Binance launches $1B BSC fund, BTC futures ETF approval could arrive soon, and Celsius raises $400M: Hodler’s Digest, Oct. 10-16

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Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Binance to launch $1B fund to develop BSC ecosystem

Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, announced an accelerator fund worth a whopping $1 billion this week. The funds will go toward supporting the development of the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem. 

Binance outlined that the 10-figure sum will be part of a tiered development model across four specialist areas: Talent Development, the Liquidity Incentive Program, the Builder Program and the Investment & Incubation Program.

The largest benefactor of the fund is said to be the Investment & Incubation Program, which will receive around $500 million, according to Binance. The branch will focus on multichain expansion in areas such as metaverses, gaming, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Coinbase follows FTX and Binance in launching NFT marketplace

Coinbase announced on Tuesday that it is launching an NFT marketplace later this year. The platform will initially support tokens from the Ethereum blockchain and will be launched in the U.S. before being expanded globally.

Given that Coinbase tallied around 68 million verified users and 8.8 million monthly active users in Q2, the firm’s new NFT platform could soon mount some serious competition to giants such as OpenSea.

Evidence of this was seen after the announcement, as sign-ups for the waitlist reached almost 1.1 million people within 48 hours. In contrast, data from DappRadar shows that OpenSea has a rolling 30-day average of 261,000 active users.

G7 leaders issue central bank digital currency guidelines

The Group of Seven (G7) forum, composed of the world’s seven largest advanced economic nations, discussed a totally centralized form of digital assets called central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) this week. The meeting resulted in the endorsement of 13 public policy principles regarding their implementation.

The G7 determined that any newly launched CBDCs should “do no harm” to the central bank’s ability to maintain financial stability, suggesting that harm to individual sovereignty by tracking one’s spending habits and programming their money is on the table.

Some of the CBDC-focused policies included mandates that the digital currencies must be energy efficient and fully interoperable on a cross-border basis, along with complementing the current cash-based system.

Crypto lending firm Celsius Network raises $400M

Crypto lending platform Celsius Network raised $400 million in an equity funding round led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and WestCap. The firm said it will use the fresh capital to double its headcount to around 1,000 employees and expand its offerings and products. 

“It’s not $400 million. It’s the credibility that comes with the people who wrote those checks,” Celsius Network co-founder Alex Mashinsky said in an interview with the Financial Times on Tuesday.

Another firm to close a capital raise was crypto risk management company Elliptic, which raised $60 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Evolution Equity Partners and included support from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, AlbionVC, Digital Currency Group, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital and SBI Group, to name a few.

Top engineers working on Facebook’s wallet jump ship to A16z’s crypto fund

Reports surfaced on Monday that two of the top engineers working on Facebook’s spooky digital currency project packed their bags and took a hike to venture firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

The engineers who escaped the clutches of Mark Zuckerberg are named Nassim Eddequiouaq and Riyaz Faizullabhoy. The duo spent two years working on Facebook’s digital wallet dubbed Novi. Faizullabhoy will serve as the chief technology officer of a16z’s crypto division, while Eddequiouaq will take on the role of the chief information security officer.

“Andreessen Horowitz has shown an impressive dedication to advancing the entire crypto ecosystem over the past decade, and we jumped at the chance to join their premier team and provide technical support to their rapidly expanding portfolio,” Faizullabhoy said.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $60,687, Ether (ETH) at $3,817 and XRP at $1.13. The total market cap is at $2.44 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Stacks (STX) at 38.94%, Perpetual Protocol (PERP) at 30.55% and Telcoin (TEL) at 24.63%.

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Arweave (AR) at -21.68%, Terra (LUNA) at -17.50% and Fantom (FTM) at -15.41%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Bitcoin is a lot less risky at $43,000 than it was at $300. It’s now established, huge amounts of venture-capital money have gone into it, and all the big banks are getting involved.”

Bill Miller, founder of Miller Value Partners

“I think the big difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin is that Bitcoin is a platform where the value of the ecosystem comes from the value of the currency but, in Ethereum, the value of the currency comes from the value of the ecosystem.”

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum

“I can say ‘I have a gold ETF or a Bitcoin ETF,’ but I’m storing that gold in my basement. Is the SEC going to allow that? Probably not. Unless companies can show they can custody it and actually address a lot of the issues Gensler specifically mentioned, it’s not going to work.”

Tad Park, founder and CEO of Volt Equity 

“I’m not a student of Bitcoin and where it’s going to go, so I can’t tell you whether it’s going to $80,000 or zero. But I do believe that there is a huge role for a digitized currency, and I believe that’s going to help consumers worldwide — whether it’s a Bitcoin or something else, or more of a governmental official digital currency, a digital dollar, that will play out.”

Larry Fink, chairman of BlackRock

“We haven’t even gotten to the parabolic growth part of Web 3, which is going to create untold wealth.”

Mark Yusko, CEO of Morgan Creek Capital

“The reason I own Bitcoin is because the U.S. government and every government in the western hemisphere is printing money now to the end of time.”

Barry Sternlicht, co-founder of Starwood Capital Group

“Broadly, we’ve gone through a long period of low inflation, and we’ve got central banks experimenting in uncharted territory with very, very loose monetary policy. It’s perfectly reasonable for people to want an alternative to fiat currency.”

Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered

“We’re constantly in a bubble in crypto because there’s still so much to build.”

Franklin Bi, director of portfolio development at Pantera Capital

Prediction of the Week 

SEC likely to allow Bitcoin futures ETF to trade next week: Reports

Regulatory approval of a physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) has eluded the crypto industry for years. A roundabout approach to the equation may become reality, however, with several entities seeking approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a Bitcoin ETF based on futures rather than a physically-backed alternative. 

Two such ETFs, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF and the Invesco Bitcoin Strategy ETF, could see the green light from the SEC during the week of Oct. 18, according to Friday tweets from Eric Balchunas, a senior ETF analyst at Bloomberg.

“Bitcoin futures ETFs said not to face any opposition at SEC, according to multiple sources confirming this (aside, I’m hearing same thing),” Balchunas tweeted along with an article from Bloomberg. “Pretty much done deal. Expect launches next week.” Balchunas said he personally thinks approval is more than 90% likely. Early in October, Balchunas mentioned 75% odds for Bitcoin futures ETF greenlighting in October. 

The Commission, however, could also delay its decision. Cointelegraph published a separate article this week covering comments from Todd Rosenbluth, CFRA’s senior director of ETF and mutual fund research, who noted Bitcoin futures ETF approval may not arrive until 2022

Meanwhile, evidence surfaced on Friday showing the groundwork being laid for a potential SEC approval of Valkyrie’s Bitcoin futures ETF. Shares of the ETF received registration approval on the Nasdaq by the SEC. Although the SEC could decide to postpone a ruling for this particular ETF until December, the current deadline sits on Oct. 25.

FUD of the Week 

Bitmain stops shipment of Antminer crypto mining rigs into China

Top crypto mining equipment provider Bitmain closed its doors in China on Oct. 11. The firm was forced to halt operations following the Chinese government’s latest pushback against crypto and the devilish freedom it represents.

The firm said its move to halt the shipping of crypto mining rigs was part of a response to China’s carbon-neutral policies and environmental targets. However, Bitmain will continue to supply Antminer crypto mining rigs to users across the world, including those in Taiwan and Hong Kong, while the company has also upped its production capacity for its Antbox mobile mining containers.

“From October 11, 2021, Antminer will stop shipping to mainland China. For customers in mainland China who have purchased long-term products, our staff will contact them to provide alternative solutions,” Bitmain said in an announcement.

Bitcoin futures ETF will likely be delayed until 2022, says research firm CFRA

Even though Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas noted significant possible odds for a Bitcoin futures-based ETF approval during the week of Oct. 18 (as covered above), CFRA’s Todd Rosenbluth expressed a different view earlier this week.

While he admits that a Bitcoin futures product is likely to be the first to be given the green light by the SEC, Rosenbluth asserts that the crypto sector may have to wait until next year due to the clouded regulatory environment.

The researcher also suggested that regulators could be waiting for all of these products to meet their targets so that they can be approved simultaneously to avoid a “first-mover advantage.”

Estonian regulator wants to revoke all crypto exchange licenses

On Wednesday, it was reported that Matis Mäeker, the head of the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), urged the Estonian government to snatch back all crypto exchange licensing in the state.

Mäeker is reportedly seeking to re-establish the regulatory landscape surrounding crypto, pushing it in a new direction. The FIU head asserted that the public is unaware of the risks inherent to the crypto industry, while pointing to the regular tropes of naughty behavior such as money laundering, terrorism financing and hacking.

He also argues that, in its current state, the Estonian crypto industry neither creates jobs for citizens nor contributes “anything significant” to the country’s tax authorities.

“These risks are very, very high. We need to react cardinally and very quickly,” he said.

Best Cointelegraph Features

US debt ceiling crisis: A catalyst for crypto’s ultimate decoupling?

Many within and beyond the crypto industry believe that the political standoff around the debt ceiling increase makes digital assets more attractive in the long run.

Crypto scoring big with European football

Introducing crypto and blockchain into football isn’t easier than scoring a back-post tap-in: “We had to educate a lot, explain how it worked and why it was interesting for them.”

The Metaverse, play-to-earn and the new economic model of gaming

The gaming industry is rapidly growing, and the emerging play-to-earn model coupled with blockchain and the Metaverse is the future.

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