Dispatch #70: A Battle Against A US Digital Dollar?!
In this patch of your weekly Dispatch:
- A bill saying the Fed can’t issue a CBDC
- Billions in crypto-related venture financing and M&A
- NFTs seemingly immune to the macro market dip
The Big Idea
An Unexpected Event in CBDCs
Last week we discussed how a flurry of CBDC-related announcements suggested that central bank digital currencies were likely to be a big topic in 2022. What we didn’t expect was that the first significant news out of the United States would be a Congressman introducing legislation to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a CBDC, yet that’s exactly what happened.
Frankly, the language looks like it was written by a Crypto Twitter thought leader (and we say that in a very complimentary way). In his thread about the legislation, Congressman Tom Emmer wrote that any US digital currency must “protect financial privacy, maintain the dollar’s dominance, and cultivate innovation.”
To do that, Emmer says, “Any CBDC implemented by the Fed must be open, permissionless, and private. This means that any digital dollar must be accessible to all, transact on a blockchain that is transparent to all, and maintain the privacy elements of cash.”
Even if the legislation itself goes nowhere, it helps frame the conversation. In a year when China is getting closer and closer to issuing its digital yuan – a digital currency with a very different vision from Emmer’s – this legislation could set a very different tone for how a US digital currency might be designed.
The Latest In…
M&A, Fundraising, IPOs
Last year was a banner year for crypto fundraising. After crypto companies had raised $3.1B in 2020, in 2021 they were the ultimate overachievers and nabbed $29.1B, or 839% y/y. Given the absolute flood of fundraising and M&A news this week, it seems like we’re on track for another banner year:
- Checkout.com (where crypto makes up over 50% of volume) raised $1B at a $40B valuation
- Near Protocol raised $150M led by Three Arrows
- “Digital-assets-as-a-service” startup ZeroHash raised $105M
- DeFi Alliance becomes ‘Alliance DAO’ after a $50M raise
- Bitcoin miner Rhodium’s planned IPO values it at up to $1.7B
The Latest In…
We noted last week that NFTs were off to a tremendous start to 2022. But then again, everything went down thanks to macro pressure. Did NFTs fall victim as well? The short answer is no. Over the past week, Bored Apes have seen their floor price rise by 9%. Doodles are up 47%. World of Women saw its floor up 56%. Does that mean that NFTs would be immune from a prolonged crypto decline? Hardly. But it means that right now, NFT holders aren’t about to let J Pow ruin their fun. Adding momentum to the space were more big mainstream tie-ups as well. Gap announced a collection of NFTs powered by Tezos while Candy Digital launched its marketplace for Major League Baseball NFTs.
The Latest In…
A basket full of updates from yours truly:
- Our buyback (courtesy of Nexononomics 3.0) is going full steam ahead. The latest numbers are here.
- XRP holders on Nexo have received their share of SGB/ EXFI tokens as part of the long-anticipated airdrops.
- Watch the best of Our Co-founder Antoni’s AMA sessions in 2021 or catch him discussing Nexo with Bloomberg’s Matt Miller.
The Week’s Most Interesting Data Story
Repeat After Us: Crypto Is Not for Crime
Talk about a media “glass half full/ half empty” test. Chainalysis released a preview of its much anticipated Crypto Crime Trends for 2022. Illicit transaction activity reached a new all-time high last year in terms of value transacted. If you’re reading most mainstream media…that’s what you’re hearing. However, it hit an all-time low in terms of its share of crypto activity. Yes, while the total volume of illicit transactions hit $14B (exceeding 2019’s $11.7B), the illicit share was just 0.15%! The story marks a steady and clear decrease in the part of the crypto market that is criminals doing criminal things. Remember this the next time you hear a politician say the industry only has illicit use cases.
What the Community Is Discussing
Now this is a great use for a DAO.
The best joke in crypto this week.
Generational wealth is a theme of 2022. We know a place that pays 17% on crypto 😉.
What to Watch for Next Week:
- Will the upcoming еnergy hearing in Congress be as productive as the last?
- Will the market rebound continue?
- Will another crypto company announce a Super Bowl ad?