Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

BusinessWeek put bitcoin on the cover of its magazine this week, wondering whether "crypto [has] hit the fan." We'd say that still remains to be seen, but in the meantime, here are other important news from this week.

Catch up quick: Bain-backed crypto startup Basis closed; Facebook’s blockchain group is on a hiring spree to reinvent money; and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s crypto czar signaled some flexibility on token offerings.

Bain-backed crypto startup Basis closes as securities laws bite (Bloomberg)

  • Why it matters: A number of so-called "stablecoins" — digital tokens whose value is pegged to other assets — gained prominence this year, and Basis was among the most ambitious, aiming to use algorithms to self-balance its value similarly to a central bank. However, the company said this week that it's shutting down and giving back the funds it raised via an initial coin offering to investors. It blamed regulatory troubles, namely that conforming to current laws and rules would mean straying from its goals.

Facebook’s blockchain group is on a hiring spree to reinvent money (Cheddar)

  • Why it matters: Facebook's interest in the space could undoubtedly have a large impact, given the company's large size and influence, but so far it seems to be running into some challenges. It appears to be struggling to hire and acquire teams, both because of its recent scandals and because, as a large centralized collector of user data, it's fundamentally at odds with the spirit of decentralized networks.
  • Facebook is said to be looking to build its own cryptocurrency, though sources have told Axios in the last several months that it's been exploring a range of applications and approaches.

SEC’s crypto czar signals some flexibility on token offerings (CoinDesk)

  • Why it matters: Amid a growing number of enforcement actions and the agency chairman's stance that all initial coin offerings look like securities to him, the SEC's digital assets chief left the door open for some issuers to get no-action letters. In a few rare instances, she said, issuers whose token sales didn't quite fit into the law could get a letter from the SEC's staff saying it won't recommend enforcement actions as long as it takes specific precautions to protect investors.

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Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,294,091 — Total deaths: 741,420— Total recoveries: 12,591,454Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,141,207 — Total deaths: 164,537 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.
  7. World: Anthony Fauci "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe

EU threatens Belarus with sanctions amid third night of unrest

Belarus riot police detain protesters in Minsk on Tuesday. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images

The European Union warned Tuesday it could reimpose sanctions on Belarus as riot police clashed for a third night with demonstrators protesting this week's elections that the EU described as "neither free nor fair," per the Guardian.

Why it matters: The EU removed most sanctions against Belarus four years ago, after "Europe's last dictator" Alexander Lukashenko released political prisoners and permitted protests, AP notes. The EU said in a statement Tuesday it would be "conducting an in-depth review" into its relations with former Soviet country over his elections win claim and the deadly crackdown on protesters.

Ilhan Omar wins Minnesota primary

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) won the Democratic primary against lawyer Antone Melton-Meaux on Tuesday evening, AP reports.

Why it matters: The race is one that's played out across the U.S. as progressives continue to sweep party nominations. Omar's win officially means all four progressive members of "The Squad" have won their primary elections.