Welcome to Around the Blockchain, Huobi Learn’s daily rundown of the crypto markets.
Thailand’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced it will ban crypto as form of payment from 1 April onwards, citing money laundering concerns and the central bank’s inability to provide assistance as the key reasons. The SEC further said digital assets did not improve payment efficiency due to their volatility and high transaction fees However, it also emphasized that this did not constitute a ban on crypto trading or digital assets. This comes after Thai authorities announced earlier this month that crypto trades on government-approved exchanges would be exempt from a 7% VAT until 2023.
Amid concerns that Russians are using crypto to evade sanctions, Chainalysis data shows that daily ruble-denominated crypto trading volume has hovered around just $7.4 million since 18 Mar, down by over 50% from recent figures and its 7 Mar high of $70 million. This accounts for a small fraction of the total global crypto market volume, and contradicts European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde’s recent assertion that “volumes of rubles into stable (and cryptos at the moment (is at) the highest level we have seen since maybe 2021”. Conversely, crypto experts like the Blockchain Association’s Jake Chervinsky have said Russia is unlikely to use crypto to evade sanctions.
The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has partnered with crypto custodian Fireblocks to mint A$DC, a stablecoin pegged to the Aussie dollar, marking the first time a major bank has been involved in creating a stablecoin. A$DC was created for Aussie-based Victor Smorgon Group, which intends to use it to trade on Melbourne-based exchange Zerocap. A$DC is currently based on the Ethereum blockchain, but ANZ plans to expand it to other chains like Hedera in future. Meanwhile, ANZ rival, the National Australia Bank (NAB), also has its own stablecoin in the works, which is expected to launch by the end of the year. The stablecoin is meant to settle transactions on NAB’s carbon credit platform Carbonplace, also slated to launch by end-2022.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been granted an extension to submit a discovery schedule in relation to defendants, Ripple Labs CEO Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder Chris Larsen, as part of an ongoing case against the firm. US federal prosecutor James K Filan said the SEC would “inform the Court of its position on whether any additional discovery is required within a week of the filing of the individual defendants”. As part of the extension, the defendants now have until 8 April to submit a response to the SEC’s complaints, and the SEC’s decision on additional discovery is due on 15 April, with the joint proposing scheduling order due on 22 April.
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell believes crypto requires new regulation, saying it poses risks to the US financial system and could destabilize existing financial institutions. He reiterated his stance that crypto should adhere to the “same activity, same regulation” principle and said it would be “highly likely that digital financial activities that are currently outside the regulatory perimeter” would be regulated, which was “necessary to level the playing field, keep the trust of users (and) protect consumers”. Powell also warned that Americans who buy crypto “may not fully understand the extent of their potential losses, or that these investments generally lack the government protections that accompany many of the traditional financial instruments and services that they’re used to”.
Show me the money
According to data from Huobi Global, BTC continued to move sideways at 42,200 last night amid shrinking volume, while ETH remained stable; daily charts for both show signs of an upward trend. In terms of contracts, Huobi Futures data show stable open interest (OI) in both BTC and ETH futures, with slightly decreased volume amid a relatively inactive contract market.