Here's our recap of the most captivating crypto updates from July and the beginning of August. True to our mission, we focus on positive strides in the crypto realm, providing an upbeat yet realistic viewpoint on the growing presence of cryptocurrencies in our daily lives.
PayPal Introduces Ethereum-Based Stablecoin
Global payment leader, PayPal, has taken a significant step into the cryptocurrency realm by announcing the launch of its Ethereum-based stablecoin, named PayPal USD (PYUSD). This initiative is noteworthy as PayPal becomes the pioneering major financial entity to introduce its own stablecoin.
Designed to initially cater to its U.S. clientele, PYUSD will offer a range of functionalities, including the seamless transfer of the stablecoin between PayPal accounts and specific external digital wallets. Additionally, it can be employed for transactions or for conversions to and from other cryptocurrencies that PayPal supports.
The responsibility of issuing PYUSD has been entrusted to the New York-based Paxos Trust. They will ensure that the stablecoin is anchored by assets like U.S. dollar deposits and short-term Treasuries.
The company has future plans to roll out PYUSD on its widely-used Venmo application.
Ether Futures ETFs Gain Momentum with Multiple SEC Filings
Six firms have approached the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with applications for Ether (ETH) futures-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This surge in interest follows the recent trend of bitcoin spot ETF applications.
Volatility Shares, known for its Bitcoin Strategy ETF, was the first to file on July 28. If approved, their Ether ETF could debut on October 12.
The crypto community's anticipation around these ETFs grew after major players like BlackRock showed interest in spot-bitcoin ETFs. Grayscale, a key player in the crypto industry, advocates for simultaneous approval of all spot bitcoin ETFs to ensure a level playing field.
Hong Kong Grants Crypto Licenses to HashKey and OSL
Hong Kong has taken a progressive step in its cryptocurrency regulations by awarding its first-ever crypto exchange licenses to HashKey Exchange and OSL Digital Securities Ltd. This move paves the way for these platforms to cater to both retail and professional investors.
Previously, both entities held licenses under an older system, which may have streamlined their recent approvals.
HashKey aims to leverage this license to expand its reach to retail users, while OSL Digital Securities has already started offering bitcoin and ethereum trading options for retail investors. This development underscores Hong Kong's evolving position as a potential cryptocurrency hub.
Tether's Reserves Surge in Q2
Tether, the company behind the USDT stablecoin, reported an excess of $3.3 billion in reserve assets for Q2, ensuring the backing of its stablecoins. The attestation, validated by BDO Italy, revealed Tether's exposure of approximately $72.5 billion to U.S. Treasuries. Additionally, the company's bitcoin holdings saw a rise in value, reaching $1.67 billion by the end of June. Remarkably, Tether's operational profits surpassed $1 billion for the quarter.
Securitize Expands Tokenized Securities in Europe
Securitize, a blockchain-focused firm, has initiated the issuance of tokenized securities in Europe, representing equity in the Spanish real estate investment trust, Mancipi Partners. These securities will be tokenized on the Avalanche blockchain, with secondary trading expected to commence in September.
This development follows the approval from Spain's General Secretariat of the Treasury and International Finance, allowing Securitize to introduce digital asset securities under supervised "sandbox" conditions. After the six-month sandbox phase and subsequent approval from the European Union Pilot Regime, Securitize intends to broaden its tokenized securities offerings across Spain and the EU.
The firm is the first to issue and trade such securities in both the U.S. and Europe under the EU's new digital assets pilot regime.
Significant Win for Crypto: Ripple Labs Achieves Partial Victory in SEC Case
In a recent legal development, a U.S. judge ruled that Ripple Labs Inc. did not breach federal securities laws by selling its XRP token on public exchanges. This decision marks a significant win for the cryptocurrency sector and led to a surge in XRP's value, which increased by 75%.
The victory was only partial as the judge determined that Ripple's sales of XRP worth $728.9 million to sophisticated investors constituted unregistered securities sales. However, Ripple's CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, still hailed the ruling as a significant triumph for both Ripple and the broader U.S. cryptocurrency industry.
Crypto Venture Capital Firms Secure Over $100 Million for New Crypto Asset Funds
Polychain Capital, a blockchain-centric venture capital firm, has successfully raised approximately $200 million for its fourth crypto venture fund. The firm aims to amass a total of $400 million for this fund, aligning with its earlier filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Amidst this fundraising, Polychain, which manages assets worth around $2.6 billion, has also made changes to its research team to refine its investment focus.
In other news, New York-based VC firm Coinfund has secured $158 million in its recent fundraising round, emphasizing its commitment to early-stage crypto startups, especially those integrating with artificial intelligence. Coinfund has expressed its commitment to enhancing crypto infrastructure and promoting decentralization.
Despite the broader market's retreat from crypto investments after significant setbacks in 2022, both firms remain optimistic, believing that the current environment allows for more thoughtful and discerning investment decisions.
Google Play Embraces NFTs in Apps and Games
Google Play has updated its policy to permit developers to integrate digital assets, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs), into their applications and games. Joseph Mills, Google Play’s Group Product Manager, expressed that this change would enhance traditional games with user-owned content and incentivize user loyalty through unique NFT rewards.
Developers choosing to offer tokenized assets must clearly indicate the presence of blockchain-based elements within the app. Reddit, which has gained traction with its Avatar NFTs, collaborated with Google on this policy update. The revised guidelines emphasize user trust and prohibit the promotion of potential earnings from in-app play or trading, aligning with Google Play's existing policies on gambling.
This move reflects Google's evolving stance towards Web3, with the company recently allowing decentralized apps like ArDrive Mobile and Axie Infinity: Origins on its platform.
Google Play anticipates testing the new experiences by late summer, with a full rollout expected later in the year.
NFA DYOR (Not financial advice. Do your own research.)