Is the tide turning in favor of crypto? Today’s unanimous, three-judge ruling in favor of Grayscale over the SEC is yet another sign that crypto winter could be transitioning into crypto spring.
What happened? As we’ve been reporting in Tales from the Crypto, there has been a growing movement in favor of an exchange-traded fund based on the price of Bitcoin. A number of major financial institutions – including crypto asset manager Grayscale Investments – have applied to the SEC in order to make this happen. To date, firms pursuing ETFs based on Bitcoin futures have fared better than those companies opting to offer ETFs based on the spot price of the cryptocurrency.
One of the ways that the SEC has pushed back against these latter efforts has been to say that, essentially, spot Bitcoin ETFs are not safe. Specifically, the SEC told Grayscale – which was looking to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a listed Bitcoin ETF – that the planned product was not “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.”
In June, Grayscale sued the SEC. And this week, a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals overturned the ruling. The court directed the SEC to grant Grayscale’s petition for review and to vacate its order to deny the company’s listing application. The succinct, two-sentence judgment does not determine the ultimate fate of Grayscale’s spot Bitcoin ETF. But the successful appeal is a major boon for the effort to make spot Bitcoin ETFs available to traders and investors.
Crypto continues to have an easier path outside the United States than within it. Today’s news about Grayscale and the SEC comes at the same time that Coinbase announced a new PayPal integration for its users in the U.K. and Germany. The integration will enable Coinbase users in those countries to easily buy and withdraw cryptocurrencies via debit cards and bank accounts linked to PayPal.
“Coinbase’s mission of increasing economic freedom in the world means making it easier and faster for customers to interact and engage with the cryptoeconomy, reducing the frictions of the legacy banking system,” Coinbase VP and Regional MD, EMEA, Daniel Seifert said.
The process is simple for U.K. and Germany-based customers who already have a PayPal account. They can begin making crypto transactions on Coinbase immediately, the company said in a blog post. Customers also do not have to input their bank account or card number directly to Coinbase; users can continue using PayPal to securely manage their financial data. The company said that it plans to extend the functionality to other EU countries in the months to come.
Speaking of Coinbase, the company recently announced an investment in stablecoin company Circle. Circle is the issuer of the USDC stablecoin. The investment announcement was accompanied by a statement that the two companies will shut down the Centre Consortium, a private governance organization for USDC established by Circle in 2018.
“We believe that stablecoins can advance the real-world utility of crypto and help make the global financial system more open and inclusive,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a joint statement. “Together, we look forward to unlocking additional value by growing the USDC ecosystem, circulation and global adoption.”
Founded in 2018 to help financial consumers in the U.K. access digital assets, cryptocurrency firm Coinpass has agreed to be acquired by OANDA Global Corporation. OANDA acquired a majority interest in Coinpass last week.
OANDA CEO Gavin Bambury said the acquisition would add to the company’s multi-asset offering and its appeal to a broader range of retail investors. He added: “A crypto native, Coinpass will provide OANDA with the technology backbone and trusted experience in the regulated crypto markets we need in order to offer clients globally a fast and secure route to the digital economy.”
Coinpass offers fast, secure, and compliant trading in more than 50 fiat currencies, stablecoins, and cryptocurrencies. The firm won Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform at CityAM’s 2020 CryptoAM Awards. Coinpass launched its crypto trading platform in 2021 – the same year it secured approval from the Financial Conduct Authority – and initiated stablecoin trading in USDC and USDT in 2022.
The march toward CBDC trudges on, steadily if slowly. The latest small step for CBDC-kind came in the form of Mastercard’s decision to partner with Fluency to take advantage of the growing interest in central bank digital currencies.
“We are delighted at Fluency to be part of this exciting and forward-thinking partnership with Mastercard helping CBDC networks seamlessly bridge transactions between different types of CBDC: account and token-based, retail and wholesale, multi-CBDC with tokenized assets and regulated stablecoins,” Fluency CEO Inga Mullins said.
Fluency offers a technology to enable organizations and institutions to deploy, configure, and manage custom CBDC networks. The company has joined CBDC boards around the world in order to assist central banks and governments on CBDC design, implementation strategy, and policy.
“We believe in payment choice and that interoperability across the different ways of making payments is an essential component of a flourishing economy,” Mastercard Head of Digital Assets and Blockchain Raj Dhamodharan said. “As we look ahead toward a digitally driven future, it will be essential that the value held as a CBDC is as easy to use as other forms of money.”
Crypto exchange Bybit introduced a revamped launchpad this week. The enhanced offering, Bybit Launchpad 3.0, gives early investors the opportunity to invest in new and pre-listed tokens directly from the Bybit platform. The technology connects project developers with potential investors, and provides a token launch process that is more streamlined and features greater transparency.
“Bybit Launchpad 3.0 is bringing innovative blockchain projects to the forefront,” Bybit co-founder and CEO Ben Shou said. “We are providing direct access to pre-listing rounds and facilitating the acquisition of new tokens. These tokens then seamlessly transition to trading on Bybit’s trading platform.”
Headquartered in the UAE, Bybit was founded in 2018. With more than 270 assets available via its platform, the company has more than 15 million users around the world.
Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA
The post 5 Tales from the Crypto: Grayscale and the SEC, Coinbase and PayPal, Acquisitions and CBDCs appeared first on Finovate.