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Crypto: MicroStrategy Expands BTC Holdings, Grayscale Leadership Renewed, MATIC Breaks $1 Barrier, and More

Fernanda T
Latest News
December 27 2023 7:56AM

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies display mixed movement on Wednesday

Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and other cryptocurrencies have shown mixed performance in the last 24 hours, with traders assessing recent highs and awaiting new catalysts, including the expected approval of Bitcoin-holding ETFs. Bitcoin recorded a modest increase of 1.05%, reaching $43,070, mostly trading between $41,000 and $44,000 since December. While Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD) rose by 5.6%, other cryptocurrencies like Avalanche (COIN:AVAXUSD) and Solana (COIN:SOLUSD) were down more than 5% at the time of writing.

MicroStrategy advances in Bitcoin accumulation with a $615 million purchase

MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) made its third-largest Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) purchase on Tuesday, acquiring 14,620 Bitcoins for $615 million. Although it doesn’t surpass its December 2020 acquisition, this recent purchase increases its total holdings to 189,150 Bitcoins, approaching 1% of the entire Bitcoin supply. With this move, the company is closing in on the U.S. government, which holds about 210,000 Bitcoins, reaffirming its aggressive Bitcoin accumulation strategy.

Binance’s CZ joins the list of the richest despite legal challenges

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, founder and former CEO of Binance, has reached the 35th position on Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest individuals, with a net worth of $37.2 billion in 2023, an increase of $24.6 billion in the year. This achievement comes amid legal challenges, including a guilty plea on money laundering violation charges. CZ resigned from operational positions at Binance but faces sentencing in February 2024, currently on bail of $175 million. In other related news, Binance is introducing Sleepless AI on Wednesday, a web3 gaming platform with AI, as its 42nd project on the Launchpool. The platform offers interaction with AI-based features in a gaming environment. Users can stake BNB (COIN:BNBUSD), FDUSD (COIN:FDUSDUST), and TUSD (COIN:TUSDUSD) to earn AI tokens for seven days, with trading on Binance starting on January 4th. With one billion AI tokens available, the initiative aims to boost participation in the new gaming platform.

Grayscale announces leadership changes amid waiting for a Bitcoin ETF

Grayscale Investments, awaiting the SEC’s decision on its request to convert the Bitcoin Trust (USOTC:GBTC) into a U.S. ETF, has announced leadership changes. Barry Silbert resigned as president, and he will be replaced by Mark Shifke, CFO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), starting on January 1st. Additionally, Mark Murphy left the DCG board. This comes as the SEC delays decisions on various ETF requests, with the Ark 21Shares deadline approaching on January 10th.

Hashdex discusses Bitcoin ETF proposal with SEC in special meeting

Hashdex, a cryptocurrency asset management company, held a notable meeting with the SEC’s office of the president on December 26th to discuss rule changes for its Bitcoin ETF. The meeting, considered unusual in its nature, featured top executives from Hashdex and legal representatives, focusing on the NYSE Arca proposal. The SEC, which has consistently denied Bitcoin ETFs, is showing signs of possible openness, increasing expectations for the approval of a BTC ETF in sight.

Solana market faces a drop after a surge in small-cap tokens

Tokens of major projects in the Solana ecosystem experienced significant drops this week, indicating a likely profit-taking by early investors. Bonk (COIN:BONKUST) saw a 12% drop on Wednesday and a 26% drop in the last week. Small-cap tokens like Analos had weekly losses of over 50%. Despite the drop in token prices, trading volume on Solana-based DEXs remained high, accounting for 26% of the total market. The previous growth of the ecosystem was driven by significant increases in token prices and locked-in value.

MATIC breaks long-term resistance

The price of Polygon (COIN:MATICUSD) has surpassed $1, breaking a 730-day resistance trendline since its all-time high of $2.90 in December 2021. After several failed attempts, the recent high of $1.07 is the most significant since April. With a positive weekly RSI, some analysts predict a continuation of the upward trend, possibly taking MATIC to new highs.

Explosive growth of Cardano smart contracts in 2023

In 2023, smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain showed remarkable growth, surpassing early-year numbers by over 200%. Plutus V1 and V2 scripts reached a total of 14,302, a significant increase from the initial value. This growth is driven by improvements in network development and the Plutus Core language, although Cardano (COIN:ADAUSD) still lags behind Ethereum in terms of the total number of contracts.

IOTA’s ShimmerEVM implements cross-chain technology with LayerZero

IOTA Network’s ShimmerEVM (COIN:IOTAUSD) integrates LayerZero’s cross-chain messaging technology, enabling transactions across various blockchains. The Shimmer Bridge tool connects ShimmerEVM to blockchains like Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and others. This innovation expands ShimmerEVM’s capabilities, allowing asset and information exchanges in applications built on LayerZero-supported blockchains. With over 50 interconnected blockchains, LayerZero facilitates the creation of versatile applications and tokens. ShimmerEVM is part of Shimmer, an IOTA ecosystem blockchain for developing and testing new features.

Cryptocurrency losses decrease in 2023 despite persistent risks

In 2023, losses in the cryptocurrency sector amounted to nearly $2 billion, half of the previous year, despite ongoing vulnerabilities. The reduction is attributed to improved security practices, increased awareness, and decreased market activity. Losses include the collapses of major entities like Terraform Labs, Celsius, and FTX. Ethereum and BNB Network suffered the largest losses. Access control exploits were predominant, followed by flash loan attacks and exit scams. Fund recovery increased to 10%.

KyberSwap downsizes team by half after $54 million exploit loss

KyberSwap, a leading DEX aggregator, is facing the consequences of a $54 million exploit, reducing its workforce by 50%. CEO Victor Tran announced the layoffs after the “Elastic exploit,” which compromised its protocol and caused significant losses. The company implemented a reimbursement program but had to pause projects and streamline processes. The decision has sparked criticism and concerns about the future of KyberSwap and its suspended projects.

Thunder Terminal platform suffers exploit, compromising user funds

The on-chain trading platform Thunder Terminal fell victim to an exploitation, with 86.5 ETH and 439 SOL stolen. Thunder assured that private keys were not compromised, and only 114 out of over 14,000 wallets were affected. The company quickly halted the attack and stated that funds are secure. However, the attacker claimed to have all user data and demanded 50 ETH to delete it. Thunder promised a full refund of lost funds and offered additional benefits to affected users.

Rocky start for Mt. Gox refunds to creditors

Mt. Gox administrator Nobuaki Kobayashi has begun reimbursing victims of the 2014 exchange hack, with reports of payments via PayPal. However, there is confusion among creditors about the amounts received, with some claiming smaller or duplicated payments. Kobayashi, who has already secured $47 million for the liquidation, has extended the refund deadline until October 2024.

Nigeria lifts banking ban on crypto firms, boosting adoption

The Central Bank of Nigeria has overturned the 2021 ban on banks serving cryptocurrency firms, a decision that could accelerate cryptocurrency adoption in the country. This change, motivated by the global trend of regulating the sector, will allow companies like Yellow Card to seek cryptocurrency licenses under the new frameworks. Regulatory clarity is seen as a trust factor for users and businesses, potentially fueling the crypto market expansion in Nigeria.

Hong Kong requires licenses for stablecoin issuers in new regulation

Hong Kong has proposed that stablecoin issuers obtain local licenses as part of new legislation to oversee the cryptocurrency industry. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority requires licensed issuers to incorporate locally and implement effective stabilization mechanisms. Only stablecoins from licensed issuers will be offered to retail investors. The consultation paper, incorporating public feedback from 2022, also suggests additional powers for HKMA to adjust stablecoin parameters. The regulation aims to provide greater clarity and security in Hong Kong’s cryptocurrency market.

Ocean Pool successfully mines third Bitcoin block, demonstrating efficiency

Ocean, a decentralized mining pool, mined its third block, number 823,129, according to Mononaut analysis. The block contained only one coinbase transaction and 54 op_returns, following the pool’s “filtered” model. This method resulted in approximately an 11.03% reduction in fees, equivalent to 0.144 BTC. With a hash rate of 525 ph/s, Ocean demonstrates efficient mining capabilities, strengthening its position in the Bitcoin ecosystem.