Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 21 February 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$52,258.82(+0.93%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 3,014.81 (+2.38%)

Circle has announced its decision to cease minting USD Coin (USDC) on the Tron blockchain, citing efforts to maintain the trust, transparency, and safety of USDC. Effective immediately, Circle will discontinue support for USDC on Tron and gradually phase out its involvement with the blockchain network, although it will continue to support Circle Mint business customers’ USD Coin transfers to other blockchains until February 2025. The company has encouraged retail users and non-Circle customers with Tron-based USDC to transfer their holdings to an exchange compatible with other supported blockchain networks. In other news, Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) has launched smart contracts on the Stellar network following the successful deployment of the “Protocol 20” upgrade, marking a significant milestone for the platform’s development. With the introduction of smart contract capabilities and the rollout of its smart contract platform Soroban, Stellar aims to usher in a new era for its technology stack, enabling developers to build decentralised applications (DApps) and novel protocols on the network. Despite these advancements, the native token of the Stellar network, XLM, has yet to experience a significant rally in the 2024 crypto market, remaining down 87% from its all-time high in January 2018.

Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, has declared his intention to continue buying Bitcoin indefinitely, asserting that Bitcoin serves as his exit strategy and emphasising its superiority over traditional assets like gold, the S&P 500, and real estate. Despite MicroStrategy’s substantial holdings of 190,000 BTC, valued at nearly $9.88 billion, Saylor has no plans to sell, emphasising his belief in Bitcoin’s long-term potential. MicroStrategy, which became the first publicly traded company to invest in Bitcoin in 2020, has seen its investment grow significantly, with the average cost of its BTC holdings standing at $31,224 each. Saylor remains bullish on Bitcoin, anticipating further capital inflows from traditional asset classes into the cryptocurrency, particularly with the advent of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the United States. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, there has been a surge in crypto licence applications, with 18 exchanges, including Huobi HK,, OKX, Bybit, and DFX Labs, applying for virtual asset trading platform licences with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The regulatory clarity on crypto exchange licensing has also attracted traditional brokerages like Tiger Brokers, which recently upgraded its license to include crypto trading. Additionally, Apple has announced PQ3, a significant cryptographic security upgrade for iMessage, featuring post-quantum cryptography that provides enhanced protocol protections, making it one of the most secure messaging protocols globally. This move underscores Apple’s commitment to ensuring the security and privacy of its users’ communications, particularly in anticipation of future threats posed by quantum computing.

Ladan Stewart, a former attorney representing the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its case against Ripple, has joined the law firm White & Case as a partner in New York, a firm known for defending crypto companies. Stewart’s expertise in crypto enforcement cases, including her recent role as head of the SEC’s specialised crypto and cyber litigation unit, is seen as a valuable asset by White & Case. Despite potential conflicts of interest, Stewart aims to manage them effectively, drawing from her experience handling litigation against Ripple, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, and Coinbase during her eight years at the SEC. This move comes amidst ongoing SEC lawsuits against various firms in the crypto space, reflecting the regulator’s increased focus on regulating digital assets. Meanwhile, the highly-anticipated Starknet airdrop, despite controversies surrounding airdrop squatters, saw significant demand, causing the protocol’s fully diluted market cap to surpass $20 billion. On a regulatory front, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority issued guidance letters to authorised institutions regarding tokenisation and custody of digital assets, emphasising standards and requirements for custodial activities and the sale and distribution of tokenised products. These developments underscore the evolving landscape and regulatory scrutiny surrounding the crypto industry.


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