SEC sues Binance and Coinbase
The SEC has filed charges against Binance, accusing it of mishandling customer funds and violating securities laws. It also charged Binance with commingling customers’ funds. In a separate case, Coinbase is charged with operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency and for failing to register its crypto asset staking-as-a-service program, allegedly depriving investors of critical protections.
- The SEC clearly coordinated the announcements of the two cases
- The two are however very different, with the Binance case seemingly much more serious
- Binance is alleged to have commingled customer funds, inflated trading volumes, and traded against its clients
- Both are charged with operating an unlicensed exchange, broker-dealer, and custodian
- The SEC also made clear that they consider certain cryptocurrencies as securities but did not go after the issuers themselves
- Coinbase has been very public about its attempts to comply with the SEC’s regulatory requirements
- Coinbase seems to want to fight this out, potentially going to court
- We could also see Congress act, with recent discussions about a bill being worked on in the House
- Either way, this could finally lead us to new regulatory guardrails for the crypto industry
Another catastrophe in the Ukraine/Russia war
A major dam in the Russian-controlled area of southern Ukraine, the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, has been destroyed, leading to catastrophic flooding in the region. The cause of the dam's destruction is disputed, with Ukraine and NATO accusing Russia of blowing it up, while Russia blames Ukraine. The incident has led to the evacuation of thousands of people from low-lying areas. It has raised significant environmental concerns, including river contamination with industrial lubricant and the displacement of landmines.
- Regardless of which side perpetrated this act, it continues the humanitarian, ecological, and environmental disaster this war has generated
- The destruction of the dam also has serious consequences for the huge agricultural sector of Southern Ukraine
- As a reminder, Ukraine accounts for 10% of the worlds wheat market, 15% of the corn market, and 13% of the barley market
Apple unveils its headset
Apple has announced its first augmented and virtual reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, which is set to launch in early 2024. The device, which Apple refers to as a "spatial computer," offers a mixed reality experience, blending digital content with the physical world. The headset features two micro-OLED displays that deliver over 4K pixels to each eye, eye tracking, hand gestures, and voice commands for control and a built-in camera for 3D photos and videos. The Vision Pro is also equipped with an external display called EyeSight that projects an image of your eyes so people can tell whether you're using the headset in an immersive mode or can see what's happening around you. The device is priced starting at $3,499.
- Apple seems to be taking a different approach than META in its headset
- The new device provides both an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experience
- This allows for more potential functions, especially for commercial use cases
- META seems to be focused more on the Virtual Reality angle (even changing their name to META which stands for Metaverse)
- It is also priced at over 10x the comparable META device
- Too soon to tell who makes progress here, but Apple has a decent track record of launching category-defining devices, so its exciting to see how adoption goes in 2024