Monday, 12 February 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 12 February 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$48,299.99 (+1.15%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 2,507.21(+2.21%)

In 2023, ransomware attacks surged, with criminals pocketing a staggering $1 billion in cryptocurrency payments, fueled by sophisticated tactics targeting high-profile institutions and infrastructure, according to Chainalysis’ “Crypto Crime Report.” Notably, ransomware groups like CL0P adopted a “big game hunting” approach, leveraging zero-day vulnerabilities for mass extortion, while others, like Phobos, operated ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) models. The report highlights the use of blockchain analysis to trace ransomware payments and the laundering of funds through various crypto mechanisms. Meanwhile, in Canada, despite a drop in overall fintech investment volumes, the blockchain and crypto sector remained robust, attracting the most deals in 2023, with investors anticipating the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. Additionally, South Korea implemented stringent regulations under the Virtual Asset User Protection Act, imposing life imprisonment for crypto criminals making over 5 billion won ($3.8 million) through illegal trading schemes, aiming to safeguard investors and enhance market transparency.

In the United States, lawmakers are reportedly nearing the passage of a stablecoin bill after months of negotiation, according to Representative Maxine Waters. Discussions have focused on how the Federal Reserve would oversee stablecoins and whether it would establish rules for their issuance. Waters emphasised the importance of central bank oversight and stated that progress has been made in collaboration with federal authorities. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire expressed optimism about stablecoin legislation in 2024, highlighting the need for consumer protections. Meanwhile, Ethereum’s Dencun upgrade, featuring proto-danksharding, has completed testing on the Holesky testnet and is awaiting mainnet deployment. This upgrade is expected to significantly reduce transaction costs on Ethereum layer-2s, potentially lowering rollup costs by up to 10 times. Additionally, Prometheum, a U.S.-approved special-purpose broker-dealer for digital asset securities, announced plans to offer institutional custody services for Ether, treating it as a security on its platform. This move aligns with regulatory guidelines and could signal a broader trend in the treatment of digital assets as securities.

Researchers from Huawei’s Noah’s Ark Lab propose embodied artificial intelligence (E-AI) as a crucial step toward achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI), arguing that large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT lack true understanding because they don’t interact with the real world. They suggest E-AI agents must possess perception, action, memory, and learning capabilities. Meanwhile, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warns of the potential corporate takeover and fragmentation of the metaverse, emphasising the need for regulated interoperable payment technologies to prevent domination by powerful private interests. Additionally, UBS’ Hong Kong subsidiary tokenises an investment warrant on Ethereum with OSL, aiming to enhance transparency, reduce transaction fees, and streamline settlement processes, representing a notable advancement in financial derivatives’ digitisation.


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