This Week In Crypto #2

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The last week was the supporting evidence that the border between the worlds of crypto and IRL are getting thinner and thinner. To be honest, I don’t know if we should necessarily cheer for that. Besides other “preparations”, the Russian Federation drafted a law to regulate crypto; Binance invested 200 million $ in Forbes, and the US law enforcement apprehended the crypto version of Bonnie and Clyde. Finally, the FOMO in NFT space found its peak – it is precisely at 8.88 ETH/mint. So let’s dive in and see what happened last week. 

The Russian government is going to regulate crypto

Initial news stated that on February 18 a new law would be adopted by Russia that will explicitly brand crypto as an “analogue of currencies” and not as a “digital financial asset”. This law further handles certain aspects like what’s the threshold after which a transaction should be declared (600.000 rubles – the equivalent of around 8000$), or how cryptocurrency exchanges will conduct their business inside Russia.

Still, what wasn’t stressed enough was the internal circumstances that led to this ruling: earlier this year, the Central bank of Russia asked for a total ban on crypto. The Russian Ministry of Finance opposed this view, and they asked for regulations instead. The current draft represents the initial settlement between the two parties. Being a compromise, it seems that the actual meaning of “analogue of currencies” is more diluted than crypto enthusiasts would have expected. As this new article is stating:

“Decentralized digital currencies will not be accepted as a means of payment”, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Alexander Shokhin told reporters following a meeting devoted to digitalization.

What’s more interesting is that not only did the Russian Ministry of Finance quickly come to the aid of crypt, but Vladimir Putin himself allegedly praised the country’s crypto mining capabilities. Is the Russian establishment seeing crypto as a possible way to circumvent international financial sanctions?

Let’s put this news in the context of a particular threat made by the US in case of a Russian invasion in Ukraine: the possibility to be excluded from SWIFT.

Officially the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, Swift is a Belgian messaging service that connects more than 11,000 financial institutions as they transfer money around the world. It does not actually hold or transfer funds, but allows banks and other financial firms to alert one another of transactions that are about to take place.

So there is a “centralized worldwide ledger” that facilitates the communication between traditional financial institutions, and EU and US somehow “own” it. Could Russia consider crypto as a last resort in the case of being cut off from SWIFT and couldn’t impose its own centralized version of SWIFT?

Adoption by governments it’s cool but do we want to let them weaponize crypto?

Binance invests $200m in Forbes

We all know those stories where an unsuspecting customer is displeased by the restaurant’s service, so he buys the entire establishment to teach the manager a lesson because, guess what, the customer was a magnate in disguise. Apparently, this is a real-life thing.

After suing Forbes in 2020 for defamation, Binance, the number 1 centralized crypto exchange by volume traded, became one of the leading investors in Forbes.

Representatives of the same media conglomerate which stated that Binance is “conceived of an elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally deceive regulators”, are now solemnly pledging to spread the ways of web3 to the public:

Forbes is committed to demystifying the complexities and providing helpful information about blockchain technologies and all emerging digital assets. 

This story reveals an unexpected way “adoption” manifests: one by one, traditional industries will be incorporated by crypto investors.

A New York couple accused of possessing and laundering billions of dollars worth of stolen Bitcoins

What is the connection between Forbes and approximately 120,000 Bitcoins? Heather Morgan, aka Razzlekhan. Allegedly this lady and her husband were in control of an insane amount of bitcoin stolen in 2016 in the Bitfinex hack.

We actually covered the movement of those funds in the last crypto weekly. At that moment, the actual saga that was revealed this week was still unavailable to the public. The story is so dramatic that it not only sparked endless chatter on crypto Twitter but urged Netflix to order a documentary. Below you will find one of the first threads that emerged around the subject:

An NFT collection that had all the ingredients to succeed faced major backlash from the community

We have a well-known NFT influencer/collectoran artist with over 600k followers on Twitter, an emerging gaming platform, and only 3333 NFTs. What could go wrong? Well…

“Orbs”, a generative NFT collection, faced a serious wave of criticism after they announced the pricing – a dutch auction that would have started from 11.11 ETH and stopped at 8.88 ETH per piece.

The very high threshold they’ve tried to set was seen as an artificial one, a “cash grab” that would never let the initial buyers have a consistent space to profit.

The pressure made the team dump the artificial floor and let the market decide what will be the actual floor for their collection.

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