"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer." Bruce Lee
Ahlan wa sahlan, and welcome to the 35th edition of CoinMENA's weekly newsletter, Kalam Crypto. Every week we will bring you the latest news and developments from the exciting world of cryptocurrencies. This week, a successful final Ethereum dress rehearsal, BlackRock launch spot bitcoin product, and Tornado Cash banned. All that and more, so let's dive into this week's letter, and talk crypto:
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Lightning Round ⚡️
✅ Final Ethereum testnet upgrade successful: Merge date announced on 15/16 September.
🟠BlackRock bitcoin product: Launch spot bitcoin private trust for US institutional clients.
🚫Tornado Cash banned: US Treasury Department adds the mixing service to its blocked list.
Global News 🌍
30 days until the Merge: Ethereum’s third and final testnet, Goerli, has successfully transitioned to proof-of-stake (PoS). Ethereum called it another successful test, setting off the final countdown to the Merge scheduled tentatively for 15/16 September to pivot the chain from proof of work (PoW) to PoS. Two prior testnets, Ropsten and Sepolia, have both successfully transitioned to PoS consensus mechanism over the last two months. Markets seem to be bullish on the upgrade as ETH price breached $2,000 this week, over a 100% gain from the June 22nd bottom of $933. The final dress rehearsal is done, and we now await one of the most anticipated events in crypto history.
BlackRock launches bitcoin product: BlackRock announced the launch of a spot bitcoin private trust for US institutional clients that will offer direct access to bitcoin for the first time. The company said that despite a steep downturn in the digital asset market, it saw substantial interest from some institutional clients. The announcement comes only one week after BlackRock partnered with Coinbase. BlackRock said in a statement that “Bitcoin is the oldest, largest, and most liquid cryptoasset, and is currently the primary subject of interest from our clients within the cryptoasset space."
Tornado Cash banned: Popular crypto mixing service Tornado Cash has been sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department, and its developer was arrested by The Netherlands Crime Agency (FIOD) in Amsterdam. Tornado Cash is an open-source privacy protocol that allows people to send and receive Ethereum anonymously. Although the majority of transactions on Tornado Cash are legitimate, an estimated 35% of the volume is for illicit purposes, which is presumably why the US Treasury Department banned it. This is a pivotal moment for the crypto industry and regulators. Many crypto executives publicly condemned the move and said it sets a “dangerous precedent”. The battle for the right to privately transact online is just beginning.
Local News 📍
Iran settles first import order paid with crypto: Iran recently paid for an import order with $10 million in cryptocurrency. Iran’s head of the Trade Promotion Organization tweeted that this could be the first of many and that the country will commonly use cryptocurrencies and smart contracts to settle import orders by the end of next month.
Keep an eye on 👀
🟠Lightning Network hits a new all-time high: The Lightning Network continues to grow, hitting a new all-time high capacity of over 4,507 BTC. The number of nodes reached 17,774 with over 87,000 channels.
CoinMENA News 🗞
$5,000 ETH Giveaway: 20 users can earn $250 in ETH each! To qualify for our giveaway, place at least one trade (buy/sell) for 25 USD or above before 24 August 2022, Wednsday, 11 PM Bahrain/KSA time.
Tweet of the week 🐥
Quiz Corner ✅
Last week’s question: True or false? Transactions conducted on the Lightning Network are slightly slower and more costly than those conducted on the Bitcoin blockchain.
This week’s question: Which is the second country in the world to make bitcoin legal tender?
Central African Republic
See the answer in next week’s newsletter.