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SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 7/29/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. Cryptoassets had a strong rebound, with both BTC and ETH reclaiming previous levels after a brief pullback mid-week. While it was another busy week in crypto-related deals, it was a more quiet, albeit not uneventful week in terms of headlines. A number of news articles shed some more light on filings and recent developments surrounding troubled crypto lenders and exchanges. Elsewhere, Coinbase faces an SEC probe on assets that should have been registered as securities, according to the agency. On a related note, Ark Investment Management – which had been bullish on Coinbase – revealed it had sold more than 1.4 million in the company’s shares.    More information on troubled crypto lenders and exchanges came to light this week (see also headlines below) including Asian firm Babel Finance which reportedly engaged in prop trading with customer funds. CoinDesk had another

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 7/22/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. The skirmish between crypto companies and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued this week. While the SEC asked the U.S. Congress for more resources to address current issues in the crypto ecosystem, its approach was criticized by both industry heavyweights and other regulators. The SEC also classified nine cryptoassets as securities as part of charges against a former Coinbase employee for alleged insider trading.    It was a busy week in crypto vs. SEC headlines, with the agency reiterating that it needs more resources to tackle cryptoasset issues. The head of the SEC’s enforcement unit, Gurbir Grewal, asked Congress for additional personnel – in the form of 125 more people – to shore up the agency’s crypto regulation efforts. On Tuesday, SEC chair Gary Gensler said on Bloomberg that he continues to see plenty of “noncompliance” across the industry. 

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 7/15/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. “The Merge” – Ethereum’s long-awaited move to Proof-of-Stake – is coming soon, at least according to the projection of some of the network’s key community members. Ethereum developers suggested this week that the merge from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) could take place the week of September 19th during an update call. After weeks of bearish headlines for the crypto industry, the Merge event could be a positive catalyst for the ecosystem.    Core Ethereum developer Tim Beiko proposed September 19 as the tentative target date for the Merge in Thursday’s call. Later, Beacon Chain community manager superphiz.eth acknowledged that “This merge timeline isn’t final, but it’s extremely exciting to see it coming together” in a tweet. Prior to merging the mainnet with ETH 2.0’s Beacon Chain, a Merge dress rehearsal has been taking place in the form of several Ethereum

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 7/8/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. Crypto markets had a fairly strong week, with bitcoin hitting its highest price in more than three weeks. BTC is now up more than 24% from its June 18 low when it dropped to about $17,600. Yet, many investors remain cautious and are closely watching whether BTC can reclaim key price levels such as the $23,000 resistance while also monitoring on-chain indicators to gauge the network’s fundamentals. Meanwhile, publicly-listed miners announced that they recently sold large amounts of their BTC treasuries. Elsewhere, the once fast-growing crypto lending industry continues to be in consolidation mode amid a number of potential acquisitions and bailouts.    Investors continue to monitor price levels to identify buying opportunities for bitcoin and other cryptoassets. Recently, BTC’s 200-week simple moving average (SMA) line has been a closely-watched trading indicator given that the price of bitcoin dropped below this

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 7/1/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected yet another application for a bitcoin spot-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) on Wednesday. The agency denied Grayscale’s bid to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot ETF. The move did not come as a surprise given that the SEC rejected over a dozen spot bitcoin ETF applications in the past while it approved several bitcoin futures-based ETFs. However, Grayscale subsequently announced that it would file a lawsuit against the watchdog. Grayscale manages about $12 billion in assets through its GBTC vehicle which holds roughly 3.3% of all bitcoin in circulation. The trust, which is supposed to track the price of bitcoin, is currently trading at a 30% discount to its net asset value (NAV). The existing discount was one of Grayscale’s primary arguments for why the transition needed to take place.    Last

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 6/24/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. The ramifications of the recent crypto selloff continue to be felt across the sector. Reports on potential contagion effects of the previous weeks’ developments came thick and fast this week. Market participants were particularly concerned about spillover risks from troubled crypto firms Celsius and Three Arrows Capital to other crypto lenders, and potentially the crypto sector as a whole. To prevent further loss of confidence, crypto exchange FTX stepped in this week by providing liquidity to embattled crypto firms BlockFi and Voyager Digital, essentially bailing them out.    The large drawdown in cryptoasset prices continues to have ripple effects on the industry, particularly on some of the crypto lenders and brokerage firms. To prevent further contagion, FTX and Alameda Research founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) decided to provide credit lines and financing to BlockFi and Voyager, respectively. SBF tweeted that “We take

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 6/17/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. Higher interest rates and the inflationary environment continue to weigh on markets amid a global repricing of risk assets. U.S. equities experienced sharp losses this week amid a more hawkish Federal Reserve which raised interest rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday. It was another difficult week in crypto markets, with a selloff in BTC and ETH bringing two major crypto firms to the brink of collapse. Crypto lender Celsius halted client withdrawals on its platform while crypto trading firm Three Arrows Capital also appears to be hanging by a thread. While the industry is preparing for a potential crypto winter, a number of market participants such as Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz suggested that crypto could be much closer to the bottom than global equities. Despite the recent woes, dealflow momentum is unchanged with crypto startups continuing to raise tens of

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 6/10/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. There is a broad consensus among market participants that cryptoassets have entered a bear market. While tokens across the board have seen continued drawdowns in prices, new data indicates that metaverse items have been more resilient despite a drop in trading volumes. A new report suggests that NFTs have weathered the bear market so far amid ongoing momentum surrounding the blockchain-related virtual worlds, gaming and profile picture projects.    A recent blockchain industry report by DappRadar provided a number of interesting insights, showing that the NFT market generated $3.7 billion in May – a 20% drop from the USD volumes registered in April. On the upside, Yuga Labs’ Otherside metaverse NFTs reached $750 million in trading volume, propelling virtual worlds to their best month with over $850 million in May.    Elsewhere, a slowdown in blockchain gaming investments (see also deal

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 6/3/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week. Stablecoins are in global regulators’ crosshairs again after the recent TerraUSD collapse. The algorithmic “cryptodollar” which was supposed to be linked to the U.S. dollar lost its peg and sent shockwaves through the crypto market last month. This week, Japan became the first major country to introduce a legal framework around stablecoins pegged to sovereign currencies. Elsewhere, the U.K. government proposed amending existing rules to manage the failure of stablecoin firms that may pose a systemic risk.   Bloomberg reports that Japan’s parliament passed a bill on Friday that clarified the legal status of stablecoins, defining them essentially as digital money. According to the legislation, stablecoins must be linked to the yen or another legal tender and guarantee holders the right to redeem them at face value. The legal definition effectively means stablecoins can only be issued by licensed banks, registered

SPIRIT Blockchain – Weekly Wrap-up 5/27/2022

Here’s what happened in blockchain and crypto this week.  G7 policymakers met in Berlin last week to discuss crypto regulation, among other things, in the wake of the collapse of the UST stablecoin. This week, the European Central Bank (ECB) released a report on crypto’s risk to financial stability, warning of potential systemic risks. Meanwhile, ECB President Christine Lagarde harped on the same string, arguing on Dutch television that cryptoassets are “based on nothing” and that the digital euro will be a safer store of value.  Not surprisingly, in its report titled “Decrypting financial stability risks in crypto-asset markets” which is part of the its twice-yearly Financial Stability Review, the ECB emphasized the danger posed by the increasing integration of crypto with traditional finance. The central bank stresses the importance of gaining a better understanding of the potential risks surrounding cryptoassets and the need to close regulatory and data gaps in the

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