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Ethereum ETF Price War, New Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Ad + More News

Ethereum ETF Price War, New Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Ad + More News 101
A screenshot of the new Grayscale ad. Source: A video screenshot, Youtube/Grayscale Investments

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

Investing news

  • Evolve Funds Group is waiving the 0.75% management fee on its upcoming Ether ETF, ticker ETHR, until May 31, Bloomberg reported, citing the company. That will make it cheaper than two competing products from Purpose Investments and CI Global Asset Management, it added. The price war in ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is starting even before the ETFs start trading. "Asset managers want to gather assets quickly to ensure there is sufficient liquidity as larger potential investors consider the fund," the report said, citing Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF research for CFRA Research.

Adoption news

  • Some Cuban government officials have suggested using cryptoassets as part of an effort to alleviate the country’s economic crisis as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and Washington-led sanctions continue to bite. According to Directorio Cubano, a group of Cuban Communist Party decision-makers appears keen to follow Venezuela’s lead, with Cuba’s South American ally embracing both global crypto projects and its own state-owned petro (PTR) token. A proposal put forward at a meeting of the party suggested “studying” the use “of cryptocurrencies in the economy” at a session slated for April 19.
  • Time said it will begin accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for digital subscriptions through a new partnership with Crypto.com. This option is only available in the US and Canada, with global access to roll out in the next several months, they added.
  • US-based major crypto investing company Grayscale Investments launched its new ad campaign today (see their previous commercial here):

Exchanges news

  • Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has granted the Tokyo-based firm Coinbook a crypto exchange operating permit, per an official FSA announcement. The permit is only the third issued so far this year, and the new platform will initially offer trading pairs in bitcoin (BTC), ETH, and XRP. However, Coinbook is keen to expand further into the non-fungible token (NFT) sector – and as previously reported is the firm behind an ongoing series of NFTs being released in partnership with the popular all-female J-pop group SKE48.
  • OKEx launched Bitcoin Lightning Network on the OKEx website, with mobile to follow. OKEx users are now able to use the Lightning Network for both BTC deposits and withdrawals, said the emailed announcement. The company estimates that integrating a layer-2 protocol allows an instant, off-chain transaction on the blockchain, and it will "dramatically" decrease transaction fees and times, improving user experience on the exchange.
  • Swiss securities firm Taurus SA received a securities firm license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to operate the first independent regulated marketplace for digital assets in the world, said the announcement. Starting May 10, 2021, market players will be able to use TDX, while securities issued by numerous companies and issuers, starting with Audacia Holding, will be admitted for trading.
  • Coinbase insiders and investors sold about USD 5bn in shares in total during the exchange’s first day of trading on the Nasdaq, according to filings made Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Among others, CEO Brian Armstrong sold 749,999 shares in three batches at prices ranging from USD 381 to USD 410.40 for total proceeds of USD 291.8m, while Coinbase director and venture capitalist Frederick Wilson sold 4.7m shares for proceeds of USD 1.82bn.

Stablecoin news

  • The most popular stablecoin, tether (USDT), went on Hermez Network (HEZ), a decentralised zero-knowledge rollup (zk-rollup), the issuer of the stablecoin, Tether, said. USDT is among the first stablecoins to go live on Hermez’s Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution, designed to improve scalability by rolling multiple transfers into a single transaction, thus providing cheaper transactions, they added.

NFTs news

  • Dapper Labs, the NFT development platform behind popular marketplace NBA Top Shot, is raising money at a USD 7.5bn valuation in a round led by investment firm Coatue Management, according to The Information. The round has not finished, and the final valuation could increase if more investors get involved, the report added.
  • Entrepreneur Mark Cuban through his VC entity Radical Investments made an unspecified strategic investment into CryptoSlam, an aggregator of NFT collectible data from the Ethereum, WAX, and FLOW blockchains. Additional investment was received from strategic partners Aloomii Inc., Troon Technologies, and GeoAds LLC to complete this initial round of funding, said the announcement. Since the launch of the aggregator's first version in early 2019, CryptoSlam has started tracking over fifty different NFT projects from the three blockchains, including NBA Top Shot.

M&A news

  • Crypto-focused investment and research firm Arcane has entered into an agreement to increase its ownership in ITOAM (IT), the owner of the Bitcoin Lightning Network-based trading platform LN Markets, from current 7% to 16%, by a cash investment of EUR 1.5m (USD 1.8m). Despite trading on LN Markets only launching in March 2020, said the announcement, they have already seen "impressive" growth: gross trading volume (gross derivative exposure) was USD 5m, USD 5m, USD 18m, and USD 76m in Q2 2020, Q3 2020, Q4 2020, and Q1 2021, respectively. In addition to the founders of LN Markets, Fulgur Ventures and crypto exchange Bitfinex are also shareholders in LN Markets.

Mining news

  • US-based bitcoin mining and blockchain technology company Blockcap announced that it mined a total of BTC 544 during the first quarter of this year. Since its founding last year, Blockcap has mined more than BTC 1,600. With approximately 12,176 fully deployed and operational machines, the company currently mines more than BTC 6 per day, and it expects to have 43,000 total mining machines fully deployed and operating next year.

Crime news

  • Crypto fraud reports are up by over 41% in South Korea year-on-year, per figures released by the regulatory Financial Supervisory Service, Asia Kyungjae reported. The regulator has promised to step up its efforts to clamp down on fraud in the sector, with aid from the police. Meanwhile, Yonhap reported that a crypto fraudster named by the courts only as Lee (his surname) was given a six-year jail term after he was found guilty of duping 1,300 people out of just under USD 16m worth of crypto and fiat. Two accomplices were also found guilty and handed 18-month and eight-month sentences. The court heard that the scam involved multi-level marketing methods.

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