Crypto Roundup: Bitcoin bounces back, exchanges limit leverage and Russia’s Hermitage gets in on NFTs

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And cryptocurrencies, what are they good for? US lawmakers ask

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Nicholas Sokic, Special for Financial Post A portrait of Napoleon by Jean-Francois Soiron (1756-1813) from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Hermitage has started selling its most famous artistic masterpieces as NFTs. Photo by The State Hermitage Museum / AFP / Getty Images

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A little over a week ago, crypto enthusiasts wrung their hands about the spectacular crash in the market, wondering where the bottom was after Bitcoin price fell below $ 30,000 from its April high north of $ 64,000.

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Bitcoin bounced back this week. The spike started on Sunday with the biggest daily gain in over six weeks, followed by a huge spike on Monday, pushing the value back above $ 39,000 for the first time since mid-June.

Some attributed the sudden rebound to a report that Amazon.com Inc. was planning to accept bitcoin payments by the end of the year, which Amazon declined despite a job posting looking for a “digital currency and blockchain product leader.”

Others attributed the power of the rebound to a short squeeze that analysts have been speculating about for weeks.

Whatever the cause, the entire crypto complex came along and prices soared across the sector.

Bitcoin was back above $ 40,000 on Wednesday afternoon, trading at $ 40,000.69.

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Things like Jack Dorsey’s first tweet and the original source code of the World Wide Web were sold as NFTs. Now some of the most critically acclaimed works of art in human history will be added.

The Hermitage in Russia has started selling five of its most famous artistic masterpieces as NFTs, which, depending on your perspective, is either a portent of the apocalypse or a sign of an upward trend.

Da Vinci’s “Madonna Litta”, “Judith” by Giorgione, “Lilac Bush” by Vincent Van Gogh, “Composition VI” by Wassily Kandinsky and “Corner of the Garden at Montgeron” by Claude Monet will be auctioned – or at least one will not fungible sign of it will be.

The Hermitage said the NFTs will emphasize “the importance of digitization in art collecting.” That and the continued acceptance of NFTs in all luxury areas.

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If you were to make the winning bid, the NFTs would be issued in two copies, one of which is owned by the Hermitage itself and the other goes to the buyer. The metadata of the NFTs include the signature of the Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky, the time of signing and the signature at the Hermitage.

The Hermitage move comes after Shopify announced it would allow NFT stores on its platform, with the first being a Chicago Bulls NFT store.

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Last month, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, Binance, has left Ontario amid a regulatory crackdown. Hence, it was more than surprising to see the recent news that both Binance and FTX plan to cap the leverage trading limits of new users from 100 to a maximum of 20.

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It was actually applied to new users last week and will be gradually rolled out to existing users over the coming weeks.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the change was made to protect consumers and merchants. On the FTX side at least, leverage trading above the new limit was apparently a very small part of the total and doesn’t seem to have come out of the blue.

“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, told the New York Times. “So there are some exceptions, but most exchanges agree that maybe we should get rid of maybe 100 and 50 and anything over 10X.”

Despite the upheaval, both platforms remain leaders in spot and leverage trading. Their 24-hour volume metrics were trading at $ 21.5 billion and $ 1.8 billion, respectively, on Wednesday afternoon.

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Despite the upheaval, both platforms remain leaders in spot and leverage trading.

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Mastercard has joined rival Visa on adding a crypto and blockchain track to its incubator program for late-stage startups.

The addition to their Start Path program includes the GK8 crypto custody platform, the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Mintable, the crypto investment firm Domain Money, the blockchain oracle company SupraOracles, the digital asset company Taurus, the blockchain -Infrastructure company STACS and the digital financial platform Uphold.

The move is set to both change with the tide and protect its businesses from fintech intruders.

Mastercard can offer companies partnerships with other financial services in return for adding more innovative companies to their stable.

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Visa’s similar program is called Fast Track and has already started adding crypto and fintech companies to its list.

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There are now three separate committees in the United States weighed on the viability and risks of the cryptocurrency. What caught our eye was some of the hostile rhetoric.

In the first place was the Senate Banking Committee, whose hearing was entitled “Cryptocurrencies: What Are They Good For?” The answer: depends on who you ask. Some argued that the currencies might have some non-financial uses, or that their existence might promote financial inclusion, but most senators weren’t convinced.

“Instead of leaving our system, our financial system exposes the system to the whims of the crypto giant banks to the whims of a shadowless, faceless group of super-coders and miners, which doesn’t sound any better to me,” said Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said .

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  1. After a decade with cryptocurrencies, they haven't advertised much “good” to anyone but their creators, argued Senate Banking Committee Chairman Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

    “A seedy, diffuse network of funny online money”: cryptocurrencies put to the test in three US hearings

  2. A growing group of disgruntled Binance users are now organizing pressure - with a combination of social media and legal threats - sharing to make up for their losses.

    Crypto traders loved big leveraged bets to the point of an inexplicable crash

  3. Amazon isn't currently letting customers pay with cryptocurrencies, but its team is looking into the possibility.

    Amazon job postings indicate the plan to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment

It is no coincidence that Warren sent a letter to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to draft a federal regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.

The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee also held a hearing on central bank digital currencies and their misuse.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown also argued against their beneficial effects, saying they did little besides their creators to help anyone.

“There’s nothing democratic or transparent about a seedy, diffuse network of funny online money,” he said.

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The third and final hearing of the day was the Senate Judiciary Committee’s discussion of the worrying increase in ransomware attacks, which in part described the role cryptocurrencies have played as the hackers’ preferred payment method.

While U.S. federal agencies are concerned about the criminal use of cryptocurrency and how it could transform technological terrorism, Assistant Secretary of State for the Department of Homeland Security, Stephanie Dobitsch, mentioned that most of the terrorist financing is done by other means.

So you are both concerned and not as we understand it.

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