UseTheBitcoin Weekly News Roundup (MAY 13th – MAY 17th, 2024)

Stay in the loop with our weekly crypto digest as we get you up to speed on the hottest trends and events in the crypto space.

Here’s what happened in crypto this week:

Wells Fargo Discloses Spot Bitcoin ETF Holdings

According to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), US banking giant Wells Fargo now holds spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for its clients.

Wells Fargo is holding 2,245 shares of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which was converted to an ETF in January.

JPMorgan Chase Discloses Buying Spot Bitcoin ETFs

Alongside Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase has also disclosed buying spot Bitcoin ETFs. As of March 31st, the bank held shares in spot Bitcoin ETFs managed by BlackRock, Bitwise, and Fidelity.

The news comes as a surprise since the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has publicly doubted Bitcoin and has been widely outspoken against digital assets for the past few years.

Mark Cuban: SEC Chair Gary Gensler Has Not Protected A Single Investor Against Crypto Fraud

Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban has lashed out at the SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, saying he has been inefficient in protecting even a single investor from fraud.

“All he has done is make it nearly impossible for legitimate crypto companies to operate.”

The Shark Tank investor highlighted the growing influence of crypto-savvy voters, particularly among younger and independent demographics, suggesting that failure to address their concerns could impact election outcomes.

“If Joe Biden loses, there is a good chance you will be able to thank Gary Gensler and the SEC. Crypto is a mainstay with younger and independent voters,” Cuban wrote on the social media platform X.

Coinbase Can’t Force The SEC To Write New Rules

In a recent filing, the US SEC told the court that Coinbase cannot force the agency to produce new digital assets rules “from the ground up,” saying its current regulations around the emerging sector were enough to keep the industry in check.

Coinbase has repeatedly said the SEC’s failure to provide clear regulations for the crypto industry is leaving investors unprotected and hampering key players from leveraging innovations to improve the sector further.

The two parties have rebutted each other since last year, when the regulator filed a complaint against the crypto exchange, accusing it of violating securities laws by selling unregistered securities.

Bank Of Montreal, Canada’s Fourth Largest Bank, Reveals Spot Bitcoin ETF Holdings

Bank of Montreal has disclosed its exposure to spot Bitcoin ETFs in a recent SEC filing. The fourth-largest bank in Canada holds Bitcoin ETFs in four issuers: Fidelity (FBTC), Franklin Templeton (EZBC), BlackRock (IBIT), and Grayscale (GBTC).

As conventional institutions seemed to increase their accumulation, there was a general uptick in positive sentiment on social media, with many people predicting more asset inflows.

UBS, The Largest Bank In Switzerland, Discloses Shares In BlackRock’s Spot Bitcoin ETF

In a 13F filing with the SEC, UBS Group AG, the Switzerland-based global investment bank and financial services firm, disclosed a substantial holding in the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), a spot Bitcoin ETF managed by BlackRock Inc.

As per the regulatory filing, UBS possesses 3,600 shares of BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT). At the beginning of 2024, UBS permitted some of its customers to trade Bitcoin ETFs, but accounts with lower risk tolerance were not allowed to access these funds.

It is also worth noting that BlackRock is one of UBS’s institutional shareholders and has about 5.01% of its total share capital.

State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) Discloses Its Purchase Of Spot Bitcoin ETFs

According to a recent filing with the US SEC, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) disclosed its purchase of $162 million of Spot Bitcoin ETFs. The investment includes BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), worth $99 million, and the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), worth around $63 million.

This disclosure marks SWIB as the first state-level institution to publicly announce its holdings in spot Bitcoin ETFs, signaling a notable step in integrating Bitcoin into traditional investment portfolios.

Tornado Cash Developer Alexey Pertsev Found Guilty Of Money Laundering

Alexey Pertsev, the developer behind Tornado Cash, was convicted of money laundering by a Dutch judge at the s-Hertogenbosch court and was sentenced to 64 months in prison.

During the trial, prosecutors said he failed to put adequate measures in place to stop criminals from misusing Tornado Cash. His defense argued that the prosecution overlooked the open source and automated nature of the smart contracts that underpin Tornado Cash. Pertsev also said that it was unfair to hold him responsible for the actions of Tornado Cash’s users. This was, he said, because they were inherently anonymous and operated independently. Tornado Cash is a decentralized protocol designed to conceal the transaction histories of public records on the Ethereum blockchain.

Other developers of the crypto mixer, Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, also face allegations of money laundering and sanctions violations in the US Storm will go to trial this September, but Semenov has not yet been arrested. Storm was arrested last year after the US added Tornado Cash to its sanctions watchlist.

GameStop (GME) Stock Trading Halted Due To Volatility As “Roaring Kitty” Returns

Shares of GameStop jumped this week, extending the meme stock rally started by the first online post from “Roaring Kitty” in three years. The man, whose legal name is Keith Gill, posted a picture on X of a video gamer sitting forward on their chair, a meme used by gamers to indicate they are taking the game seriously.

For context, Roaring Kitty was central to the GameStop saga during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reddit traders flipped the table on hedge funds that had been making money shorting on what they believed to be a failing brick-and-mortar game store, sending the price of GameStop stock soaring over 1,000% in under a month.

This event has also significantly increased social media activity surrounding memecoins in the crypto markets. FLOKI, for instance, saw a 145% surge in social interest. Other memecoins like DOGE, SHIB, PEPE, WIF, and BONK also experienced notable gains in social volume and trading prices.

Vanguard Announces Salim Ramji As New CEO

Vanguard has chosen Salim Ramji, a former senior executive at BlackRock, as its fifth chief executive, making him the first outsider to head the $9 trillion management firm. Ramji will replace Tim Buckley, who said in March that he planned to retire after six years as CEO of Vanguard.

The pick comes as a surprise given Vanguard’s negative stance on Bitcoin in recent months and Ramji’s known interest in the crypto industry. These have sparked chatter on social media that the asset manager might change its stance.

US CPI Inflation Falls To 3.4% In April

Data: 0.3% MoM, 3.4% YoY

Forecasted: 0.4% MoM, 3.4% YoY

US consumer prices increased less than expected in April, suggesting that inflation resumed its downward trend at the start of the second quarter. This boosted financial market expectations for a September interest rate cut.

On a month-over-month (MoM) basis, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.3% last month after advancing 0.4% in March and February. However, in the 12 months through April (YoY), the CPI only increased 3.4% after climbing 3.5% in March.

Economists expect inflation pressures to ebb this quarter and prices to gradually move toward the Federal Reserve’s 2% target as the labor market is cooling.

Final Thoughts

So that’s it for this week!

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Have a fantastic week ahead!


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