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• Matrixport’s $45K End of Year Target for Bitcoin Looks to Be Accurate

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Predicting the price of bitcoin (BTC) has historically been as accurate as looking into a crystal ball, with all sorts of past price predictions that have been way off the mark – some hilariously so.

But Matrixport seems to have nailed it this year – or at least gets points for being the closest contender – as the $45,000 end-of-year price prediction it made on February 1 will very likely come true.

Bitcoin spent the early hours of Asia’s Friday business day teasing $44000, and if current trends hold, it will breach $45,000 by the end of the month.

“The 2023 bitcoin rally unfolded in five phases: starting with a reaction to inflation trends, followed by a banking crisis response, a surge due to BlackRock’s ETF filing, a boost from Federal Reserve policy shifts, and finally, developments in SEC regulations regarding bitcoin ETFs, “Markus Thielen, Matrixport’s head of research, wrote in a new report.

• BlackRock, Bitwise file updated spot bitcoin ETF applications with the SEC

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Asset management giant BlackRock filed an amended S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its proposed spot bitcoin ETF on Monday, with a similar move also taken by Bitwise. 

While the regulator has yet to approve a spot bitcoin fund and has so far delayed all the applications it’s received, analysts said the movements could signal that discussions are ongoing. 

“They’re just pouring in,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart wrote on X. “We have another spot ETF S-1 (prospectus) amendment tonight. This one is from @BlackRock. SEC is obviously giving multiple issuers the same or very similar instructions.”

“The wheel is still turning,” Seyffart continued. “Both the SEC and these issuers are working hard to iron things out. These filings are likely the result of many conversations and a lot of man hours on/between both sides.”

• Swiss city Lugano accepts Bitcoin and Tether for municipal taxes

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The Swiss city of Lugano is enhancing the local adoption of Bitcoin by enabling citizens and companies to pay for municipal services and taxes with cryptocurrency.

The city of Lugano officially announced on Dec. 5 that the local administration now accepts cryptocurrency payments for taxes and all other community fees.

Starting immediately, Lugano will accept Bitcoin and major stablecoin Tether as a means of payment in an automated process through the Swiss institutional-grade cryptocurrency platform Bitcoin Suisse.

According to the announcement, Lugano citizens and companies will be able to pay all local invoices — regardless of the nature of the service or the amount invoiced — with Bitcoin.

• Crypto is for criminals? JPMorgan has been fined $39B and has its own token

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PMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is being hauled over the hot coals by the crypto community on X (formerly Twitter) after claiming Bitcoin and cryptocurrency’s “only true use case” is to facilitate crime.

“The only true use case for it is criminals, drug traffickers, money laundering, tax avoidance,” Dimon said in a hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Dec. 5. “If I were the government, I’d close it down.”

But crypto pundits quickly pointed out the hypocrisy in Dimon’s statements, highlighting that JPMorgan is the second-largest penalized bank, having paid $39.3 billion in fines across 272 violations since 2000, according to Good Jobs First’s violation tracker.

About $38 billion of these fines came under Dimon’s watch, who has been CEO since 2005.

• Global policymakers are still pushing CBDCs despite their failures

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Despite the risks and the failures associated with central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), global policymakers are pushing forward to make them a reality. 

In November alone, officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bretton Woods Committee, and Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued rallying calls for governments to push forward on CBDCs with courage and determination. But rather than double down on a bad idea and waste further resources in this pursuit, policymakers should let this idea go and focus on more fundamental reforms that would create a freer financial system.

The November CBDC campaign began when IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva told policymakers, “If anything… we need to pick up speed [with CBDC development].” Bretton Woods Committee chair Bill Dudley likewise called not only for the United States to develop a CBDC, but for the BIS to establish an international standard for CBDCs. And BIS Innovation Hub head Cecilia Skingsley told an audience that CBDCs should not be dismissed as a “solution in search of a problem” because they might be useful one day.

• Polygon CDK to power Web3 loyalty program for Indian e-commerce Flipkart

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India’s homegrown e-commerce giant Flipkart will use Polygon’s chain development kit (CDK) to launch a Web3 loyalty program. 

On Dec. 2, Polygon and Flipkart announced a strategic partnership to effectively position the e-commerce platform into Web3 and the metaverse. This included initiatives such as Flipverse for nonfungible tokens (NFTs), eDAO for metaverse and the FireDrops NFT marketplace.

Building on this partnership, Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal announced on Dec. 7 that Flipkart will use Polygon CDK to scale its FireDrops Web3 loyalty program.

Concluding Notes:

  • Matrixport’s $45K End of Year Target for Bitcoin Looks to Be Accurate
  • BlackRock, Bitwise file updated spot bitcoin ETF applications
  • Swiss city Lugano accepts Bitcoin and Tether for municipal taxes
  • JPMorgan has been fined $39B
  • Global policymakers are still pushing CBDCs
  • Polygon CDK to power Web3 loyalty program

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