Goldman Sachs Wants To Go Digital, New SEC Chair + More News
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US-based investment giant Goldman Sachs plans to build a digital bank but, at the moment, it is not focused on providing a crypto wallet, Bloomberg's Sonali Basak reported, citing CEO David Solomon. Last week, he told CNBC that the bank continues "to find ways" to support their clients who want to be involved in the crypto space, despite "there are significant regulatory restrictions."
- The US Senate confirmed former derivative markets regulator Gary Gensler, who is considered to be pro-crypto and blockchain-savvy, as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Reuters reported, adding that Gensler is expected to be sworn in in the coming days. In March, Gensler said that insuring that cryptocurrency markets are free of fraud and manipulation is a challenge for the commission.
- International investment giant WisdomTree, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) and exchange-traded product (ETP) sponsor, has announced that its physically-backed Bitcoin ETP has listed on Germany’s Börse Xetra. It follows approval from the Swedish regulator to distribute this ETP across the European Union.
- Crypto wallet provider Exodus said it has raised more than USD 59m between April 8 and April 12 from over 4,000 investors in its regulated public crypto offering. Approximately 92% of investment commitments received have come from non-accredited investors. The sale will remain open until the maximum offering amount of USD 75m has been reached, they added.
- The Stacks Foundation launched their Stacks Accelerator, a mentorship-driven program backed by Hiro Systems, Daemon Technologies, and Freehold, which will invest in early stage startups building on Bitcoin (BTC) via the Stacks (STX) blockchain. It will last for three months, May through July. The accelerator has raised an initial fund of USD 4m to support over 100 early-stage startup teams, they said. The program extends up to USD 50,000 in funding to participating ventures, with additional funding and mentorship for startups continuing indefinitely thereafter.
- Enso Finance, a strategy-creation platform working to enable composable and permissionless trading strategies, said it has raised USD 5m in its private fundraising round, co-led by Polychain Capital and Dfinity Beacon Fund, with participation from Multicoin Capital, P2P Capital, Spartan Group, Zola Global, and The LAO, alongside other investors. The money will be used to fund platform development, community expansion, and a mainnet launch in Q2 2021, the platform said.
- The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it received 8,221 replies to their public consultation on a digital euro, mostly from citizens and the rest from businesses and professionals in the payments sector. Per the report:
- privacy is considered the most important feature of a digital euro, while it should also be secure, cheap and easy to use throughout the euro area;
- licensed intermediaries should play a role in the provision of digital euro services by both citizens and professionals, as they would be best suited to provide innovative and efficient services, integrating them into existing banking and payment systems;
- all currently available hardware and software solutions could be adapted to use a digital euro and make payments similar to cash transactions, so long as they continue to do so safely and securely.
These findings will provide important input for the Governing Council’s decision in mid-2021 about "whether to launch a digital euro project to formally investigate its possible design and use."
- More parts of China have been added to the country’s fast-expanding digital yuan pilot. Per Xinhua, the government and the central People’s Bank of China (PBoC) have repeated claims that “no official date has yet been set” for the digital CNY’s official debut, although Beijing has previously stated that it is hoping to have the launch completed by the start of the Winter Olympics in February next year. The pilot currently extends to Shenzhen, Suzhou, the Xiong’an New District, Chengdu, and Winter Olympics venues in the capital. By October 2020, the PBoC will also add Shanghai and Hainan to the pilot, as well as Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, and Dalian.
- The South Korean gaming regulator will have to justify its refusal last year to issue age certification to a blockchain-powered game from the developer SkyPeople in court. The regulator has taken exception to the fact that the title makes use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the move effectively blocked the game’s release in the nation. However, the game maker is refusing to let the matter lie and is now preparing to appeal the verdict. Per iNews24, the regulatory Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) has claimed that NFTs used in the game “could encourage speculation.” But SkyPeople has now employed the services of one of the nation’s biggest legal firms – Kim&Chang – in a bid to overturn the GRAC ruling.
- The Japanese crypto exchange BitBank has posted a new record for the collective amount of customer assets it has under its custody, reported Hedge Guide. The trading platform had some USD 2.66bn worth of tokens in customer wallets as of April 7, per data compiled by the self-regulating exchanges body, the Japan Cryptoasset Trading Association. And it appears that BitBank customers are altcoin fans – 55% of the total was made up of coins other than bitcoin.
- English Premier League football club Southampton FC said it has renewed their partnership with the Coingaming Group as Main Club Partner for another three years, with their brand, Bitcoin sports betting firm Sportsbet.io, continuing as the club’s front-of-shirt sponsor. The deal is the biggest sponsorship agreement in the club’s history and also includes the option for the club to be paid certain performance-based bonuses in BTC at the end of each season.
(Updated at 18:33 UTC: a paragraph about the new SEC chairman has been added.)