Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Jim Messina. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Former Obama aide Jim Messina is joining the board of Blockchain.com in anticipation of enhanced regulation from the Biden administration and other governments for its business trading and processing digital coins.

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency companies are currently operating in a regulatory no man’s land. Some firms are looking for more government guidelines while others prefer to have as few rules as possible — and operate offshore, if need be.

  • By bringing on Messina, Blockchain.com, a London-based cryptocurrency firm that says it does roughly 30% of all bitcoin transactions, is trying to become a key player in the onshore market.
  • It also wants a say in helping develop standards and rules.
  • “Crypto has been the Wild West, and now it's time for some regulation,” Messina told Axios. He served as Obama's 2012 campaign manager and deputy White House chief of staff.

The big picture: With the value of bitcoin surpassing $1 trillion in Tuesday's trading, the industry is calling for regulatory clarity in anticipation of even more growth.

  • Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, another cryptocurrency exchange, told "Axios on HBO" that if he were starting a company today, he would base it outside of the U.S., where the rules are clearer.
  • Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies continue to rise in prominence. Tesla, for example, announced it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would start accepting it as a payment for its products.
  • Coinbase, another crypto company that competes with Blockchain.com, is preparing to go public. Axios has reported it could have a $100 billion valuation, a watershed moment for an industry craving legitimacy.

Between the lines: New regulation and clarity may also mean more restriction for the industry.

  • Gary Gensler, President Biden’s nominee to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, said during his Senate confirmation hearing: “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have brought new thinking to payments and financial inclusion, but they’ve also raised new issues of investor protection that we still need to attend to."

What they are saying: Blockchain.com likens itself to a crypto version of JPMorgan Chase & Co., with revenue from consumer trading and institutional accounts.

  • “We don't want crypto to be a fly-by-night place," said CEO Peter Smith. "We want it to be a real market. We want it to be transparent, regulated and serve customers well.”
  • Other blue-chip companies like Coinbase and Gemini have also put great effort into crafting an image of strong regulatory compliance.
  • “There's no question that electronic currency is going to be the way that most transactions are done in the future,” said Messina, who's been trading crypto for roughly a year. “And it is incredibly important to get the regulatory part of this right.”

Go deeper

Apple debuts plan to detect images of child sexual abuse

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple announced new iPhone features Thursday that it said would enable the detection and reporting of illegal images of child sexual abuse while preserving users' privacy.

Driving the news: One new system will use cryptographic hashes to identify illegal images that users are uploading to Apple's iCloud without Apple directly snooping in users' troves of photos, which can be encrypted.

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, Calif., was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The big picture: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze and the sixth-largest wildfire in state history, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County.

DOJ investigating city of Phoenix and Phoenix police department

Phoenix Police confront demonstrators in 2017. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced in a press conference Thursday it is opening a "pattern or practice" investigation into the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.

Driving the news: The Justice Department's probe comes after the Biden administration reversed a Trump policy of not investigating police departments. It looks into several possible violations exhibited by the city's police department: