SEC’s 2021 Regulatory Agenda Does Not Include Bitcoin or Crypto

With cryptos like Bitcoin deemed not securities, they fall out of the SEC’s jurisdiction, and the agency has no legal authority to regulate the crypto space while continuing to postpone the decision on Bitcoin ETFs.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released its regulatory agenda for 2021, but Bitcoin is not part of it.

Its focus is rather on short-selling, a topic that gained momentum after the retail mania with meme stocks GameStop and AMC Theaters.

The SEC’s agenda shows the regulator will focus on climate risks, market structure modernization, and transparency around stock buybacks, short sale disclosure, securities-based swaps ownership, and the stock loan market.

Investment fund rules, enhancing shareholder democracy, special purpose acquisition companies, and mandated electronic filings are other things on the agenda. SEC Chair Gary Gensler said,

“To meet our mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation, the SEC has a lot of regulatory work ahead of us.”

“I look forward to collaborating with my fellow commissioners and the dedicated staff to propose and finalize rules that will strengthen our markets, increase transparency, and safeguard investors.”

The fact that the SEC deems cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, not securities, fall out of the SEC’s jurisdiction. Basically, SEC has no legal authority to regulate the crypto space, and there’s no clarity around which regulatory body non-security crypto assets fall under.

“Laws need to change before the SEC has authority over bitcoin,” said Jeff Dorman, CIO at Arca.

Meanwhile, the approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is in no way close to being done despite several companies having filed for both Bitcoin and Ether ETFs.

SEC has already postponed its decision on VanEck’s Bitcoin ETF, and on Monday, it delayed another one, Kryptoin ETF, by 45 days to July 27.

SEC’s new chairman Gary Gensler, who has taught blockchain classes at MIT and was expected to be crypto-friendly, recently said that cryptocurrencies are a “highly volatile asset class” and that the public would benefit from more investor protection on the crypto exchanges.

“There’s a lot of authority that the SEC currently has in the securities space, and there are a number of cryptocurrencies that fall within that jurisdiction but there are some areas, particularly bitcoin-trading on large exchanges, that the public is not currently really protected.”

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Author: AnTy

“Netherlands Must Ban Bitcoin Now,” says Director for Economic Analysis

Pieter Hasekamp is calling for a complete ban on crypto — mining, trading, and holding because they are only good at privacy which is used by criminals, while government money works just fine with “hardly any currency devaluation…although inflation is now slowly picking up,” he said.

The director of the Dutch Bureau for Economic Analysis is calling for a complete ban on the mining, holding, and trading of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

This comes after crypto trading platform Bitonic won its case against the Dutch Central Bank last month regarding the apex bank’s wallet verification requirement. The regulator formally acknowledged at the time that its requirement was unlawful and should have never been called for the purpose of crypto exchange platform registration.

Now, today in an opinion piece on the local publication FD which had 3.72 million visitors in May, Pieter Hasekamp, director of the Central Planning Bureau, said the bursting of the crypto bubble is inevitable, and the Netherlands needs to act now, or the consequences of the crash will be “too great.”

Pointing to Gresham’s law, “Bad money crowds out good money,” Hasekamp said Bitcoin fits this pattern with cryptos exhibiting “all the hallmarks of “bad money”’ — unclear origin, uncertain valuation, and shady trading practices.

That’s Not Going to Happen

According to Hasekamp, cryptocurrencies do not fulfill the three functions of money, while government money “scores well in terms of value retention.”

Interestingly, the buying power of one euro (1€) has depreciated by a whopping 30% between 2000 and 2020 from 1€ to 0.7€. Hasekamp wrote,

“In recent decades, there has been hardly any currency devaluation. Although inflation is now slowly picking up, few people believe that we are returning to the figures from the 1960s and 1970s.”

All in all, the current monetary system works very well in practice, he said while arguing further improvements are conceivable through central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

While fiat currencies work so well, private cyber currencies “perform far worse than public money on all counts,” he added.

But Hasekamp did find one area where cryptocurrencies do better, and that’s in the privacy aspect, and “that anonymity is exactly what makes them attractive to criminals.”

As for its use as a store of value, Haskamp wrote that it is based on the hope that cryptocurrencies will one day replace real money, “but that’s not going to happen.” He wrote,

“Cryptocurrencies are essentially neither money nor a financial product, but… a contagious story in which people believe because other people believe in it. Gresham’s law is replaced by Newton’s law: what goes up must come down. The ultimate collapse of the crypto bubble is inevitable.”

As countries take steps to curb the crypto hype, Hasekamp wants the Netherlands to move fast and “ban Bitcoin” because “whoever moves last is the loser.”

He points out how China has already made its move by banning several crypto activities while the Netherlands is lagging behind. While the Central Planning Bureau concluded in 2018 that stricter regulation was not yet necessary, cautious regulation can now “backfire,” he said.

Regulation simply “legitimizes crypto as a bona fide financial product. Recent developments show that it is time to act: the longer we wait, the greater the negative consequences of the eventual crash,” said Hasekamp.

As such, he is recommending a total ban on the production, trading, and even possession of cryptocurrencies.

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Author: AnTy

More Bitcoin Supply Ready to be Sucked Out of the Market

With more than $1 billion tied up in hedge fund arbitrage-shorts, they need long-spot positions to hedge further, driving the supply shortage, notes Charles Edwards of Capriole Investments.

Bitcoin currently trades around the all-time high, coinciding with a weekly resistance level. On the lower timeframe, as the downward trend pattern breaks, we could see the continuation to new highs.

The $6 billion Bitcoin futures and options expiry last Friday also suggests that downward pressure on the price has eased. “In the past months, Bitcoin has set local bottoms around important option expiration dates,” noted Charles Edwards of Capriole Investments.

The growing interest in these products means they can have a significant impact on BTC price.

In the futures market, contracts are trading at significantly higher prices than the underlying asset. And by buying spot Bitcoin and shorting the futures, the delta between the two can be locked in as a risk-free trade.

This is exactly what hedge funds are doing, as evident from their massive short position in Bitcoin in the recent month, which

“is a big endorsement for Bitcoin, as it shows that Bitcoin is becoming a serious asset class.”

Currently, there are more than $1 billion tied-up in hedge fund arbitrage shorts, which is growing fast. This means, “all these shorts require long-spot positions to hedge risk, so more and more Bitcoin supply is being sucked out of the market just to maintain these short positions.”

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Overall, Bitcoin is “skewed bullish” in all timeframes, but still, it will be a daily close above $60k that will provide a good technical breakout buy signal for the short term, said Edwards.

“Historically, April is the second-best month for Bitcoin returns. With an average return of over 20%, the 70Ks are on the cards.”

While Bitcoin’s exponential rally is showing some healthy signs of consolidation over the last few months, the underlying network is strong as ever. Addresses with non-zero balance are hitting new all-time highs, and the number of active addresses is also near its ATH.

The fact that in recent weeks, over 3-year-old coins have started moving indicates that we are about halfway through this bull market.

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Author: AnTy

MLB Franchise, Oakland A’s is Offering Full Season Suites for 1 Bitcoin

  • Major League Baseball (MLB) team Oakland Athletics announces they accept Bitcoin payments for their six-person suites.
  • According to the President of the MLB franchise, Dave Kaval, each full-season suite will cost 1 full bitcoin, instead of the normal $64,800, providing a limited discount for Bitcoin buyers till April, stating he is not concerned about the price fluctuations.

During the weekend, the price of Bitcoin hit an all-time high price of $60,000, as the demand for the cryptocurrency reached a fever point. One MLB franchise, Oakland A’s, looks to cash in on the opportunity by offering users Bitcoin-payment options for its full-season six-person suites.

In a tweet by the President, Dave Kaval, Oakland A’s will charge either $64,800 for each suite for the full season or pay 1 Bitcoin (approx. $57,700) an offer that stands until April 1.

What if, during the purchasing period, the price of BTC falls drastically? According to Kaval, fans will be treated to a huge discount if this happens to be able to pay less than $60,000 per suite for the 2021 season. Kaval said the volatility is “part of the romance of the whole situation [with Bitcoin payments],” adding that the company is looking for innovations.

“We’ve always been an organization that wants to innovate, and that’s not to say this is an offer that will still be around in 10 years, but if you don’t try to innovate, it’s never going to happen.”

Oakland A’s becomes the first MLB franchise to accept Bitcoin for tickets. Kaval has been a revolutionary in integrating crypto to sports having been a part of the San Jose Earthquakes, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team, which added crypto in 2014 when he was still an executive. This, alongside demand from Oakland A’s fans, caused the latest turn to crypto payments, Kaval confirmed. He said,

“So, on some level, this is a response to customer demand and when we saw enough of those data points, and when we also saw that the Bitcoin price was approaching our suite price, it was a perfect storm.”

Despite several companies adding Bitcoin as a payment option, very few people choose to pay in Bitcoin given the rising prices and store of value qualities it offers. However, Kaval expects the cryptocurrency to transition from an SoV to a medium of exchange as the price continues to rise. Speaking to Decrypt, he said,

“I think, especially if their Bitcoin has appreciated in value a lot, people will [use it for payments].”

“Right now, it’s being used more as a store of value, but I think its use as a transaction medium will increase over time, and we’re hopeful our product offering will help with that.”

The MLB is the latest Major League to accept crypto payments as sports franchises open up accepting cryptocurrencies. NBA team, Dallas Mavericks, owned by Mark Cuban, announced the addition of Dogecoin (DOGE) for payments – after becoming the first NBA team to add BTC payment options and use blockchains for ticketing.

Kaval believes the widespread adoption of crypto across the Major Leagues shows crypto is here to stay given the “value it provides customers.”

“I think you just need it to be adopted in more places, and MLB, the oldest and most tradition-bound of the professional sports, doing it in our industry is a bellwether moment for people to realize it is in the mainstream, it does provide value to customers.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Rapper Soulja Boy Reveals His Crypto Bags

And they are heavy… CT doesn’t know if to be sympathetic or call him out.

Rapper and entrepreneur Soulja Boy took the road the Crypto Twitter (CT) advised him against.

On Friday, he announced his crypto picks that involve BNB, DGB, TRX, KLV, ZPAE, and FDO.

While Binance’s BNB is the only coin among the top 10 cryptos, Tron (TRX) and DigiByte (DGB) are other known projects with a market cap of $2 billion and $350 million, respectively.

However, the other three unknown projects record volume ranging from just $45k to $200k, which makes it easy to pump and dump the coins’ prices. When it comes to market cap, Klever only has an $18 mln while ZelaaPayAE a mere $148k, but Coinmarketcap doesn’t have any for Firados.

The market consensus for his crypto buys were various versions of bad decisions, absolute dog s–t, and of course, Have Fun Staying Poor (HFSP).

This has the market speculating that this could be paid promotions and tried to warn him by providing a historical context of Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and entertainment mogul DJ Khaled who was sued for promoting the illegal cryptocurrency scam Centra Tech ICO without disclosing their endorsement deal.

Soulja Boy was also looking to buy XRP. Still, he couldn’t, as the majority of the cryptocurrency trading platforms have suspended support for the digital asset after the SEC sued Ripple and its two top executives for allegedly selling unregistered securities.

If you are wondering if he even considered Bitcoin, Soulja Boy said he “did” buy the leading digital asset as he has known about Bitcoin and even wrote a song about it a few years back but said, “It’s these new coins that are kinda interesting to me right now.”

Earlier this week, he shared his interest in creating his own cryptocurrency and the non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

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Author: AnTy

Crypto is the Only Way to Pay for Pornhub After Mastercard & Visa Drops Adult Platform

Last week, Mastercard and Visa announced that they would no longer allow their cards to be used on the popular adult website Pornhub.com. The decision came after the payment processors’ review of the website found unlawful content. Mastercard said in a statement,

“Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site.”

“We instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance.”

Both the companies started the investigation after a New York Times column accused Pornhub of videos depicting child abuse and non-consensual violence, which the company said to be untrue.

In response, this week, Pornhub enacted safeguards including banning unverified uploaders from posting new content and eliminated downloads and partnered with non-profit organizations to combat illegal content. The company’s latest update reads,

“It is clear that Pornhub is being targeted not because of our policies and how we compare to our peers, but because we are an adult content platform.”

Regarding Mastercard and Visa severing its ties with the company, Pornhub said the move was “exceptionally disappointing,” adding that it affects hundreds of thousands of models who rely on the platform for their livelihoods.

Now, the website exclusively supports cryptocurrency as it has become the default payment method.

Currently, the supported digital currencies include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Dash, Monero (XMR), Ripple (XRP), NEM (XEM), Tron (TRX), Tether (USDT), Verge (XVG), Waves, and Zcash (ZEC).

This development is expected to help digital currencies gain further adoption as Nic Carter of Coin Metrics states, “financial infrastructure is already thoroughly politicized, from top to bottom.”

Pornhub attracts 3.5 billion visits a month, which is more than Amazon, Netflix, or Yahoo. Venture capitalist Paul Graham, co-founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator tweeted,

“Possible future scenario: Credit card companies become increasingly picky about who they’ll process transactions for, and this becomes the thing that tips the general public into using cryptocurrency in transactions, ultimately killing credit cards.”

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Author: AnTy

Reserve Bank of Australia And ConsenSys Partner On CBDC Research & Development

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently announced they have partnered with several financial institutions to research the potential of distributed ledger technology for a CBDC.

Based on the announcement, the partnering financial institutions include software firm ConsenSys, financial services company Perpetual, National Australia Bank, and the Commonwealth Bank.

The financial institutions will research the benefits of using distributed ledger technology on central bank wholesale digital currencies.

The RBA also said the partnering group would be investigating the development of a proof of concept when issuing tokenized CBDC’s.

Partnership on wholesale market participation

The collaboration will be focused on a wholesale market participant who might be utilizing the digital currency for tokenized syndicate loans via a DLT platform. They will also investigate the effect of security settlements between payments and delivery using cross-chain atomic swaps.

According to Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Michele Bullock, the project will seek to determine the impact of CBDC on innovation, risk management, and efficiency in financial market transactions. Findings may point to how CBDCs will be handled in the future within the Australian financial market.

He also stressed the need to work with industry partners to explore the market to achieve the same goals. He pointed out,

“While the use of a CBDC is still open in these markets, we look forward to working with industry partners.”

The project will be exploring various areas to place a future role for CBDCs in the Australian financial market.

Australia making a U-turn to support CBDC

This project may signify the Australian’s financial authority to pursue more interest in CBDCs. The country’s reserve bank has set various policies that seem to be working against the growth of CBDC in the country. However, the recent partnership to get more involved in CBDC research shows the bank’s willingness to keep things open to CBDCs.

Earlier last month, RBA announced that it would continue to deploy resources towards the research on CBDC, even though the financial institution insists the country has no basis for issuing one in September.

The bank has also pointed to the success of the country’s effective real-time platform for new payments, which has been considered an alternative to issuing a CBDC.

The bank has also revealed that it is set to offer fiat banknotes access if Australians still show the same interest in using them.

The results of the research to be published next year.

The Reserve bank will publish the report next year, once the project has concluded, according to the report on the development.

The RBA also revealed that the partnership might result in other potential automation and programmable financial assets features. Bullock added that the RBA would enable the research team to carry out their exploration. The result of the research is expected to be published during the first half of next year.

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Author: Ali Raza

Kucoin’s Hackers Identified With ‘Substantial Proof’ in $280M Theft, Law Enforcement Involved

Kucoin announced through its CEO Johnny Lyu that they have found the hackers who compromised close to $280 million of the exchange’s funds in last week’s hack.

Lyu tweeted this update over the weekend as crypto markets struggled in the red zone following the Kucoin hack, BitMEX indictments, and the news of President Trump contracting COVID 19.

The hack update noted that authorities and law enforcement, in particular, are now involved in the matter,

This update comes as a reprieve to Kucoin stakeholders, although the Singapore based exchange had assured the crypto community that funds were SAFU. While its funds in cold storage remained untouched, the hackers had managed to siphon around $280 million from hot wallets and are in the process of dumping the hack proceeds for value realization.

However, this seems not to be going so well for the group, which has only sold $13 million worth of the stolen funds. These were sold through decentralized exchanges, including Uniswap, Kyber Network, Tokenlon, and DEX.AG. As for the rest, Lyu now says that an additional $64 million has been frozen in collaboration with other CeFi providers, bringing the total to $204 million.

Besides the updates, Lyu also signaled that Kucoin is gradually returning to full functionality and supported deposits and withdrawals of 31 tokens as of October 3. In an earlier follow-up Livestream on September 30, the Kucoin CEO had acknowledged the hack as part of growing bigger,

“As a crypto team just turned three years old, although we never slack off on security-related issues, we couldn’t dodge the cruelest coming-of-age ceremony that every predecessor used to embrace.”

While this hack may have hit hard, one thing that emerged is the collaborative effort by crypto projects to curtail the movement of ‘compromised’ funds. Some projects like Velo Labs have gone to re-deploying their smart contracts to freeze the funds. Nonetheless, this has also sparked controversy on the whole aspect of decentralized ecosystems.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Biggest Banks Involved in Moving $2 Trillion Illicit Funds, Reveals FinCEN Documents

And they say bitcoin is used for criminal activities.

The leaked documents of $2 trillion transactions, a tiny proportion of the SARs submitted over the period, revealed that some of the world’s biggest banks have been allowing criminals to move dirty money around the world.

The FinCEN files, having over 2,500 documents, were sent by banks to the US authorities between 2000 and 2017. FinCEN is the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network that combats financial crime and deals with transactions made in the US dollar even if they took place outside the US.

The agency requires the banks to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) if their clients are involved in some nefarious activities.

Unlike the number of big leaks regarding financial information over the recent years, including the 2017 Paradise Papers, 2016 Panama Papers, 2015 Swiss Leaks, and 2014 LuxLeaks, this time, not just a few companies but several banks are involved in wrongdoing, which isn’t surprising.

As per the leaked documents, the banks involved were HSBC, JP Morgan, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and Standard Chartered.

HSBC allowed fraudsters to move millions of oilers of stolen money, even after learning from the US investigators that the scheme was a scam. In turn, its shares fell 5% to the level last seen in 1995.

Just like HSBC, Standard Chartered’s shares crashed 5%, to a level last seen in 1995. The bank moved cash for Arab Bank for over a decade after clients’ accounts at a Jordanian bank were used in terrorism funding.

The central bank of the United Arab Emirates’ also failed to act on warnings about a local, from which was helping Iran evade sanctions.

In the light of plunging shares of the banks, Binance CEO Chagpeng “CZ” Zhao said, “Might be a good time for their treasury to buy bitcoin?”

Read Also: Out of $1T In Crypto Transactions, Only 1.1% Were Used In Illicit Activities: Chainalysis

While the most prominent investment bank, JP Morgan, allowed a company to more than $1 billion without knowing who owned it, later to be found that it belonged to a mobster, Barclays was used by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates to avoid sanctions. The shares of the bank dipped the most, 6.3%, to the April 2020 level.

Deutsche Bank laundered money for organized crime, terrorists, and drug traffickers and saw its shares tumbling 5.4% to May 2020 level.

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Author: AnTy

Tron’s DeFi Push, JustSwap, Partners with Decentralized Exchange (DEX) 1inch & Mooniswap

The DeFi aggregator, 1inch Exchange, is working on integrating several blockchains. Today, they announced a partnership with Ethereum’s competitor Tron.

The DEX that offers swaps limit orders, and has an interface for finding the best liquidity pool where everyone can provide liquidity and earn on the APR, according to its founders Sergej Kunz and Anton Bukov, will also be working with NEAR blockchain and Polkadot as well.

As of now, 1inch will fully integrate with Tron’s decentralized trading protocol JustSwap and its automated market maker (AMM) Mooniswap will be integrated into Tron blockchain.

With this partnership, users will enjoy “faster, cheaper service, high-throughput scalability, huge developer community, and a massive social media following,” said Kunz, the CEO of 1inch.

While supporting Tron blockchain means best rates for Tron assets for 1inch users, Mooniswap’s addition will help improve Tron’s DeFi ecosystem.

Additionally, liquidity providers on the Tron blockchain will be prevented from arbitrage traders taking advantage of swap slippages, thus increasing LPs earnings.

Tron’s regular users will also “get an extra level of protection from front running attacks.”

In turn, Tron plans to reward the LPs on Mooniswap with TRX tokens as an “additional incentive and reward.”

Justin Sun’s stab at DeFi opportunity in the form of JustSwap has been reportedly seeing a daily volume of $100 million.

JUST token price meanwhile remains in the red at $0.0415, much like TRX, which bucked the trend and dropped despite the market enjoying gains, trading at $0.0328.

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Author: AnTy