Staying updated on the ever-changing cryptocurrency market can be as tough as keeping up with the Kardashians. I’ve rounded up the latest set of news to keep y’all up to speed.
Here’s a snapshot of how bitcoin and its buddies have fared in the past seven days as of September 21, 12:30 am GMT. Why, look at that massive gain on Ripple!
Ripple causes a splash
Ripple stole the spotlight early on in the week when an exec confirmed that they are moving closer to launching xRapid, which is a real-time settlement platform for international payments.
According to Head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East region, Sagar Sarbhai, the product could be live “in the next one month or so” and that the regulatory environment is improving.
“What we’re now seeing is more and more regulators, policymakers taking the whole space in one conjunction. So, I think that narrative thankfully is now changing because policymakers, regulators are seeing that there is a strong benefit that digital assets, cryptocurrencies bring in.”
Ripple is currently working with over a hundred financial institutions and a number of high-profile banks, including American Express and Santander, through its xCurrent product. This uses blockchain technology for banks to message one another to confirm stages of cross-border payments in real-time.
Later in the week, it was reported that U.S. financial giant PNC was the latest addition to firms using xCurrent. Investors seem hopeful that these hotshot institutions can soon transition to xRapid, which will actually use XRP in transactions.
Some roadblocks for Ethereum?
On the flip side, developments aren’t looking too good for Ethereum as companies on this blockchain appear to be looking at other options.
For instance, Ethereum dApp (decentralized application) Bancor just announced that it is expanding to another blockchain called EOS. Their new cross-chain product, BancorX, will allow users to trade between select EOS-based tokens and between ethereum- and EOS-based tokens.
The company’s announcement highlighted faster transaction fees on EOS, the lack of fees versus gas costs that ethereum users need to pay to call smart contracts, and resistance to front-running.
Meanwhile, Enigma announced a delay in the release of its “Discovery” protocol on the ethereum mainnet, even after completing its testnet launch over the summer. The firm reiterated, however, that this delay allows them to focus on building the Enigma ecosystem and onboarding new launch partners.
U.K. lawmakers call for stricter crypto oversight
A committee of U.K. lawmakers are urging for an end to the “Wild West” crypto situation in the country, calling upon the Financial Conduct Authority to step up their regulatory game.
In their report, the Treasury Committee cited “volatile prices, hacking vulnerabilities, minimal consumer protection, and anonymity aiding money laundering” as reasons to give the FCA more authority to oversee the cryptocurrency industry.
In particular, committee blasted ICOs for exploiting certain regulatory loopholes:
“While there may be no explicit promise of financial returns, investors in ICOs clearly expect them: they are not buying tokens to gain access to as-yet unbuilt theme parks, or to obtain dental services in years to come, but in the hope of selling them at a profit. The development of ICOs has exposed a regulatory loophole that is being exploited to the detriment of ordinary investors.”
The report also noted that there are no cryptocurrencies that perform the functions of standard fiat currencies, which are to be a medium of exchange, a store of value, or a unit of account. Instead it opted to use the term “crypto-assets” to refer to bitcoin and other altcoins, adding that these are being used widely for speculation.
Bitcoin ETFs ruling draws near
On the subject of regulation, of course who can forget about the looming SEC decision on bitcoin ETF applications? Cryptocurrency traders have been on edge about this likely market catalyst, and it hasn’t helped that the regulator has given mixed signals.Recall that the SEC previously rejected a handful of bitcoin ETF applications, only to almost immediately announce a review of this decision. Soon after, the financial watchdog temporarily suspended trading in a couple of crypto-based securities, citing “confusion among market participants” on the financial instruments.
As of this writing, the SEC has just announced that it has begun proceedings to decide whether or not to approve the proposed rule change to list the bitcoin ETF by VanEck and SolidX.
With that, the regulator will be gathering more input from the public, even as more than 1,400 comments have already been submitted. Keep in mind, though, that the SEC already pushed the deadline on this ruling back and may do so again.