Last Week’s Cryptocurrency News. Friday, July 29

Friday, 29th of July. As the week comes to an end, we can focus on the highlights of the crypto industry over the past few days.

FTX US opens access to stock trading for all its customers

Customers of the U.S. division of the FTX crypto derivatives exchange are now able to trade in traditional stocks. This happened after the ending of beta-testing by a limited number of users.

In the future, FTX promised to add the feature of making transactions using options. No specific release date is specified.

FTX US neither charges commission fees for securities transactions nor employs Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) procedures.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of the parent company, pointed out that originally the exchange would not receive income from the services. In fact, the platform is eager to expand its customer base and boost the growth of its custody, according to Bloomberg.

“If we can perfect this product during this period of slow trading volume for retail, if and when the volume picks up again, we’d be able to capitalize that opportunity,” Brett Harrison, CEO of FTX US, said in an interview.

The senior manager refused to provide further details about a possible partnership with Robinhood. As he said, he is “excited about Robinhood’s business and potential ways we could partner with them.”

As you may remember, back in May, Emergent Fidelity Technologies, a firm associated with the head of FTX, acquired a 7.6% stake in Robinhood.

Later, Bankman-Fried denied rumors about plans to take over the online brokerage exchange. That was the possible outcome according to Bloomberg’s sources.

Prior to that, Jess Powell, chairman of Kraken bitcoin exchange, announced the possible launch of a marketplace for trading traditional stocks.

EU regulator calls the lack of crypto experts a “major concern”

The European Banking Authority (EBA) is suffering from a lack of employees to supervise the crypto industry. The chairman of the regulator, José Manuel Campa, made this statement in an interview with the Financial Times.

High wages is one way to solve this “major concern,” he said. Yet the issue “not within the range of possible discussions” between the EBA and the European Commission, the official said.

As another main challenge, Kampa described the regulatory framework being too slow to develop and not keeping up with industry progress. The head of the administration admitted that crypto could transform before extensive regulation comes into effect in 2025.

In early July, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament provisionally agreed on the provisions of the draft law on the regulation of cryptocurrencies called MiCA. It outlines the rules that are applicable to issuers of unsecured cryptoassets, stablecoins, trading and custodial platforms.

The document does not affect non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Over the next 18 months, the EC may amend it with the relevant terms.

Subsequently, members of the European Green Party and Party of European Socialists (PES) proposed extending the AML/CFT procedures standards to decentralized organizations, DeFi- and NFT-platforms.

As a kind reminder, Christine Lagarde, head of the European Central Bank, claimed that all cryptocurrencies and stablecoins meet the definition of speculative assets and it is inappropriate to recognize them as currencies.

UK resident who lost 7,500 BTC is to hire Boston Dynamics robot dogs to search for them

James Howells, a citizen of Great Britain, who in 2013 accidentally tossed a hard drive with 7,500 BTC in it, is enlisting two Boston Dynamics Spot robots in his quest. This is reported by Business Insider.

It is planned to make use of the devices to scan the ground and ensure security, he said. These robots will be fitted with video surveillance cameras to protect the junkyard territory overnight.

As of the current exchange rate, the value of Howells’ missing bitcoins is more than $160.4 million.

According to The Washington Post, in August 2021, the cost per Spot robot dog was $74,500 at the time. Boston Dynamics’ official website does not provide a price – the company suggests contacting the sales department.

The owner of the drive said in an interview with the publisher that he developed a search plan with the assistance of expert consultants and received funding from two venture capitalists. Nevertheless, the authorities of the Newport city have not yet approved the excavation at the junkyard.

It was stated by an administration spokesman that Howells had not made enough of an argument to convince the city.

“His proposals pose significant ecological risk, which we cannot accept,” the official asserted.

Howells expects to settle the matter. If the project comes to fruition, he explains, he will name the robot dog after Satoshi Nakamoto and Hal Finney.

Let us mention that in January 2021, the abovementioned Briton made a proposal to Newport authorities for digging up the landfill, but it was rejected.

He later expressed his intention to use artificial intelligence when searching for a hard drive.

That same year, former Ripple CTO and Coil CEO Stephan Thomas told of losing a password sheet to a wallet with 7002 BTCs.

His successor, David Schwartz, later clarified that the former director had also lost access to several hundred bitcoin accounts.

Bloomberg: SEC launches investigation into Coinbase

The SEC has initiated an investigation into Coinbase Global for potentially allowing U.S. residents to trade in digital assets which can be treated as securities. This is reported by Bloomberg, referring to sources familiar with the situation.

As they say, the SEC began to monitor Coinbase much more closely amid the exchange’s expanding number of tokens to be traded. 

Moreover, on July 21, the U.S. Justice Department revealed the arrest of former Coinbase product manager Ishan Wahi. He was accused of insider trading fraud. Wahi’s brother and Samir Ramani are also involved in the case.

As investigated, they used confidential data about the upcoming listings of digital assets on the stock exchange to carry out lucrative transactions.

The SEC filed a lawsuit against the suspects with similar talking points and highlighted that this was securities fraud. That is how the agency classified 9 out of 25 cryptocurrencies that the suspects allegedly used in their transactions.

Coinbase in turn outlined that no securities are traded on its platform.

CFTC Commissioner Caroline Pham believes that the SEC’s characterization of some tokens as securities in its investigation against Waha could have severe consequences as an industry-wide matter. 

Back in June, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse accused the SEC of using a heavy-handed approach instead of focusing on explicit regulation for the industry.

Tom Emmer, a member of the House of Representatives, said that the agency interferes with the regulation of crypto industry and acts unethically towards its participants.

As Bloomberg previously noted, the SEC is investigating whether Binance’s BNB token was a security at the time of its sale in 2017. Later on, however, the Commission disproved this information.

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