Last week in review: Wall Street banking on crypto

Is crypto becoming a Wall Street mainstay? The signs are certainly good, with some of the US’s biggest banks declaring their interest during a congressional meeting last week. Meanwhile, Epic Games is looking to take a ₿ite out of Apple, Charlie’s chewed his last finger thanks to NFTs, and more. Here are our picks of the biggest crypto stories to come out of last week.

Wall Street banking on crypto

CEOs from three of Wall Street’s biggest banks appeared before the US Congress last week to discuss their role in cryptocurrencies. Executives representing CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, shared their interest in a future where cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are inevitable.

CitiGroup CEO Jane Fraser said in a statement, “Citi is focusing resources and efforts to understand changes in the digital asset space and the use of distributed ledger technology, including demand and interest by our clients, regulatory developments and technology advancements.”

The hearing comes a month after the House passed Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021, a bill geared towards clarifying digital asset regulation in the US. Should it become law, there would be a sensible balance of power between Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and will further encourage crypto adoption at an institutional level.

Amy Davine Kim, Chief Policy Officer at the Chamber of Digital Commerce, described the innovation act as a landmark event, noting “it’s the first bill to address regulatory clarity for digital assets and digital asset marketplaces to pass the house.

“It brings a number of stakeholders to the table, so it’s not just the SEC, it’s not just the CFTC, it’s also businesses and thought leaders who actually have expertise in the digital asset space.”

Could this be yet another signal for more institutional adoption?

Carl Icahn: Crypto skeptic turning evangelist?

To the surprise of many, billionaire activist and investor Carl Icahn last week said he’s now exploring opportunities in the cryptosphere. In 2018, the former Bitcoin-skeptic called cryptocurrencies ‘ridiculous’, saying at the time that “maybe I’m too old for them, but I wouldn’t touch that stuff.”

The 83-year-old seems to have had a change of heart though, and has even said those who dismiss crypto as having no intrinsic value are “a little wrong-headed.” In a recent interview, Icahn said he is now considering investing in crypto “in a relatively big way.”

Icahn is looking to invest around “a billion dollars to a billion-and-a-half” if he moves forward.

Apple’s commerce options set to ripen

Apple has long kept strict control over its payments methods, especially in its App Store where vendors must operate between narrow tramlines. This could all change though, as a recent job post by Apple hints at the tech giant’s plans to add cryptocurrencies to their payments ecosystem.

They’re currently looking for experienced candidates who have five or more years of experience “working in or with alternative payment providers, such as digital wallets, BNPL [buy now pay later], Fast Payments, cryptocurrency and etc.”

The development would be especially welcomed by third party app developers like Epic Games, the creators behind mobile game hits like Fortnite. A court battle between Apple and Epic Games is currently on the go, with the gaming giant fighting for an option to accept payment in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through the App Store.

Globant Says It Bought Bitcoin in Q1

Information technology and software development firm Globant bought bitcoin in the first quarter of 2021, according to a company filing made this week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Luxembourg-based firm, which is one of the big four tech firms in Argentina, reported the purchase of $500,000 in bitcoin (BTC) during the first three months of the year. They become the latest company to hold cryptocurrency on its balance sheet, following in the footsteps of firms like MicroStrategy and Tesla. Globant is not the first Argentinian company to buy bitcoin, either. Mercadolibre, an e-tailer company, bought $7.8 million in bitcoin this month as part of their treasury strategy.

Charlie Bit My Finger, one last time

One of YouTube’s earliest viral videos is set to be removed from the platform after being sold as a non-fungible token (NFT). Charlie Bit My Finger was first uploaded to the video streaming site in 2007, and has since racked up a whopping 885 million views.

The video, which features baby Charlie Davies-Carr biting his brother Harry’s finger, was put up for auction as an NFT by the family on 24 May and landed a final offer of $760,999.

After an intense bidding war, anonymous user “3fmusic” now has the official rights to the famous video, as well as an opportunity to create a parody of the original with the Davies-Carr brothers.

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