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Crypto Exchange

Powell Diary: Fed Chairman Meets Coinbase CEO, What to Expect Ahead?

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  • Powell’s meeting with Brian Armstrong suggests that financial regulators are slowly warming up to the emerging crypto space.
  • Amid China’s crackdown on crypto, America can take this opportunity to be the central hub for the global crypto landscape.
The U.S. crypto landscape is set to see a major development, and possibly for the good. As per the recently released central bank records, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell met Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, on May 11, 2021.

Powell’s meeting comes in wake of a high surge in crypto trading activities this year. With digital currencies hitting multi-year highs, regulatory bodies and central governments have become active in their scrutiny of the crypto market.

Powell’s meeting happened just days before the U.S. central bank announced that it plans to introduce its discussion paper on Digital Dollar. As per the central bank diary, Powell’s meeting with Armstrong was short and lasted 30 minutes. Coinbase is one of the biggest global crypto exchanges which went for a Nasdaq listing ahead in April 2021.

Post his meeting with Coinbase CEO, the Fed Chairman also met crypto advocate and former CFTC chairman Christopher Giancarlo, a day later.

This is certainly a positive development and must be seen as an attempt to bridge the gap between the traditional world of finance and the emerging crypto space. On May 20, 2021, Powell released a statement noting:

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“We are committed at the Federal Reserve to hearing a wide range of voices on this important issue before making any decision on whether and how to move forward with a U.S. CBDC”.

Around the same time, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also announced that the meeting was positive. In a series of tweets, Armstrong wrote: “The politicians and agency heads I met with were all thoughtful and committed individuals, and I was happy to have our teams connected, and new friendships formed”.

What To Expect Ahead?

  • Powell knows well about the accelerated development of the Digital Yuan by the Chinese central bank PBoC. Thus, Fed Chairman will be working to maintain the stronghold of USD in the international market. Powell said that the Fed will play “a leading role” in setting up international standards for CBDC.
  • Amid the economic downturn, Latin American nations like El Salvador have made Bitcoin legal tender in the country along with the USD. This puts Bitcoin in direct competition with the USD. As a result, the Fed might likely accelerate the Digital Dollar development ahead.
  • The meeting suggests that financial regulators are willing to work with crypto players to establish clear rules for the industry.
  • Amid the China crackdown on Bitcoin miners, a lot of them have moved base to the U.S. This is a good opportunity for America to consolidate its power of driving the Bitcoin hashrate.
  • America could possibly work out a crypto + CBDC mechanism that counter China’s growing dominance in the global economy.

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Crypto Exchange

Genesis tests end-of-day pricing for institutional crypto futures product

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Cryptocurrency brokerage firm Genesis Global Capital has announced the completion of a first-of-a-kind trade that will pave the way for new institutional crypto futures products.

Genesis has executed the first-ever over-the-counter (OTC) block trade of a Basis Trade at Index Close (BTIC) transaction using Bitcoin futures contracts issued b Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). The trade was made in collaboration with derivatives market maker Akuna Capital according to a Sept. 26 announcement.

This is the first time a BTIC has been used for cryptocurrencies as it is more commonly used in equities markets. This form of trading allows investors to buy and sell futures contracts with prices based on the end-of-day close of the index.

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CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products, Tim McCourt, said that the product was the next step in offering greater exposure to CME’s Bitcoin derivatives and Ethereum futures, with the Ether contracts having launched in February. He elaborated on the advantages of this new trading vehicle, explaining:

“BTIC enables market participants to more efficiently trade the basis while providing a regulated marketplace for real-time price discovery and enhanced trading precision for institutional participants who want to optimize holdings between the futures and spot markets.”

Genesis provides liquidity to CME Group for its BTC and ETH futures and options products.

In May, the CME launched micro Bitcoin futures which are contracts worth 0.1 BTC. The offering was designed to allow institutional traders to hedge their risks to crypto assets.

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By the end of June, the product had surpassed a million traded contracts suggesting that there is a high demand for smaller positions in crypto among institutional investors still testing the waters. This latest product is another example of diversifying the options for well-heeled investors to gain exposure to crypto markets.

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Crypto Exchange

Huobi outlines plan for Chinese investors after halting crypto trading

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The uncertainties sparked by China’s blanket ban on crypto trading have taken a downturn as homegrown crypto exchanges such as Huobi take proactive measures to protect and return existing investments residing on the mainland. 

Speaking to Cointelegraph in this regard, Du Jun, co-founder of Huobi Group, said that the crypto exchange wants to ensure the safety of the users’ assets as part of its social responsibility:

“Customers will be able to transfer their assets to other exchanges or wallets over the next few months. Specific measures and operating rules will be outlined in future announcements.”

Citing a possibility of a communication gap with Chinese investors amid the ban, the crypto exchange is also working on other ways to protect customer assets until the users can move them to offshore exchanges or wallets.

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Chinese investors amounted to more than 30% in terms of trading volumes prior to the crypto ban, but as Jun suggests, Huobi has seen increased adoption in the Southeast Asian and European markets. However, the exchange expects that “any short-term impact on Huobi revenues will be mitigated as our global business continues to grow.”

While observing the ban on crypto trades and mining as imposed by the People’s Bank of China and other Chinese regulatory authorities, Jun plans to double down on Huobi’s compliance efforts and continue to build compliant operations on a global scale.

Crypto exchanges in mainland China, including Huobi, began stopping new customer registrations soon after a new crypto ban became effective on Friday. Huobi later announced that all Chinese accounts from the mainland will have been closed down by 24:00 UTC+8 on Dec. 31, 2021. 

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Historically, China has been responsible for the lion’s share of Bitcoin (BTC) mining. Given the lack of support from the ruling government, Chinese miners have continued to move off-shore into crypto-friendly jurisdictions.

According to a recent Cointelegraph report, the latest ban marks the Chinese regulators’ 19th attempt to curb Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in the past 12 years. While the decision to ban crypto trades in China caused a few unwary investors to momentarily panic-sell, Bitcoin’s price continues to show bullish signals, given the proactive support from crypto exchanges and users across the globe.

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Binance

Binance Suspends Spot Trading and Fiat Channels in Singapore

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Binance.com, the global cryptocurrency exchange platfrom announced the suspension of spot trading, fiat purchase channels, liquid swap, and fiat deposit functions. The suspension would come into effect from 26th October. The exchange also requested Singapore users to withdraw their tokens and cease their trades by the effective date. The exchange in its official press release said,

“As the market leader, Binance constantly evaluates its product and service offerings. We will be restricting Singapore users in respect of the Regulated Payments Services in-line with our commitment to compliance. Users in Singapore are advised to cease all related trades, withdraw fiat assets and redeem tokens by Wednesday, 2021-10-26 04:00 AM UTC (12:00 PM UTC+8) to avoid potential trading disputes.”

Binance’s trouble in Singapore began after the Securities Commission in the country put Binance.com under Investor Alert List. In the wake of the first regulatory action, Binance ceased certain product offerings in the country before suspending key crypto trading features altogether. It is also important to note that Binance’s Sister company in Singapore has applied for a regulatory license and has been granted an exception until a decision is made on its filing despite the global platform facing regulatory scrutiny.

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Binance Continue to Face Regulatory Setbacks

Singapore was considered to be the next home for Binance after facing regulatory scrutiny from nearly a dozen countries. However, the recent series of events suggest Singapore regulators are also going after the global exchange despite harbouring its sister company. The world’s leading exchange’s regulatory troubles seem to meet no end as more countries continue to enforce action against it.

The crypto exchange has taken several decisions to mend its ways with regulators over the past couple of months, right from suspending derivative offerings in several countries to on-boarding regulatory experts. However, that hasn’t changed much, now the crypto exchange plans to establish a centralized headquarters and also looking for a change of CEOs if that can help.

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