April 17, 2024

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Next FOMC meeting: May 1st 2024

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UK Parliament Advocates for Enhanced Digital Skills Training to Support Crypto and AI Industries

Members of the U.K. Parliament have unanimously urged the government to prioritize investment in digital skills education to cater to the growing employment demands of the crypto, blockchain, and artificial intelligence sectors. Lisa Cameron, MP, emphasized the need for digital skills training starting from early education through to workplace learning to position the U.K. as a global tech leader. Despite the U.K. having legislation that recognizes and regulates crypto-related activities, Cameron highlighted a significant talent gap that is reportedly costing the U.K. economy around £63 billion annually, according to U.K. Minister for Skills, Luke Hall. She advocated for enhanced partnerships with blockchain companies such as Ripple, Circle, and Tether, which have initiated educational programs in the field.

Homium Introduces Home Equity Loans on Avalanche Blockchain, Tokenizing Real Estate Assets

Homium, a real-estate equity mortgage lender and securitization platform, has launched its first home equity loans on the Avalanche blockchain, marking a significant step in the tokenization of real-world assets (RWA), which is anticipated to grow into a $10 trillion market this decade. Currently available in Colorado, Homium plans to expand these services, allowing homeowners to tokenize a portion of their home's price appreciation. This model provides investors with digital securities backed by homeowner equity, offering a new asset class for institutional investors that is uncorrelated and inflation-protected. Homium, which recently raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Sorenson Impact Group and Blizzard, aims to make housing more affordable while providing institutional investors with valuable new assets. Avalanche has also committed $50 million to purchase various tokenized assets, including those offered by Homium, to enhance its layer 1 ecosystem.

Arkansas Senate Passes Legislation to Impose Energy Consumption Fees on Cryptocurrency Miners

The Arkansas Senate has passed a resolution to introduce legislation imposing fees on cryptocurrency miners based on their energy consumption, as reported by Arkansas Times on April 15. This new tiered fee structure ranges from $25,000 for 1 MW to 2.49 MW usage up to $100,000 for consumption over 10 MW. Funds collected through these fees will support the State Securities Department, the Attorney General’s office, and the Department of Energy and Environment in overseeing the crypto mining sector. Spearheaded by Senator Bryan King, this legislative effort reflects growing regulatory scrutiny over the energy-intensive nature of crypto mining, its impact on power grids, and its environmental implications. This move is part of a broader trend where jurisdictions like Norway have also tightened regulations around data centers and crypto mining operations, emphasizing registration and transparency. These developments come as the crypto industry braces for the upcoming Bitcoin halving on April 20, which is expected to significantly reduce miners' revenues, posing further challenges to the sector amidst increasing regulatory pressures.

Trading Desk Insights

Bitcoin is currently retesting critical support levels around $60,000. A decisive breach below this threshold could activate a series of liquidations, potentially driving prices down toward $53,000. Over the past week, the cryptocurrency market cap experienced a 13% decline, with Bitcoin's market share increasing to 57% as altcoins suffered losses.

This week observed continued net outflows from ETFs, amounting to $58 million. Blackrock recorded some of its lowest inflows since its ETF debut in January, while ARK experienced further outflows. Meanwhile, Grayscale's selling activity decreased to $79.4 million.

We are just two days away from Bitcoin's fourth mining-reward halving. This significant event will reduce the block reward from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC, halving the rate of new supply. Historically, previous halvings have catalyzed substantial multi-month rallies. The crypto community remains optimistic, though some believe that a portion of the anticipated post-halving surge may have already occurred.

Attention is also turning towards the upcoming launch of Casey Rodarmor's Runes protocol, following the halving. Rodarmor, known for last year's influential Ordinals protocol, aims to enhance efficiency in token creation on the Bitcoin network with Runes, targeting a niche market of enthusiasts and speculative projects.
U.S. stocks saw a rebound on Wednesday following the S&P 500's third consecutive day of losses, coinciding with the onset of the corporate earnings season. Although only a small fraction of S&P 500 companies have reported thus far, over 75% have exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Market volatility persisted into Tuesday following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Powell emphasized the necessity for further progress on inflation before considering rate cuts, prompting cautious trading across the board.

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This research is for informational use only. This is not investment advice. Other than disclosures relating to Secure Digital Markets this research is based on current public information that we consider reliable, but we do not represent it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied on as such. The information, opinions, estimates, and forecasts contained herein are as of the date hereof and are subject to change without prior notification. We seek to update our research as appropriate.

Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation. The price of crypto assets may rise or fall because of changes in the broad market or changes in a company's financial condition, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. Past performance is not a guide to future performance, future returns are not guaranteed, and a loss of original capital may occur. Fluctuations in exchange rates could have adverse effects on the value or price of, or income derived from, certain investments. We and our affiliates, officers, directors, and employees, excluding equity and credit analysts, will from time to time have long or short positions in, act as principal in, and buy or sell, the securities or derivatives, if any, referred to in this research.

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