Bitcoin’s Rich List, Coinbase’s latest acquisition

Ripple attempted to coordinate with the SEC ahead of the watchdog’s XRP-related lawsuit. The “Bitcoin Rich List” has more names than ever. Grayscale reports a surge in interest from pension funds and Coinbase makes an acquisition to improve its institutional bitcoin offerings. It was a huge news day so buckle up.

Top shelf

Front running action
Ripple attempted to pay for the cost of conducting unregistered securities transactions worth $ 1.3 billion in selling XRP on exchanges and the public before the SEC filed a lawsuit in December, CEO Brad Garlinghouse said on Wednesday. In a Twitter thread, Garlinghouse responded to five of the SEC’s arguments that he called “key issues,” but warned that he would be limited in his testimony as the case was ongoing. Several exchanges have moved to delist or stop XRP trading.

Pensions or bust
Grayscale reports increased “ownership” in its flagship Bitcoin and crypto investment products from institutions, pensions and foundations, not just hedge funds. The newly appointed CEO Michael Sonnenshein told Bloomberg: “The size of the allocations you make is also growing rapidly.” The total assets under management are approximately 27.5 billion US dollars. (Grayscale, like CoinDesk, belongs to the Digital Currency Group.)

Connected: Donald Trump banned from Twitter in the final days of the presidency

The rich list grows
The number of addresses with more than 1,000 bitcoin is a record high at 2,334, indicating that large bitcoin holders have amassed bitcoin ahead of the market. This comes after a brief depression in the total number of Bitcoin whales in December. “The decline and renewed increase in late December show relatively little interest in profit-taking from these big business owners, even though almost all holdings are currently profitable,” according to the quarterly review report by CoinDesk Research.

The story goes on

First acquisition of the year
Coinbase has taken over the trade execution startup Routefire to bolster the exchange’s institutional range of products ahead of a planned IPO. The terms of the contract were not disclosed, even though Routefire was a small company with seven employees in San Francisco. Coinbase has experienced intermittent outages in the run-up to the $ 40,000 bitcoin price.

Make public?
Bakkt cryptocurrency exchange, majority-owned by Intercontinental Exchange, is in advanced talks to go public through a merger with a special purpose vehicle (SPAC), Bloomberg reported, citing knowledgeable people. If the deal is closed, the combined company would be worth more than $ 2 billion, the report said. A deal could be announced as early as next week.

Fast bites

  • 1,981 BTC: Finland will auction bitcoin from enforcement actions in 2016. (CoinDesk)

  • > 65,000: FinCEN recorded well over 65,000 submissions related to the proposed “non-hosted” wallet rule during its unusually short and potentially illegal public comment period. (CoinDesk)

  • MODIFIED COMPLAINT: A senior Utah district judge has confirmed he made a “mistake” in upholding Overstock’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit over its 2019 digital dividend. (CoinDesk)

  • WHITE KNUCKLE RALLY: Has Bitcoin just had its best week since 2017? (Bloomberg)

  • DOWN TURN: The economy sees job losses for the first time in eight months in December as the rising coronavirus takes its toll. (CNBC)

  • BTC’S BIGGEST FANS are hedge fund baby boomers (Bloomberg Opinion)

  • MICROSTRATEGY? Read the company’s 2020 letter to shareholders. (Blog)

Market information

What Joe Biden’s $ 3 trillion stimulus package means for Bitcoin
President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly considering a two-pronged economy in the form of $ 2,000 checks for Americans and a $ 3 trillion tax and infrastructure spending package. This is the first sign that many market analysts are forecasting a flood of fiscal activity and a new US presidential administration. As spending increases, so too do inflation forecasts – which many crypto insiders see as a boon to Bitcoin’s programmatic, deflationary properties.

Connected: Reinventing money: Bitcoin’s Road to Gold

Q4
If the first quarter of 2020 was the quarter of market turmoil, the second quarter the halving of Bitcoin, and the third quarter the explosion of stable coins and decentralized financial applications, the fourth quarter was the quarter of the institutional FOMO for Bitcoin and Ethereum, which is the first phase started its ambitious migration to a proof. of-Stake (PoS) blockchain. The latest CoinDesk Quarterly Review looks at the performance of Bitcoin and Ether compared to macro assets and other crypto assets, as well as their progress, milestones and value drivers over the past three months. Download the free report.

On the game

Yesterday, Facebook made the unprecedented decision to ban a sitting President, Donald Trump, from its service for his role in sparking the insurrection that damaged the U.S. Capitol. Facebook and other social media companies have had four years to discuss how publishing information can be balanced in the public interest (because President Trump said so) when much of it is not factual.

Streaming service Twitch, e-commerce platform Shopify and others have also banned the president, at least until he leaves office on January 20. The President’s Twitter feed was banned for 12 hours from January 6-7.

Many opponents have long called for Trump to be booted from his online bullying pulpits, where he often commands large audiences (88.7 million people follow @realDonaldTrump, his personal Twitter account). Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, explained the decision: “The current context is now fundamentally different and includes the use of our platform to instigate violent uprisings against a democratically elected government.”

Some in the crypto world see it differently.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous what’s happening right now. A great circus show prepares us for the final act – total control over our thoughts and actions. Twitter and Facebook are mass scams. For example, regardless of your political opinion, the level of persistent censorship is suspect, ”Josh Petty, founder and CEO of alternative social media site Twetch, told Blockchain Bites via email.

Calling crypto a libertarian insurgency is old hat, although there are some key areas where the two ideologies converge – especially when it comes to promoting individualism and all of the “classically liberal” rights that go with it. This means freedom of ownership, freedom of speech and the freedom to step out of the crowd.

Rather than legislating to protect these freedoms, blockchains create cryptographic evidence to ensure that certain conditions are always met. These are monetary assurances – like the highly competitive offering of Bitcoin, the infinite programmability of Ethereum, or Solana’s speed of blitzkrieg settlement – as well as cultural assurances like the idea that finance and language should be uncensored.

“People value resistance to censorship both for themselves and for others so much that it can seem irrational to bystanders,” wrote the pseudonymous crypto researcher Hasu in a blog post in November entitled “Exploring the core values ​​of Bitcoin and why we defend them “. ”

By directly connecting people, blockchains can guarantee certain freedoms that are often hidden when intermediaries are involved. If you think everyone has the right to an online platform, you probably disagree with Facebook’s decision to ban Trump – regardless of the circumstances.

“Social media companies don’t have a direct role in a democracy,” said Petty. “Social media companies are private companies that serve customers and their self-interest, although they use the word ‘social’ to describe them.”

Indeed, these prohibitions could be viewed as bold branding exercises. Trump has less than two weeks in office before a new president is sworn in and many prominent figures in Congress and elsewhere are calling for his immediate removal.

While the tough anti-censorship approach gives good answers to complicated questions, in practice it often encounters just as many difficult situations.

According to news reports and an investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that found that “white supremacists and neo-fascists” are using the DLive streaming platform owned by Justin Suns Tron, the blockchain-based platform will take steps today to Suspend and ban streamers who violate community rules.

“The DLive team is actively taking action against streamers who are part of or involved in the incident at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC [Jan. 6] including, but not limited to, account blocking, removal of previous broadcasts, freezing of your earnings, and the ability to withdraw. The donation and the subscriptions paid will be returned to the accounts from which they came, ”says a DLive press release.

On the other hand, DLive’s main selling point wasn’t its resistance to censorship, but its rewards program.

Who won #CryptoTwitter?

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