A surge of optimism has been sweeping through the crypto markets, driven by the belief that the US is on the verge of approving Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETF). This belief was bolstered by a recent appellate court ruling in favour of Grayscale, ordering the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revisit Grayscale's application for admission to trading of a spot BTC ETF. In addition, there have been growing signs that BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, is about to file an application to list a Bitcoin ETF, too. For Bitcoin, the positive sentiment is amplified by the upcoming halving event that is due to occur in April 2024. After the halving, the rewards miners receive for validating transactions on the blockchain, known as block rewards, will reduce by half from the current 6.25 to 3.125 Bitcoins per block, resulting in a reduction of Bitcoin supply.

Meanwhile, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) continues to prepare Level 2 measures in connection with the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCAR). Earlier this month, the ESMA published its second consultation paper on Technical Standards specifying certain requirements under the MiCAR (see the first consultation paper of July 2023 here). The second set of Technical Standards covers major topics under the MiCAR, such as the content to be included in crypto-asset white papers (including sustainability disclosure aspects), pre- and post-trade transparency measures, record-keeping and business continuity.

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