1. Market Wrap: Sentiment Away From Risk Sends Bitcoin Toward $30K
Bitcoin is at risk of breaking its $30K support level.
Bitcoin traded lower on Monday, mirroring declines in traditional markets as investors pull away from risky assets because of concerns about weaker monetary and fiscal stimulus and rising COVID-19 cases, including those caused by the Delta variant.
Bitcoin was trading at around $30,600 at press time and is down about 3% over the past 24 hours. The world’s largest cryptocurrency is up about 4% year to date, compared with a roughly 12% return for the S&P 500 Index.
Bitcoin (BTC) $30755.8, -2.78%
Ether (ETH) $1825.6, -3.96%
S&P 500: 4258.7, -1.58%
Gold: $1811, -0.05%
10-year Treasury yield closed at 1.2%, compared with 1.294% on Friday
Macro and regulatory headwinds
Regulatory scrutiny regarding stablecoins is also weighing on cryptocurrencies. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued a white paper on Friday outlining initial research for the nation’s digital currency project, which appears to challenge existing cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
2. Presidential Advisory Group Promises Stablecoin Recommendations
The Treasury Department didn’t lay out a timeline for when it will publish its recommendations on stablecoin regulation.
The President’s Working Group for Financial Markets, a presidential advisory group, plans to issue recommendations about stablecoin regulations within the next few months, it announced Monday.
According to a readout published by the U.S. Treasury Department, the highly anticipated meeting examined stablecoin growth, use cases and possible threats. The meeting was first announced on Friday, capping off a recent rise in attention on stablecoins and their role in the cryptocurrency economy.
“The group also heard a presentation from Treasury staff on the preparation of a report on stablecoins, which would discuss their potential benefits and risks, the current U.S. regulatory framework, and the development of recommendations for addressing any regulatory gaps,” the readout said.
3. US Senators Ask Team USA to Boycott China’s Digital Yuan at 2022 Olympics
“We cannot allow America’s athletes to be used as a trojan horse to increase the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to spy on the United States,” said Senator Cynthia Lummis.
Three Senators are calling on the U.S. national team to effectively boycott China’s digital currency at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Athletes should be forbidden from “receiving or using digital yuan during the Beijing Olympics,” Republicans Marsha Blackburn, Cynthia Lummis and Roger Wicker said in a Monday letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee leadership, citing privacy concerns.
“We cannot allow America’s athletes to be used as a trojan horse to increase the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to spy on the United States,” Lummis told us.
The boycott call amounts to an early salvo in the digital currency arms race, and a poignant one, given its proximity to the 2020 summer games. Tokyo’s year-delayed event is set to begin later this week.
China, which in February 2022 will host the winter games, is in the midst of debuting its e-CNY digital currency, by far the most advanced central bank digital currency (CBDC) project in the world. Last week the People’s Bank of China confirmed travelers will be allowed to open digital wallets while visiting the country.
4. Ripple Cites SEC Commissioners’ Remarks to Support Dismissal of Case
Lawyers for Brad Garlinghouse and Christian Larsen highlighted the commissioners’ criticism of an unrelated settlement that cited uncertainty about which tokens are considered securities.
Ripple lawyers submitted a supplemental letter Monday to support their request for dismissal of an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission case against them.
The document notes a July 14 statement by SEC commissioners Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman opposing the agency’s enforcement action against Blotics, the operator of the once-popular cryptocurrency website Coinschedule.
The lawyers representing Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder Chris Larsen highlighted the commissioners’ criticism that the enforcement action against Coinschedule did not pinpoint which tokens the site promoted were securities, as well as wider uncertainty about how tokens are defined.
“The Public Statement confirms the Individual Defendants’ arguments that there was (and remains) significant regulatory uncertainty regarding when digital assets may be classified as securities by the SEC,” the Ripple lawyers wrote in their filing.
The lawyers added: “The SEC’s aiding and abetting claim requires that ‘it show that the Individual Defendants knew or recklessly disregarded that Ripple’s offerings and sales of XRP required registration as securities and that those transactions were improper.’”
5. Everything Moves Fast in DeFi, Even Political Action
The controversial DeFi Education Fund will pay off for the whole industry.
In a few years’ time, the crypto world is going to look back on the DeFi Education Fund as money well spent.
Last week, controversy broke out when the new advocacy group sold about $10 million in UNI (-5.83%) tokens for USDC (-0.01%) so that it would have ready cash to get off the ground. The news was cast in a particularly bad light when one member of the organization’s new governing committee made a sale of UNI right around the same time the trade was going through.
I have it on pretty good authority that while it might be bad optically (it definitely was bad optically), it was a harmless trade. Time will tell, I suppose, but even if it was a malicious trade, that doesn’t mean the DeFi Education Fund (DEF) isn’t a good idea at its core.
The Defiant did a solid job reporting on why people felt weird about this vote. Uniswap governance, it should be noted, makes it particularly hard to get anything passed. This was only the fifth measure to rally enough tokens for a final vote and just the third successful measure since Uniswap introduced decentralized governance in September.
The proposal to create DEF passed largely with the support of very big UNI holders, deep-pocketed investors. It didn’t feel grassroots.
But let’s be honest about the core reason folks hated this grant: No one likes a big sale on a token they are holding. Investors in crypto have an especially short-term view of their favorite assets, probably because news and trades have a way of hitting their charts so fast and hard. Big sales are betrayals.
And the asset price was down 25% from the start of the week on Friday, but still up 100% from the start of the year. I know it hurt. No one likes a pinch in the smart wallet, but the objections are, in my mind, a bit myopic.
Decentralized finance is an industry that threatens the massive money spigots that run the whole world. Its potential to shake up how value moves globally is too big; folks can only guess at how far it might go, even its builders.
This is becoming disconcerting to the powers that be. They aren’t going to bother with learning how blockchains work to try to build competing technologies. No, the powers that be, both the state and the financial industry, will use the levers of power they know well: the law and regulations. And, of course, the law is built upon the state’s martial power.
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July 20, 2021