Is In Tuesday’s edition, we mentioned that Crypto.com had paused all withdrawals after being alerted to a security breach, but assured users that funds were safe and sound.
Turns out they should have rung the alarm because hackers got away with over $30 million and compromised almost 400 accounts.
The exchange is a colossus in the crypto game, so maintaining client trust after a breach like this is key, and no matter how many Matt Damon ads they run, people need to feel like their investments are secure.
In response, the company announced a Worldwide Account Protection Program (WAPP), which would restore funds up to US$250,000.
We might not all love CardiB, but this is a WAP(P) even Ben Shapiro can get behind.
In today’s edition:
🍻An almost 300-year-old bank could freshen up Europe’s crypto market
📱Google is finally taking crypto seriously
DeFi meets TradFi
BitMEX, a crypto trading platform, has found a clever way around some European regulatory problems by purchasing a 268-year-old German bank, Bankhaus von der Heydt.
What happened: The crypto exchange is angling to make itself the “regulated crypto powerhouse in the heart of Europe” by acquiring Bankhaus von der Heydt. While von der Heydt is one of the oldest banks on the Continent, it was one of the first banks in Germany to adopt banking 2.0 services like tokenization, efficient payment transfers and providing secure market access.
- BitMEX and von der Heydt agreed on terms, but both parties are choosing not to disclose any financial details.
- The deal still has to be approved by Germany’s banking regulator, BaFin.
Why it matters: It’s the first step in a strategy to merge TradFi (we’re kicking off that rebrand right now) and DeFi services within one institution in order to avoid any regulatory missteps. BitMEX has struggled with regulatory obstacles in the past: it is still navigating through litigation with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and was fined $100 million by the US agency in October 2020 for operating an unregulated trading platform.
- Partnering with a well-established bank that already offers a range of digital assets, BitMEX can maximize its own crypto innovation and scale to gain more share of the market and try to shake off the bad rap of unregulated trading.
Big picture: Crypto firms are expanding into traditional banking spaces more and more, with companies like Coinbase and Kraken offering mortgages. Now BitMEX is betting that traditional financial institutions themselves have value to add to the crypto space.
Google Goes Blockchain
The tech giant is embarking on a hiring spree in a push to catch up in the cryptocurrency and blockchain services space.
What happened: Google is shuffling top talent in their payments division and Google Labs arm as it tries to match major competitors Apple, Facebook and Twitter by partnering with some well-established crypto companies.
Nixing plans to launch a chequing and savings service called Plex in October 2021, the company will now focus on providing a broader suite of financial services, including crypto storage and payments.
- Arnold Goldberg, formerly of PayPal, will lead the payments division as VP and general manager for the payments and emerging market efforts. He will head the Next Billion Users initiative, a project for developing new products for consumers.
- Peeyush Ranjan, a Google engineer who piloted Google Pay’s launch in India (which turned out to be the product’s most successful market) has been promoted to GM of consumer payment services.
- Shivakumar Venkataraman will lead Google Labs and oversee “blockchain and other next gen distributed computing data and storage tech”.
What it means: Google is looking to transition Google Pay from an online payment service to a digital wallet. Through a partnership with Coinbase and Bitpay, Google Pay users will be able to store crypto assets in digital cards on their phones and pay no transaction fees.
- While you can’t actually exchange these assets using Google Pay yet, Goldberg says “Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to,” and, “as user demand and merchant demand evolves, we’ll evolve with it.” hint, hint.
Why it matters: Google, like many web 2.0 businesses, has been slow to adopt blockchain technology, but as it becomes increasingly clear how disruptive this new tech could be to their core businesses, big tech companies are beginning to adapt.
Bits & Blocks
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