Bermuda’s Jewel Bank Receives Regulatory Approval to Run as Digital Asset Bank

Jewel Bank announced on Tuesday that it has obtained a full bank license and a digital asset business license from the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA). The license acquisition has enabled Jewel Bank to become the first digital asset bank in the island nation.

The approval from an integrated regulator of the financial services sector in Bermuda allows Jewel Bank to provide service to digital asset firms in non-sanctioned countries worldwide around, as well as in the US. The Bermuda-based bank will mainly serve the needs of non-US licensed firms, providing them with the essential digital asset banking, fiat on/off ramps, payments, custody, crypto-collateralized lending, stablecoin issuance, and real-time settlement services.

Jewel Bank’s banking infrastructure aims to fill a critical gap in the rising global digital asset market by providing globally accessible digital asset banking.

Jewel Bank has innovated by itself as a direct issuer of fully reserved fiat-backed stablecoins issued against fiat deposits. The digital bank plans to offer USD stablecoin and other single fiat currencies. The bank intends to provide stablecoins “as-a-Service” to other banks and non-bank financial institutions that do not have the same regulatory, technology, and compliance capabilities.

Jewel Bank intends to provide domestic retail banking services in Bermuda and assist in accelerating Bermuda’s digital transformation.

Stablecoins’ Impact on Banking

Stablecoins have witnessed significant growth in the few previous years, serving as a potential breakthrough innovation in the future of payments. The market is proliferating, with new stablecoin issuers putting pressure on banks to dive in.

In January, PayPal announced plans to launch its own stablecoin under the name ‘PayPal Coin.’ PayPal’s move came as Facebook confirmed that it still intends to release its own stablecoin, Diem cryptocurrency.

Government and technology initiatives have driven the value of the stablecoin market up to about $140 billion — seven times higher than two years ago.

In January last year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), led by former Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks, allowed US federal banks to participate as nodes on a blockchain or conduct payments using stablecoins.

While tech companies have taken the lead in stablecoin participation, many banks are also becoming active developers. The move hints that the stablecoin industry could follow the same path as the mobile-wallet market.

In January, Russia’s largest retail bank, Sberbank, sent an application to Russia’s Central Bank to register its blockchain platform to issue its own stablecoin.

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Andreessen Horowitz Appoints FinCEN Exec Michele Korver as Head of Regulatory

Andreessen Horowitz, a U.S. Venture capital firm, also known as a16z, announced Tuesday for the appointment of Michele Korver, an official at the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), as the company’s new head of regulatory. - 2022-03-16T140446.031.jpg

Korver has served over 25 years in government and regulatory roles and is recognized as one of the leading federal prosecutors in cryptocurrency. The government and law-enforcement veteran recently served as the chief digital currency advisor at the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), advising on digital asset policy. Korver spent less than nine months at FinCEN when she joined the agency in July 2021 after almost four years working as a digital currency counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Horowitz hires Korver as the venture capital firm to continue pushing into crypto and web3. “It is hard to imagine someone better positioned to navigate and help shape the rapidly evolving web3 regulatory landscape. Korver will work with companies building products in the web3 space,” a16Z mentioned in a statement.

Korver talked about her new appointment via Twitter, saying: “I’m now excited to join a16z crypto and work directly with web3 projects to help them thrive in a rapidly-developing regulatory environment. a16z crypto was an early supporter of crypto and web3, and I’ve long admired their team and the visionary entrepreneurs they’ve backed. It’s clear to me that web3 and its underlying crypto technology can solve critical challenges of national importance.”

Helping Firms Investing Crypto and Web3 Projects

In January, Andreessen Horowitz announced that it plans to raise $4.5 billion in a fundraising round to support start-up projects related to blockchain and Web3 technology. The venture capital firm said that it would raise $3.5 billion for its crypto venture fund, which will be used to invest in crypto start-ups and projects seeking investment for initiatives. The company also planned to allocate another $1 billion; a fund focused on investing in new Web3 projects.

A16z has been an early and leading investor in numerous cutting-edge technology projects. In the past, prominent venture capital companies invested in crypto firms, including Protocol Labs, Polychain Capital, Opensea, Coinbase, Solana Labs, and Uniswap.

Founded in 2009, a16z currently manages more than $30 billion in assets in multiple funds across several sectors. The firm was one of the first major investors in companies such as Skype, Facebook, and Twitter.

The V.C. company has had little trouble raising substantial funds from major institutions eager to develop innovative projects to disrupt traditional financial institutions.

If a16z manages to attract investors to raise $4.5 billion, then it would become a company with the biggest venture fund in the industry, surpassing Paradigm’s $2.5 billion in November 2021.

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After SEC Pressure, Coinbase Decides To Drop Interest Product

It was just a couple weeks ago that Coinbase posted a blog post, paired with a hefty Twitter thread from CEO Brian Armstrong highlighting recent challenges with the SEC.

Armstrong described the agency’s behavior as “sketchy” after the SEC seemingly threatened the exchange that a lawsuit would be impending should Coinbase launch their expected interest-yielding product, Lend. If Armstrong’s tweet thread didn’t give it away, the company’s blog post, spearheaded by Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, was undoubtedly lined with some of the firm’s frustrations.

Now, less than a month later, reports have emerged that Coinbase has elected to halt it’s plans to launch Coinbase Lend.

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A Threat To DeFi?

The news comes less than a week after SEC Chairman Gary Gensler told CNBC that his commission is under-staffed. Gensler echoed those sentiments in a Senate testimony last week, stating that the SEC “needs a lot more people.” He added in the testimony that he believed previous judiciary decisions established that many cryptocurrency tokens “do come under the securities law.” Gensler took the role with the SEC earlier this year, and came in with high expectations from retail investors.

Elsewhere in the market, some state regulators seem to be working to try to fill the SEC’s role with interest-yielding products already on the market. A handful of state regulators in recent months started legal action against BlockFi for it’s lending products. In the past week, some state regulators have shifted focus to pursue action against Celsius as well. New Jersey, Texas and Alabama are three states that are pursuing both BlockFi and Celsius with claims that the firms are offering residents unregistered securities.

Regardless of the eventual outcome, the growing popularity of yield-generating tokens and stablecoins are becoming of increased importance to regulators, and are likely bound to be responsible for federal oversight at a higher level than currently seen. The timetable and degree of oversight remains to be seen.

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Coinbase is the first crypto exchange to be publicly traded on a major U.S. stock exchange, but has posted modest results in it's short time on the market. | Source: COIN - NASDAQ on

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Elsewhere In The Coinbase Rumblings

The powerhouse exchange continues to build on their flagship products to deliver business growth. Last week, the exchange issued a high-demand junk bond with orders amounting to $7B. In recent months, the company announced it’s intent to launch a “crypto app store” and added payment support for Apple Pay.

Safe to say it’s been a busy quarter for the bustling exchange. However, it remains to be seen what the end result is for competitors like BlockFi and Celsius. In the meantime, it seems that Coinbase may be working to try to propose regulatory framework that can help the SEC and other regulatory figures embrace the market without overstepping boundaries for crypto consumers.

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As SEC Lawsuit Looms, Coinbase CEO Describes The Agency’s Behavior As “Sketchy”

The regulatory battle with DeFi is heating up. The SEC now seemingly has it’s eyes set on arguably the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States.

The news comes after five U.S. states sent individual notices to DeFi platform BlockFi in recent weeks. This week, reports have surfaced that Coinbase is facing regulatory scrutiny over it’s upcoming, yield-generating Coinbase Lend product.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong had quite a bit to say about it, describing the SEC behavior as “sketchy”.

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Coinbase Expresses Frustration

Coinbase issued a strongly-worded blog post that broke the word over the agency’s threats, titled “The SEC has told us it wants to sue us over Lend. We have no idea why.”

Posted by Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, the post explains that the government agency issued a Wells notice last week regarding the company’s upcoming Lend product – despite what Coinbase describes as “months of effort by Coinbase to engage productively.” A Wells notice is a regulatory letter that notifies preparation of enforcement action.

The Coinbase Lend product intends to allow consumers to earn 4% APY on stablecoin USDC as a starting point for select interest-earning assets. The blog states that rather than preemptively launching the platform, the company took a proactive approach in advising the SEC regarding it’s intent first. The blog post continues on to state that despite these efforts, along with compliance with reasonable SEC requests, the agency intends to sue should Coinbase launch the Lend platform.

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The post closes stating that for the time being, the Lend platform will not launch until at least October, reiterating that “dialogue is at the heart of good regulation.” Unfortunately, it seems to be a one-way conversation thus far.

The SEC is seemingly incentivizing an “ask for forgiveness, rather than permission” policy.

As crypto's total market cap continues to grow, regulatory question marks becoming increasingly apparent. | Source: CRYPTOCAP - TOTAL on

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It Doesn’t Stop There

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took to Twitter to express some frustration as well. In a tweet thread spanning over twenty tweets long, Armstrong leads off with “some really sketchy behavior coming out of the SEC recently…”

Armstrong goes on to recap the blog post in brief, with the sticking point seeming to be that the SEC is describing the lending feature as a security, without providing any sort of elaboration or specification as to how or why that would be the case.

These circumstances could set a very interesting precedent moving forward on the leeway the SEC is given on how, what, and why the SEC determines what is and isn’t a security. To date, Coinbase’s efforts to be transparent and communicative with the agency don’t seem to be reaping rewards.

We’ll see if that continues to be the case. As Armstrong aptly states to close out his tweet thread, “hopefully the SEC steps up to create the clarity this industry deserves, without harming consumers and companies in the process.”

Related Reading | Panama To Recognize Bitcoin As Payment Alternative, Issues New Regulations

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Circle Files with The US SEC Intends to Become a National Cryptocurrency Bank

Circle, the firm behind stablecoin known as USDC, a digital token pegged to the US dollar, has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to become a federally chartered national commercial bank.

In a regulatory filing submitted on Monday, August 9, Circle payments and digital currency firm stated that it is planning to push for a national bank charter to move some of its payment processing services in-house.

Circle said in the filing statement that it relies heavily on third parties for core services, like payment processing and wallets that creates business risks. Therefore, Circle stated that one potential solution is to push for a banking charter or attempt to acquire an existing national bank.:

“As part of our strategy to reduce our dependence on third parties, we may in the future consider pursuing a U.S. national bank charter or evaluate the acquisition of a national bank. This would allow us to access the Federal Reserve System directly, reducing the costs and time for settling transactions.”

The filing stated that Circle’s blockchain-based services rely on Algorand and Ethereum blockchains. The filing further mentioned that Circle’s traditional payment infrastructure relies on its relationships with financial institutions, which “sponsor” the firm into various payment networks.  

Circle Seeking to Expand Its Business

On July 9, Circle announced plans to go public in a merger with special purpose acquisition firm Concord Acquisition corporation. Monday’s filing was a proxy statement for Concord’s shareholders to weigh approval of the public deal.

The deal valued Circle at $4.5 billion and came a few weeks after raising a $440 million funding round from investors including Willett Advisors, Fidelity, and Marshall Wace.

During that, Jeremy Allaire Circle CEO said that through such strategic transaction and the ultimate public debt, the company is taking a bigger step forward, with the relationships and capital required to develop a global-scale internet financial services firm that can help businesses everywhere to connect into a more effective, inclusive, and open global economic system.

Allaire stated that the desire to go public came from the growth that USDC stablecoin was experiencing over the previous year.  

Allaire further explained that Circle saw a huge opportunity to raise capital and build a significant public firm with transparency and visibility to the institutions and enterprises that are building on top of the firm. That increased transparency brought on by going public could assist in alleviating fears surrounding stablecoins, Allaire said.

Currently, USDC is the eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, and it is the second-largest stablecoin, with $26 billion of market value, behind Tether USDT’s $62 billion, according to

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Three US States Going After BlockFi In Regulatory Crackdown

New Jersey, Texas, and Alabama have individual state regulators issuing concerns that New Jersey-based DeFi firm, BlockFi, is offering unregistered securities. Regulators seem to particularly point to BlockFi’s Interest Account (BIA), which offers rates that consumers are now becoming accustomed to in DeFi – but that have blown traditional banking rates out of the water.

The ‘Unusual Three’

Crypto in it’s relatively early emergence in discussions around regulation and broader adoption, has largely been considered a somewhat bipartisan topic. Which makes the three states going after BlockFi a particularly unusual trio. New Jersey, the company’s home state and traditionally a very Democratic-run state at that, is arguably the most aggressive of the three states making claims against the firm. New Jersey has ordered BlockFi to stop offering it’s BIA product to state residents by July 29 according to a recent cease and desist from the state’s Bureau of Securities.

Texas, a traditionally Republican-led state, has also issued a cease and desist with a hearing date currently set for October. The document also cites BIAs as a concern, stating that BlockFi “is, in part, illegally funding its lending operations and proprietary trading through the sale of unregistered securities in the form of cryptocurrency interest-earning accounts.”

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Finally, we have another typically Republican-led state in Alabama issuing a ‘Show Cause Order‘ to BlockFi this past week. The company now has less than 30 days to show the state securities commission why they should not be issued a cease and desist for selling unregistered securities. The show cause document suggests that BIAs should be registered with applicable securities regulators.

It’s becoming pretty clear, at least in the case of BlockFi recently, that regulatory hurdles do not live on any particular side of the political aisle.

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Bitcoin's can be deposited into BlockFi's BIA product to yield substantial interest-bearing returns.  | Source: BTC-USD on

Related Reading | Uniswap Limits Access To Certain Tokens, What It Could Mean For The DeFi Sector

Is DeFi In Trouble?

BlockFi issued a recent responding statement in a tweet that stated that the firm wholeheartedly believed that it’s BIAs were “lawful and appropriate for crypto market participants”, adding that the company welcomes “discussions with regulators and believe(s) that appropriate regulation of this industry is key to its future success.”

It’s difficult to say the impacts in such an early stage of aggressive regulatory attacks on DeFi, particularly given that of the major players in the yield-generating space, only BlockFi is being highlighted here. Will other states join these three, and will major BlockFi competitors start facing challenges as well? Or are these state regulators simply cracking a proverbial whip – or are there enough substantial differences in how BlockFi competitors, such as Nexo or Celsius, are funding their interest-bearing accounts that leave them absorbing less regulatory risk? Either way, it is becoming abundantly clear that crypto’s relatively quick mainstream success, paired with slow-moving federal decision making, will leave emerging firms – but hopefully not forward-thinking consumers – with some inherent challenges.

Related Reading | Tether To Conduct An Audit To Negate Claims Concerning Transparency

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Binance Stops Trading Of Stock Tokens amid increasing Global Regulatory Scrutiny

Binance announced the completion of the 16th Quarterly Binance coin (BNB) burning on Monday, around $393.6million has been burned. The burning just comes after the suspension announced last Friday, July 16, that Binance will no longer offer digital tokens linked to shares.

The warning came at a time when the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) becoming the latest in a series of regulators to impose a crackdown on Binance’s stock token offerings.

Stock tokens, commonly recognised as tokenised stocks, are blockchain-based shares of publicly traded companies. Unlike traditional shares, stock tokens can be purchased in fractions – a feature particularly useful for expensive stocks.

Binance started trading its stock tokens in April this year and allowed users to purchase a fraction of publicly-traded companies’ shares without paying commission fees. The exchange has offered five stock tokens such as  MicroStrategy, Tesla, Microsoft, Coinbase, and Apple.  

The shutdown announced last Friday disallowing Binance trading of its stock tokens, and users of the exchange will no longer be able to purchase stock tokens, effective immediately. The company said the existing stockholders should sell their holdings before October 14. If they do not sell by such data, their stock token positions will be closed on October 15.

Binance’s announcement came a few hours before the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission issued a warning on Friday, saying that Binance is not licensed to carry out a regulated activity in the city, particularly offering stock tokens.

“In Hong Kong, Stock Tokens are likely to be ‘securities’ under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO), and if so, they are subject to the regulatory remit of the SFC,” the regulator stated.

“The SFC warns that where the Stock Tokens are ‘securities,’ marketing and or distributing such tokens – whether in Hong Kong or targeting Hong Kong investors – constitute a ‘regulated activity’ and require a license from the SFC unless an applicable exemption applies,” the regulator further said.

Binance had been offering stock tokens through a partnership with CM-Equity AG, German Financial services firm. Shares held by CM-Equity AG fully backs each token.

The exchange revealed on Friday that CM-Equity AG is developing its stock tokens trading portal for residents of Switzerland and the EEA (European Economic Area) and that Binance users in such regions could use the portal once launched.

A Binance spokesperson did not comment on the move initiated by the SFC, which came a day after Italy’s financial regulator made a similar announcement. 

However, the spokesperson said that Binance does not currently have crypto business operations in Hong Kong and stated that the exchange takes its legal obligations seriously.

It is not clear whether regulators worldwide have coordinated their efforts, which have built unprecedented pressure on the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

What’s wrong with Binance?

Apart from Hong Kong’s warning, Italy’s security regulator also announced that Binance was not authorised to offer investment services to Italians last Thursday, July 15. 

Global regulators have issued warnings against Binance, drawing attention to the exchange’s business operations and its survival in the future, including Thailand, Singapore, Canada, The Cayman Islands, and Japan have also issued similar warnings about the crypto exchange.

In April, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) said that Binance might be in breach of the nation’s securities laws regarding its stock token offerings. Last month, The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority ordered Binance not to carry out any regulated activity in the nation. 

In short, regulators in multiple nations have announced that they are holding investigations against Binance or the crypto exchange is not authorised to operate within their borders.

Besides that, more nations have warned users about Binance. Many payment processors or banks, majorly in the UK and Europe, have subsequently cut off the crypto exchange.

Like any other centralised crypto platform, what is happening to the Binance crypto exchange may signal how regulatory authorities will approach cryptocurrency operations. The enforcement actions against Binance hint at what other crypto platforms are likely to expect.

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Bitcoin Forms “Ascending Triangle”, Tries to Rebound Above $35,000 Crucial Level

Bitcoin price continues with a mixture of red and green, currently up by 1.24% and trading at $34,374 as of 04:46 UTC AM during the intraday. For the last 24 hours, BTC’s market capitalisation stands at $52,79 billion, a decline of 9.17%.

The crypto seems trying to reverse the past losses witnessed yesterday. It sets to initiate recent recovery momentum from the lows experienced during the last two weeks that reached $32,112 on July 8.

The 4-hour chart shows an ascending triangle chart that signals a potential bullish trend, indicating a temporary consolidation before the price continues the uptrend. Buyers push the price up while sellers do not have enough interest to form a new lower low.

However, the presence of short candlestick bodies indicates a weak uptrend, meaning that the uptrend would be slow because of the relatively balanced strength ratio between the buyers and sellers.

The MACD lines moved upwards and have crossed the 0-level, which indicate a potential uptrend. The convergence of the two lines signals that the uptrend is gaining strength as the current prices rise faster than the past prices.

The bullish trend is further confirmed by the Relative Strength Index (RSI), which is above 50 (standing at 59.97), thus indicating that Bitcoin is in the bull territory.

BTC recently rebounded despite mounting regulatory concerns. Last week on Friday, July 9, Bitcoin defied the warning issued by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who warned about BTC and ETH, slamming their transaction systems.

Musk tweeted that the world’s two biggest cryptocurrencies pursued a multi-layer transaction system, but their transaction rate was “slow” and cost “high”. Instead, Bitcoin made an impressive resistance and traded above at $32,700.

On Friday, July 9, BTC further defied a fresh warning issued by US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who raised concerns about the risks posed to financial markets and consumers by the crypto market.

Meanwhile, the evidence of small banks and multinational institutions considering offering Bitcoin services to both wealthy and retail clients is a big achievement for the crypto.

The flagship largest cryptocurrency is expected to remain to trade in a $35,000 resistance zone and $32,000 support zone.

However, the thesis of the bullish trend can be invalidated if sellers overcome buyers’ interest and push the price down.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 27,639.41 1.53%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,668.19 3.44%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 66.29 2.31%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 247.67 1.76%