Before diving into our monthly roundup of crypto news, we’re looking forward to seeing many of you at Consensus in Austin, Texas this week! We’ll have a booth April 27 & 28, 2023 and will be delighted to connect with you, so please reach out to schedule a meeting to discuss your web3 directorship needs for your Foundation/DAO or Fund.
As always with our news roundup, our goal is to focus on the sunny side of the crypto world by sharing positive (but realistic) insights as to how crypto is manifesting in our daily lives.
Ethereum's Shapalla Upgrade Results
Ethereum's highly anticipated Shapalla upgrades have gone live, allowing users to withdraw their cryptocurrency for the first time.
The upgrades were implemented on April 12th and include upgrades to the network's execution and consensus layers, enabling withdrawals from the Beacon Chain. This marks a significant milestone in Ethereum's development, as stakers responsible for securing the blockchain network can now withdraw their crypto for the first time, more than two years since staking first went live.
The Shapella upgrade is seen as a game-changer by many in the industry, positioning Ethereum for sustained growth and success. The transition to Proof of Stake consensus from Proof of Work has reduced the network's energy consumption by 99.9% and new ETH issuance by over 90%. The upgrade also marks Ethereum's first major upgrade since The Merge and is expected to introduce vital functionality to the network and drive growth in the Ethereum ecosystem.
EU Parliament Approves Groundbreaking MiCA
In an historic move, the European Union's lawmakers have passed a new licensing system for cryptocurrencies. The Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) law was approved by an overwhelming margin of 517-38, with 18 abstentions. This makes the EU the first major jurisdiction in the world to introduce a comprehensive crypto law.
In addition, the European Parliament voted 529-29 in favor of the Transfer of Funds regulation, which aims to combat money laundering by requiring crypto operators to identify their customers. The regulation was supported by 14 abstentions.
The decision comes after a heated debate, during which lawmakers approved plans to require crypto wallet providers and exchanges to obtain a license to operate in the EU. They also mandated stablecoin issuers to maintain sufficient reserves tied to other asset values.
These rules will come into effect from next year and the European Securities and Markets Authority is expected to draft secondary legislation under MiCA soon.
Coinbase Expands Globally With New Bermuda License
Coinbase Global Inc (COIN.O), a major U.S. crypto exchange, has announced that it has been granted a license to operate in Bermuda, as part of its plans to expand its reach globally. Coinbase is also in discussions with financial regulators in Abu Dhabi about a potential license.
Amazon Set to Launch In-House NFT Marketplace Featuring Top Crypto Creators
According to reliable sources, Amazon is putting the finishing touches on its in-house NFT initiative, which is set to feature digital collectibles from top crypto-native creators like Beeple and Pudgy Penguins. The Amazon NFT marketplace will run on a private and permissioned blockchain controlled by the e-commerce giant, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) being a major contributor.
While an exact launch date is yet to be confirmed, sources have revealed that Amazon has inked a number of partnerships for the launch that have been kept under tight wraps. The private blockchain powering Amazon's digital collectibles is gas-less and read-only and imposes strict restrictions on NFT creators, partners, and eventually, customers after the launch.
Customers should expect day-one partnerships with Beeple and the creators of Pudgy Penguins, while sources have also specified that Artifact Labs and Proof Collective will be involved.
Societe Generale's Crypto Arm Launches Euro Stablecoin on Ethereum
SG Forge, Societe Generale's crypto unit, has announced the launch of a new stablecoin called EUR CoinVertible. The new asset, which is pegged to the euro and built on the Ethereum blockchain, will be available only to institutional investors who have undergone rigorous Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks.
According to a press release, EUR CoinVertible aims to bridge the gap between traditional capital markets and digital assets. It’s being touted as the first stablecoin based on a public blockchain to be issued by a subsidiary of a global systemically important bank (G-SIB).
The stablecoin is designed to cater to the increasing needs of clients, including settlement assets for on-chain transactions, solutions for corporate treasuries, cash management, cash pooling, on-chain liquidity funding, and refinancing solutions. It will also serve the purpose of intra-day liquidity needs.
SG-Forge announced that EUR CoinVertible is fully compliant with banking, legal, and regulatory standards. The asset follows the open-source interoperability and securitization framework of the Compliant Architecture for Security Token (CAST). The stablecoin has also undergone auditing by professional services network PwC.
Bitcoin White Paper Uncovered in Apple’s System Files
An independent blogger, Andy Baio, has discovered a Bitcoin white paper buried in Apple’s system files. Labeled as “simpledoc.pdf,” the file contains Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for a decentralized cash system based on a public ledger. The 9-page file appears to be present in all modern versions of macOS Catalina or later, buried in an obscure folder.
Baio stumbled upon the white paper while trying to fix his printer. He noticed a “Virtual Scanner II” device that he had never seen before in the Image Capture after recently upgrading his macOS. Upon googling for “Virtual Scanner II,” he found virtually no references to it online, except for an old Twitter thread in which the files are located on the filesystem.
Baio wrote about the discovery on his Waxy blog, which was first reported as a subtle nod to the world’s oldest blockchain on Nakamoto’s 48th birthday.
Pepe-the-Frog-Themed Memecoin PEPE Surges Over 240% in Four Days, Making Early Buyers Millionaires “on Paper”
PEPE, the most memeable memecoin, took the crypto world by storm in April. Its creators referred to the crypto bear market and rival dog-themed memecoins Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, declaring that "the dog days are over."
Early investors found themselves sitting on impressive paper profits, with some turning $250 into $1 million in just four days, as in the case of a recent transaction that exchanged 0.125 ETH for 5.9 trillion PEPE tokens.
However, liquidity issues could make it challenging for investors to realize the profits. Market analyst Grzegorz Drozdz has pointed out that selling the tokens could take up to a comical ‘46,200 years’, assuming non-declining demand. Trying to cash out too soon could lead to a price collapse, just like in previous cases.
NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)