The prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum remained flat for the third week running as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed no signs of conceding ground over its claim to being the industry’s lead regulator.
Bitcoin (BTC) added a modest 0.3% to its value over the last seven days and currently trades at $27,110.29. Likewise, Ethereum (ETH) only grew 0.6% and currently changes hands at $1,825.
There were no substantial losses among any of the top thirty cryptocurrencies this week. Three projects posted notable rallies.
XRP blew up 9.4% and entered the weekend at $0.46. The coin’s progenitor, Ripple, scored a small courtroom victory against the SEC in the latter’s ongoing lawsuit against the company for selling XRP as an unregistered security.
On Tuesday, Judge Analisa Torres blocked the SEC’s motion to seal documents linked to a speech by former SEC director Bill Hinman explaining why Bitcoin and Ethereum should not be considered securities. Torres said the documents in question were “subject to a strong presumption of public access.”
Ripple’s defense previously made Hinman’s case for XRP, but the SEC countered that Hinman’s speech represented Hinman’s personal views before unsuccessfully requesting the motion to seal the documents.
Ripple made headlines again on Thursday with the news that it has launched its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) platform. The platform is pitched to central banks and governments looking to create their own centrally-issued stablecoins, alongside financial institutions that will distribute them and the users—both retail and corporate—that will trade, hold and use them.
Another big mover was Litecoin (LTC) which this week blew up 13.2% and trades for $91.29 at the time of writing. The Litecoin network recently increased in popularity as a result of Ordinals Inscriptions, a craze that brings NFT-style assets to blockchains with unsophisticated smart contracts, like Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Ethereum staking token Lido DAO (LDO) surged 13.7% this week, sustaining its momentum from last week.
SEC “ready to help”
On Monday, SEC chairman Gary Gensler pushed back against claims that the SEC’s regulatory guidance to crypto companies was not clear. Speaking at a keynote session, Gensler insisted “the rules have already been published” and added his agency “stands ready to help them to come into compliance.”
The SEC’s position is widely perceived as disingenuous because the regulator is simultaneously bombarding the industry with lawsuits. Even one of the SEC’s own Commissioners, Hester Pierce, has dissented a couple of times due to the lack of clarity, most recently over her agency’s decision to shut down Kraken’s staking platform and its proposal to amend the definition of “exchange” to bring crypto companies into its jurisdiction.
Another noteworthy event on Monday was the SEC’s response to Coinbase’s petition for a writ of mandamus, an order that would require the agency to clarify its rules on crypto regulations. The regulator’s lawyers urged the court to dismiss Coinbase’s request.
Around the world
In the South Korean press on Monday, Samsung announced its partnership with the Bank of Korea (BOK) to jointly conduct research aimed at developing an ecosystem for a CBDC.
Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deepen their research into offline CBDC payments, according to a Korea Herald report.
Samsung previously participated in BOK’s CBDC pilot project last year, developing offline CBDC technology to enable transfers and payments through near-field communication (NFC), even when the transaction’s sender and recipient devices were not connected to the internet.
On Tuesday, European Union Finance Ministers adopted the bloc’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill with no objections. This marks the final step in the process of the legislation coming into force and now means that the EU has a comprehensive and uniform set of guidelines for regulating crypto throughout its 27 member states.
Finally on Wednesday, a cross-party committee of British MPs on Wednesday published a report recommending that the British government legislates crypto as gambling. The bizarre proposal envisions handing oversight to the Gambling Commission and includes possible taxes to support addiction and debt advice.