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FTX Gets Permission To Sell Assets To Finally Repay Customers
FTX, the infamous and currently bankrupt crypto exchange, has received approval to sell approximately $873 million worth of trust assets, as disclosed in a filing in a Delaware bankruptcy court on November 29th, 2023.
Time to pay up
The assets, sourced through the stakes FTX placed in various trusts by Grayscale Investments and Bitwise, aim to repay creditors affected by the notorious collapse in 2022. Notably, the $873 million includes $807 million via the Grayscale trusts and $66 million by Bitwise. The court document initially mentions $744 million in assets as of October 25th, 2023, but their value has since increased.
The approval follows a motion filed by FTX debtors on November 3rd to sell six cryptocurrency trusts, including GBTC, ETHE, and Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund. FTX owns over 22 million units of GBTC, valued at $691 million, and 6.3 million shares of ETHE, valued at around $106 million. Additionally, FTX can sell the Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust, Litecoin Trust, and Digital Large Cap Trust to recover funds for affected customers.
FTX administrators, led by John J. Ray III, have been working on asset recovery since the aforementioned collapse that occurred last November, securing around $7 billion, with nearly half of that amount coming through cryptocurrencies. This past June, debtors estimated $8.7 billion in misappropriated customer assets. Meanwhile, disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was convicted on seven fraud-related charges on November 2nd and is currently awaiting sentencing on March 28th, 2024. He is presently located in the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center.
Sam was accused of spending lavishly and engaging in speculative trading with FTX customer funds through Alameda Research, the sister hedge fund of the FTX crypto exchange. Prosecutors used emails, bank statements, and wire transfers to detail how customer funds were allegedly spent.
Chainlink Staking Mechanism Gets Major Upgrade
Chainlink, a popular decentralized computing protocol, has reportedly enhanced its native staking mechanism by introducing Chainlink Staking v0.2, which features a larger pool capacity of 45 million LINK.
Commencing today, there is a 9 day priority migration phase for existing v0.1 stakers to move their staked LINK and rewards to the updated version. Subsequently, access will broaden for other participants through early access and general access stages starting on December 7th and December 11th, respectively, allowing users to stake a maximum of 15,000 LINK.
The importance of staking
With the expansion of the staking pool to 45 million LINK, equivalent to 8% of the existing circulating supply, Chainlink aims to attract a more diverse range of LINK token holders. This enlargement aligns with the Economics 2.0 strategy, designed to enhance overall network security.
Chainlink staking contributes increased functionality to the token and affords LINK holders the opportunity to support the performance of oracle services, earning rewards for their role in securing the network. Initially, staking was exclusively available for securing the Ethereum ETH/USD price feed, with a capped pool of 25 million LINK tokens.
Security is key
The new version is intended to provide a more flexible mechanism which will allow users to withdraw their staked tokens more efficiently, as well as improved security guarantees. Its modular architecture aims to facilitate greater adaptability, making future upgrades and improvements easier to incorporate.
Lastly, Chainlink Staking v0.2 also includes dynamic rewards mechanisms that can seamlessly support new sources of rewards in the future, according to the team. Observing a consistent rise in the value secured by and transacted over the Chainlink Network, enhancing crypto based security becomes increasingly crucial, noted Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov. Sergey further stated that v0.2 introduces crucial new security features and positions the system for further expansion in the upcoming year.
Cristiano Ronaldo Gets In Trouble For Promoting Binance
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most successful and popular footballers of all time, is potentially facing a class action lawsuit regarding his endorsement of Binance, which is currently entangled in legal disputes. A filing in a Florida District Court alleges that Ronaldo engaged in the promotion, assistance, or active participation in the offering and sale of unregistered securities in collaboration with the crypto exchange. The plaintiffs claim that the endorsement of the platform resulted in massive financial losses.
Ronaldo in hot water
In 2022, Ronaldo collaborated with Binance to publicize his collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Those opposing the endorsement argue that they were more inclined to utilize Binance and its services for other cryptocurrency related activities. The users assert that this led to investments in unregistered securities through Binance, including its BNB and cryptocurrency yield programs.
The various promotions that Ronaldo did, as per the complaint, encouraged Binance to solicit investments in unregistered securities by urging his millions of followers to invest in the Binance platform. Given his extensive influence and fanbase, Ronaldo played a significant role in the growing user base of Binance. The lawsuit suggests that although Ronaldo did not directly promote Binance, he should have been aware of the potential consequences of his actions.
The celebrity problem
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has cautioned celebrities to disclose if they receive payment for endorsing cryptocurrencies and related assets. According to the lawsuit, Ronaldo failed to make such disclosures.
Binance is currently facing legal challenges, with its founder Changpeng Zhao and the company under scrutiny by the Department of Justice. Following a $4.3 billion settlement for money laundering charges, Zhao has resigned as CEO and is potentially facing 18 months in prison.
The elephant in the room however is the fact that celebrities such as Ronaldo and various others like Lionel Messi, Logan Paul, Jake Paul, Lindsey Lohan, and KSI, have millions of followers worldwide. All of these celebrities have endorsed crypto in one way or the other in the past, and in doing so have inadvertently caused substantial losses for their supporters.
Jito Foundation Launches New Governance Token
Jito Foundation, the entity supporting a liquid staking protocol based on Solana (SOL), is introducing a governance token for the management of the Jito Network. A liquid staking token is a token that represents the staked amount of a given cryptocurrency on a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain. Liquid staking tokens enable people to participate in staking while still being able to buy, sell, or trade the token, providing greater flexibility and liquidity.
Improving community engagement
Jito Labs constructs infrastructure to counteract adverse effects of MEV (Maximum Extractable Value) on Solana. The launch of the token aims to enable community members to directly influence decision making as well as the overall course of the Jito Network itself.
The Solana Foundation revealed that almost a third of the stake is flowing through the Jito Labs client. In the recent announcement, Jito Foundation highlighted that the Jito MEV network of validators is currently utilized by over 40% of the stake weight.
As such, a total of 1 billion JTO tokens have been generated to organize network management, encompassing the establishment of fees for the JitoSOL staking pool and overseeing revenue and the DAO treasury.
So far so good
Initially, 115 million JTO tokens will be in circulation. Community growth is allocated 34% of tokens, with 25% for ecosystem development, 24.5% for core contributors, and 16% for investors. As a recognition of their contribution to bootstrapping the network, 10% of the tokens will be airdropped to Jito community members, allowing them to engage in governance immediately.
Finally, the foundation advises community members to stay vigilant for updates on the airdrop. Noteworthy investors in Jito Labs include Solana Ventures and Solana Labs co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko. In the preceding year, the company also secured $10 million in a Series A funding round.
IMF Shows True Colors About Crypto As CBDCs Off To A Slow Start
South Koreans will have the opportunity in the coming year to utilize deposit tokens based on a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) through a pilot initiative overseen by the Bank of Korea (BOK). The pilot program will reportedly enable 100,000 individuals to make purchases using deposit tokens issued by commercial banks in the form of CBDCs, functioning akin to a voucher at retail establishments.
The announcement by the BOK occurs shortly after Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), advocated for countries to take a more proactive stance toward CBDCs. 11 countries, including some in the Caribbean and Nigeria, have already launched CBDCs, while over 120 countries are exploring their implementation.
CBDC adoption remains slow
During a speech in Singapore, Georgieva emphasized the need for the public sector to provide guidance to act as a catalyst, ensuring safety, efficiency, and countering fragmentation. Despite her efforts, several countries implementing CBDCs have experienced limited adoption. Georgieva likened the efforts to a nautical journey, urging an increase in speed to keep pace with the rapidly changing world.
The IMF, concerned about the lack of agreement on a common CBDC platform, warns that a vacuum could potentially be filled by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The organization has also released a virtual handbook to assist countries in implementing interoperable CBDCs.
An underlying fear
As cryptocurrencies are decentralized and not tied to any government or central authority, they could become a preferred means of international trade, potentially revolutionizing the global financial system. The IMF cautions that this shift could lead to market manipulation and criminal activities, however the cryptocurrency community was quick to answer back by saying these illicit operations have been a recurring issue in several other markets even before crypto existed.
Nevertheless, the IMF, expressing palpable concern, emphasizes the need for strong cryptocurrency regulation. Georgieva suggests that if regulation fails, banning these assets to prevent financial stability risks should be considered. While these varied views on cryptocurrencies may stem via concerns about money laundering, terrorist financing, consumer protection, and market volatility, experts believe that the underlying fear of the IMF may be that crypto can be used to improve financial services and promote financial inclusion in a way that CBDCs and centralized institutions cannot.
Crypto Fundraising November 21 - 27
On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 21st November and 27th November 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done!
IntentX raised $2.5M - As we move forward, IntentX is positioned to make significant strides in the decentralized derivatives space.
Blast raised $20M - Blast raised over $20 million in a round led by Paradigm and Standard Crypto and is headed by pseudonymous figurehead PacmanBlur, one of the co-founders of NFT marketplace Blur.
Privy raised $18M - Privy is a developer tools platform aimed at securely collecting data to improve the crypto user experience. Privy offers application programming interfaces (APIs) that developers can use to manage and integrate user data.
Zeal raised an undisclosed amount - Zeal's skill combines user-friendly design, security measures, and comprehensive visibility into online assets.
Blur raised $40M - Blur is the NFT marketplace for pro traders. Blur started because people wanted a faster platform for trading NFTs ourselves. None existed with the capabilities needed, so Blur built it.
Zash raised an undisclosed amount - CoinGecko aligns perfectly with Zash mission and ethos, whilst acknowledging the responsibility of ensuring accurate and trusted data is accessible to all.
Vistara Labs raised an undisclosed amount - Vistara is building a Hardware Availability Layer (HAL) to enable the adoption of the modular web on a global scale. With Vistara's HAL, engineers, hardware providers, and users can collaborate to share and access resources on demand.
Matr1x raised $10M - Matr1x hopes an esports scene springs up for its namesake game, which is still in development.
Klever raised $10M - This significant infusion, equally distributed with $10 million dedicated to each of our KLV and KFI tokens, is a resounding vote of confidence in Klever vision to transform the world of blockchain and web3.
Bitfarms raised $44M - Bitfarms owns and operates blockchain farms that power a global decentralized financial economy. It brings expertise that goes well beyond crypto mining.
Open Campus raised $3.15M - The Open Campus Protocol is a decentralized solution for educators, content creators, parents, students, and co-publishers designed to address the major challenges in education today.
Waltio raised $1.97M - With this fundraising, Waltio wants to position itself as the first platform for automated tracking and crypto reporting, offering a simplified solution for managing tax obligations in this asset class.
To stay updated with news about future Web3 Funding Rounds, Follow CryptoWeekly
New Cosmos Proposal Could Put An End To Infighting
Jae Kwon, the founder of Cosmos, is rallying community members to initiate a split in the network. On November 25th, Kwon called on his followers to unite and orchestrate a division in response to Cosmos governance approving a proposal to decrease inflation in the staking rewards of the ATOM token.
Dealing with inflation
Cosmos employs a dynamic inflation mechanism, which increases the overall supply of ATOM by 10% to 20%, depending on the amount of staked tokens. Presently, with 65.7% of ATOM staked, inflation is growing at a yearly rate of 0.45%. According to Proposal 848, ATOM inflation will be capped at 10%. Additionally, staking rewards will decrease to an APR (Annual Percentage Yield) of 13.4%.
The proposal argues that the historically higher inflation of ATOM compared to its peers has negatively affected its monetary premium and led to constant sell pressure, impacting its price performance. However, key players in the Cosmos ecosystem express dissatisfaction with the outcome. Kwon expressed the need to coordinate a split following the passage of Proposal 848.
The aforementioned move by Kwon to fork the network comes after prolonged internal conflicts within the Cosmos ecosystem. John Galt, a Cosmos focused crypto influencer, suggested that a chain split could potentially resolve years of political tension within the network.
Kwon proposes the creation of a new network, informally named AtomOne, which would fork the Cosmoshub4 code to run the latest Cosmos software. He advocates for support for the fork to benefit ATOM, emphasizing the improvement of tokenomics.
Galt speculates that a fork could lead to the most substantial airdrop for ATOM holders. It would end up distributing a majority of a new ATOM1 token to Cosmos stakers, but those wallets favoring Proposal 848 would receive a reduced allocation.
Cosmos utilizes a delegated PoS (Proof of Stake) consensus, allowing ATOM holders to delegate their tokens to a select pool of validators for staking. Galt also speculates that a chain split could potentially benefit the original chain by removing dissidents and unsavory entities. He references the failure of the infamous 2022 ATOM 2.0 proposal, and how Proposal 848 has to do better.
New Plan Unveiled By Polkadot As Parachain Model To Be Phased Out
Polkadot (DOT), the layer-1 Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol that has flourished with parachain auctions since its inception, has revealed plans to phase out this scheme in the future. The intention to replace parachain auctions with a new system has been confirmed by Pierre Aubert, the newly appointed VP of Engineering at Parity Technologies, the startup behind the Polkadot protocol.
Time for change
Pierre expressed alignment with the overall vision of the protocol, set to be encapsulated in what might be referred to as Polkadot V2. According to the outlined plans, the new initiative will be substituted with Agile Coretime or Bulk Coretime, paving the way for Polkadot to establish a genuine connection with Ethereum (ETH).
Additionally, the protocol will create a direct link with its canary chain, Kusama. Aubert detailed that the next six month roadmap for Polkadot aims to introduce features enhancing the user experience through the Agile Coretime.
Moreover, the emphasis for Polkadot now revolves around improving the developer experience, with one approach being the proposed Polkadot API. This tool is anticipated to simplify the process for developers in the creation of dashboards going forward.
A slow but necessary process
The aforementioned auction model, responsible for the introduction of networks like Moonbeam Network and Astar Network to the platform, is recognized as a groundbreaking and highly practical method for managing sidechains. The system involves community members supporting protocols vying for inclusion, rewarding their involvement with the relevant native token upon launch.
However, according to Pierre, the time for change is now if Polkadot wishes to keep up with its competitors alongside new technologies and practices. Notably, the precise details of Agile Coretime and Bulk Coretime are still in the design phase, but upon launch, they are expected to exemplify the seamless evolution characteristic of Polkadot.
Cardano Delves Further Into AI Via Introduction Of Girolamo
Cardano (ADA) has just introduced Girolamo, its inaugural Internet-generated chatbot, marking a noteworthy progression in the convergence of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI). The beta launch of Girolamo, named in honor of the Italian mathematician Girolamo Cardano, signifies a major milestone in Cardano venturing into the AI realm.
Girolamo represents a frontier in the intersection of AI and blockchain, showcasing both the dedication to innovation and practical application in the AI sector that Cardano is trying to foster. Engineered to respond to diverse queries, Girolamo addresses both industry specific and everyday questions, distinguishing itself with the ability to create and interpret images, thereby incorporating a visual dimension into its functionality.
Cardano began engaging with AI in 2021 through the introduction of Grace, an AI robot developed in collaboration with Awakening Health, Hanson Robotics, and SingularityNET, a blockchain partner of Cardano. This marked the initiation of a series of initiatives aiming to integrate AI with blockchain technology.
Alongside its AI endeavors, Cardano has also been making significant progress in other areas. The update of its lightweight wallet, Lace, to version 1.7.1, addresses various issues, particularly enhancing dApps connectivity within the Cardano network, crucial for improving user interactions and streamlining experiences in the Cardano ecosystem.
Additionally, the ecosystem was recently reinforced by the completion of the Mithril relay prototype, a crucial development for enabling P2P signature broadcasting which is a core aspect of decentralized networks.
Elsewhere, the Cardano community is gearing up for a special ballot vote under CIP-1694, evaluating advancements in both on-chain and off-chain governance. This initiative, with the snapshot for participating wallets taken on November 21st and the voting process scheduled starting on December 1st and lasting till December 11th, exemplifies a keen dedication to community involvement and the evolution of governance.
Wallet Of Satoshi Is No Longer Available For US Customers
The notable Bitcoin Lightning wallet provider, Wallet of Satoshi (WoS), has declared its removal regarding US Apple and Google App stores. Nevertheless, the popular wallet provider expressed optimism about future advancements that could facilitate a return and potential resumption of operations in the country.
Lightning Network experienced a surge of 1,200% in the last two years. Now though, the fact that Wallet of Satoshi is indeed leaving the US market behind can be viewed as a major setback for the crypto sector in the United States.
US customers left behind
In a message to the community, Wallet of Satoshi clarified its decision to stop serving customers in the country. Speculation arose that this move might be connected to increasing regulatory scrutiny by US authorities towards the cryptocurrency industry.
This development follows reports stemming via several crypto users noticing the absence of Wallet of Satoshi when it came to app stores in the United States. This coincided with the app reaching a milestone of over a million transactions this month.
On November 24th, various users and members of the crypto community shared their experiences on X, attempting to find the WoS app. They reported either receiving no search results or being redirected to alternative wallet applications. Notably, the app remained available for download on both Apple and Android devices in several other countries.
Strict regulations are to blame
Wallet of Satoshi explained its actions, stating that they have dedicated themselves to providing the best Bitcoin experience while simultaneously being at the forefront of Lightning usability and adoption. However, the team had to make the difficult decision to not serve customers residing in the United States going forward.
While the Bitcoin Lightning app did not disclose specific details about whether external forces compelled the decision or if it was a voluntary choice, some crypto users have linked the removal to the stringent regulatory environment in the US. Recent legal actions against Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng Zhao, have heightened concerns about potential regulatory actions.
In an effort to reassure existing users in the United States, Wallet of Satoshi confirmed that customers still maintain full access to their Bitcoin funds. Users can still withdraw and transfer their funds to another wallet, addressing potential concerns about losing access to their crypto holdings.
Jim Cramer Backtracks On His Stance Regarding Cryptocurrencies
Markets commentator Jim Cramer has tacitly acknowledged the inaccuracy of his previous stance on Bitcoin (BTC), admitting he was premature in advising investors to sell the cryptocurrency. In the past, Mr. Cramer has openly stated that he believed crypto to be a scam, going as far as to say that he would not touch it in a million years.
Bitcoin succeeds despite naysayers
During a segment of his CNBC Mad Money show which aired on November 22nd, 2023, Cramer responded to a caller interested in investing in Bitcoin miner CleanSpark. He suggested that those who favor Bitcoin should enhance their exposure to it, openly telling everyone to buy the digital asset. He also admitted that he was wrong about his previous notions about BTC and that what he said was premature.
Cramer acknowledged that, despite not consistently making accurate calls on Bitcoin, he had still generated substantial profits via his investment in it. On December 5th, 2022, when Bitcoin was priced at $17,150, Cramer advised investors to liquidate all their crypto holdings regardless of the cost, asserting that it was never too late to sell an awful position. Since then, BTC has surged by more than 120%.
Slowly coming around
Cramer and his fluctuating relationship with crypto have become a popular meme in investment communities, highlighting his tendency to make incorrect calls at crucial moments. He is not the only one to backtrack on this either, as many other notable names such as Warren Buffet have gradually started purchasing Bitcoin despite adopting a very anti-crypto sentiment in the past.
In August 2022, a crypto trader claimed to have doubled the size of their portfolio by trading in the opposite direction of what Cramer had recommended. Two months later, on October 6th, an investment fund filed for an inverse Cramer ETF, a financial instrument designed to yield results on trades that are essentially contrary to the investments recommended by television personality Jim Cramer, before fees and expenses.
Bitcoin Gains Momentum As Binance Drama Unfolds
This week, Bitcoin (BTC) rebounded fully following the settlement involving Binance and the Department Of Justice (DOJ). Altcoins are also on the rise, according to information provided by CoinGecko. During the week, BTC managed to reach above $37K, showing a 2.5% increase within a 24 hour period. In other markets, there was a generally positive trend being experienced, particularly in Asia.
Crypto wins but CZ leaves
BTC made attempts to breach the $38,000 level but faced resistance, leading to a market rollercoaster. The initial positive response to the settlement regarding Binance, which involved the crypto exchange agreeing to pay over $4 billion to the United States DOJ, turned negative causing a $2,000 drop in BTC, which later recovered to over $36,600.
Elsewhere, the altcoins were able to piggyback off of the momentum generated by Bitcoin. Notably, Uniswap (UNI) rose by 16.6%, and PYTH Network (PYTH) surged by 25.7%. Despite the overall positive trend, Binance Coin (BNB) remained an exception, most likely because of the controversy surrounding Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng Zhao. Zhao has since left the company and Richard Teng has been named his successor.
Asian markets are improving
In the broader market, Asian stock futures exhibit a mixed outlook, with stability in Japan and an uptrend in Australia. Hong Kong and China are experiencing property market rallies. Additionally, crude oil is facing a decline due to issues, and the Hong Kong dollar is strengthening against the US dollar. Meanwhile, the equity market of South Korea anticipated increased volatility following a recent short-selling ban.
Furthermore, after Beijing lifted punishing tariffs that had halted trade for three years, Australian barley is making a big comeback in the Chinese market. According to customs data, China imported nearly 314,000 tons of grain through Australia last month, the first purchases via that country since late 2020 and the most since May of that year. Imports of barley through Russia and Kazakhstan have also increased as part of efforts to diversify suppliers.