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GB Market Commentary 16/06/2021

By Alex Clark

A judge has denied the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s request for documents related to Ripple’s XRP transactions and lobbying efforts that took place after the SEC filed its lawsuit last December.

Long-standing crypto critic Maxine Waters, who leads the House Financial Services Committee, is finally taking the time to educate herself on the matter. Walters is gathering Democratic House members in a new working group focused on cryptocurrencies, which will “engage with regulators and experts to better understand the poorly understood and minimally regulated industry”.

Although, the SEC has omitted cryptocurrencies from its list of regulatory priorities for the year. Whilst this is excellent news for the crypto community, it is somewhat surprising given the SEC Chair's comments on crypto and the noise surrounding crypto mining energy consumption, increasing ransomware attacks paid in Bitcoin and the potential threat of private cryptocurrencies to sovereign currencies.

MicroStrategy, which owns more bitcoin than any other corporation in the world, has raised $500 million in bonds to acquire more of the asset. This followed the news of Paul Tudor Jones, who said that he wants to allocate 5% of his portfolio to BTC.

Bank of America are hailing digital currencies as the solution for the unbanked – reiterating that more than 50% of adults in developing countries do not have a bank account and, by reducing transaction costs and allowing more economic activities, digital currencies could be a major boost to economic growth.

A report from Financial News suggests that global investment funds now hold more than $43 billion worth of bitcoin on behalf of their clients, which is a very important endorsement for bitcoin’s emerging functionality as a hedge against inflation.

Fox Entertainment and Bento Box Entertainment are joining the list of investors and businesses pumping big money into nonfungible tokens. The pair have formed a $100 million creator fund to identify growth opportunities within the NFT space, and they are also launching Blockchain Creative Labs, which will provide content creators, IP owners and advertising partners with end-to-end blockchain computer ecosystem solutions to build, launch, manage and sell NFT content as well as digital goods and assets. For example, the upcoming comedy Krapopolis will have its own dedicated digital marketplace which will curate and sell digital goods for fans.

Despite warnings from regulators about the risks posed by crypto’s volatility and role in money laundering, Goldman Sachs continue to move forward in the space. The firm is moving beyond the world of Bitcoin and expanding into Ether and plans to facilitate trades via exchange-traded notes tracking Bitcoin, signalling that institutional investors are still optimistic about the future of crypto.

Pi, a new blockchain initiative, is seeking to re-democratise access to cryptocurrencies and to make mining accessible to anyone with a smartphone.


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