Insights > Weekly News 27/01/2021: BlackRock launches ETF focused on crypto companies

Weekly News 27/01/2021: BlackRock launches ETF focused on crypto companies

27 January 2022

Temps de lecture 3 minutes

Alexandre Ouicher

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Banks and Institutions

BlackRock files for ETF to track performance crypto company-focused index

BlackRock’s iShares filed Friday to create a new “blockchain and tech ETF” that will track the performance of an index that follows companies working in this area. The ETF will track the NYSE FactSet Global Blockchain Technologies Index. Component companies will include “(a) cryptocurrency mining, (b) cryptocurrency trading and exchanges, or (c) crypto-mining systems.”

Russia’s central bank calls for total crypto ban

The Bank of Russia has advocated for a complete crypto ban as part of a report issued by the country’s central bank on Thursday. The ban would target fiat to crypto transactions, crypto payments, and mining operations, as the speculative nature of cryptocurrency investments poses significant threats to the financial stability of Russian citizens. Meanwhile, Ivan Chebeskov, a director within the Ministry of Finance, has come out in support of regulating crypto rather than banning it.

Diem seems on the way out, US lawmakers working on stablecoin regulation

The Diem Association, formerly known as Libra, is in talks to sell off its assets and return capital to investors, according to Bloomberg. The Fed’s long-awaited report on central bank digital currencies dropped Thursday afternoon, potentially opening the way for a FED-backed CBDC. Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, has also reaffirmed his belief that a digital dollar should not drive private stablecoins out of the market, as long as they are better regulated.

Andreessen Horowitz aims to raise $4.5 billion to invest in crypto funds

A16z, a VC company with investments in many crypto projects among others, is now planning to raise $4.5 billion for its latest fund, which is focused solely on cryptocurrencies. The firm is ready to eclipse the $2.2 billion it raised in June 2021, which was the crypto industry’s largest at the time. Andreessen Horowitz, with almost $30 billion in assets under management, is one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital companies.  


Twitter rolls out NFT profile pictures

Twitter began rolling out NFT profile pictures this week via its Blue subscription offering. Some crypto enthusiasts and influencers of the platform viewed the development as a positive step forward for the NFT community but many — including Elon Musk — expressed concerns that Twitter isn’t doing enough when it comes to preventing scams and protecting stolen NFTs.

Money laundering via crypto rose 30% in 2021

Chainalysis finds that money laundering in crypto grew from $6.6 billion to $8.6 billion between 2020 and 2021. However, the report identified money laundering as “just 0.05% of all cryptocurrency transaction volume in 2021,” with all of the data related to “cryptocurrency-native” crime, rather than offline crime converted into cryptocurrency to be laundered. The biggest source of illicit funding remained fairly typical scams aimed at collecting crypto.

FTX.US scores $8 billion valuation in its first funding round

FTX’s American affiliate, FTX.US, has joined the crypto unicorn club after closing its first-ever fundraising round. The crypto exchange, which entered the US market in May 2020, announced Wednesday that it raised $400 million in outside capital at a valuation of $8 billion. It is in the process of closing another round that could value the firm above $30 billion.

Could newcomer Looksrare dethrone OpenSea on the NFT market ?

Lookrare was lauched on january 10 and has already processed an NFT volume close to 2 billion USD. Created by anonymous developers, the platform claims to be a decentralized version of OpenSea. What could have helped the volume is the massive airdrop of LOOKS tokens, offered to NFT traders onthe platform. Speculation abounds that many of those transactions are just wash trading in order to get some hot tokens. it remains to be seen if the volume will remain as high over time.


Multichain vulnerability put a billion dollars at risk

The Multichain bug that has led to the theft of $2 million in crypto (so far) could have been “enormous,” according to the company that disclosed the vulnerability last week. Multicoin (formerly Anyswap) is a cross-chain protocol that allows its users to swap tokens across blockchains. Dedaub said $431 million in WETH could have been stolen in a single transaction from just three victim accounts if the vulnerability had been fully exploited. The attack is still ongoing as long as there are people remaining who haven’t revoked the smart contract permissions.

Solana suffers another shutdown, this time it’s bad

On january 21, the Solana network went down once again. It was announced 24h later that this was due to excessive bot transactions that overloaded the network. While the market was crashing, many users of Solana DeFi protocols were locked out of the network, and suffered liquidation on their leveraged positions. It is not known how much value was impacted, but trust on Solana scalability could be severely damaged.  


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