5 Things to Know in Crypto Today: BTC On Course For Best Month Since October 2021
- Major cryptocurrencies are broadly flat on Saturday in thin weekend trading conditions.
- Bitcoin is on course for its best month since October 2021 and Ethereum its best month since January 2021.
- Scwhab Asset Management is to launch a crypto-linked ETF and KuCoin a new fractional NFT ownership ETF.
Bitcoin On Course For Best Month Since October 2021
Major cryptocurrencies are trading little changed on Saturday in this weekend trading conditions. Bitcoin was last changing hands at around $23,800 and Ethereum just under $1,700, with both not much changed in the last 24 hours according to CoinMarketCap. In terms of other major altcoins, BNB, XRP, ADA and SOL are all a tad in the red in the last 24 hours.
Major cryptocurrencies are looking to close out their best month in quite some time. Bitcoin, up nearly 20% in July, is on course for its best month since October 2021. Ethereum, last up over 55% this month, is on course for its best month since January 2021. Cryptocurrencies have rallied in the last few weeks in tandem with global equities amid a growing belief that a weakening US and global economy will deter central banks like the Fed from getting too aggressive with rate hikes for the remainder of 2022/in 2023. Powell did not push back against this idea in his dovish post-FOMC meeting appearance from Fed Chair Jerome Powell this week.
Schwab Set to Launch Crypto-linked ETF
Schwab Asset Management will list its first crypto-linked Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on the New York Stock Exchange as of 4 August. The ETF will track Schwab’s Crypto Thematic Index and will provide investors with exposure to companies that are involved in the crypto industry in some way, such as crypto miners and digital asset trading platforms. The ETF will not offer direct exposure to digital assets.
David Botset, Schwab’s head of equity product management and innovation, said in a statement that “for investors who are interested in cryptocurrency exposures, there is a whole ecosystem to consider as more companies seek to derive revenue from crypto directly and indirectly”.
KuCoin to Offer Fraction NFT Ownership Via New ETFs
In further ETF-related news, crypto exchange KuCoin has become the first major exchange to offer its users the chance to own a fraction of top Non-fungible Token (NFT) collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) via a new ETF. KuCoin is offering a range of USDT-denominated ETFs in conjunction with Fracton Protocol.
Fractol Protocol is a Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocol that fractionalizes valuable NFT collections into fungible ERC-20 tokens. The new ETFs lower the bar for retail investors to own valuable NFTs, KuCoin said, adding that they also remove the need to manage NFT infrastructure elements, such as wallets and smart contracts.
South American Soccer Team Buys Player in USDC
Sao Paulo, one of the largest football (soccer) teams in Brazil, just bought a player from mid-table Argentinian team Banfield using USDC, a US dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by US-based Circle Internet Financial. The exchange of funds took place on Bitso, one of South America’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Bitso became the sponsor of Sau Paulo football club back in January. The firm’s CEO Thales Araújo de Freitas called the transaction a “historic moment for Bitso, São Paulo and South American soccer more broadly”. The transactions was viewed in Argentina as an attempt by Banfield to bypass the country’s restrictive foreign exchange restrictions.
Under current rules, exports must convert their newly acquired US dollars to Argentinian pesos within five days at a punitive rate of just 131 pesos on the dollar. In informal markets, the exchange rate is closer to 300 pesos per dollar. The forex restrictions, which are imposed by the Central Bank of Argentina, do not reference “crypto”, however.
CoinFLEX Reduces Headcount Amid Cost Reduction Push
Beleaguered crypto exchange CoinFLEX announced on Friday that it has reduced its employee headcount by a significant amount across all departments and geographies, as part of a push to reduce its costs by 50-60%. The remaining team is focused on product and technology, the firm said. CoinFLEX recently halted withdrawals and is currently attempting to recover an $84 million debt owed by a single large individual investor.
“We will monitor costs to ensure we operate as efficiently as possible and scale as volumes come back,” the company’s co-founders Sudhu Arumugam and Mark Lamb said in a blog post. “The intention is to remain right-sized for any entity considering a potential acquisition of or partnership opportunity with CoinFLEX”.