The first week of February has been exciting for the blockchain and cryptocurrency world. Perhaps the biggest news is the U.S. Federal Reserve is studying whether launching its own digital dollar (USD) could be an effective counter to private projects like Facebook's (FB  ) Libra. Fed governor Lael Brainard said Wednesday the Fed is "conducting research and experimentation related to distributed ledger technologies and their potential use case for digital currencies, including the potential for a central bank digital currency (CBDC)." She added the U.S. dollar's global importance means the Fed should "remain on the frontier of both research and policy development" on digital currencies. Although the Fed has not joined a working group of 6 global central banks collaborating on CBDCs, Brainard noted the U.S. central bank is already collaborating with other central banks as we advance their understanding, arguably in response to privately run digital currency projects.

Here is the rest of the week in review:

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE  ) chief executive Jeffrey Sprecher stated subsidiary Bakkt's pending acquisition of Bridge2 Solutions will help the exchange owner offer consumers access to cryptocurrency and loyalty points through a single app. On ICE's earnings call Thursday, Sprecher said Bakkt's acquisition of the loyalty rewards company will "expand Bakkt's presence across an asset class that today spans over $1 trillion in value." Bakkt expects to launch the streamlined app in the first half of 2020. The company continues to raise funds and build out its products. In a press release Wednesday, ICE said Bakkt will complete a new funding round in the upcoming days. Also, Bakkt is eyeing digital gaming assets as a potential new space for expansion.

Blockchain development firm ConsenSys announced it purchased Philadelphia-based broker-dealer Heritage Financial Systems in an attempt to overhaul the multi-trillion-dollar municipal bond market, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday. The recent acquisition gives ConsenSys advisory and broker-dealer capabilities in the U.S., allowing the company to offer newly tokenized municipal bonds through its Ethereum-based (ETH) operating system, Codefi. Local governments in the U.S. regularly issue municipal bonds to finance public projects and for general operating purposes. With a market value of over $4 trillion, the municipal bond sector continues to attract investors to park billions of dollars in the fixed income securities every year. ConsenSys believes distributed ledgers can disrupt the muni bond market by automating repayments and tracking bond transfers and secondary obligations.

Crypto prices jumped to $290 billion this week, making up some of its losses from the last year. For the majors, all were green, with Tezos (XTZ), Binance Coin (BNB), and Bitcoin SV (BSV) making outsized gains, while Bitcoin (BTC) retook $10,000. In the top 100, the biggest losers were Synthetix Network (SNX), down 23%, Swipe (SXP), down 21%, and MaidSafeCoin (MAID), down 9%. The biggest gainers were KickToken (KICK), up a whopping 619%, Lisk (LSK), up 110%, and Bitcoin Diamond (BCD), up 70%. Next week traders will see if crypto can break the $300 billion level.

The author owns a small amount of BTC.