First Mover Americas: Coinbase Secures NFA Approval to Offer Crypto Futures

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for August 16, 2023.

AccessTimeIconAug 16, 2023 at 1:19 p.m. UTC

This article originally appeared in First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily newsletter putting the latest moves in crypto markets in context. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every day.

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Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) has won approval to list crypto futures in the U.S. nearly two years after first applying. The National Futures Association (NFA) granted permission for Coinbase to operate a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM), the exchange announced on Wednesday. The NFA is a self-regulatory organization with designation from federal derivatives regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The approval makes Coinbase the first crypto-focused platform in the U.S. to offer regulated and leveraged crypto futures alongside traditional spot trading, according to the announcement.

Perceived safe havens like bitcoin (BTC) and gold struggled to gather upside traction even as signs of cracks in the global market begin to appear in the form of volatility in the fiat currencies of distressed nations. On Monday, the Russian ruble (RUB) fell to 102 to U.S. dollar, bringing its year-to-date loss versus the greenback to 33% and reaching its weakest level since March 2022. The country's central bank hiked rates to 12% from 8.5% in an emergency move. Meanwhile, Argentina devalued its already-weak peso by 18%, sending it to 350 per dollar compared to 287 last Friday. The peso is now down 98% this year against the U.S. unit. So far, the supposed signs of cracks have brought little safe-haven demand for bitcoin, disappointing expectations.

Sei Labs, the company behind layer 1 blockchain Sei, has announced that its mainnet is now live after a successful testnet phase. The blockchain's native token SEI also went live today on exchanges such as Binance, Kraken and Huobi, among others. The focus for Sei is to create a chain that offers users the ability to exchange assets easily, said the Sei Labs team. Whether this means assets for social platforms, games or NFT’s, Sei is hoping to offer the smoothest experience. SEI was trading at around $0.27 at the time of writing, around the same price as when it launched on Tuesday. The token traded at a premium of $0.64 on Upbit.

Chart of the day

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  • The chart by Fairlead Strategies shows the ratio of bitcoin to ether is hovering near a trendline resistance, characterizing the corrective phase since June.
  • "A breakout above the trendline would suggest the long-term uptrend is resuming in favor of bitcoin. However, the 50-day MA has flattened, so we would not be surprised to see resistance stay intact for the time being," Fairlead said in a note to clients on Monday.
  • Source: Fairlead Strategies

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Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.