Friday, 24 November 2023

Market Summary

Market Summary 24 November 2023

Bitcoin Price: US$37,423.70 (+4.74%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 2,063.19 (+6.78%)  

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has finalised regulations for crypto service providers, emphasising measures to discourage cryptocurrency speculation by retail customers. MAS maintains restrictions on financing, margin transactions, and incentives for retail customers. The rules also include prohibitions on accepting locally issued credit card payments and require an assessment of customer risk awareness. While MAS has been consistent in its stance against speculative retail trading, it has slightly eased restrictions, including qualifying criteria for accredited investors and allowing exchanges to set token listing criteria with disclosure obligations. The rules will be implemented in phases from mid-2024 to provide a transitional period. In another development, a Bitcoin transaction witnessed a record $3.1 million fee, the largest in Bitcoin’s history, with Antpool as the mining pool receiving the excessive fee for block 818087. Additionally, on-chain data from CryptoQuant indicates a flow of Bitcoin from Binance to Coinbase, with concerns about legal implications contributing to retail outflows from Binance to more compliant platforms.

Ethereum Layer 2 project “Blast,” scheduled for a March launch, has attracted over $225 million in staked assets, including ether (stETH) and stablecoins, since Monday, although criticism and scepticism surround its model, which includes “Blast points” for users as a form of staking. Some critics have compared this model to a pyramid scheme. Meanwhile, in Argentina, the President-elect, Javier Milei, known for his promise of economic change, is generating enthusiasm within the country’s crypto community. Stablecoins, particularly UXD, have seen increased usage, reflecting their importance in the face of economic challenges. In a security incident, the KyberSwap decentralised exchange was exploited for $46 million, involving a sophisticated smart contract exploit termed an “infinite money glitch” that took advantage of the platform’s concentrated liquidity feature. The attacker, who engaged in a complex series of swaps, borrowed funds and manipulated the protocol, highlighting the challenges faced by decentralized exchanges in ensuring security.

Crypto exchange HTX, previously Huobi Global, is set to resume deposits and withdrawals within 24 hours after a $30 million hack on November 22. The exchange pledged to fully compensate for the losses, emphasising that the amount lost constitutes a small portion of its total funds, and normal operations were unaffected. HTX, alongside HTX Eco Chain and Tron, faced coordinated attacks. HTX reassured users of its commitment to safeguarding assets and information security. In a separate development, Singaporean crypto-fiat payment gateway Alchemy Pay expanded its U.S. services, obtaining a money services license in Iowa. The company focuses on regulatory compliance in the U.S. crypto landscape and anticipates additional licenses in other states. Additionally, Justin Sun-related crypto platforms, including HTX and Poloniex, have experienced four hacks in the last two months, with combined losses reaching approximately $208 million. Sun vowed to compensate for the losses, but concerns about the repeated security breaches have led some in the crypto community to question the safety of these platforms.

The city of Lugano, a major hub for crypto adoption in Switzerland, is integrating the Polygon proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol into its crypto payment app, MyLugano. MyLugano, developed in collaboration with stablecoin issuer Tether, serves nearly half of the city’s population and facilitates payments in digital currencies to local small and medium-sized traders. Lugano aims to establish itself as a major European blockchain hub and plans to accept cryptocurrencies for all goods and services. Additionally, Polygon has been a partner with Lugano since at least 2022 and has been involved in the city’s stablecoin, LVGA. In a separate development, JPMorgan analysts suggest that the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) could experience outflows of around $2.7 billion upon its conversion to a spot Bitcoin ETF. Traders have been buying GBTC shares at a discount in anticipation of its conversion to an ETF, and the analysts estimate the value of shares that might be sold upon conversion. The $2.7 billion figure is considered the minimum outflow, and the analysts expect that most of this amount will shift into other bitcoin instruments, such as newly created spot bitcoin ETFs post-SEC approval.


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