According to the latest report, Binance Holdings Ltd. will pay one of the largest corporate penalties in United States history after a judge approved the company’s plea agreement. This comes months after the cryptocurrency exchange and its former CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to anti-money laundering infringements, bringing a close to a long-term investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other regulatory bodies.Binance Accepts Full Responsibility For Its Past Actions: Defense Attorney
In a Seattle court hearing on Friday, February 23, US District Judge Richard Jones approved the plea agreement for the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The deal entails Binance’s payment of a $4.3 billion penalty, the appointment of a new CEO, and the institution of a compliance system monitored by an independent firm for five years.
The prosecutors had urged the judge to authorize the plea agreement in a February 16 filing, saying that Binance exposed the country’s financial system to people seeking to “exploit our system for their own gain.” The prosecutors asserted in the document:
In sum, given the nature and seriousness of Binance’s misconduct — it was intentional and led by senior executives, with hundreds of millions of dollars of collateral consequences.
Jones shared his thoughts on the criminal charges leveled against Binance. “This really is a case where the ethics of the company were compromised by greed,” the judge said at the hearing on Friday.
Binance’s deputy general counsel, Josh Eaton, admitted that the cryptocurrency exchange knew it was accountable to the financial laws in the United States. “Despite this knowledge, the defendant made calculated decisions not to follow US laws,” the counsel said.
However, the exchange’s counsel told the judge that Binance has acknowledged its wrongdoings and “accepts full responsibility for its past actions.” Eaton added during the hearing:
We’re also proud of the compliance enhancements undertaken over the past several years.CZ’s Sentencing Up Next?
As part of the plea deal, Changpeng Zhao had to step down as Binance’s CEO and agreed to pay a $50 million fine. However, the former executive is awaiting his sentencing trial, which is currently slated for April 30, 2024.
CZ faces a potential jail term up to 18 months under even though prosecutors could push for as long as 10 years. Nevertheless, the co-founder remains free in the United States – albeit with travel restrictions – after securing his bail with a $175 million bond.
In a bid to combat the increasing number of cybercrimes, China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) has set its sights on criminals utilizing blockchain technology and metaverse projects for illicit activities. The SPP has expressed concerns about the surge in online fraud, cyber violence, and the infringement of personal information.Blockchain Technology: A Breeding Ground For Criminal Activities?
The SPP has reported a significant rise in cybercrimes committed on blockchains and within the metaverse. Criminals are increasingly using cryptocurrencies for money laundering, making it difficult to trace their illicit wealth. Additionally, telecom fraud charges related to cybercrimes have risen by 64 percent year-on-year.
While blockchain-related crimes are on the rise, traditional crimes such as gambling, theft, pyramid schemes, and counterfeiting have also expanded into cyberspace. Charges related to internet theft have increased by nearly 23%, while charges related to online counterfeiting and sales of inferior goods have surged by almost 86%.China’s Crackdown On Investment Scams
From January to November, procuratorates filed charges against 280,000 individuals involved in cybercrimes, marking a 36% increase year-on-year and accounting for 19 % of criminal offenses, the top procuratorate said.
Zhang Xiaojin, the director of the Fourth Procuratorate of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, has warned citizens and digital asset participants about investment scams in the local crypto economy.
Xiaojin highlighted the emergence of new types of cybercrimes utilizing gimmicks like the Metaverse, blockchain, and binary options platforms. Virtual currencies have become breeding grounds for such activities, necessitating increased vigilance.
China’s efforts to crack down on metaverse-related crimes align with a surge in illicit activities in Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong has taken a different approach by implementing crypto-friendly regulations to standardize its digital asset ecosystem and protect investors without stifling innovation.The Intersection Of Blockchain Technology And Cybersecurity
Blockchain technology has emerged as a promising solution to enhance cybersecurity. Its decentralized and distributed ledger system operates on the principles of transparency, immutability, and cryptographic security. By leveraging blockchain technology, data integrity and authentication can be strengthened, identity management can be enhanced, and IoT ecosystems can be secured.
Blockchain ensures data integrity and authentication by leveraging cryptographic algorithms. This makes it nearly impossible for malicious actors to tamper with sensitive information. In sectors like finance, healthcare, and supply chain management, where data accuracy and trust are critical, blockchain technology provides a secure foundation.Securing The Digital Future Addressing the complex challenges of cybersecurity requires collaborative efforts from governments, businesses, and cybersecurity experts. Initiatives are underway to develop blockchain-based cybersecurity solutions that leverage the collective expertise and resources of these stakeholders. By working together, a more secure digital ecosystem can be created, safeguarding sensitive data and protecting against emerging threats.
As the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in China intensifies its focus on blockchain and metaverse criminals, it is clear that the intersection of technology and cybersecurity poses both challenges and opportunities. While cybercrimes continue to evolve and adapt, blockchain technology holds immense potential in fortifying data integrity, securing identity management, and protecting IoT ecosystems.
Featured image from Pixabay, chart from TradingView
According to a recent Bloomberg report, Carson Group, an Omaha, Nebraska-based registered investment advisor (RIA) with a substantial $30 billion on its platform, announced the approval of four of the ten newly launched Bitcoin ETFs.
Among the approved ETFs are BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), managing $6.6 billion, and Fidelity’s Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC), with $4.8 billion in assets. These two products have experienced the highest investor inflows so far. Additionally, smaller offerings from Bitwise and Franklin Templeton made the cut.Carson Group Approves Bitcoin ETFs
Grant Engelbart, Vice President and Investment Strategist at Carson Group, stated that the firm prioritized “significant asset growth” and trading volume when selecting IBIT and FBTC.
Meanwhile, Bitwise’s $1.2 billion Bitcoin ETF and Franklin Templeton’s $100 million Bitcoin ETFs, which will eventually charge fees of 0.2% and 0.19%, respectively, are among the least expensive offerings in the Bitcoin ETF space.
Engelbart highlighted the importance of offering products from two of the largest asset managers in the industry, BlackRock and Fidelity. He acknowledged Bitwise and Franklin Templeton for committing to being low-cost providers in the space and their notable inflows and trading volumes. Engelbart further noted:
We feel it is important to offer these products as a result from two of the largest asset managers in the industry,” Engelbart said of BlackRock and Fidelity’s ETFs. Bitwise and Franklin Templeton have committed to being the lowest-cost providers in the space, and have also seen large inflows and trading volumes. Both firms also have established in-house digital asset research teams and expertise that we feel are beneficial to the continuing growth and management of the products, as well as advisor research and education
Both firms have established “in-house” digital asset research teams and expertise, which Carson Group believes will benefit the products’ growth, management, advisor research, and education.Catalysts For Trillions In Assets Under Management?
According to Bitwise CEO Hunter Horsley, the approval of Bitcoin ETFs by platform providers can act as a significant catalyst for fund growth, especially considering that financial advisors oversee trillions of dollars in assets.
Horsley emphasized that over half of the US, wealth is part of a platform and can only access approved products. Ultimately, Bitwise’s CEO noted that financial platforms “have been busy.” Still, with the emergence of ETFs and the presence of products with over a billion in assets under management (AUM), they are now doing the necessary work.
Carson Group’s decision to approve four Bitcoin ETFs reflects the growing interest in digital assets within the investment advisory space. The chosen ETFs offer a range of attributes, including significant asset growth, trading volume, competitive fees, and expertise from renowned asset management firms.
As financial platforms continue to evaluate and approve such products, it is expected that the accessibility and adoption of Bitcoin ETFs will expand, enabling a broader base of investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency market.
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com
Dogecoin has seen abysmal performance in the last year, even while the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum went on to hit new yearly highs. On the back of this poor performance, other altcoins have been creeping up in their market cap to challenge Dogecoin’s position in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap list. And now, after another week of stalling behind the market, Dogecoin has lost its position on this list.Dogecoin Loses 10th Spot To Tron (TRX)
Justin Sun’s Tron and its native TRX token have been on a bullish run over the last year. It has risen almost 200% from its 2023 lows of $0.05, and this has sent its market cap rocking. At the same time, the Dogecoin price has failed to follow this growth path, and has instead stalled.
The result of Dogecoin’s sluggish performance is a decrease in its market cap compared to the market cap of other large cap altcoins. While DOGE was able to hold the 10th position for the better part of 2023, the new year has not been as favorable.
Tron’s market cap crossed the $12 billion threshold after a 5% increase in the price over the last week. This quickly put it ahead of Dogecoin, which continues to struggle in the market. Tron’s market cap is currently sitting at $12.25 billion, while Dogecoin has an $11.98 billion market cap.Meme Coins Fail To Impress
Meme coins such as Dogecoin have not seen the best performance in the last few months. Where a lot of altcoins have been recovering and doing 50% rallies, meme coins have failed to follow the same trend. DOGE, for one, is down 3.6% in the last week alone.
Moving on to other meme coins, Shiba Inu, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has followed the same trend, falling 4.7% in the last week alone. In the same vein, Solana-based BONK is down 14% in the last seven days as well.
However, DOGE could be headed for better days as there has been an uptick in its unchain activity. In the month of February, the meme coin’s transaction count has exploded, with more than 1 million transactions carried out daily.
This surge in the daily transaction count suggests a growing interest in the meme coin. If this interest continues to rise, it could translate to buy pressure on the coin, thereby leading to a surge in the DOGE price as a result.
On Thursday, February 22, Bitcoin miner Riot Platforms, along with industry groups Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, initiated legal action against key agencies of the Biden-Harris Administration. The lawsuit targets the US Department of Energy (DOE), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), challenging the administration’s recent steps to gather detailed energy consumption data from the cryptocurrency mining sector.
The legal complaint arises from a January decision by the OMB, which approved an emergency request by the EIA to collect data on energy usage from 82 Bitcoin mining operations, including that of Riot Platforms. This move has been criticized by the plaintiffs and supported by United States Representative Tom Emmer, who allege it represents an abuse of power aimed at the crypto industry under the guise of an emergency.
The plaintiffs’ filing articulates a multifaceted critique of the government’s actions, accusing it of “sloppy government process, contrived and self-inflicted urgency, and invasive government data collection.” Brian Morgenstern, Head of Public Policy at Riot Platforms, expressed his stance on the matter, stating,
Proud of our team standing up against unlawful government overreach. Fanatics declared a phony emergency to publish the proprietary information of Bitcoin miners to attack decentralized assets & advance a CBDC. We must fight at this step in order to win at the next & the next.US Bitcoin Miners Call Foul Play
The core of the complaint hinges on allegations of procedural violations and overreach. The plaintiffs argue that the DOE and EIA breached the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and the Administrative Procedure Act by rushing the approval and implementation of the survey without proper public notice and opportunity for comment.
They claim this action not only lacks legal justification but also imposes unfair burdens on crypto miners by compelling them to disclose proprietary energy consumption data, potentially causing irreparable harm to their businesses. Key points from the legal document include:
- Violation of Legal Procedures: Accusations that the DOE and EIA failed to comply with the PRA’s requirements for public notice and comment, rendering the emergency information collection request (ICR) approval process arbitrary and unlawful.
- Inadequate Justification for Emergency Collection: The plaintiffs dispute the DOE’s rationale for an emergency data collection, arguing it fails to meet established criteria for such expedited actions.
- Concerns Over Confidential Information: The forced disclosure of sensitive business information under the emergency ICR is said to jeopardize the competitive positions of cryptocurrency miners.
- Lack of Proper Notice and Opportunity for Comment: The filing criticizes the defendants for not providing sufficient notice or opportunity for stakeholders to comment on the information collection request, a violation of the PRA’s directives.
- Request for Relief: The plaintiffs seek judicial relief to prevent the enforcement of the emergency ICR, including an order to vacate the DOE’s emergency approval of the request.
This lawsuit marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing dialogue between the Bitcoin industry and regulatory bodies in the United States. Importantly, it reflects the industry’s willingness to engage in legal battles to protect their interests.
At press time, BTC traded at $50,985.
Data shows the Bitcoin Coinbase Premium Index has turned negative once more, a sign that could prove to be bearish for the asset’s price.Bitcoin Coinbase Premium Index Has Dipped Into Red Territory
As pointed out by an analyst in a post on X, selling pressure on Coinbase has risen recently. The indicator of interest here is the “Coinbase Premium Index,” which measures the percentage difference between the Bitcoin prices listed on cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Binance.
When the value of this metric is positive, it means that the price listed on Coinbase is greater than that on Binance right now. Such a trend implies either the buying pressure on the former is higher than the latter or the selling pressure is lower.
On the other hand, a negative value implies Coinbase may be witnessing a higher amount of selling pressure currently, as the price listed here is lower than on Binance.
Now, here is a chart that shows the trend in the Bitcoin Coinbase Premium Index over the last few months:
As displayed in the above graph, the Bitcoin Coinbase Premium Index had been notably positive earlier, and alongside these high values, the cryptocurrency’s price had rallied up.
This would imply that the relatively high buying pressure on the platform may have contributed to the coin’s surge. Once the indicator had cooled to low (but still positive) values, the price slumped to a sideways movement.
The Coinbase Premium Index has recently taken to outright negative values, implying that sellers have potentially appeared on the exchange. The last time the indicator turned red was during the spot ETF sell-the-news event, which didn’t end well for the coin.
Coinbase is popularly known to be used by the US-based institutional investors, so the Premium Index can tell us about how the behavior of these large entities differs from that of Binance’s global userbase.
The latest rally was driven by buying from institutional entities like ETFs, which is why the metric had been positive. But it would appear that buying pressure from these investors has now run out as sellers have leaped ahead.
If past precedent is anything to go by, this dip into the negative territory might mean that Bitcoin would at least continue to consolidate, if not outright register a drawdown.
However, a bearish outcome may be averted if the Coinbase Premium Index switches back into positive territory in the coming days. It remains to be seen if this selling pressure from the American whales is the start of a new trend or if it’s only temporary.BTC Price
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading around the $50,900 mark, down 2% in the past week.
Dogecoin is once again on the radar of crypto investors after multiple important patterns have made their way to the fore. This was pointed out by crypto analyst Ali Martinez, who identified multiple patterns similar to what was seen in 2020 that could result in a parabolic rally.Dogecoin Chart Looks Similar To 2020
2020 was a pivotal year for Dogecoin as it was the setup that led to one of the most impressive rallies in crypto history. It also shares a similarity with 2024 as it was also a year when the Bitcoin halving took place, leading to an incredibly bullish one year for the space.
It seems Dogecoin is looking toward a repeat of this rally as similar patterns are beginning to form once more. According to crypto analyst Ali Martinez, the present performance of the meme coin does bear a striking resemblance to what it did in 2020. More specifically, the formation of a bullish descending triangle.
The previous descending triangle had formed in the years leading up to 2020 before ending in early 2020. From here, we can see in the chart that the DOGE price increased but made a number of notable dips and recoveries before the main rally.
In the same vein, a descending triangle has been forming for Dogecoin from 2021 to 2024, and it has eventually found its bottom. Just like it did in 2020, the meme coin has seen a price surge, before recording dips and recoveries along the way.
If Martinez’s analysis is correct, then DOGE is on the brink of another parabolic rally. Now, while it may not end up being a 28,000% rally as seen before, it would be no less significant. In this case, the crypto analyst puts the target for Dogecoin as high as $10 if history were to repeat itself.DOGE Inflation Could Be A Threat
While Dogecoin is a proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain just like Bitcoin, it differs from the latter in the fact that there is no cap on its supply. This meant that the supply of DOGE has grown tremendously over the last three years, which could hinder its possibilities of a rally.
For example, when Dogecoin hit $0.7 in 2021, it had a market cap of around $80 billion. However, if Dogecoin were to hit its all-time high of $0.7 with its current supply, the market cap would be more than $100 billion, meaning its supply has grown by around 25% since 2021.
Nevertheless, the expectations for Dogecoin are still high as it continues to enjoy support from the likes of Elon Musk. With its strong community, DOGE is poised to see another good performance in the bull market.
Digital Currency Group Alleges Bankruptcy Code Violations, Calls For Revamp Of NYAG And Genesis Settlement
In a surprising twist, Digital Currency Group (DCG), the parent company of defunct crypto lender Genesis Capital, has contested the settlement agreement reached with the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) office, citing alleged violations of the Bankruptcy Code.
The legal saga, which saw the NYAG accusing Genesis and its collaborators of defrauding investors for over $3 billion, took an unexpected turn when DCG filed a court objection to the settlement.Violation Of Bankruptcy Code?
DCG’s objection, outlined in a recent court filing issued on Wednesday, revolves around the belief that the proposed settlement allows the Debtors (Genesis) to redistribute value from lower classes to preferred creditors, thereby violating the absolute priority rule.
The objection argues that the New York Attorney General’s office agreement with Genesis, portrayed as a settlement, is an attempt to secure insurance against an adverse decision on the Debtors’ plan.
DCG claims that the NYAG agreement circumvents the Bankruptcy Code and unfairly allocates the entire residual value of the Debtors’ estates to the NYAG and unsecured creditors.
Furthermore, DCG asserts that the NYAG agreement violates Bankruptcy Code Sections 1129 and 502(b) by providing the NYAG and unsecured creditors with a recovery greater than the Dollarized Value.
The objection contends that the proposed settlement is not fair, equitable, or in the estate’s best interests. DCG argues that the plan fails to comply with the absolute priority rule, which should prevent a senior class from receiving more than full compensation for its claims.Digital Currency Group Objects To Bankruptcy Plan
According to Digital Currency Group’s claims, the bankruptcy plan developed by the Unsecured Creditors Committee and Ad Hoc Group, in collaboration with Genesis, disenfranchises equity interests and favors general unsecured creditors.
Digital Currency Group claims the process was conducted “clandestinely” and allegedly excluded their participation, further violating the Debtors’ fiduciary duties and demonstrating a “lack of good faith.”
DCG’s objection also highlights additional advantages granted to certain creditors, including unrecognized post-petition interest rates and restrictions on DCG’s rights as the equity holder. According to Digital Currency Group, these provisions diminish their interests and contradict the Bankruptcy Code.
Digital Currency Group urges the court to reject Genesis’ proposed bankruptcy plan and calls for a “fair and equitable” resolution that adheres to the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code.
While DCG emphasizes that it is not challenging the merits of the NYAG’s claims against Genesis, it seeks to ensure that the process respects the rights of all stakeholders and upholds the principles of the Bankruptcy Code.
Currently, the total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market stands at $1.89 trillion, reflecting a marginal decrease of 0.20% in value over the past 24 hours. Bitcoin (BTC), the leading cryptocurrency in market share, is currently trading at $50,800, commanding a dominant 52.88% market share.
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com
Willy Woo, an on-chain Bitcoin (BTC) analyst, is sounding the bullish alarm, citing strong demand and dwindling supply as reasons for optimism. Taking to X, Woo noted that Bitcoin soaks in an average of $607 million daily as an asset in new investor demand. In comparison, only $46 million of new supply is being created through mining.Bitcoin Receives Over $607 Million In Value Everyday, What Happens After Halving?
The Bitcoin network is a proof-of-work platform reliant on miners for security and decentralization, rendering its transactions censorship-resistant and global. Though there are concerns about centralization, it appears that the broad network of miners holds more importance for the platform, explaining its colossal valuation.
Miners are rewarded with 6.25 BTC after every block, equating to around $46 million, after every 24-hour cycle. However, the fiat value, as expected, changes depending on spot rates.
Woo says the expanding demand, estimated to be about $607 million per day, considers changes in the realized cap. It is a metric that shows the total amount investors have paid for the current circulating BTC. The total value takes into account the price when each was bought.
While useful, Woo notes that the realized cap, and thus, the level of demand injected into Bitcoin, is conservative. The weakness stems from the realized cap only capturing on-chain transactions.
It is this shift in imbalance, Woo pins on, that may propel prices even higher in the coming sessions. The on-chain analyst sees the current trend accelerating further ahead of the next Bitcoin halving set for early April 2024.
Bitcoin halving occurs approximately every four years, reducing the new BTC created per block by 50%. The on-chain analyst thinks this decrease in supply, coupled with the already strong demand, will push prices higher, rapidly increasing the realized cap.Reddit Plans To Go Public, Buying BTC And ETH
Woo’s optimism follows encouraging news that Reddit, the popular social media platform, will invest some excess cash into Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH). Recent reports reveal that Reddit plans to go public, filing for an initial public offering (IPO) this week.
The endorsement of crypto by a major technology company showcases the growing institutional adoption, a net positive for investor confidence. So far, Reddit’s IPO prospectus shows that its revenue expanded 20% in 2023.
The platform also boasts over 70 million daily active users. Based on this, once it goes public, it is likely that a significant portion of funds will be injected into BTC and ETH.
A recent report by AlphaQuest Research has listed Cardano as one of the top ecosystems with “dead coins,” highlighting the blockchain’s record number of failed cryptocurrency projects over the past few years.Cardano As Top Dead Coin Holder
Cryptocurrency research platform AlphaQuest, published a report spotlighting the leading categories of ecosystems featuring dead coins in 2024. According to the report, Cardano currently holds a prominent position as an ecosystem with one of the highest numbers of dead coins.
AlphaQuest revealed that 74% of Cardano’s ecosystem projects have “become defunct.” In a similar vein, blockchain protocol, Terra Luna shares the spotlight with a matching 74% of failed crypto projects.
The crypto company has outlined its criteria for determining what it defines as a dead state, specifying that ecosystems with more than 50% failed projects are classified as “dead.” AlphaQuest revealed that since 2023, there has been a significant decrease in the overall market value, resulting in the death of over 65% of potentially innovative projects.
The report noted that between the 2020 and 2023 cycle, almost 60% of inactive coins vanished. After analyzing over 12,000 cryptocurrency projects, AlphaQuest revealed that the majority of these coins were either delisted from CoinMarketCap, experienced low liquidity and trading volume, or had inactivated Twitter accounts and websites.
Including the Cardano ecosystem, AlphaQuest has identified several other blockchain networks harboring a substantial amount of dead coins. This list encompasses ecosystems such as Harmony ONE, NEAR Protocol, Zilliqa, Celo, and Moonriver.
“A considerable number of crypto projects have a brief existence, with 21.77% lasting less than a year and 11.65% lasting less than six months. Only 22.40% of crypto projects successfully survive more than 4 years,” AlphaQuest stated.Crypto Industry Still Holds Promise For The Future
Shedding light on the 2022 Terra Luna crash and the FTX debacle, AlphaQuest revealed that in the aftermath of Terra’s collapse, 35% of crypto projects were categorized as defunct. Similarly, following the fall of FTX, 32% of crypto projects experienced failure.
The crypto company has emphasized the need for a crackdown on cryptocurrency scams, highlighting that the crypto industry has been consistently exploited by scam projects, which have resulted in significant financial losses and considerably tarnished the industry’s reputation.
Despite the death of numerous crypto projects, AlphaQuest has emphasized that the cryptocurrency industry still remains a hub of innovation, with new crypto initiatives emerging every month. The research firm has underscored the strong resilience and adaptive nature of the crypto market, forecasting that the industry would have a positive long-term impact on the financial landscape.
The analysis conducted by JPMorgan’s research team, led by Managing Director Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, revealed that the resurgence of “small-scale investors,” often referred to as ‘mom-and-pop’ traders, has been instrumental in propelling popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to two-year peak this month.
This resurgence follows the market decline experienced in January, indicating renewed optimism among retail participants in the crypto space. The JPMorgan team noted:
We find that the retail impulse into crypto rebounded in February, thus likely responsible for this month’s strong crypto market rally.
The report further underscores the significant surpassing of on-chain Bitcoin flows from “small wallets” compared to those from “institutional investors.”
Particularly noteworthy is the observation that inflows into US spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have contributed to this surge, as retail investors increasingly allocate funds to these newly available investment vehicles.
Despite this influx, the report emphasizes that the dominance of retail traders in driving the market rally remains evident, even after accounting for these inflows into Bitcoin spot ETFs.Critical Catalysts And Concerns
JPMorgan’s analysis also highlights three critical catalysts for this retail-driven rally. These include the upcoming Bitcoin halving event scheduled for April, the imminent Ethereum network upgrade, and the potential approval of spot Ethereum exchange-traded funds (ETFs) slated for May.
While the JPMorgan report suggests that the first two catalysts are “largely priced in,” it also indicates a moderate 50% chance of approval for spot Ethereum ETFs, highlighting the cautious optimism surrounding regulatory decisions.
Meanwhile, concerns have been raised regarding the accessibility of Bitcoin to retail investors in the foreseeable future.
Oliver Velez, a crypto analyst and trader, has recently warned that as Wall Street increasingly embraces Bitcoin, prices could surge to levels that may render it unattainable for ordinary investors, drawing parallels to the prohibitive costs of Berkshire Hathaway shares.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) is trading at $554,300 a share. Its price is out of the reach of 99% of all human beings on Earth. You see, Warren Buffett never wanted his baby accessible to you, the masses. It was only for the elite, only for the priveledge, only for those closest to… pic.twitter.com/s9ikElnjee
— Oliver L. Velez 13%’er Bitcoiner (@olvelez007) January 8, 2024
This sentiment aligns with ambitious price predictions for Bitcoin, with figures ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 being touted by industry experts such as Blockstream CEO Adam Back and analyst Michael Van De Poppe.
That’s what I’ve been saying, my bet is $100k befofe the halving.
— Adam Back (@adam3us) December 2, 2023
Featured image from iStock, Chart from TradingView
In a blow to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Kraken, the second largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, has fired back at the agency regarding its lawsuit against the platform, citing a crucial aspect of Ripple’s case.Kraken Responds to The US SEC
Bill Morgan, a legal expert, shared the information concerning the lawsuit on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on Friday. “It is interesting how Kraken summarises and references a significant portion of the Ripple case,” Morgan stated.
Morgan highlighted that Kraken bases its stance on the claim that the SEC has not been able to develop a direct connection between the issuers of certain coins, which the commission calls “crypto asset securities.”
According to the summary of the SEC v. Ripple document that Kraken cited, there is no relationship between the issuer and the buyer. Furthermore, it points out five reasons that demonstrate this lack of connection, with one of those grounds being that particular lack of expectation of income from Ripple’s effort, as noted by Judge Analisa Torres.
Specifically, Kraken’s position refutes the SEC’s contention that assets like Algorand (ALGO), Cardano (ADA), and Polygon (MATIC) that are sold on the crypto exchange and its customers are securities.
Thus, Kraken, drawing a comparison to the Ripple case, argues that the 11 token issuers involved in the case, which the agency calls “crypto asset securities,” do not align with the typical requirement of an investment contract.
The platform generally adopts a blind bid/ask trading mechanism akin to that of Ripple’s programmatic sales, which Judge Analisa Torres deemed were not investment contracts. A portion of those Ripple programmatic sales took place on the crypto exchange.
So far, Morgan has emphasized how the ruling in the Ripple case might make it harder for the Commission to conclude the current legal dispute with Ripple.
“Massive impediment to a settlement of the SEC vs. Ripple case,” he stated.”You can see the problem for the SEC if Judge Torres’ summary judgment decision stands and is not successfully appealed,” Morgan added.Crypto Exchange Files A Motion Of Dismissal
The exchange has asked the Northern California Court to dismiss the Commission’s assertion that it functions as an unregistered securities platform, dealer, broker, and clearing agency.
Terret noted that a spokesperson from Kraken told Fox Business that the foundation of the SEC’s case relies on a “comprehensive new theory.” This would effectively “securitize” a variety of common commodities and assets. Furthermore, the spokesperson asserted that the regulatory watchdog currently considers any asset that “rises or falls in value” as an investment contract.
Consequently, this action would allow the SEC to seize vast new power over the US economy, coinciding with Congress discussing how those powers should be distributed among government agencies.
Crypto analyst Bluntz Capital recently provided a bullish narrative for the Dogwifhat (WIF) token. As part of his analysis, he suggested that the meme coin could go head-to-head with the foremost meme coins, Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB).WIF To Go “Turbo Parabolic”
Bluntz hinted in an X (formerly Twitter) post that WIF’s next move to the upside could be the one that makes its price go “turbo parabolic.” He added that the meme coin would unlikely see any further pullback at the $0.50 resistance. From the accompanying chart the analyst shared, one could see that he was hinting at the meme coin hitting $1 when this parabolic move happened.
Bluntz is known to be very bullish on the meme coin and has shared several technical analyses of the meme coin’s chart on his X platform. This is also not the first time he has suggested that the crypto token will rise to $1. In a previous X post, he boldly claimed that WIF to “$1 is programmed.”
WIF is currently ranked as the sixth-largest meme token by market cap, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The crypto token has a market cap of $296 million, far behind the likes of DOGE and SHIB, which boast a market cap of $12 billion and $5.5 billion, respectively.New Meme Coin To Overtake Bonk?
It is also worth mentioning that WIF (a Solana-based token) isn’t the largest meme coin in the Solana ecosystem. The crypto token is currently ranked second behind BONK (which has a market cap of $725 million). However, the altcoin’s rise to $1 could see the meme coin potentially claim the top spot, mainly because BONK’s price is way lower at around $0.0000114.
Interestingly, Arthur Hayes, the former CEO and co-founder of crypto exchange BitMEX, had highlighted WIF as one of two altcoins he would invest in. He also suggested that the meme coin overtake BONK, stating that the latter was the “last cycle’s doggy money.” Then, he added that “if it ain’t Wif Hat, it ain’t shit.”
The altcoin has already made significant strides to start this year, boasting a year-to-date gain of over 90%. In comparison, BONK has seen a decline of over 14%. The crypto token is also at an advantage since more eyes are expected to be on the Solana ecosystem heading into the next bull run.
At the time of writing, WIF is trading at around $0.29, down over 11% in the last 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
On Thursday, previously unseen emails between Adam Back and the enigmatic Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, were disclosed in the ongoing trial between the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) and Craig Wright. Wright, who has controversially claimed to be Nakamoto, is facing legal challenges over his attempt to copyright the BTC whitepaper and related materials.
The trial, taking place in the UK, has gripped the crypto world due to its potential implications for Bitcoin’s development and the broader digital currency ecosystem. Adam Back, a pivotal figure in the cryptocurrency realm and a cited influence on Nakamoto, submitted the correspondence as part of his testimony against Wright on February 22.COPA Trial: Unseen Emails Of Bitcoin Inventor Submitted
The emails date back to August 2008, months before Bitcoin’s official launch, revealing a dialogue between Back and Nakamoto on the technical underpinnings of what would become the first and most significant digital currency.
The first email from Nakamoto seeks to confirm the citation of Back’s Hashcash paper, an antecedent to Bitcoin’s proof-of-work mechanism. Nakamoto’s message hints at the early conceptualization of Bitcoin, noting, “I’m getting ready to release a paper that references your Hashcash paper and I wanted to make sure I have the citation right… It finds a new use for hash-based proof-of-work as a way to make e-cash work.”
Email #2: Adam's reply
Here Adam suggests that Satoshi investigate a paper called "B-money" by Wei Dei.
Dei was a well known cryptographer working on digital cash, and is a frequently cited candidate for Satoshi. pic.twitter.com/zG5PehiBpe
— Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_) February 22, 2024
Subsequent emails showcase a technical exchange between the two, with Back suggesting Nakamoto look into the B-money proposal by Wei Dai, a concept Nakamoto admits to being previously unaware of. This acknowledgment is critical, as Wright has claimed inspiration from B-money in the creation of Bitcoin.
However, the emails suggest Nakamoto only became aware of B-money through Back, casting doubt on Wright’s narrative. During his testimony, Back emphasized the brevity and technical focus of his exchanges with Nakamoto, stating, “It was not an elaborate conversation, and we didn’t get into a great deal of detail.”
Back also took the opportunity to counter Wright’s claims regarding BTC’s genesis, asserting, “I do not believe B-Money influenced Nakamoto based on his emails.” He further challenged Wright’s assertion that Bitcoin relies on an algorithm other than Hashcash, reinforcing the significance of his own contributions to the field.
COPA has positioned the trial as a pivotal fight for the future of Bitcoin, arguing that Wright’s claims threaten to stifle innovation and intimidate developers within the space. The alliance’s legal battle against Wright aims to keep BTC’s foundational documents in the public domain, ensuring the digital currency remains an open and collaborative project.
At press time, BTC traded at $51,204.
Jack Dorsey’s Block, the payments company riding the wave of digital innovation, reported a stellar Q4 2023, fueled by a 37% year-over-year surge in Bitcoin sales and strong performances from both Cash App and Square.Bitcoin Bonanza: Sales Skyrocket, Holdings Strengthen
Bitcoin continues to be a bright spot for Block, with total sales reaching a staggering $2.52 billion in Q4. This impressive figure reflects the growing consumer appetite for digital currencies and Block’s strategic positioning in the market.
Notably, Cash App, the company’s mobile payment platform, saw a remarkable 90% increase in BTC sales profits, reaching over $60 million. This robust growth highlights Cash App’s user-friendly interface and its success in catering to the growing demand for convenient crypto access.
Furthermore, Block strategically increased its remeasured Bitcoin holdings to $207 million, demonstrating a commitment to the long-term potential of the digital asset. This prudent move suggests a belief in Bitcoin’s future value and a willingness to leverage its volatility for potential gains.
The Block report disclosed that:“The year-over-year increase in bitcoin revenue and gross profit was driven by an increase in the average market price of bitcoin as well as a benefit from the price appreciation of our BTC inventory during the quarter.” Square Stays Steady, Delivers Solid Growth
While Bitcoin steals the spotlight, Square, Block’s financial services platform for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), continues to deliver consistent results.
The fourth quarter saw Square generate a healthy gross profit of nearly $830 million, marking an 18% YoY growth. This steady performance underscores Square’s ability to provide essential financial solutions to businesses, solidifying its position as a trusted partner for SMBs.Market Cheers Block’s Success, Share Price Soars
The positive financial results translated to a jubilant market response. Following the earnings release, Block’s stock price experienced a significant jump, closing up 5.40% on Wednesday.
The momentum continued in after-hours trading, with shares gaining an additional 13.23%. This enthusiastic response reflects investor confidence in Block’s ability to capitalize on growth opportunities in the digital payments and cryptocurrency sectors.Looking Ahead: Navigating Crypto’s Uncertain Waters
While Block’s final quarter performance is undoubtedly impressive, navigating the volatile landscape of cryptocurrency remains a challenge. The inherent price fluctuations and regulatory uncertainties pose risks that require careful management.
Additionally, competition in the digital payments space is fierce, with established players and innovative startups vying for market share.
Featured image from Karolina Grabowska/Pexels, chart from TradingView