Three biggest crypto stories from the past week

Quick Take

  • Ethereum’s Bellatrix upgrade — the final step before The Merge — was activated.
  • Binance ended support for rival stablecoins in favor of its own BUSD stablecoin.
  • The White House called for crypto mining standards to reduce the environmental impact of producing coins such as bitcoin.

The past week in crypto was busy with news across beats. Ethereum's Bellatrix upgrade, Binance's BUSD push and the White House's call for crypto mining standards were some of the week's key developments.

Ethereum's Bellatrix upgrade

Ethereum's Merge came closer last week with its Bellatrix upgrade going live on Tuesday. Bellatrix is the final step before the Ethereum blockchain switches to a proof-of-stake consensus model from its current proof-of-work model. The Bellatrix upgrade prepares Ethereum's proof-of-stake Beacon Chain for The Merge with its mainnet Execution layer.

The Merge's final step is Paris, which is expected to occur next week, around Sept. 14 or 15. Beacon Chain (Consensus layer) validators will then take over from proof-of-work miners to start finalizing Ethereum's mainnet blocks.

Binance's BUSD push

Crypto exchange operator Binance introduced "BUSD Auto-Conversion" on Monday — a process that will automatically convert users' existing balances and new deposits of three stablecoins to its own stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD). Those three stablecoins are USD Coin (USDC), Pax Dollar (USDP), and TrueUSD (TUSD).

The move will take place from Sept. 29. Binance said it will not affect users' choice of withdrawal. They will continue to be able to withdraw funds in USDC, USDP and TUSD.

In addition to auto conversion, Binance will also end trading pairs for the three stablecoins against BUSD and Tether (USDT) as well as major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether. The stablecoin-to-stablecoin pairs will close on Sept. 26, with the stablecoin-to-crypto pairs on Sept. 29.

Competitors welcomed Binance's move as it is expected to consolidate liquidity for users.

White House's call for mining standards

The White House published a comprehensive report on crypto mining on Thursday, highlighting the industry's energy use and impact on climate change.

The report was mandated by U.S. President Joe Biden's executive order on cryptocurrencies and called for standards to minimize the environmental impacts of mining cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Those proposed standards focus on the use of clean energy, low water and low energy intensities, among others, the report said.

Other proposals in the report include more comprehensive data collection on crypto mining energy use and the development of "energy conservation standards for crypto-asset mining equipment, blockchains, and other operations."

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