The incoming SEC chairman Gary Gensler clearly stated that both Ethereum and XRP were non-compliant securities

In a recent seminar with Court Judge Sarah Netburn, Dugan Bliss, a senior adjudicator at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, argued that the agency has not yet made a formal position on the regulatory status of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin looks more certain, however, the status of ETH is being disputed as is the case with XRP.

Ethereum could still be classified as a security

Bliss stated:

“So I want to make clear that this is my understanding of the current situation and I don’t want to be overly technical, but the SEC, itself, my understanding, it has not taken an official position. There is no action that it took to say Bitcoin is not a security, Ether is not a security.”

While former SEC chairman Jay Clayton has repeatedly stated that Bitcoin is not a security, there is less regulatory certainty over Ethereum.

Bill Hinman, former head of the SEC’s Corporate Finance Division, issued a statement of approval on the sale of Ether and non-securities offers just months before the end of his term in 2018.

Bliss stated that Hinman’s speech does not necessarily reflect the regulator’s stance on Ethereum:

“Now, there was a speech by a high-ranking person who said that to him that’s what it looked like but there has been no action letter, no enforcement action, none of the official ways in which the SEC takes a position on that matter that has occurred.”

However, the upcoming SEC chairman Gary Gensler has made it clear that both Ether and XRP are non-compliant securities in an interview with the New York Times:

“There is a strong case for both of them — but particularly Ripple — that they are non-compliant securities.”

Notably, Gensler confirmed that he sees Bitcoin as a commodity during his recent congressional hearing:

“So I think at the SEC it’s really to the extent somebody is offering an investment contract and security that’s under the SEC’s remit and exchanges that operate there. […] If not, it’s a commodity as Bitcoin has been deemed.”

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum pre-mined a significant portion of the money prior to holding the initial coin offering (ICO).

Hong Kong-based app-maker Meitu bought another 175 BTC to reach the $100 million in its Cryptocurrency Investment Plan
hong-kong-based-app-maker-meitu-bought-another-100-million-in-btc-and-eth-to-its-treasury

According to the announcement today, the beauty application Meitu purchased another 175 BTC to reach the $100 million mark it set for itself in its Cryptocurrency Investment Plan.

Meitu buys another $10 million in Bitcoin

Therefore, the goal to invest $100 million in the cryptocurrency of Meitu has been achieved. The plan called for Meitu to add $100 million in BTC and ETH to its treasury, both as an investment and preparation for future initiatives. Meitu intends to use some of the ETH to launch decentralized apps in the future.

The publicly traded firm first acquired $40 million in BTC and ETH in early March of this year, when it unveiled its intention to make further purchases. A week later, it purchased another $49 million. Today’s announcement is the final $10 million of the acquisition.

In total, Meitu holds 31,000 ETH (valued at $50.5 million) and 940 BTC (valued at $49.5 million).

Coinbase disclosed in late March that its institutional business facilitated the past purchases, a service it has provided for other public companies such as Tesla. It’s unclear if the latest purchases were also handled by Coinbase.

Meitu is one of the first China-based publicly listed companies to add crypto to their treasury. Other tech firms like Square, Tesla, and MicroStrategy made headlines in the past year for making similar acquisitions.

USD 3 Trillion Corporation State Street Goes Crypto
USD 3 Trillion Corporation State Street Goes Crypto 101
Source: Adobe/Lubo Ivanko

US-based financial giant State Street aims to enter the crypto trading market in the middle of this year.

State Street’s trading platform Currenex, that was reportedly put for sale last year, partnered with London-based Puremarkets Ltd (Pure Digital) in order to develop a wholesale, multi-custodial digital currency trading platform, Puremarkets said today, adding that the partners “intend to further explore the digital currency trading space.”

“Pure Digital will be a fully automated, high throughput [over-the-counter] market for digital assets and cryptocurrencies with physical delivery and bank custody,” the company said.

According to them, institutional participants will trade on the platform utilizing bilateral credit enabling efficient capital utilization and control for all trading participants.

“The Pure Digital trading platform will be the first of its kind, offering a wholesale interbank market for Tier 1 investment banks to trade bitcoin and other digital assets. Pure Digital is in discussions with several other Tier 1 investment banks to use the platform, which will provide a high throughput OTC market for digital assets and cryptocurrencies with physical delivery and bank custody,” Norway’s digital asset-focused company Arcane Cryptosaid in a separate announcement. They indirectly own a 37.5% stake in Puremarkets.

At the end of 2020, State Street had USD 3.47trn in assets under management or 11% more than a year ago. However, their revenue dropped by 4%, to 2.9bn, and net income decreased by 5%, to USD 537m.

“While State Street rose to the challenges in 2020, we are laser-focused on fee revenue growth and expense management to continue to make progress in 2021 towards our medium-term targets. We are confident in the trajectory of our business and will continue to drive innovation, automation and productivity to achieve these goals,” Ron O’Hanley, Chairman and CEO of State Street, said.

This Spanish AR NFT Campaign Will Give You Pokémon Go Flashbacks
This Spanish AR NFT Campaign Will Give You Pokémon Go Flashbacks 101
Source: Adobe/Savvapanf Photo ©

If you thought you’d read all there was to possibly read about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), think again, because a Spanish platform giving out hundreds of USD worth of crypto to Pokémon Go-style augmented reality (AR) hunters – as part of a plan to sell NFTs.

Per La Voz de Galicia, residents of Viga, a city on the northwest coast of Spain, the project is part of a promotional campaign from a firm named OVR, which calls itself an “open-source, decentralized augmented reality platform.”

To drum up interest in the token, the media outlet reports, the firm has placed NFT “treasure chests” containing varying amounts of its Ethereum blockchain-based OVR tokens at strategic points of the city. Would-be participants are obliged to make use of a designated app, and must also connect via their social media profiles.

And just as was the case with Pokémon Go around a decade ago, “treasure hunters” armed with the OVR app on their smartphones can roam around the city in pursuit of the chests.

A local blockchain business leader named Antonino Comesaña was quoted as stating,

“I went hunting with my six-year-old son. We found chests full of 100 tokens and we made two or three dollars a day. But the price has risen and we managed to get up to […] USD 475 euros one morning. I have given them to my son so he can save them.”

“Veteran” hunters, however “only get one award per day” as “they want to encourage new people to play to promote the use of their cryptocurrency,” Comesaña added.

But it appears that gaining attention for the token is not OVR’s only goal. The media outlet added that the app divides the city up into 22 quadrants, and offers advertisers the chance to place AR ads at points around the city, in a further bid to catch treasure hunters’ eyes. This, it said, can be done by buying OVR-issued NFTs.

One advertiser paid “between and USD 1,783 and USD 4,753 for 22 AR NFT “billboards” at and around the 29,000-capacity Balaídos Stadium, the home of Celta Vigo, the city’s La Liga football club. Other popular spots for treasure hunters include the Alameda de Bouzas park, the Príncipe commercial district and the Vigo Maritime Station.

Atari Ventures Into NFTs, Blockchain To Boost Its Revenues
Atari Ventures Into NFTs, Blockchain To Boost Its Revenues 101
Source: A screenshot, Instagram/atari

Legendary video game maker Atari has announced it is launching a blockchain division and exploring new opportunities in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), among others. The company plans to use blockchain technology to develop games and a cryptocurrency that players could spend on virtual items.

Most recently, Atari made ETH 47.582 (USD 95,000) through an auction of NFTs that are 3D models of the Centipede game cartridge once offered for the company’s Atari 2600 console. The Atari Capsule Collection was created in partnership with blockchain gaming business Animoca Brands and its digital collectibles offshoot Quidd.

Atari said in a statement it has seen “a tremendous amount of success in licensing the Atari-related brands for the use in NFTs” and it anticipates the trend will play an increasing role in its licensing strategy in the upcoming years.

With this in mind, all Atari products and services related to the blockchain business will be grouped into the division “to focus on the immense possibilities of crypto and blockchain-enabled games,” the company said. The company is also opening a second division, Atari Gaming.

Atari rose to prominence on the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, securing popularity among gamers with titles such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Asteroids, and Missile Command, among others. The so-called video game crash of 1983 triggered the sale of the company’s home console and computer divisions. However, after years of financial woes, the last years have allowed Atari to benefit from the video game nostalgia which brought some of its retro properties back into the spotlight.

“The Atari brand is alive, more than ever, and this organization in two divisions will help us adapt to the changes in our business line,” said Frédéric Chesnais, CEO and a major shareholder in Atari.

Tech has dominated the economy – but the real world is about to strike back

Even money itself has gone digital. Only about 3% of money globally is now in physical form. Bitcoin is now (measured by market cap, at least), the 13th largest currency in the world. It didn’t exist 15 years ago.

The key to this rapid growth is scalability. A digital product can be endlessly and instantly copied. I can design a fantastic app once, upload it to the app store once, and it can be downloaded a million or a billion times. If Google can get some new groovy feature in its search engine, then once implemented it’s almost infinitely scalable.

But let’s say I design a fantastic washing machine. It takes much longer to get this washing machine to the world – the fabrication and distribution are all tricky, but perhaps most difficult is the burden of regulation in the physical economy, particularly as it attempts to cross the national borders.

By contrast, the economy of the internet is (almost) borderless. The digital space, or certainly the areas where the innovation is, is largely unregulated – how do you regulate something that hasn’t been invented? So digital escapes the ties of regulation that curb the growth of the tangible.

Then, because of the extraordinary speed of growth in digital, there is the potential for investors to make far quicker returns on their investment. And so the digital economy attracts the most capital, the most talent and so on.

With this in mind, let us turn our attention to metals.

The physical world is treacherous and time-consuming

You don’t get much more tangible than metal. Mining is in many ways the most analogue industry there is; it is the very opposite of the dynamic digital world. A geologist is studying rock formations that took thousands of years to take shape, and will take decades to mine.

Weekly Roundup: Bitcoin Miners Make Over $1.5 Billion in March

Jack Dorsey’s NFT tweet will help the poor in East Africa through an upcoming bitcoin donation. To learn more about this developing story and other news, keep reading.

Jack Dorsey’s NFT Tweet to Help the Poor in East Africa

As the non-fungible token (NFT) craze continues, Jack Dorsey is auctioning his first tweet on Twitter as an NFT. Dorsey posted this tweet on May 6, 2006. The auction is taking place on Valuables and will end on March 21, 2021.

Dorsey has tweeted he will convert the proceeds of this auction to bitcoin and donate them to GiveDirectly. This is a non-profit organization that seeks to end extreme poverty in East Africa. Donations sent to GiveDirectly benefit people in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Currently, the highest bidder of this NFT tweet was a Twitter user with the handle @sinaEstavi. He outbid Tron CEO Justin Sun, who had bid $1 million. Estavi bid $2.5 million.

Valuables wrote: “The tweet itself will continue to live on Twitter. What you are purchasing is a digital certificate of the tweet, unique because it has been signed and verified by the creator. Owning any digital content can be a financial investment, hold sentimental value, and create a relationship between collector and creator. Like an autograph on a baseball card, the NFT itself is the creator’s autograph on the content, making it scarce, unique, and valuable.”

Uncertain Regulatory Environment Pushes Crypto Firms Out of South Africa

The uncertain regulatory environment is pushing crypto firms out of South Africa. According to an article on Business Tech, the MTI scam gave regulators in South Africa a jolt and some firms will not wait to see how the matter pans out from a regulatory standpoint.

These crypto firms are planning on moving to Singapore and the UK. That is because Singapore is redrawing legislation to attract crypto firms while the UK is getting requests to embrace cryptocurrencies.

Revix, a crypto investment platform that allows customers to invest in a bundle of cryptocurrencies, is moving its headquarters from Cape Town to the UK. The company is also considering setting up in Germany to scale its operations.

Luno is another crypto company with headquarters in the UK despite being owned by South Africans. The exchange also operates in Singapore.

South African regulators “have been incredibly slow in terms of regulation in the industry and that leads to businesses looking internationally. In an unregulated environment, a customer arrives at our platform with skepticism, and rightfully so,” said Revix CEO Sean Sanders in an interview.

According to Sanders, the uncertainty regarding potential regulation is also making it difficult for crypto firms to market their services on social media platforms thereby limiting growth.

Binance CEO CZ Among the Top Blockchain Billionaires in 2021

Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), is among the top blockchain billionaires in 2021 according to the latest Hurun global list. CZ and 16 other billionaires have cumulative wealth of US$ 77 billion. These billionaires have generated their wealth from running crypto exchanges, investing in cryptocurrencies, and mining crypto.

After facing a price correction in 2018, crypto billionaires are enjoying a boost in their wealth thanks to the recent bull run.

The top five billionaires are Brian Armstrong of Coinbase, Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX, Changpeng Zhao, Chris Larsen, and Jed McCaleb of Ripple. Their net worth is $11.5 billion, $10 billion, $8 billion, $5.1 billion, and $3.2 billion, in that order.

What is Wallet Holder Offering (WHO) ?

Cryptocurrencies sector is evolving every day and therefore, it is a platform of innovations and conceptually new products. One such new concept is a Wallet Holder Offering (WHO) which has been pioneered by the Safepal Wallet.

Note: Safepal wallet is available as a mobile app and also as a hardware wallet.

Wallet Holder Offering (WHO) is a new model of reward distribution that has been initiated by Safepal wallet to benefit its wallet holders through airdrops in a secure, decentralized, and user-friendly way. WHO is a unique and secure mechanism which has been initiated to pluck inefficiencies with the traditional airdrop campaigns.

In the past, airdrops have resulted in unfair distribution of tokens towards whales or cheaters, failing the legitimate users who actually use and support the projects. Thus, a WHO aims to make sure that the rewards are placed in the right hands. WHO works as a bridge between wallet users and blockchain projects. Users can learn and engage with the new crypto projects and these blockchain projects can gain valuable community feedback from a large and active user base.

In simple words, WHO is a better and well thought Airdrop mechanism.

Benefits of WHO for Blockchain Projects

For the participating blockchain projects, WHO presents a great way for an immediate user base, real engagement in product usage, and feedback. The project team can create awareness amongst the public and develop a strong social following simultaneously.

Not only this, the project team can engage and educate users along with rewarding and aligning user interest in its project. Due to active and wide user involvement in the initial stages of a project, there will be a wide and fair distribution of tokens and thus, will help with prevention of whales taking over the project.

Tasks that will be assigned in the WHO are meant for educational purposes, to educate users on how to use project tools, platforms and ecosystems. Thus, rewarding the project team in driving real product utility, usage and higher quality of supporters

A WHO may lead to substantial savings in the capital expenditure towards the marketing funnels. The project team will be able to save time and effort towards administrative and marketing efforts and focus more on the project development.

Benefits of WHO for the wallet users

Not only for a blockchain project, the WHO would be very beneficial for the respective wallet users.

A user will get an opportunity to “Earn via Learn”, i.e.the wallet users will earn airdrops via the learning process where he or she will use the respective blockchain project and provide their feedback. Further, complexities in the traditional reward distribution mechanism will be simplified.

Finally, by using renowned and secure wallets, users will be saved from falling prey to any scammy activities.

Currently available WHO

Safepal has initiated its first WHO in partnership with Tokocrypto. Tokocrypto is Indonesia’s leading crypto asset exchange. Further, it is invested and backed up of by Binance (the leading crypto exchange in the world)

For more information on this WHO refer here.

Thus, WHO will help the crypto community in a better development of the project know how and align the process of learning with earning.

Please note that Wallet Holder Offering (WHO) is different from Initial Wallet Offering (IWO).