This week in coins. Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt.
A brief crash dropped the price of Bitcoin to $39,638 on Friday, according to CoinMarketCap. The world’s favorite cryptocurrency, as of this writing, was trading near $39,975.50, an overnight drop of 1.21%—about 5% cheaper overall than last weekend.
Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, was trading at $2,733—about 5% lower than a day ago, 6% lower than a week ago.
Most of the top 30 cryptocurrencies declined over the last week, but few recorded significant price movements other than Crypto.com Coin—falling 10% to $0.44—and Litecoin—dropping about 8% to $115.
The only coin to post a notable gain this week was XRP, which added 6% in rising to $0.82.
Avalanche grew 2% over the week and briefly hit a high of $97 on Wednesday, but had declined to about $84 as of this writing.
This week’s news
Mastercard on Tuesday announced it would be adding payments-focused consulting services for cryptocurrencies that would enable banks and merchants to gain strategic insights into crypto and NFTs, crypto cards and loyalty programs.
The financial services firm previously has developed crypto credit cards for Wirex and BitPay.
The business world is facing an influx of #innovation. To help businesses evolve we have expanded our preeminent #payments-focused consulting service with new practices dedicated to Open Banking, Open Data, Crypto & Digital Currencies, and Environment, Social & Governance (ESG).
— Mastercard News (@MastercardNews) February 15, 2022
Russia’s government and central bank have been at loggerheads over the best way to move forward with crypto legislation, with the central bank originally calling for a complete ban last month.
Last week, the government and the central bank agreed on a new draft law to regulate crypto using the same framework that exists for foreign currencies—banks would operate as intermediaries between users and trading platforms. Crypto exchanges also would have to register as legal entities and satisfy all requirements of traditional financial institutions.
On Tuesday, the two sides talked. Bloomberg reported that they didn’t manage to bridge their differences. That same day, Russian news outlet Izvestia reported that the Russian Ministry of Economic Development proposed to recognize and tax Bitcoin mining as a “commercial activity” in regions where there’s a surplus of electricity.
The Bank of Russia is currently testing a digital ruble among a dozen participating banks.
On Wednesday, Coinbase, Circle, Anchorage, and Robinhood were among the companies that announced their intention to comply with new rules issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that fights financial crimes.
The FATF’s “travel rule” requires financial institutions to collect information about senders (and sometimes receivers) of transactions over $3,000. FATF made clear last fall that the travel rule applies to crypto firms. The above firms announced compliance within a framework called TRUST: “Travel Rule Universal Solution Technology.”
U.S. senators introduced legislation on Wednesday requiring the State Department to write a review on El Salvador’s Bitcoin law and develop a plan to “mitigate potential risks to the U.S. financial system.”
Jim Risch of Idaho said in a statement: “El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender raises significant concerns about the economic stability and financial integrity of a vulnerable U.S. trading partner in Central America. […] This new policy has the potential to weaken U.S. sanctions policy, empowering malign actors like China and organized criminal organizations.”
Deputy AG Lisa Monaco announces appointment of Eun Young Choi to serve as the first Director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) February 17, 2022
On Thursday, the FBI established a new crypto crimes unit under the Department of Justice called the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). It will be directed by Eun Young Choi.