Weekly Roundup

The Merge: On Wednesday, following years of delays, cryptocurrency platform Ethereum completed a software upgrade known as the Merge. This update will drastically reduce Ethereum’s energy usage, making it much more environmentally friendly than Bitcoin, setting the stage for a more eco-friendly era of crypto.

Crypto Exchange: Digital Asset Exchange EDX Markets has launched with backing from leading broker-dealers, including Charles Schwab, Citadel, and Fidelity. The new exchange will leverage MEMX’s trading technology to support secure, fast, and efficient cryptocurrency trading for U.S. retail and institutional investors.

Crypto Office: The SEC announced that it is setting up a new office to deal with filings related to crypto assets. The “Office of Crypto Assets” comes as a result of recent growth in the crypto industry and will join seven existing offices under the SEC department that handles corporate disclosure filings.

Crypto’s Environmental Report: The White House’s Office for Science and Technology Policy released an environmental report on bitcoin mining. It detailed the pros and cons of the industry’s impact on the environment and energy grids and called for more research so that federal agencies can come up with standards to minimize harm.

Crypto Gambling: Streaming platform Twitch, known more traditionally for gaming, is stepping into the online gambling arena, with crypto gambling. While video games are still the platform’s biggest category of live streams, Crypto gambling has quickly entered the site’s top 10.

In the Mix: This Week’s Top FinTech Thought Leader

  • Dave Olsen, president and chief investment officer of Jump Trading Group, emphasized the increasing importance of knowledge of the crypto markets. “For institutional investors… not having a stake and the analytics capabilities to understand what’s happening in the crypto market is going to become a bigger and bigger blind spot,” Olsen said during a panel discussion at the New York SALT conference.

  • Alex Mashinsky CEO of Celsius Network, outlined a plan to revive his experimental cryptocurrency bank Celsius Network. The company hopes to rebuild with a focus on custody — storing people’s cryptocurrencies for them, and then charging fees on certain types of transactions.

  • Gurbir Grewa, SEC Enforcement Director, said the commission is being “much more intentional in our public documents” in articulating its analysis on crypto enforcement. Grewa’s remarks come in response to criticism of the commission’s regulatory approach on crypto, which has focused on enforcement over crypto-specific rules.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of FTX, announced that FTX had taken a 30 percent stake in hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, for an undisclosed sum. SkyBridge will use $40 million from the proceeds to buy cryptocurrencies to strengthen its long-term balance sheet.