Shanghai Man: Economist says El Salvador 'on road to death', salaries paid in e-CNY ...

Shanghai Man: Economist says El Salvador 'on road to death', salaries paid in e-CNY ...

Former banking heads question foreign financial policies, workers paid with digital yuan in milestone pilot and a large Series A is closed by DeFi platform SynFutures.

Our Man in Shanghai has refused to let recent regulations slow down the news coming from China. Enterprise blockchain, central bank digital currencies and start up projects continue to make a positive impact in a region hoping to grow economic value through technology.

Death march for El Salvador

The debate around El Salvador continued this week as media and officials tried to digest the adoption of Bitcoin as a national currency. JPMorgan stated that there was little economic benefit, and John Hopkins University professor Steve Hanke warned that the move could “completely collapse the economy” of the small nation. The former Bank of China deputy governor Wang Yongli took a very hardline approach, by stating that volatility and a lack of regulation or controls would put the economy on a “road to death.” This quote, appearing in state run media The Paper June 9, was an unusually direct and colorful statement on the issue.

Crypto innovation can be productive

Zhou Xiaoquan, a former governor of the People’s Bank of China, had a few positive things to say about cryptocurrency as a technology on June 11. He spoke at an economic summit in Shanghai and noted the cryptocurrency innovation in China can be productive when it serves the real economy. He also took some shots at other countries, stating that people would be mistaken if they thought other countries were taking the same approach towards building financial services. Zhou, who is one of the most often-quoted economists in the country, felt there was little emphasis on the relationship between financial services and economic value elsewhere in the world. Based on the wild displays at the Miami Bitcoin conference a few weeks ago, his position might be more sound than others would care to admit.

Paid in e-CNY

China’s e-CNY tests continued with the first reported mass payment of salaries in Xiong’an, a district near the capital Beijing. According to Cointelegraph, the pilot received support from a number of national banks and saw subcontractors paying workers their salaries from a digital wallet.

Industrial blockchain worth $22.6B

On June 3, a government organization issued a report entitled the China Industrial Blockchain Development Status and Trend Report. According to the report, in 2020, 222 industrial blockchain policies were issued, 12,059 new blockchain-related patent applications were approved, and 776 new blockchain enterprises were established. The report also claimed that the current market size of the industrial blockchain sector was around $22.6 billion U.S. dollars. Industrial blockchain is an area that China is eager to grab control in, leading to this explosive growth in recent years.

Only 5X the fun

Leading exchange Huobi surprised futures traders by limiting them to only 5x leverage on perpetual swaps and blocking new users from accessing the feature altogether. Futures trading, particularly highly-leveraged futures trading, had always been popular features on exchanges like OKEx and Huobi. It will be interesting to see whether these new decisions to limit risk will be damaging to these large exchanges that still somewhat adhere to regulator rules. It’s also possible that it’s a short-term solution in order to avoid scrutiny during periods of tighter control.

Futures of Singapore

While Huobi was tightening controls on futures traders, Singapore-based platform SynFutures was completing a Series A for $14 million. The round was led by Polychain Capital and included names like Framework Capital, Pantera Capital, Bybit, Kronos Research, WOO Ventures, Wintermute, and IOSG Ventures. SynFutures is creating a trustless derivatives market where users can take positions on assets or anything that has an accurate feed, including Bitcoin, the price of gold, or even the Bitcoin hashrate. What many people don’t know is that the SynFutures team is composed of members from Matrixport, a financial service app that was an offshoot of massive Chinese mining conglomerate Bitmain. Now you know the whole story!

This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.

Bitcoin retests $37K support, gold and stocks drop lower over Fed comments

Bitcoin retests $37K support, gold and stocks drop lower over Fed comments

Steady BTC inflows to crypto exchanges and fallout from the Federal Reserve’s plan to hike interest rates dropped Bitcoin price to the $37,000 support.

Bitcoin (BTC) price dropped another notch to $37,365 today after a failed attempt by bulls to retake the $40,000 level. The renewed slump comes as the stock market and commodities also pulled back as a result of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments related to future interest rate hikes and concerns over rising inflation which led to pdeclines for both Bitcoin and gold

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that the price of BTC climbed from $38,200 in the early trading hours on Thursday to a high above $39,500 by midday before being pummeled down to a low of $37,365 as bears took control of the market.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Inflows to spot exchanges increase

One signal provided ahead of Bitcoin’s price decline on June 17 was increased inflows to spot exchanges which led some analysts to speculate that traders who failed to cash out near the high are taking advantage of lower highs to lock in gains.

As the sell-off intensified, the netflow of BTC into exchanges saw a noticeable uptick and this selling pressure, along with the lack of dip buyers, kept Bitcoin pinned below $38,000.

Bitcoin all exchange netflow. Source: CryptoQuant

While the recent BTC inflows to exchanges point to a bearish short-term outlook, it is also worth noting that whale wallets holding between 100 BTC and 10,000 BTC have actually increased their holdings by 90,000 BTC over the past 25 days, suggesting a more positive long term outlook.

Related: Bulls aim to reclaim $40K ahead of Friday’s $520M BTC options expiry

Open interest in BTC options is on the rise

Another source to get a better overview of how funds are being deployed across the market is looking at open interest in BTC and Ether (ETH) options.

According to Delphi Digital, “open interest for BTC and ETH options have been in decline since mid-May,” but there has been a slight increase in the options open interest for BTC recently. This figure has remained stagnant for Ether, “indicating traders are trying to position themselves for a BTC move instead.”

Change in open interest for BTC and ETH options. Source: Delphi Digital

Delphi Digital also said that the recent price action for Bitcoin and gold has revived discussions on the ability of each to operate as a “safe haven asset,” with investors increasingly seeing gold as the main inflation hedge, meaning “rising inflation could negatively impact BTC sentiment.”

BTC vs. gold price deviation. Source: Delphi Digital

Given that both assets responded negatively to Powell’s comments, there is a chance that the correlation seen between BTC and gold in 2019 could lead to a revival of the narrative that BTC has evolved into a safe haven asset.

Altcoins lose steam

The overall altcoin market trended down on June 17 as the lack of optimism weighed heavily on most tokens.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Notable exceptions to the market stagnation include a 34% increase for XinFin Network (XDC) following a partnership with Flare Finance and a 32% increase for NuCyper (NU) which has benefited from its recent merger with the Keep project to form the Keanu DAO.

As seen in the chart below, the announced merger between NuCyper and Keep was picked up by the NewsQuake™ service from Cointelegraph Markets Pro on June 15 and was followed by an increase in the VORTECS™ Score to a high of 74 on June 16, around 15 hours before the altcoin gained 44%. 

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. NU price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.568 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 45.1%.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

GOP U-turn: House Republicans begin accepting cryptocurrency donations

GOP U-turn: House Republicans begin accepting cryptocurrency donations

The GOP will accept crypto contributions through BitPay, allowing them to convert assets like Bitcoin and Ether into U.S. dollars.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, or NRCC, announced Thursday that it will begin accepting campaign donations in cryptocurrency as a part of a broader effort to retake the House and stop Democrats from pursuing their policy agenda. 

“The NRCC is proud to lead the charge in accepting cryptocurrency campaign contributions,” chairman Tom Emmerson said in a statement, adding:

“We are focused on pursuing every avenue possible to further our mission of stopping Nancy Pelosi’s socialist agenda and retaking the House majority, and this innovative technology will help provide Republicans the resources we need to succeed.”

The GOP will accept payments in Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies through BitPay, a leading digital payment processor. Cryptocurrencies received through BitPay can be liquidated immediately for dollars.

Related: Latin American telecom company accepts crypto payments through BitPay

While cryptocurrency has received some support from Republican lawmakers, such as Cynthia Lummis and Kevin McCarthy, the party's recent history has been largely hostile toward digital assets. While in office, former President Donald Trump told his Treasury secretary to “go after Bitcoin.” The outgoing administration delivered a parting shot to the crypto industry in late 2020 by supporting harsher regulations on self-custodied wallets.

On the opposite side of the Republican spectrum, Libertarian Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky, began accepting Bitcoin payments in 2015.

Many U.S. Democrats have also adopted negative views toward cryptocurrency, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren calling assets like Bitcoin “bogus digital private money.”

Nevertheless, Democrats recently announced that they were forming a new task force dedicated to cryptocurrency. Rep. Maxine Waters, who serves as chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the group will “engage with regulators and experts to do a deep dive on this poorly understood and minimally regulated industry.”