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Coinbase Wants to List Your Crypto Asset

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In a move that could rapidly broaden the number of cryptocurrencies listed, Coinbase announced Thursday a new issuance portal called Asset Hub.

“Today, Coinbase supports trading for over 40 crypto assets on our exchange and Coinbase Custody supports over 90 crypto assets,” the firm’s chief product officer, Surojit Chatterjee, wrote in a blog post. “Our directive is to list every compliant asset possible. Streamlining the listing process is step one.”

Any asset issuer can apply, Coinbase said. Applicants then go through the process and either get approved or denied.

“We will continue to maintain a standard evaluation framework to ensure every asset we support meets our standards for legal, compliance, and technical security review,” Chatterjee wrote. “Issuers may be subject to regulatory approval in some jurisdictions and we therefore cannot guarantee whether or when any asset will be approved.”

Coinbase says Asset Hub will make it easier for token projects to access “35 million verified users.” The move comes ahead of a planned public listing for the crypto exchange, which was valued at over $8 billion way back in 2018.

Earlier this year, Coinbase rolled out an open-source technical framework for asset listings, called Rosetta.

“The unifying theme between Rosetta and Asset Hub is that these products both support issuers,” Senior Product Manager John Zettler told CoinDesk through a spokesperson. “We appreciate that the growth of the cryptoeconomy depends on the success of digital asset issuers, and we are committed to supporting issuers every way we can.”



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Early CryptoPunk Digital Collectible Sells for $762K in Ether

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Some rudimentary pixel art just sold for 605 ETH, or $761,889 at purchase.

FlamingoDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) for investing in digital collectibles, is behind Saturday’s eye-popping CryptoPunk sale. Only nine such “Aliens” exist in the CryptoPunk universe, which pioneered non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in 2017 and are the “Holy Grail” for an emerging class of Ethereum-based art collectors.

FlamingoDAO community representative Priyanka Desai told CoinDesk it was by far the collective’s most expensive piece to date.

“I showed my mom and she was like, ‘What???’” Desai said in a phone interview.

Flamingo is a fund with roughly 40 members and 4,800 ETH in pooled capital, Desai said. It has “hundreds” of NFTs in its growing collection including rare Autoglyphs, NBA Top Shot cards and land plots in various metaverses.

Flamingo’s decision to act on this rare opportunity “was whipped together within 25 minutes,” mostly via Discord, Desai said.

“It’s understandable for folks to be skeptical about NFTs, but in our view, NFTs are the future of not just digital art, but all digital property,” FlamingoDAO said in a statement. “It’s the tip of a very large spear.”

A prominent decentralized finance (DeFi) personality, @0x_b1, was one of the counterbidders who lost out on CryptoPunk 2890. In a tweet, @0x_b1 said they had valued the CryptoPunk at roughly $1 million.

The CryptoPunk in question last sold in July 2017 for 8 ETH, or $2,127 at the time. That represents a 75x return on investment in ETH terms (and even greater in USD).

“People see it as a collectible that is pretty significant in the history of NFTs,” said Desai.

Options for realizing a return on the investment are still to be determined by DAO members, Desai said. Aside from future appreciation or its possible financialization, “There’s also this notion of Flamingo wanting to build galleries in different metaverses for putting this and other pieces on display,” she said.



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Valkyrie Digital Assets Files for Bitcoin ETF

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Valkyrie Digital Assets filed an application on Friday for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), becoming the second company to do so in a month.

According to Dallas-registered Valkyrie Digital Assets, the Valkyrie Bitcoin Trust would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Coinbase Custody Trust Company, LLC would serve as the custodian for the proposed ETF.

Leah Wald, CEO of Valkyrie Digital Assets, told CoinDesk, “Our executive team has previously launched multiple ETFs, publicly traded funds, and ETPs, including bitcoin funds.”

Wald explains the team behind the ETF includes, “Steven McClurg and John Key who have collectively worked on over 100 esoteric and novel deals that have passed regulatory scrutiny.”

While an ETF is seen as advantageous because it trades on the stock market in much the same way as shares in popular companies such as Apple and Microsoft, over the years the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected bitcoin ETF proposals due to concerns about market volatility and industry manipulation. 

Still, there’ve been signs the SEC is warming to the idea. In October 2020, then-Chairman Jay Clayton, who many saw as lukewarm toward crypto, said the agency was still open to considering ETF proposals.

Now, with a new administration causing a changing of the guard at the SEC, it is widely hoped by crypto advocates that such an ETF will be approved in 2021. Clayton stepped down officially last month and was replaced by Gary Gensler, who is widely seen as being more pro-crypto than is his predecessor.

Also adding to optimism is this month’s departure of Dalia Blass, the director of the SEC’s division of investment management. Blass was the author of a 2018 letter within the SEC expressing concerns that the bitcoin market was not large enough or liquid enough to be ready for an exchange-traded product.



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Another Pro-Crypto Appointment in the Biden Administration?

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Reports are that Chris Brummer – author of a volume on crypto assets and frequent speaker on digital currencies – will chair the CFTC.

This episode is sponsored by Nexo.io.

On this edition of the Weekly Recap, NLW argues that while bitcoin’s price was the short-term story of the week, the medium-term story was all about the transition of power in the U.S. to the new Biden Administration. In it, he discusses what the appointments (reported or confirmed) of Janet Yellen, Gary Gensler, Michael Barr and Chris Brummer suggest about the future of crypto policy.

Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News



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