US President Joe Biden to Sign Executive Order on Crypto this Week

According to several people familiar with the White House’s deliberations, U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to issue an executive order on cryptocurrency this week. The move will mark the first step toward regulating how crypto assets are traded. - 2022-03-09T170318.531.jpg

The action by the White House comes as, in recent weeks, U.S. administration officials have raised concerns about Russia’s use of crypto assets to evade the impact of sanctions in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions have closed the country’s stock market and sent the ruble to historic lows.

Two people familiar with the process have disclosed that the executive order on cryptocurrency is expected to be issued this week. The order will describe what government agencies, including the Treasury Department, should do to create policies and regulations on digital currencies. It is also expected to develop policies to enable the U.S. government to work with foreign powers to regulate crypto and its trade across international borders.

Furthermore, the order will ask other agencies, including the Financial Stability Oversight Council the Treasury Department, among others, to analyze the use of cryptocurrency in financial crimes and its impact on the environment.

Besides that, the order will also direct agencies to build on efforts by the Federal Reserve to study the possibility of launching a new central bank digital currency.

In January, the Federal Reserve issued a report that discussed the risks and benefits of U.S.-backed digital currency.

U.S. officials have remained concerned about Russia’s ability to use cryptocurrency to evade sanctions. Crypto is one of several spaces that the Biden administration is looking to beef up as it attempts to ensure that sanctions on Russia have maximum impact.

The order appears neutral on the issues of cryptocurrencies as a whole. It hints that the U.S. will not go in the direction of banning the use of technology. In the recent past, as reported by Blockchain.News. Several countries, including China, issued a complete ban on cryptocurrency within their jurisdictions.

The implication in the order is that cryptocurrency will remain a part of the U.S.U.S.nomy for years to come. The order signals that regulations are underway. It means that significant changes are on the way to how the U.S.U.S.overnment handles a technology that has until now seen its development majorly driven by private businesses.



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GoldenTree Appoints BlockTower’s Exec Avi Felman to Lead Digital Asset Trading

GoldenTree Asset Management, a global asset management firm with almost $47 billion in assets under management, announced Avi Felman’s appointment as the company’s Head of Digital Assets Trading. - 2022-03-09T140303.131.jpg

GoldenTree hired the expert as it looks to ramp up its digital assets’ strategy and trading activities. In his role, Felman will be responsible for overseeing business and product development for the company’s digital assets products.

Mr. Felman will also be a General Partner of GoldenChain, a subsidiary business owned by GoldenTree, which manages GoldenTree’s funds that focus on digital assets.

Mr. Felman has held several prominent digital assets trading positions. He recently served as Co-Portfolio Manager and Head of Trading for BlockTower Capital. Prior to joining BlockTower, Felman held roles at Wave Financial, CryptoAM and Ledger Capital, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Steve Tananbaum, Founding Partner and Chief Investment Officer of GoldenTree, talked about the development and said: “Avi’s experience will help us focus on identifying unique digital opportunities that offer compelling risk-adjusted return potential for our investors.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Felman also commented about his appointment. He stated: “The GoldenTree team has impressed me with their thoughtful approach to the digital asset markets, as well as their conviction in expanding their products to include dedicated cryptocurrency offerings. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to join a team that has significant trading expertise across more traditional asset classes and an appreciation of the unique returns and challenges the digital asset market brings.”

Accelerating Financial Products Access to Consumers

In recent months, GoldenTree participated in many crypto funding rounds, including a $12.5 million round for infrastructure company Qredo’s $80 million round and staking firm Stader Labs.

GoldenTree’s Partners have been investing in digital assets for years. GoldenTree believes that there are attractive and increasing opportunities it can capture in the expanded and matured digital asset marketplace.

Founded in 2000, GoldenTree is a global asset management firm specialising in credit sectors like emerging markets, distressed debt, high-yield bonds, structured products, leveraged loans, private equity and credit-themed equities. The company has several of its own funds, including hedge funds.

GoldenTree, which custodies billions of dollars in assets under management, serves institutional investors, including government entities, businesses, family offices, insurance companies, public and corporate pensions, endowments, and foundations. 


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Bain Capital Ventures Unveils $560 Million Crypto Fund for Blockchain-Focused Tech Startups

Bain Capital Ventures, the venture arm of the 37-year-old private equity firm Bain Capital, announced on Tuesday that it has launched a $560 million fund focused exclusively on cryptocurrency-related efforts. - 2022-03-09T132719.041.jpg

Stefan Cohen, a managing partner at Bain Capital, talked about the development and said: “We’ve become quite high conviction we are at the beginning of a multi-decade technology shift. We really needed a dedicated team and a dedicated fund structure. That’s really what lead to the addition of Bain Capital Crypto.”

Bain Ventures is looking to use the fund to invest into everything from crypto start-ups to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) in areas like Layer 1 blockchains — ones that compete with Ethereum — and storage. The firm expects to deploy the fund in the next two to three years and invest in about 30 companies. The venture wants to be a much more active investor than is typical to empower the needs of crypto start-ups.

“We are looking for firms who are able to participate in governance actively, firms that can provide liquidity into the protocols. The crypto fund may invest in company equity, promises of future tokens or the actual coins, which it might acquire from DAOs’ treasuries or on secondary markets,” Cohen further elaborated.

Cohan also revealed that Bain Ventures may consider launching more crypto-focused funds once the fund’s capital is deployed. “Our view is that this is a 10-20-year opportunity, and we are building a platform here that we think can facilitate multiple funds over a period of time,” Cohen explained.

Financing for Start-Ups, Company Growth, and Innovations

Bain Capital Ventures has been investing in cryptocurrency for the last seven years, investing funds into venture capital company Digital Currency Group, crypto lender BlockFi Inc., and decentralized-finance lender Compound. But its new crypto Fund is the first fund focused on the cryptocurrency market.

Bain Ventures offers seed through growth capital for firms focused on technology and technology-enabled services, mainly for enterprise customers. The capital ventures firm invests across sectors, including infrastructure healthcare, software, FinTech, and application software.

Bain Ventures has invested funds in companies, including SurveyMonkey, LinkedIn, Rapid7, TellApart, Kiva Systems, Docusign, Infusionsoft, VMTurbo, Liazon, BloomReach etc.

Since 1984, Bain Ventures has partnered with more than 200 firms to build, commercialize, and grow their businesses. The venture firm has about $3 billion of assets under management and has offices in Boston, New York City, and the Bay Area.


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Binance CEO Considers to Buy Chelsea Football Club, Report says

The global crackdown on Russian oligarchs has pushed Roman Abramovich to offer his Premier League club, Chelsea FC, for sale.


Since the news made the rounds about two weeks ago, many bids have been flowing in, and per a Reuters report, one of such was from Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the Chief Executive Officer of Binance cryptocurrency exchange.

Citing a spokesperson for the trading platform, CZ spoke with the Raine Group, the U.S. investment bank representing Chelsea on the sale, but declined to pursue it as owning a soccer club is not one of his priorities. While many have considered the deal will be a very good one for the billionaire exchange owner, the vocal CEO has notably regarded as other factors that may not make owning Chelsea at this time a very good idea.

Binance has a very robust presence in football as the trading platform was amongst the sponsors of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Binance exchange was also the sponsor of the Argentinian national team and Italian Serie A side Lazio.

The trading platform has a fragile relationship with British financial regulators, and perhaps, this was one of the things considered before CZ pulled out of the deal. At present, several trading platforms have been extending their foothold into the world of sports, but no major name tied to a cryptocurrency company has a major stake in a mainstream club.

With the deal currently passing off Binance’s CEO, the exchange’s focus may further be intensified in cementing its existing deals while also working on its frailed relationship with regulators worldwide.

Per the Reuters news, other bidders, including U.S. billionaire Todd Boehly, who owns stakes in the LA Dodgers baseball club and LA Lakers basketball team, have also shown interest in buying the club. With the price tag pegged around £3 billion, Abramovich is reportedly set to donate all proceeds to the victims of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

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Santander Bank to Offer Loans Backed by Tokenised Crop Products

The Argentinian offshoot of Spanish multinational financial services company Banco Santander is on track to start offering a loan product to farmers, which will be based on tokenised agricultural products.


The proposed product offering will be floated in conjunction with Agrotoken, a blockchain startup specialising in tokenising agricultural products.

The partnership will remove the hassles from the current system in which access to loans is engrossed with time delays and the inability of farmers or potential beneficiaries to prove the validity of their operations. Drawing on the advances in innovation, farmers and the broader agroecosystem will now be able to gain access to a ready financing model.

Accessing the loan will be based on a consensus model dubbed Proof of Grain Reserve (PoGR), and it implies that for every token involved in a loan transaction, there is a ton of grains stored that backs it.

“This is the first world experience that supports loans with tokens based on agricultural commodities, such as soybeans, corn, and wheat. Together with Santander, we are co-creating various financial products to provide agricultural producers with a service with which they can easily and smoothly access a new credit system backed by their grains”, says Eduardo Novillo Astrada, CEO & Co-Founder of Agrotoken.

With the digital ecosystem growing and blockchain innovations taking center stage in this growth, several banking institutions have explored avenues to back this new tech. Santander Bank is not a novice to innovations bordering on the blockchain ecosystem and is one of the partners embattled payments startup, Ripple Labs Inc, which has an active partnership.

The dive into the South American agricultural communities is a testament that the bank’s mission hovers around using technology to reach those who needed financing the most. Beyond the partnership with Agrotoken, the financial institution has promised more investments worth over $225 million in the region.

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WalletConnect Pulls $11M in Venture Capital Funding

Digital Currency infrastructure services provider, WalletConnect has raised the sum of $11 million in a Series A funding round from venture capital investors.


While the startup’s valuation was undisclosed, the funding round was led by Union Square Ventures and 1kx, with Coinbase Ventures, Semantic Ventures, and Zerion, amongst others, participating. 

The WalletConnect funding round also witnessed the participation of Angel investors, including Alex Svanevik, Eric Conner, Arjun Bhuptani, Viktor Bunin, Mara Schmiedt, Anna Rose, and Ajit Tripathi.

WalletConnect plays a very vital role in the connectivity of today’s Decentralized Finance (DeFi) ecosystem. The startup’s infrastructure lets users connect crypto-wallets with decentralized applications via QR codes. The WalletConnect connection gateway is widely used in such unhosted wallets, including Metamask and Trust Wallet.

With the funding round, the startup hopes to scale wallet interoperability, develop a push notification service, launch its own token and develop a generalized messaging layer.

“Web 3 isn’t complete without some form of medium to communicate between users,” WalletConnect co-founder Pedro Gomes said in an email statement. “Since wallets essentially introduce digital identities that are portable across applications, we are able to create a shared messaging layer that isn’t owned by any particular wallet or application.”

While WalletConnect will not be the first protocol looking to float a Web3.0-backed messaging tool, the startup has arguably run a service that millions of cryptocurrency users utilise today. In just about four years since it was conceived, WalletConnect now has a reach that spans more than 100 wallets and over 200 applications, one of whom is the mainstream social media giant, Twitter.

This funding round by wallet connect is a testament to the broad-based approach venture capital firms are employing to become a part of the fast-evolving Web3 and metaverse driven world. As reported earlier this week by, Space Runners, a platform looking to democratize blockchain-backed fashion metaverse pulled $10 million in funding from investors.

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Indian Finance Minister Sees “Clear Advantages” in CBDC

India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has hailed the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) being developed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).


Speaking at the India Global Forum’s annual summit, the minister said the decision to develop the Digital Rupee project was based on consultation between the RBI and the government, noting both parties see a clear advantage in the initiative.

“It was a conscious call taken in consultation with the central bank- the Reserve Bank of India. We would like them to design it the way they would like to do it, but this year we expect the currency to come out from the central bank itself,” Sitharaman said in response to a question on Digital Rupee. “We see clear advantages in a central bank driven digital currency, because in this day and age, bulk payments happening between- countries, large transactions between institutions and large transactions between central banks themselves of each country- are all better enabled with digital currency.”

With 2022 being the targeted timeline according to the minister, the development of the CBDC will now trail-related projects from other advanced economies around the world, including China, Singapore, and Japan, amongst others.

India has taken a long route in relation to its handling of digital currencies and the eventual decision to float its own digital currency. Whether or not the authorities admit, the growth of digital currencies represents a major factor backing the decision to launch its own CBDC. However, Indian lawmakers have long contemplated whether to ban crypto assets like Bitcoin or to accommodate them to co-exist with any potential Digital Rupee that will be floated.

When asked about the impending regulation for the cryptocurrency ecosystem, Minister Nirmala said the decisions to ban these coins or not would be hinged on whether the government has a legal basis to do so or not.

In her words:

“The consultations are on anybody interested in this domain are welcome to participate, after the consultation process gets duly completed, the Ministry would probably sit and mull over it, which is required because we need the executive to be sure that we are not crossing any legal requirements, post which we will be coming out with what’s our position on it.”

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