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Crypto Dominates The Headlines As Other Markets Expect Corrections
As per CoinGecko, the cryptocurrency market experienced a relatively positive week, as both Bitcoin and Ethereum stood resilient around crucial resistance levels. Notably, altcoins had a noteworthy period, displaying substantial increases that indicate potential further expansion in the immediate future.
Elsewhere, while the Fed approaches further rate hikes cautiously, Chairman Jerome Powell noted their readiness to act if needed. Notably, he did not declare policy settings sufficiently tight for the price stability goal outlined by the central bank.
Altcoins performing well
Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, certain altcoins emerged as the most significant gainers of the week. Ethereum (ETH) has undoubtedly dominated the headlines as of late, as news of an Ethereum Spot ETF application put forth by BlackRock helped the second biggest crypto by market capitalization surge to reach over $2,100.
Elsewhere, other altcoins like XRP, ADA, BNB, and SOL all experienced price increases as well, with BNB leading the charge at fourth place right behind Tether (USDT) and Ethereum. Beyond the well-established altcoins, other popular tokens like LINK, TON, and MATIC also recorded gains in their respective weekly charts. NEAR Protocol in particular was among the biggest winners of the week.
Bearish outlook remains
In the currency market, the United States Dollar (USD) rose in response to surging US Treasury yields which faced headwinds because of political issues and a gloomy Eurozone economic outlook. The Bank of England aims to appear resolute against rate cuts, but there is a neutral to bearish outlook.
In the energy market, oil bulls expect a modest positive correction considering geopolitical tensions and concerns about Iranian oil implications. Despite fears of an Iran-related embargo and weaker Asian demand, record-high US shale production suggests challenges to a sustained oil price rebound beyond the $78 to $80 range.
The Dollar Index may stay below 106, pushing the Euro towards 1.07. EUR/JPY could test 162 with a potential initial decline, while USD/JPY might face resistance at 152, signaling a likely downturn. The Australian Dollar is strongly bearish, anticipating a drop to 0.63. The Pound may experience a brief bounce but could eventually fall to 1.21. USD/CNY is expected to gradually rise while USD/RUB may slowly decline. Elsewhere, Dow Jones has fallen as the resistance level of 34200 has held. While below 34200, the outlook is bearish. DAX has the potential to test 15400-15500 before descending.
ETH Soars As BlackRock Submits Ethereum Spot ETF Application
BlackRock has officially submitted an application for an Ethereum Spot ETF (Exchange Traded Fund). The request, found in documents on the Nasdaq website, details a proposed rule change for listing and trading iShares Ethereum Trust shares under Nasdaq Rule 5711(d) (Commodity-Based Trust Shares).
BlackRock makes its move
Various documents recently surfaced on the Delaware Department of State Corporations Division website, revealing a registration of iShares Ethereum Trust put forth by none other than BlackRock. This move was interpreted as a precursor to applying for an Ethereum Spot ETF, and the speculations proved accurate.
Before seeking approval for a Bitcoin Spot ETF, BlackRock followed a comparable procedure, registering documents and subsequently submitting the Ethereum ETF application to the SEC a week later. Notably, BlackRock acted more swiftly for Ethereum, filing the ETF application on the same day.
Unsurprisingly, ETH experienced a price increase and has since surpassed $2,100, marking its highest level since May. After news of the BlackRock Ethereum ETF filing emerged, ETH witnessed a clear uptrend with the 50-day SMA and 20-day EMA serving as dynamic support.
Nevertheless, the RSI stands at 80, indicating an overbought condition and suggesting a potential short-term overextension in the rally. This could trigger a pullback or consolidation as the indicator cools off.
Potential resistance lies around current highs and psychological thresholds beyond $2,000, while support might be found around key moving averages. If the uptrend persists, Ethereum could target new highs surpassing $2,100. However, the overbought conditions increase the likelihood of a correction, potentially retesting previous lows if the trend shifts bearish.
AI Startup Raises $25 Million As President Biden Issues Executive Order On Artificial Intelligence
Various experts believe that Ritual, an AI infrastructure startup, can be instrumental in tackling emerging applications in the crypto space, like autonomously adjusting risk parameters for lending protocols based on current market conditions.
The decentralized artificial intelligence network recently unveiled a $25 million Series A funding round led by Archetype. A consortium of investors, including Balaji Srinivasan, Accomplice, Robot Ventures, Accel, Dialectic, Anagram, Avra, and Hypersphere, participated in the funding round. The funding will be allocated to help Ritual expand its developer network going forward.
Ease of access is key
While AI adoption continues to rise across various business sectors, challenges such as substantial computational expenses, restricted hardware accessibility, and centralized APIs impede the complete realization of the existing AI framework.
The overarching vision for Ritual is to serve as the central hub for AI within the Web3 ecosystem, evolving the current version of the Internet into a modular suite of execution layers that can easily interact with other foundational infrastructure components, allowing any blockchain protocol and application to employ Ritual as an AI co-processor.
The link between AI and crypto
The integration of such AI models into the crypto realm can help facilitate novel applications, such as automatically regulating risk factors for lending protocols in response to real-time market conditions. With that in mind, Ritual provides a protocol diagram that reveals the implementation of adaptable execution layers centered around AI models. The GMP layer, encompassing layer 1, rollups, and sovereign entities, acts as a bridge between existing blockchains and the Ritual Superchain, which functions as an AI co-processor for all blockchains.
The lack of clarity in the recent executive order on AI safety issued by the Biden administration has raised concerns among the AI community. The order introduced six new standards for AI safety and security, encompassing broad mandates such as sharing safety test results with authorities for companies developing any foundational model posing significant risks to national security, economic security, or public health and safety. It also emphasizes the acceleration of developing techniques related to preserving privacy.
Still, many believe that the Biden administration is ill-equipped to adequately deal with the rapid technological advancements that the world is going through. Congressman Ted Lieu stated that the US government is still in learning mode when it comes to new technologies like AI, emphasizing caution so as to avoid stifling innovation in the country.
SEC And Grayscale Initiate Discussions To Potentially Approve BTC ETF
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has initiated discussions with Grayscale Investments, exploring the possibility of transforming the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot Bitcoin ETF (Exchange Traded Fund).
This development follows the recent legal victory Grayscale attained against the SEC, which could have a significant impact on the cryptocurrency market and make Bitcoin (BTC) more accessible to ordinary investors.
The ongoing talks between Grayscale and the Division of Trading and Markets, as well as the Division of Corporation Finance, stem via a federal court ruling that criticized the initial rejection put forth by the SEC concerning the ETF application as arbitrary and capricious. This court decision has revived the prospect of a spot Bitcoin ETF and subjected the application to renewed SEC scrutiny.
Grayscale Chief Legal Officer Craig Salm reaffirmed the idea that the company will happily collaborate with the Division of Trading and Markets. He acknowledges persistent challenges but remains hopeful, citing the progress made by other financial giants like BlackRock and Fidelity in their Bitcoin ETF applications. Craig stated that the discussions have been positive, and that it is now a matter of when, not if, the application will be accepted.
Hope still remains
While the SEC has not publicly commented on these discussions, there are elevated expectations and scrutiny. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has not discussed the application specifically but nevertheless underscored the role the agency has in handling evolving technology and business models, which will be pivotal in evaluating all ETF applications.
According to ETF analysts James Seyffart and Eric Balchunas, there is a high probability of Bitcoin ETF approval by January 10th, 2024, even if approvals are not granted this month. So far, the SEC has issued delay orders for companies like BlackRock, Bitwise, VanEck, WisdomTree, Invesco, Fidelity, and Valkyrie simultaneously.
Still, it is likely that the agency will permit all applicants to launch, especially given the recent court victory that Grayscale secured. Elsewhere, many banks like JPMorgan have suggested that the SEC could face legal challenges if it does not approve these applications, and some policy experts criticize the commission for potentially overstepping its authority.
New Self-Custody Wallet Announced By Binance
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange worldwide in terms of trading volume, has introduced a self-custody wallet integrated into its native app. The announcement was made during the Binance Blockchain Week conference held in Istanbul during which the exchange highlighted that millions of its users now have the opportunity to explore and engage with Web3 without the associated risks of seed phrase loss or complicated onboarding procedures.
Bridging the gap
One of the main objectives that Binance has is to encourage its clientele to utilize the aforementioned wallet for activities such as trading thousands of tokens across more than 30 networks, exploring decentralized applications (dApps), transferring funds between the exchange and the wallet, and generating yield via digital assets.
Binance founder Changpeng Zhao emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between centralized and decentralized systems to efficiently foster Web3 adoption. The wallet therefore simplifies the process for users to achieve full self-custody of their assets while also actively engaging with Web3.
Safety is key
While blockchain technology includes numerous inherent safety features that make hacking difficult, it is not infallible. Although a hacker can take over a blockchain, they are more likely to steal tokens through wallets or cryptocurrency exchanges directly. This is why trustworthy security measures are critical, especially as the world becomes more technologically advanced.
By employing Multi-Party Computation (MPC) technology, the new wallet reportedly ensures robust security and protects users against malicious entities. Private keys are divided into three smaller components known as key-shares, strategically located in separate locations, which enhances key security and mitigates the risk of compromise, making the system less vulnerable. The funds held in the wallet are the sole property of the user and can only be accessed by them.
Despite the recent uptick in cryptocurrency prices, primarily led by Bitcoin (BTC), Binance saw its market share experience a gradual decline, dropping to 50% last month comparative to being around 75% last December. BNB, the native token of the crypto exchange, is currently ranked fourth worldwide in terms of market capitalization.
Ripple Expands Its Global Influence As XRP Surges
Ripple, the cryptocurrency-based network for money transfers and payments introduced in 2012, will reportedly collaborate with payments fintech Onafriq to extend remittance capabilities throughout Africa and connect with several Gulf nations, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Ever since the infamous lawsuit was filed against Ripple back in 2020, the company has gradually gained recognition within the global cryptocurrency community for its continued defiance of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is often seen as overbearing and reactionary.
At the annual Swell conference in Dubai, three novel blockchain-driven payment routes were unveiled, connecting Onafriq users in Africa with customers of PayAngel in the UK, Pyypl in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Zazi Transfer in Australia.
Ripple President Monica Long expressed her enthusiasm at this development, highlighting the prominent role Onafriq has in the African payment landscape where it has provided over 400 million mobile wallets to date. Monica believes that this will greatly help Ripple expand across 90% of foreign exchange markets.
Concurrently, the value of XRP surged this week following approval being granted to the token by the Dubai Financial Services Authority as well as Ripple continually being involved in a central bank digital currency (CBDC) initiative with the National Bank of Georgia (NBG).
Slowly gaining momentum
Ripple has unveiled various product enhancements and licensing updates thus far, with a keen focus on facilitating payments between enterprises and small businesses. The company has been steadily acquiring licenses all over the world, including money transmitter licenses in the United States, an institutional payments license in Singapore, and has recently filed for licenses in the United Kingdom and the European Union as well.
Earlier this year, Ripple won a partial victory in its legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission, thanks to a court decision that provided some regulatory clarity for the cryptocurrency industry.
The SEC, on the other hand, will not go down without a fight, as both the agency and Ripple have until November 9th to collectively present a briefing schedule with solutions to the charges levied against Ripple for its alleged XRP sales to institutional investors.
Ark Invest CEO Expresses Support For Bitcoin, Claims It Is Better Than Gold
Cathie Wood has stated that she views Bitcoin (BTC) as a reliable hedge against inflation and deflation amid volatile financial markets. She favors BTC over gold, citing its digital gold status, transparency, and potential for long-term profit. Her company ARK Invest, of which she is also the CEO, supports the idea of digital currencies as safe havens during market turbulence.
TradFi cannot keep up
The CEO emphasized the unique features that Bitcoin has, contrasting them with the opacity of traditional banks. She noted that centralized traditional financial institutions (TradFi) often face deposit outflows and would therefore usually sell securities to cover losses.
She also highlighted the historical performance that Bitcoin has experienced over the years compared to the United States stock index and argued for its security as a long-term investment. Wood emphasized the risks of centralized authorities and TradFi which led to her acknowledging the appeal of a decentralized currency like Bitcoin alongside its potential as a store of value.
Bitcoin seems to be the answer
According to Cathie, Bitcoin is a superior choice for a decade-long investment with substantial profit potential, particularly among younger generations. The finance veteran firmly believes that Bitcoin offers some much needed stability and resilience, thanks to the transparency of blockchain technology as well as the hedging capabilities against inflation and deflation that BTC provides.
Wood also expressed her optimism about the intersection of Bitcoin and artificial intelligence (AI) after hinting at the transformative potential in the dynamic synergy between AI and crypto, highlighting the potential and beneficial effects the technologies hold for various industries as well as the broader economic landscape.
Cardano And Polkadot Will Collaborate On Implementing Partner Chains
Cardano, the popular Layer 1 blockchain developed by former Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, reportedly intends to leverage the foundational structure of Polkadot, a rival Layer 1 blockchain created by fellow Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood. Cardano envisions a global network of interconnected blockchains through its partner chain concept.
Cardano looking to improve
Cardano will be adopting a strategy involving the utilization of the Substrate framework provided by Polkadot. Through it, Cardano hopes to implement its upcoming partner chain initiative, as announced by Input Output Global (IOG), the developers behind Cardano, on November 3rd.
Following the announcement, the ADA token saw a 2.2% increase, reaching its highest level since July of this year, while the DOT token remained relatively stable, aligning with BTC and ETH, according to CoinGecko.
Introducing partner chains
The implementation of partner chains is a novel concept that is poised to transform the manner in which new blockchains are launched and managed by amalgamating modular blockchain technology with the proven security, liquidity, and dependability of the Cardano platform.
Moreover, the partner chain model facilitates seamless interactions among independent chains. To streamline this process, the modular structure and flexible design provided by Substrate render it suitable for various chain configurations, a fact which was the basis for the Cardano and Polkadot partnership.
Through this move, Cardano will no longer be a solitary blockchain framework, as instead it shall transition to a network of numerous chains, each possessing distinct strengths and capabilities. Hoskinson is hopeful that this will also help the platform compete with others trying to become the ultimate altcoin, such as Solana, Polygon, and Ethereum.
Render Network Incentive Program Announced Alongside Shift To Solana
Render Network (RNDR) has chosen to migrate to the Solana (SOL) blockchain, enhancing both scalability and speed as well as crucial factors in artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency operations. RNDR, valued at $864 million as of this time, is rapidly gaining attention for its innovations in the AI and crypto sectors.
Innovation is key
The move to Solana showcases the overall commitment Render Network has to cutting-edge technology, providing scalability and resilience for its operations alongside improved services for its users. This transition exemplifies how RNDR has adopted a forward-thinking approach while simultaneously highlighting its dedication to innovation.
As such, Render Network is launching a large-scale incentive program for node maintainers to strengthen its network. The program encourages GPU users to integrate RNDR software, synchronize nodes, and share computational capacity, particularly for AI and ML research.
An exciting time
Ryan Shea, an advisor to the Render Foundation, expressed excitement about welcoming new node operators and powering AI, ML, and GPU-intensive compute needs. Thus far, Render Network has allocated 1.14 million RNDR tokens, currently valued at $2.67 million, for the incentive program, demonstrating its commitment to network expansion. 300,000 RNDR tokens will also be distributed in the coming year, ensuring sustained engagement with node operators.
In summary, both the shift to Solana and the incentive program helps position RNDR as a significant player in the crypto and AI community going forward. In turn, Solana will receive a reputable blockchain network powered by crypto, one which helps individuals provide unused GPU power to assist projects in successfully rendering motion graphics and other visual effects in exchange for RNDR tokens.
Hong Kong Considers Accepting Spot ETFs On Route To Becoming A Global Hub
The Hong Kong SFC (Securities and Futures Commission), known for its strict oversight of traditional financial markets, is reportedly considering adopting a more progressive approach after exploring the emerging trend of spot crypto ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). This move comes as regulators work on establishing an Asia-Pacific digital-asset hub while also dealing with the fallout arising via the JPEX crisis.
A growing demand
The demand for spot crypto ETFs has undoubtedly surged, with several industry giants like BlackRock and Grayscale getting involved. SFC CEO Julia Leung mentioned that the commission is contemplating retail investor participation in spot crypto ETFs pending regulatory approval. She emphasized their willingness to embrace innovative technology that enhances efficiency and customer experience while ensuring that new risks are consistently addressed.
The SFC initially restricted access to crypto spot ETFs for retail investors but later expanded access to a broader range of investors who meet certain criteria. They also introduced a specialized regulatory framework for virtual assets, aiming to balance business incentives with investor protection, following a significant fraud incident involving an unauthorized crypto exchange known as JPEX.
Slow and steady
In other related news, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is exploring the provision of guidance for institutions offering digital asset custodial services. In Hong Kong, while futures-based crypto ETFs are allowed, acceptance has been slow, with only a few listed ETFs as of this time.
It is worth mentioning that individual investors can trade cryptocurrencies on licensed exchanges in compliance with digital asset regulations. However, legal restrictions on stablecoins are expected to be introduced between 2023 and 2024.
Given recent market developments and concerns about investor protection, Hong Kong authorities are working to enhance transparency in the processing of virtual asset exchange licenses. In any case, the popularity of spot ETFs in the market remains uncertain, but various experts believe that the future is bright nonetheless.
Crypto Fundraising October 31 - November 6
On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 30th October and 5th November 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done!
Surf Protocol raised $3M - Permissionless derivative exchange, enabling trading and listing of over 10,000+ assets. The raised capital will be utilized to develop the first permissionless perpetual decentralized exchange, set to be launched on Base.
Vaas raised $1.98M - Founded in Florianopolis by the same trio that founded Decora, a 3D decoration startup, the company focuses on transactions related to cryptocurrencies, but it is also preparing to combat Pix-related scams.
Anapaya Systems raised $9.31M - Anapaya seeks to ensure the sustainability and security of internet infrastructures through SCION. In particular, Anapaya Systems will expand the SCION network for Sui.
Quantum Blockchain Technologies raised $2.4M - Quantum Blockchain Technologies investment programme is focused on selecting the most innovative and out-of-the-box start-ups in the Blockchain and cryptocurrencies sector.
Kana Labs raised $2M - Kana Labs has developed a Web3 Middleware toolkit, which includes aggregated bridges and multiple liquidity sources both EVM and non-EVM blockchain networks.
Waterfall Protocol raised $2M - ByteTrade conducted an extensive six-month due diligence process that successfully tested EMV-compatible DApps and assessments.
Modulus Labs raised $6.3M - Modulus, in particular, will harness ZK-proofs &mdash specifically zkML &mdash to offer users assurance that AI queries remain unaltered or tampered with, thereby paving the way for a broader range of web3 applications to incorporate AI.
Topos raised $5M - This latest funding round was purposefully constructed to bring key VCs and industry leaders on board with direct experience in building global standards, scaling ubiquitous products to massive market share.
Intract raised $3M - Intract is a Web3 marketing community, that provides all campaigns with user attribution one dashboard, cross-platform community analytics, Data-driven Web3 user acquisition and so on.
INTMAX raised $4.88M - INTMAX's stateless zkRollup protocol is garnering attention as an innovative solution that addresses the issues of high transaction fees, delays, interoperability challenges.
Trips raised $2.5M - The company provides creators with the ability to establish their copyright's initial digital provenance on-chain, while enabling them to turn creative assets into financial assets.
Almost $600K Stolen Due To Fake Ledger Live Application
Nearly $600,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC) was stolen after many individuals downloaded a fraudulent Ledger Live application via the Microsoft App Store, as discovered by cryptocurrency investigator ZachXBT. In a subsequent update, ZachXBT mentioned that while Microsoft had successfully removed the app, the damage had been done.
What went down
The fake app, named Ledger Live Web3, was successfully identified on November 5th, however it was too late as countless users had already used the application since they believed they were obtaining Ledger Live, an authentic graphical interface for Ledger hardware wallets for offline cryptocurrency storage.
The scammer received the aforementioned sum through 38 transactions via the wallet address bc1qg05gw43elzqxqnll8vs8x47ukkhudwyncxy64q, according to Blockchain.com. Approximately $115,200 has been withdrawn through the wallet of the scammer through two transactions, leaving them with $473,800 or 13.5 BTC.
The first payment directed to the wallet address was made on October 24th, totaling $5,210. Prior to this, the wallet remained inactive. The majority of these transactions also occurred after November 2nd, with the largest transfer amounting to $81,200 on November 4th.
Another day, another scam
Alarmingly, it was revealed that the deceptive application had already appeared on the store as early as October 19th, at which point Microsoft users could download and use it. ZachXBT stated that they received two messages by victims on November 4th and argued that Microsoft should be held accountable for not conducting due diligence and allowing the fake application to be featured in its app store to begin with.
To make matters worse, this is not the first instance of a bogus Ledger Live application infiltrating Microsoft. In fact, Ledger has a support account on X (formerly Twitter) which alerted its users about a fake app bearing the Ledger name on no less than two separate occasions in both December 2022 and March 2023. As of this time, Ledger has not commented on the scam specifically but has consistently advised users that the only secure source for downloading Ledger Live is their website, ledger.com.