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!

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!

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

50 mins ago - World

In photos: Students evacuated as wildfire burns historic Cape Town buildings

Firefighters try, in vain, to extinguish a fire in the Jagger Library, at the University of Cape Town, after a forest fire came down the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday. Photo: Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

A massive wildfire spread from the foothills of Table Mountain to the University of Cape Town Sunday, burning historic South African buildings and forcing the evacuation of 4,000 students, per Times Live.

The big picture: Visitors to the Table Mountain National Park and other nearby attractions were also evacuated and several roads including a major highway, were closed. South Africa's oldest working windmill and the university's Jagger Library, which houses SA antiquities, are among the buildings damaged.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two others were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday.

The latest: Officers arrested a "person of interest" Sunday afternoon in connection with the 12:42 a.m. shooting and there's "no threat to the community at this time," per a later police statement.

Updated 3 hours ago - Sports

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) after striking the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, England, last Wednesday. Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Why it matters: The prime ministers of the U.K. and Italy are among those to express concern at the move — which marks a massive overhaul of the sport's structure and finances, and it effectively ends the decades-old UEFA Champions League's run as the top tournament for European soccer.