Ripple Labs, the company behind the Ripple decentralized ledger and associated asset XRP, won a landmark ruling against the SEC. The regulator had alleged, in part, that XRP was a security and that therefore Ripple Labs’ sales of XRP constituted unregistered securities offerings. A federal judge struck down most of the SEC’s claims, ruling that XRP itself is not a security and that certain sales and distributions of XRP by Ripple Labs did not constitute securities offerings. However, nearly $730 million of sales of XRP sold in “institutional sales” , to institutions such as hedge funds, were securities transactions that should have been properly registered with the SEC. XRP has soared 66% since the news. The SEC can appeal the decision but has not yet done so.
Europe’s first spot Bitcoin (ETF) is set to be launched later this year after a long delay. The Bitcoin ETF by Jacobi Asset Management, a London-based multi-asset investment platform, was supposed to be launched on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange in July 2022. However, the collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022, as well as the FTX collapse in November, forced the asset manager to postpone the listing. The asset manager stated to the Financial Times that it has decided to launch the ETF now because it has seen a gradual shift in demand compared with 2022.
French bank Société Génerale has become the first company in France to obtain a license for crypto services. Société Générale's crypto unit, Forge, is licensed as of Tuesday 18th to offer services, including crypto custody, trading and sales, according to the website of France's AMF market regulator.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accepted BlackRock’s application for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. The SEC’s acknowledgment indicates the commencement of the official review process for BlackRock’s ETF proposal. The SEC also formally acknowledged applications from Bitwise, VanEck, WisdomTree, Fidelity and Invesco for similar spot bitcoin ETFs, with those proposals appearing on the Federal Register Tuesday and Wednesday.
The total trading volume of the top 10 crypto exchanges in Q2 reached more than $8 trillion, representing a 23% decline compared to the previous quarter. Binance maintained its position as the top exchange, despite a 3% decrease in market share to just over 50%.
Alex Mashinsky, the founder and former CEO of bankrupt Celsius Network, was arrested in New-York last week. Mashinsky, an alleged conman who also claimed to have invented Voice Over internet Protocol (VOiP), is alleged to have engaged in a “years-long scheme to mislead customers”. He is being criminally prosecuted by the Department of Justice while simultaneously defending himself against lawsuits by the SEC, CFTC, FTC, and a slew of other state and federal prosecutors. According to the complaint, Mashinsky’s schemes targeted small retail investors, and wiped out the savings of millions of people when Celsius collapsed.
The Bank of International Settlements reported that 93% if banks worldwide are exploring stablecoins or central bank digital currencies. Nearly 20% of banks said they would be willing to launch a token in the next three years. Interest in the stablecoins has been one of the most enduring effects of the 2021 crypto boom, with banks recognizing the efficiency and cost-savings that such technologies can add to their outdated systems.
Polygon, one of the broadest developers of EVM-based networks, proposed a revamp of their native MATIC token to better support their multiple protocols. MATIC is currently used to provide economic security on the Polygon PoS chain. With the launch of Polygon zkEVM, alongside Polygon Miden and Polygon Supernets, the developer wants to extend MATIC’s security umbrella and economic utility across the entire ecosystem. Enter POL, an upgraded version of MATIC that can be used natively across Polygon networks. More details here.
Graph of the Week: Crypto's Macro Drivers
"The US Dollar Index #DXY (green) has broken key support (inverted) and this is having a significant impact on global money supply, #M2 (blue) which had been contracting for the past months. While Central Bank's balance sheet tightening is not conducive, dollar weakness could boost Bitcoin. Longer term, the primary question is whether Central banks are close to the end of their tightening phase."
Interesting analysis by: Jamie Coutts CMT, CFTe , Crypto Market Analyst - Bloomberg Intelligence.
The US Dollar Index #dxy is a measure of the value of the USD against a weighted basket of currencies EUR, JPY, CAD, GBP, SEK, and CHF. The index will rise if the Dollar strengthens against these currencies and fall if it weakens.
by Sam Eisner, Associate at Wave Digital Assets
Axelar and Microsoft have teamed up to develop and offer blockchain interoperability products. As part of the deal, Axelar’s cross-chain stack will be available to Microsoft customers via the Azure cloud marketplace.
Argentina welcomed its first Bitcoin futures contract on July 13, just three months after the country’s securities watchdog approved the underlying index as part of a strategic innovation agenda. According to Matba Rofex, the trading platform behind the investment vehicle, it is the first Bitcoin futures contract in Latin America.
Google Cloud recently partnered with Voltage, an infrastructure provider specializing in the Bitcoin Lightning Network. The partnership will allow one of the world’s largest cloud computing providers to roll out Bitcoin-based services worldwide while assisting the expansion of Voltage’s operations.
The European Commission on Tuesday set out its plans for the metaverse, confirming leaked plans previously reported by CoinDesk that would see new standards and governance for virtual worlds. The commission isn’t proposing any new laws and is vague about funding for what it sees as the next generation of the internet, but politicians are eager for the bloc to make the most of a technology they see as having economic and ethical salience.
Congressman Ritchie Torres has asked for two separate independent investigations of the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for its "haphazard and heavy-handed approach to digital assets". Rep. Torres (D-N.Y.) requested investigations into the SEC granting a special purpose broker-dealer (SPBD) licence to Prometheum, "a trading digital assets platform that does not trade digital assets," under unusual circumstances, and for its failure to create a rigorous but workable process for registering real-world digital assets platforms.
In a tweet on July 13, Justin Slaughter, policy director at research firm Paradigm and a former SEC senior advisor, expressed his opinion on the future of the Lummis-Gillibrand Responsible Financial Innovation Act bill. He stated, “This bill is less likely to pass than McHenry-Thompson for one simple reason: neither Lummis or Gillibrand lead a Senate committee.”, indicating the bill may not pass the U.S. Congress due to the lack of committee leadership from its sponsors. The Senators Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand-sponsored bill seeks to provide regulatory clarity for the emerging crypto industry. It grants the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) oversight functions over crypto exchanges.
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