtual currency trading in New York,” she said at the time. “Those trading virtual currencies in New York cannot avoid our laws, period.”

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Author: AnTy

First Publicly-Traded German Company Buys Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Euro Devaluation

First Publicly-Traded German Company Buys Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Euro Devaluation

Bitcoin “exact antithesis of traditional currencies,” said Lars Müller, CEO of Cannabis company SynBiotic SE.

SynBiotic SE has become the first publicly-traded company in Germany to add Bitcoin to its balance sheet.

Corporate Bitcoin buying has now grown beyond the US, where already the likes of Tesla, MicroStrategy, and Square have bought the leading digital asset.

Now, Germany has also joined in with SynBiotic SE, a cannabis company, in an attempt to hedge against the devaluation of the euro due to the excessive increase in the money supply of the fiat currency.

“Our decision focused less on price fluctuations than the risk of devaluation of euro and dollar,” said SynBiotic SE CEO Lars Müller on the company’s decision to make a shift to Bitcoin.

Müller further points to Bitcoin’s limited supply of 21 million, which he said is the “exact antithesis of traditional currencies.”

“This limit is fixed and inviolable, which the cryptocurrency‘s decentralized organization and the blockchain‘s tamper-proof nature in turn guarantees,” added Müller, which he said instills “more long-term confidence in bitcoin than in euros or dollars, where a central institution, influenced by politicians, can expand the money supply immeasurably.”

Besides the risk of devaluing fiat currencies, the cannabis sector already has very positive experiences with bitcoin as a digital means of payment. SynBiotic’s several subsidiaries already accept payments in bitcoin in addition to euros.

According to a recent survey, 5% of company executives plan to hold Bitcoin. This increased corporate adoption has Bitcoin nearing the $52,000 level, up over 77% YTD.

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Author: AnTy

Stable Gold May Act As A Hedge Against Crypto Volatility Says Top Gold Miner

Stable Gold May Act As A Hedge Against Crypto Volatility Says Top Gold Miner

The age-old safe haven asset is tangible, and crypto holders should consider having some gold, said Newcrest Mining Ltd. CEO Sandeep Biswas.

With the market capitalization of the overall cryptocurrency market reaching $1.5 trillion, one of the world’s leading gold miners recommends investors to buy the traditional safe-haven asset, gold.

“If you’re into cryptos, you want to consider having some gold,” Newcrest Mining Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Biswas told Bloomberg following the Melbourne-based company’s earnings reported on Thursday. The precious metal, according to Biswas, “may act as a bit of a hedge against the volatility of cryptos.”

As we have seen since last year, Bitcoin as a digital gold narrative is gaining traction, which actually resulted in the leading cryptocurrency stealing some of the investment inflows from gold ETF products.

Price-wise, the bullion has been on a downtrend ever since, hitting its ATH around $2,075 in August 2020, while Bitcoin hit yet another ATH on Thursday at $49,000. Compared to Bitcoin’s 62.75% gains YTD, the yellow metal is actually down 3.68%.

This certainly heats up the debate whether the digital currency with a limited supply can erode gold’s appeal over time. According to Biswas, the two assets are distinct, and owning the stable gold would benefit crypto holders.

“Gold is a different class of investment,” Biswas said. “It’s a tangible asset: you can see it, you can touch it, you can feel it, you can mold it, you can make it into jewelry, whatever you want.”

While JPMorgan had said gold might suffer because of Bitcoin’s growing acceptance, Goldman Sachs Group believes both the assets can coexist despite the digital asset capturing some demand from the precious metal.

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain Association Strengthens Fight Against FinCEN Rule, Adds Five New Members

Blockchain Association Strengthens Fight Against FinCEN Rule, Adds Five New Members

  • Blockchain Association adds five new members.
  • The Association is at the forefront in the fight against FinCEN’s proposed crypto laws.
  • The members have grown over three times since launch in 2018.

In a tweet earlier on Thursday, the Blockchain Association announced five new firms to its coalition, namely Uniswap, Fireblocks, BlockFi, Blockchain Capital, and CMT Digital. This brings the total number of members to 30, strengthening the Association’s voice, especially in the recent battle opposing the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) crypto laws proposal.

The Association launched in 2018 intending to lobby lawmakers in Washington DC and defend the blockchain community from obscure laws. Starting with 10 members, including Circle, Digital Currency Group, and Polychain Capital, the Association has tripled in member size following the recent additions.

This gradual growth in blockchain firms joining BA provides “a bigger megaphone” and allows the Association to “push back on bad rules before they take effect,” the tweet further reads. Additionally, the association is also pivoting from its main issue,  pushing clarity on securities law, to focus on other pertinent problems in the crypto space.

“At launch, we focused on pushing clarity on securities law,” Blockchain Association post reads. “Today, we shape the debate on self-hosted wallets, stablecoin policy, tax policy, custody, and privacy.”

The Association, however, saw one of its biggest launching partners, Coinbase, the US largest crypto exchange, leave the association in August shortly after Binance U.S. joined the association.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Nexus Mutual Now Covers Binance, Coinbase, Gemini & Kraken Users Against Security Breaches

Nexus Mutual’s Insurance Now Covers Binance, Coinbase, Gemini & Kraken Users Against Security Breaches

Decentralized finance insurance protocol Nexus Mutual has updated the list of cryptocurrency exchanges that are eligible for incidence protection. The company’s services will now include customers of centralized exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, and Kraken.

More Custodians Welcome

The update, which was announced on Monday, will allow these exchanges’ customers to purchase protection against certain hacks or asset withdrawal issues.

It’s part of the Custody Cover initiative, and it provides compensation for users who lose over ten percent of their funds in the event of a security breach on any of the supported exchanges. Users can also claim cover if an exchange suspends withdrawals for over 90 days.

Nexus Mutual launched Custody Cover in December 2020 to provide insurance cover for centralized crypto. At the time, the company explained that it was branching out of DeFi to build its insurance marketplace. The company’s long term goal is to use blockchain to provide cover for companies and individuals within and outside the crypto space.

“We’re focused on the longevity of Nexus Mutual and want to become a marketplace that covers diverse risks both in and outside of the crypto space. We want to use the benefits of blockchain to protect all underserved communities and this is our first step in that direction.”

Custody Cover launched with support for six custodians – Celsius, BlockFi, Hodlnaut, Nexo, inLock, and Ledn.

With Custody Cover, Nexus Mutual is looking to solve the issue of overly high insurance coverage prices in the crypto space. While premiums for insurance vary based on the platform, numbers appear to be too high for everyday customers and traders.

A Spotlight on Custody

Nexus Mutual’s branching out into the centralized space is coming amid significant growth in the crypto custody space. In response to increased institutional crypto demand, custody providers have also done their bit to improve security.

Recently, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch conducted a survey showing increased Bitcoin activity from Wall Street players. The survey interviewed fund managers with $534 billion in assets under management. They found that institutions were increasingly trading in Bitcoin. Only the dollar and tech stocks saw more trades.

report from Fidelity Investments also revealed that a third of institutional investors now own crypto assets. This increased enthusiasm from investors means asset custodians need to ramp up their security infrastructure to protect against hacks and other mishaps. In a report, auditing giant KPMG explained that custodians’ top action will be to enable next-generation compliance and security measures.

The company recommends incorporating leading cryptographic techniques like sharding, multi-signature wallets, and multi-party computation. Essentially, cryptocurrency security will require input from both hardware and software solutions.

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Author: Jimmy Aki