This week in Coins

Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt.

Echoing last week, the values of market leaders Bitcoin and Ethereum remained pretty inert over the past seven days. 

Nonetheless, market leader Bitcoin (BTC) hit a one-year high after crossing the $31,000 threshold on Monday on news that the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, was refiling its application to the SEC for a Bitcoin spot ETF—a regulated investment vehicle that, if approved, would provide investors with exposure to Bitcoin without the dangers of buying it directly.

The SEC expressed misgivings about BlackRock’s first filing last month, stating broadly that none of the many applicants for a Bitcoin spot ETF have been specific enough about how they’ll integrate a “surveillance-sharing agreement” to deter fraud and manipulation. Such an agreement would allow applicants to monitor market trading activity and clearing activity and verify customer identity.

BlackRock named Coinbase as its market surveillance partner in its refiling. Two days later, the crypto-focused asset manager Valkyrie also refiled its ETF application and, echoing BlackRock, it named Coinbase as its market surveillance partner. 

In another bullish sign for Bitcoin fans, the crypto ATM operator Bitcoin Depot became the first company of its kind to be publicly listed on the NASDAQ on Monday. 

However, the headlines weren’t enough to turn Bitcoin’s upward price movement into a sustained rally. The biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization dropped back under $31,000 on Tuesday, then briefly recrossed the threshold early on Thursday before bottoming out at $30,153.

Bitcoin’s volatility settled down by the weekend. It currently changes hands at $30,252—about one percent lower than it was this time last week. 

Ethereum (ETH) holders suffered marginally greater losses. The second biggest cryptocurrency in the world dropped in value 2.8% to enter the weekend at $1,861. It moved in step with Bitcoin, posting intraweek highs of close to $2,000 on Monday and Thursday. 

The prices of most of the top thirty cryptocurrencies remained flat over the last seven days. The biggest growth was observed in Solana (SOL), which exploded 20% to hit $22.85 by Saturday, up nearly 20% for the week. 

Remarkably, Solana thrived in spite of news that popular trading app Revolut is delisting italong with Polygon (MATIC) and Cardano (ADA)—after they were named as securities by the SEC in its ongoing lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase. 

Big losses were felt by holders of Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). The former dropped 11% to $98, while the latter dropped 12.5% to $19.06. 

Ethereum forked from Ethereum Classic in 2016 after an infamous DAO smart contract hack enabled thieves to abscond with $55 million in ETH. The Ethereum community voted to have the illicit transactions wiped from the blockchain and continued under the name Ethereum. The original ledger recording these transactions continued as Ethereum Classic. 

Regulation in Asia and the UK

On Monday, Singapore announced two new consumer protection measures as the island nation’s regulators continued to build a regulatory framework for its burgeoning crypto industry. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)—the country’s chief financial regulator—will enforce a ban on lending and staking for retail customers (individual traders, as opposed to institutional clients). 

The MAS now also requires that exchanges move customers’ digital assets into a trust before the end of the year to prevent an FTX-style scenario where their funds are commingled or traded.

Coincidentally, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission also announced a ban on “depository services that offer returns to depositors and lenders,” thus outright banning exchanges from offering both lending and staking services. 

On the other side of the globe on Tuesday, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for the United Kingdom announced that companies promoting cryptocurrencies to UK customers must get ready to comply with the regulator’s financial promotion regime before October 8, 2023.

The rules govern all communications that can be regarded as “financial promotion,” including websites, social media posts, mobile apps, and online advertising. Crypto companies will need to register with the FCA to get authorization and, if approved, they’ll also need to pay a fee. 

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