The Weekly Wrap: Bitcoin ETF in Australia, NFT momentum, Russian crypto regulation, and U.S. sanctions

Apr 22, 2022

1. Green light for Australian Bitcoin ETF and guidelines on crypto regulation

The Facts:

Why it’s important:

  • As Australia’s Crypto ETF market is heating up, another regulatory push toward digital assets will bring more clarity and trust for investors joining the new asset class that will be highly welcomed since Australia features the third-highest rate of crypto adoption.
  • With Australia being the 8th country to approve a spot bitcoin ETF, there is renewed criticism of the SEC, as VanEck Director Gabor Gurbacs labels the conservative stance on listing a bitcoin ETF as “a big loss for investors” and therefore putting more pressure on the SEC to approve a spot ETF in the U.S.

New monthly Ethereum gas spent high in March to settle L2 data (Data considered: Arbitrum, Aztec, DeversiFi, BobaNetwork, DyDx, ImmutableX, Loopring, Optimism, Metis A., PolygonHermez, Sorare, Starknet, ZkSwap, ZkSync)

2. Second spring in NFTs driven by new momentum due to Coinbase NFT beta, BAYC, and Proof Collective

The Facts:

  • NFT trading volume is climbing back up to a daily volume of $268m after reaching a daily low of $43m in early March.
  • The momentum comes on the back of catalysts such as Coinbase beta, BAYC’s APE, recently hitting another ATH, alongside the ‘Otherside’ anticipation, new GameFi mechanics like move-to-earn, established by pioneer STEPN, and the new PFP drop of Proof Collective, Moonbirds.
  • With ~$330m, Moonbirds which has an estimated floor market cap of $1b at 35 ETH – did more volume within one week than all of OpenSea during any month between January-June 2021.

Why it’s important:

  • After immense trading volumes in August 2021, NFT markets were on a steady decline, struggling to find sustainable growth as an ever-growing number of projects tried to capitalize on the movement.
  • With an increasing amount of companies such as Meta or Apple entering the Metaverse alongside the new momentum induced by the aforementioned catalysts, NFTs might start to have a second spring, asserting themselves as a strong asset class.
  • For instance, minting a BAYC NFT about one year ago turned into the best investment opportunity of all time, yielding a 270’000% annual return, while e.g. Microsoft yielded 466’397% in 36 years, Amazon 205’231% in 25 years or Apple 147’970% in 40 years.
It's the same situation as gold and gold mining. [...] Gold mining is a waste, but that waste is far less than the utility of having gold available as a medium of exchange. […] The utility of the exchanges made possible by Bitcoin will far exceed the cost of electricity used. Therefore, not having Bitcoin would be the net waste.

Satoshi Nakamoto on Bitcoin mining (via Forum Bitcointalk)

3. Push toward crypto regulation in Russia as miners face U.S. sanctions

The Facts:

  • Amendments in the pending legislation “On Digital Currency”, initially introduced in February, now also include mining provisions along with professional and non-professional digital asset purchases, cryptocurrency products as well as trading.
  • This new draft legislation would provide a detailed regulatory framework for crypto mining for the first time.
  • Moreover, with partial support of the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Tax Service (FTS) plans to enable digital currencies, obtained via regulated crypto wallets and exchanges, for Russian companies as a payment method for international transactions.
  • These developments come alongside the U.S. imposing sanctions on dozens of people and entities, including a Russian commercial bank and the mining company BitRiver while the EU forces Binance to narrow down its service for Russian customers.

Why it’s important:

  • Russia’s latest push toward crypto and regulatory clarity comes on the back of a call of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for cross-border payments with Africa as well as negotiations around tax code amendments that would alter cryptocurrencies to a taxable asset class.
  • According to Anatoly Aksakov, Head of the State Duma’s financial markets committee, these amendments imposing 13% on individuals’ income and 20% on legal entities’ are expected to pass by the end of the summer parliamentary session.
  • As the framework previously excluded any other role than investment for digital assets, the initiative could fundamentally alter the regulatory environment in Russia as the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has maintained an anti-crypto stance, even calling for a ban.
In other news
  • Projects running on Optimism spike on rumors of token airdrop (via Cointelegraph)
  • North Korea’s Lazarus Group behind $540 Million Ronin bridge exploit (via Wired)
  • Flash loan attack drains $182m in funds from Beanstalk (via the Guardian)
  • Ethereum Foundation increases non-crypto assets to 19% (via The Defiant)
  • Germany’s Commerzbank submits application for crypto license (via CoinDesk)

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