Crypto Tidbits: Bitcoin ETF Denied, Libra Loses Visa & eBay, SEC Crackdown on Telegram’s Blockchain

Another week, another of Crypto Tidbits. This week, Bitcoin traded within a relatively wide range — $8,200 to $8,900 — but is closing at a very similar level to last week.  Analysts are currently divided over what this consolidation means for the cryptocurrency market’s short-term future.

Price action (or lack thereof) aside, this week was hectic for the cryptocurrency industry at large. Facebook’s blockchain project, Libra, suffered when an array of key partners decided not to pursue collaboration; the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came down hard on a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund application; and the Internal Revenue Service came out swinging, unveiling more measures that would aim to prevent tax evasion via digital assets.

Related Reading: Crypto Tidbits: SEC Declares Bitcoin a Non-Security, Ethereum DeFi Gains Traction, PayPal Leaves Libra

Bitcoin & Crypto Tidbits

  • Libra Loses Key PartnersOn Friday, eBay, Stripe, Visa, and Mastercard all dropped out of the Libra Association.
  • Bitcoin ETF Denied: On Wednesday, the SEC  finally issued a verdict on Bitwise’s Bitcoin ETF application after months of waiting and delays. And unfortunately, it wasn’t all too pretty for Bitwise. Announced through a 112-page order published on Wednesday afternoon, the SEC has “disapproved” the ETF proposal from making it through its tough regulatory gauntlet.
  • SEC Cracks Down on Telegram’s Crypto Ambitions: In a SEC press release published on Friday afternoon, it was revealed that the agency has “filed an emergency action and obtained temporary restraining order” against two entities behind the $1.7 billion Telegram ICO for the Telegram Open Network (TON). The press release mentioned that the two entities are Telegram Group Inc. and TON Issuer. The SEC’s co-director of Enforcement claimed in the release that it is doing this to “prevent Telegram from flooding the U.S. markets with digital tokens that we allege were unlawfully sold.” Stephanie Avakian added that the company, in the eyes of the SEC, has “failed to provide investors with information regarding Grams and Telegram’s business operations, financial condition, risk factors, and management that the securities laws require.”
  • Zuckerberg to Appear in the House to Talk Crypto: Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California revealed that she has called on Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Libra at an October 23rd hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. Facebook CEO Zuckerberg is slated to be the sole witness at the aforementioned hearing, which has been entitled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” While Waters’s announcement did not discuss what exact topics will be discussed, she has previously been critical of the project’s potential to pose a threat to traditional finance and of Facebook’s checkered history with data and the privacy of said data.
  • UNICEF Unveils Bitcoin and Ethereum Donation Fund: This Wednesday, UNICEF revealed that it would be launching the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund, which will “be able to receive, hold and disburse donations of cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Bitcoin.” The cryptocurrencies received by the fund will be allocated towards open-source technology benefiting “children and young people around the world”. Interestingly, unlike some other crypto-focused charity initiatives, the Fund will be distributing cryptocurrencies, not the fiat obtained from the sale of Bitcoin or Ethereum donations.
  • Alipay Doubles Down on Bitcoin Ban: Earlier this week, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao of Binance revealed that the company would allow clients to deposit funds into their accounts via AliPay and WeChat’s payment services to purchase cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. AliPay, interestingly, was quick to beg to differ. In a Twitter thread published by Alipay’s English social media teams, it was said that the firm “closely monitors over-the-counter transactions to identify irregular behavior and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.” Transactions found to not be in compliance with the regulations, including transactions that involve Bitcoin, will be “immediately stopped.”
  • NBA’s Sacramento Kings Enter Crypto Game: The NBA’s Sacramento Kings has created a “blockchain-powered reward program” that involves a “blockchain-driven token”. The Sacramento Kings, in collaboration with Blockparty, will be implementing a free blockchain rewards system into the NBA’s first predictive gaming application, “Call the Shot”. The release says that Blockparty will track the engagements of Kings fans, while also allowing users to accumulate points, previously described as “blockchain-driven tokens”, in a digital wallet. These points can be used to redeem “prizes and unique events including signed merchandise and courtside tickets.”
  • German Vice-Chancellor Wants a Eurozone Crypto: Speaking to WirtschaftsWoche, a German business newspaper, Olaf Scholz — one of the most powerful people in the European nation — said that a widely-adopted crypto asset payment system “would be good for the financial center Europe and its integration into the world financial system. We should not leave the field to China, Russia, the US or any private providers.” Scholz isn’t the only prominent European politician to have seriously considered a digital Euro. France’s equivalent of Scholz, Bruno Le Maire, was reported in September that the European Union should throw its hat into the cryptocurrency ring with a “public digital currency”.
Related Reading: Bitmain CEO Claims Bitcoin Halving May Not Spark Bull Run
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