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Crypto SWOT: PayPal is granted a "BitLicense" by NY department of financial services

Commentaries & Views

Strengths

  • PayPal will let users transfer certain cryptocurrencies to other customers, exchanges, and external wallets, in a new service that's part of the company's effort to boost usage of its app. PayPal also said that the New York Department of Financial Services granted the company a “BitLicense” which governs businesses working with virtual currencies, reports Bloomberg.

  • Citigroup plans to hire more than 4,000 tech staff to help move its institutional clients online in the wake of the pandemic. More than 1,000 of the recruits will join the markets technology team as part of an aggressive growth strategy, Jonathan Lofthouse, head of markets and enterprise risk technology, said in an interview, as reported by Bloomberg.  

  • Ken Griffin's Citadel Securities is willing to make markets in exchange-traded funds that hold cryptocurrencies, if regulators allow, reports Bloomberg. Griffin has called for the SEC to pivot from just talking about regulating crypto to actually establishing rules.

Weaknesses

  • A sweeping bill from a bipartisan Senate duo would buttress rules pertaining to some of the hottest issues facing the crypto industry, including sanctions compliance, stablecoin oversight and energy usage. The legislation introduced Tuesday by Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis and New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, is one of the most ambitious attempts to regulate the volatile asset class, writes Bloomberg.

  • The speculative darlings of the easy-money era (technology stocks and cryptocurrencies) are acutely vulnerable now that the Federal Reserve is shrinking its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet, writes Bloomberg. At the same time, central bankers from Canada to Europe are about to test the resilience of global markets as they follow hawkish U.S. policy makers on a liquidity-sapping mission to unwind the pandemic bond-buying spree. That's the broad outlook for Wall Street, the article continues.

  • Bitcoin fell back below $30,000 on Tuesday, dropping 6% to around $29,500 and wiping out the previous three days of gains, ending Bitcoin's second brief break above $31,000 over the past three weeks, writes Bloomberg. The declines for crypto came as the dollar extended gains and a jump in Treasury yields late Monday fueled concerns that rising borrowing costs could induce a recession.

Opportunities

  • Bitcoin has been trading around the $30,000 level for weeks now, defying predictions of a potential further decline but also struggling to gain upward momentum. The crypto market could get a boost from U.S. CPI data later this week. If inflation is indeed coming down, there's a good chance the Federal Reserve will ease up on the market conditions, writes Bloomberg.

  • Binance.US, the American arm of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, has launched a blockchain staking product promising high yields on staked crypto, with the aim of out-flanking similar offerings from rival U.S.-based exchanges. The staking service where users lock-in assets to support proof-of-stake networks, enables users to earn up to 18% annual percentage yield on certain tokens, the company announced Tuesday.  

  • The regulatory cloud looming over cryptocurrency and other digital assets is good for business at law firm Winston & Strawn. Surging interest in digital assets and growing scrutiny from a wide range of regulators are fueling demand for legal work, particularly during a volatile stretch. Winston is among several Big Law firms increasingly focusing on the practice area, according to Bloomberg.

Threats

  • OpenSea, one of the highest-profile crypto start-ups, is facing a backlash over stolen and plagiarized nonfungible tokens. Chris Chapman used to own one of the most valuable commodities in the crypto world: a unique digital image of a spiky-haired ape dressed in a spacesuit, which he listed on OpenSea to sell for $1 million. Two months later, Chapman got a notification form OpenSea that the ape had been sold for roughly $300,000. A crypto scammer exploited a flaw in OpenSea's system to buy the ape for significantly less than its worth, explains Bloomberg. Mr. Chapman is one of many crypto enthusiasts who have raised questions about OpenSea.

  • Binance coin (BNB) price dropped by nearly 7.3% on June 7, to below $275, its lowest level in three weeks. The coin could drop another 25%-40% in 2022 as its parent firm, Binance, faces allegations of breaking securities rules and laundering billions of dollars in illicit funds for criminals, according to Bloomberg. The SEC is investigating whether the ICO of BNB tokens in 2017 was sales of securities that should have been registered with them. This could put downward pressure on BNB's price, which has already lost more than half of its value after peaking in May 2021 at around $700.  

  • Crypto exchange Gemini Trust Co. lacked proper safeguards, resulting in retirement-account holders losing around $36 million in Bitcoin and Ether when the master key got hacked, IRA Financial Trust said in a lawsuit. Gemini made false representations about two-factor authentication and other protections that were supposed to safeguard customer accounts, according to a complaint that IRA filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, writes Bloomberg.
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