This Week In Crypto is a weekly segment from the Live Coin Watch News team, providing readers with a fun, succinct, and pertinent summary of the most important Bitcoin-related events in the past seven days.
What a week it has been for this newfangled industry. Over the past week, Bitcoin (BTC) has surged yet again, with the asset moving past $6,000 — one of 2019’s most important levels. This came as a slew of positive news graced the cryptocurrency and blockchain market.
Throughout the past seven days, Fidelity Investments was revealed to have plans to launch BTC trading “within weeks”, Binance was hacked for $40 million worth of cryptocurrency, and an array of news was unveiled about Ethereum and Bitcoin investment vehicles, which could spark newfound retail interest.
This Week In Crypto
- U.S. Congressman Calls For A Widespread Ban On Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency: During Thursday’s Financial Services Committee hearing, U.S. Congressman Bradley Sherman, who represents the Democrats in California — the home of technological innovation of all places — suddenly brought up cryptocurrencies. During his rant-esque statement, which was recorded by industry non-profit Coin Center, Sherman remarked that Congress should outlaw cryptocurrencies for U.S. citizens. He claimed that Bitcoin undermines “foreign policy, tax collection enforcement, and traditional law enforcement.”
- Binance Hacked For 7,074 BTC, Community Flies Into A Frenzy: What some thought was impossible happened. In a jaw-dropping blog post, world-renowned crypto asset exchange Binance divulged that it had suffered a “large scale security breach” on Tuesday. The post, penned by chief executive Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, noted that 7,000 Bitcoin (BTC), valued at a hefty $40 million, had been siphoned out of Binance’s hot wallet. According to the CZ-signed post, “hackers” managed to obtain the aforementioned cryptocurrency through obtaining an array of key user information, including API keys, used by trading bots and third-party portfolio managers; and two-factor authentication codes, which are, ironically enough, meant to improve the security of one’s account. It is important to note that Binance has asserted that “no user funds will be affected,” revealing that it intends to reimburse the 7,000 BTC lost, which was stolen from the exchange’s hot wallet, with its so-called “SAFU” fund. Deposit and withdrawals are currently paused.
- Facebook Blockchain Team Enlists Hiring Spree As Digital Asset Launch Nears: In a Bloomberg report, one source familiar with the matter reveals Facebook’s blockchain branch is rapidly securing talent. This doesn’t seem to be baseless hearsay. As The Next Web’s “Hard Fork” column spotted just months ago, Facebook’s careers portal then had 22 blockchain-related roles open, including Product Managers, a Finance Analyst, a Threat Investigator, and a Director of Technical Account and Securities and Exchange Commission Reporting. This hiring spree, according to Bloomberg, pushes Facebook’s staffer count in this unit above 50, 20% of which reportedly previously worked at PayPal, signifying that digital payments are a priority. This news comes as the company is purportedly readying to launch “Project Libra”, a cryptocurrency payments ecosystem meant to curb fees.
- Facebook (Partially) Reverses Crypto Ad Ban: In a similar strain of news, a recent TechCrunch report has revealed that Facebook will now allow the publishing of paid advertisements related to “blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency” without a pre-approval process. However, advertisements involving exchanges, certain crypto assets, and other facets of the industry involving monetary sums will need prior approval.
- Startup Looks To Launch Bitcoin And Ethereum ETF, Seeks SEC Approval: In a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). filing published on May 9th, Crescent Crypto Index Services, an industry investment startup, revealed that it intends to launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF) for a cryptocurrency index. The vehicle, dubbed the USCF Crescent Crypto Index Fund, will consist of Bitcoin and Ethereum, with the exact composition depending on the two assets’ market capitalization. In a press release, Christopher Matta of Crescent remarked that his firm wishes intend to “make cryptocurrencies accessible to mainstream investors”. This news comes months after both Bitwise Asset Management and VanEck/SolidX (re)filed their Bitcoin-centric applications, which are still on the SEC’s chopping block.
- CFTC Hints That Ethereum Futures May Be Inbound: Per an exclusive report from CoinDesk, which cites a “senior official” that has knowledge of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the financial regulator is entirely amicable towards Ethereum. He/she explained that “we can get comfortable with an Ether derivative being under our jurisdiction,” confirming the hearsay that the CFTC’s cousin, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), sees ETH as a non-security. This means that if an exchange like the CME or CFTC requests to launch Ethereum futures, the agency is likely to approve such a proposal.
- Fidelity To Launch Bitcoin Trade Execution “Within Weeks”:New reports, namely one from Bloomberg posted Monday, divulge that the option to conduct Bitcoin purchases and sales will soon be available on Fidelity Investments’ in-house institutional cryptocurrency platform. Those familiar with the matter told the outlet that “within a few weeks,” the institutional clientele will have access to the aforementioned solution. It isn’t clear if Fidelity will be offering spot market trading or some darkpool/over-the-counter (OTC) solution to its clients. Yet, as explained by a company representative, the service will be “focused on Bitcoin.”