Bitcoin continued to decline on Wednesday afternoon after earlier in the day notching a more than three-week low. The largest cryptocurrency by market value has been in a sharp decline since the weekend and spent most of Wednesday trading near $8,200.

Here’s what you need to know in cryptocurrency news for Wednesday, May 16.

Circle Using Funding to Launch ‘US Dollar Coin’

Cryptocurrency startup Circle announced that it has just closed a $110 million Series E funding round that values the company at nearly $3 billion, according to Coindesk. The funding round, which was led by China-based Bitmain alongside the like of Tusk Ventures, Accel and more, will be used to develop what Circle called a “US dollar coin.” The soon-to-be-launched coin will be a blockchain-native asset developed to be regulated and backed by real government currency through the CENTRE Project, Circle’s software that allows digital wallets to communicate with one another. The move is part of Circle’s bid to become a conglomerate of cryptocurrency trading services, moving it beyond just the level of an exchange platform.

Winklevoss Startup Gets OK for Zcash

Gemini, the startup created by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of Facebook founding fame, announced it won regulatory approval to trade Zcash on its platform. Gemini will become the first digital currency exchange in the world to receive a license to trade Zcash, which is known for its intense focus on privacy. Users on the Gemini platform will be able to start trading zcash on May 22, but they can begin depositing Zcash into accounts three days earlier on May 19. The cryptocurrency will be offered in three ways – Zcash to U.S. dollars, Zcash to bitcoin and Zcash to ethereum.

Regulators Aim to Foster, Not Suppress, Crypto Industry

Speaking at Consensus 2018, regulators from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission explained that their aim in regulating cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) is not to hamper innovation, but to make a safer space. “The SEC has been open about meeting with people from the industry, to come in and meet with the staff, to talk about the ideas you have, the new developments, and have a dialogue about the new technology. The commission encourages ways to raise capital, we don’t regulate the technology – we regulate the financial industry and the markets,” said SEC cyber division unit chief Robert Cohen. “Our mission is to foster financially sound markets, and we understand as a regulator that requires a certain amount of [flexibility] in our approach. We’re doing it in a way that doesn’t hinder innovation and doesn’t interfere with other regulatory priorities,” added CFTC enforcement director James McDonald.

Brian Kelly Launches Blockchain ETF

Investment manager and CEO of BKCM LLC, Brian Kelly, is starting a blockchain exchange-traded fund, he said Wednesday. Kelly plans to actively manage a portfolio of about 30 companies, all of which are actively implementing blockchain technology and matching at least one of four criteria. The four criteria, or “pillars” as Kelly called them, are that the company uses enterprise blockchain to streamline business, that the company is a Wall Street disruptor, that the company focuses on mining entities, and that the company uses decentralized internet. The ETF will not be directly invested in any specific cryptocurrencies, Kelly said. Investors will not have to be accredited and will only need a U.S. brokerage account to buy in.


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