Moody's has rated SGD Delta Fund, a tokenized Singapore-dollar government bond fund using Standard Chartered's SC Ventures' Libeara platform, with an AA rating. The fund, managed by Singapore's FundBridge Capital, marks a deviation from the AAA credit quality of its underlying assets, primarily due to the fund manager's limited experience in managing similar unit trusts. SGD Delta Fund, issued on the Ethereum and Stellar blockchains, focuses on high-quality Singapore government securities and represents a pioneering effort in public blockchain tokenization to enhance transparency and trading among whitelisted investors. This venture is part of SC Ventures' broader move into the burgeoning field of asset tokenization, following its participation in the Monetary Authority of Singapore's Global Retail CBDC Challenge.
In December, Marathon Digital, a Florida-based Bitcoin mining company, set a new record for its Bitcoin production, mining 1,853 BTC, the highest monthly total ever recorded by a public Bitcoin mining company. This figure represents a significant increase from the 1,187 BTC mined in November.
Marathon's December output surpassed the previous record held by Core Scientific, which mined 1,527 BTC in January 2023. Competitors CleanSpark and Riot Platforms mined significantly less in December, with 720 BTC and 619 BTC respectively. This achievement comes as Marathon and others in the industry focus on growth before the next Bitcoin halving in April, which will reduce the reward for mining new BTC blocks. Marathon increased its hash rate to 24.7 exahashes per second (EH/s) in December, positioning itself as a leader in the sector, with Core Scientific trailing at 21.6 EH/s as of November end. Moreover, Marathon has been expanding globally to locations like Abu Dhabi and Paraguay to optimize costs.
India's Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the digital rupee, achieved a significant milestone by recording over a million transactions in a single day on December 27, 2023, albeit with substantial contributions from retail bank employees. As reported by CoinDesk, this achievement, noted in a letter from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das, was partly driven by banks depositing employee funds in CBDC wallets, a move that has sparked differing opinions among bank employee unions. The RBI, which runs both retail and wholesale CBDC pilots across 15 cities with numerous banks, has been proactively increasing the digital rupee's transaction volume, which remains modest compared to India's established cashless system, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). This effort marks a concerted push by the RBI and the banking sector to integrate CBDCs more thoroughly into India's financial ecosystem, reflecting a growing trend towards digitizing currency and transactions in the global economy.
Bitcoin is currently engaged in a sideways trading pattern, fluctuating within the range of 42,500 to 44,700. The prevailing bullish sentiment hinges on two key factors: the maintenance of prices above the 50-day moving average and the relative strength index (RSI) staying above the 50 mark.
The pursuit of a spot BTC ETF persists, with many anticipating potential approval as early as next week. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) faces its initial deadline of January 10th to either grant or reject the application for the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF.
Confidence in the imminent approval of a long-awaited spot Bitcoin ETF is bolstered by a series of meetings between the SEC and several stock exchanges. These meetings serve as positive indicators, as the SEC requests revisions and finalizations of the 19b-4 filings from the exchanges, a necessary step before the ETF can become available to the public.
Should approval materialize, retail investors would gain increased exposure to the world's largest cryptocurrency at a lower cost compared to the already approved Bitcoin futures ETF. Moreover, the involvement of esteemed money management firms like BlackRock or Fidelity in offering the ETF may incentivize a broader spectrum of investors to include cryptocurrency in their portfolios.
Equity futures experienced a decline on Friday, marking a potential end to the S&P 500's nine-week winning streak. This setback follows a robust jobs report that has raised concerns among traders regarding the possibility of the Federal Reserve maintaining higher interest rates for a longer duration than previously anticipated.
In December, the U.S. economy demonstrated more significant job growth than initially projected, as nonfarm payrolls expanded by 216,000, surpassing the estimated 168,000. The unemployment rate remained stable at 3.7%, signaling continued labor market resilience, a favorable outcome compared to the expected 3.8%. This report prompted a substantial increase in the 10-year Treasury yield, pushing it to approximately 4.10%.
The robust labor market performance may potentially lead the Federal Reserve to reconsider its schedule for implementing rate cuts. Prior to this jobs report, market participants were hopeful for rate cuts to commence in March, with the potential for up to six rate reductions in 2024. These expectations might need to be adjusted following the latest employment data.
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