Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), has said crypto is “certainly” being used by Russian individuals and companies to evade sanctions. She added that there were increasing volumes of transactions from the ruble to stabelcoins and from stablecoins to other digital assets, and said the ECB has “taken steps to clearly signal to all those who are exchanging, transacting, offering services in relation to crypto assets that they are being accomplices to circumvent sanctions”. While many experts have said crypto is not effective for this purpose, organizations like the ECB and politicians like US senator Elizabeth Warren remain unconvinced, with the latter even introducing a crypto sanctions compliance bill an industry expert called “unnecessary, overboard and unconstitutional”.
El Salvador has postponed its planned $1 billion BTC bond offering due to unfavorable market conditions, according to finance minister Alejandro Zelaya. Initially scheduled for launch by 20 Mar, the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on BTC price has led El Salvador to postpone it. Zelaya hinted at the possibility of a launch in May or June but added that “market variables get different” and that “after Sep, it is difficult to raise unless you are previously funded, as in the case of the BTC bond”. He also said the bond would have a “substantial oversubscription” that could hit $1.5 billion and would not be issued by the government but instead, by state-owned thermal energy firm La Geo, which will have a sovereign guarantee from the government.
Animoca Brands co-founder and chairman Siu Yat has said the company will continue to “shepherd companies into Web3” to accelerate its transition into an open Metaverse. A long-time advocate of an open Metaverse instead of a closed one dominated by large centralized Web2 firms, Siu said it was important to speed up the process to minimize the risk of creating “another kind of elite”. He added that there were “very large centralized organizations” opposed to an open Metaverse as “they make money from our data”. To combat this, he suggested onboarding as many as possible onto Web3 until it develops into a sort of “global trade framework” where users have the freedom and ability to own a stake in the space.
DBS Bank Group CEO Piyush Gupta believes crypto “can be an alternative to gold” and that regulating crypto “out of the formal banking system” is “unwise”. Speaking at the recent Economic Times Global Business Summit, he said pushing crypto into “the unregulated space” would lead to there being “no way of creating any guard rails”. He also mentioned central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), saying that “if you go direct, every citizen opens a direct account with the central bank and it disburses the CBDC directly” but adding that the downside of doing so was it would “disintermediate the existing banking system” and make credit creation “the onus and responsibility of the central bank”.
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is designing Liberland, a metaverse aiming to be a libertarian utopia. Styled using the firm’s signature futuristic architecture, Liberland is based on the Free Republic of Liberland, a real-life micronation founded in 2015 by Czech politician Vit Jedlicka that sits between Serbia and Croatia as disputed territory unclaimed by either country. According to Jedlicka, it has 7,000 approved residents, as well as a national flag, anthem and currency — the cryptocurrency Liberland merit. ZHA’s Liberland will feature a city hall, collaborative working spaces, shops, business incubators, and an NFT art gallery. ZHA hopes it will foster a community focused on self-governance and fewer rules and regulations. Part of it is currently being tested and on 13 April (the 279th birthday of 3rd US president and libertarian icon Thomas Jefferson and 7th anniversary of the real-life Liberland), there will be an opening party for 100 people.
According to data from Huobi Global, BTC fell to a low of 41,500 this morning before seeing a slight rebound to around 42,000. ETH, on the other hand, remained stable in the daytime, and daily charts for both show signs of an upward trend. In terms of contracts, Huobi Futures data show a slight increase in open interest (OI) for both BTC and ETH, with stable volume amid a relatively inactive contract market.