The Weekly Round-Up For The Week of September 13th, 2021
The world of cryptocurrency moves fast, and there are dozens of stories published every day. Keeping up with all of it would be a full-time job! So we’ve decided to keep an eye out for what we feel are the most relevant, interesting, or fun crypto stories and provide our readers with a weekly round-up. This is your round-up for the week beginning Monday, September 13th, 2021.
The world of cryptocurrency is a bit like the Wild West, unruly and unregulated. The SEC wants to change that. Gary Gensler, head of the SEC, is no stranger to cryptocurrency. He taught a class on the subject at MIT. Gensler posits that the SEC can and intends to regulate whatever cryptocurrency investment “schemes” the body decides fall under its jurisdiction.
Several government agencies all seem to classify cryptocurrency as something different; the IRS deems it property, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sees it as a commodity, while the SEC claims that digital assets “may be securities, depending on the facts and circumstances.”
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase may be the first entity in the cryptocurrency world to face SEC scrutiny, and the rest of the industry will follow. Coinbase recently went public and was planning to begin a program called Lend. Lend would allow investors to lend USDC, a cryptocurrency, to others. USDC is considered a “stablecoin: as its value is tied to the value of the U.S. dollar. Lenders would make 4% interest on the loans, a much higher rate than banks offer for a savings account.
This is apparently what piqued the SEC’s interest. Lend would attract consumers who have been leary of crypto investing. The SEC threatened a lawsuit if Coinbase went forward with Lend.
The legal threat to Coinbase by the SEC may be the opening salvo to the industry as a whole that the Wild West days are coming to a close.
In a move that could pave the way towards creating a global network for trading digital assets, Switzerland’s stock exchange, SIX, received regulatory approval to start a digital stock exchange called SIX Digital Exchange (SDX). SDX will offer stocks and bonds in the form of digital tokens allowing investors to trade, settle, and store digital tokens on a single platform via regulated institutions.
Initially, SDX will trade in bonds and have indicated that art and other collectibles could also be exchanged in the form of tokens.
Venerable auction house Sotheby’s held an online sale where a set of 107 NFTs representing cartoon apes sold for $24.4 million. Yuga Labs made the images as part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection of 10,000 NFTs. Buyers of the ape NFTs gain membership in an online club.
Also auctioned were Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs, a set of dog images meant to be pets for the apes. The dogs brought in $1,835,000, bringing the total value of the auction to $26,228,000.
For some perspective, in May of 2020, Sotheby’s held its first-ever Contemporary Art Day Online Auction, which fetched $13.7 million, the highest total ever for an online auction at Sotheby’s. The Bored Ape Yacht Club sale blew that record out of the water.
Sotheby’s accepted Bitcoin, Ether, USDC, and fiat currencies for the sale.
It’s no longer just those in the crypto world who are taking notice of NFTs. Cathie Wood is the founder and CEO of Ark Investment Management which has more than $50 billion in AUM. While Woods doesn’t currently hold any NFTs, she understands how transformative they are going to be.
Woods stated that she expects Bitcoin’s price to top $500,000 within five years as companies diversify their cash holdings into crypto and institutional investors begin allocating as much as 5% of their funds to crypto.
Woods is putting her money where her mouth is. The company filed with the SEC to allow one of its funds to invest in Canadian Bitcoin ETFs. Further, Ark Investment helped create a Bitcoin ETF with 21Shares, but so far, the SEC has not approved any Bitcoin ETFs.
Britain plans to completely overhaul its data protection regulations in an attempt to “strengthen economic growth and better protect the public.” As part of the changes, regulators will investigate how to mitigate algorithmic bias, the term for the unintended consequences of automated decision making.
The example given was the unfair practice of insurers determining a customer or potential customer’s fitness level based on their buying habits.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden claims, “These reforms will keep people’s data safe and secure while ushering in a new Golden Age of growth and innovation right across the UK, as we build back better from the pandemic.”
The Wirecutter reviews and recommends tech products. Part of those reviews include details on the privacy and security features of products like smart thermostats and fitness trackers as the data those devices collect is sold and can be hacked.
There is no one comprehensive federal law regulating how companies collect, store, share, and sell customer data. And that data can be used for everything from targeted ads to deciding interest rates based on race.
The privacy laws we do have are primarily limited to specific sectors like credit or health data or specific populations like children. In most states, companies don’t have to notify customers that they’re selling or sharing data. There is no federal law requiring a company to inform customers if they suffer a data breach.
Only three states currently have comprehensive data privacy laws; California, Virginia, and Colorado. Experts consider the California law to be the strongest. The law allows consumers to sue a company in the case of certain kinds of data breaches. It requires a global opt-out that removes consumers from data sharing by device or browser rather than having to opt-out individually from each site.
The four areas experts want privacy laws to cover are:
- The right to see what data a company has collected and to request collected data be deleted, and to forbid companies from selling or sharing their data with third parties.
- A company must ask for opt-in consent before selling or sharing your data with third parties.
- Data minimization, meaning companies can only collect the data required to provide the service consumers are using.
- Companies may not discriminate against consumers who exert their privacy rights by charging those customers more or offering discounts to those who agree to have their data collected, shared, or sold.
Getting comprehensive, Federal privacy laws that would protect consumers passed will be an uphill battle as there are lobbyists for Big Data fighting tooth and nail against any changes to the current and almost entirely unregulated data collection industry.
Things move fast in Swapp too! Here’s a little taste of our weekly happenings.
Art in Miami
Swapp is the title sponsor of The Celebrity Soccer Match and NFT auction taking place this November in Miami. Participants include MMA fighter Jorge Masvidal, former NFL running back Rashad Jennings, and MLS midfielder Blaise Matuidi. The event is raising money for three local charities, Best Buddies International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and the Irie Foundation.
This weekend we will head to Miami to work with artists Mya Diodati and Vic Garcia, two of the artists whose works will be featured in the auction. We will spend time with local children as they have the opportunity to draw and paint on canvas and t-shirts with Mya and Vic.
Swapp’s NFT Marketplace
Part of our excitement over the event in Miami is that the NFT auction will take place on Swapp’s own NFT Marketplace. The auction will take place in November, but our marketplace will launch within the month!
The Swapp Mobile App
Big Data is making big bucks from the data it collects on you. The Swapp mobile app will change that. The app will allow you to control your data. We will cut out the middleman and will enable you to make money from your data or to opt-out so that your data can’t be collected.
The Swapp mobile app wallet is now complete! We are finalizing the integration with data points so users can onboard and verify their personal information. The first release will include integration with Etherum, Binance, and Polygon.