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Cryptocurrencies Cross Key Levels as Long-term Holdings Soar

(MT Newswires) -- Bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) crossed and held above key thresholds as long-term holdings hit historic levels and Fidelity joined the race to launch a spot crypto exchange-traded fund.

Bitcoin on Monday continued to gain beyond the $37,000 level, adding 1.5% in the last 24 hours to trade at $37,208, according to data from CoinMarketCap. Ethereum, the second largest crypto, is 3.9% in the same time period, to $2,038. Global cryptocurrencies were worth a total of $1.42 trillion, the data showed.

After Glassnode data showed 70% of Bitcoin's circulating supply has not been traded in the past 12 months, Bernstein analysts wrote that "This is an all-time high in bitcoin's history -- these churn rates are extraordinary for a financial asset, particularly one known for its exponential moves driven by a supply squeeze," according to a Monday note to clients.

Both BlackRock (BLK) and Fidelity want to create a spot Ether exchange-traded fund, according to filings last week. The proposed iShares Ethereum Trust will be listed on Nasdaq, according to a Nov. 16 filing. The Fidelity Ethereum Fund would be listed by an exchange owned by Cboe Global Markets, according to Cboe's filing on Friday.

Meanwhile, the US Securities and Exchange Commision on Friday postponed approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF from Global X and Franklin Templeton just days after doing the same with an application from Hashdex.

Martijn Rozemuller, CEO of fund manager VanEck, which has submitted an application with the SEC for a spot Bitcoin ETF, said "there's considerable excitement that cryptocurrencies are finally moving into the mainstream."

This week's Thanksgiving holiday has shifted the economic data calendar to a day earlier, with the minutes of the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting now scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and the Labor Department's initial jobless claims slated for Wednesday morning, according to Econoday.

Existing home sales in October, due out Tuesday, are expected to continue to show low inventories for another month and a slowing pace of sales, to a 3.91 million rate. On Wednesday, investors will be watching for October data on new orders for durable goods, which, at a consensus 3.2% consensus, are not expected to be as strong as September's 4.6% gain.

Price: $716.8, Change: $-0.06, Percent Change: -0.01%

Copyright © 2023 MT Newswires. All rights reserved. MT Newswires does not provide investment advice. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

BlackRock Files for Ethereum Spot Price ETF

(MT Newswires) -- BlackRock (BLK) on Thursday filed for a spot Ethereum (ETH) exchange-traded fund, which will give investors access to the second-biggest cryptocurrency without directly owning it.

The proposed iShares Ethereum Trust will be listed on Nasdaq as a spot price ETF, after the asset manager converts the trust. BlackRock also has a spot Bitcoin (BTC) ETF proposal awaiting a decision by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Ethereum ETF's net asset value will be calculated using the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate index.

Coinbase Custody Trust Company was named in the filing as the custodian for Ethereum, while a yet-to-be-named custodian will hold cash.

BlackRock's filing touted the benefits of investing in the ETF versus direct ownership of Ethereum. Among them: investors avoiding complicated digital asset wallets and keys, the convenience of trading through traditional brokerage accounts, and the continuous creation and redemption of ETF shares.

Spot prices of the two most popular cryptos have increased since a slew of investment managers submitted ETF applications to the SEC, beginning with BlackRock's June Bitcoin fund application.

BTC is up more than 32% in the last six months, while ETH is up 8.4%. The cryptos were last trading on Friday at about $36,323 and $1,974, respectively.

Martijn Rozemuller, CEO of rival fund manager VanEck, on Thursday said "there's considerable excitement that cryptocurrencies are finally moving into the mainstream."

In a note published on the company's website, Rozemuller said, "We have seen in the past that decreasing rates create more room for investing in crypto currencies. But there's something else happening here, as speculation mounts that the US regulator, the Securities & Exchange Commission, might soon approve bitcoin ETFs."

VanEck last month filed an amended application with the SEC for its own spot Bitcoin ETF, with the fund seeding carried out with BTC, unlike rival proposals with seeding in cash. VanEck would determine Bitcoin prices using the MarketVector Bitcoin Benchmark Rate as its index reference price, according to its amended filing.

Copyright © 2023 MT Newswires. All rights reserved. MT Newswires does not provide investment advice. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Xsolla Founder Agapitov Sees 'Phygital' Future in Marriage of NFTs, Wearables

(MT Newswires) -- Aleksandr Agapitov, the founder of video game payments platform Xsolla, likes to keep it real -- but not at the cost of losing his flamboyance.

Sometimes going by the moniker "Shurick," the Russian-born entrepreneur presents a colorful character online. His social media profile is packed with playful poses of him donning tracksuits and tropical shirts. In his posts, he canoes in the Cotswolds, reads his Kindle underwater and shivers on a Santa Barbara pier. He frolics in autumn leaves and squats in a bobble hat. Clearly, he is not someone who takes himself too seriously.

Agapitov visualizes a bright future for technology, as evidenced by his positive views on the metaverse and cryptocurrencies. He envisions a marriage between wearable technology and non-fungible tokens, which led him to become a minority shareholder and board member at the start-up company Pillz, a manufacturer of wearable NFTs.

The company's customers will be able to buy the phygitals -- a term used to describe physical forms of digital goods -- directly on Pillz's website starting in the second quarter, but Agapitov envisions most users purchasing the gadgets as part of loyalty programs associated with membership clubs, as accessories of luxury brands or on NFT marketplaces.

"We're going to position [Pillz] as a premium accessory for the social clubs, country clubs," Agapitov told MT Newswires. "Instead of giving you a plastic membership card, why don't [you] give your members Pillz, which has connectivity capabilities and members of the club could interact with each other."

Pillz is seeking to bridge the physical-digital divide by producing jewelry and accessories that have in-built hardware and software to house NFTs. Instead of displaying an NFT on a phone, the Pillz devices enable a consumer to display them on a necklace, earring or other "jewelry of the future," as the company describes its products on its website.

Selling digital products is an area that Agapitov knows well. In 2006, when he was 22 years old, he founded the payment platform Xsolla for video game developers, enabling them to monetize their digital items.

The platform boasted 10 million users spending about $15 a month each, placing gross volume in the year through June 2022 at roughly $2 billion, he told the Growth Manifesto Podcast that month. That meant Xsolla - which takes a 5% cut - received about $100 million during that period. Bloomberg reported last April that the company could seek a valuation of up to $3 billion if it went public, citing year-earlier documents from two unnamed investment banks seen by the news agency.

Agapitov said he has no plans to take the company public.

The NFT space is still in its nascent stages, but he said he can see scope for it to become as embedded in consumers' daily internet usage as clicking to accept or reject cookies when browsing websites. The role of NFTs directly ties into the metaverse, a concept of virtual reality existing exclusively online, which until only a few years ago was relatively unheard of.

"For me, [the] metaverse is digital items, digital spaces and users," said Agapitov. "I believe you don't need to have a virtual reality headset, you don't need to be [in] an immersive experience, you [can] have experience in [the] metaverse and the metaverse is much closer than people think".

Agapitov said he sees the metaverse becoming an essential part of companies' offerings going forward.

"In three years, most of the websites [are] going to have the metasite version of their website," he said. "In the future, I believe every corporation's going to have the chief metaverse officer, similar to the social media managers that appeared maybe 10 to 12 years ago."

As his payment platform Xsolla expanded, the forms of payment accepted on it have also diversified. Cryptocurrency is now a form of monetary exchange on the platform.

Agapitov's views on virtual currencies are strong.

"I very much believe in Bitcoin and I like the idea of the smart money of Ethereum," he said. "I believe smart money on Ethereum can develop and engage users and what's more important it creates opportunities for the internet."

Government, in general, is behind the innovations that cryptocurrency offers.

"Bitcoin is not going away," Agapitov said. "Ethereum, or something like Ethereum, is absolutely necessary for the internet economy."

Copyright © 2023 MT Newswires. All rights reserved. MT Newswires does not provide investment advice. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Bitcoin Opens Week Testing $25,000; Latest FTX Fallout Claims Texas Hedge Fund

(MT Newswires) -- While US markets were closed off for Presidents Day, bitcoin (BTC) opened the week testing $25,000 before falling back later on Monday.

Amid regulatory action, major cryptos continued to do well last week. Bitcoin jumped 11%, and ethereum (ETH) appreciated 9%. Layer 1s also saw growth, with solana (SOL) increasing by 20%, polkadot (DOT) by 19%, and polygon (MATIC) by 18.5%.

In Tuesday's session, bitcoin was trading at $24,903, up 1.70%, while ETH gained 0.7% in value and was trading at $1,701.

Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Terraform Labs and its CEO, Do Kwon, with fraud. The regulator said the parties are responsible for conducting a multibillion-dollar "crypto asset securities fraud," which involved illegally selling unregistered securities, security-based swaps, and other related claims, according to the SEC's Feb. 16 announcement.

The assets in question were Terraform's discontinued algorithmic stablecoin TerraClassicUSD (USTC) and its cryptocurrency, terra luna classic (LUNC). In May, USTC was de-pegged from the US dollar, which triggered an LUNC price drop to almost zero value.

Meanwhile, Galois Capital, a crypto investment company that bet against luna before its downfall last year, on Monday revealed that it is shutting down its primary fund due to the implosion of FTX. The $200 million Texas-based hedge fund revealed last November that it had "significant exposure" to the bankrupt crypto exchange.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission proposed a new licensing system for crypto service providers and is seeking public opinion on whether retail investors should be serviced and protected by licensed platforms. There is an open consultation period until March 31, after which the new licensing system will be implemented on June 1.

While the region contemplates reforms to its licensing and regulatory framework, Huobi Global, a cryptocurrency exchange, declared that it is applying for a license in Hong Kong on Feb. 20.Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's central bank declared on Friday its intention to look into the potential use of digital currencies and is launching a trial run in April with a digital yen.

Moving to developments in Africa, Zambia's Ministry of Technology and Science announced that government authorities and the central bank are assessing different technologies to regulate cryptocurrencies. In November, the International Monetary Fund urged African governments to implement regulatory frameworks for the cryptocurrency industry as its regional presence surged.

Copyright © 2023 MT Newswires. All rights reserved. MT Newswires does not provide investment advice. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

NY State Regulator Enhances Monitoring Tools for Virtual Currency Activities

(MT Newswires) -- The New York State Department of Financial Services on Tuesday announced that it had improved its capacity to recognize fraud and other illegal actions within virtual currency-related activities of entities regulated by the state, using new tools for monitoring market manipulation risks and insider trading.

DFS Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris said the new upgrades will allow the agency to identify insider trading, market manipulation, and front-running activities among regulated entities using virtual currency wallet addresses.

These tools would aid in the fight against financial crime and fraud and reinforce the country's position as a leader in virtual currency regulation, said Harris.

In August 2022, Harris announced a $30 million fine against crypto exchange Robinhood for anti-money laundering, cybersecurity & consumer protection violations.

The agency has been in communication with virtual currency entities regulated by the state of New York following recent developments in the market, it said. The announcement builds upon existing guidance to protect customers, prevent market manipulation, and promote the use of blockchain analytics.

In January, NYDFS cautioned companies to separate customers' crypto assets from their own. Earlier this month, it directed stablecoin issuer Paxos to halt production of Binance USD (BUSD), the third-largest stablecoin.

Copyright © 2023 MT Newswires. All rights reserved. MT Newswires does not provide investment advice. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

DXC Technology Metaverse Report Forecasts Where Businesses Will See Biggest Impact

(MT Newswires) -- With worldwide metaverse revenue projected to increase 14-fold by 2030, DXC Technology (DXC) came out Wednesday with what it sees as the five areas where the technology will have an impact on business over the next few years.

Widely regarded as the next iteration of the internet, the metaverse is where the physical and digital worlds come together. That is, a digitally constructed space where people can interact, shop, learn a skill or play games.

According to Statista, the market size of the global metaverse market size rose this year from $38.85 billion to $47.48 billion and is forecasted to increase to $678.8 billion by 2030.

Meanwhile, Gartner reported earlier this year that 25% of Americans will spend an hour each day in the metaverse by 2026 for work, shopping, education, entertainment and social activities. What's more, 30% of the business world will have products and services ready for the metaverse.

Ashburn, Virginia-based DXC firm expects the metaverse to have a significant impact on workplace collaboration; professional events; brands connecting with customers; and, recruiting and new employee onboarding. In addition to those, it sees sports and music along with dating, as transitioning into the metaverse.

However, businesses will need to overcome several hurdles to capture the potential impact and value of expanding operations, according to Nathalie Vancluysen, head of XR (extended reality) and distinguished technologist at DXC.

"Often the thing companies don't get is how real and accessible are the current opportunities in the metaverse for business," Vancluysen told MT Newswires in an email on Wednesday. "Many of today's metaverse platforms are accessible via an ordinary PC and web browser. This is not a distant dream, but a real, current-day opportunity to augment the way we work and do business."

She said that among the reasons why more businesses are not moving quickly is a lack of understanding about how real the metaverse is, along with how accessible, scalable and affordable it is. "Once business leaders go inside and experience the metaverse for themselves, they quickly understand the potential," Vancluysen said in her email.

The technologist cited successes seen at French retailing giant Carrefour, which earlier this year launched its first recruitment event including job interviews in the metaverse, as well as consumer and home electronics maker LG, which is using the technology to recruit new employees.

"The best way for business leaders to explore is by becoming metaverse users themselves," said Eric Hazan, a McKinsey senior partner and co-author of the firm's June 2022 report titled "Value Creation in the Metaverse."

"If you want to both understand consumers and opportunities that may be available to your organization, you need to be familiar with the metaverse," he said in an interview posted on the consultancy's website.

Copyright © 2022 MT Newswires. All rights reserved. MT Newswires does not provide investment advice. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

D-Central, 123Miners Team Up to Offer Crypto Mining Rig Owners Cheaper Operating Location

(MT Newswires) -- Bitcoin (BTC) mining services provider D-Central and e-commerce company 123Miners have entered into a strategic partnership in Canada to provide "a comprehensive solution for crypto mining customers."

Harvey Blom, CEO of 123Miners, told MT Newswires by phone on Wednesday, that his company's research found that there are currently more than 1.7 million cryptocurrency mining rigs globally that are not in use because of high energy costs.

"We are offering the owners of those miners (rigs) a lower-priced power option, at $0.065 cents per kWh," Blom said. He said an initial 1,000 colocation slots available to customers will be operating in Quebec.

"Customers will send us their unused rigs and we will plug them in and run them from here," Blom said.

Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC) are created through an energy-intensive digital mining process that provides miners with a return in the form of tokens in exchange for their performing complex math calculations and creating new blockchain blocks.

Crypto industry operations in the US use about as much electricity as all of the country's home computers combined, according to a September report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Under the partnership, D-Central will focus on the repair and after-sale service aspects of crypto mining, while 123Miners will focus on the "procurement of equipment, offering safe and secure purchasing of crypto mining hardware, parts, equipment, and hosting services, while combating e-waste and unused capital losses."

Copyright © 2023 MT Newswires. All rights reserved. MT Newswires does not provide investment advice. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Crypto Explainer: What Is an NFT?

(MT Newswires) -- The NFT craze witnessed by crypto enthusiasts last year laid the groundwork for accelerated growth within the sector. The world of non-fungible tokens is filled with untapped potential. To understand what NFTs or non-fungible tokens are, we need to dig deeper into the basic structure of a blockchain.

An NFT is a unit of data that is stored on a blockchain, which is more like a digital ledger. This unit of data can come in many media forms like photos, videos, and audio. NFTs differ from cryptocurrencies which are fungible in nature.

NFT ledgers claim to represent a public certificate of authenticity or proof of ownership. However, the legal status of NFTs and ongoing regulatory uncertainty limits their usage. Some blockchain-based NFT collections such as World of Women offer full intellectual property rights over the respective digital images, enabling purchasers to license them out to whomever they want.

However, the concept of ownership ensures that for a given NFT, there is only one owner.

How do NFTs Work?

NFTs can be used to represent digital art, videos, images, and more. We have seen celebrities like Snoop Dogg release albums in the form of NFTs, and even TIME and Forbes have confirmed the launch of their NFT collections.

The Ethereum network holds a majority of NFT collections, followed by Binance Smart Chain and Solana Network. When an NFT collection is set for release, the valuable information stored in them drives their prices.

The price of each NFT is set by the market and hence, they are purchased and sold like any artwork via digital marketplaces.

In the past few years, the use cases for NFTs have expanded exponentially. They are used as in-game items and offer proof-of-ownership for collectors.

NFT gaming works by turning in-game items into NFTs that are then minted by the players using the native cryptocurrency of the game. Moreover, many such games have in-game marketplaces where players can easily buy and sell NFTs. These games are termed as play-to-earn games.

When someone buys an NFT, they are entitled to ownership of the asset, but it can always be traced back to its creator. With every transaction that occurs, the creator gets a cut while the digital marketplace takes a small fee and the remainder goes to the current owner.

What Makes NFTs Unique?

NFTs are unique because they represent proof of ownership and are non-fungible in nature. Take the example of Bitcoin. One BTC can be seamlessly exchanged for 1 BTC on any cryptocurrency exchange. There are parallels in the technology behind both Bitcoin and an NFT, but the usage of that technology differs.

If someone buys an NFT called ‘X,’ he cannot exchange it with another NFT called ‘Y.’ While 1 BTC can be exchanged for 1 BTC at any time, making its value fungible, NFTs are not interchangeable in the same way. This idea is best depicted by a baseball card collection. One card cannot be exchanged with another because those two hold different values.

Another important factor to note is that NFT images are files that can be copied or saved but they have been popularized because they aim to provide the emotion of owning something and give the owner digital bragging rights. While you can say that you have saved an NFT on the OpenSea NFT marketplace by right clicking it, it still doesn’t make you the owner and the copied image won’t sell for a dime on any marketplace.

There is another interesting aspect here which comes from the point of view of artists and art collectors. Digital artists have found a safe haven in the NFT industry as they can tap into new streams of revenue through the commodification of their creative work. With each NFT sale, they will receive recognition and if the popularity of the NFT skyrockets, the artist will also see his career achieve new horizons.


NFTs represent a whole new asset class within a sector that still needs regulation. The world of NFTs resembles the Wild West in the sense that scams are prevalent. However, there are many mainstream projects with huge potential that represent the next age of artwork. While governments around the world are still discussing regulation, NFTs continue to thrive as demand for these non-fungible tokens remains high.

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