News Headlines (12th JAN 2024)

Franklin Templeton reduced the fee of its bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) to become the cheapest amongst the new investment products, which debuted on U.S. exchanges on Thursday.

San Mateo, California-headquartered Franklin Templeton has reduced the fee for its Bitcoin ETF (EZBC) from 0.29% to 0.19%, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday. Franklin Templeton’s 10 basis-point reduction makes its fund’s fee the lowest, replacing that of Bitwise, which charges 0.2%.

Till Aug. 2, 2024, the fund manager will also waive off fees for its ETF till the fund reaches assets under management (AUM) of $10 billion.

Day one for the newly minted spot Bitcoin ETFs is in the books—and it did not disappoint.

The freshman BTC funds managed to clear $4.5 billion worth of volume and hit a few standout milestones.

If that sounds like a big number, it’s because it is. Despite all the hullabaloo, market observers did not expect such a big debut across the board. “Even attaining $500 million in day-one inflows is a noteworthy challenge,” Adam Guren, co-founder of crypto hedge fund Hunting Hill Digital, told Decrypt in October.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has partnered with Africa’s Yellow Card to expand access to its products to 20 African countries, focusing on increasing USD Coin USDC $1.00 stablecoin access.

“Our new partnership […] will help usher in the future of money by giving millions of users access to USDC and fast, reliable, cheaper transactions on our decentralized, open L2 Base through both Coinbase and Yellow Card products,” Coinbase said in a Jan. 11 statement.

Yellow Card CEO Chris Maurice told Cointelegraph that the partnership involves Coinbase integrating Yellow Card’s payment rails in Africa so customers can on and off-ramp fiat to Bitcoin $45,791 and USDC on Ethereum layer-2 rollup Base.

This will be accessible to African users via Coinbase Wallet, which recently implemented a new feature to make transfers via links from social media platforms like iMessage, Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

According to CoinDesk, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) has stated that recently-listed U.S. bitcoin ETFs may violate Korean law. The nation’s financial regulator claims that domestic brokerage of a U.S.-listed bitcoin spot ETF by Korean securities firms could potentially conflict with the country’s Virtual Asset User Protection Act and the Capital Markets Act. In 2017, the Bank of Korea’s governor, Lee Ju-yeol, declared that cryptocurrencies are commodities, not legal tender, and stressed the need for regulation in this area. The FSC announced that further review is forthcoming.

Warren Davidson, Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion of the House Financial Services Committee, rejected the policies presented by the U.S. Treasury to regulate crypto assets. In a recent opinion post titled “Setting the record straight and debunking unworkable illicit finance proposals,” Davidson explains that these suggestions, very similar to the proposals presented by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, seek to disarm the cryptocurrency industry in the U.S.

The suggested policies would classify wallet providers, miners, validators, and other network participants as a new group of crypto financial institutions, subject to the same reporting standards that traditional finance institutions do.

The debut of bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. did not turn out to be an outright sell-the-news event as some expected but still impacted $80 million in both long and short bitcoin futures bets as prices rose rapidly and retreated.

Shortly after the first ETFs started trading, bitcoin prices climbed to over $49,000 briefly – igniting bullish sentiment and levered bets amid the sudden spike. That drove prices of various majors, such as ether (ETH) and Solana’s SOL, up as much as 10% within hours.

After the first day of trading for bitcoin ETFs came to a close, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., took to X to express her dissent.

“The [US Securities and Exchange Commission] is wrong on the law and wrong on the policy with respect to the bitcoin ETF decision,” Warren wrote.

The comment comes the day after the securities regulator, in a landmark decision, voted to approve 11 new spot bitcoin ETFs. The products raked in more than $4 billion in volume during their debut trading session.

Several FTX clients have requested a United States bankruptcy judge prevent the defunct crypto exchange from valuing their cryptocurrency deposits based on 2022 prices. They argue that FTX’s approach is hindering them from capitalizing on the recent rise in crypto prices.

In supporting the debtor’s motion to estimate claims based on digital assets, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors expressed the belief that estimating claim values collectively, as proposed in the motion, is the most efficient way to streamline the claim reconciliation process and expedite the Chapter 11 confirmation.

According to Foresight News, Elon Musk recently disclosed in a Twitter Space that he still holds Dogecoin (DOGE) and it is his favorite cryptocurrency in the industry. Additionally, Musk revealed that SpaceX holds a significant amount of Bitcoin.

Musk’s revelation about his personal holdings of Dogecoin and SpaceX’s Bitcoin holdings highlights the entrepreneur’s continued interest in the cryptocurrency market. Despite the market’s volatility, Musk’s support for these digital assets remains unwavering.

Following the SEC’s spot bitcoin ETF mass approvals, Commissioner Caroline A. Crenshaw has released a letter expressing her dissent, raising serious concerns about investor protection and market integrity.

Crenshaw’s dissent follows the SEC’s decision to approve rule changes allowing the listing and trading of bitcoin-based Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) on national securities exchanges. In her statement, she argues that these actions are inconsistent with the SEC’s mandate to protect investors and the public interest.