Bitcoin ETFs at the SEC Gate, MicroStrategy's BTC Pay + More News

Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Source: Adobe/Kristina Blokhin

Bitcoin news

  • The American financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will be obliged to decide whether to permit another bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), after it posted a document stating that it had received an application from WisdomTree. The firm, based in New York, launched its first conventional ETF products in June 2006, and has since gone on to become one of the biggest names in America’s ETF scene. The SEC is expected to pass its ruling on an ETF proposal from VanEck in the coming weeks, with the Delaware-based Kryptoin submitting another application to the SEC late last week. Also, digital asset-focused financial services firm Galaxy Digital has filed with the SEC for their own Bitcoin ETF.
  • The Board of Directors of US-based software developer MicroStrategy will be paid in bitcoin, CEO Michael Saylor announced. On April 11, 2021, the Board modified the compensation arrangements per which non-employee directors will receive all fees in bitcoin instead of cash, with the Board citing its commitment to BTC given its ability to serve as a store of value, "untethered to sovereign monetary policy," said the filing with the SEC. The amount of fees remains unchanged and will be nominally denominated in USD. At the time of payment, the fees will be converted from USD into BTC by the payment processor and then deposited into the digital wallet of the non-employee director.

Regulation news

  • Argentina’s Central Bank earlier this month ordered commercial banks in the nation to send them the names and personal data on clients they believe have had dealings with crypto. Per Infobae, the Central Bank wants banks to provide it with crypto traders’ home addresses, bank account numbers, and tax identification numbers. The banks were told in a letter, Infobae reported, that they must surrender data on individuals they think have conducted purchases, sales or carried out payments using tokens such as bitcoin by April 7 – Wednesday of last week.

CBDC news

  • The US President Joe Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials at the Treasury, State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council bolstering their efforts to understand the potential implications, concerned the move could kick off a bid to topple the USD as the world’s dominant reserve currency, reported Bloomberg, citing "people familiar with the matter." They are less worried about an immediate challenge to the current structure of the global financial system, but want to understand how the digital yuan will be distributed, and whether it could also be used to work around US sanctions. The officials are reassured that the latter isn't China’s intention, and the Biden administration isn’t currently planning to take any action to counter longer-term threats from China’s digital currency, said the report.

Mining news

  • BitRiver, a Russia-based crypto mining services provider, announced today the pre-sale of the BitRiver token (BTR), an ERC-20 utility token that represents one watt-hour of power in BitRiver’s colocation facility in Bratsk, Siberia, Russia. Near the end of five years from the date of the token’s public launch - which will be held on Bithumb Global on April 19 - BitRiver will offer to buy back the tokens and immediately “burn” them, said the press release.
  • Bitcoin miner manufacturer Canaan reported a net loss for 2020 of about USD 33m. Its 2020 net revenue amounted to about USD 68.6m, compared to USD 217.3m in 2019. Gross profit in this period is reported as USD 5.8m compared to USD 78.8m a year ago.

Privacy news

  • Electric Coin Co., the company behind the privacy-focused Zcash (ZEC) token, announced Halo Arc for Zcash, a product suite to launch "the next generation of Zcash." Halo removes the need for the trusted setup and upgrades the protocol’s underlying cryptography, the company said, adding that the planned release of Halo Arc is October 1, 2021, to coincide with the activation of Network Upgrade 5.

Investments news

  • ConsenSys-backed Virtue Poker, the multi-chain, Ethereum (ETH)-based decentralized poker platform licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, said it has completed a strategic investment round of USD 5m, and plans to use the funds to bootstrap Virtue Poker's mainnet launch, which is scheduled for May 2021.
  • Boson Protocol, the developer of a "capture resistant dCommerce ecosystem" using NFTs encoded with game theory, announced today that it has raised USD 25.8m in its public token sale, bringing the total funds raised by the company to USD 36m. The news follows Boson Protocol's recent USD 10m raise in private investment rounds.
  • A number of the chat app Telegram’s investors in the failed TON blockchain project have reportedly begun receiving refunds. Under the terms of an offer submitted to investors in an initial coin offering that raised some USD 1.7bn, token buyers were entitled to receive instant refunds of 72% of their initial stake in May last year or wait until this month and obtain 110% paybacks. Media outlet The Bell reported that two investors had told it that they had “already received money,” adding that “others have received letters stating that payments have begun.”

Career news

  • The issuer of the second-largest stablecoin, USD Coin (USD), Circle, said it appointed Dante Disparte as its Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy. He most recently served as Executive Vice President at Diem Association.

NFTs news

  • The Sandbox, a decentralized social metaverse platform and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, announced they have gained multiple partners from the non-fungible token (NFT), investment and music industries – including Nifty Gateway, 21x, Gemini, Gemini Frontier Fund, Galaxy Interactive, Bill Lee, Ken Howery, Chris Ye, and band Avenged Sevenfold - all of whom have joined by acquiring LAND NFTs in the open metaverse and committed to building experiences across the metaverse.