Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
US financial regulator FinCEN hires its first-ever chief digital currency adviser
The United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, filled a new role — that of chief digital currency adviser, unveiled on July 6, recruiting Michele Korver for the job. Korver has an array of experience in crypto regulation, including serving as digital currency counsel for the United States Department of Justice.
“Ms. Korver will advance FinCEN’s leadership role in the digital currency space by working across internal and external partners toward strategic and innovative solutions to prevent and mitigate illicit financial practices and exploitation,” said a public statement from FinCEN describing the new chief digital currency adviser position.
In other regulatory-related news, Wyoming, a U.S. state that has been highly favorable toward the crypto and blockchain industry, officially named the American CryptoFed DAO a legal entity — a first for any decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO.
Additionally, China has continued its regulatory crackdown on crypto.
Bitcoin price dips below crucial $33K support as Bitfinex shorts jump by over 5,000 BTC
Bitcoin (BTC) had another range-bound week, falling under the $33,000 mark on July 8, down from near $35,000. Short positions also became significantly more prevalent on crypto exchange Bitfinex, indicating bearish sentiment. Although Bitcoin fell below $33,000, the asset once again broke above the level on July 9.
BTC analyst Willy Woo noted that the current environment appears similar to that of the pre-Bitcoin breakout in the latter portion of 2020. The analyst noted metrics that show BTC being pulled into longer-term holdings, which could, in turn, decrease the available coins in circulation. Data also exposed a notable influx of fresh users on the Bitcoin blockchain. Additionally, Bitcoin exchange withdrawals have increased and deposits have lessened.
Poland financial regulator issues public warning about Binance
Regulatory complications surrounding the Binance crypto exchange continued to surface this past week, with several news developments on the scene. In light of recent regulatory moves around Binance related to Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom, the ruling body of Poland’s finance scene, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, or PFSA, cautioned Polish Binance users on their interactions with the exchange, as well as with crypto in general.
“In view of the protection of financial market participants and the warnings of foreign supervisory authorities, the PFSA Office recommends special caution when using the services of Binance group entities and when trading cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, as it may involve a significant risk that may result in the loss of funds,” the PFSA said in a public statement on July 7.
Earlier in the week, Binance suspended the ability to send euros from bank accounts to its exchange platform, citing no firm explanation on its rationale for the move. “Due to events beyond our control, we are temporarily suspending EUR deposits via SEPA Bank Transfers from 8 am UTC on July 7, 2021,” Binance noted in a July 6 email to exchange users.
Additionally, Binance users came forward with a class-action lawsuit against the trading platform, demanding significant compensation for losses they allegedly incurred due to the platform suffering outages during times of important price action. Participants claimed they did not have access to their accounts during pivotal periods of time.
Barclays bank also ceased payment card transactions to Binance. The exchange responded to the development with displeasure, saying the decision seemingly stemmed from a misunderstanding. In late June, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority demanded that Binance Markets Limited, or BML, cease all domestic operations. Binance claims that BML is a separate legal entity.
In a separate story on July 7, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao expressed positivity toward crypto industry regulation in general via a July 6 letter posted on Binance’s blog. He noted a lack of regulatory clarity still exists and that Binance desires to work alongside regulators.
Avalanche founder Emin Gün Sirer ‘quite bullish’ on crypto market prospects
Although digital asset prices have fallen in recent weeks, Cornell University professor and Avalanche founder Emin Gün Sirer retains positive expectations for the industry, citing increased interest in crypto assets from a bevvy of entities. “I have been getting contacts from retirement funds, not hedge funds, but retirement funds,” he told Cointelegraph China. Sirer foresees further ranging for crypto over the next several months, with things picking up in the fall.
Stablecoin firm Circle to go public in $4.5B blank-check deal
Circle, the firm behind the $26 billion market cap stablecoin USD Coin (USDC), intends to take its operation public through a SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company. Its ticker will be CRCL and the stock will trade on the New York Stock Exchange if all goes according to plan. “Circle to become public via a business combination with Concord Acquisition Corp (NYSE: CND), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition corporation with $276 million in trust,” Circle said in a public statement on July 8.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $33,499, Ether at $2,131 and XRP at $0.63. The total market cap is at $1.39 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.
Among the largest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Axie Infinity (AXS) at 147.51%, KuCoin Token (KCS) at 80.82%, and Synthetix (SNX) at 76.67%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are Telcoin (TEL) at -21.46%, Celo (CELO) at -15.37%, and Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) at -9.71%
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“Ransom payments are the fuel that propels the digital extortion engine, and […] the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal enterprises.”
Lisa Monaco, DoJ deputy attorney general
“A shift of crypto mining operations out of China will be a huge opportunity for Canada. The Toronto Stock Exchange recently listed the world’s first Bitcoin ETF, so the nation is already ahead of the curve, in terms of mainstreaming cryptocurrencies.”
Khurram Shroff, iMining CEO and IBC Group chairman
“If the BoJ were to issue [a] CBDC, it would have a huge impact on financial institutions and Japan’s settlement system. [A] CBDC has the potential to completely reshape changes occurring in Japan’s financial industry.”
Hideki Murai, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan’s panel on digital currencies
“Regulators have demonstrated they can and will crackdown on crypto, so we suggest investors stay clear and build their portfolio around less risky assets. We’ve long warned that shifting investor sentiment or regulatory crackdowns could pop bubble-like crypto markets.”
UBS global wealth management team
“So China decides to go for the kill. It didn’t work & that was their last ace. So expect them to try anything. You can’t beat the bull.”
Alex Saunders, Nuggets News CEO and founder
“We are disappointed that Barclays appears to have taken unilateral action based on what appears to be an inaccurate understanding of events.”
“[Ether] currently looks like the cryptocurrency with the highest real use potential as Ethereum, the platform on which it is the native digital currency, is the most popular development platform for smart contract applications.”
Prediction of the Week
Goldman Sachs: Ethereum’s popularity could see ETH become dominant store of value
Bitcoin is the dominant player in the crypto markets, holding the industry’s prime position as the largest asset by market cap. The asset is viewed largely as a store of value, although Goldman Sachs expressed a view that Ethereum (ETH) could take over as the market’s main asset, flipping Bitcoin in market cap as well as taking its spot as the core store of value asset in crypto. Goldman’s rationale? The firm essentially said Ethereum has greater potential in terms of its versatility.
“Ether currently looks like the cryptocurrency with the highest real use potential as Ethereum, the platform on which it is the native digital currency, is the most popular development platform for smart contract applications,” expressed Goldman via a July 6 communication, as reported by Markets Insider.
FUD of the Week
‘Investors stay clear’: UBS warns regulators could pop ‘bubble-like crypto markets’
UBS, a well-known investment bank, sent clients a communication expressing concern over a potential crash in crypto prices due to increased regulatory scrutiny. UBS cited the recent regulatory tightening in China as one bit of rationale for recent downward crypto price action.
“Regulators have demonstrated they can and will crackdown on crypto, so we suggest investors stay clear and build their portfolio around less risky assets. We’ve long warned that shifting investor sentiment or regulatory crackdowns could pop bubble-like crypto markets,” UBS noted, as reported by Markets Insider.
Brazil’s ‘Bitcoin King’ arrested over 7,000 missing BTC
Claudio Oliverira, Brazil’s self-styled “Bitcoin King” and chairman of digital asset brokerage firm Bitcoin Banco Group, was arrested by Brazilian federal police on fraud charges relating to 7,000 of investors’ BTC that the firm claimed went missing in 2019. According to a press release, federal police from the Curitiba Metropolitan Region served Oliverira, who was president of the group at the time the BTC was reported missing, and other persons associated with the firm with one preventive arrest warrant, four temporary arrest warrants and 22 search-and-seizure warrants. Several developments surrounding the firm raised suspicions, including a supposed hack that the operation claimed to have suffered in 2019 without being able to provide convincing evidence that the hack had actually occurred. Over 200 lawsuits have surfaced against Bitcoin Banco Group. Brazil’s authorities have taken Oliveira into custody.
Bitcoin.org owner reports site hit with ‘absolutely massive’ DDoS attack
Bitcoin.org, an educational site about BTC that also promotes the asset’s development, recently suffered troubles. “Bitcoin.org getting hit with an absolutely massive DDoS attack and a ransom demand to send Bitcoin or they’ll continue,” tweeted the site’s proprietor — a pseudonymous entity known as Cøbra — on July 5. DDoS stands for distributed denial of service. Historically, such attacks have not been terribly uncommon in the crypto space, although one might question the value of Bitcoin.org as a target, seeing as the website carries no private customer data, unlike crypto exchanges and other sites.
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