It's been a real week of contrasts, and none more so than the London premieres of two of the summer's biggest movie releases: Barbie vs Oppenheimer (now that's a cross-over we'd love to go and watch).

On Wednesday, Barbie's star-studded glitzy London premiere featured a pink 'red' carpet, while for Oppenheimer's equally star-studded Thursday event, the 'red' carpet was black. The movies will both receive a general release next Friday, but all further promotional activities have now been halted due to Hollywood's current Screen Actors Guild strike.

Contrasts abound in the crypto world too. The biggest headline this week (sadly) again featured the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), although after this news we may find the regulator skulking off into the shadows with its tail between its legs pretty soon.

Yes, Ripple finally scored a (partial) victory in its long-running case against crypto's U.S. nemesis, as a judge declared that XRP tokens sold to the public on exchanges were definitively not securities. Many other exchanges and token issuers targeted by the SEC must now be more optimistic about their own chances, except for LBRY, which sadly lost its appeal against the SEC just prior to the Ripple ruling.

On the payments scene, we Observed the upcoming launch of FedNow, promising to bring early 2000s payment functionality to the United States banking system... soon. Meanwhile, the TON Foundation updated its @wallet Telegram bot so that merchants can now accept crypto payments directly within the app... except in the U.S.

In Central Bank news, the Bank of England urged against a 'failure of imagination' when it comes to digital currency development. Which seems pretty progressive, until you consider that the Bank of China this week launched a hardware wallet for its digital yuan.

Crypto crime, and Chainalysis released its mid-year report showing that overall inflows to illicit entities were down 65% on H1 2022. Also purportedly helping to unveil crypto criminals was Arkham's 'Intel-to-Earn' marketplace, where users can offer bounties to find out the owners of crypto wallets. This could easily become a 'Get-Paid-to-Dox-Crypto-Bros' marketplace though, which would rather help criminals, so the jury's out on this one for now.

In the DeFi world, we took a good look at CoW Hooks and the rather less snappily named but equally important EigenLayer. CoW Hooks add programmable pre- and post-trade DeFi actions to Coincidence of Wants' three-way intent-based trading protocol. Meanwhile EigenLayer offers a novel way to leverage staked ether by securing other applications on the Ethereum blockchain.

Finally, while Danish authorities told Saxo Bank to sell its crypto assets (to which Saxo Bank replied "yeah, whatevs, we'll get them back when MiCA comes into force."), the granddaddy of all crypto assets, Bitcoin, was getting itself in shape for a long hot crypto summer.

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