The United States is divided politically these days into red states and blue states, and increasingly, it seems to be fracturing into cryptocurrency-friendly and crypto-wary locales, too. On Feb. 21, it was revealed that San Francisco-based Ripple Labs had registered as a Wyoming business. Wyoming is arguably the most blockchain and cryptocurrency-welcoming state in the United States.
Meanwhile, several days later, New York State’s attorney general announced a settlement of the office’s long-standing investigation into crypto trading platform Bitfinex for illegal activities. As a result, Bitfinex and affiliated Tether must pay $18.5 million for damages to the state of New York and submit to periodic reporting of their reserves.
Wyoming and New York — poles apart on the crypto regulatory spectrum — were both making industry headlines in the same week in other words. The irony wasn’t lost on Timothy Massad, former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a senior fellow at Harvard University at Kennedy School, who told Cointelegraph:
“Federal regulation of crypto assets is like swiss cheese — full of holes — and that has meant a smorgasbord at the state level, with Wyoming actively luring crypto businesses and the New York attorney general bringing aggressive enforcement actions as we saw this week with Tether and Bitfinex.”
Whether this “smorgasbord” is a good thing is a matter of some debate. Crypto havens like Wyoming can be centers of innovation, pushing a potentially revolutionary technology further forward, as Wyoming’s recently elected U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis emphasized this week in a Chamber of Digital Commerce panel discussion with Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez, another crypto enthusiast.
A complex fabric
But it also leads to regulatory uncertainty that gives entrepreneurs a case of hypertension. As Stephen McKeon, an associate professor of finance at the University of Oregon, told Cointelegraph: “Our regulatory system is a complex fabric of multiple agencies at both the state and federal level.” He further emphasized that “they need to coordinate on the topic of crypto assets because this asset class doesn’t map cleanly to the existing regulatory structure.”
Asked if, from a business standpoint, Ripple and others were making a smart business move registering in crypto-warm states like Wyoming with a higher degree of regulatory certainty and freedom — as well as lower taxes — McKeon added: “Businesses strive to reduce regulatory uncertainty. If moving to Wyoming helps to achieve that objective, then it’s a smart move.”
Others could follow Ripple. Zachary Kelman, managing partner at Kelman Law, told Cointelegraph: “Many crypto projects fled New York after the introduction of the onerous BitLicense back in 2015. I expect more projects to relocate in Wyoming, as well as other crypto-friendly states like New Hampshire.”
Wyoming created a stir in 2019 when its legislature authorized the chartering of special purpose depository institutions, or SPDIs, that can receive both deposits and custody assets, including cryptocurrency. The state’s banking division itself acknowledged that “it is likely that many SPDIs will focus heavily on digital assets, such as virtual currencies, digital securities and utility tokens,” though they could also deal with traditional assets. SPDIs can’t make loans like traditional banks, however.
Kraken Bank was the first business to receive a Wyoming SPDI bank charter in September 2020, followed by Avanti Bank and Trust in October, and there are “three more [SPDIs] in the pipeline” said Lummis at the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Feb. 25 event. Avanti founder and CEO Caitlin Long had earlier suggested that Wyoming’s SPDIs potentially were “a solution to the #BitLicense problem” faced by crypto companies because “New York law exempts national banks from the BitLicense.”
But even though the Wyoming SPDI’s are state-chartered institutions, not national banks, “federal law protects parity of national banks and state-chartered banks,” continued Long, and following that logic, she concluded that SPDIs represented “a passport into some 42 U.S. states without the need for additional state [crypto] licenses.”
An accident waiting to happen?
Not all are enthralled by Wyoming’s new special-purpose banks, though. The Bank Policy Institute suggested that Wyoming’s SPDIs could be an “accident waiting to happen.” The BPI noted in September that Kraken was “the first digital asset company in U.S. history to receive a bank charter recognized under federal and state law” but warned that its business model “is inherently unstable under stress” because the new bank is funded by uninsured, demandable retail deposits “and relies on a pool of assets such as corporate bonds, munis and longer-term Treasuries to fund redemptions under stress.”
David Kinitsky, CEO of Kraken Bank, in a conversation with Cointelegraph, said that he believes the BPI blog post “comes from a lobbyist group funded by, and working on behalf of, the world’s biggest banks” and rests “on a slew of faulty assumptions,” adding further:
“[It’s] comical and hypocritical that they think their fractional reserve model along with its total reliance on asset exposure and interest rate environment is somehow less risky than a full reserve custodian bank that won’t do any lending and has a diverse set of adjacent revenue streams.”
Others have opined that innovation centers like Wyoming were merely filling the void left by the federal government, which has yet to take a coherent stance vis-a-vis the burgeoning crypto market. Benjamin Sauter, a lawyer at Kobre & Kim LLP, told Cointelegraph: “Wyoming is showing that individual states can play a meaningful role in crafting a coherent legal framework for the crypto/blockchain industry — particularly when it comes to state taxation as well as commercial and some banking issues.”
By comparison, according to him, the U.S. federal government “hasn’t really made an effort to create such a framework, and this has led to a lot of regulatory inefficiencies and general confusion.”
Innovator or loophole?
So, what about the notion that Wyoming merely created a means for its new banks to lure firms and investors based in more regulated states like New York? Kelman told Cointelegraph on the matter: “Many institutions operate entities all over the world, not just the United States. New York has jurisdiction over New Yorkers — but not any company related to a company that has had operations there.”
“Wyoming can and is becoming a center for crypto business and innovation,” Kinitsky told Cointelegraph, adding: “Certainly, there are ready similar examples within financial services like the credit card industry in South Dakota and ILC banks in Utah….SPDI banks have similar frameworks for being able to operate across the country and indeed internationally.”
McKeon agreed that Wyoming was following the South Dakota playbook: “South Dakota created favorable legislation for banks around interest rates and fees in the 1980s and now has one of the highest concentrations of bank assets in the U.S.,” adding further:
“By creating an environment that allows crypto projects to operate with a higher degree of regulatory certainty and freedom, Wyoming is likely to attract similar relocation within crypto.”
Will others join in?
Of course, other states could follow Wyoming’s lead. Kelman said: “I also expect larger states, like Florida, to follow suit with more crypto-friendly guidance, especially after Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s overtures to the crypto community.” However, he further stressed that “given Wyoming’s small size and relative obscurity, I don’t know if it will remain a haven for an entire industry in the way Delaware has been for incorporations and corporate governance.”
As reported, Mayor Suarez is looking to develop some of “the most progressive crypto laws” and proposing within his jurisdiction innovations like paying city workers’ wages in Bitcoin (BTC) and purchasing BTC for the municipality’s treasury. Senator Lummis applauded the mayor’s initiatives at the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s panel, inviting him to “look at Wyoming’s legislative framework as a template and then build on it” by developing new Bitcoin “components,” including a pension plan for Miami workers that includes Bitcoin — something Suarez is looking into.
Multiple innovative centers like Miami and Wyoming, among others, could advance technological progress generally, she suggested. Suarez, for his part, said: “One of the things that we want to do is imitate Wyoming’s very successful integration of crypto into their community.”
Meanwhile, Avanti’s Long remains an ardent booster for her state: “Why should crypto companies redomicile to Wyoming?” she asked rhetorically on Feb. 21 following the news that Ripple Labs had registered as a Wyoming limited liability company, adding:
“No state corp tax, no franchise tax, crypto exempt from property & sales tax, our commercial laws clarify crypto legal status, crypto-friendly banks opening soon, access to crypto-open gov/legislators/US senator — all laws open-source.”
Is Wyoming good for BTC adoption?
What exactly do these tech-friendly states and cities mean for cryptocurrency adoption? Sauter was cautiously optimistic: “It’s possible that Wyoming’s efforts will have some trickle-up effects, should the federal government ever get its act together.” He stated further that there is also a major risk as businesses may be “lulled into a false sense of security and potentially conflating Wyoming’s regime for compliance at the federal level.”
Kinitsky told Cointelegraph that the convergence between crypto and banking, as is happening in Wyoming, “portends an important step toward mainstream adoption,” while McKeon added that crypto users “are primarily concerned with access to products and features. Better products translate to increased adoption.” Therefore, if Wyoming-type legislation enables crypto projects “to provide new and desirable features by mitigating regulatory risk for the providers, then it will be a positive force for general public adoption.”
Many, though, still seem to be treading water until the federal government acts to provide some legislative/regulatory structure to the nascent blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. According to Sauter, “as great and encouraging Wyoming’s recent actions are, there is only so much one state can do.” Massad also told Cointelegraph:
“This regulatory confusion creates higher costs and uncertainty. There’s still plenty of money and talent in this country flowing into crypto innovation, but we need greater regulatory clarity to ensure investor protection, financial stability and responsible innovation.”
AgeUSD to Launch as First Stablecoin on Cardano Network
Multinational blockchain technology company Emurgo initially announced the AgeUSD stablecoin in January 2021. The firm has since announced a partnership between the Ergo Foundation, Emurgo, and Charles Hoskinson’s Input-Output Global, the parent company of IOHK.
The AgeUSD stablecoin will be available on Cardano as soon as smart contract capabilities are launched on the blockchain, it revealed.
Do We Need Another Stablecoin?
Emurgo is aiming to prevent events like MakerDAO’s Black Thursday which emerged through vulnerabilities in its Dai collateralization mechanism. A mass liquidation of the vast majority of Maker vaults resulted in around $4 million in Dai being under-collateralized at the time in March 2020.
AgeUSD’s so-called “Staticoin” protocol-inspired design does not rely on collateralized debt positions (CDPs).
“Thanks to its design, the scenario that happened on Black Thursday is not possible for the AgeUSD protocol. Without CDPs, we do not have liquidation events nor the requirement for users to perform transactions to ensure that the liquidations actually work properly,”
The stablecoin runs on the Ergo blockchain aiming to automate as much as possible within the mathematics of the protocol itself. Reserve providers pay Ergo’s native currency (ERG) to mint reserve coins which represent the underlying collateral. Users of the stablecoin can also deposit ERG into the reserves in order to mint AgeUSD, it explained. This is only allowed by the protocol if there are enough reserves above its reserve ratio. Banks use a similar method to loan out funds.
The Cardano partnership will also enable its native token, ADA, to be used as collateral to mint reserves. However, the potential downside is that the stablecoin is only backed by these two assets whereas Dai is backed by multiple cryptocurrencies.
AgeUSD will launch on Cardano when it rolls out the Alonzo update that ushers in Plutus powered smart contracts. This is expected in the latter half of this year according to the roadmap.
Cardano ADA Price Update
As the long-awaited update nears, ADA prices have been cranking to new highs, the most recent ATH being $1.55 on April 14. At the time of writing, ADA was trading up 2% on the day at $1.45 according to Coingecko.
It is the sixth largest cryptocurrency by market cap which currently stands at $46 billion and there are 32 billion tokens in circulation. The token was briefly flipped by Dogecoin but has regained its position in the charts, just below Tether.
How sustainable is YFI’s current price run?
The past week saw a lot of growth across the cryptocurrency market, with Bitcoin and Ethereum seeing their values pushed towards new all-time highs. However, it is safe to say that the digital assets market is no longer just about the top two cryptos in the market, with DeFi coins such as YFI registering significant gains on the charts.
Over the past 6 months, YFI has seen its price hike by over 520 percent. Now, while this looks extremely promising for the alt, the truth seems to be in yet another shade of grey. The price hike from over $11k in November 2020 to its press time valuation of $48,415 has been less than straightforward.
Akin to many other altcoins in the market, YFI too has endured extended periods of the price going back and forth. However, given the current market scenario, how sustainable is YFI’s current price or is history going to repeat itself in the form of yet another short-term price correction?
Interestingly, data provided by Santiment highlighted that despite the bullish nature of the YFI market, there may be a bit of FUD finally creeping into the market as the price continues to remain close to the $50k-level. In such a scenario, what YFI really needs is a strong level of support for the price if bearishness is to soon hit the market.
Taking a look at a few of the key fundamentals can provide more clarity on where the price is likely to head in the coming weeks. According to data provided by Santiment, YFI’s supply on exchanges has been stagnant for a while and hasn’t been increasing. While fewer coins in exchanges are normally a good sign of hodling, in the case of YFI, if one were to take a look at past precedents, the price decline began as soon as the supply hit a stalemate.
Additionally, the analytics platform also pointed out that the current price rally began with low on-chain activity for the coin. However, over the past few weeks, a trend reversal has emerged, with on-chain activity noting a surge and the price continuing to be inversely relational to it.
With the price inching closer to its ATH, there is always the question of price discovery. YFI seemed to be lacking in this regard, at press time. The coin’s MVRV, as per Santiment’s data, placed it in the danger zone and prime for a new trend reversal, one that can induce a short-term price correction.
In the coming days, if the price correction does set in, YFI’s $44k-price level may end up being a key support level for the coin. However, if this level is flipped to resistance in the coming weeks, a lot of the upward momentum and price surge YFI saw over the past few months might be undone.
This, once again, will result in YFI’s price continuing its current trend by which the coin will be subject to strong ‘push and pulls’ at regular intervals.
EOS, Synthetix, Maker Price Analysis: 16 April
EOS can be expected to find strong support around the $6.8-zone. If Bitcoin stabilizes above the $60.5k-area, altcoins could have a chance of recovery in the coming days. Otherwise, it would be further selling pressure across the market. Synthetix and Maker posted gains over the past few days, but were likely to retrace a significant portion of their value.
EOS was trading within a rising channel, and the past few hours saw the price test the upper boundary of the channel before falling lower.
The mid-point of the channel was ceded to bearish pressure. A region of demand lay just above the $6.8-mark. The confluence with the channel’s lower boundaries could serve as strong support for EOS.
The RSI was back at neutral 50 and would drop lower to signal a shift in momentum to bearish over the next day or two, especially if EOS closes a session under $6.8. This could see EOS fall further to find support at $5.6.
Synthetix ascended past the $21. 4-level of resistance, but its retest of the same level on the back of strong selling forced the price to drop to $20.7 and could drop further. On the 4-hour, the Supertrend indicator continued to give a buy signal that would only be flipped to sell on a session close under the $19.5-level.
The 20 EMA and 50 EMA (white and yellow respectively) highlighted the bullish momentum behind SNX in recent days, with the price not sinking under these moving averages yet.
The OBV was on an uptrend and suggested that the recent spate of selling was reactionary fear, rather than sustained selling.
Two sets of Fibonacci retracement levels were plotted to highlight some levels of importance for MKR. $2,400 is a level that MKR had been stuck under from late February till the past week. The surge past this level in recent days has been rapid, and the price did not stop at many areas to mark it as support or resistance.
As such, the move back down could be almost as rapid, and some of the Fib levels laid out possible areas of support for MKR.
The MACD was correcting lower after the MACD line rose high above the Signal line to indicate overbought market conditions.
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