Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 22 May 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$ 69,638.62 (-0.80%) 
Ethereum Price: US$ 3,789.60 (+3.49%) 

Former US President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign has announced its acceptance of cryptocurrency donations. A fundraising page has been launched on Coinbase Commerce, enabling eligible donors to contribute to the campaign. This development comes despite Trump facing criminal charges in four jurisdictions, yet he remains the presumptive Republican Party nominee for the 2024 US Presidential election and has committed to participating in televised debates with President Biden. In parallel, the world of blockchain is witnessing significant advancements. Chainlink, the world’s largest blockchain oracle network, is broadening its partnership with Hong Kong-based asset manager Arta TechFin. The collaboration aims to bring real-world assets on-chain, addressing market scarcity for an end-to-end solution that enhances product integrity and transforms previously illiquid assets, such as real estate, into electronically tradeable markets. Meanwhile, Uniswap Labs, the developer behind the decentralised exchange Uniswap, is standing firm against a Wells notice from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which suggests a potential enforcement action. The company has expressed its readiness to fight the matter in court if necessary, arguing that the SEC’s case, which treats all tokens as securities, is “weak and wrong”. These developments highlight the dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape of digital currencies and blockchain technology. 

In response to the miner extracted value (MEV) problem, which involves block producers maximising profits by arranging transactions within a block, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin proposed a comprehensive solution. This solution encompasses a mix of MEV quarantine and minimisation techniques, proposal/builder separation, and the use of inclusion lists. Concurrently, KlimaDAO Japan is planning to launch a marketplace for carbon credits with the potential for global expansion. This marketplace, which will trade J-Credits carbon credits, is set to gradually expand to a global scale on Carbonmark. Amid these developments, public Bitcoin mining companies have been fortifying their financial positions, raising a combined $2 billion in anticipation of the latest halving event. Despite encountering mixed financial results for the first quarter of 2024, companies such as Marathon Digital, CleanSpark, and Riot Platforms have taken the lead in this capital-raising endeavour. 

As the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nears its decision deadline on spot Ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the crypto community finds itself at a crossroads. The anticipation has stirred a mix of anxiety and optimism among insiders, with some cautioning about a potential short-term pullback even if the ETFs are approved, while others foresee significant inflows and a broad-sector rally among altcoins. Amid this uncertainty, the SEC’s move to contact major U.S. exchanges for updates on their applications to list and trade spot Ether ETFs could hint at an impending regulatory approval. If the SEC greenlights VanEck’s application, it could set a precedent for other asset managers’ spot Ether ETFs, despite the lingering possibility of denial suggested by the commission’s past actions and statements. Parallel to these developments in the crypto sphere, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has expressed concerns about the risks of “superintelligent” artificial intelligence (AI). His remarks come in response to leadership changes at OpenAI and the resignation of its former head of alignment, Jan Leike, over disagreements with the company’s core priorities. This situation underscores the growing concern among industry experts about the world’s preparedness to manage superintelligent AI systems. 

In North America, crypto firms such as Taurus and Fireblocks are making strides in the digital asset custody market for institutional clients, a move fuelled by the fusion of traditional financial products with cryptocurrencies. This market, which hit a staggering $448 billion in 2022, is on a trajectory of further growth, drawing the attention of both conventional crypto players and traditional firms like HSBC and BNY Mellon. Amidst this landscape, Fidelity has revised its S-1 application with the SEC for its spot Ether ETF, specifying that the ETF’s underlying Ether tokens will not be staked. This development comes in the wake of potential Ether ETF approvals, although the SEC may still categorise staked Ether as a security, thereby introducing an additional layer of complexity to the regulatory environment. Meanwhile, Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the FDIC, is preparing to step down in the wake of an investigation that exposed a toxic workplace culture at the bank regulator. His impending departure has been met with applause from the crypto community, given Gruenberg’s alleged role in facilitating Operation Choke Point 2.0, a concerted effort aimed at dissuading banks from holding crypto deposits or offering banking services to crypto firms. 


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