Friday, 24 May 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 24 May 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$ 67,953.37 (-1.59%) 
Ethereum Price: US$ 3,783.61 (+1.23%) 

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given the green light to spot Ether exchange-traded funds (ETFs), approving the 19b-4 filings from major firms such as VanEck, BlackRock, Fidelity, Grayscale, Franklin Templeton, ARK 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy, and Bitwise. However, the journey is not over for these ETF issuers as they still await the SEC’s approval on their respective S-1 registration statements for the spot Ether ETFs to officially commence trading. Amidst these financial advancements, the Fantom Foundation has made strides in the blockchain sector by announcing the creation of a new foundation to facilitate the launch of their upcoming Sonic chain. This Sonic Foundation will play a crucial role in overseeing Sonic’s governance, managing the network treasury, orchestrating partnerships, and fostering the development of the DApp ecosystem. Meanwhile, in a separate development, former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried finds himself in a predicament, currently being held at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City. Despite recommendations from Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for SBF to remain at MDC Brooklyn, authorities may transfer him to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Mendota, marking a significant shift in his circumstances. 

On May 23, the United States House of Representatives passed the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, a largely partisan bill that prohibits Federal Reserve banks from offering certain products or services directly to an individual and restricts the use of central bank digital currency for monetary policy. The bill, which awaits a Senate vote, ignited debates with Republicans emphasising potential risks of CBDC abuse and Democrats focusing on innovation, the dollar’s international competitiveness, and critiquing the bill’s drafting. Amidst this political discourse, a daring 23-year-old crypto user, Dadvan Yousuf, undertook a remarkable expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Displaying an orange flag with the Bitcoin logo, Yousuf’s 50-day journey, fraught with harsh conditions and life-threatening situations, aimed to spotlight the global disparity in access to financial education. Meanwhile, after years of regulatory pushbacks against crypto, industry experts are forecasting a more amicable 2025, buoyed by positive regulatory developments. These include potential approvals for crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and stablecoin frameworks, despite the United States Securities and Exchange Commission retaining the power to regulate projects that classify their tokens as commodities instead of securities. 

Paul Grewal, the Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase, announced the resumption of XRP trading in New York after a nine-month hiatus, a development that followed the relisting of the digital asset on several exchanges in the wake of a 2023 court ruling. Despite this positive development, XRP’s price has been grappling with a steady downward trend since reaching its most recent high of $0.74 on March 12, 2024. In a contrasting regulatory landscape, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is contemplating the introduction of Ether (ETH) staking for spot ETH exchange-traded fund (ETF) issuers, a move that starkly contrasts with the stance of the U.S. SEC, which views staking services as a violation of securities laws. Even though Hong Kong was the first country to approve a spot ETH ETF, outpacing the United States, the response since its launch last month has been tepid. Meanwhile, several high-profile Ether (ETH) ETF issuers, including Ark Investments Management and Fidelity Investments, have opted to remove staking from their plans due to regulatory pressures from the U.S. SEC. Amidst a backdrop of conflicting perspectives on the changes to Ether ETF staking opportunities, the SEC initiated discussions with potential issuers of spot Ether ETFs on May 22, with a decision eagerly anticipated within the next few hours. 

In a bid to enhance the scalability of decentralised applications (DApps) and prevent trapped funds, StarkWare, under the guidance of Louis Guthmann, head of product/market strategy, has introduced ZKThreads, a new scaling framework. Developed in collaboration with Cartridge, ZKThreads is designed to address fragmentation issues by creating a standardised environment for building easily verifiable applications, thereby enhancing security, trust, and creating a seamless fabric of interoperable applications. Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency exchange landscape, Ben Zhou, the CEO of Bybit, has been actively refuting rumours about the platform’s insolvency. He has shared proof of reserves, demonstrating that the trading platform holds assets worth more than 100% of user deposits. Despite facing regulatory challenges earlier in May, Bybit has clarified that none of the rumours are true, with Zhou officially announcing the falsity of these rumours, thereby ensuring that all assets will be readily available if users wish to withdraw them. On another front, the Bitcoin Runes protocol, part of a wider developer movement known as Bitcoin decentralised finance (DeFi), is struggling to maintain its share of Bitcoin transactions. Runes transactions have seen a decline of over 84% since their all-time high. Despite the initial hype, it appears that the real market opportunity regarding the Runes protocol may only emerge months after the first wave of investor hype subsides. 


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