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Leading cryptocurrencies finally broke a six-week spell of poor price performance or inertia this week.
Market leader Bitcoin (BTC) added a modest 1.5% to its market value over the seven days to trade at $29,408 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest coin by market capitalization, appeared to match the top coin’s pace, adding 1.3% to enter the weekend at $1,851.
There were no significant price drops among the top thirty cryptocurrencies. However, three altcoins posted notable gains.
Solana (SOL) grew 8.5% to its current price of $24.55; Toncoin (TON) added 10.1% to hit $1.32, and Shiba Inu (SHIB) blew up 17.8% to trade at $0.00001108.
Shiba Inu appears to have kept up the momentum of last week’s rally that commenced on news that the coin’s makers are shedding their memecoin reputation and introducing a new identity protocol to all apps on the ecosystem for increased security and privacy.
Altogether the market made small gains this week, as July’s U.S. inflation readings indicated a continued cooling off.
In the news...
This week brought a fairly busy and diverse news cycle, with institutional and global adoption stories commanding attention alongside the Fed’s new stablecoin note and the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission’s face-saving tactics in its failing war on crypto.
On Monday, payments giant PayPal announced it would be releasing an Ethereum-based dollar-pegged stablecoin called PayPal USD (PYUSD).
The currency will be issued by Paxos and is expected to become "a part of the overall payments infrastructure," according to a media quote by PayPal CEO Dan Schulman.
Starting next month, Paxos will be publishing monthly reserve reports and third-party attestations of PYUSD’s reserves, enabling the public to keep track of the credibility and value of the assets underpinning the stablecoin’s value.
Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) aired her concerns in a written statement: “I am deeply concerned that PayPal has chosen to launch its own stablecoin while there is still no Federal framework for regulation, oversight and enforcement of these assets. [...] Given PayPal’s size and reach, Federal oversight and enforcement of its stablecoin operations is essential.”
On Tuesday, Brazil announced the name of its new central bank digital currency (CBDC): DREX, or the “digital real”— the name being a near-acronym for “digital real electronic transaction.”
The digital real is a centrally-issued tokenized real that utilizes distributed ledger technology similar to blockchain, but it’s not without controversy.
Early last month, the Brazilian Central Bank published the code of the pilot project on its GitHub profile. Developers thus discovered several problematic functions within the smart contract.
The capabilities given to the Central Bank include the ability to freeze users' accounts, decrease target balances, confiscate, and mint new units of the digital currency. This, in turn, has attracted criticism that the project enforces exactly the kind of centralization crypto was created to avoid.
That day, Binance announced it had secured licenses to operate in El Salvador, a country where Bitcoin is legal tender. Binance has been feeling the heat of the SEC’s spotlight in the U.S. after the federal securities regulator sued it for breaching securities laws, alleging further still that Binance execs are involved in commingling customer funds and market manipulation.
Also that day, the Federal Reserve issued a statement announcing incoming guidance for chartered banks dealing with dollar-pegged stablecoins. It also said it was stepping up its “novel activities supervision program” for banks dealing with crypto or crypto companies in its jurisdiction.
In particular, the Fed is looking to monitor the transaction validation process, including the “timing and finality of settlement of transactions, potential irreversibility of transactions, and the central authority of transaction records.”
The statement hints that the Fed will implement know-your-client (KYC) measures and ensure that nationally-chartered banks demonstrate appropriate risk-mitigation strategies.
On Friday, the SEC announced it plans to appeal Judge Torres’s landmark ruling in the agency’s ongoing lawsuit against Ripple for—you guessed it—breaching securities laws.
Torres ruled that Ripple’s XRP was not a security by definition but could be presented as one depending on how it’s sold. Her verdict essentially contradicted the SEC’s claim that offerings to retail customers via exchanges constitute securities offerings.
The following day, the SEC once more played for time and delayed its decision to approve or reject a high-profile spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund application from ARK 21Shares.
Finally, on Saturday payments giant Visa announced an experimental solution on the Ethereum blockchain that enables users to pay gas fees using Visa credit or debit cards.