When we chalked out our 2021 predictions a couple of weeks back, we said we expected a flock of crypto companies to IPO/SPAC after Coinbase.

We certainly didn’t expect the rush to start so soon.

Bakkt is already laying the groundwork for a SPAC, eToro is filing, and this week, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss confirmed to Bloomberg that they are considering taking Gemini public.

The twins also announced the launch of the Gemini Credit Card, which will function like a traditional card but offer up to 3% back in crypto rewards on every purchase made. This isn’t the first time a company is announcing a credit card with crypto rewards as back in December, BlockFi announced its own card. Both companies have yet to launch their cards.

On Thursday, we waved goodbye to the acting Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks, who departed after eight months in the role. Despite his short tenure, Brooks had an enormously positive impact on the digital asset space. It has now been confirmed that the office's COO, Blake Paulson, will take his place.

No lunch plans this coming Wednesday? Why not make it a lunch+learn by tuning into a webinar our CFO Ralph will be leading to discuss recent decisions by corporate treasurers to invest in cryptoassets. More details about this event can be found near the bottom of this page.

This week's top stories

Christine Lagarde says ‘speculative’ Bitcoin needs global regulation

In a speech at a Reuters online event Wednesday, European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde doubled-down on her narrative that Bitcoin ought to be regulated at a unified international level. Lagarde said the “highly speculative asset” has led to "some reprehensible activity," including money laundering, and any loopholes need to be closed.

On the topic of CBDCs, she confirmed there will be a Digital Euro but did not provide a specific timeline for the launch.

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Japan's top securities regulator says XRP is not a security

On Wednesday, the top securities watchdog in Japan told The Block that it does not consider XRP to be a security, siding against its US counterpart in the debate roiling the token’s issuer, Ripple Labs.

While FSA's opinion has no bearing on the US Securities and Exchange Commission's current litigation against Ripple, it highlights the lack of consensus on XRP's status among securities regulators.

Read more

HSBC blocks transactions from crypto exchanges

HSBC announced it would no longer support the transfer of funds from crypto exchanges, leaving crypto customers unable to transfer their profits to their bank account.The move is expected to push HSBC customers towards new startup banks, which invariably have a friendlier approach to digital currencies and digital assets.

HSBC's decision comes at a time of increasing interest in digital currencies and stablecoins across the UK, particularly in light of recent market rallies. While these pose risks to unsuspecting investors, the practical challenges of bank obstruction are likely to cause further problems for those interacting with digital currencies from the country.

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In case you missed it...

⚡️Ethereum competitor Near Protocol (NEAR) gains 106% as DeFi heats up. Read more

⚡️Coinbase, MEVP Invest in Crypto-Asset Startup Rain. Read more

⚡️Chainlink and Aave hit all-time highs: why are DeFi tokens rallying hard? Read more

⚡️Cardano enters new bullish cycle towards all-time highs. Read more

⚡️Bitcoin price volatility opens the door for further stablecoin adoption. Read more

⚡️Bitcoin frenzy drives 900% surge in assets for Grayscale. Read more

⚡️JPMorgan Chase execs weigh in on stablecoin regulation. Read more

⚡️UBS Wealth warns clients crypto prices can actually go to zero. Read more

⚡️Goldman Sachs to enter crypto market ‘soon’ with custody play: Source. Read more

⚡️South Korean gaming conglomerate Nexon denies plans to acquire Bithumb. Read more

⚡️Bitcoin securities trading surges as investors seek crypto exposure. Read more

⚡️State-owned Chinese bank rolls out ATMs for digital yuan. Read more

⚡️Bitcoin miner Bit Digital passes $1bn market cap. Read more

⚡️Shanghai government invests $5m in Blockchain startup Conflux. Read more

⚡️XLM re-enters top-10 coins by market cap after surging nearly 30%. Read more

⚡️A new Bitcoin ETP launches on Swiss Stock Exchange SIX. Read more

⚡️German housing company issues $24M digital bond on Stellar blockchain. Read more

⚡️Miami mayor wants to put some of the city's treasury reserves into Bitcoin. Read more

⚡️Polkadot gains 75% in one week — but can DOT price reach $20 next? Read more

⚡️Twitter CEO expresses his desire to see social media platforms decentralised. Read more

⚡️Complete internet shutdown wipes out Uganda Bitcoin trading. Read more

⚡️Crypto custodian Anchorage nabs national bank charter from OCC. Read more

From Copper

Copper appointed as custodian for Hehmeyer

On Tuesday, we announced that we have been selected as custodian for Hehmeyer, the Chicago-based global market maker in digital assets. We will provide Hehmeyer with a custody solution for Hehmeyer’s assets and off-exchange settlement functionality.

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OCC stablecoin ruling: The most important regulation in crypto history?

Stablecoins are now firmly embedded in the financial architecture of the United States. This is perhaps the most significant regulatory change to hit the cryptocurrency industry since Bitcoin was invented. We don’t say that lightly. Have a read of our latest article to find out what this new ruling means for the staying power of digital assets.

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Why privacy coins are thriving despite their opposition

Recent confusion over an updated terms of service notification from Facebook-owned WhatsApp has opened up a new front in the long-running global debate about privacy in the digital age. Amid outcry over this policy change, rival encrypted messaging apps like Signal and Telegram are booming.

In the crypto world, privacy-centric coins have also picked up steam over the course of the past week, even as the price of Bitcoin and most other digital assets pulled back.

Read More

ACT Webinar - Understanding the crypto asset market

On Wednesday 20 January, our CFO Ralph Payne will be leading a webinar hosted by the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT), the chartered professional body for treasury.

'Understanding the crypto asset market' will explore recent decisions made by corporate treasurers, including their investment objectives and performance; the practical challenges of implementation, including liquidity; and tax, regulatory and accounting issues.

Join him this Wednesday at 12:30pm GMT.

Read More

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