Stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends in the crypto industry, including Fidelity Investments’ Bitcoin ETF filing, regulatory advancements impacting Prometheum and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Blockchain Association’s call for Gary Gensler’s recusal, Citigroup’s review of its custody partnership with Metaco, and the market movements of Bitcoin, Ether, Solana. Explore the implications of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 in the U.K., as well as the Law Commissions’ recommendations on digital assets. Join us as we delve into the world of crypto with in-depth analysis and the latest updates
Bitcoin and other top 10 cryptocurrencies experienced gains as the U.S. economy showed signs of growth despite interest rate hikes. Bitcoin increased by 1.05% in the past 24 hours, reaching $30,453, while Ether rose 1.28% to $1,853. Solana saw the largest increase with a 12.35% jump. Fidelity Investments filed for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), joining other asset managers in their pursuit of digital assets. The total cryptocurrency market cap rose to $1.17 trillion. In the NFT market, the Forkast 500 NFT index declined, and sales of Azuki Elementals and the original Azuki collection saw drops in trading volume. China’s economy contracted for the third consecutive month, while the U.S. economy saw faster-than-expected growth in the first quarter and a decrease in initial jobless claims. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates further, with a high probability of a rate hike at its next meeting.
Prometheum, a relatively unknown startup in the crypto industry, is facing criticism and skepticism as it seeks approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to trade digital assets. The co-CEO of Prometheum, Aaron Kaplan, garnered attention when he praised the SEC during a House of Representatives hearing, despite the ongoing legal battles between the industry and the regulatory agency. Prometheum claims to offer a compliant path for trading and custodianship of digital assets, but industry insiders argue that its model may violate securities laws. Prometheum’s unique position lies in its registration as a “special purpose broker-dealer” for digital assets and as an “alternative trading system” (ATS). While critics point out flaws in Prometheum’s plan, the company maintains that it can handle tokens issued under securities-law exemptions. Prometheum is awaiting SEC approval to clear and settle transactions, which could have significant implications for the crypto industry’s relationship with U.S. regulatory oversight. The outcome will determine whether crypto firms can operate within the existing regulatory framework or face further restrictions.
The Blockchain Association, a prominent lobbying group in the digital asset industry, has called for Gary Gensler, the Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to step aside from any enforcement actions involving digital assets as securities. The association argues that Gensler’s belief that all digital assets except Bitcoin are securities demonstrates a biased view that could compromise due process rights. They express concern that Gensler’s bias may hinder a fair evaluation of important industry questions during SEC proceedings. The paper emphasizes the need for the SEC and its chair to act as neutral arbiters rather than prosecutors, and it suggests that Gensler’s bias could negatively impact the perception of the crypto industry and the outcome of lawsuits. The association urges Gensler to recuse himself, warning that if he doesn’t, enforcement targets may raise the issue of his recusal in SEC proceedings and federal district courts.
The Blockchain Association, has also called for Gary Gensler, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to recuse himself from enforcing rules on the crypto sector. They argue that Gensler’s public comments indicate a lack of impartiality in approaching the issues. This statement comes after Coinbase, the largest U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, filed a notice of intent to request the dismissal of the SEC’s lawsuit against the company. Coinbase argues that the SEC’s enforcement actions go beyond its legal authority and violate due process and the constitutional separation of powers. The SEC has been taking broader enforcement actions against crypto exchanges, including imposing fines on Kraken and warning Paxos Trust Company. While Gensler has received support from Democrats, Republican congressman Warren Davidson has introduced a bill to restructure the SEC and remove Gensler as chair.
Citigroup is reportedly reviewing its digital-assets custody partnership with Swiss fintech firm Metaco and has begun informal talks with other providers. The move comes after Ripple Labs acquired Metaco for $250 million last month. Traditional financial firms entering the digital-assets industry have presented opportunities for startups in the custody sector. However, this year, several companies have terminated partnerships with crypto custodians, highlighting the challenges faced by smaller firms in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. The reasons for Citigroup’s review are unclear, and it is unknown whether it is related to Ripple’s acquisition of Metaco. Ripple aims to expand beyond payments by enabling clients to tokenize, settle, and custody any asset. Metaco has previously formed partnerships with BNP Paribas and Societe Generale’s digital asset arm Forge.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies saw a rise in prices following the release of key U.S. inflation data, leading to bullish sentiment among crypto traders. Bitcoin briefly surpassed $31,000 and settled just below that level, reaching its highest point since last June. The performance of Bitcoin against the wider crypto market has strengthened, and there is optimism among traders for continued gains. The release of the U.S. core personal-consumption expenditures (PCE) index, a measure of inflation, influenced Bitcoin’s movement, as traders anticipate the Federal Reserve’s potential easing of financial conditions. The downward trend in inflation, as indicated by the latest PCE data, and the increased trading activity and bullish sentiment reflected in derivatives data contribute to the positive outlook for cryptocurrencies. Ether and altcoins also experienced price increases, with Cardano and Polygon showing notable gains. Memecoins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu also saw positive movement.
Bitcoin and the top 10 cryptocurrencies experienced gains as the U.S. economy showed signs of strength and Fidelity Investments filed an application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Bitcoin rose 1.05% to $30,453, while Ether increased by 1.28%. Solana led the gains with a 12.35% jump. Despite the closure of the Solana-based NFT protocol Cardinal, the overall market sentiment remained positive. Fidelity’s ETF application follows similar filings by other asset managers, indicating growing confidence and demand for digital assets. In the NFT market, the Azuki Elementals collection sold out quickly, although concerns were raised about its similarity to the original Azuki collection. Meanwhile, China’s manufacturing activity contracted for the third consecutive month, while the U.S. saw stronger-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter. The possibility of further interest rate hikes in the U.S. remains a consideration for investors.
The U.K. government has passed the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, which recognizes cryptocurrency trading as a regulated financial activity. The law defines cryptoassets as regulated financial instruments, products, or investments, and aims to support their safe adoption in the country. The passing of the bill, known as Royal Assent, signifies a significant advancement for the crypto industry and highlights the U.K.’s ambition to become a hub for crypto innovation. The country may be positioning itself as the “Singapore of Europe” in the crypto space, attracting entrepreneurs and competing with other crypto-friendly European nations. Additionally, the Law Commissions of England and Wales have published recommendations to reform laws related to digital assets, proposing that cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens should be classified as a new category of personal property.