1. Market Wrap: Bitcoin Declines as Fed Projects Interest Rate Rise in 2023
The U.S. central bank also increased estimates of coming inflation to 3% from the 2.2% projection in March, largely due to transitory factors.
Cryptocurrencies were mostly lower on Wednesday despite a brief 3% jump in bitcoin after the U.S. Federal Reserve maintained accommodative monetary policy.
But the gains were short-lived as risk assets pulled back, with traders focusing on Fed officials’ revised projection for interest rate increases by the end of 2023 — sooner than what was anticipated in March.
Bitcoin (BTC) $38577.3, -2.71%
Ether (ETH) $2415.5, -4.05%
S&P 500: 4223.76, -0.54%
Gold: $1826.61, — 1.7%
10-year Treasury yield: 1.554%
The Fed also increased estimates of coming inflation to 3% from the 2.2% projection in March, largely due to transitory factors.
2. 2 Ethereum Projects Are Officially Merging; ‘Keanu’ Aims for August Launch
Keep and NuCypher have agreed to merge their protocols into a DAO. Coming soon: a more capital-efficient version of Keep’s bitcoin-on-Ethereum token, tBTC.
Two well-regarded protocols born out of the 2017–2018 initial coin offering era are officially merging. Simply put, Codename: KEANU is a go.
The two projects, Keep and NuCypher, realized they faced inevitable competition that would lead to wasted energy. In what might be called a true spirit of decentralized entrepreneurship, the two decentralized encryption communities decided to combine their underlying protocols so their respective startups could proceed with separate business plans using common blockchain infrastructure.
It’s as if the Hershey and Mars candy corporations merged their factories but kept their brands in independent companies.
3. SEC Again Delays VanEck Bitcoin ETF Decision
This is the second time the regulator has extended its review period of the VanEck bid by 45 days.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) keeps kicking the bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) can down the road.
In a Wednesday filing, the regulator once again delayed passing judgement on the VanEck Bitcoin Trust.
The SEC renders a decision on prospective applications within 45-day windows and can take up to 240 days to make a decision. This is the second time it has extended the review period on the VanEck bid.
The approval of a bitcoin ETF in the U.S. remains the crypto industry’s white whale.
4. Banks Edge Closer to Ethereum 2.0 Staking
Switzerland-based Sygnum Bank is helping institutional clients get staking rewards from the new Ethereum network. And they’re not alone.
Banks could one day be key participants in Ethereum 2.0.
It’s a trend that will soon garner as much attention as institutional interest in bitcoin, say firms like Blockdaemon and Bison Trails, which provide the infrastructure to make running a staking node on Ethereum 2.0 low risk and easy to deploy.
These hand-holding intermediaries in the staking arena have been surprised by the pipeline of large companies looking to get involved in Ethereum’s next-generation network.
The network’s proof-of-stake (PoS) overhaul provides rewards akin to interest, denominated in ether (ETH), at a time when yields in traditional savings vehicles remain paltry.
“There are some large banks we’re working with, but the regulatory sequencing is important to them and so unfortunately we can’t name them at this moment,” said Konstantin Richter, founder and CEO of Blockdaemon, which just closed a $28 million founding round that included Goldman Sachs.
Staking goes institutional
Unlike Bitcoin’s energy-intensive crypto mining system, which seems to be under continual attack from critics these days, the next generation of blockchain networks use PoS, where blocks of transactions are added to the chain by a consensus of individuals, each holding tokens on the network.
Staking validators earn a return for having their tokens locked up on the network, but can also lose some of their stake (known as slashing) if they do not behave consistently or as expected.
There are a number of PoS blockchains in operation today such as Polkadot, Cardano and Algorand, but the most eagerly awaited is the transition of Ethereum away from proof-of-work.
5. Federal Reserve Officials Raise 2021 Inflation Projection, Powell Addresses Asset Purchases
This was a significant increase from the 2.4% officials were predicting in March.
This was the “talking about talking about” tapering meeting, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a press conference Wednesday.
“I now suggest that we retire that term which … has served its purpose well, I think,” Powell said.
He spoke after Fed officials raised their inflation expectations and moved the year for interest rates to rise from 2024 to 2023, based on the “Summary of Economic Projections” (SEP) released Wednesday. For the time being, the Fed said it would keep interest rates near 0% and keep buying $120 billion in bonds a month.
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June 17, 2021