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Highlights from crypto’s biggest meetup

Highlights from crypto’s biggest meetup

Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) spoke about a new version of her bipartisan crypto bill at the Consensus conference in Austin. [Bloomberg via Getty Images]

There’s never a dull moment on the blockchain. Here’s what you need to know this week:

The crypto community gathered for its biggest annual event. Rounding up the main takeaways from Consensus 2023. 

Institutional analysts are vibe-checking the crypto market. What Bernstein, Grayscale, and others think about crypto amid macro uncertainty.

Noteworthy numbers. The record-breaking amount of daily BTC transactions and other key stats from the week.


3 key takeaways from crypto’s largest conference

Last week, the crypto community descended on Austin, Texas for Consensus, the industry’s largest and longest-running conference. Across three days and dozens of panel discussions, Fortune 500 executives, members of Congress, and crypto insiders shared insights and made bold proclamations about what’s next for web3. Here are the biggest takeaways.

The U.S. could finally be progressing towards major crypto legislation.

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), the Senate’s “crypto queen,” revealed during a panel discussion that a newer version of her bipartisan Responsible Financial Innovation Act, which aims to build a framework for crypto regulation, could be unveiled within the next six weeks. Lummis said that new additions to the bill focus on national security: “You will see a stronger cybercrime aspect to our bill.”

On the same panel, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R–NC), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, said that his group and the House Agriculture Committee are planning to reveal a crypto bill that will address both securities and commodities questions, a key sticking point for crypto regulation. McHenry said he was hopeful to have the bill in two months and that it could make it to President Biden’s desk within a year.

PayPal and Mastercard are significantly expanding their crypto offerings.

PayPal announced that it was going to begin allowing on-chain transfers from Venmo accounts starting this month, a move that instantly gives 60 million users full crypto wallet functionality.

Separately, Mastercard announced the Mastercard Crypto Credential, a new service that will help ensure on-chain compliance and verification for cross-border transactions, which could help accelerate crypto use cases like remittance payments. Mastercard has already partnered with Latin American and Caribbean wallet providers including Mercado Bitcoin, Lirium, and Bit2Me. 

Fortune 500 execs identified obstacles in the way of mass adoption.

Marc Mathieu, Salesforce’s Innovation Lead, said that web3 is missing its “killer app” that aligns a sound business model with the needs of the next generation of internet users. 

Julie Garneau, head of Web3 at brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, lamented the myriad steps it takes to onboard new web3 users. “Every click that you need to take in the (onboarding) process, you're going to lose 50% of people,” she said.

And Pepsi’s Head of Next Gen DTC Connections and Innovation, Kate Brady, said that the lack of regulatory clarity has made it hard to invest heavily in web3. “Until we can figure out a lot of that, we're still limited in what we're doing,” she said of her company’s web3 efforts. 

Why it matters… The crypto community’s sojourn to Austin highlights the fact that despite economic and policy headwinds, there are still plenty of serious people — from Congress to boardrooms — invested in the growth of the crypto industry in the U.S. But the lack of regulatory clarity continues to be a critical roadblock. “The lack of policy making and predictable enforcement in D.C. is a wider threat to the U.S. than we might think,” was the main conference takeaway for Ben Schiller, head of Consensus Magazine. “It’s a concern for American competitiveness at large and, at this point, it’s really unforgivable.”


Some institutional investors are optimistic about the crypto market amid choppy economic waters

Markets are always a bit jittery during the weeks when the Federal Reserve is set to announce further rate hikes. But throw in J.P. Morgan’s takeover of First Republic (the latest banking crisis domino) and the threat of the U.S. defaulting if Washington can’t agree on raising the debt ceiling, and we’ve got ourselves a decidedly unchill week for the economy. 

Though BTC and ETH have whipsawed since Sunday, several institutional giants are actually feeling optimistic about crypto’s resilience during this period of economic confusion. Let’s take a closer look at what they’re saying.

  • Bernstein recently opined that BTC would likely benefit from ongoing bank sector turbulence and uncertainty over the U.S.’s debt-ceiling conversations. “Crypto is emerging as a solution amidst economic breakdown and an alternative to centralized money systems,” said analyst Gautam Chhugani. “As the narrative towards a weaker dollar picks up, we believe Bitcoin will emerge again as a faster horse than gold … [and] unleash a new crypto cycle.”

  • Grayscale, a leading digital asset manager, published a new report on Monday which noted that crypto could still rally despite another rate hike, since markets already expect it. “Factors such as an additional rate hike and a declining inflation rate … align well with a bullish case for Bitcoin in the future,” the report said. Like Bernstein, Grayscale also noted BTC’s narrative as a “hedge against weakness in the incumbent financial system.”

  • An analyst from British multinational bank Standard Chartered suggested that the U.S.’s looming debt ceiling crisis could prompt a spike in BTC prices. In an interview with Markets Insider, the bank’s head of foreign exchange said BTC could see as much as a $20,000 jump in the “low probability, high impact event” of the U.S. failing to raise its debt limit by June 1. Citing Bitcoin as a safe-haven asset, Standard Chartered previously said BTC could see $100,000 by 2024, “as we believe the much-touted ‘crypto winter’ is finally over.” 


$120 million 

The amount of NFT sales processed by auction house Sotheby’s since it began selling NFTs in April 2021. This week, the company announced the launch of a secondary marketplace for NFT sales on its Sotheby’s Metaverse platform in which transactions will be peer-to-peer as well as on-chain, which will allow artist’s to collect resale royalties. 


The number of transactions processed by Bitcoin on Sunday, marking the highest one-day total in the crypto’s history. A major contributor to the surge in transactions: the popularity of Ordinals, which are essentially NFTs for the Bitcoin blockchain. 


The approximate amount of bitcoins purchased by MicroStrategy in Q1 2023, at a cost of $179 million. The software intelligence firm remains the largest corporate holder of BTC, with 140,000 bitcoins among its holdings (as of March 31), worth a total value of roughly $4 billion at current market prices. 

> 100% 

The percentage that the SOL token has increased so far this year, even outperforming BTC’s rally amid the broader crypto rebound of 2023. Solana was hit hard by its association with Sam Bankman-Fried and saw its price crater in late-2022 as the FTX empire imploded.


A closer look at how crypto is empowering unbanked South Africans

Over the last few months, Coinbase has been spotlighting stories from the community about how crypto is solving real problems around the world. This week, we’re exploring how Bitcoin is helping bridge socioeconomic gaps for unbanked citizens in post-apartheid South Africa. Join host Yusuf Omar as he travels to the Western Cape for a first-hand view of how BTC is enabling communities and businesses to flourish outside the sometimes discriminatory constraints of the country’s banking system.


This material is the property of Coinbase, Inc., its parent and affiliates (“Coinbase”). The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Coinbase or its employees and summarizes information and articles with respect to cryptocurrencies or related topics that the author believes may be of interest.


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