A combination of escalating interest rates and a tight regulatory environment in the United States has driven a $417 million outflow from the crypto industry in the past eight weeks, with halts in trading for many altcoins draining liquidity and prolonging the ongoing crypto winter.
This environment is forcing crypto companies to rethink and adapt their business strategies.
Crypto exchange Binance, for instance, is moving forward with efforts to diversify its sources of revenue amid legal challenges with regulators. The company is launching a new subscription-based cloud mining product dedicated to Bitcoin (BTC), allowing users without equipment to purchase Bitcoin hash rates via Binance’s cloud mining service.
Also taking a new direction is venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), opening its first office outside the U.S. in London, United Kingdom. Chris Dixon, a16z’s managing partner, cited a “predictable business environment” as one of the main factors behind the decision. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attributed the expansion to having the “right regulation and guardrails” to “foster innovation” while protecting consumers.
According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, a16z is the largest venture capital firm in the world, with $35.8 billion in assets under management. With this move, the company joins many other crypto businesses setting up operations in more friendly regulatory environments outside the United States.
This week’s Crypto Biz looks at crypto markets outflows, a16z’s first branch outside the U.S., the ongoing silent ban on altcoins, and the AI models to be first deployed in the United Kingdom.
Crypto fund outflows reach $417 million over eight weeks as investor caution persists
CoinShares’ latest weekly report revealed that cryptocurrency investment products experienced outflows of $88 million last week. With the substantial drawdown, the outflow streak has reached eight weeks, totaling $417 million. CoinShares analysts attribute this ongoing trend to monetary policy considerations, prompting investors to remain cautious about digital assets. In the past week, Ether products witnessed $36 million of outflows, marking the largest weekly outflows for the asset since the Ethereum Merge in September 2022. Meanwhile, Bitcoin investment products saw outflows totaling $52 million.
A16z opening London crypto office, citing ‘predictable’ environment
Venture capital firm a16z will open its first office outside of the U.S. this year, adding to the backdrop of U.S.-based firms seeking greener pastures outside the country. The decision was finalized after a “productive dialogue” with the U.K. prime minister and “months of constructive conversations” with His Majesty’s Treasury, policymakers, and the Financial Conduct Authority. Aside from the new office, a16z has announced its plan to launch a new Crypto Startup School (CSS) program in London in the spring of 2024. The most recent CSS program received more than 8,000 applicants, with 26 companies receiving an investment from a16z.
EToro halts ALGO, MANA, MATIC and DASH purchases for U.S. customers
Trading platform eToro has halted purchases of Algorand (ALGO), Decentraland (MANA), Polygon (MATIC) and Dash (DASH) for U.S. customers in response to the tokens being labeled as securities in recent lawsuits from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the country. The move came just a few days after competitor Robinhood also halted support for MATIC, along with Cardano (ADA) and Solana (SOL), two other cryptocurrencies deemed as securities by the regulator. Although the assets are officially delisted, eToro US users can still hold and sell these tokens. The firm said it remains a “supporter” of the crypto industry and suggested that the move was purely to avoid any potential regulatory noncompliance.
eToro has a framework in place which reviews the cryptoassets we offer in light of the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape. Due to recent developments, we will be making some changes to our crypto offering for US customers. (1/5)— eToro US (@eToroUS) June 12, 2023
UK to get “early or priority access” to AI models from Google and OpenAI
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently announced that Google DeepMind, OpenAI and Anthropic — three tech outfits widely considered the global industry leaders in generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies — have agreed to provide the U.K. with early access to their AI models. Sunak made the announcement during a speech opening London Tech Week, disclosing a three-part plan for AI systems deployment. The prime minister didn’t clarify whether the U.K. would obtain earlier access to production models than the general public or contractors, or if the commitment was simply to offer access to the government and other priority researchers.
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