Speculation Continues To Swirl Around BTC ETF
Talks around the approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) continues, as the CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink, went on the record in an interview with Fox Business as saying that “Bitcoin… could revolutionize finance.” BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, submitted an application to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on the 16th of June for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which has yet to be granted. These comments mark a major about-turn, not just for the tradfi industry in general but more specifically for Fink, who has previously taken a less conciliatory approach to digital assets.
In related developments, Changpeng Zhao (known in the industry as CZ), CEO of Binance, welcomed the addition of tradfi players such as BlackRock, stating in a Twitter Spaces event that “it will offer more coverage” and be “hugely beneficial” for the crypto industry at large. Despite the continued bullish chatter around institutional adoption of Bitcoin, prices remain relatively flat, dipping below the $30,000 mark as of Friday, 7 July.
Circle CEO Targets Japan For Growth
Japan could be the next frontier for crypto, according to Circle CEO, Jeremy Allaire. In an interview with Coindesk, Allaire is on record as saying that Circle is floating the idea of issuing a stablecoin in Japan, given recent regulatory developments which allow for the issuance of such digital assets as legal tender. The revised Payment Services Act, which came into effect from 1 June 2023, is a landmark piece of legislation that could open Japan up to the wider crypto market and allow for inflows of cryptocurrency. Allaire talked up Japan as an emerging market in the Web3 space, with strong government support essential for expanding crypto reach in the East Asian superpower. Circle is the company behind the USDC stablecoin, which has a circulating supply of approximately $28 billion, backed by a fund which consists of US dollars and government bonds.
NFT Market Takes Hit As BAYC Floor Price Plunges
The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection, once synonymous with the NFT bull run of 2021, has recently seen its floor price plummet to below 30 ETH. This drastic drop in floor price is echoed in other NFT projects, marking wider industry sentiment with NFT marketplace OpenSea reporting a 19% drop-off in volume. The drop marks lows not seen since October 2021, and stands in stark contrast to the collection’s all-time highs of 153.7 ETH in April 2022. It has been a slow and steady decline for one of the largest NFT collections, inching lower since the start of the year and halving since April 2023, when it was trading at 64 ETH.
With depressed market conditions pushing NFT floor prices ever lower, analysts have suggested that this drawdown could mark the start of a price reversal, especially if Ethereum prices surge. This scenario seems unlikely in the short-term, however, with major BAYC holders selling their collections, contributing to continued negative sentiment in the NFT marketplace.
Meta Debuts Threads, Twitter Expands Payment Plans
Social media chatter was dominated this week by the launch of Meta’s latest app; Threads. Seemingly a clone of Twitter, the new text and photo app saw more than 5 million sign-ups within the first 10 hours of its launch, thanks to Threads’ integration with Instagram. It remains to be seen whether the crypto community—which has traditionally thrived on Twitter—will migrate to Meta’s new app. Critics of Threads are quick to point out that the data permissions required are far-reaching, although Twitter is not much different.
While Meta’s latest product garnered the lion’s share of attention, Twitter, too, made further strides in becoming a one-stop social media shop for its users. The microblogging app received regulatory approval from three U.S. states to serve as a money transmitter. While this approval doesn’t automatically mean that Twitter will become a vehicle for crypto payments, it is the latest development in Musk’s vision to make Twitter an ‘everything app,’ much like WeChat is for Chinese users.
Financial Advisor Recovers £80,000 Lost In Crypto Scam
In a cautionary tale about crypto investing, a former financial advisor from the United Kingdom can count himself lucky to have recovered the bulk of his funds which were initially lost to scammers. Simon Hoadley, a retired 66-year-old from East Sussex, invested a total of £80,000 with a fraudulent investment firm promising significant gains. With the rising tide of the 2020 bull market lifting all HODLers, Hoadley saw encouraging returns, leading him to hand over significant sums of money. However, as returns started to dwindle, the company he had invested with ceased contact and made withdrawals from Hoadley’s account, prompting him to call on the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Legal experts managed to recover over £75,000 of Hoadley’s lost funds, although Hoadley is but one of many victims who have fallen prey to the increasing occurrence of crypto-related scams.
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