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Crypto: BlackRock’s ‘IBIT’ ETF Revamp, SEI & BNB Surge on Tuesday, and More

Fernanda T
Latest News
December 19 2023 4:52PM

Bitcoin faced its first weekly drop after eight weeks of gains

After eight consecutive weeks of gains, Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) recorded its first weekly decline last week, with about $345 million in long and short positions liquidated, mostly in long positions. According to analyst Matteo Greco of Fineqia International, this movement resulted in high volatility and a reduction in leverage in the market, indicating more sustainable price action. Simultaneously, Bitcoin’s dominance slightly decreased, reflecting the resilience of altcoins. Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s hash rate reached a historical peak, with a 7-day moving average reaching 512 eh/s, a 9% increase in a week. December 18 recorded the second-largest daily increase, with 562 eh/s.

BlackRock advances with Bitcoin ETF, introduces ‘IBIT’ ticker, and modifies S-1 filing

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) updated its S-1 filing for the iShares Bitcoin Trust Bitcoin ETF, adding the ticker ‘IBIT’ and indicating trading on the Nasdaq. BlackRock’s recent amendment to the iShares Bitcoin Trust S-1 form introduces six significant changes, including the transition from Principal Broker to Principal Execution Agent and the change from Market Makers to Bitcoin Trading Counterparties. Changes also include new processes for creating and redeeming baskets, identifying risks of the CF Index, and a more focused approach on cash and Bitcoin transactions. The document details new risks, compliance procedures, and the role of Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) as the principal execution agent, reinforcing BlackRock’s preparation to launch the first Bitcoin ETF in the USA.

7RCC proposes Bitcoin and carbon credit ETF to the SEC

7RCC, a crypto asset manager, has registered to offer a Bitcoin ETF, planning to combine investments in Bitcoin and Carbon Credit Futures. The fund, with 80% in Bitcoin and 20% in Carbon Credits, aims to reflect the daily price changes of these assets. Gemini will act as the custodian of the fund’s Bitcoin. This innovative ETF seeks to balance the disruptive nature of Bitcoin with progressive environmental investments.

Interest in Google for Solana spikes with strong price performance

Interest in the term “Solana” on Google increased by 250% from October to December, reaching a search index of 49. The cryptocurrency Solana (COIN:SOLUSD) experienced a 224% price increase in the same period, outperforming other digital assets, including memecoins. Industry experts, such as Cathie Wood of ARK Invest, have highlighted Solana’s impressive performance, noting its speed and lower cost compared to Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD).

Sei Network reaches new record

Sei Network (COIN:SEIUSD) registered a 25% increase at the time of writing, and a 53.43% increase over the past 7 days, reaching a new all-time high of $0.368700 and positioning itself as the 80th largest cryptocurrency with a market value of $681 million. With significant partnerships, such as with Circle, and technological advancements, including support for the Ethereum Virtual Machine, Sei demonstrates strong growth and potential for market sustainability.

Binance launches NFPrompt on Launchpool and announces listing on December 27

Binance announced its 41st project on the Binance Launchpool, NFPrompt (NFP), attracting the attention of the crypto community. Starting December 20, 2023, users will be able to farm NFP tokens by staking BNB, FDUSD, and TUSD. NFP will be listed on December 27, with several trading pairs. The launch reflects Binance’s model of equitable distribution and its focus on AI and Web3 projects, boosting the price of BNB (COIN:BNBUSD), which at the time of writing, was up 4.82% in the last 24 hours at $253.25.

EigenLayer sees over $900 million in deposits

EigenLayer experienced a significant increase in user deposits, surpassing $900 million. This followed the adjustment of deposit limits for liquid assets, allowing deposits to reach 410,000 Ether (equivalent to $900 million), nearly a fourfold increase from a few days ago. The protocol also expanded support for various liquid staking tokens, leading to increased activity and potential reward points for stakers. A limit of 500,000 Ether (COIN:ETHUSD) has been set, indicating the protocol is on track to reach $1 billion in deposits.

Elastos’ BeL2 transforms Bitcoin with staking and smart contract solutions

The Elastos project launched BeL2, an innovative ‘Bitcoin roll-up’ that enables Bitcoin staking and implements smart contracts on the blockchain. This technology allows for secure digital agreements and eliminates intermediaries. BeL2 enables Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) users to stake their assets and earn interest, leveraging more than $700 billion in value. Additionally, it reduces transaction costs and promises practical applications in various sectors, with partnerships and use cases to be announced.

Leadership change at Electric Coin: Josh Swihart becomes CEO, replacing Zooko Wilcox

Zooko Wilcox, founder of the Zcash network, will step down as CEO of Electric Coin Co., to be replaced by Josh Swihart. Swihart, with significant experience in leadership and market innovation, will focus on product-market fit and the financial sustainability of the company. Wilcox, after building Zcash since 2015, plans to reflect on his future role while maintaining his commitment to the freedom that Zcash (COIN:ZECUSD) represents.

Digital Currency Group prevented from reducing Genesis ownership amid bankruptcy proceedings

The Digital Currency Group (DCG), controller of Genesis, a financially troubled cryptocurrency company, has been barred from reducing its stake in the company until the conclusion of the bankruptcy process. The court’s decision aims to ensure tax benefits, which depend on maintaining the association between Genesis and DCG as part of a consolidated tax group. This development follows DCG’s agreement to settle a pending loan of $324.5 million with Genesis. However, Genesis’s reorganization plan faces criticism from Gemini users, who may only receive 61% of the value of their crypto assets.

Montenegro’s court annuls approval of Terraform Labs co-founder’s extradition

The Montenegro Court of Appeals canceled the approval of the extradition of Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, overturning a previous decision by the Higher Court. The Appeals Court cited procedural issues, including the lack of clear reasons in the previous decision and failure to fulfill legal obligations to inform Do Kwon about the reasons and evidence for the US extradition request. Do Kwon faces charges related to financial crimes in the US and South Korea linked to the collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022. The case will be reassessed in a new trial.

Hex Trust integrates MetaMask institutional for expanded DeFi app access

Hex Trust, an institutional-grade digital asset custodian, integrated MetaMask Institutional (MMI) into its Hex Safe platform, providing access to over 17,000 DeFi applications. This integration facilitates DeFi portfolio management while ensuring regulatory compliance. With features like portfolio management, transaction reporting, and asset monitoring, Hex Trust aims to expand institutional participation in DeFi, ensuring security and simplicity in accessing dApps.

Critical vulnerability in OKX Wallet prompts urgent update alert

Certik, a blockchain security company, alerted OKX Wallet users about a critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in an earlier version of the iOS app. Using the earlier version could compromise sensitive data and crypto assets. OKX released an updated version in response to the alert, but it is unknown if any funds were stolen. In recent months, crypto wallets and exchanges have been frequent hacker targets, highlighted by the $114 million theft at Poloniex in November, a $100 million attack on HTX and the Heco cross-chain bridge. In June, Atomic wallet users lost $35 million due to an iOS app update.

Hacker sells access to Binance law enforcement request software after security breach

A hacker is selling for $10,000 in Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) or Monero (COIN:XRMUSD) access to Binance’s law enforcement request software, after obtaining compromised email credentials from authorities in Uganda, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The breach, discovered by Hudson Rock, did not directly affect Binance, but underscores the need for enhanced cybersecurity to protect sensitive information. Monero is a cryptocurrency known for its advanced privacy and anonymity features. The incident occurs amid a significant fine faced by Binance for money laundering charges.

Coinbase expands services in Singapore with US dollar transfers and incentives

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), a renowned US-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced US dollar (USD) transfers for customers in Singapore, facilitating access to the USDC stablecoin and the crypto market. In addition to commission-free USDC trading with SGD, Singapore users can now enjoy SWIFT transfers. Coinbase offers up to 5.05% APY on USDC, with no restrictions, emphasizing its commitment to global economic freedom and reinforcing its focus on the Singapore market. The company strengthened its presence in the region with key licenses and strategic investments in web3 startups.

HashKey Capital’s Singapore subsidiary obtains central bank license for fund management services

The Singapore subsidiary of HashKey Capital received a Capital Market Services (CMS) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, allowing it to provide fund management services in the country. CEO Deng Chao expressed the desire to create a harmonious convergence between traditional and digital financial ecosystems, according to the statement. The company raised $500 million for its third fund in January, planning to invest globally in crypto and Web3 initiatives.

Senator Warren questions crypto lobbying in relation to terrorist financing

Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed concern over the lobbying efforts of crypto groups such as the Blockchain Association, Coin Center, and the Chamber of Digital Commerce. She accuses them of trying to weaken bipartisan efforts to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies in financing terrorist groups like Hamas. However, blockchain analyses refute the claims of widespread crypto funding by Hamas, pointing to much smaller amounts. Coin Center defends lobbying as a fundamental right, while Warren raises ethical questions about the “revolving door” between the public and private sectors.

Binance and former CEO agree on $1.5 billion fine in money laundering case

A federal judge approved a settlement between Binance and the CFTC, in which former CEO Changpeng Zhao will pay $150 million and Binance, $1.35 billion in fines and reimbursements for anti-money laundering violations. The settlement also requires a restructuring of Binance’s corporate governance. Zhao, who has pleaded guilty, reduced his influence in Binance.US, making his interest purely economic.