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Biden’s pick for CFTC chair wants the agency to be a ‘beat cop’ with the authority to oversee 60% of digital asset market

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Acting chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, Rostin Behnam has likened the government agency’s enforcement of the digital asset space to a beat cop on duty.

At an Oct. 27 hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry to assume his position on a permanent basis, Behnam said to chairperson Debbie Stabenow the CFTC has been “aggressively pursuing enforcement cases” in the crypto space for some time, including its $100 million case against crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX and the $42.5 million in fines it levied against Tether and Bitfinex. However, he asked that the committee consider expanding the authority of the CFTC given the emerging digital asset market.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Behnam. “As of yesterday, the total size of the digital asset market was $2.7 trillion. Among that $2.7 trillion, nearly 60% were commodities […] given the size, the scope, and the scale of this emerging market, how it’s interfacing and affecting retail customers, and with the scale of the growth being so rapid, potential financial stability risks in the future, I think it’s critically important to have a primary cop on on the beat.”

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Behnam also responded to a question from Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown on whether the CFTC would require “additional tools” to handle enforcement in the crypto space, saying the agency as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission would likely need “a regulatory structure for both securities and commodities.” Both groups in addition to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network currently handle digital asset regulation in the United States, but with different jurisdictional claims, resulting in a patchwork approach companies must navigate to legally operate.

“The markets and the market transactions that are taking place right now are a huge part of the risk that digital assets pose,” added Behnam.

There are currently only two commissioners serving at the CFTC out of the normal five since the departure of Dan Berkovitz earlier this month, Brian Quintenz in August, and former chair Heath Tarbert in January. Behnam — who has been serving as acting chair at the agency following Tarbert’s departure — is President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the CFTC. In addition, Biden has chosen Kristin Johnson and Christy Goldsmith Romero to fill two of the remaining three seats. All must be confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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Former Wall Street Banker Partners With Ethereum Competitor for New $1,500,000,000 Crypto Fund

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A former Citigroup executive is shaking up the crypto investment space with a $1.5 billion venture, partnering with a leading layer 1 altcoin project.

Hivemind Capital Partners is an investment firm founded by Matt Zhang, a 14-year Citigroup Inc veteran. In a press release, Zhang announces Hivemind’s mission to provide solutions to early blockchain entrepreneurs through the creation of a new “tailor-made crypto investment platform.”

“We believe blockchain technology is a paradigm shift, and we are still in the early innings. Our mission is to provide start-to-finish capital and infrastructure solutions to visionary entrepreneurs and category-defining crypto projects.

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The traditional asset management model is not designed to do this, which is why we are building a tailor-made crypto investment platform from the ground up that also offers the infrastructure institutional investors need for risk management, compliance and security.”

Hivemind is partnering with payments and decentralized finance (DeFi)-focused blockchain Algorand (ALGO) as a “strategic partner to provide technology capability and network ecosystem infrastructure.”

“We believe that Algorand is the preeminent blockchain protocol that allows institutional and corporate users to connect with the decentralized economy. With the explosive growth of the digital asset space, people tend to forget how early the crypto economy still is. We want to team up with partners who have the patience to build an enduring business.”

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However, Zhang notes that Hivemind is exploring partnerships with other layer 1 blockchains as the project progresses.

“We are also in active discussions to form partnerships with a number of other leading layer-1 networks. The goal is to build a multi-chain world to let our investors see the best opportunities across the entire crypto ecosystem.”

ALGO, trading at $1.82 at time of writing, is up nearly 12% on the day. The payments blockchain has interest from other large investors lately, including an endorsement from American financier Anthony Scaramucci last month.

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Crypto Markets Gain $130B in a Day as Bitcoin Reclaimed $57K (Market Watch)

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The cryptocurrency market cap is up by $130 billion in a day as bitcoin skyrocketed to above $58,000 in hours.

Following a few consecutive days of price slides, bitcoin finally bounced off by adding $4,000 of value. Most alternative coins are well in the green as well, with impressive daily increases from Ethereum, Solana, Polkadot, Terra, The Sandbox, and more.

Bitcoin Touched $58K

Ever since last Friday, when news broke about a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, the price of the primary cryptocurrency has been suffering. It went from a daily high of over $59,000 to a low of $53,500 in a matter of hours, resulting in nearly $1 billion in liquidations on a daily scale for leveraged traders.

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The weekend saw a brief recovery attempt, in which BTC exceeded $55,000, but it was short-lived as the bears intercepted the move. As a result, they pushed bitcoin south again, and the asset found itself around $53,500 once more just hours ago.

However, this is where the landscape changed. Instead of going further south, BTC started to reclaim ground and jumped by more than $4,000. Consequently, it touched $58,000, but it has retraced slightly now to just over $57,000.

Its market capitalization, which was close to breaking below $1 trillion yesterday, is now up to almost $1.1 trillion.

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Altcoins in Recovery Mode

The altcoins also went down hard as bitcoin was dumping. Ethereum dipped below $4,000, and even though it tried to surpass $4,100 during the weekend, it stayed below it for the most time. Now, though, a 7% daily increase has driven the second-largest cryptocurrency well above $4,300.

Binance Coin has reclaimed $610 after a 5% daily surge. Solana (8.5%), Cardano (6%), Ripple (6%), Polkadot (8.5%), Dogecoin (3.5%), Avalanche (4.5%), Shiba Inu (4.5%), and Terra (6.5%) are all well in the green as well.

More gains come from The Sandbox (22%), Zilliqa (17%), Gala (17%), Stacks (14%), KuCoin Token (14%), WAX (14%), PancakeSwap (13%), Enjin Coin (12%), and more.

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The cryptocurrency market cap is up by more than $130 billion in a day and has exceeded $2.7 trillion on CoinGecko.

Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto
Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto

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Indian Crypto Unicorn CoinDCX to Go Public Pending Regulatory Clarity

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CoinDCX might join Coinbase and become a publicly-traded company once the Indian lawmakers greenlight the initiative.

CoinDCX – one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in India – eyes an initial public offering (IPO) in the near future. The “precise timeline” will depend on the upcoming government regulations.

Following The Steps of Coinbase

Neeraj Khandelwal – Co-Founder of CoinDCX – revealed the news in a recent interview with Bloomberg. He asserted that his company will pursue an initial public offering “as soon as” it receives the green light from the government. According to him, the initiative will strengthen the local cryptocurrency industry and bring more confidence in the markets:

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“As soon as the government or the situations allow us, we will try for an IPO. An IPO gives legitimacy to the industry, just like the Coinbase IPO gave a lot of confidence in the crypto markets. Similarly, we want to install a similar level of confidence with an IPO of CoinDCX.”

Speaking of Coinbase, it is worth noting that in April, it became the first major digital asset exchange to have its shares publicly traded. The debut price of its shares started at $381, while at the moment of writing these lines, it is hovering around $300.

CoinDCX intentions come at a critical time since the future of digital assets in India seems somewhat uncertain. Last week, the government announced plans to impose a China-style ban on the industry and thus “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India.”

The proposed bill received severe backlash from the community as many locals favor bitcoin and the altcoins. Reuters showed that India has around 15 to 20 million cryptocurrency investors who have allocated nearly $5.4 billion of their wealth in the market. As such, many experts started doubting that the second-most populated country would implement such severe restrictions.

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Avinash Shekhar – Chief Executive Officer at Zebpay – predicted that lawmakers are more likely to impose strict rules on digital assets than a total ban. According to Khandelwal, that would be the right decision. It will also indicate “acknowledgment from the government side of the growing investor base for crypto.”

In the Footsteps of Others

Aside from Coinbase, another cryptocurrency company that recently became public was Bakkt. ICE’s Bitcoin exchange went in another direction via a merger with a SPAC, and the total valuation was just over $2 billion.

Shortly after, the Bakkt shares skyrocketed by triple-digit percentage following impressive partnerships with Mastercard and Fiserv.

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