Bitcoin Breaks $28,000 For First Time Since May

This Tuesday, the price of Bitcoin surpassed $28,000 for the first time since May 8, Cryptosaurus reports. 

At the time of writing, Bitcoin rose 5.23% to a price of $28,144, after having peaked at $28,211 during the day.

Bitcoin’s market capitalization surged 50% on Monday after news broke that the world’s largest asset management firm BlackRock will introduce a new Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) this coming Thursday. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust also saw a 12% rise after the BlackRock news broke.

It’s been a busy spring for Bitcoin, after largely recovering from the general market crash following the FTX debacle earlier in the year and the explosive popularity of Ordinals. But the overall cryptocurrency market has declined thanks to recent actions by the US Securities and Exchange Commission towards cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Coinbase. Even so, the news of BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF has revived hope that an approved Bitcoin ETF will finally get through.

BlackRock files for spot bitcoin ETF

Asset management giant BlackRock took the first steps Thursday to launch a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which has long been a point of contention between crypto advocates and federal regulators, CNBC report. 

The firm filed an application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch the iShares Bitcoin Trust. If approved, the ETF would allow easy access for investors to get exposure to crypto in a product from one of Wall Street’s largest companies.

“The Shares are intended to constitute a simple means of making an investment similar to an investment in bitcoin rather than by acquiring, holding and trading bitcoin directly on a peer-to-peer or other basis or via a digital asset exchange,” the filing said.

The SEC has so far resisted allowing the launch of a spot bitcoin ETF in the U.S. The regulator is currently in a legal battle with Grayscale over whether the firm will be allowed to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF. A decision in that case is expected later this year.

Several other firms have filed and later pulled applications to launch spot bitcoin funds. If the SEC relents, there could be a flood of those products on the market.

Bitcoin Wallet Moves $1.2 Million After Laying Dormant for 13 Years

A Bitcoin wallet has moved $1.2 million after being dormant for 13 years, Watcher.Guru reports. The Bitcoin whale in question had transferred 50 BTC to another wallet, having left the Bitcoin untouched since it was mined all the way back in June of 2010.

The awakened wallet has been somewhat of a trend in recent months. Specifically, similar stores of wallet addresses awakening after a similar time have been ongoing since April. With one wallet coming to life after 12 years, and moving almost $8 million in Bitcoin. 

Additionally, in the days following, another long-term investor had moved a remarkable $11 million in Bitcoin. This investor had done so after a similar 11 years of being inactive. Conversely, it is impossible to discover who these wallet addresses belong to. 

Because of the long-term holding, the investor could be someone who actually mined the coin in 2010 or an entity that acquired the wallet from that person. Either way, the wallets that are coming to life remain an interesting point of observation within the industry. 

Bank of China investment arm issues tokenized notes on Ethereum

BOCI, an investment arm of the Bank of China, issued tokenized notes in Hong Kong, marking the first time that a financial institution in China has issued a digital note in the region, Blockworks reports. 

UBS partnered with BOCI to issue the notes, which were tokenized on the Ethereum blockchain. 

BOCI issued 200 million Chinese yuan worth of notes, which translates to roughly $28 million.

Working together with UBS, we are driving the simplification of digital asset markets and products, for customers in Asia Pacific through the development of blockchain-based digital structured products, designed specifically for customers in Asia Pacific. We are encouraged by the evolution of Hong Kong’s digital economy and are committed to promoting the digital transformation and innovative development of Hong Kong’s financial industry,” said Ying Wang, deputy CEO at BOCI.

Binance.US suspends USD deposits, warns of fiat withdrawal pause

Binance.US has announced the suspension of U.S. dollar deposits and has notified its customers of an incoming pause to fiat (USD) withdrawal channels as early as June 13, CoinTelegraph reports. 

On June 9, Binance.US announced that it was forced to take action amid “extremely aggressive and intimidating tactics” from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The firm noted that, in an effort to protect its customers and platform, it is suspending USD deposits. Furthermore, Binance.US is “notifying customers that our banking partners are preparing to pause fiat (USD) withdrawal channels as early as June 13, 2023."

As a result of the SEC’s “ideological campaign against the American digital asset industry,” Binance.US and its banking partners have faced increasing challenges, it said. Those banking partners have signaled their intent to sever fiat on-ramps to the exchange.

USD deposits will be suspended as of June 9 and USD trading pairs will be delisted next week, the firm stated, however, it will continue to support USDT $1.00 (Tether) trading pairs. It stated that any USD left on the exchange may be converted into a stablecoin that can be withdrawn on-chain.

SEC sues Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao for U.S. securities violations

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed 13 charges against Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, alleging both comingled billions of dollars worth of user funds and sent them to a European company controlled by Zhao, CNBC reports. 

The U.S. regulator alleged on Monday that Zhao and his exchange worked to subvert “their own controls” to allow high net worth U.S. investors and customers to continue trading on Binance’s unregulated international exchange.

One senior executive allegedly told a compliance officer that the company was operating as a ”[f---ing] unlicensed securities exchange in the USA bro.”

The complaint alleges Binance created Binance.US as a shield for the main company and Zhao, to “reveal, retard, and resolve” law enforcement targets and insulate Binance.

Binance issued a statement on its blog stating:

We are disappointed that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chose to file a complaint today against Binance seeking, among other remedies, purported emergency relief.  From the start, we have actively cooperated with the SEC’s investigations and have worked hard to answer their questions and address their concerns.  Most recently, we have engaged in extensive good-faith discussions to reach a negotiated settlement to resolve their investigations.  But despite our efforts, with its complaint today the SEC abandoned that process and instead chose to act unilaterally and litigate.  We are disheartened by that choice.