ADVFN Logo
Registration Strip Icon for discussion Register to chat with like-minded investors on our interactive forums.

Hong Kong Greenlights Bitcoin and Ether ETFs, Solana Rolls Out Key Upgrade, and More Crypto News

Fernanda T
Latest News
April 15 2024 3:07PM

Hong Kong approves Bitcoin and Ether ETFs

On Monday, Hong Kong regulators gave the green light for the launch of spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs, asset managers announced, following the trend set by the US earlier this year. Approvals came from three fund managers, including ChinaAMC, which also plans to offer virtual asset management services, with OSL Digital Securities acting as custodian. Harvest Global and Bosera International also received authorization for their Bitcoin and Ether ETFs. This advancement positions Hong Kong as a potential regulated center for crypto assets, competing with Dubai and Singapore.

$126 million outflow in crypto funds marks first withdrawal in three weeks

Crypto funds managed by major firms such as BlackRock (NASDAQ:IBIT), Bitwise (AMEX:BITB), Fidelity (AMEX:FBTC), Grayscale (AMEX:GBTC), ProShares (AMEX:BITO), and 21Shares (AMEX:ARKB) faced global outflows of $126 million last week, as reported by CoinShares. This value contrasts with the record withdrawal of nearly one billion dollars in the week ending on March 22. According to James Butterfill of CoinShares, stagnation in positive price dynamics led to increased caution among investors, reflected in a drop in ETP/ETF activity from 40% to 31% of total volume on trusted exchanges. US crypto funds had a particularly challenging week, with $145 million in outflows, while Germany saw inflows of $29 million.

Bitcoin partially recovers after sharp weekend drop driven by geopolitical tensions

Over the weekend, Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) experienced a sharp drop to $61,300, motivated by geopolitical tensions. The decline was attributed to tensions in the Middle East, with market sentiment improving after the announcement of a temporary cessation of hostilities. After recovering to $66,600, Bitcoin was down -3% to $63,828 at the time of writing. The next Bitcoin halving event is expected on April 20 and will halve the rewards offered to network miners. The Bitcoin halving event is also cited by analysts as a factor triggering a temporary selling reaction.

Movement of 50 old Bitcoins sparks speculation about miner activity

Earlier today, 50 bitcoins, valued at $3.3 million and untouched for nearly 14 years, were transferred, indicating possible activity from an early Bitcoin miner. The bitcoins, mined in April 2010, were split into two transactions: 17 BTC went to a wallet that may be linked to an exchange, and 33 BTC went to a new address, possibly to maintain the original miner’s balance privacy.

Solana rolls out critical update to address congestion and stabilize prices

Solana (COIN:SOLUSD) developers deployed an emergency update, version 1.18.11, to combat network congestion issues and recent market value declines. The infrastructure team led by Anza invited validators to test the new solution on Solana’s testnet. Recently, the network has faced high transaction failure rates and bot interference, causing delays in various launches. However, improvements have been noted, with the Phantom wallet reporting a significant increase in transaction success rate. Despite the updates, Solana’s price recorded a steep decline of -8.52% in the last 24 hours, influenced by a bearish market, with potential larger repercussions if congestion issues persist.

Vitalik Buterin emphasizes the importance of privacy in crypto transactions

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD), reiterated the importance of privacy in crypto transactions, using the RailGun tool to protect his movements. According to Wu Blockchain, Buterin transferred 100 ETH to RailGun, highlighting his recurrent use of the tool over the past six months. After his statements, privacy-focused assets like Monero (COIN:XMRUSD) and Zcash (COIN:ZECUSD) saw price increases before falling again. Buterin praised RailGun’s ability to balance privacy and security, citing the potential of privacy technologies in promoting a more trustworthy and transparent environment in DeFi.

Ripple unveils loan protocol proposal on XRP Ledger to bolster DeFi

Ripple is advancing the expansion of DeFi functionalities on the XRP Ledger (XRPL) with a new loan protocol proposal named 0066 XLS—66d. Currently under public review on GitHub, this protocol aims to create a censorship-resistant DeFi ecosystem on XRPL. It introduces a flexible lending mechanism, allowing users to contribute tokens like XRP (COIN:XRPUSD), Wrapped BTC (COIN:WBTCUSD), and wETH to a lending pool and negotiate loan terms off-chain. The proposal also emphasizes security and transparency, empowering practical applications and facilitating the construction of decentralized lending apps.

Upcoming crypto token unlocks and potential market impact

This week, we will observe significant unlocks of crypto tokens that may influence market dynamics. Unlocking is a process in which tokens previously restricted due to funding rounds become available for sale. This process can potentially affect token prices if increased supply pressures sales, especially if there is limited liquidity or if early investors decide to take profits. Key unlocks include tokens from projects like Starknet, Arbitrum (COIN:ARBUSD), ApeCoin (COIN:APEUSD), Pixels (GATE:PIXELUSDT), Axie Infinity (COIN:AXSUSD), Manta Network and ImmutableX (COIN:IMXUSD).

German bank LBBW introduces cryptocurrency custody services in partnership with Bitpanda

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW), Germany’s largest federal bank, revealed plans to launch an “investment-as-a-service” infrastructure aimed at its corporate and institutional clients for cryptocurrency custody and acquisition. In collaboration with the Austrian exchange Bitpanda, LBBW is preparing to start a custody pilot project in the second half of 2024, starting with bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and ether (COIN:ETHUSD). This partnership will enable LBBW to offer trading and custody services for digital assets, ensuring high security standards and meeting the growing demand for digital assets among its clients.

UK prepares legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies and stablecoins

Economic Secretary Bim Afolami announced at the Innovate Finance Global Summit that the UK government plans to introduce legislation covering stablecoins and other crypto activities such as staking, exchange, and custody by mid-year. The new regulation, following a 2023 bill, will for the first time include exchanges’ operations and custody of crypto assets within its regulatory scope. The Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England have already begun consultations on this regime.

Norway proposes legislation to regulate data centers and limit cryptocurrency mining

The Norwegian government is introducing legislation to regulate data centers, primarily aiming to restrict cryptocurrency mining due to its high energy consumption. According to a report from local news agency VG, Ministers Karianne Tung of Digitization and Terje Aasland of Energy stated that the new law will require data center operators to register with local regulators. Aasland emphasized that cryptocurrency mining is unwanted in Norway due to its significant greenhouse gas emissions. The measure aims to close the door to businesses deemed harmful to the environment.

Adidas and Stepn launch NFT collection based on sports icons

Adidas (TG:ADS), known for its sportswear and shoes, announced a collaboration with the fitness app Stepn, operating on the Solana blockchain. The partnership begins with a series of 1,000 NFTs called “Stepn x Adidas Genesis Sneakers,” inspired by Adidas’ most famous running silhouettes. This collection marks the beginning of several joint brand initiatives over a year, including more NFT and physical product releases. The first series of the collection will be launched on April 17 through the NFT marketplace Mooar, linked to Stepn. Adidas has experience in partnerships in the web3 space, having previously collaborated with entities such as Coinbase, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Bugatti. Stepn, an app that allows users to earn cryptocurrencies by walking or running, has previously partnered with Asics in 2022.

Avalon raises $10 million to launch crypto MMO

Avalon, a cryptographic game development studio, raised $10 million in a funding round led by Bitkraft Ventures and Hashed to launch a massively multiplayer online game. The game, also titled “Avalon,” is being developed in collaboration with AI pioneers Didimo and Inworld AI. According to CEO Sean Pinnock, the game will use Unreal Engine 5 and allow players to create game content with AI assistance. The company also promises to release a collection of AI-based avatar NFTs.