A day after El Salvador became the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, we saw Ukraine’s parliament pass a law legalising cryptocurrency – joining the likes of Cuba and Germany to fold bitcoin into national law.
Though more and more governments have been addressing crypto and paving the way for digital assets to become a permanent part of the financial system, the spotlight this past week has been on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has been publicly grappling with Coinbase.
On Wednesday, Coinbase went public with concerning accusations that the SEC has been using intimidation tactics behind closed doors to stop the company from launching a program that would allow users to earn interest by lending cryptoassets. The dispute has led to battle lines forming on Twitter for a regulatory showdown, as well as calls for all crypto companies facing the wrath of the SEC – Ripple, Uniswap, Coinbase and BlockFi – to stand together and support each other.
This week all eyes will be on Cardano following the launch of its Alonzo hard fork yesterday, meaning developers can now deploy smart contract solutions like DeFi platforms, NFTs and stablecoins. Exciting times ahead for Cardano’s community as the first projects are already launching.
Below is our weekly roundup of industry news. If you’d like to get in touch with us about any of our products or services, we look forward to hearing from you. Just send us a note.
Top stories of the week
El Salvador endures bumpy first week with bitcoin as legal tender
On Tuesday, El Salvador became the first country to adopt bitcoin as a national currency. In preparation for the Bitcoin Law going live, President Nayib Bukele revealed Monday that the government had snapped up 200 BTC. During Tuesday’s crypto market rout which saw the bitcoin price dip below £43k, Bukele ‘bought the dip’ by purchasing another 150 BTC. Tuesday’s ‘flash crash’ aside, El Salvador’s bitcoin debut didn’t exactly get off to a smooth start. Various technical issues were reported as thousands of people downloaded Chivo, the government’s bitcoin digital wallet app, overloading servers. Read More
Mastercard bets big on crypto with CipherTrace purchase
Continuing to lend full support to cryptocurrencies, Mastercard last week announced plans to purchase CipherTrace – a firm which provides tools and solutions aimed at preventing illicit cryptocurrency transactions. Through the partnership, Mastercard aims to encourage the use of digital assets and develop sophisticated monitoring tools to make crypto payments safer. Mastercard did not disclose how much the acquisition will cost, but the deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Read More
Ukraine becomes the latest country to legalise bitcoin and cryptocurrencies
Ukraine’s parliament has adopted a new law that legalises and regulates cryptocurrency. The bill was passed in a near-unanimous vote last Wednesday and now just awaits the nod of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Unlike El Salvador, Ukraine will not allow use of Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the country’s national currency. The law does however pull digital assets of the uncertainty of being in a legal grey area. Read more
In case you missed it
⚡️SIX receives approval from Swiss regulator to operate digital securities market.
⚡️Algorand sets up $330m fund that’s focused on DeFi.
⚡️Robinhood announces new crypto investing feature as it looks to bulk up offering.
⚡️Three Grayscale digital asset trusts have become SEC-reporting companies.
⚡️Chainalysis report: Institutional investors dominated the DeFi scene in Q2.
⚡️BlackRock joins blockchain platform Axoni for equity swap trades.
⚡️FCA chair calls for greater powers to regulate crypto promotions.
⚡️Standard Chartered is more bullish on ether than bitcoin — with a $35k price prediction.
⚡️Steph Curry secures deal with FTX.
⚡️FTX strikes sponsorship deal with MLB, umpires to wear crypto exchange’s logo.
⚡️CryptoCom becomes PSG’s first official crypto platform partner.
⚡️Project Giant: Nigeria’s CBDC set for pilot rollout on Independence Day.
⚡️Fresh out of the CFTC, Brian Quintenz joins a16z crypto’s advisory team.
⚡️Binance will support Cardano’s Alonzo hard fork.
⚡️El Salvador’s largest bank will support Bitcoin for loans, credit cards and other services.
⚡️SEC charges Rivetz over $18m ICO, seeks the return of ‘ill-gotten gains’.
⚡️British Post Office app to sell Bitcoin vouchers.
⚡️Solana nets its first million-dollar NFT sale and it’s for a Degenerate Ape.
⚡️Sotheby’s Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT auction yields $24m.
⚡️OpenSea bug destroys $100k worth of NFTs, including historical ENS name.
⚡️OpenSea’s NFT volume down 50% after monumental surge in August.
Speaker announcement: Copper’s Glenn Barber at SALT NYC
Anthony Scaramucci’s SALT conference kicks off today at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. SALT will convene leading investors, creators and thinkers for three days of collaboration focused on disruptive innovation. Our Head of Sales Americas, Glenn Barber, will be speaking at the event on Wednesday 15th of September as part of a panel discussion with Brian Brooks, Brett Tejpaul and Jalak Jobanputra on the opportunities and obstacles surrounding institutional crypto adoption. Register here to attend.
Copper at Digital Assets Summit NYC 2021
Blockworks’ Digital Asset Summit (DAS) is back this week in New York City. DAS is an institutionally focused crypto conference for asset managers and financial services professionals. The two-day in-person event gathers industry leaders from the world of finance and digital assets to discuss crypto from the perspective of industry practitioners. On Tuesday 14th of September, our Head of Strategy, Asen Kostadinov, and GSR’s Trey Griggs will participate in a fireside chat exploring solutions for capital efficiency and the pre-funding problem within the crypto industry. Our US Head of Sales, Glenn Barber, will also be speaking at the event on Tuesday as part of a panel discussing crypto market structure. Check out the full agenda and register here.
Speaker announcement: Copper’s Glenn Barber at Mainnet 2021
Our Head of Sales Americas, Glenn Barber, will be speaking at Mainnet on Wednesday 22nd of September. Mainnet is an immersive annual summit hosted in-person and virtually by Messari. The summit gathers crypto leaders, operators, builders, and investors for three days of future-focused collaboration, networking, and programming. Glenn will be taking part in a panel discussion titled ‘How CeDeFi Became A Thing’. If you don’t have a pass yet, grab a virtual or in person one here.
CopperCasts Ep016: Jakob Palmstierna
The latest CopperCasts welcomes Jakob Palmstierna, partner at GSR – a leading global market maker for cryptocurrency spot and crypto derivative markets. In his conversation with host Tyler Kenyon (which you can find by searching CopperCasts on any of your favourite podcast platforms) Jakob dives into the recent expansion of the crypto options and derivatives markets. He also shares his thoughts on derivatives within the DeFi space, the important role GSR will play in DeFi options, and thoughts on the current regulatory landscape. Also check out Jakob’s Show & Tell on our Youtube channel. Here, he unpacks the growth of the crypto derivatives and options markets in a succinct two minute explainer.
Analyst Retrospective: Bitcoin spot markets in driving seat
As Bitcoin increased from the under $30k lows from the end of June at quick pace, so have the exchange reserves on derivative exchanges. Meanwhile, spot markets continue to see a decline in supply. The bullish sentiment has also crossed over on lending markets which have seen total outstanding debt increase by more than 50% in August. In this Analyst Retrospective, Copper takes a look at where markets are, and where things can go from here. Read the full report here.