Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News Roundup

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  • April 12, 2021
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12 April 2021.

Here’s a short summary of some of the biggest headlines in Crypto. Bitcoin price shoots past $60K and Ether hits new all-time high, Court denies SEC’s request to access Ripple executives’ private financial records, Meitu now holds $100 million in BTC and Ethereum and Riot buys massive Bitcoin mining site in Texas for $650M. 

Bitcoin price shoots past $60K and Ethereum hits new all-time high

Bitcoin’s price neared its all-time high of $61,712 early Saturday while ether (ETH, +0.69%) set a new all-time high at $2,190.

According to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin price page, the leading cryptocurrency traded above $60,000 for the first time in nearly a month after spending weeks vacillating between $52,000 and the upper $50,000s. Bitcoin pulled back marginally after peaking around $60,900, though it remains above the psychological marker as of press time.

While it’s unclear if there’s a causation, the price action comes just days before leading U.S. exchange Coinbase begins trading on Nasdaq in one of the crypto industry’s most anticipated events. A sign of the maturing market, the listing will likely give Wall Street traders their most accessible bet yet on growth in the space.


Court denies SEC’s request to access Ripple executives’ private financial records

The court has once again ruled in favour of Ripple, scoring the fintech company a small win in its ongoing legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In a ruling on Friday, Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn has denied the SEC’s request to access Ripple lead executives Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse’s personal financial records. Having previously filed an amended complaint claiming that both Larsen and Garlinghouse purposely manipulated XRP’s price, the SEC filed a request with the court demanding access to Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse’s private banking information.

However, Netburn has now denied the request under the pretext that they “are not relevant or proportional to the needs of the case.”   

The SEC has been ramping up its attack against Ripple. The agency moved to sue the fintech firm and its lead executives in December 2020 in a $1.3 billion lawsuit for offering unregistered digital asset securities through XRP.

Currently, things are looking optimistic for Ripple. During a discovery hearing earlier this month, Ripple was granted access to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s internal documents on cryptocurrencies. This will enable them to compare XRP with Bitcoin and Ethereum, which have been exempted from the SEC’s regulatory scope in the United States.

The outcome of the lawsuit will be significant for the whole cryptocurrency industry, as it may translate to how other digital assets are viewed and regulated by the SEC in the future.

Ripple is best known for offering cross-border payment services using blockchain and digital assets to facilitate transactions. XRP is used as a bridge currency. Recently, the cryptocurrency has performed bullishly, increasing by 111% over a seven-day period.

Currently, Ripple is also looking to collaborate with central banks to help them with the implementation of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). It has piloted a private version of its XRP Ledger for central banks launching CBDCs.

Meitu now holds $100 million in BTC and Ethereum

Hong Kong tech company Meitu has taken the total value of its cryptocurrency holdings to approximately $100 million after the firm disclosed the purchase of an additional $10 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) on Thursday.

Meitu HK, the wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiary of Meitu Inc (incorporated in the Cayman Islands), acquired 175.67798279 units of Bitcoin for a combined price of $10 million, implying a purchase price of around $57,000 per coin. The purchase was reportedly made using existing cash reserves, based on spot prices on the open market.

Last month, Meitu racked up $90 million worth of cryptocurrency purchases split between Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). Following Thursday’s latest acquisition, the firm has now purchased $49.5 million worth of BTC and $50.5 million worth of ETH.

The disclosure laid out the firm’s reasons for adding to its Bitcoin holdings, comparing the technology’s potential impact to that of the mobile internet:

“The Board takes the view that blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt both existing financial and technology industries, similar to the manner in which mobile internet has disrupted the PC internet and many other offline industries.”

Publicly listed firms in China tread on choppy waters when making cryptocurrency investments. China recognizes cryptocurrencies as commodities but not as usable currencies. Their trade with fiat money is prohibited, but due to their commodity status, some have suggested cryptocurrencies could still be traded with each other in the same manner as other commodities in what remains a hazy situation in the far East.


Riot buys massive Bitcoin mining site in Texas for $650M

Riot Blockchain has purchased Whinstone Inc., which last year began building what it hopes will be the largest data center in the world.

Northern Data AG, a European data infrastructure company, has sold its US subsidiary Whinstone Inc. to Riot Blockchain, a publicly traded Bitcoin mining firm. Riot Blockchain will take control of Whinstone’s planned mining operations in Texas. 

According to a press release from Northern Data, the deal is worth €67 million cash ($80 million) plus 12% of Riot’s shares, worth upwards of $570 million. The entire deal comes to more than $650 million.

Northern Data purchased Whinstone, which operates data centers, in November 2019. Its plan was to create “the largest data center in North America and the largest Bitcoin mining facility in the world.” 

Construction of the one-gigawatt facility, which sits upon 100 acres in Rockdale, Texas, was set to conclude by the end of 2020. Videos posted to Whinstone’s Facebook page show that it’s made significant progress despite difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Northern Data, the data center is already operational, though it’s unclear whether any Bitcoin mining is taking place there.

Northern Data plans to use proceeds from the sale to expand its “high-performance computing” sites around the world; the shares in Riot allow it to “directly participate in the growth of Bitcoin value potential.”

Texas has become a popular destination stateside due to the state’s light regulations and its relatively cheap electricity. In addition to the crude oil The Lone Star State is known for, it also has large quantities of natural gas and can tap into wind energy.


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