Monday, 22 January 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 22 January 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$41,580.33 (-0.28%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 2,457.05 (-0.61%)

Ethereum infrastructure firm Nethermind has released a hotfix to address a “critical” bug in its execution client, affecting versions 1.23-1.25 and causing users to fail to process blocks on Ethereum. While the incident underlines the importance of diversifying away from the majority client, Geth, some Ethereum community members have raised concerns about the increased reliance on Geth, which currently accounts for 84% of execution clients. In another development, the Virginia State Senate has introduced legislation, Senate Bill No. 339, aimed at regulating digital asset mining and transactions, exempting miners from obtaining money transmitter licenses and protecting them from discrimination. The bill also offers tax benefits for cryptocurrency transactions, allowing individuals to exclude up to $200 per transaction from their net capital gains starting January 1, 2024. Additionally, Bitcoin ETFs, recently approved in the U.S., have accumulated 95,000 BTC in six days, approaching $4 billion in assets under management. The influx into these ETFs has surpassed outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). Among the ETFs, Fidelity’s and BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust have both seen over $1.2 billion in inflows, with Invesco’s ETF maintaining steady growth and VanEck’s ETF surpassing $100 million in assets under management.

Elon Musk has denied reports that his AI company, xAI, secured $500 million of a $1 billion goal from investors, dismissing the accuracy of the information. The denial follows a Bloomberg article claiming that xAI is in talks about a valuation ranging from $15 billion to $20 billion. Investors and Musk are reportedly planning to settle terms in the coming weeks, with discussions ongoing about obtaining computing power alongside or instead of xAI equity shares. In November 2023, Musk mentioned that equity investors in X would get a 25% ownership stake in xAI, encouraging them to invest at least 25% of the amount they invested in X into xAI. In addition, stablecoin transfer volume on the Solana blockchain has hit a record monthly high of $300 billion, surpassing December 2023’s $297 billion. The surge in stablecoin activity on Solana started in October 2023 and has increased by 650% since then. Ethereum remains the industry leader for stablecoin transfer volume, with $317 billion in January, while Solana has rapidly gained market share, reaching almost 32%. Lastly, Elon Musk’s “everything app” X has created a dedicated account for its upcoming payments feature, leading to speculation about the possible inclusion of cryptocurrencies. While there is anticipation that the X app will introduce in-app payment services by mid-2024, it remains uncertain whether the feature will support payments beyond traditional fiat currencies. The crypto community is speculating about the potential inclusion of cryptocurrencies like XRP, Stellar, and XDC on the X app, with Dogecoin considered a likely candidate given Musk’s previous involvement with it.

Trezor, a hardware wallet manufacturer, disclosed a security breach affecting nearly 66,000 users, exposing their contact information due to unauthorised access to a third-party support portal on January 17. Trezor promptly notified affected users, emphasising that their funds and recovery seed phrases remained secure, while no spike in phishing activity has been observed. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is reportedly in talks with potential investors, including G42 and SoftBank Group, to secure funds for a global chip venture aiming to establish semiconductor manufacturing facilities. The initiative involves collaboration with major chip producers, such as Intel, TSMC, and Samsung Electronics, to create a worldwide network of fabs. In another development, Branden Farmer, Polygon’s co-founder, proposes that parallelised Ethereum Virtual Machines (EVMs) could resolve performance issues caused by inscriptions, a form of digital collectible affecting blockchain networks. Farmer suggests that parallelised EVMs could process unrelated transactions simultaneously, enhancing throughput and enabling better handling of spam. The concept of localised gas fees, impacting specific areas of contention, could reduce the impact on unrelated transactions. While Polygon has initiated steps toward parallelisation, other blockchains, including Aptos and Monad, are exploring similar approaches, with Ethereum integrating parallelisation with increased block space through layer-2 ecosystems like Polygon 2.0.


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