Governments are getting antsier about competing money

The Chinese Communist Party under Chairman Xi Jinping really isn’t fond of digital currencies lately — except its own, of course. File photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Re-sharing below the latest edition of #Web3Weekly, my regular newsletter about decentralization. This installment covers Sept. 19–25, 2021. If you’d like to get #Web3Weekly in your inbox every Sunday, please subscribe here.

Seems the world’s two biggest economic powers are getting more concerned about crypto as competition to their own money printing.

Take China, which is in the process of launching its own national digitial currency. No coincidence, the country’s ruling party just banned all other crypto trading.

The good news is China has previously issued similar bans on paper, with spotty followup and enforcement each time. But this new one may get more traction given the regime’s own advancing currency plans.

In the U.S., Wall Street banks have clearly made an uneasy peace with crypto as a potential source of new profits. Many have launched new crypto products for customers, launched proprietary trading, or spoken out against restrictive new rules.

Meanwhile, the federal government has been a different story. Federal regulators’ remarks about crypto have gotten testier of late, even as the Federal Reserve is pondering whether to launch its own digital currency.

Who says the U.S. and China can’t agree on anything these days?

The week’s other headlines:

  • Worries about the Chinese economy hammered markets, including conventional assets and token prices alike. In addition to the country’s new crypto ban, problems emerged at Shenzen-based real estate giant Evergrande Group that raised concerns about Chinese growth overall. And the Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese Communist Party under Chairman Xi Xinping is increasingly trying to reign in the power of the private sector in general as a counterweight to core socialist principles. Amid those headwinds, bitcoin suffered a 7-day decline of 9%, and global crypto market cap was off 11% to just below $2 trillion as of midday Sunday, according to CoinMarketCap data.
  • Investors seem mostly unfazed for now, though. A very, very informal poll I did on Twitter suggests only about a quarter of them are spooked enough to go back to index funds.
  • El Salvador seized the dip as an opportunity to buy 150 bitcoins for its national treasury.
  • Theater chain AMC said it will begin accepting bitcoin, ether, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash as payment for movie tickets and concessions by the end of the year.
  • Twitter rolled out bitcoin tipping for content creators.
  • Dapper Labs raised a new funding round valuing the startup at $7.6 billion, according to CoinDesk. The company develops non-fungible tokens for the National Basketball Association and other clients.
  • Fortune magazine and the artist pplpleasr donated over $650,000 from their recent auction of magazine covers rendered as NFTs to four journalism nonprofits.
  • The Texas Blockchain Summit is coming up on Oct. 8 in Austin.
  • A North Carolina ad agency took a decidedly “meta” approach to encouraging COVID vaccination. The fictional Wilmore Funeral Home wants you not to get your shots, apparently.

That’s it for now. Thanks for spending some time with the newsletter today! A full revision history of it, including earlier drafts, is available here. If you’d like to get updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list here.

As ever, a quick disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for journalistic purposes only, not as investment advice. For the latter, please DYOR and consult appropriate financial pros to make the most suitable choices for your needs.

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Head of Content & Writer Development at Capsule Social. Also publish the newsletter #Web3Weekly. Former reporter for WSJ, Washington Post, and Vice.

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Peter A. McKay

Peter A. McKay

Head of Content & Writer Development at Capsule Social. Also publish the newsletter #Web3Weekly. Former reporter for WSJ, Washington Post, and Vice.

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