Značka: Senate

Early birds: U.S. legislators invested in crypto and their digital asset politics

According to some estimates, as many as 20% of Americans were invested in cryptocurrencies as of August 2021. While the exact number can vary significantly from one poll to another, it is clear that cryptocurrencies are no longer just a niche passion project for tech enthusiasts or a tool for financial speculation. Rather, digital assets have become a widespread investment vehicle with the prospect of becoming mainstream. Optimistic as that is, this level of mass adoption still does not enjoy a commensurate political representation, with senior United States politicians largely lagging behind the curve of crypto adoption. This makes the very narrow group of congresspeople who are also hodlers particularly interesting. As a lawmaker, does owning crypto, or at least having some crypto exposure, mean that you also vocally support the digital asset industry?According to “Bitcoin Politicians” — a crowdsourced data project aimed at tracking U.S. political figures’ crypto holdings using public financial disclosures — there are currently seven known crypto investors across both chambers of Congress. Here’s a closer look at the way their personal financial strategies are reflected, if at all, in their public political stances.Michael McCaulMichael McCaul, a 59-year-old Republican representative from Texas, holds the position of ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was also the fifth-wealthiest member of Congress in 2018. McCaul is known for his hawkish foreign affairs positions — vocally opposing the U.S. withdrawal from the Yemeni Civil War and supporting President Joe Biden’s airstrikes on Iranian-backed targets in Syria.In 2016, McCaul co-sponsored a bipartisan bill proposing a commission to study the debate over the use of encryption, including its potential economic effects. In recent years, the Texas lawmaker hasn’t been seen making any public crypto-related statements.Barry MooreA newcomer to the House of Representatives, Barry Moore is a staunch Republican from Alabama. In January 2021, he objected to the certification of the results of the presidential election and even got his Twitter account temporarily suspended for posts that echoed the claims of a “stolen election.” According to a public disclosure, Moore purchased between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of Dogecoin (DOGE) in June 2021 — an investment whose value has since dropped nearly 50%. The legislator also invested in Ether (ETH) (up to $15,000) and Cardano’s ADA (up to $45,000). Still, Moore hasn’t publicly expressed his opinions toward crypto. Marie Newman57-year-old Marie Newman, another new addition to the House of Representatives, is a Democrat from Illinois who is aligned with the progressive wing of the party. She is a proponent of abortion rights, gun control, a $15 minimum wage and the Green New Deal.Newman holds Coinbase shares as of December 2021, having purchased between $30,000 and $100,000 worth. She also registered the acquisition of more than $15,000 in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust shares. Newman hasn’t made any public statements about the crypto-related assets, but she is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a bipartisan group working to promote a more relaxed regulatory approach to crypto that would allow the technology to flourish.Jefferson Van DrewA retired dentist with almost three decades of experience as a New Jersey legislator, Van Drew was elected to the House in 2018 as a Democrat but changed his colors in 2020, becoming a Republican. This comes as no surprise, as Van Drew was one of just two members of the Democratic party to vote against former President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry in December 2019. Still, he voted in line with Democrats 89.7% of the time during his tenure in the party. In a 2020 disclosure, Van Drew accounted for up to $250,000 in an investment trust operated by Grayscale, one of the larger digital-asset management firms on the market. At the time, the representative’s office declined to give the press any details about the exact nature of the investment, and Van Drew himself has remained silent with regard to digital asset-related policy issues.Michael WaltzYet another recent House electee, Michael Waltz — a retired army colonel and former Pentagon adviser — is the first ever Green Beret to serve in Congress. A Republican from Florida, Waltz maintains a warrior ethos with a pinch of Florida spice, having called for a full U.S. boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics over the Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of the nation’s Uyghur population. Waltz also voted against President Biden’s $1.9-trillion economic stimulus bill and opposed the establishment of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.According to disclosures, Waltz bought up to $100,000 in Bitcoin (BTC) in June 2021, which makes him one of the few lawmakers to publicly own the original cryptocurrency, specifically. Nevertheless, on social media, the representative prefers to speak on foreign policy issues, and when he was asked about his crypto investment, he compared Bitcoin to gold in terms of serving as an inflation hedge. Waltz is also a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.Cynthia LummisIn the case of Cynthia Lummis, a Republican senator representing Wyoming, her fame as a major crypto proponent probably comes before her credentials as a digital asset investor. A hardline Republican, Lummis was at one point the only female member of the conservative Freedom Caucus. In her January 2021 disclosure, Lummis — a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee — registered the purchase of between $50,000 and $100,000 in Bitcoin. The Senator revealed that her overall holdings amounted to some 5 BTC.Lummis certainly puts her mouth where her money is. For one, she famously compared the U.S. to Venezuela in terms of inflation, and she has stated she wants to launch a financial innovation caucus that would aim to “educate members of the U.S. Senate and their staffs about Bitcoin, its advantages, and why it is just such a fabulous asset to dovetail with the U.S. dollar.” Around Christmas 2021, Lummis revealed she was drafting a comprehensive bill that she plans to introduce sometime in 2022. In a tweet, Lummis asked voters to contact their senators to support the bill, stating that she was seeking bipartisan cosponsors. Pat ToomeyRepublican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania can be called the arch enemy of government spending (with a peculiar exception for charter school funding), having once proposed a budget plan with a $2.2 trillion tax cut. He also happens to be a strong supporter of banking deregulation. During the past year, Toomey emerged as one of the main public supporters of crypto in Washington. He criticized Senator Sherrod Brown’s plan to give up crypto regulation to executive agencies and urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to clarify the language in the infrastructure bill around the tax reporting requirements for crypto. In December 2021, Toomey came up with his own set of regulatory principles, released ahead of a congressional hearing on stablecoins. In June 2021, he bought between $2,000 and $30,000 in shares of Grayscale’s Bitcoin and Ethereum trusts.Will the trend continue in 2022?The list of publicly crypto-friendly lawmakers grew significantly last year, and although not every hodler on the Hill dared to reinforce their investment with symmetric political statements, it is an important trend for the industry. As Chris Kline, co-founder and chief operating officer of cryptocurrency retirement investment provider Bitcoin IRA, told Cointelegraph:As more representatives invest in cryptocurrencies, I think lawmakers will begin to understand digital assets on a deeper level, leading to a more informed and detailed crypto policy that will benefit investors on every level.Eric Bleeker, analyst and general manager at investment firm The Motley Fool, also stressed the importance of the knowledge-enhancement side of lawmakers’ crypto exposure:You definitely have to view those investments as beneficial for the industry. Did Visa receive worse legislation after Nancy Pelosi invested in its IPO? At the end of the day, crypto can be seen as a ‘threat’ by governments — we’ve already seen it outlawed in China. Having legislators own it adds to knowledge of the industry.Kline also believes that the growing number of politicians invested in crypto will inevitably convert to active support, both verbal and legislative. With new concepts like the Metaverse, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and digital banking steadily conquering the attention of society, there is no reason for society’s representatives to not follow these trends.In Kline’s opinion, this will require legislators’ understanding of the deep complexities and nuances of cryptocurrencies and blockchain: “I see 2022 as the year legislators consider the potential of digital assets and another step in their widespread adoption.”Bleeker expects more U.S. legislators to get into the crypto game in 2022 for a simple reason: “Right now, they’re tremendously underinvested.” Bleeker noted that as of 2018, the median net worth of congresspeople was $1 million, with 10 senators having a net worth of over $30 million. It’s true that some legislators may avoid crypto for political reasons, but just by looking at the numbers, more crypto ownership from lawmakers can be expected from a pure portfolio diversification standpoint.The hope is that more investment in crypto by lawmakers will come with better understanding of this asset class and more political support.

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US lawmaker hints at upcoming crypto legislation as Jerome Powell says Fed will release report on digital currency soon

At his confirmation hearing in front of members of the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said the agency would be releasing its report on cryptocurrencies “within weeks.”Addressing Idaho Senator Mike Crapo remotely from the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Tuesday, Powell said the Fed’s report on digital currencies wasn’t “quite where we needed to get it” but would be released soon regardless. The Fed chair cited “changes in monetary policy” as part of the reason for the delayed report, which is expected to address policy surrounding the possible rollout of a central bank digital currency in the United States.“It’s more going to be an exercise in asking questions and seeking input from the public rather than taking a lot of positions on various issues, although we do take some positions,” said Powell. “The report really is ready to go and I would expect we will drop it — I hate to say it again — in coming weeks.”Powell’s testimony comes the same day Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer hinted on Twitter that he would be unveiling new legislation related to digital currency, without providing specifics. It’s unclear if the upcoming bill would be aimed at “fixing” the definition of a broker in the infrastructure law, which took effect November 2021, or another regulatory path to encourage innovation in the crypto industry. New digital currency legislation coming soon— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) January 11, 2022During his time as Fed chair, Powell has suggested there was no rush in the U.S. releasing a digital dollar despite other countries, including China, moving ahead with CBDCs. In December, he spoke in favor of stablecoins, saying they could be a “useful, efficient consumer-serving part of the financial system if they’re properly regulated.”Should he receive more than 50 votes once his nomination goes to the full Senate, Powell would be re-confirmed as the Fed chair for another four years. Lael Brainard will also be addressing U.S. lawmakers in a Thursday hearing regarding her confirmation as the Fed vice chair, replacing Richard Clarida.Related: US is not moving fast enough to develop a CBDC, says former CFTC chairAt least three seats at the Federal Reserve’s board of governors will be open to nominations from U.S. President Joe Biden in 2022 following the departure of Clarida, who yesterday announced he intended to resign on Jan. 14 ahead of his term expiring. Biden is reportedly considering Duke University law professor Sarah Bloom Raskin to join the group of seven governors, in addition to economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson.Cointelegraph reached out to Tom Emmer’s office, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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President Biden sends CFTC nominations to Senate

The White House has officially submitted President Joe Biden’s nominations to fill two seats at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with the upcoming departure of another commissioner.In a Friday announcement, the White House said it had sent Citi managing director Caroline Pham’s and Summer Mersinger’s names to the Senate for confirmation. Mersinger previously served as chief of staff to commissioner Dawn Stump — who is expected to leave the agency this year — as well as the director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. She and Pham will be taking the places of recently departed Commissioner Dan Berkovitz, whose term expires in April 2023, and that of Stump, with a term ending in April 2027, respectively. The CFTC nominations came the same week the White House officially announced it had sent the nominations of Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard to the Senate to await confirmation before serving as the next chair and vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, respectively. Confirmation from the Senate would allow Powell and Brainard to act as two of the top leaders of the Fed until 2026. President Biden also submitted Christy Goldsmith Romero’s and Kristin Johnson’s names for the remainder of the empty CFTC seats on Tuesday.With the nominations for four CFTC commissioners — subject to confirmation from U.S. lawmakers — there will no longer be any vacancies at the agency in 2022 after a shakeup in leadership. Berkovitz announced in September that he was planning to leave the CFTC on Oct. 15 to join the Securities and Exchange Commission as general counsel, and the Senate confirmed the nomination of Rostin Behnam to chair the CFTC in December. At the moment, the Democratic party under the leadership of President Joe Biden controls 50 of the 100 seats in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris able to act as a tiebreaker if needed. A simple majority vote is needed to confirm the president’s CFTC picks.While the White House has put forth four names for CFTC commissioners, it has yet to officially name candidates to fill upcoming vacancies at the Federal Reserve. Board member Randal Quarles resigned his position effective as of the end of December 2021, while current vice-chair Richard Clarida is expected to leave by February 2022. A Wednesday report from the Washington Post suggested the U.S. president is considering Duke University law professor Sarah Bloom Raskin to join the group of seven governors serving at the Fed, in addition to economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson.Related: It’s now or never — The US has to prepare itself for digital currencyThere may also be an opportunity for Biden to shake up the leadership at another government agency responsible for digital asset regulation in the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission. SEC commissioner Elad Roisman is expected to leave the agency by the end of January and commissioner Allison Lee’s term is set to expire in June. Some experts have noted that placing different financial experts across these three major U.S. government agencies could have an impact on crypto-related policy.

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Paraguay moves a step closer to regulating digital currency

On Dec. 17, 2021, the Senate of Paraguay approved a cryptocurrency bill introduced in July. The provisions, which define several key terms including virtual assets and call for licenses to mine cryptocurrencies, will now be sent to the Deputy Chamber for further deliberation.Senator Fernando Silva Facetti, the bill’s sponsor, revealed that it’s passed in the Paraguayan Senate after a contentious debate. According to the senator, the law also aims to foster the growth of crypto mining activities by using the surplus electricity generated in the country.(1/3) Today, after an intense debate, the Senate @SenadoresPy approved todaya New Law Project which regulates the industry and commercialization of #Crypto assets #Bitcoin #Paraguay after …(open threat)— FernandoSilvaFacetti (@FSilvaFacetti) December 17, 2021The body of the legislation includes a definition for virtual assets, tokens, cryptocurrency mining and VASPs (virtual asset service providers). It also grants the Ministry of Industry and Commerce the authority to seek assistance from government bodies outside its boundaries to implement the law.The bill explicitly states that cryptocurrency mining is a legal activity, noting that:”Virtual asset mining is a digital and innovative industry. This industry will benefit from all incentive mechanisms provided in national legislation.”Paraguay reportedly produces more energy than it consumes. As a result, several firms are interested in establishing cryptocurrency mining operations there to exploit this potential surplus.Related: Mass adoption looms as South America’s second-largest company accepts crypto paymentsIn July, Paraguayan Congressperson Carlos Rejala and Senator Fernando Silva Facetti presented a Bitcoin (BTC) bill in Congress, demonstrating the lawmakers’ commitment to crafting a comprehensive digital asset policy for their nation. The legislation has now been passed by the country’s Congress and will be discussed in the Chamber of Deputies in 2022.Due to local economic and fiscal challenges, especially in Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico, South America has emerged as a viable hotbed for cryptocurrency adoption. For example, as their national fiat currencies crumbled, Argentinians and Venezuelans have turned to digital alternatives like Bitcoin as a more viable payment option. Others, such as El Salvador, have taken a completely different approach, with the president encouraging the use of BTC on the people

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Crypto regulation is coming, but Bitcoin traders are still buying the dip

Looking at the Bitcoin chart from a weekly or daily perspective presents a bearish outlook and it’s clear that (BTC) price has been consistently making lower lows since hitting an all-time high at $69,000.Bitcoin/USD on FTX. Source: TradingViewCuriously, the Nov. 10 price peak happened right as the United States announced that inflation has hit a 30-year high, but, the mood quickly reversed after fears related to China-based real estate developer Evergrande defaulting on its loans. This appears to have impacted the broader market structure. Traders are still afraid of stablecoin regulation This initial corrective phase was quickly followed by relentless pressure from regulators and policy makers on stablecoin issuers. First came VanEck’s spot Bitcoin ETF rejection by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 12. The denial was directly related to the view that Tether’s (USDT) stablecoin was not solvent and concerns over Bitcoin’s price manipulation.On Dec. 14, the U.S. Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing on stablecoins focused on consumer protection and their risks and on Dec. 17, the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) voiced its concern over stablecoin adoption and other digital assets. “The Council recommends that state and federal regulators review available regulations and tools that could be applied to digital assets,” said the report.The worsening mood from investors was reflected in the CME’s Bitcoin futures contracts premium. The metric measures the difference between longer-term futures contracts to the current spot price in regular markets. Whenever this indicator fades or turns negative, this is an alarming red flag. This situation is also known as backwardation and indicates that bearish sentiment is present.Bitcoin CME 2-month forward contract premium versus Coinbase/USD. Source: TradingViewThese fixed-month contracts usually trade at a slight premium, indicating that sellers are requesting more money to withhold settlement for longer. Futures should trade at a 0.5% to 2% annualized premium in healthy markets, a situation known as contango.Notice how the indicator moved below the “neutral” range after Dec. 9 as Bitcoin traded below $49,000. This shows that institutional traders are displaying a lack of confidence, although it is not yet a bearish structure.Top traders are increasing their bullish betsExchange-provided data highlights traders’ long-to-short net positioning. By analyzing every client’s position on the spot, perpetual and futures contracts, one can better understand whether professional traders are leaning bullish or bearish.There are occasional discrepancies in the methodologies between different exchanges, so viewers should monitor changes instead of absolute figures.Exchanges top traders Bitcoin long-to-short ratio. Source: Coinglass.comDespite Bitcoin’s 19% correction since Dec. 3, top traders at Binance, Huobi, and OKEx have increased their leverage longs. To be more precise, Binance was the only exchange facing a modest reduction in the top traders’ long-to-short ratio. The figure moved from 1.09 to 1.03. However, this impact was more than compensated by OKEx traders increasing their bullish bets from 1.51 to 2.91 in two weeks.Related: SEC commissioner Elad Roisman will leave by end of JanuaryThe lack of a premium in CME 2-month future contracts should not be considered a ‘red alert’ because Bitcoin is currently testing the $46,000 resistance, its lowest daily close since Oct. 1. Furthermore, top traders at derivatives exchanges have increased their longs despite the price drop.Regulatory pressure probably won’t lift up in the short term, but at the same time, there’s not much that the U.S. government can do to suppress stablecoin issuance and transactions. These companies can move outside of the U.S. and operate using dollar-denominated bonds and assets instead of cash. For this reason, currently, there is hardly a sense of panic present in the market and from data shows, pro traders are buying the dip.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Law Decoded: Making sense of mixed signals, Dec. 13–20

The crypto regulation regime in any jurisdiction is an equilibrium among multiple institutional, group and personal interests of actors who have a sway over financial and monetary policies. These interests never perfectly align, frequently resulting in contradictory signals coming out of various power centers. Speaking about systemic risks facing the world’s largest economy last week, the United States Federal Reserve chair said digital assets were not a financial stability concern. Two days later, the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council issued a report that concluded that stablecoins and decentralized finance could pose sizeable financial stability risks. The source of this discrepancy could lie in the fact that the Fed’s mandate is to maintain a robust economy, while the FSOC, which has roots in the Dodd-Frank reform, is explicitly tasked with spotting systemic risks. The shape of the hammer that each regulatory actor wields bears on how they see the digital asset nails, which holds true beyond the U.S. context.Below is the concise version of the latest “Law Decoded” newsletter. For the full breakdown of policy developments over the last week, register for the full newsletter below.From Russia with FUDRecent reports from Russia have stirred crypto investors’ fears that the hard line on digital assets, championed by the nation’s central bank, could be prevailing in the crypto regulation debate that had been simmering for years. The Bank of Russia opened last week with an announcement that mutual funds will be banned from investing in cryptocurrencies and crypto derivatives. Next came a series of the central bank governors’ critical remarks on crypto, furnished with an implication that the idea of a blanket ban was not off the table. Anxious traders sought relief in the statements by the chair of the Financial Markets Committee of the Russian parliament, Anatoly Aksakov. At a press conference, Aksakov noted that the intransigent path was not the only one that the Russian authorities are considering. The alternative is a scenario where exchanges are regulated and mining is taxed.U.S. partisan divideAnother forum where opposing opinions on digital asset-related matters clashed last week was the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs floor. A hearing on “Stablecoins: How do They Work, How Are They Used, and What Are Their Risks?” saw industry experts, academics and think tank analysts offer a range of viewpoints on dollar-pegged cryptos and their role in the financial system. Critics such as Senator Elizabeth Warren have continued telling their cautionary tales of stablecoin risks and dangers of the DeFi space. Meanwhile, allies such as Senator Pat Toomey highlighted aspects of the technology that promote financial inclusion and increased efficiency.Updates from U.S. watchdogsInterestingly, conflicting signals emanated even from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week. Commissioner Hester Peirce, widely known as Crypto Mom, publicly pushed back against SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s lack of focus on urgent digital asset-related matters. This internal row, however, changed little in the agency’s usual policy of delaying decisions on Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETF). Two products sponsored by investment firms Bitwise and Grayscale were denied certainty for another few months. Finally, on the SEC, the regulator’s former head, Jay Clayton, came out of the woodwork to laud “cryptocurrency technology” and its efficiency advantages. Clayton is remembered for his reasonable stances on many crypto-related issues, although regulated Bitcoin ETFs remained out of reach during his tenure.

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Senate hearing on stablecoins: Compliance anxiety and Republican pushback

On Dec. 14, the United States Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing titled “Stablecoins: How Do They Work, How Are They Used, and What Are Their Risks?” The testimonies, both spoken and written, focused largely on the last two issues, as anxieties over Know Your Customer compliance and the U.S. dollar inflation threat dominated the discussion.Held less than a week after the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee’s hearing on digital assets, which was generally perceived as “constructive”, the meeting held by the Banking Committee was expected to be tough. Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio who chairs the Committee and had called the hearing, is infamous for his critical stance on the crypto industry, and the November report from President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG) proved that stablecoins are indeed at the center of the lawmaker’s attention due to their structural proximity to fiat money. Compliance anxietySenator Brown let loose with his opening statement, bringing to life a ghost of the Great Depression: “These tokens can crash, with crypto markets diving by almost 30% in one day. History tells us we should be concerned when any investment becomes so untethered from reality. Look at the 1929 stock market crash.”Brown once again manifested his hawkish approach when he observed that even in the absence of joint action by both chambers of Congress, there is a range of regulators who are already sharpening their tools to preside over stablecoins — from the Securities and Exchange Commission to the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. The barrage intensified with the testimony of Alexis Goldstein, director of financial policy at Open Markets Institute. The liberal think tank, according to some observers, has become influential by spurring the Democratic party’s drive to rein in tech goliaths such as Meta and Google. Goldstein used the opportunity to fiercely attack decentralized finance projects — which she maintained are largely “not in compliance” with existing Know Your Customer, Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism standards — and to question stablecoins’ potential to become a widely adopted payments settlement tool: A recent report from the World Economic Forum found that stablecoins have no benefit for financial inclusion, as they are subject to the same or higher barriers as pre-existing financial options, including the need for internet and for smartphones. […] As someone who’s played around with sending them [stablecoins], both personally and sort of in my work, it often makes Western Union look cheap when you rack up all of the fees that you need.Goldstein’s scathing sentiment was counterbalanced by Dante Disparte, chief strategy officer and head of global policy at Circle, who highlighted a number of digital asset use cases, including empowering women and minority entrepreneurs and delivering aid. Disparte called for lawmakers to adopt a “do no harm” approach to regulation: I argue that we are winning this [digital currency] race because of the sum of free-market activity taking place inside the U.S. regulatory perimeter with digital currencies and blockchain-based financial services. The sum of these activities are advancing broad U.S. economic competitiveness and national security interests.The Circle executive said that the stablecoin sector was still in the opening innings and that those who accuse it of failing in terms of financial inclusion wrongly presume that stablecoins have agency similar to that of the dollar. The argument resonated with Circle’s recent announcement that its stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), will be supported on the Avalanche blockchain, with the goal to provide lower fees and faster smart contract settlement. The question of issuanceArguably the most technically nuanced part of the hearing had to do with the future legal classification of stablecoins. At this point, it was Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, who spearheaded the opposition to the Democrat’s fearmongering by proposing that stablecoin issuance not be limited to insured depository institutions. This point appeared in Toomey’s set of principles released ahead of the hearing.Earlier, the Democrat-led PWG had advocated for limiting stablecoin issuance to insured depository institutions. Toomey’s reaction to Brown’s opening statement was a crisp message: Any final decision on stablecoins “is a question that rests with Congress.”The need to consider stablecoin issuance a matter of federal charter was laid out by Jai Massari, a partner at international law firm Davis Polk, in her written statement:A new and well-designed federal charter could accommodate a business model premised on the issuance of stablecoins fully backed by short-term, liquid assets and the provision of related payments services. This charter could impose requirements for reserve asset composition while tailoring leverage ratios or risk-based capital requirements and other requirements to the nature of the business model.According to Massari, having stablecoin issuers regulated similarly to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured banks would be “unworkable” and “unnecessary.” She added that the firms are already capable of limiting the risk of their stablecoin reserves and of “requiring the market value of those reserves to be no less than the par value of stablecoins outstanding.” A quiet reactionThe aftermath of the hearing saw the speakers’ positions unshaken. Senator Brown shared a piece of his testimony on Twitter, calling the stablecoins a “mirror of the same broken [banking] system”:Stablecoins and crypto markets aren’t actually an alternative to our banking system.They’re a mirror of the same broken system––with even less accountability, and no rules at all. pic.twitter.com/EvWwuFh886— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) December 14, 2021Senator Toomey once again voiced his excitement for the new technology and his determination to work closely on its friendly regulation:Stablecoins are an exciting new technology that create opportunities for faster payments, expanded access to the payment system, programmability, and more.I hope my colleagues will join me in working to create a sensible regulatory regime that allows this innovation to thrive. pic.twitter.com/DRUvKvErgx— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) December 14, 2021

Key participants of the previous week’s more constructive House hearing have eloquently ignored the Banking Committee meetup on social media. Crypto Twitter, too, has largely remained silent on the matter.What’s next?While the hard work of framing new regulatory standards can take years, with stablecoin regulation there are clear signs of rapid progress going on. Not all of the developments, however, look favorable.The report by the PWG called for the introduction of comprehensive oversight as soon as possible. Consistent with the opinion of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the group urged Congress to require stablecoin issuers be insured depository institutions. It took a little more than a month for Republicans to draft their counterplan and defend it at the Senate hearing. The obvious problem for those who want stablecoins to retain their non-bank identity is that at the moment, Senator Toomey’s set of principles is a collection of bullet points that could fit on a single sheet of paper, while the PWG report contains 26 pages of dense policy proposals.Perhaps an even bigger issue is that the approach articulated by the PWG is backed — and likely inspired — by those within the incumbent presidential administration. If Republicans are serious about taking the non-banking side of the stablecoin divide and suggesting an alternative regulatory approach to this asset class, they had better consolidate their views in a similarly tight manner.

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Victory is for the taking in Friday’s $950M Bitcoin options expiry

Bitcoin (BTC) price is down this week, and naturally, bears will always find some reversal signal whenever the price shows strength, such as the 8% gain on Nov. 28. Of course, technical analysis is not an exact science, so there is a margin for interpretation and most traders look at multiple timeframes to find a narrative that suits their bias. Currently, BTC price is in a descending channel that started on Oct. 31, and if this pattern plays out, Bitcoin could drop to $50,000 in the short term.Bitcoin/USD price on FTX. Source: TradingViewCryptocurrency markets crashed on Nov. 26 after concern over a new COVID-19 variant sparked a global market sell-off. As Bitcoin dipped below $54,000, bears saw a $215 million potential profit on Dec. 3’s options expiry, but that changed after BTC price regained the $57,000 support.Furthermore, regulatory concerns coming from the United States continue to pressure the market. On Nov. 24, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee chair sought information from stablecoin issuers and exchanges by Dec. 3.In early November, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets released a report suggesting that stablecoin issuers in the United States should be subject to “appropriate federal oversight” similar to that legislated for banks.Fueled by the potential government interference and negative short-term consequences, Bitcoin bears are likely to profit $80 million on Dec. 3 options expiry.Bitcoin options aggregate open interest for Dec. 3. Source: Coinglass.comAt first sight, the $460 million call (buy) options are evenly matched with the $485 million put (sell) instruments, but the 0.96 call-to-put ratio is deceptive because the 17% price drop from $69,000 will likely wipe out most of the bullish bets.For example, if Bitcoin’s price remains below $57,000 at 8:00 am UTC on Dec. 3, only $24 million worth of those call (buy) options will be available at the expiry. Therefore, there is no value in the right to buy Bitcoin at $60,000 if it is trading below that price.Bears are comfortable with Bitcoin below $57,000Listed below are the four most likely scenarios for the $950 million Dec. 3 options expiry. The imbalance favoring each side represents the theoretical profit. In other words, depending on the expiry price, the quantity of call (buy) and put (sell) contracts becoming active varies:Between $54,000 and $56,000: 290 calls vs. 3,480 puts. The net result is $175 million favoring the put (bear) options.Between $56,000 and $58,000: 750 calls vs. 2,160 puts. The net result is $80 million favoring the put (bear) instruments.Between $58,000 and $60,000: 1,510 calls vs. 1,040 puts. The net result is $30 million favoring the call (bull) options.Above $60,000: 2,760 calls vs. 860 puts. The net result is $115 million favoring the call (bull) instruments.This crude estimate considers call options being used in bullish bets and put options exclusively in neutral-to-bearish trades. However, this oversimplification disregards more complex investment strategies.For instance, a trader could have sold a put option, effectively gaining a positive exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) above a specific price. But, unfortunately, there’s no easy way to estimate this effect.Bulls need $58,000 or higher to balance the scalesThe only way for bulls to avoid a loss on Dec. 3’s expiry is by pushing Bitcoin’s price above $58,000, which is 2% away from the current $56,900. However, if the current short-term negative sentiment prevails, bears could exert some pressure and try to score up to $175 million in profit if Bitcoin price stays below $56,000.Currently, options markets data slightly favor the put (sell) options, thus creating opportunities for additional FUD and surprise market crashes.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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