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News overview 9/27: China, Twitter, FTX, Gary Gensler and Sorare

China has banned cryptocurrencies once again. Twitter integrated the Bitcoin lightning network. FTX moves its headquarter to the Bahamas and the company signed a giant sponsorship deal with an F1 team. Gary Gensler continues pushing stricter cryptocurrency regulation. NFT-platform Sorare raised $680 million in funding.

China bans cryptocurrencies – again

China’s central bank announced a warning on Friday that all cryptocurrency-related transactions are illegal in the country. This is not the first time we’ve seen China ban Bitcoin. Such announcements have been made since the year 2013 already.

The crypto market is starting to learn this as well. Even if there wasn’t a major crash, the news still had an impact. Bitcoin fell about ten percent.

Last Friday was also a due date for Bitcoin futures. Was it a coincidence the China FUD was released on the very same day?

The Chinese people can still own Bitcoin, but it will be difficult for them to acquire any. Most cryptocurrency exchanges have blocked Chinese customers.

There are still some exchanges left to serve Chinese investors. Huobi is one of them. But even Huobi announced it will close the accounts of its Chinese users after the latest news. This action crashed the price of Huobi’s exchange token by more than 15 percent.

OKEx is another major Asian exchange with Chinese customers. It hasn’t taken any actions just yet.

Twitter integrates the Bitcoin lightning network

Bitcoin adaption took another step forward last week. Twitter announced it will integrate the Bitcoin lightning network into its platform. Twitter has launched a tipping feature and has already integrated other payment methods, such as Patreon and Cash App.

The lightning network will be available for Twitter users via Strike. Many crypto enthusiasts surely remember this app and its founder, Jack Mallers. He was a pivotal figure in El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption. Strike is one of the most popular wallets being used in El Salvador.

Strike makes it possible to send Bitcoin and fiat currencies by using the lightning network. This makes transactions from people to people inexpensive and lightning-fast.

Jack Mallers also introduced Strike’s API (Application Programming Interface). This enables any programmer to integrate Strike into their platform.

It’s no surprise that Twitter was to first one to do that. The founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, is a well-known Bitcoin fan.

In the first stage, the tipping via Strike is done by using the U.S. dollar. Bitcoin will be integrated in the future. Strike sends currency through the lightning network and automatically converts it to dollars at the recipient’s end.

Twitter’s tipping feature is first enabled for iOS users.

FTX made a new sponsorship deal and moves its HQ to the Bahamas

FTX has been the hottest cryptocurrency exchange this year. According to Coinmarketcap, FTX has climbed to fourth place in both spot and derivatives ranking. Only Asian giants, Huobi, OKEx, and Binance, are ahead.

FTX has received a lot of international attention thanks to its sponsorship deals. This year the exchange has purchased the naming rights for the home arena of the NBA team Miami Heat. It has also started cooperating with the U.S. Baseball League MLB and hired NFL star Tom Brady as its ambassador.

The latest sponsorship agreement was with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.

FTX has also announced that it will move its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas. The reasons given are the clear cryptocurrency reregulation of the Bahamas and the strict coronavirus restrictions in Hong Kong.

Below the founder Sam Bankman-Fried tweeted about the change:

FTX has also its own token, just like Binance, KuCoin, Crypto.com, and many others. It’s called FTT and it has also performed excellently this year. The token has made it to the top 25 in crypto rankings. By holding FTT tokens, users get discounts on transaction fees, among other great benefits.

Gary Gensler is pushing stricter regulation

Gary Gensler was appointed to the head of SEC after Joe Biden won the election in 2020. He was first thought to be pro-crypto, but the reality has turned out different. Gensler is pushing stricter regulation for the cryptocurrency market.

According to Gensler, many cryptocurrencies meet the definition of securities.

If cryptocurrencies are considered to be securities, ICO’s can then be considered illegal. Also, it would be illegal for a cryptocurrency exchange to list any coin that is a security. This could cause significant problems for American exchanges such as Coinbase and Kraken.

Tightening regulation in the U.S would likely have a significant impact on cryptocurrency prices. Coinbase, for example, has over 50 million users. If the exchange has to remove a large portion of its selection, it would hurt a lot of customers.

The new regulation might also label stablecoins as securities. This could have a significant impact on USDC and other U.S.-based stablecoins.

Coin Bureau has made a comprehensive video of the tightening regulation:

On a global scale, the effects would be limited. American users have already been blocked from the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the market. Non-US exchanges can still list any coins they want, even if they have been given the status of security in the United States.

However, the example of the United States may also inspire other countries and regions to tighten their cryptocurrency regulation. One example of such an area could be the EU.

From an investor’s point of view, the best way to prepare for such risks is to focus on cryptocurrencies for which securitization is not a problem. The best example of such is Bitcoin.

Sorare raised $680 million

NFT art has been insanely popular this autumn. Crypto whales have paid millions of dollars for JPEG images. Last week, we also reported about an insider trading case at the OpenSea platform.

However, NFT is not limited to art alone. It offers countless other possibilities. One example is the gaming world. In this sector, a French company Sorare has just raised as much as $680 million in funding. The company now has a market value of $4.3 billion.

Sorare makes it possible for users can build their own soccer team from virtual cards. If you have played Fifa Ultimate Team (FUT) or fantasy football, you get the idea.

Each digital player card is an NFT. Users can sell and buy players on the Sorare marketplace.

At the moment, Sorare has about 600,000 active users. The trading volume in the Q2 of 2021 was 51 times higher compared to Q1 of 2020. That is massive growth.

There are already over 200 well-known football clubs at Sorare, including Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Juventus. New funds will be used for expansion in other countries, particularly in the United States.

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