Weekly Web3 Workout — 31st Jul 22
$BTC $23,322 +5.97%
$ETH $1,687 +9.90%
$YOP $0.081 -3.46%
$USDT Market Cap $66.21Bn
$USDC Market Cap $54.74Bn
Welcome back to the Weekly Web3 Workout. Lot’s happening as always. I did warn you last week there would be more rants about DeFi and crypto regulation and that has certainly happened this week. On a similar train of thought I will also introduce you to the new DeFi Ethics Committee I am putting together. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Last week saw strong gains in both $BTC and $ETH. A real positive was that they did not lose those gains when the Fed rate hike kicked in. As the Fed only raised interest rates by 75 basis points and not 100, it is starting to show they are seeing some stability coming to the market and inflation. This in turn means banking savings rate do not increase as much, and therefore more value is given to crypto investments like Bitcoin https://www.realvision.com/shows/crypto-seismic/videos/is-the-bottom-in-a-special-crypto-update-from-raoul-pal-99X8?source_collection=0ddb23ecd5c4410c8eaccfc08bc61aa8
This coupled with the news of the upcoming $ETH Merge, is starting to show green shoots in our crypto winter. I am the last person to try and guess what the market is going to do but at least we are seeing some positives signs now. $BTC poked its head above $24K and $ETH has been seen around the $1.7K mark. This is what we want to see! https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-28/bitcoin-tops-23-000-in-bet-on-post-fed-thawing-of-crypto-winter
There was a great article from Forbes last week that gave a comprehensive breakdown of all the strife that has been occurring in the DeFi world recently. This is probably the best breakdown I have read to date, and I thoroughly recommend it. Check it out here https://www.forbes.com/sites/dushyantshahrawat/2022/07/27/claims-that-defi-is-unraveling-or-structurally-flawed-are-unfounded
The SEC have started an investigation into Coinbase for listing crypto assets they consider to be securities https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-26/coinbase-faces-sec-investigation-over-cryptocurrency-listings. They haven’t said why these are securities and why other crypto assets Coinbase list are not securities (which one would think would be a good starting point) but they are investigating them none the less. The fact that Gary Gensler (Chairman of the SEC) has said Bitcoin is not a security, yet you can use Bitcoin in yield farming, and the very definition of a security based on the SEC’s Howey Test classifies something as a security if there is an expectation of profit to be made, it makes no sense. So, when the SEC states crypto doesn’t need new regs because the existing ones work, I’m baffled. Not only is the approach to regulating without definition a problem, but it is also the lack of clarity around how the regulations work. Their approach is like arresting the first person who drove a car because they didn’t have a license for a horse and cart. These are different things and need to be treated as such.
Fears are growing among the investment community (and rightly so given the SECs “shoot first and ask later” approach) that the SEC could pursue legal action against VCs based on their investments in crypto companies. I am still very wary about doing crypto business in the US and this is a perfect example of why. VCs are always looking at getting into the latest market disruptor and in the past we have certainly seen VCs invest in things that are in legal grey areas https://www.google.com/search?q=uber+taxi+legal+case&rlz=1C1ONGR_en-GBGB981GB981&sxsrf=ALiCzsbOOPmric0CkAe7jVbnAWh9PxmqBQ%3A1659283954565&source=lnt&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F2010%2Ccd_max%3A1%2F1%2F2015&tbm=, so this is not new territory but given the SECs track record in the crypto space, who knows what they will do next. I think this is a watch and see space https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2022/07/25/this-is-going-to-blow-up-top-vc-issues-dire-prediction-after-terra-luna-led-crash-wiped-2-trillion-from-bitcoin-ethereum-and-crypto-market-price/?sh=5f79074b60b5
Unlike the SEC, the US Congress is trying to work out crypto definitions. They are currently trying to understand how they regulate stablecoins. However, they couldn’t agree so they decided having a break would be the most effective thing in this situation. Knowing how quickly this industry evolves, by the time they get back, everything will be different, and they will have to start again, and probably need another break to deal with all the stress of the changes. Still, it’ll be Christmas by the time they realise things changed during their summer break so they’ll need some time off https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2022/07/25/us-stablecoin-bill-delayed-but-draft-language-may-soon-emerge/
Also in the US, the CFTC have created a new team to look at crypto, the Office of Technology Innovation. This office will replace their existing fintech team, a sign that the CFTC are now looking at the crypto industry in the same light as fintech, which is great to see. This is a refreshing approach and it is a positive sign to see them really try to understand this space before they start throwing their weight around https://decrypt.co/105958/cftc-announces-new-tech-innovation-office-oversee-crypto
Across the pond in the UK, we are seeing signs of another sensible approach to regulation. I’m not getting into the politics of Brexit because that is not what I want this blog to be about, but the key points are, as part of the UK changing some of their laws as they look to break away from certain EU regulation, they are enabling themselves to make new crypto laws. They have said they want to do this in an agile way, which as I have touched on above, is the most sensible approach given how quickly crypto moves. The regulations they are looking at will touch on stablecoins, exchanges, and a whole host of other products in the crypto industry. It is early days yet, but this is certainly a step in the right direction https://www.ledgerinsights.com/uk-stablecoin-bill-gives-treasury-sweeping-regulatory-powers/
The innovation around NFTs continues to grow. We are seeing more and more utility in this space, and this is greatly needed to get away from their current stigmas and to really start to break out and come into their own. The IRL use cases are getting better and better, and if we can couple this with greater online utility, we will start to see real power in this space across multiple areas of the crypto industry https://open.spotify.com/episode/5R7fnLAa0CYltlOARCLae7?si=xy2TWmn-RBaAkFH3LKrULw&utm_source=copy-link…
Given that Tether (USDT) is currently the number one stablecoin by market cap, it is vital that we see stability coming from them. We have had enough wobbles in this space, especially when Terra/Luna blew up, so a stable-stablecoin would be more than welcome. The fact that they have come out and said that they have removed yet more commercial papers from their reserves is only positive, but until we see an official audit showing all this, talk is cheap. So great move in the right direction but now is the time to prove it. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-27/tether-says-there-is-no-chinese-commercial-paper-among-reserves
DeFi Ethics Committee
I have been banging my head against the lack of crypto regulation for a while now. I have spoken to many regulators in this space and many institutions trying to make progress in this space. I am tired of bad actors in the DeFi (and CeFi) industry, ruining the potential of good actors and a lack of regulation stopping these bad actors. To this end, I am setting up a DeFi Ethic Committee to work together and create a set of recommendations and best practices that should be adhered to in this space. We need to hold ourselves accountable when no one else is. Please take a read of the proposition blog and if you are interested in being involved, please let me know https://dburrells.medium.com/defi-built-on-ethics-not-laws-55cf1f4bb4fb
OK, that’s it. Thanks for reading the Weekly Web3 Workout and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and learnings with you next week. Please send me know your thoughts and feedback, and please share this with all the web3 and crypto curioso out there.
Have a great week! 🚀🚀🚀