ION represents the most high-profile use of the BTC network for a non-financial purpose amidst a rally that has centered on the asset’s financial utilities.
The updates expand the definition of Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) to include those offering “non-custodial” platforms, often referred to as decentralized venues. The new rules add another layer to complex regulatory uncertainty faced by the DeFi space.
The guidance formalizes previously-hinted-at views that crypto trading on exchanges is seen as more akin to derivatives and focuses on the nature of settlement vs. the nature of the traded asset.
BTC has been trading in a range between USD 50,000 and 60,000 since making record highs of USD 61,800 on March 13. Particular metrics, such as exchange balances of BTC, have remained in consistent patterns. We highlight some notable data points through this rally and consolidation.
The announcement comes on the back of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s Monday remarks that BTC isn’t used as a means of payment and serves as a “substitute for gold rather than the Dollar.”
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks on BTC during Monday’s Bank for International Settlements’ Innovation Summit garnered attention for his comparison of the asset to gold. However, Powell has previously made similar remarks, signaling that the Chairman’s views on BTC remain unaltered despite the asset’s growth. 
THETA's move into the Top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap makes it the 5th network with smart contract capabilities in that group. This coincides with elevated recent Google search volume for the term “smart contract.”
With the firm agreeing to pay a penalty of USD 6.5 million and not admitting fault, this is one of several instances regulators have shown they’re willing to forgive behavior reflective of the gray regulatory history of crypto in certain situations, for certain firms.
On Monday, Binance Smart Chain (BSC) DeFi venue PancakeSwap had its site “compromised by a third party” asking users to enter crypto wallet private keys while over the weekend hackers stole digital art from NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway. The episode highlights the novel security challenges faced by new crypto applications. 
Binance allegedly allowed U.S. residents to trade derivatives that violate local rules, Bloomberg reports. This is confirmation that crypto, particularly unlicensed foreign derivative venues, remain in the focus of U.S. regulators.