weekly roundup – CHINA’S CRACKDOWN | ROBINHOOD TESTING CRYPTO WALLETS | COMBINED $930 MILLION RAISE FOR NFT TRADING PLATFORMS

Here’s our roundup of the top stories from the past seven days in crypto.

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China

CHINA EXPANDS CRYPTO CRACKDOWN

China expanded its crackdown on cryptocurrencies by declaring on Friday that all activities related to digital assets are “illegal”.

The People’s Bank of China and other government agencies targeted overseas cryptocurrency exchanges specifically, declaring that it was illegal for them to provide online services to residents in China. The move was an apparent bid to close a loophole that remained after the PBoC, China’s central bank, in May banned domestic financial institutions from providing cryptocurrency transaction services, hence this announcement does not come as a surprise. Immediately after the announcement, the price of bitcoin dropped over 8% to just over $41,000, since recovering.

Source: Financial Times

JPMORGAN BUILDING LONDON

JPMORGAN’S ANALYSIS OF CME CRYPTO MARKETS

JPMorgan’s recent analysis leads to the claim that institutional investors have been favouring ether over bitcoin. The rolling average of the difference between bitcoin futures prices and spot prices had weakened and shifted from positive to negative in September. By contrast, the difference between ether futures prices and spot prices remained positive and actually increased in September.

”This points to a much healthier demand for [ether] vs. bitcoin by institutional investors,” according to the report.  

Source: Coindesk

SPEAKERS AND TECH

ROBINHOOD TO TEST CRYPTO WALLETS

On Wednesday, Robinhood announced plans to begin testing cryptocurrency wallets next month, with a broader rollout in early 2022. Select Robinhood customers will begin testing the features and more customers will be able to join at a later date through a waitlist. The company commented that crypto aligns “perfectly” with its mission to democratise finance for all because crypto was born out of a mission to return power to the people.

“This is the natural next step for us when we think about democratising finance for all, being able to have a lot more people from a lot of different contexts participate in this emerging market, and wallets are the key,” Aparna Chennapragada, Robinhood’s Chief Product Officer, said in an interview.”

Source: Reuters

NEWSPAPER INDICES

CRYPTO UNICORN AMBER EYES US LISTING

According to an interview with its CEO, Michael Wu, in South China Morning Post, Hong Kong crypto financial services and trading firm Amber is considering a public listing in the US, as the firm rapidly expands amid increasing cryptocurrency adoption worldwide.

Since its founding in 2017 by a group of quantitative traders from Morgan Stanley, Amber Group has grown to more than 400 employees worldwide and manages more than US$1.5 billion in crypto assets, serving both institutional and retail investors. In June, it raised US$100 million in Series B funding from major investors that included China Renaissance Group, Blockchain.com, Tiger Global Management and Coinbase Ventures.

Aspects of Amber’s plans may raise regulatory concern in the US. Amber allows customers to earn interest on crypto holdings by lending to other clients at a higher rate. Coinbase recently scrapped plans for its own interest-bearing product called Lend after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) threatened to take legal action over what it called an unregistered security product. Regulatory agencies in the US will have to progress with crypto regulation as more firms consider public listings.

SUNRISE

TWITTER ENABLES BITCOIN TIPPING

Twitter has turned on the ability to ask for tips in Bitcoin through its app, making it the first major social network to encourage use of the cryptocurrency as a method of payment. The company also plans to let users connect their crypto wallets and authenticate the ownership of NFTs they tweet with a special badge.  Twitter has been testing tipping for a few months now, but the company didn’t make tips widely available until Thursday, when the feature rolled out globally on iOS with Android to follow.

Twitter staff product manager Esther Crawford commented. “We want everyone on Twitter to have access to pathways to get paid. Digital currencies that encourage more people to participate in the economy and help people send each other money across borders with as little friction as possible — help us get there.”

Source: The Verge

WASHINGTON

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION – LOOKING AT MORE STRINGENT REGULATION FOR STABLECOINS

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the Federal Reserve plans to set up new rules which could result in a blueprint for the “future of money” in a new paper by the organisation. The Fed might also look for comment on whether it should set up its own digital coin – this would probably compete with stablecoins, and the issue has polarised Fed officials.

The Fed is looking into how it will keep cash relevant in a world that is rapidly losing interest in the form. The WSJ reports that it is considering a new digital form of the U.S. dollar, which would let people access it on their phone and do away with slow, costly electronic payments.

ROCKET

NFTS GET NEARLY A $1 BILLION BOOST

Two leading NFT startups raised a combined $930 million last week, showing more signs of appetite from venture investors for crypto companies. Sorare, the Paris-based fantasy soccer platform that integrates non-fungible tokens registered on the Ethereum blockchain, announced that it had raised $680 million in Series B financing, led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, at a valuation of $4.3 billion. This makes it Europe’s biggest ever Series B as well as the second-largest private fundraise among blockchain startups.

The next day, Dapper Labs, most famous as the creator of the $683 million online marketplace NBA Top Shot, where basketball fans can buy and sell video highlights of their favourite players, said it raised $250 million in a funding round led by Coatue and which also included Andreessen Horowitz, Google’s GV and Version One Ventures, at a valuation of $7.6 billion.

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