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Crypto this Friday: Cryptocurrencies Reach New Highs, Kwon’s Extradition Approved, and More

Fernanda T
Latest News
November 24 2023 08:16AM

Recovery and new records in the cryptocurrency market

The cryptocurrency market showed a remarkable recovery on Friday. Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) reached $38,253.20 at the time of publication, with a 7-day increase of 5.83%. Ether (COIN:ETHUSD) also exceeded expectations, crossing the $2,000 mark, up 3%, at $2,123.12, with a weekly gain of 8.20%. Meanwhile, Solana (COIN:SOLUSD) rose 3% on the day, to $58.11, remaining essentially stable for the week. This recovery comes at a time when Binance is resolving its legal issues and the industry begins to recover from the collapse of FTX, with growing expectations around the approval of a Bitcoin ETF. Simultaneously, the recent Federal Reserve minutes indicate a reduced appetite for interest rate cuts.

Regulatory approvals and global developments in the cryptocurrency industry

Regulatory approvals in the cryptocurrency industry are unfolding in various regions, reflecting both progress and challenges. In Hong Kong, Interactive Brokers Hong Kong obtained a license for trading Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and Ether (COIN:ETHUSD), indicating growth in the Asian market. At the same time, Binance, facing legal and regulatory challenges in the United States, with CEO Changpeng Zhao stepping down after accusations of violating anti-money laundering laws, may face challenges to the cryptocurrency exchange’s ambitions in Hong Kong. In contrast, Victory Securities became the first licensed company to offer cryptography services to retail investors in Hong Kong. Additionally, OKX Hong Kong FinTech, a subsidiary of OKX, applied for a VATP license in Hong Kong, becoming the seventh applicant and the first major player under a new legal regime. PantherTrade, linked to Futu Holdings, applied a day earlier. In Europe, the Netherlands’ Bitvavo gained regulatory approval in France, demonstrating its expansion strategy on the continent.

KyberSwap offers reward to recover stolen funds

KyberSwap, a decentralized exchange, proposed a 10% reward to the hacker who subtracted $46 million on November 22, asking for the return of 90% of the funds by November 25. After an attack that compromised KyberSwap Elastic, the hacker diverted various assets, including Arbitrum (COIN:ARBUSD), to multiple chains. KyberSwap responded to the hacker’s note, highlighting the attacker’s skill and encouraging the return of the funds.

HTX to compensate users after $13.6 million hack

Following a hack that resulted in the loss of $13.6 million on November 22, HTX, formerly known as Huobi Global, promised to fully reimburse affected users. The exchange also plans to resume deposits and withdrawals within 24 hours. The hack was part of a larger attack on the Chain HTX Eco bridge, affecting other entities linked to businessman Justin Sun. HTX reaffirmed its commitment to user fund security and announced measures to prevent future breaches.

Tether and Bitfinex accept transparency request in New York

Tether and Bitfinex decided not to contest a Freedom of Information (FOIL) request in New York made by renowned journalistic publications. They are willing to provide information transparently, but emphasized that this does not imply indiscriminate disclosure of all documents. Despite accusing certain journalists, like Zeke Faux, Shane Shifflett, and Ada Hui, of improper conduct, the companies reiterate their commitment to transparency, although they request a careful analysis of the documents before any public release. This request for information is linked to the $18.5 million agreement with the New York Attorney General in 2021, related to the merging of client and corporate funds.

Montenegro approves extradition of Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs

The High Court of Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, approved the extradition of Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, responding to requests from South Korea and the United States for financial crimes. Kwon, who is serving a sentence for document forgery, agreed to extradition to South Korea, although the final decision on the destination country is up to the Minister of Justice of Montenegro. Kwon was detained in March for using a false passport and is at the center of investigations following the collapse of the TerraUSD and Luna tokens (COIN:LUNAUSD).

ARK Invest unloads GBTC shares amidst ETF speculations

ARK Invest of Cathie Wood sold 700,000 shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (USOTC:GBTC) in the last month, even as Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) reached 17-month highs. The ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (AMEX:ARKW) reduced its GBTC stake to $131.8 million, despite positive expectations of a Bitcoin ETF in sight. This sale occurs in a context of speculation about the conversion of GBTC into an ETF and the potential impact on the market, including the possibility of a significant fund exit. Meanwhile, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) warns of a possible $2.7 billion fund exit after the GBTC conversion to ETF, which could lead to asset repositioning in the market and impact Bitcoin prices.

Atletico Madrid sues WhaleFin for sponsorship agreement termination

Atletico Madrid is taking legal action against WhaleFin, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, due to the unexpected cancellation of a sponsorship contract valued at $44 million. The Spanish club is seeking $24 million in damages for alleged contract breach, facing financial impacts and potential damage to its image. The termination of the agreement raises questions about the relationship between football clubs and sponsors in the cryptocurrency sector, with Atletico Madrid already securing a new sponsorship with Riyadh Air.

’47 Ronin’ director diverts funds from Netflix for personal investments

Carl Erik Rinsch, director of “47 Ronin”, is accused of diverting $60 million from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), intended for a scientific series, making investments in the stock market and cryptocurrencies, without completing any episodes. He spent part of the budget on luxuries and lost $5.9 million in investments in the S&P 500 index (SPI:SP500) and Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), but recovered almost $27 million by liquidating his positions in Dogecoin (COIN:DOGEUSD), after investing $4 million. Rinsch, facing litigation with Netflix and a divorce, initially justified the expenses as part of the production, but later admitted they were personal. Netflix accuses him of not meeting production milestones.

Wallet of Satoshi withdraws app from the US and clarifies plans

The Wallet of Satoshi, a Bitcoin Lightning wallet provider, withdrew its app from the US Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) app stores, deciding not to serve American customers anymore. The company did not reveal a specific reason for the action but assured US users that their funds remain accessible. It is speculated that the decision is related to the American regulatory environment around cryptography. The Wallet of Satoshi expresses hope to resume operations in the US in the future, despite facing criticism for custodial fund management. Meanwhile, the US Lightning Network capacity reached nearly historic highs.

Dominance of Antpool and Foundry in Bitcoin mining and market predictions

Antpool and Foundry, giants in Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) mining, together control 53.4% of the global hashrate. Recently, Antpool expanded its leadership, increasing its hashing power. Bradley Park, an analyst at CryptoQuant, highlights China’s aggressive effort in mining before the possible approval of a Bitcoin ETF, while the US also intensifies its mining productivity. “As Bitcoin approaches the halving, I predict a competitive increase between China and the US in mining machine productivity. This is because the unit cost of mining Bitcoin will likely increase due to rising energy expenses and increased mining difficulty,” said Park. The proximity of Bitcoin’s halving, which halves the miners’ rewards and can affect the Bitcoin price, motivates the race for dominance with advanced equipment like the Antminer S21. Miners, including Antpool, whose Bitcoin reserves have been growing, may sell just enough to maintain operations or retain their coins in anticipation of an ETF approval.

UK advances in tokenization of investment funds

The UK approved the tokenization of investment funds, integrating blockchain technology into asset management. The initiative, led by the Investment Association and supported by the government, promises greater efficiency and transparency. A proposed model, aligned with existing legislation, allows tokenization in authorized funds, paving the way for innovations in the financial sector.

New EU legislation requires “kill switch” in smart contracts

The European Parliament approved the Data Law, a regulation that requires smart contracts to have a “kill switch” for termination or suspension. Approved with 481 votes in favor, this law now awaits sanction by the European Council. The controversial clause of the law aims for greater regulation and control, diverging from the concept of blockchain decentralization. Experts warn that this requirement may be incompatible with the autonomous nature of smart contracts and could limit their adoption, while others see it as a necessary security measure. The law still awaits final approval, but it already raises debates about the impact on blockchain innovation and adoption in the EU.

Mumbai airport threatened with Bitcoin ransom demand

According to Cryptonews, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai was the target of a bomb threat, with an anonymous sender demanding $1 million in Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD). The email, sent to Mumbai International Airport Limited, warned of a possible explosion in Terminal 2 if the payment was not made within 48 hours. Police initiated investigations, reinforcing security at the airport and working to trace the origin of the threat. A case was registered against the unknown sender for extortion and causing public alarm, following the Indian Penal Code.