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Crypto This Thursday: Bitcoin Under 28K, Troubled Shibarium Launch, and More

Fernanda T
Latest News
August 17 2023 10:17AM

Pressure on cryptocurrencies

On Thursday, cryptocurrencies took a hit due to renewed concerns about the US economy. This drop occurred after the release of records from the last Federal Reserve meeting, where the body expressed concerns about inflation and possible interest rate hikes. As a result, the stock market has slumped and the 10-year US Treasury yield has reached peaks since 2008. At the time of writing, Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) is down -2.5% at $27,966, Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD) is down -3.42% at $1,744, while other cryptocurrencies followed the downtrend.

Turbulent launch of Shiba Inu’s Shibarium network locks in $2.5M

The long-awaited launch of Shiba Inu’s Shibarium network has run into problems, with pending transactions and an estimated $2.5 million in digital assets locked in a bridge agreement. Security firm Beosin and Onchain detective ZachXBT confirmed the issues, with the latter criticizing the launch as “sloppy”. Additionally, Shiba Inu’s marketing executive, Lucie, warned of potential fraud on the network. These setbacks have negatively affected the prices of Shiba Inu’s associated tokens (COIN:SHIBUSD), down -6.60% at press time.

BlockFi releases withdrawals for US customers

Customers of BlockFi, the now-defunct cryptocurrency lending company, have finally been able to access their funds after months of waiting, thanks to a US bankruptcy court ruling. On August 17, BlockFi announced that, following a court order, withdrawals have been made available to certain US user wallets. However, many international users continue to wait. In 2022, BlockFi, along with other companies such as FTX and Celsius Network, sought bankruptcy protection.

Agreement between Alameda Research and Genesis Global reduces claims

Alameda Research has agreed to receive $175 million from Genesis Global, a considerable reduction from the $3.88 billion initially claimed. While Alameda, which declared bankruptcy in 2022, accused Genesis of debt related to loans and withdrawals, Genesis, which went bankrupt in 2023, claimed to owe FTX $226 million. With the agreement, FTX disassociates itself from its obligations with Genesis. Both parties expressed satisfaction with the deal, which is still awaiting court approval.

Privacy risks in the bankruptcy of Celsius Network

In the course of the bankruptcy of Celsius Network last year, an unexpected list of hundreds of thousands of customers of the platform with details of their internal transactions emerged. This list raised concerns about possible real-name links to activities on the blockchain. A collaborative investigation with The Block Research and Nansen revealed that 15,759 of these wallets may personally belong to named clients and have significant cryptocurrency value. Furthermore, combining this data with other previous leaks could threaten customers’ privacy and make them potential targets for crime, underscoring the sensitivity of data in crypto-related bankruptcies.

Coinbase Gains Prominent Status in US Futures Trading

As reported on Wednesday, Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) has been registered as a futures commission trader (FCM) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), matching SEC-registered brokers. This designation, a first for a cryptocurrency-focused company, suggests that Coinbase may trade bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and ether (COIN:ETHUSD) contracts. Experts believe this reinforces the view that ether is a commodity, which could bring about lighter regulations. The approval suggests that the CFTC views Coinbase as a legitimate entity in the US, in defiance of the SEC’s stricter perspective. The decision could impact the industry, showing the ability of cryptocurrency companies to adapt to regulatory norms.

BitExchange launches XRP-linked trading options

BitExchange now offers XRP-linked options (COIN:XRPUSD) on its cryptocurrency derivatives platform. This release allows traders to trade XRP options without owning the digital currency. Settlement will take place in US Dollars, with OrBit Markets ensuring liquidity. In addition to XRP, the exchange also has offerings in other cryptocurrencies. Options are mainly used for hedging or for additional gain. Justin Buitendam, Global Head of Institutional Sales at BitExchange, highlighted the opportunity for institutional and retail traders to trade these options: “ We are thrilled to be among the first platforms offering XRP options trading for institutional and retail traders, providing opportunities for long and short options trading.”

Avalanche spurs Dexalot’s growth with token offering

The Avalanche Foundation has announced an investment of up to $3 million in AVAX tokens (COIN:AVAXUSD) for Dexalot, a decentralized exchange (DEX) operating on the Avalanche subnet. This move is part of Avalanche’s “Multiverse” incentive program, which aims to promote the development of new subnetworks. Dexalot, launched in February, seeks to combine characteristics of centralized exchanges into a decentralized platform. Release of funds for Dexalot, expected to begin in the fall, will depend on the sub-network meeting certain milestones.

Tether develops ‘Moria’ software

Tether (COIN:USDTUSD) is developing a software, called Moria, to improve Bitcoin mining and renewable energy operation through data analysis. Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether, mentioned that most existing mining trackers do not offer customization or deep analysis. Moria aims to fill this gap by optimizing production with real-time data. Tether is investing in energy and mining, using surplus USDT reserves. The software will be adapted for energy after the focus on Bitcoin mining.

In other Tether news, the stablecoin issuer announced the discontinuation of USDT support on three blockchains: Bitcoin, Kusama and Bitcoin Cash, and will discontinue support for Omni, a layer of Bitcoin used for USDT transfers. This decision was based on a careful assessment of the security, usability and sustainability of each blockchain. While minting on platforms such as USDT-Omni and USDT-Kusama will stop immediately, users will still be able to exchange and redeem their tokens as normal for another year.

Devaluation and airdrop concerns mark launch of Sei Network

The SEI token of the newly launched Sei Network (COIN:SEIUSD) experienced a drastic drop, as low as $0.1747 on Aug 17th. Despite an impressive initial trading volume and market cap exceeding $400 million, the token’s price has plummeted by more than 86% since its launch on August 15th. This drop is, in part, attributed to the controversies surrounding its airdrop. Many users expressed dissatisfaction with access, eligibility criteria and distributed quantities, leading to an avalanche of criticism and concerns on social media and community forums.

Securitize acquires Onramp Invest aiming at democratizing private capital markets

Securitize, specialist in tokenization of private investments, plans to buy Onramp Invest. Backed by giants like Coinbase Ventures and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MCD), Securitize has already raised over $120 million. The acquisition seeks to address the current financial challenges of the crypto sector and expand access to alternative assets.

Bakkt sees expansion and opportunities through new partnerships and acquisitions

Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael reported in a conversation with Water Tower Research that the company is gaining momentum with new clients in the cryptocurrency custody and trading space. Growth strategies include cautious capital management and expansion of the customer base. The acquisition of crypto exchange Apex and partnerships with Plaid and Fireblocks strengthened the customer base. Michael revealed plans for international expansion and highlighted the potential of ETF products to enhance his presence in the crypto custody industry.

Delimitations in digital currency: Study and perspectives from Colombia

Banco de la República de Colombia is considering issuing a digital currency (CBDC), but has yet to reach a final decision. However, in its latest analysis, the bank claims that setting limits on CBDC transactions can offer significant benefits. This includes increasing security against cyber threats and balancing privacy and transparency concerns. Depending on the limits set, users can opt for more privacy or greater retention. The limits could also benefit commercial banks by reducing the demand for CBDC compared to traditional bank accounts. However, the bank emphasizes the need for a CBDC to have attractive attributes to ensure significant adoption and long-term viability.

Sotheby’s faces class action over NFT promotion BAYC

Renowned auction house Sotheby’s has been included in the class action lawsuit brought by Bored Ape Yacht Club investors against Yuga Labs, accused of “misleading advertising” of NFTs. Investors also allege that celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton, have artificially inflated the prices of NFTs. Sotheby’s, which in 2021 auctioned off BAYC NFTs netting more than $24 million, is accused of falsely legitimizing Yuga Labs. Both parties deny the allegations.

McDonald’s Singapore launches non-tradeable NFTs

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) in Singapore, in partnership with Bandwagon Labs and NFT artist ‘The Hidden Walls’, has released Grimace digital collectibles. These are unique, free, non-transferable tokens available from 31st August via the McDonald’s Singapore app. Users can create NFTs by connecting their digital wallet and the collection celebrates the Grimace mascot’s closeness with fans.

Singapore police seize $735 million in massive money laundering operation

Singapore police arrested 10 foreigners, predominantly Chinese, on money laundering charges, seizing assets totaling approximately $735 million. Among the confiscated assets were 94 properties, 50 vehicles and cryptocurrencies, although the value of the cryptocurrencies was not specified. The operation also resulted in the seizure of more than 35 bank accounts. This case highlights Singapore’s continued vulnerability to cross-border financial risks, even though it is one of Asia’s leading hubs for the cryptocurrency industry.