Thursday, 8 February 2024

Market Summary

Market Summary 8 February 2024

Bitcoin Price: US$44,349.60 (+2.90%)
Ethereum Price: US$ 2,425.10 (+2.21%)

In 2023, ransomware attacks surged, resulting in criminals amassing a record $1 billion in cryptocurrency payments, with significant supply chain breaches affecting prominent institutions like the BBC and British Airways, according to Chainalysis’ “Crypto Crime Report.” The report highlights the use of sophisticated tactics by ransomware groups such as CL0P and Phobos, emphasising strategies like “big game hunting” and ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) models. Meanwhile, KPMG’s Canadian fintech report reveals that despite a decline in deal volumes and values in 2023, the blockchain and crypto sector remained the most invested area, with 31 deals, driven partly by anticipation of spot Bitcoin ETF approvals in the US. Additionally, South Korea strengthens crypto regulations, issuing laws to protect investors from market crimes, with major punishments including life imprisonment for those making over $3.8 million from illegal crypto trading schemes, while Thailand exempts digital asset trading from value-added tax (VAT) to foster its position as a digital asset hub.

Lawmakers in the United States are reportedly nearing the passage of a stablecoin bill, with Representative Maxine Waters stating that they are “very close” to reaching an agreement after months of negotiation with House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry. The bill has been a topic of bipartisan discussion, particularly concerning the oversight role of the Federal Reserve in the stablecoin market. Meanwhile, Ethereum’s Dencun upgrade, featuring “proto-danksharding,” has completed testing on the Holesky testnet and awaits deployment on the mainnet, aiming to reduce transaction costs on Ethereum layer-2s significantly. Additionally, Prometheum, a U.S.-approved special purpose broker-dealer, has announced the launch of institutional custody services for Ether, treating it as a digital asset security, potentially raising questions regarding its classification by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A team of researchers from Huawei’s Noah’s Ark Lab in Paris has proposed a framework for “embodied artificial intelligence” (E-AI), arguing that it represents the next fundamental step toward achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI). They contend that large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini lack true understanding of the world because they do not interact with it. The proposed E-AI framework emphasises the importance of perception, action, memory, and learning for AI agents, suggesting that models need to be housed in an embodiment capable of real-time perception and action to understand the world like living creatures do. However, challenges such as current LLMs existing on massive cloud networks hinder the practical implementation of this framework. Meanwhile, a study by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) suggests that regulating the metaverse is crucial to prevent fragmentation and dominance by powerful private interests. The study divides the metaverse into centralised and decentralised platforms, highlighting the need for interoperable payment technologies supported by regulation. Additionally, UBS’s Hong Kong subsidiary has tokenised an investment warrant on the Ethereum blockchain in collaboration with cryptocurrency exchange OSL, citing advantages such as increased accessibility, efficiency, transparency, and lower costs associated with tokenised financial derivatives.


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