Last week in review: Ethereum’s London upgrade successfully implemented

The SEC is showing signs of becoming crypto-savvy, Ethereum experienced one of its biggest updates in six years, and Latin American politicians continue their love affair with Bitcoin… it was all happening in crypto last week, here are our picks of the biggest headlines.

Ethereum makes seamless transition to London hard fork

  • Ethereum’s London upgrade has officially been activated. The upgrade consists of five Ethereum Improvement Proposals. They are called EIPs for short, and each puts forth a set of changes to the code. The most important of these is EIP-1559.
  • EIP-1559 changes the way transaction fees are calculated. At the moment, a blind auction determines the transaction fee (known as the gas price). Now, Ethereum’s protocol will algorithmically decide the transaction fee based upon overall demand on the network, which should make it fairer.
  • The London hard fork also doubles the Ethereum block size, though it’s designed so that they should only fill halfway. This is meant to help smooth out spikes in demand, helping gas fees to stay stable.
  • Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin told Bloomberg that the upgrade is “proof that the Ethereum ecosystem is able to make significant changes.”

SEC Chairman shares vision for future

  • The chair of the US Securities Exchange (SEC) Gary Gensler has asked lawmakers to grant the SEC the legal authority to oversee exchanges.
  • “Certain rules related to crypto assets are well settled,” said Gensler. “There are some gaps in this space, though: We need additional congressional authorities to prevent transactions, products and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks. We also need more resources to protect investors…”
  • Gensler previously taught classes about blockchain and other financial technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Gensler’s intervention comes as the US Senate prepares to vote on amendments to the crypto tax provision that were included in the Infrastructure bill. The bill has been criticised for adopting too broad a definition of cryptocurrency “brokers” that opponents say threatens the technology’s development in the country.

JPMorgan Chase continues crypto drive with Bitcoin fund

  • JPMorgan Chase has quietly made half a dozen crypto funds available to their private bankers.
  • The fund is almost identical to one NYDIG offers to clients at Morgan Stanley. Last month, JPMorgan Chase rolled out a further four funds from Grayscale Investments and another from Osprey Funds.
  • Despite Jamie Dimon’s personal disdain for cryptocurrency, the JPMorgan Chase CEO has had to respond to an increasing number of clients asking for exposure to bitcoin, as well as employees openly wondering when the bank would get involved.
  • JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, now follows in the footsteps of rivals Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, who also offer bitcoin funds to clients.

Uruguay next to adopt a crypto bill?

  • A Uruguayan senator has revealed a bill that will allow the use of cryptocurrencies as payments in contracts. The bill would also regulate their use within the South American country.
  • The bill seeks to provide “legal, financial and fiscal security in the business derived from the production and commercialization” of cryptocurrencies.
  • It also proposes that crypto assets will be recognised by law and applicable in any legal transaction, yet it will not be treated as legal tender.
  • The bill states: “They will be considered a valid means of payment, in addition to those included in the financial inclusion law, as long as they comply with the rules set forth in the law and the regulations.”
  • This makes Uruguay the fifth country in Latin America to push for cryptocurrency payments. Will it be successful?

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