Amidst a continuing rally in the crypto market, global regulators are taking significant steps towards integrating digital assets into their regulatory frameworks. This week has been marked by a series of headlines that illustrate the industry’s growing importance and the impact of the regulatory environment on the sector.
China Launches National Blockchain Research Center Amid Crypto Crackdown
Despite the ongoing crackdown on cryptocurrencies in China, the country is making a push to further embrace blockchain technology. On February 8, China announced the National Blockchain Technology Innovation Center in Beijing, which will work with local universities, think tanks, and blockchain businesses to explore core blockchain technologies. The research will be used to further digitalize China and expand its blockchain industry.
Brazil’s Oldest Bank Allows Taxpayers to Pay with Crypto
Brazilian taxpayers can now pay their tax bills using cryptocurrencies through a joint initiative by Banco do Brasil and Brazilian-based crypto firm Bitfy. This move comes after the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro started accepting cryptocurrencies as payments for taxes in October 2022. This new option for taxpayers provides a convenient alternative to traditional payment methods, as crypto payments are fast and secure.
Shopify Integrates with Ethereum for Sign-In and TokenGating
Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, has integrated with the sign-in with Ethereum (SIWE) protocol led by the Ethereum Name Service and the Ethereum Foundation. The move will enable Shopify merchants to set up their stores and dictate which token holders can access exclusive products, non-fungible token drops, and other benefits through its tokengating feature. This integration will provide a new level of security and exclusivity for Shopify merchants and their customers.
Kraken CEO Laments Paying SEC Fine
Jesse Powell, the CEO of Kraken crypto exchange, expressed regret on Twitter for paying a $30 million regulatory fine to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This came after the SEC chair, Gary Gensler, noted that registration was a straightforward process of filling out a form on the SEC’s website. Powell expressed that he felt foolish for not realizing the simplicity of the process before paying the fine and permanently shutting down Kraken’s US service.
Oh man, all I had to do was fill out a form on a website and tell people that staking rewards come from staking? I wish I’d seen this video before paying a $30m fine and agreeing to permanently shut down the US service.
Coinbase Claims Staking Product Does Not Pass Howey Test
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has stated that staking fails all four criteria of the Howey Test, which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) uses to determine whether a transaction qualifies as an investment contract and can be labeled a security. Coinbase’s protocol-based, on-chain staking service, Coinbase Earn, does not meet all four criteria of the Howey Test, and Armstrong is prepared to defend the company in court if necessary.
Hong Kong Issues $100M Tokenized Green Bond
The Hong Kong government has issued its first tokenized green bond worth HKD 800 million ($101 million), marking a milestone in the adoption of blockchain technology in the finance industry. Additionally, the government plans to make crypto trading and investment entirely legal for all Hong Kong residents and institutions in the Chinese mainland in June. This will position Hong Kong as a crypto powerhouse in Asia.
Wyoming Passes Bill to Protect Private Keys
Wyoming has passed a bill that protects its citizens from having to disclose their private keys in court, except in cases where a public key is unavailable or unable to disclose the requisite information with respect to the digital asset, digital identity, or other interest or right. This legislation will provide a greater level of protection for individuals’ digital assets and privacy.
Bitcoin Experiences First “Death Cross” on Weekly Chart
In other news, Bitcoin made headlines this week when it experienced its first “Death Cross” on the weekly chart. A Death Cross occurs when a short-term moving average crosses a long-term moving average, signaling a potential change in trend. In this case, the 50-week moving average crossed the 200-week moving average downward, which may signal further declines in Bitcoin’s price.
Big ENS Domain Sales This Week
- onyx.eth bout for 40 ETH (61,791.20 USD) on Opensea
- e00003.eth bought for 20.00 WETH (30,044.00 USD) on LooksRare
- 437.eth bought for 12.10 WETH (18,691.84 USD) on Opensea
- amsea.eth bought for 5.00 ETH (7,589.95 USD) on Opensea
- drop.eth bought for 4.25 ETH (6,713.60 USD) on Opensea