Wednesday, 31 January 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 31 January 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$42,941.10 (-0.84%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 2,343.01 (+1.10%)

Terraform Labs, facing a lawsuit from the SEC, believes its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will aid in appealing the charges, as it could avoid the requirement to post a “supersedeas bond” for the appeal. Terraform Labs argues that the SEC lacks authority to charge the firm and its co-founder Do Kwon, asserting that its crypto assets are not securities and the case falls outside the SEC’s jurisdiction. Meanwhile, Circle’s USD Coin (USDC) is set to launch natively on the Celo blockchain, aiming to boost Celo’s use cases and enhance USDC’s convertibility. The integration will also provide institutional users access to the Circle Mint on/off-ramp. In the quantum computing sector, a report suggests there will be no “quantum winter” in 2024, despite a 50% dip in investments in 2023, citing government backing and continuing advancements as factors contributing to the resilience of the sector.

Jack Dorsey’s financial payment processing firm, Block Inc., co-founded by the Twitter creator, has reportedly laid off over 1,000 staff members, affecting approximately 10% of the company’s workforce. Dorsey mentioned the decision aimed to streamline operations and that it was better to carry out the layoffs at once rather than spacing them arbitrarily. Meanwhile, Abracadabra Money, a cross-chain lending platform, confirmed a $6.49 million exploit involving its Ethereum cauldrons, which allow users to borrow the Magic Internet Money (MIM) stablecoin. The protocol’s governing body plans to compensate victims through a buy-back and burn process. Additionally, the Cboe BZX Exchange withdrew its application to list shares of Global X’s spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The withdrawal follows the SEC’s recent approval of listings for spot Bitcoin ETFs on U.S. exchanges.

Authorities in the German state of Saxony have reported confiscating approximately 50,000 Bitcoin (worth around $2.17 billion) as part of an investigation into copyright violations. The Saxony police coordinated with tax authorities and prosecutors to secure the Bitcoin, allegedly obtained with the proceeds of pirated works through websites in 2013. Bitpanda, a major cryptocurrency broker, has launched Bitpanda Wealth, an institutional-grade cryptocurrency trading platform targeting high-net-worth individuals, family offices, external asset managers, and corporate treasuries. The platform utilises Bitpanda’s proprietary custody solution, Bitpanda Custody, offering cold storage to keep clients’ assets secure. Additionally, crypto exchange Binance has seen a rebound in its trading volume market share, rising to 49% two months after settling its case with the United States Department of Justice and paying a $4.3 billion settlement fine.

Global payment giant Visa has partnered with Web3 infrastructure provider Transak to introduce cryptocurrency withdrawals and payments through the Visa Direct solution. This collaboration allows users to withdraw cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin directly from a wallet, such as MetaMask, to a Visa debit card, enabling them to exchange crypto to fiat and pay at 130 million merchant locations where Visa is accepted. The integration, available immediately, serves users in 145 countries without relying on centralised exchanges. In other news, the central bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) conducted its first cross-border digital dirham transfer using the mBridge central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform on Jan. 29. The 50 million dirhams ($13.6 million) cross-border CBDC transfer was sent to China using the multi-CBDC mBridge platform, showcasing the advancement of digital currency initiatives in the UAE. The mBridge platform, introduced in 2021, involves collaboration between the central monetary authorities of China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the UAE, and aims to facilitate faster cross-border transfers using CBDCs.

Polygon Labs, associated with the Polygon blockchain, proposes a regulatory framework suggesting that truly decentralised DeFi protocols should be classified as “critical infrastructure” and overseen by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection (OCCIP). The legal team behind this proposal aims to combat illicit financial activities in decentralised finance. They emphasise distinguishing between truly decentralised protocols and those with centralisation points, suggesting that cybersecurity agencies should oversee the former while the latter should adhere to existing financial regulations. Additionally, a new category of “critical communications transmitters” is proposed for entities integral to genuine DeFi systems. In other news, a pseudonymous crypto trader, Rekt Capital, suggests that Bitcoin investors might have a two-week window for potential bargain-buying before a pre-halving rally in February. The trader anticipates a significant pullback in Bitcoin’s price during this period, historically observed before halving events, which are scheduled for April. Meanwhile, Fidelity’s spot Bitcoin ETF reportedly attracted $208 million in daily inflows on Jan. 29, surpassing outflows from Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) for the first time since its launch day, signaling potential shifts in investor sentiment and fund preferences within the crypto market.


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