01/29/23

CFTC Commissioner Urges Congress to Expand Crypto Regulation

– CFTC Commissioner Kristin Johnson urges Congress to expand the CFTC’s authority to review crypto acquisitions.
– Johnson made the call in a speech at Duke University, advocating for regulation that formalizes the obligation to separate customer property and introduce effective governance and risk management controls.
– Following the collapse of FTX in November, the speech highlighted the need for more robust regulation of the crypto industry to prevent the next crypto crisis.

Following the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX in November, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Kristin Johnson has called on Congress to expand the U.S. agency’s authority to conduct due diligence on any firm seeking to acquire a minimum 10% share of the equity interest in a CFTC-registered market participant. Johnson made the call during a speech at Duke University on Wednesday, highlighting the need for more robust regulation of the crypto industry to prevent the next crypto crisis.

Johnson stated that the old regulatory frameworks, like antitrust legislation, may not be enough to prevent future events like FTX’s implosion. She specifically advocated for regulation that formalizes the obligation to separate customer property, ensure financial resource requirements, and introduce effective governance and risk management controls. As an example, she drew from the case of LedgerX, a CFTC-registered derivatives clearing organization.

Johnson further urged Congress to modify several pieces of proposed digital asset legislation to expand the CFTC’s authority. She noted that the agency needs to be able to review transactions involving crypto acquisitions to ensure that firms are not engaging in practices that could harm customers or the overall stability of the industry.

In addition, Johnson noted that the CFTC should have the authority to review transactions involving crypto acquisitions to ensure that the firms involved are properly managing risk. She stated that the agency should also be able to review the financial resources available to the firms, as well as their internal governance and risk management controls.

The speech comes as the crypto industry is facing increased scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers alike. Johnson’s call for expanded authority for the CFTC is likely to be welcomed by those looking to ensure the safety of their investments in the space. As the industry continues to grow, the need for robust regulation and oversight is becoming increasingly apparent.

01/27/23

Crypto Skyrockets and Plummets: Regulators Step In to Create Framework

• Cryptocurrencies have seen soaring highs and painful lows in the past year, reaching a peak market cap of $3 trillion in 2021 and dropping to less than a third of that value in 2022.
• Several major crypto events have occurred in the past year, including the implosion of the Terra stablecoin ecosystem and bankruptcies of Three Arrows Capital, Celsius Network, Voyager Digital and BlockFi.
• Regulatory initiatives are underway to expand oversight of the cryptocurrency industry.

The cryptocurrency industry has experienced a roller coaster of a year in 2021-2022. From soaring highs to painful lows, the crypto market has seen it all. In 2021, the market capitalization of the crypto space reached a peak of $3 trillion, only to drop to less than a third of that value in 2022.

The past year has seen some seismic events for the cryptocurrency market. The implosion of the Terra stablecoin ecosystem sent shockwaves around the industry and has called into question the sustainability of stablecoins. In addition, a number of major players in the crypto space declared bankruptcy, including Three Arrows Capital, Celsius Network, Voyager Digital, and BlockFi.

In light of these events, regulatory initiatives are underway to expand oversight of the cryptocurrency industry. Governments and financial regulators around the world are looking to establish clear and consistent frameworks for cryptocurrency-related activities. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is leading the charge, developing a range of measures to regulate the crypto space. These include the establishment of licensing regimes for cryptocurrency exchanges and custodians, as well as the introduction of anti-money laundering and know-your-customer requirements.

The U.S. and Europe are also taking steps to regulate the crypto space. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed a new framework to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges and custodians, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has proposed its own framework to regulate derivatives and other cryptocurrency activities. Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced plans to introduce a harmonized framework for crypto assets across all member states.

It is clear that governments and financial regulators around the world are beginning to take a more active role in regulating the crypto space. This is a positive development for the industry, as it will help to reduce the risk of fraud and other criminal activities, and ensure that the cryptocurrency market is operating in a safe and transparent manner. As the industry continues to grow, it is important that governments and regulators continue to work together to create an effective and robust regulatory framework.

01/23/23

Gemini USD Secured in MakerDAO Vote, ParaFi Capital Flips Result

• MakerDAO’s community voted to keep the Gemini USD (GUSD) stablecoin as part of its reserve system for its DAI stablecoin.
• 50.85% of the votes favored keeping the GUSD debt ceiling at $500 million level in Maker’s Peg Stability Module (PSM), while 49.15% voted for decreasing to zero.
• Venture capital firm ParaFi Capital seems to have delegated just enough voting power in the last minutes to flip the end result.

The Decentralized-finance (DeFi) giant MakerDAO put its community to the test this week in a vote to decide the fate of the Gemini USD (GUSD) stablecoin. As part of the Maker’s Peg Stability Module (PSM), GUSD had a debt ceiling of $500 million, but with a narrow vote of 50.85% in favor against 49.15%, MakerDAO decided to retain GUSD as part of its reserve system for its DAI stablecoin.

The result averts near disaster for Gemini’s stablecoin, as MakerDAO holds 85% of all GUSD in circulation. As the vote progressed, the results seemed to be leaning in favor of removing GUSD from the PSM, but with a dramatic reversal at the finish line, the future of GUSD was secured – at least for now.

According to blockchain data and information on MakerDAO’s governance forum, the deciding factor seemed to be the last minute delegation of voting power from the venture capital firm ParaFi Capital. With their input, the votes in favor of keeping GUSD exceeded those in favor of decreasing the debt ceiling to zero.

The largest delegate in favor of keeping GUSD with 13.9% of all votes was GFX Labs, which received 10,000 MKR tokens representing 7.5% of all votes in two transactions from a wallet address named after ParaFi Capital’s CEO, Eric Berg. This was enough to sway the outcome and secure the future of GUSD for the time being.

All in all, the close vote was a testament to the power of decentralization when it comes to making decisions on important financial matters. MakerDAO’s PSM had to consider a variety of factors, including the potential impact of removing GUSD from its reserves, and it is clear that the community was able to make a well-informed decision in the end.

For Gemini, this result is a relief, as the future of their stablecoin was in question prior to the vote. However, with the debt ceiling still at the $500 million level, Gemini will have to remain vigilant in order to ensure that they don’t overshoot their reserve capacity.

For MakerDAO, this result is a reminder of the importance of having an engaged and informed community when it comes to making decisions, especially when it comes to finance. They will have to remain watchful, as the future of GUSD could still be in question if the reserve capacity of the PSM is exceeded.

01/20/23

FTX Ventures Into Illiquid Assets and Derivatives, Bitcoin and Ether Dip

• FTX’s illiquid holdings are filled with tokens that are held in venture funds in which it has invested.
• Bitcoin and Ether are currently in the red, with Bitcoin down 2% and Ether down 3.2%.
• Layer 1 blockchain Solana has experienced a sharp rally due to the success of its native token, SOL.

FTX is a crypto exchange that has made a name for itself by investing in venture capital funds and gaining exposure to tokens that are not easily traded on traditional exchanges. These illiquid tokens, which are held by the venture funds, can be found on FTX’s balance sheet. Among the funds that FTX has invested in are Sino Global and Multicoin Capital. When these funds announce new projects, FTX is often listed as one of the co-investors.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin and Ether have been in the red, with Bitcoin down 2% on the day and Ether down 3.2%. This comes even as the S&P 500 and gold have both seen positive gains.

On the Layer 1 blockchain front, Solana has been performing well thanks to the success of its native token, SOL. The token has been on a hot streak since the beginning of the year, and is currently up more than 470% over the past month.

In addition to its investments in venture funds, FTX has also been making waves with its derivatives products. The exchange recently launched a Bitcoin volatility index, which allows traders to bet on the future volatility of Bitcoin prices. FTX has also announced plans to offer synthetic ETFs, which will track the performance of traditional S&P 500 stocks.

It remains to be seen how the market will react to FTX’s illiquid holdings and its efforts to offer new derivatives products. For now, investors will have to keep an eye on the market to see how the exchange’s investments and products affect the price of Bitcoin and Ether.

01/19/23

Shyam Nagarajan Believes CBDCs Are the Future of Money

• Shyam Nagarajan, executive partner at IBM consulting, believes that CBDCs are the future of money.
• He suggests that issuers of CBDCs should consider a hybrid model of permissioned and permissionless currency.
• Nagarajan was speaking at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland.

At the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, Shyam Nagarajan, executive partner at IBM Consulting, discussed the future of enterprise blockchain, CBDCs, and Web3. He suggested that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have the potential to change payment systems and that issuers of CBDCs should consider a hybrid model of permissioned and permissionless currency.

Nagarajan has been a part of IBM for over a decade and is an expert in blockchain, Web3.0, and sustainability. He believes that CBDCs will replace the current digital currency system and noted that the current system has a few issues that need to be addressed.

The current financial system has a lack of interoperability, he said, which prevents users from being able to move their money between different systems. He added that this lack of interoperability can lead to higher costs for users, and that a CBDC-based system would be more efficient and cost-effective.

Nagarajan also noted that the current system is slow and inefficient when it comes to transferring money. He said that a CBDC-based system would be much faster and more efficient, as transactions could be processed in seconds instead of days.

In addition to these benefits, a CBDC-based system would also be more secure, he said. He noted that CBDCs would be issued directly from the central bank, which would ensure that transactions are secure and that users’ funds are safe.

Nagarajan also discussed IBM’s sustainability efforts and his insights into discontinuing blockchain-enabled shipping solution TradeLens. He believes that TradeLens was a successful venture and that the discontinuation of the program is due to the fact that it was not cost-effective for IBM to continue to operate it.

Overall, Nagarajan’s viewpoint on CBDCs is that they offer a more efficient and secure payment system that has the potential to revolutionize the financial system. He believes that issuers should consider a hybrid model of permissioned and permissionless currency in order to maximize the benefits of CBDCs. With IBM’s sustainability efforts and insights into discontinuing blockchain-enabled shipping solution TradeLens, Nagarajan is working to help shape the future of enterprise blockchain and CBDCs.

01/17/23

Bitcoin Price Surges 5%, Largest Increase in Two Months

• Bitcoin (BTC) experienced its biggest one-day price pop in two months, with its price rising 5% above the $19,000 mark.
• Security firms such as OpenZeppelin are predicting that blockchain bridges can avoid some of the carnage of 2022 this year by security features built during the bear market.
• The U.S. government’s latest consumer price index (CPI) reading for December showed a 0.4% rise in prices, the largest monthly increase since August.

Bitcoin (BTC) experienced its biggest one-day price surge in two months on Thursday, with the price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency vaulting over $19K before settling back down to around $18,800. This was an impressive 5% increase in just a single day, and further proof that the current bull market is still going strong.

The news of Bitcoin’s remarkable price jump was welcomed by many in the crypto community, as it comes after a period of relative stagnation in the last few weeks. The U.S. government’s latest consumer price index (CPI) reading for December also showed a 0.4% rise in prices, the largest monthly increase since August. This could have been a factor in the price surge, as investors look to hedge against inflation.

Security firms such as OpenZeppelin are also predicting that blockchain bridges can avoid some of the carnage of 2022 this year by security features built during the bear market. This technology works by allowing different blockchains to communicate with each other and enable transactions between them, while still keeping each chain secure. This is a huge development for the blockchain industry, and could lead to greater adoption of blockchain technology in various industries.

Overall, the crypto markets are in a positive state of affairs, with Bitcoin’s latest price surge being a huge confidence boost for investors. Other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) also saw positive price movements on Thursday. The future looks bright for the crypto industry, and with further developments in blockchain technology, the current bull run could last for some time yet.

01/15/23

DCG $3 Billion Debt Crisis: Crypto Lender Genesis Owes Creditors

• Troubled crypto lender Genesis owes its creditors over $3 billion.
• Digital Currency Group, Genesis’ parent company, is reportedly looking to sell some of its venture-capital portfolio, worth around $500 million, to pay the debt.
• Gemini, the Winklevoss twins’ crypto exchange, escalated its dispute with Digital Currency Group’s (DCG) Genesis Global Trading by terminating a key aspect of their relationship.

Digital Currency Group (DCG), the parent company of Genesis and CoinDesk, is in hot water as its crypto lender Genesis Global Trading is reportedly in debt to the tune of $3 billion. According to sources talking to the Financial Times, DCG is now looking to sell off some of its venture-capital portfolio – worth around $500 million – in order to pay off the debt.

The situation has been further complicated by Gemini, the Winklevoss twins’ crypto exchange, who have escalated their dispute with DCG’s Genesis Global Trading by terminating a key aspect of their relationship. This termination has sent shockwaves through the crypto industry, as the two firms had previously collaborated on a crypto lending product pitched to smaller investors.

DCG is no stranger to financial difficulties. It acquired Genesis back in 2018 and since then, its financial operations have been the subject of much scrutiny. The company has had to suffer through a string of layoffs, as well as being forced to close its offices in various places around the world.

The situation has been exacerbated by recent market turbulence, with the value of cryptocurrencies declining significantly. This has put added pressure on Genesis, making it difficult for them to service their debt.

The news of DCG’s financial woes has been met with a mixed reaction from the crypto community. Some have argued that the company’s troubles are a result of it not being able to keep up with the rapid changes in the market, while others have pointed the finger of blame at its management.

Regardless of the cause, the situation is a troubling one for the crypto industry as a whole. If DCG is unable to pay off its debt, it could have a domino effect on other crypto-related firms and could lead to a further downturn in the industry.

At this stage, it remains to be seen how the situation will play out. DCG is reportedly exploring ways to raise the money it needs to pay off its debt, but it remains to be seen if it will be successful. Only time will tell.

01/8/23

Cryptocurrency Prices: Wild Swings and Uncertainty Ahead

• Cryptocurrency prices have been volatile over the past 14 months and there is no sign of that changing soon.
• Investors have to contend with wild predictions as to where prices might go over the next year.
• CNBC recently reported on two particularly bold predictions, one that prices could rise by 1,400% or drop by 70% by end of 2023.

Cryptocurrencies have been a hot topic over the past 14 months, with their prices exhibiting wild swings in both directions. This has left investors with the difficult task of trying to predict where prices might go in the future. The recent report from CNBC has added fuel to the fire, with two particularly bold predictions making the rounds.

Tim Draper, a digital venture capitalist, predicted that the price of Bitcoin could reach $250,000 by the end of 2023, while Standard Chartered went the other way and predicted that prices could drop to $5,000. That is a difference of 1,400%, which shows just how unpredictable the cryptocurrency market can be.

The truth is, no one knows what the future holds for cryptocurrencies. There are plenty of factors that could influence prices, from economic conditions to government policy and beyond. That means investors need to be prepared to face both the upside and the downside of the market.

In addition to the volatile nature of the market, investors also need to be aware of the risk associated with investing in cryptocurrencies. This is a relatively new asset class, and there is no guarantee that prices will continue to rise or fall. As with any investment, it pays to do your research and understand the risks before investing.

At the end of the day, the only sure thing in the cryptocurrency market is that prices will continue to fluctuate. That means investors should be prepared to take both long and short positions in order to make a profit. As the market matures and more investors enter the space, we may start to see more stability in prices, but until then it is important to remain vigilant and protect your investments.

01/8/23

Securrency Hires State Street Exec Nadine Chakar as New CEO

• Securrency, an institutional cryptocurrency infrastructure firm, has hired State Street’s head of digital Nadine Chakar as its new CEO.
• Dan Doney, the company’s founder, will continue to serve as Securrency’s chief technology officer (CTO).
• Chakar’s appointment will provide knowhow of institutional-grade compliance to bring to Securrency’s products and services in tokenization, decentralized finance (DeFi) and interoperability.

Securrency, a leading institutional cryptocurrency infrastructure firm, has announced the appointment of Nadine Chakar as its new CEO. Chakar is the former head of digital at State Street, a global asset management giant. She brings with her extensive experience in institutional-grade compliance and digital asset adoption.

Dan Doney, Securrency’s founder, will continue to serve as the company’s chief technology officer (CTO). Doney said of Chakar’s appointment: “I am delighted to welcome Nadine to the Securrency team. Her deep expertise in digital asset adoption and institutional-grade compliance will be invaluable in helping us achieve our mission of enabling digital asset adoption in a compliant manner.”

Chakar joins Securrency following a successful stint at State Street. She spent just under a year and a half as State Street’s digital chief, and was also the head of global markets there for more than two years. Chakar was also part of the $30 million funding round for Securrency in 2021, alongside U.S. Bank, Abu Dhabi, Catalyst Partners and WisdomTree Investments.

At Securrency, Chakar will be tasked with providing institutions with blockchain-based regulatory technology on top of existing legacy systems. This will allow for digital asset adoption in a compliant manner, and Chakar’s appointment will bring the necessary knowhow of institutional-grade compliance to Securrency’s products and services in tokenization, decentralized finance (DeFi) and interoperability.

Securrency is rapidly expanding, and Chakar’s appointment is the latest in a series of strategic hires for the firm. This includes the appointment of former J.P. Morgan executive Derrick Smith as Chief Operating Officer, and former Commodity Futures Trading Commission attorney David Hirsch as Chief Legal Officer.

Securrency is dedicated to bringing financial services, such as tokenization and DeFi, to the masses and is confident that Chakar’s knowledge and experience will help them achieve this. With Chakar at the helm, Securrency is poised to become a leader in the digital asset adoption space.