Over the last few months, we’ve frequently covered all of the changes to the US crypto regulatory landscape driven by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). In short, the net impact of the recent guidance has been to make it clear to banks and regulated financial institutions that they are allowed to offer crypto services to their customers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, we’re starting to see the first wave of companies that are creating offerings to help traditional banks do exactly that. The biggest one so far came from Visa in partnership with institutional digital asset platform Anchorage.
In short, Visa and Anchorage are building APIs that will allow bank partners to begin offering crypto buy, sell, and custody services. While the program is still in its pilot stages, it's not hard to imagine many traditional banks wanting to take advantage of Visa’s trusted brand to start wading into these newly opened waters. As they do so, the beneficiaries will be US consumers, who will have more choices than ever before on who they work with around crypto.
To be honest, the news feels a little bit like a preview of an inevitable future and it is an adoption story we’ve been yearning for.
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It’s Michael Saylor’s world, and we’re just living in it. This week, the newest, loudest, most important Bitcoin champion not only bought $10M more Bitcoin with MicroStrategy, but hosted a conference called “Bitcoin for Corporations” that is literally out to orange-pill 1,400 more corporate leaders into following their playbook for Bitcoin treasury reserves. The Miami mayor, on a tear to attract tech to the city, is also looking into allowing municipal officials to be paid in Bitcoin.
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Ethereum and DeFi
Ethereum has ripped to a new all-time high of $1,689 at the time of writing. Along with it, DeFi continues to surge, growing to a new record of more than $32B in total value locked. What’s more, there are more big catalysts for ETH just around the corner. Notably, on February 8, the CME is launching its ETH Futures product, giving a significant new resource in the hands of institutions.
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Speaking of all-time highs, over here at Nexo someone had to shout “new ATH” once every few hours over the past week. The stirrer-up? We launched the Nexo's crypto exchange – our instant swap feature that lets you convert between 75+ crypto and fiat currencies and take advantage of immediate execution and the best market prices thanks to our Smart Routing System. We are especially proud that our users can now buy and sell NEXO Tokens without leaving the Nexo platform and without the transfer fees.
Welcome to a single place to buy, sell, safely store, borrow against, and earn in NEXO Tokens. $NEXO to the Moon!
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Tons of institutional activity and news this week:
Dan Tapiero announced a $200M equity fund for late-stage Bitcoin and crypto infrastructure companies.
We also got a new $72M crypto fund from a co-founder of $39B Silver Lake Partners – backed by everyone from Paul Tudor Jones to LL Cool J.
All of this is small potatoes compared to NYDIG cofounder Ross Stevens’ statement at the “Bitcoin for Corporations” conference that the firm is on track to hold $25B in BTC for institutional clients by year-end.
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This will, perhaps, be unsurprising, but in a very active market last month, miners did very well. Bitcoin miners made $1.1B in January – up 62% from the month before. Ethereum miners weren’t far behind, hitting a record $830M – a full 120% more than December. Good time to be a miner, amirite?
The Week’s Most Interesting Data Story
Guggenheim’s Moving BTC Price Targets
Imagine you’re a massive fund that is just about to announce you’re going to buy $500M in BTC, but your clearance to do so doesn’t come for another month. You might want to, you know, stay quiet about it. Or…you could do what Guggenheim CIO Scott Minerd did and go on TV and give an eye-popping public price target of $400,000.
Now imagine it is a few weeks later and the price of Bitcoin is DOUBLE what it was when you announced you were going to buy a bunch, thanks in part to your own bombastic statements. What do you do now that your money goes half as far? Well, of course, you go back on TV and say everything is overbought and actually the right price is the one before you opened your mouth in the first place.
Okay NOW let’s imagine you helped the price down and have made your big purchase. What do you do now? Oh yeah! Revise that $400,000 price target up to $600,000!
As Fox Moulder said, “Trust No One.”
What the Community Is Discussing
There is so much news, it’s hard to keep track of it all. For example, we also found out how Coinbase plans to go public this week and what the valuation might be.
It’s not just the price of Ethereum that is growing, but the sophistication of the discussion around how to value it.
The WallStreetBets story may be slightly dying down in the same stream, but many members of that cohort are finding their way to less tamperable markets.
Bitcoin trades settle immediately. US stocks settle for two days. You get the point – the antiquated “T+2 settlement would be replaced by near instant settlement if stock trading was blockchain based. And that in itself would go a long way to giving us back capital markets and their usefulness,” Antoni commented on Twitter on the much-talked-about topic.
Speaking of usefulness, we hope you’ve already tried our Exchange. When we launched it on Monday, Antoni summarized what all of us at Nexo firmly believe – “[f]ast, transparent and inexpensive transactions are the backbone of fintech, but making them easily accessible and secure in a seamless, intuitive environment is the single most important step towards mass crypto adoption.”
In a candid conversation with Francine Lacqua, the co-anchor of Bloomberg Surveillance, Antoni discussed Nexo in depth, zooming in on some topics of great interest to our community – from our sustainable business model, through our ongoing bank acquisitions in the US and Europe and licenses in the UK, to Nexo’s precedence in taking the necessary liquidity measures even before the relevant jurisdictions have passed reserve requirement regulations. Watch the whole video here.
What to Watch for Next Week:
Will any more big companies announce BTC treasuries post-Saylor conference?
What will the WallStreetBets/GameStop hearing reveal about how the new administration thinks about small investors?