February 27,2024

MicroStrategy Buys An Additional 3K BTC To Expand Its Treasury

Despite reports indicating a breach of security on the X (formerly Twitter) account of MicroStrategy, the renowned enterprise software company based in Tysons Corner, Virginia, has once more bolstered its Bitcoin (BTC) reserves by acquiring an additional 3,000 BTC this month.

According to Bloomberg, this recent acquisition amounts to $155.4 million, significantly adding to the already impressive amount of Bitcoin assets held by MicroStrategy. As of now, the amount has reached approximately $9.88 billion based on current market values.


MicroStrategy Continues Bitcoin Acquisition

As per a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, the transactions occurred between February 15th and February 25th. Consequently, MicroStrategy saw its total Bitcoin holdings increase to around 193,000 tokens.

Co-founder Michael Saylor initiated the Bitcoin acquisition strategy in 2020 to hedge against inflation and diversify its cash reserves. During a recent interview, Saylor reiterated his conviction in holding onto the cryptocurrency, stating that there is no reason to sell the winner. Since MicroStrategy began acquiring Bitcoin, its value has surged by a whopping 460%.


No Plan To Sell

The average price for the latest 3,000 BTC purchase by MicroStrategy was $51,813, contributing to an average price of $31,544 for the entire Bitcoin holdings, as disclosed in the filing. On Monday, Bitcoin saw its price remain relatively stable around $51,100 in early trading hours. However, the largest cryptocurrency in the market is displaying signs of renewed bullish momentum, currently trading at $52,800, representing a 2.5% increase over the past 24 hours.

As the value of BTC continues to rise, the substantial Bitcoin holdings of MicroStrategy serve as evidence of the forward-thinking approach that the company has adopted in addition to renewed confidence in cryptocurrency as a viable investment.

Still, how MicroStrategy intends to manage its Bitcoin holdings in the future remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the remarks made by Saylor suggest a long-term perspective, indicating that the company has no immediate plans to divest its Bitcoin assets.


February 26,2024

Riot Believes Climate Change And Chip Shortage Pose Significant Risks

Riot Platforms recently stated its anticipation of sustained elevated costs for ASIC miners until the resolution of the chip crisis. The statement was made via the annual report where, as a prominent Bitcoin miner, Riot acknowledged in its latest annual report potential risks to its profit, citing the ongoing chip shortage, the necessity to increase hash rate, and the intensifying pro-climate agenda in the United States.

Among the risks highlighted by Riot was the global chip crisis, attributed to the scarcity of semiconductor manufacturers capable of producing the specialized ASIC chips vital for its operations.

Furthermore, Riot noted its expectation to continue incurring above-average expenses in procuring and installing mining equipment until the chip shortage is resolved.


More Complications

Despite access to ASIC miners, Riot acknowledged the potential for encountering design flaws and complications related to software and firmware when adapting miners to operate in specific environments. Riot also highlighted the competitive nature of the industry, necessitating continuous expansion of hash rate to maintain market share in the face of a growing global hash rate.

The firm also pointed out potential scaling challenges for Bitcoin that could hinder its widespread adoption as a payment method, which could, in turn, impact its price and consequently weaken the financial position of Riot.


Climate Change Is A Key Challenge

Riot identified the increasing pro-climate change agenda in government bodies as a potential challenge, citing the possibility of significant costs imposed by new legislation and regulations. The company emphasized the risk of losing a competitive edge if subjected to stricter regulations compared to peers in other regions.

Riot recently achieved a favorable ruling in a lawsuit against US energy officials, alleging invasive data collection by cryptocurrency miners. Meanwhile, Riot reported a 19% increase in Bitcoin production in 2023, mining a total of 6,626 BTC, with a decreased average cost of mining per Bitcoin by 33% compared to the previous year.


February 26,2024

Cryptocurrencies May Be Recognized As Property By UK Law Commission

The United Kingdom is proposing a legal framework to grant cryptocurrencies a defined status within its legal system, aiming to provide clearer safeguards. The UK Law Commission has recommended treating cryptocurrencies as property, intending to enhance legal clarity and protection for digital assets.

By categorizing cryptocurrencies as a distinct form of personal property, the proposal seeks to bolster enforcement of property rights in cases involving digital currencies. This step is crucial for resolving legal uncertainties surrounding digital assets, offering improved protection for individuals and businesses involved in cryptocurrency transactions.


Guidance Needed

The proposed legal framework acknowledges the unique characteristics of digital assets like crypto-tokens and introduces a new property category within the common law of England and Wales. It underscores the necessity for the legal system to adapt to technological advancements.

To address the complex technical nature of cryptocurrencies, the Law Commission suggests courts seek guidance by an industry panel and establish a multi-disciplinary team to aid market participants in safeguarding their assets. This underscores the importance of expert advice in understanding and managing emerging technologies.


Slow But Steady

This initiative aligns with the broader strategy of the UK to strengthen its position as a leading global financial center for digital assets. By advancing cryptocurrency regulations, the country aims to attract tech development and position England and Wales as an appealing destination for cryptocurrency firms.

The enactment of the Financial Services and Markets Bill last year laid the groundwork for more comprehensive regulatory measures. With numerous crypto firms establishing themselves in the UK, this proposal could further cement the country as a global hub for digital asset innovation and security.

February 26,2024

Funding Deals 20th To 26th February 2024

We're thrilled to share some remarkable developments in the global tech landscape! Check out the latest funding rounds that have been making waves:

Helius (Canada) secured $9.5M in Series A funding led by Foundation Capital, reinforcing their commitment to innovation. Congratulations on this milestone, Helius team!

Eigen Labs (United States) raised a staggering $100M in Series B funding with a16z crypto at the helm. This substantial investment further solidifies their position as a key player. Kudos, EigenLayer!

Januar (Denmark) successfully closed a $2.19M Seed round, marking a promising start for their journey. Keep up the great work, Januar team!

Citrea, introduced by Chainway Labs, captured $2.7M in Seed funding led by Galaxy Digital, paving the way for exciting advancements going forward. Fantastic progress!

Bitcoin Dogs soared with a $3.1M Initial Coin Offering, indicating strong investor interest and confidence. An impressive feat, Bitcoin Dogs!

Degen (United States) secured $1.4M in Seed funding with 1confirmation, highlighting their potential. Keep pushing boundaries, Degen team!

OUINEX CRYPTO-EXCHANGE (France) raised $4M in Seed funding, demonstrating the global appeal of their vision. Well done, Ouinex!

Exohood Labs (United Kingdom) attracted $112M in Seed funding, signaling strong investor confidence in their innovative solutions. Impressive achievement, Exohood Labs!

Meso (United States) secured $9.5M in Seed funding led by Ribbit Capital, empowering them to drive impactful change. Awesome, Meso team!

Loong City closed a $2M Seed round, showcasing their potential in addition to amazing, larger than life visuals and gameplay elements. Keep up the momentum, LoongCity!

Congratulations to all the teams involved in these groundbreaking funding rounds! Your dedication and vision continue to inspire innovation worldwide. Let's keep pushing boundaries and shaping the future together! 


February 25,2024

Inflation Concerns Continue As BTC Stalls And UNI Skyrockets

The UNI token by Uniswap garnered significant attention over a 24 hour period, skyrocketing by close to 80% following a proposal aimed at rewarding UNI holders with a share of the fees generated by the DEX. This proposal has been the focal point of the recent surge exhibited by Uniswap, marking a substantial development for the cryptocurrency.

In contrast, the price of Bitcoin has remained relatively stagnant, hovering around the $51,000 mark as market dynamics between bulls and bears persist. Despite attempts by bears to drive the price below $51K, buyers intervened, preventing a significant downturn.


BTC Declines As Altcoins Go Up

The dominance shown by Bitcoin in the market has slightly declined to 48.6%, indicative of a strengthening performance by several altcoins such as Ethereum and Cardano. The overall sentiment in the cryptocurrency market, as indicated by the fear and greed index, remains in the Greed territory, although it has slightly decreased compared to the previous day.

Among altcoins, the UNI token stands out with its remarkable surge, influencing other DEX-related tokens like dYdX and Quickswap to also experience notable gains. The proposal to alter the Uniswap protocol, transforming UNI into a token that generates yield for holders, has catalyzed this surge. In any case, it will be intriguing to observe how these trends unfold in the near future, especially amid broader economic considerations such as potential inflationary pressures.


Other Markets

Meanwhile, indications suggest that underlying US inflation likely experienced its most significant increase in a year in January, as indicated by the Federal Reserve. This underscores the arduous and erratic journey toward curbing inflationary pressures.

Specifically, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, excluding food and energy expenses, is anticipated to rise by 0.4% compared to the previous month. This would mark the second consecutive monthly acceleration in a metric that has largely trended downward over the past couple of years.

Elsewhere, longstanding concerns within the oil tanker industry regarding insufficient new ship constructions are resurfacing as a result of recent Houthi attacks on commercial shipping, causing widespread diversions in global petroleum trade routes. Only two new supertankers are scheduled to join the fleet in 2024, representing the lowest addition rate in nearly four decades and approximately 90% below the average annual rate for this millennium. However, as ship owners increasingly avoid the southern Red Sea, the lack of new capacity is beginning to have consequences: freight rates are experiencing sharp increases, and voyage durations are extending.


February 24,2024

Banks Continue To Suffer Massive Losses As Scammers Intensify Efforts

According to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), US banks failed to prevent scammers when it came to absconding with nearly half a billion dollars of customer funds in 2023. The FTC, in its overview of scamming trends, documented 11,950 instances of bank transfer and payment fraud last year, resulting in a staggering $492 million in customer losses.


The Scams Keep On Coming

These losses emanate via various scams targeting bank accounts, including imposter schemes, check fraud, and phishing attacks. Overall, scammers pilfered $10 billion in 2023 using both traditional and digital methods.

Investment scams topped the list, accounting for $4.6 billion in losses, marking a 21% surge compared to 2022. Imposter scams followed closely, racking up $2.7 billion in stolen funds. Emails have emerged as the most effective tool for fraudsters, surpassing phone calls and text messages.


Not Just Crypto

Despite concerns about cryptocurrency fraud, the amount lost in the crypto markets was lower than in the traditional banking system, with 11,671 reported cases and a total loss of $331 million. This is important because it shows that, although the Fed has often chastised crypto for being too volatile and unpredictable which, in their opinion, leads to unnecessary losses. However, many in the crypto community were quick to point out that while crypto has its flaws, the traditional finance system does too.

In any case, the FTC is reportedly pursuing a multifaceted strategy to combat consumer fraud, which includes cracking down on illegal telemarketing groups, banning impersonator fraud, and prosecuting investment and business opportunity scams.


February 23,2024

EIA Gets Sued Over Making Unlawful Data Collection Demands

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and crypto miner Riot Platforms recently filed a lawsuit against the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), alleging that the agency made unlawful demands for data collection through the Bitcoin mining sector.

In the previous month, the EIA announced its intention to collect data on the electricity usage of certain US-based crypto miners, starting in early February. This requirement pertains to commercial miners, who are obligated to disclose their energy consumption. The decision came after emergency approval for data collection was granted by the Office of Management and Budget on January 26th.


TBC Speaks Out

TBC, a non-profit organization, highlighted that the EIA requested specific information such as the types of machines utilized and the locations of mining operations. There were concerns expressed regarding the potential public disclosure of this sensitive data, which could lead to further scrutiny of the industry, as hinted at in previous statements by The White House.

According to the council, this move is part of a broader strategy led by Senator Warren and the Biden Administration, described as a whole of government approach to address the digital asset industry. TBC also characterized the action as a direct assault on private businesses under the guise of an emergency. TBC President Lee Bratcher claimed it is evident that the focus here is not about grid stability, as Bitcoin miners are the most flexible load on any grid, but is a targeted political effort led by figures like Elizabeth Warren.


Addressing Energy Usage Concerns

Warren, along with other Democratic lawmakers, had previously urged major US crypto mining companies to disclose their energy usage. Last year, a select few of these companies called on the US Environmental Protection Agency to implement regulations mandating crypto-mining operations to report their yearly energy consumption.

Bitcoin mining offers advantages such as network decentralization and profit opportunities for miners. However, it also presents risks that affect both miners and the broader community. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, Bitcoin mining globally consumes approximately 127 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, surpassing the energy consumption of some countries. Nevertheless, compared to the banking industry, the energy usage of Bitcoin is significantly lower.


February 23,2024

Reddit Admits To Buying Both Bitcoin And Ethereum

Bitcoin (BTC) surged to $52,000, and Ethereum (ETH) surpassed $3,000 once again following a recent disclosure by Reddit Inc. regarding their holdings in treasury reserves. Reddit allocated some of their surplus cash reserves into BTC and ETH in addition to also procuring ETH and MATIC as payment for sales of specific virtual goods, a practice which the company may sustain in the future.


Slow And Steady

The proceeds via the sales of virtual goods in ETH and MATIC were negligible for the fiscal years ended December 31st, 2022, and 2023. Furthermore, Reddit acquired and maintained digital assets, specifically cryptocurrencies, for the utilization of their product and engineering teams, subject to specific purposes.

As of December 31st, 2023, their digital asset holdings for treasury purposes exclusively comprised BTC and ETH, and any investments in cryptocurrencies mandate approval by their Board of Directors, as per their investment policy.

Moreover, according to a Reddit representative, treasury investments in cryptocurrencies are confined to Bitcoin, Ether, and any other cryptocurrency identified by the SEC, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or prominent members of their staff through public statements or guidance as likely not constituting a security.


Reddit Goes All In

Reddit chose not to disclose precise amounts of BTC and ETH held, stating instead that the net carrying value of their cryptocurrencies, primarily Bitcoin and Ether, along with all related cryptocurrency activities, was immaterial for the periods outlined. Reddit has explored various crypto initiatives, including tokenized karma such as Moons and Donuts.

While Moons was discontinued, Donuts, operating on a decentralized model, continue to be traded and earned by participating in ethtraders discussions. Lastly, in their Initial Public Offering (IPO) filing, Reddit disclosed advertising revenue of $804 million for 2023.


February 22,2024

DeFi Staking Continues To Evolve Through LRTs And Blast

Liquid restaking tokens (LRTs) and the rise of layer two solution Blast are fueling a fresh surge in DeFi staking. LRTs, the latest development in LSDs (liquid staking derivatives), have showcased notable innovation and adaptability within the Ethereum ecosystem, particularly following the Shanghai upgrade.

In the realm of DeFi, the advent of LRTs represents a significant shift in the traditional staking paradigm. Secondly, increased fund inflows significantly enhance market liquidity, contributing to the stability of the entire DeFi ecosystem. Furthermore, dynamic staking strategies, by offering diversified and customized investment options, foster market innovation and development.

However, implementing these strategies faces technical hurdles, particularly in constructing efficient and accurate algorithmic models and ensuring system security and resilience against network attacks.


Going All In

Pendle Finance ventured into uncharted territory within the LSD sphere, pioneering yield tokenization on Ethereum, facilitating users to trade yield and earn fixed yields on their assets. This innovative approach paved the way for novel strategies in yield optimization and risk management.

However, the pursuit of higher yields and optimized utilization of staked assets persisted. Eigenlayer, a restaking protocol, emerged with a more intricate model. Eigenlayer enables stakers to reallocate their staked assets to reinforce additional decentralized services on the Ethereum network. This not only amplifies the overall rewards but also fortifies the cryptographic security and resilience of the entire Ethereum network.


Still A Ways To Go

Despite all the potential, a significant obstacle surfaced. Restaked assets became fragmented and illiquid, impeding activity and interoperability within the DeFi space. This is where LRTs come into play. This innovation unlocks the liquidity of restaked assets and further boosts the rewards for stakers by enabling participation in DeFi activities.

Users can deposit LRTs into liquid restaking protocols to garner additional earnings. These developments have propelled the LSD space to a more intricate and diversified ecosystem as opposed to a single-layer staking infrastructure.

Recent developments such as the emergence of Blast echo this trajectory. Blast, an EVM-compatible Ethereum layer two network, offers native yield staking of ETH and stablecoins on its platform. This democratizes staking rewards and enhances the overall user experience by streamlining the process.


February 22,2024

Congressman Davidson Believes CBDCs Are Evil And Must Be Avoided

In a recent development on Capitol Hill, Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio has escalated his critique of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), asserting that they represent a significant challenge to the foundational principles of Western society. During a session of the House Financial Committee, Davidson voiced his concerns and advocated for legislation aimed at preventing the development and adoption of CBDCs.

The consistent opposition to CBDCs by Davidson has prompted the House Financial Committee to approve a bill aimed at prohibiting their use. He reiterated his stance, describing CBDCs as a potential threat to Western civilization. Through his tweets, Davidson also stressed the need for debate and the adoption of legislation to block the emergence of CBDCs.


Concerns Across The Board

This is not the first instance where Representative Davidson has spoken against CBDCs. In December, he passionately opposed them in Congress, labeling them as a significant threat and a distortion of the concept of money. He compared CBDCs to the financial equivalent of the Death Star in Star Wars, portraying them as intrinsically malevolent.

The proposed legislation, supported by Davidson, would therefore not only ban the development of CBDCs but also restrict the use of federal funds for their creation and implementation. This proposed legislation highlights the growing concerns among certain lawmakers regarding the potential impact of CBDCs on the stability and sovereignty of traditional financial systems.


Looking Ahead

As the bill progresses, it is anticipated to face vigorous debate in the House. Davidson and other like-minded legislators are likely to continue advocating for its adoption, stressing the urgency of protecting the integrity of Western financial institutions when it comes to this seemingly looming threat.

The clash over CBDCs continues to intensify in Congress, with Representative Warren Davidson emerging as a leading voice against their proliferation. As the proposed legislation gains momentum, the broader implications of banning CBDCs remain a contentious issue among policymakers and industry stakeholders.

With the future of digital currencies uncertain, the outcome of this legislative struggle could have profound effects on the trajectory of monetary policy and financial regulation in the Western world.


February 21,2024

Avalanche Is The New Destination For Sports Illustrated Tickets

Avalanche has acquired a stake in Sports Illustrated Tickets and has become the blockchain provider for its NFT-enabled ticketing service, Box Office, which is a blockchain-based ticketing service, allows individuals to organize paid or free events. The Super Tickets NFT tickets offered by Box Office include features such as NFT videos, exclusive offers, and loyalty benefits, according to a press release by SI Tickets.

Sports Illustrated Tickets operates as a secondary market ticketing platform under the Sports Illustrated brand umbrella. While it leases the Sports Illustrated brand through a brand management firm, it is a distinct entity compared to the troubled magazine, emphasized SI Tickets CEO David Lane in an interview.


An Inevitable Move

Since its launch in May 2023, Box Office has issued approximately 300,000 tickets, according to SI Tickets. Initially, Box Office was launched on Polygon with support by Consensys. Ava Labs, the company behind Avalanche, had discussions with SI Tickets to support the platform at that time, explained John Nahas, Ava Labs Senior Vice President of business development. Less than a year later, SI Tickets transitioned to Avalanche.

According to John, Polygon had its moment, and then SI Tickets returned and indicated that many of the things which had been promised for assistance purposes, particularly on the tech side, seemed to be true and then the switch over to Avalanche seemed inevitable.


The Rise Of NFT Ticketing

Ava Labs appears to have high hopes for NFT ticketing. It has invested in another Web3 ticketing platform called tixbase, and the South Korean concert ticket platform Dreamus has integrated with Avalanche. However, when it comes to NFT tickets, Box Office is considered the primary component of a multi-faceted strategy, according to Nahas.

Lane of SI Tickets expressed optimism about the potential of Web3 for the ticketing industry, highlighting that traditional barcode scans are comparatively ineffective compared to NFT tickets, which facilitate easier verification and can serve as keepsakes after events.


February 21,2024

Ethereum Finds Hope Via Verkle Trees Implementation

Ethereum solo stakers and network nodes stand to gain rewards with the integration of Verkle trees, as stated by Vitalik Buterin. The Ethereum co-founder recently praised the benefits of this technological upgrade to the Ethereum protocol. This followed the much-anticipated activation of the Beacon Chain, marking the transition of Ethereum to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus in September 2022.

Verkle trees are set to enable stateless validator clients, with Buterin emphasizing their ability to empower staking nodes to function with minimal hard disk space and achieve nearly instant synchronization. Buterin had previously outlined a step-by-step process aimed at guiding the smart contract blockchain towards what he termed the endgame of development for Ethereum.


Verkle Trees Part Of Roadmap

Five keywords summarized the successive development phases, The Merge, Surge, Verge, Purge, and Splurge detail the technical complexities of various developmental milestones. Verkle trees fall within the Verge category, representing the third phase of the development path for Ethereum.

This phase includes the introduction of Verkle trees, which are poised to enhance data storage efficiency and reduce node size. Buterin explained the technical details of Verkle trees in the Ethereum Improvement Proposal documentation published in 2022.

Verkle trees serve a similar function to Merkle trees, which consolidate all transactions within a block and generate proof of the entire dataset for a user seeking verification. The key advantage that Verkle trees offer, however, is their significantly smaller proof size. While Verkle trees employ structures similar to Merkle trees, a key difference lies in nodes using a specific hash type called a vector commitment, which is transmitted to sub-nodes. Vector commitments are also expected to provide significant long-term benefits to the Ethereum network.


The Advantages

The primary advantage of Verkle trees is a move towards statelessness for Ethereum, where nodes verifying blocks would no longer be needed for storage. Verkle trees enable smaller proof sizes, which can fit within each block of the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, nodes can verify any block using the contained data.

The implementation of Verkle trees is expected to introduce a variety of new functionalities, including reduced hardware requirements for operating Ethereum nodes, thus improving network decentralization. Additionally, new nodes can quickly join the network and synchronize with it promptly.

The development of Verkle trees is ongoing, and integrating them into the Ethereum protocol will require several adjustments. These adjustments include a new data structure to maintain the state of the network, a revised gas accounting model, a plan for migrating to Verkle trees, new cryptographic primitives, and new block-level fields.


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