Crypto defenders strike back | Financial Times


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A senior Republican has hit out at Gary Gensler, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, over his attempts to regulate cryptocurrencies, as defenders of digital money increase their opposition to several regulatory proposals.

Tom Emmer, a representative from Minnesota and co-chair of a group of lawmakers interested in blockchain, told the FT in an interview that he believed Gensler was overstepping his authority with his attempts to expand the SEC’s role in regulating crypto.

Emmer’s intervention is part of a broader move by supporters of cryptocurrencies to push back against Democrat-led attempts to increase oversight of the $2tn market.

Meanwhile, international regulators are taking their first steps towards supervising stablecoins, the cryptocurrency tokens pegged to underlying assets such as dollars.

A report by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions said that operators of stablecoins should be regulated as financial market infrastructure, alongside payment systems and clearing houses. The rules would apply to stablecoins that regulators have decided are systemically important and had the potential to disrupt payments. The rapid growth and limited transparency of stablecoins have drawn intensifying scrutiny.

Finally, even though the crypto world is digital, geography still matters — and London is at the forefront of crypto art, reports Alex Estorick. It is a home to digital artists and a main venue for auctions of NFTs, the tokens that have made the digital collectibles market.

The Internet of (Five) Things

1. Supply chain fears battery not included
South Korea’s dominance of the world’s rechargeable battery market industry is emerging as a potential new bottleneck for global supply chains as demand for electric vehicles surges, reports Song Jung-a in Seoul. Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD is hoping its homemade lithium batteries will become a key platform for the global car industry in the latest part of our series on the electric vehicle revolution.

2. Spac eyes towers of power
A team of European data centre veterans has raised $200m through a blank cheque company, which aims to scoop up infrastructure including towers and fibre networks as investor interest in the sector booms. IX Acquisition has completed a listing on Nasdaq, becoming one of the first special purpose acquisition companies to target communications assets.

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3. Dubai’s billionaire ruler targeted ex-wife with spyware 
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum targeted the phone of his estranged wife Princess Haya with the Pegasus spyware tool during a London court battle over their two children, a High Court judge has found.

4. We need to talk about Squid Game 
The hit Korean series is on track to be Netflix’s most popular show but it exposes hard truths about human behaviour, writes Fani Papageorgiou. Lex comments on how Squid Game has sparked a dispute over the burden that hit shows place on the internet. Local provider SK Broadband has started legal action against Netflix, in a rare showdown between a video-streaming platform and a broadband company.

5. Exponential and tech’s dizzying acceleration
I enjoy Azeem Azhar’s weekly Exponential View tech newsletter and his new Exponential book argues for a reframing of how we organise and run our economies and societies. Here’s the FT’s review.

Forwarded from Sifted — the European start-up week

London fintech Revolut was under pressure this week after its first gender pay gap report revealed women at the company earn 31 per cent less than men per hour on average. The report, which is mandatory for all UK companies with over 250 employees, shows that Revolut has one of the worst gender pay gaps in the sector. Revolut UK paid women 69p for every £1 they paid men in April 2020 — double the gap at rival Starling Bank, where women earned 84p for every £1 male colleagues earned. At Monzo, women earned 95.7p for every £1 men earned.

In other European start-up news this week, a new EU report was published detailing how a developed hyperloop network could change global travel and replace short-haul flights. It would be Elon Musk’s global hyperloop vision coming to life. There is also a new NFT trading game in town called Visionrare — but this time, people can buy and sell start-ups.

Tech tools — Sky Glass

Sky today signalled the biggest change to its business since being bought by Comcast in 2018, as it unveiled a major technology collaboration with its US parent. It announced Sky Glass, its own TV, which does away with the need for a set-top box and the traditional satellite dish. The set, which will stream Sky’s content through its WiFi connection, will be available to buy in the UK from October 18 and will launch in Sky’s other European markets from 2022.

The 4K UltraHD voice-enabled Glass is available in five colours and three sizes — 43in, 55in and 65in — and it can be paid for as an addition to the regular monthly subscription, starting at £13 a month over four years. The Sky Stream Puck gives a multi-room option for £10 a month and a 4K smart video camera option will be offered next year, along with new services.

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