Indian Securities Regulator to Restrict IPO Promoters from Holding Bitcoin: Report

India’s securities regulator is reported to be working on barring all IPO organizers from holding cryptocurrencies. This is another statement move from the government following its cryptocurrency ban.

The Indian government has shown no subtlety in its approach to banning cryptocurrencies from the country.

Now, it appears to be extending its anti-crypto stance to the traditional financial industry. Initial Public Offerings (IPO) promoters would be the first to feel its wrath.

No Crypto for Fundraisers

Recently, the Economic Times reported that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), India’s securities regulator, is planning to force all IPO participants to divest all crypto holdings before proceeding with their listings.

Per the report, crypto selloffs will most likely become a prerequisite for anyone looking to raise funds through an IPO, forming what the latest in New Delhi’s plans to eradicate digital assets is.

The news source reported that the SEBI plans to send notices to merchant banks, underwriters, securities lawyers, and all other stakeholders in India’s IPO space, warning them to stay off digital assets.

A securities lawyer told the news source that this would most likely be a government directive, as they could believe that an IPO promoter holding an illegal asset could pose a risk to investors.

Some investment bankers have also explained that the SBI might move ahead with the restriction even if the Reserve Bank’s ban on digital assets doesn’t pass parliamentary approval – an improbable process on its own.

Mahesh Singhi, an executive at investment banking firm SInghi Advisors, explained that SEBI is looking to avoid a situation where IPO promoters divers their raised funds to crypto investments, which remain highly speculative.

SEBI has yet to release any written notifications to that effect, but many stakeholders seem to believe that this restriction will come into effect soon.

No Time to Waste

The IPO restriction is the latest approach from the Indian government, which has vowed to disrupt the crypto sector in the country. First announced last month, the ban is gaining traction ahead of a presentation at the country’s lower parliament.

Titled the “Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill,” the proposal is already in consideration at the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of parliament. However, the current budget session is expected to run till April 8, with a recess session already ongoing until March 7.

Earlier this month, local news source CNBC-TV18 reported that the government might as well skip the parliamentary process altogether. Per the report, it could look to take the “ordinance route” to ban the use of private digital assets while also allowing the Reserve Bank to create a digital framework for its planned Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

CNBC-TV18 reported that all appropriate parties had already begun drafting the ordinance as they look to pass the crypto ban proposal within a month. Ordinances usually allow the Indian government, through President Ram Nath Kovind, to bypass parliament and take action.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

61% of Americans Have Little to No Understanding of How Cryptocurrencies Work: Survey

61% of Americans Have Little to No Understanding of How Cryptocurrencies Work: Survey

Also, only 10% of the respondents familiar with cryptos are using them regularly to make purchases.

More than one in ten American adults have never heard of cryptocurrencies, revealed a new survey by Harris Poll.

Nearly half of the respondents had actually heard about the names of digital currencies, according to the survey of 1,984 people taken from February 12 to 14. During this period, the price of Bitcoin was around $48,000 and $50,000.

Since then, the price of BTC has surged above $58,000 to hit yet another all-time high in its pierce discovery and is currently experiencing a pullback and is around $55k.

“From the public standpoint, it’s not a cryptocurrency; it’s a cryptic-currency,” said John Gerzema, chief executive officer of the Harris Poll.

Despite having heard of cryptos, most of them don’t really get them, with 61% of the people surveyed saying they had little or no understanding of how they work. Only 14% of those familiar with digital currencies said they understand “very well” how they work.

4% of the respondents familiar with cryptos think Bitcoin will crash to zero while double that (8%) see it going above $100,000.

The Legitimacy

Among those familiar with cryptos, about 43% expressed doubt about their legitimacy as a form of payment, while 29% think crypto will be largely forgotten in the next decade. 34% meanwhile believes it will become a standard form of payment.

Millennials, between 25 and 40 years old, continue to lead the crypto believers as 69% of them said they thought digital currencies were very or somewhat legitimate as a form of payment. This figure drops to 58% for Gen Z, between 18 and 24 years old.

According to Gerzema, millennials, who are tech-savvy and comfortable with financial products and having more investable assets, may be operating as a bridge between Gen Z and baby boomers.

In the past few weeks, we saw Tesla investing in Bitcoin and announcing that they will be accepting BTC as a form of payment. Following Tesla, others like Mastercard said they would interact with cryptos in their network, too, while many other major companies like Twitter, GM, and Uber will consider processing payments in cryptocurrencies.

Only 10% of survey respondents familiar with cryptos said they regularly make purchases with it. Given that BTC has appreciated more than 14x in value since the March sell-off, the leading digital currency works better as a long-term investment than as a form of payment.

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Author: AnTy

Bank of Singapore’s Chief Economist Says Cryptocurrencies Could Edge Out Gold

Bank of Singapore’s Chief Economist Says Cryptocurrencies Could Edge Out Gold

But certain risks, such as trust, volatility, and regulatory clarity, need to be addressed first.

The Bank of Singapore is the latest institution to favor cryptocurrencies in its push to usurp gold. Optimism over the asset class is high, with the industry showing signs of more growth.

While Bitcoin and several other large-cap cryptos appear to be on the upsurge again, sentiment about the crypto market is gaining momentum.

However, many are still hung up on the leading cryptocurrency’s recent performance, and talks of the asset usurping gold as the global reserve currency have continued.

No Way Over Fiat, but Time’s Up for Gold

The latest body to weigh in on the prospect of Bitcoin overtaking gold is the Bank of Singapore. According to a report from The National news, the bank recently published a research note where it touted cryptocurrencies as a possible replacement for gold down the line.

In the report, the Bank of Singapore argues that cryptocurrencies are unlikely to replace fiat currencies – practically pouring cold water on the hopes of those who are touting the digital yuan and other Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

Mansoor Mohi-uddin, the bank’s chief economist, explained that cryptocurrencies are an inefficient unit of exchange, and central banks won’t be able to print them at will in times of crisis. However, he also explained that digital assets are more likely to become the major safe-haven asset. With the market showing significant potential over the past few years, there is every reason to believe that cryptocurrencies could easily overtake gold.

To do this, the bank believes that cryptocurrencies will need to overcome some hurdles. For one, it pointed out the need for trusted institutions that will provide custody for investors. Many cryptocurrencies would also need to be more liquid, allowing high levels of trading and other activities to take place. Improved liquidity will also reduce volatility, a problem that the crypto industry has had for years.

Everyone Loves Crypto

The Bank of Singapore isn’t the only institution pumping Bitcoin to overtake gold eventually. In a recent opinion piece, Anthony Scaramucci and Brett Messing, two executives at New York-based hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, explained that Bitcoin is ripe for investment as its ownership is now as safe as gold and government bonds.

SkyBridge Capital filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch its Bitcoin fund last December. When the fund launched fully earlier this month, the New York firm claimed that it had as much as $310 million in exposure to the leading cryptocurrency.

Investment banking giant JP Morgan has also touted Bitcoin’s chances of taking up more of gold’s market share. In an investment note, the company’s strategists said:

“The adoption of bitcoin by institutional investors has only begun, while for gold, its adoption by institutional investors is very advanced. If this medium to longer-term thesis proves right, the price of gold would suffer from a structural headwind over the coming years.”

Institutional investment is sure to push Bitcoin and the entire crypto market even higher. With government regulation expected soon, the future definitely looks bright for this fledgling market.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Synthetix (SNX) Releases Aggressive Roadmap to ‘Take on CeFi’ in 2021

This week, while other cryptocurrencies are still struggling to reverse their correction, DeFi tokens swiftly made a recovery, with SNX token hitting a new ATH above $16.50. For now, the 23rd largest cryptocurrency is trading around $14.80 SNX 2.17% Synthetix / USD SNXUSD $ 14.84
$0.322.17%
Volume 409.21 m Change $0.32 Open $14.84 Circulating 110.52 m Market Cap 1.64 b
4 h Synthetix (SNX) Releases Aggressive Roadmap to ‘Take on CeFi’ in 2021 1 d A ‘Massive Transfer of Wealth Among Traders’ Sees DeFi Tokens Winning the Round 1 w Three Arrows Capital Holds 36,969 Bitcoin ($1.24B) via An Over 6% Stake in GBTC
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Derivatives liquidity protocol, Synthetix is the blue-chip DeFi project with a market cap of $1.68 billion. Amidst this uptrend, Synthetix released its roadmap for 2021, painting a picture of a

“future where everyone in the world is connected to one another by handheld devices that allow them to hold, trade, and transfer every imaginable asset.”

The roadmap mentions Optimistic Ethereum, Synthetix V3, Synthetic Futures, Asset expansion, dApp Upgrades, and optionsDAO as its high-level priorities.

A complete re-architecture of the Synthetix contracts will be done for the first time since last 2018. Synthetix V3 will involve a new SNX staking mechanism so that SNX is always freely transferable, introducing eSNX, tokenized debt, continuous staking rewards, continuous vesting, and Keep3r implementation, among other features.

The transition to layer two scaling solution Optimistic Ethereum which will lower the gas costs and provide higher throughput, is one of the most exciting things to come. The combination of this with Synthetic Futures will allow projects to compete with centralized futures markets and provide a minimum of 10x leverage. Also, Synthtix will expand into equities.

In the options, sDAO will provide upfront funding based on certain conditions, and oDAO will enable several improvements over the existing binary options implementation.

⁩”As an investor in SNX, it’s great to see the aggressive roadmap here,” said one of the partners of crypto fund The Spartan Group. “This is how $SNX is getting to $10B.”

2021 will also involve a focus on acquisitions and expansion for Synthetix as the scale of the project grows.

“This year we finally take on CeFi, then we come for TradFi…” concluded Kain Warwick, the founder of Synthetix.

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Author: AnTy

ETH Gas & Bitcoin Fees Insanity Rear its Ugly Head Again Amidst Market Uptrend

As the price of cryptocurrencies keep its gains and, in some cases, rally, it is becoming costly, yet again, to use the two largest blockchains.

First things first, the fees are nowhere near the levels recorded during the bull market’s height, but still, it is getting pretty ramped up.

The average transaction fees on the Bitcoin network surged to about $12 on Friday. Interestingly, the fees didn’t record a considerable uptick on the two days that the price of Bitcoin breached multiple levels to reach a new all-time high at $24,195.

However, the fees started spiking just a week back, when it was under $3, and the BTC price was only around $18,000.

Today, Bitcoin’s average fees are back around $9. In late October, fees had gone even higher, above $13. During this time, BTC price fluctuated $1,000 up and down. Of course, we have a long way to reach the 2017 high of $60 in average fees.

The latest jump in fees came after the transaction count in mempool surged to nearly 132.5k yesterday. But today, the pending transaction is clearing up, falling to the 34.24k level. The hashrate is also 10% off of its all-time high record in mid-October.

Bitcoin price, meanwhile, is keeping around $23,560 ever since breaking it on Thursday.

Much like Bitcoin, the fees on Ethereum also spiked thanks to the bullishness in the market. For Ethereum, not just its price, which is only around $650, still 58% away from its peak but DeFi tokens also play a part.

And yesterday, DeFi tokens jumped with notable gainers, including UNI, AAVE, SUSHI, SRM, CRV, and SNX that pumped 7% to 12%.

A spike in ETH gas fees was expected. On Dec. 17, average gas fees on the network jumped to 138 ETH, up from 35 ETH earlier this month.

For ETH, the explosion of the DeFi market resulted in several such jumps in fees in 2020. In June, the average gas fees climbed to 704 ETH, as per Blockchair.

Although Ethereum has successfully launched the first phase of ETH 2.0 and already 1.57 million ETH are deposited in it, cheaper fees are still not in the picture and may take a long time to become a reality.

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Author: AnTy

Southeast Asia’s Biggest Bank, DBS, Launches Digital Exchange for Institutions

Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, DBS Group Holdings, is ready to launch an exchange for cryptocurrencies that will provide trading, custody, and tokenization services to institutional and accredited investors.

The Singapore exchange will have a 10% stake in the DBS’s digital exchange.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has given in-principle approval to the new exchange to trade assets from bonds, shares, and private-equity funds, the bank said. DBS Chief Executive Piyush Gupta said,

“I believe that the time is right for this (digital assets) industry to increasingly find partnership and sponsorship from the formal banking sector.”

“There are thousands of different coins today being traded on different exchanges, and increasingly you are beginning to find that they are forming an important part of the asset allocation of wealth and private investors.”

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In Nov. 2017, David Gledhill, chief information officer at DBS, called Bitcoin “a Ponzi scheme.”

The exchange initially supports trading of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) against four fiat currencies: SGD, USD, HKD, and JPY. These four crypto assets account for 70% to 80% of global crypto trading volume, said the bank adding, the trading activity on the exchange would start next week.

The DBS Digital Exchange will also be using blockchain technology to provide a fundraising platform through tokenization, said the bank in a statement. Tokenization involves converting the rights to an underlying asset such as shares of an unlisted company and private equity funds into digital form, which is then eligible for trading. Gupta said,

“We are on the cusp of a massive tokenization and therefore you’ll find tokenization of all kinds of assets around the world and I think more and more exchanges will start dealing with tokenized assets.”

Earlier this week, Standard Chartered also said it would start a crypto custodian for institutional investors in partnership with Northern Trust Corp. The bank has a substantial presence in Singapore.

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Author: AnTy

CleanSpark Acquires ATL Data Centers; Now One of the US’ Largest Publicly-Traded BTC Producer

Everyone wants to take a bite of cryptocurrencies. Every day a new big-name announces their digital asset investment.

Just this week, Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, DBS Group Holdings, announced its digital exchange and insurance behemoth MassMutual purchased $100 million in Bitcoin in the long line of mainstream herd jumping on the crypto bandwagon.

CleanSpark is another one that has acquired the US-based Bitcoin mining company ATL data centers for $19.4 million, which “should immediately position us as one of the largest publicly-traded Bitcoin producers in the country,” said Matthew Schultz, Executive Chairman at CleanSpark.

In response to the news, the shares (CLSK) of the company jumped 20%. This strategic acquisition is part of the company’s “larger growth plan” following CleanSpark’s recent $40 million institutional investment.

MicroStrategy was the pioneer in making a big bet on Bitcoin, followed by Jack Dorsey’s Square, which validated the crypto move for CleanSpark. Schultz said,

“The recent, significant investments into Bitcoin by such respected companies as Square, PayPal, and MicroStrategy further validate our due diligence conclusions surrounding this acquisition.”

Mass BTC Production at Lowest Energy Costs

The company is expanding its power from 20MW to 50MW, which is scheduled to be completed in April 2021. It is further working on adding renewable energy generating assets and more than quadrupling the number of ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) mining units in operation during the expansion. Zachary Bradford, CleanSpark’s CEO, said,

“Our prior experience in the digital currency mining industry provided insight into how proper energy management was crucial to successful and profitable mining operations.”

In 2018, CleanSpark’s energy professionals were tasked to design and engineer a microgrid solution for a ‘stand-alone’ mobile bitcoin mining system. Now, as part of the ATL complex, the company has 23 such mobile mining rigs and the main facility.

The company currently has 3,471 bitcoin mining units (“ASICs”) on-site that are processing approximately 190 PH/s using about 9.6 MW of capacity, which is expected to increase between 0.9-1.4 EH/s following the equipment and energy expansion.

“We expect that this will result in multiple bitcoins being produced daily at some of the lowest energy costs” to below $0.0285 per kw/h, said Bradford in an official announcement.

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Author: AnTy

Janet Yellen and the Fed Will Continue to Push Bitcoin to New Highs in the Next 5 Years

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hasn’t been really good for cryptocurrencies. As we reported, the Treasury said in a statement on Monday, “There is strong support across the G7 on the need to regulate digital currencies.”

The G7 finance officials discussed the responses to the evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies to prevent their use for “malign purposes and illicit activities,” Treasury said.

Just last month, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that Mnuchin is planning to “rush out some new regulation regarding self-hosted crypto wallets before the end of his term,” although exchange’s former employer Brian Brooks, the acting Comptroller of the Currency, said there is no plan on killing cryptos.

However, Munchin hasn’t much time left in his term with Janet Yellen chosen as the new Treasury Secretary by President-elect Joe Biden.

Yellen’s views on crypto aren’t positive; she has called Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset” in the past and expressed concerns about its volatility when she should have shown more concern about the decreasing value of the US dollar.

However, Yellen won’t be bearish for Bitcoin price rather the opposite, wrote Alex Mashinsky, founder & CEO of Celsius Network, in an article on Monday.

According to him, Yellen’s track record as an economist and a civil servant is unimpeachable, but her ability to manage the current economic crisis and mounting debt is something to be worried about.

MMT FIAT maximalists in the House

Coming from a long line of Keynesian believers in MMT, Yellen advocates for creating endless amounts for fiat to grow the economy, said Mashinksy.

The Fed has already been printing money like crazy, with over 20% of dollar supply created in 2020 alone.

“Joe Biden along with Janet Yellen and J-Pow are gonna drive the Dollar into the ground,” said analyst Mati Greenspan.

Mashinksy argues that MMT is a dangerous ideology that injects boatloads of cash into the market, pushing the asset prices up, which only benefits large corporations and billionaires.

Although Yellen’s appointment can lead to Bitcoin restrictions and regulating DeFi but the fact that Yellen and Biden Administration need to ensure that the US Dollar remains the reserve currency, it would involve “funding new businesses and technologies in future industries such as Blockchain, Machine Learning, and AI.”

Mashinsky said it is “overdue” for the Fed and Treasury to give up their old ways and start taking advantage of crypto.

“The FED and the White House will be filled with Keynesian MMT FIAT maximalists in 2021. This guarantees that Bitcoin continues to hit new highs during the 2021–2025,” he wrote.

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Author: AnTy

Pakistani Province Passes Draft Bill to Legalize Cryptocurrency Trading And Mining

In Pakistan, a province in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa passed a law that makes cryptocurrencies and mining legal in the region.

According to a Provincial Assembly (MPA) member, Dr. Sumera Shams, the move will enable the country to position itself better to compete favorably with the digitized world.

A few weeks ago, the Pakistani Securities and Exchange Commission set a motion to introduce a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. But it seems the government is trying to speed things up pretty quickly with the recent developments in the sector. Pakhtunkhwa tweeted,

“Indeed #Pakistan progressing towards digitalisation to compete the world.”

Zia Ullah Bangash, an advisor to the Pakistani government, provided a picture of the signed proposal to confirm the news. The proposal was signed by ministers and advisors and addressed to the chief of the province.

The crypto legalization move by the KP province can influence other regions to follow in that direction.

Legalizing cryptocurrency will speed up its adoption

The KP parliament urges the Pakistani government to quickly approve the motion to ensure that the region is not left behind in the growing digital currency frenzy.

With the proactive steps, proponents of the policy think it will stay ahead of its neighbors regarding cryptocurrency adoption.

Based on earlier reports, Pakistan already has an adequately regulated framework for digital currencies. But cryptocurrency proponents in the country had a setback when the Pakistan government banned crypto trading in April.

With Bitcoin illegal in the country, authorities descended on crypto holders and miners. At the turn of the year, the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency clamped down on two crypto mining farms in the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

But in a published report on November 6, the Pakistan Securities and Exchange Commission brought more clarity about its stance on cryptocurrency.

The regulatory agency also said it is prepared to listen to a “do no harm” approach when dealing with digital assets.

Pakistan looking to stay ahead of neighbors

But with this upturn of the decision to open the crypto market once again for business, Pakistan may likely be the first to legalize cryptocurrencies and mining among its neighbors.

A vocal crypto enthusiast and television host, Waqar Zaka, said he wants to take the same proposal to Punjab and Balochistan. He said he wants to help the region pass the same policy in Pakistani’s other provinces.

He says if the federal government doesn’t review his proposal, he intends to appear in the Sindh High Court on December 17.

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Author: Ali Raza

Iran to Use Bitcoin for International Trade, Bypassing the Dollar Due to US Sanctions

With the latest amendment to the legislation, Iran has become the first country to use cryptocurrencies at a state level for import funding.

The Iranian Cabinet amended legislation to redirect digital currencies into the funding mechanism of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) for imports, as per the report by the official The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The report by the CBI and the Ministry of Energy said,

“The miners are supposed to supply the original cryptocurrency directly and within the authorized limit to the channels introduced by the CBI.”

The limit on crypto for every miner will be decided by the level of the subsidized energy used for mining and the Ministry of Energy’s instructions.

This could create a war of hash rate in the Bitcoin space as China continues to lose its share while Kazakhstan, Iran, Malaysia, and Canada record an increase, as per Cbeci.org.

Iran’s share particularly has increased by over 2% in April 2020 from 1.74% in Sept. 2019.

Iran’s cryptocurrency move isn’t new and is a necessity for a country that is strapped for international currencies. In August 2019, it officially legalized crypto mining but banned trading in an attempt to take advantage of its subsidized electricity and extract taxes.

Iran’s fiat currency, the Iranian Rial, has also fallen as the country struggles with inflation, currently at 34%, for the past three years. Its economy has also been contracting since last year; this year, it did -10% a quarter. About a year back, Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran had noted that,

“The regime is struggling to acquire the foreign currency they need to procure imports such as machinery, industrial inputs, and consumer goods.”

Earlier this year, the nation allowed power plants to operate large scale Bitcoin mining operations.

Given that Iran is also in the grip of US sanctions, it is bypassing the dollar and officially using Bitcoin. The country is also considering creating its own digital currency.

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Author: AnTy