Tuesday, 21 November 2023

Market Summary

Market Summary 21 November 2023

Bitcoin Price: US$37,448.78 (+0.24%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 2,021.40 (+0.49%)  

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against crypto exchange Kraken, alleging that the platform commingled customer and corporate funds while operating as an unregistered broker, clearing agency, and dealer. The SEC claims that Kraken created a “significant risk” by commingling up to $33 billion in customer crypto with its own corporate assets. Kraken is accused of operating an unregistered broker, clearinghouse, and exchange, echoing similar complaints against Binance and Coinbase. The SEC seeks to permanently ban Kraken from operating as an unregistered exchange and pursue fines and the return of ill-gotten gains. Kraken has stated it disagrees with the SEC’s complaint and plans to vigorously defend its position. In other news, Binance is reportedly close to settling with the U.S. Department of Justice for $4 billion, which would allow the exchange to continue operations. Bitcoin and BNB have experienced relief rallies on the news. Additionally, Solana’s new block explorer, Quantum, aims to simplify the presentation of on-chain data on the Solana blockchain, providing an alternative to more detail-oriented explorers in the ecosystem.

The Blockchain Association has filed an amicus curiae brief in support of six plaintiffs suing the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) over its sanctions on the crypto mixer Tornado Cash. The advocacy group argues that OFAC’s decision to sanction Tornado Cash was unlawful, exceeded its statutory authority, and was “arbitrary and capricious,” contrary to the U.S. Constitution. The Blockchain Association suggests that OFAC should focus on sanctioning bad actors rather than outright banning tools like Tornado Cash. It recommends seeking legislation from Congress to provide supplemental authority in the decentralised digital asset context. In another development, the Bakong, a digital currency operated by the National Bank of Cambodia, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Alipay, enabling cross-border transactions and access to Alipay’s merchant network. The bakong operates on a blockchain but is not a central bank digital currency (CBDC). It allows Cambodians to use riel from their bakong wallets for shopping with Alipay’s 83 million merchants worldwide. Chinese tourists with Alipay accounts can also shop in Cambodia using Bakong’s QR codes. Additionally, Bittrex Global has announced its plan to wind down operations, starting with the suspension of trading activity on December 4. Users with U.S. dollar holdings are required to convert their funds to euros or cryptocurrency before the deadline. The move comes approximately nine months after Bittrex’s U.S.-based arm announced plans to wind down operations in the country due to regulatory uncertainty. In April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Bittrex for operating as an unregistered exchange, broker, and clearing agency.

ARK Investment Management, led by Cathie Wood, and 21Shares continue their efforts to launch a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the U.S., filing an amended prospectus for the ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF. The updated filing, the third amendment since the initial filing in April 2023, reflects ongoing progress and includes various updates and risk disclosures. The SEC’s decision on ARK’s application is expected by January 11, 2024. In another development, stablecoin issuer Tether freezes $225 million in USDT linked to a romance scam, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and OKX to target illicit funds. Tether’s proactive engagement with law enforcement aims to set safety standards in the crypto space. Additionally, crypto exchange Bullish acquires crypto media platform CoinDesk in an all-cash deal, with former NYSE president Tom Farley leading Bullish and former WSJ editor-in-chief Matt Murray chairing an independent editorial committee for CoinDesk. The terms of the acquisition, prompted by DCG’s financial challenges, were undisclosed, but CoinDesk’s annual revenue is reported at $50 million.

Research and development firm Dfinity Foundation has partnered with SingularityNET to enhance the infrastructure of decentralised AI on the Internet Computer blockchain, aiming to address transparency issues in AI tool training data. The joint initiative integrates the ICP blockchain with the SingularityNET marketplace, allowing DApps to access large language models (LLMs) with tamper-proof and transparent training parameters. Beyond blockchain integration, the collaboration connects grant programs to stimulate community developer engagement. In other news, the crypto community anticipates Bitcoin halving in April 2024, with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao initiating a countdown. Analysts expect phases of pre-halving rally, retracement, reaccumulation, and eventual parabolic surge, historically linked to bullish momentum. Additionally, a report by Fineqia reveals a 91% surge in global cryptocurrency exchange-traded products (ETP) AUM from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2023, outpacing underlying digital asset growth by 30%. Bitcoin’s 75% share in crypto ETP AUM, compared to its 50% market share, is attributed to the excitement around a potential spot Bitcoin ETF approval in the U.S., with 12 applications awaiting SEC decisions.


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