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Bitcoin ETF decision delayed, China keeps criticizing crypto

2021.06.05 Adam James

Rule-making and regulations are once again dominating the cryptocurrency-related news cycle.

The blockchain and cryptocurrency industry has primarily been dominated by headlines relating to regulation in recent weeks. China continues to double down on its criticism of cryptocurrencies as the White House prioritizes cryptocurrency analysis amid high-profile ransomware attacks. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank continues to stress the importance of a digital euro — despite doing little to lay a foundation — while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed another Bitcoin exchange-traded fund application.

Here's everything you need to know about these stories, and more, in this week's edition of OKEx Insights' News of the Week.

China state media publishes critical reports on crypto markets

State-run media outlets in China have published a series of highly critical reports regarding the cryptocurrency markets, which they deem to be manipulated. Other criticisms focused on the ability for anyone to create their own tokens and facilitate scams.

Key takeaway

  • Interestingly, Xinhua News Agency admitted that cryptocurrency trading is not necessarily considered illegal by the state, writing: "If virtual currencies like Bitcoin are treated as virtual commodities that can be bought and sold, then the general public has the freedom to participate in the trade at their own risks."

White House prioritizing crypto analysis, ransomware investigations

A White House spokesperson stated that the Biden Administration is "expanding cryptocurrency analysis" in an effort to prioritize the tracing of ransomware-related transactions. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice will prioritize ransomware investigations to the same degree as terrorism investigations.

Key takeaway

  • The discussion surrounding ransomware attacks has cast a negative light on cryptocurrencies, with some individuals claiming that digital currencies should be outright banned due to attackers' preference for them as ransom payments. Those critical of this thinking have been quick to point out that such flawed logic is akin to suggesting we ban the internet for facilitating ransomware attacks.

ECB reiterates need for digital euro CBDC

The European Central Bank reiterated its belief that central bank digital currencies are vital to maintaining "the autonomy of domestic payment systems and the international use of a currency in a digital world" in a report published on Wednesday.

Key takeaways

  • Though generally opposed to BTC and stablecoins, ECB President Christine Lagarde has historically been for a digital euro — which she sees as a complement to cash.
  • By all accounts, the ECB is still very far away from developing the infrastructure necessary to support a CBDC.

Google updating crypto-related ad policy

After years of notoriously unclear policies regarding crypto-related advertisements on the platform, Google is once again changing its ad policy — specifically, for cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets.

According to a policy statement, exchanges and wallets must be "duly registered with (a) FinCEN as a Money Services Business and with at least one state as a money transmitter; or (b) a federal or state chartered bank entity," as well as comply with "relevant legal requirements, including any local legal requirements, whether at a state or federal level." Advertisers' ads and landing pages must also "comply with all Google Ads policies."

Initial coin offerings, decentralized finance protocols, unregulated decentralized applications and unhosted wallets — among others — will not be permitted to advertise on Google.

Key takeaway

  • Google banned cryptocurrency-related advertising in March 2018 before allowing exchanges to become certified advertisers later that year. However, the platform has long been criticized for the prevalence of crypto-related ad scams. The new policy may help clean up the entire process.

WisdomTree Bitcoin ETF decision delayed into July

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission delayed its decision regarding the potential Cboe bZx listing of WisdomTree's proposed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. While the decision was originally slated to come on May 30, the deadline has now been pushed back to July 14.

Key takeaways

  • Though one might be tempted to view the delayed ruling as potentially indicative of a positive decision, the SEC has a history of delaying and/or rejecting Bitcoin ETFs.
  • BTC's recent price volatility may do little to help the case for an approved Bitcoin ETF.

OKEx Insights presents market analyses, in-depth features and curated news from crypto professionals.

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Disclaimer: This material should not be taken as the basis for making investment decisions, nor be construed as a recommendation to engage in investment transactions. Trading digital assets involve significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should ensure that you fully understand the risk involved and take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary.