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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

This week the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced it's set up a new office focused specifically on "fintech" (including crypto-assets and blockchain tech), but that's not all the news you should know.

Catch up quick: Fidelity wants to help big cryptocurrency investors; amid growing Tether concerns, other stablecoins are having a great week; and most 2017 initial coin offerings (ICOs) are now trading below their listing price.

Fidelity wants to help big cryptocurrency investors (Axios)

  • Why it matters: Fidelity's new company will provide services to institutional investors, including custody, which has been one of the main hurdles to getting more institutional investors into cryptocurrencies. While some independent companies like BitGo and Kingdom Trust exist to help, several large financial institutions are developing their own.

Amid growing Tether concerns, other "stablecoins" are having a great week (Coindesk)

  • Why it matters: Tether, a digital token said to be backed by U.S. dollars, is seeing its price continue to drop below $1 as investors have been increasingly weary of the issuer's claims and are rushing to exchange the tokens for real dollars. Meanwhile, a number of digital token exchanges are adding or considering adding more stablecoins, reinforcing the growing market demand for this category of asset.

Report: Most 2017 initial coin offerings (ICOs) now trading below listing price (Reuters)

  • Why it matters: During the initial coin offering craze last year, scores of companies and projects rushed to raise millions of dollars by selling digital tokens, many viewing this as an alternative to selling company equity to investors. But in line with many skeptics at the time, Ernst & Young, which authored the study, found that 86 out of 141 projects are now trading below their listing price, and 71% still have no working product. This is significantly different from what you'd see in traditional venture-backed startups, the firm noted.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.