U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order urging the government to review the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies.
This long-awaited directive has left the crypto industry on edge, primarily due to growing regulatory concerns around the nascent digital asset market around the world.
Reports of disagreements between White House officials and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have led to delays in implementing the policy.
Crypto markets got wind of the executive order overnight after the Treasury Department inadvertently released a deleted statement calling it historic and prematurely releasing some details.
Biden has finally and officially signed the executive order on Wednesday. The White House fact sheet urges federal agencies to adopt a unified approach to regulating and overseeing digital assets.
The Biden administration has asked the Treasury Department to evaluate and develop policy recommendations on crypto. She also wants regulators to ensure adequate oversight and protection against systemic financial risks posed by digital assets.
Implementing the new policy agenda removes a key source of uncertainty for an industry already rocked by numerous regulatory issues and scandals.
Earlier this year, crypto startup BlockFi was spun out of the United States. The U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission has fined a record $50 million for allegedly violating securities laws over its retail loan product. The fines are part of a larger $100 million settlement that includes payments to 32 states.
Coinbase also ran into trouble with regulators, although it avoided penalties.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has threatened Coinbase with legal action against a BlockFi-like product that offers users interest payments on their crypto assets. The company then dropped plans for the service.
Crypto investors seem to approve new orders. On Wednesday, bitcoin prices surged above $42,000 amid optimism over U.S. executive action.
Bitcoin Soars 11% As Investors Gain Confidence
Bitcoin was trading at $42,369.0 as of 11:10 a.m. (4:10 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday, up 10.52 percent on the day. It was the most significant one-day percentage gain since February 28.
The bullish move took Bitcoin’s market cap to $805.4 billion, or 43.39% of the total cryptocurrency market cap. Bitcoin’s peak market cap was $1,275.5 billion.
Over the past 24 hours, Bitcoin has traded between $38,663.3 and $42,538.5.
Over the past seven days, Bitcoin has lost 4.12% in value. In the 24 hours to the time of writing, Bitcoin traded at $33.1 billion, or 34.29% of all cryptocurrencies in total. Besides, over the past seven days, it has traded between $37,182.1094 and $44,077.1602.
At its current price, Bitcoin is still 38.59% below its all-time high of $68,990.63, set on November 10, 2021.
Ethereum was last seen at $2,745.88, up 7.25% on the day.
Tether traded at $1.0004, also up by 0.02%.
Ethereum’s market cap was last seen at $330 billion, or 17.78% of the total cryptocurrency market cap, while Tether’s market cap was $80.1 billion, or 4.31% of the total cryptocurrency market cap.
Overall, the cryptocurrencies had quite positive results.
UAE Announces New Laws To Regulate Crypto And NFTs
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted that he had approved the Virtual Assets Act and established the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).
In his tweet, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid mentioned that the move would strengthen the UAE’s position in the field. The agency will work with all affiliates to ensure maximum transparency and security for investors.
As he explained in the post, the responsibilities of the Dubai Virtual Assets Authority include: organizing the issuance and trading of virtual assets and virtual tokens; organization and authorization of virtual asset service providers; ensuring the protection of beneficiaries’ personal data to the highest standards; Arrange the operation of the VA platform and portfolio; monitor transactions and prevent VA price manipulation.
Moreover, activities requiring VARA approval are operation and management of virtual asset platforms; exchange services between virtual assets and currencies; exchange services between one or more forms of virtual assets; transfer of virtual assets; custody and management of virtual assets; and virtual asset management services.
The UAE has always been a frontrunner in the crypto space. The country’s early adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies has contributed to the growth of the country’s crypto community. As such, the move, aimed at establishing a progressive legal framework to protect investors, is seen as a wise and well-intentioned decision.
Crypto-Friendly Yoon Suk-Yeol Wins South Korea Presidency, ICX Surges 60%
Conservative South Korean presidential candidate Yoon Suk-Yeol has been elected president of South Korea.
In the election, one of the closest in South Korean history, Yoon Jung, who represents the conservative People’s Power Party, defeated his more politically progressive rival Lee Jae-Myung by less than 1 percent.
Interestingly, cryptocurrencies have dominated South Korea’s election debate, with both candidates releasing campaign-related NFTs. Their sympathetic stance on cryptocurrencies contrasts with last year’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges by former President Moon Jae-in and has helped them win over a young, crypto-loving crowd.
In January at the Virtual Asset Forum, Yoon established his forward-looking stance on digital assets by promising to deregulate the South Korean crypto industry.
Furthermore, Yoon continues his crypto-active development program, leading to his election, stating that he wants to create Compliance-Technology-related “Unicorns” ($1 billion+ startups) in South Korea.
Yoon also promised to introduce some form of legislation that would return crypto profits from illegal activities to victims.
In a potentially related development, cryptocurrency Icon (ICX), the native token of South Korea’s ICON blockchain, has gained 60% in the past 12 hours. It’s down but is still up 40% at the time of writing. In December, Yoon revealed his signature on the blockchain at a televised startup forum.
Cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity among young Koreans. According to reports in local news outlets, young people have left their jobs to trade cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, South Korea’s traditional stock market is dominated by four family-owned conglomerates known as “chaebols,” which many see as corrupt and politically influential.
Before the crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges, last September, trading volumes on top South Korean exchanges outpaced the stock market.
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