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November 15,2023

Crypto Fundraising November 7 - 13

On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 6th November and 12th November 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done! 

LIAMA raised $6M - Llama empowers protocols with an onchain policy engine to set permissions for action creation and roles for action approvals and disapprovals.

Due raised $3.3M - Due aims to empower underserved and emerging markets with uninterrupted access to global liquidity, while facilitating transactions at much lower costs and significantly faster settlement times compared to traditional methods.

StabIR raised $3.5M - StablR is a Euro stablecoin company that issues EurR to bring liquidity to the DeFi and CeFi markets. StablR hopes it can bring liquidity to both DeFi and CeFi markets, ultimately bringing more users into the crypto ecosystem.

Pimlico raised$5.8M - The funds raised will be pivotal in propelling the development of Pimlico's innovative smart account infrastructure, revolutionizing Ethereum's ecosystem.

Kresko Labs raised $4.15M - Kresko's mission is to make wealth accessible to anyone, anywhere. Kresko is an open platform for synthetic stocks, commodities, and crypto. The platform consists of two products.

Sock raised $2.8M - Sock customers can transact without paying network fees (gas), safeguard investments by setting upper or lower thresholds for token sales to mitigate potential losses.

Authentickator raised $4M - The company announced the launch of its NFT platform Authentickator, which lets users browse, purchase and verify the authenticity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) without a crypto wallet.

Citadel raised $3.3M - This round gives Citadel's the opportunity do things that were not possible when bootstrapping.The Citadel has always had an ambitious vision, but now Citadel's have the resources to realize the full potential of that vision.

STACKR raised $5.5M - The raised capital will be allocated towards several key objectives, including team expansion, preparation for the imminent launch of the platform's v1 version, and the growth of Stackr's developer ecosystem.

Definitive raised $4.1M - Named Definitive, the new startup seeks to automate many aspects of the decentralized finance world, which encompasses a broad spectrum of financial services.

Galactic Holdings raised $16.25M - Since 2020, Galactic Holdings has been unwavering in its commitment to fostering close collaboration with Latin American authorities, with a steadfast focus on aligning with regulatory guidelines.

Ritual raised $25M - Ritual started with a clear goal in mind: to merge the best principles and techniques of cryptography and artificial intelligence.

To stay updated with news about future Web3 Funding Rounds, Follow CryptoWeekly

November 14,2023

Swan Issues Warning To Customers Because Of New Regulatory Policies

Swan, a Bitcoin (BTC) accumulation platform, has issued a cautionary notice over the weekend, alerting users that engaging with BTC mixing services might lead to the termination of their accounts.

The platform informed users that its banking and custodial partners would cease servicing clients directly interacting with BTC mixing services like Wasabi, Samourai, and comparable services.

New rules

Swan attributed these changes to the adjusted policies of banks and custodians, influenced by newly proposed rules provided via the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). If implemented, these rules would mandate regulated financial institutions to report transactions when there is suspicion of involvement in transaction mixing.

This warning aligns with the increasingly stringent regulatory environment in the United States concerning crypto mixing services. Regulatory agencies and lawmakers are growing concerned about the potential of mixers to facilitate money laundering by illicit actors. FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki emphasized the critical role of mixing services in facilitating illicit activities such as funding ransomware operations and aiding criminals in concealing ill-gotten gains. 

Acting out of fear

Swan CTO and Co-founder, Yan Pritzker, expressed his lack of surprise at the stance taken by the financial institution partners in response to the proposed rules, which Swan vehemently opposes. He pointed out the prevailing fear in the banking sector due to the current political climate, with many banks refusing to engage with anything related to cryptocurrency.

He noted the necessity of using a bank or Money Services Business (MSB) to process USD in the United States, and all such financial institutions are subject to regulations by FinCEN, the Financial Action Task Force, and other unelected bodies.

Notably, a federal judge recently sided with the US Treasury in a case where Coin Center and other crypto industry advocates challenged the various sanctions levied against the Tornado Cash mixing service. The court dismissed the argument, asserting that the Treasury has the authority, under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, to sanction any entity in which a foreigner has an interest.

November 14,2023

Short-Lived XRP Price Rally Following Fake BlackRock Trust Filing

For a fleeting moment, XRP holders recently found themselves in disbelief, and with good reason. The filing of the BlackRock iShares XRP Trust in Delaware, which propelled the crypto asset up by 12% in just half an hour, turned out to be fake. The corporate registration submitted in Delaware was genuine, but it was not BlackRock, as confirmed by a company representative.

Fake news

Despite BlackRock having legitimately registered the name for its iShares Ethereum Trust in Delaware last week, the XRP filing was declared false by BlackRock itself. Notably, the fake filing shared the same address and contact information as the authentic ETH filing which was finalised last week. 

While the XRP community was understandably over the moon with the apparent announcement that the BlackRock iShares XRP Trust had been filed, the joy was short lived despite the fact that XRP experienced a sudden and dramatic price increase which certainly benefited those holders who sold their assets before the eventual correction. 

All eyes on BlackRock

Considerable anticipation and corresponding price movements have surrounded Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs, particularly those potentially issued by BlackRock upon approval. As a colossal Wall Street asset manager with $9 trillion under management, BlackRock created ripples in the crypto industry with its filing for the iShares Bitcoin Trust in June. As a result, each subsequent amendment or update has been accompanied by price rallies.

Recently, various analysts noted a brief window until November 17th during which the Securities and Exchange Commission could potentially approve at least 12 pending Bitcoin ETF applications, given that the SEC extended the deadline for all Bitcoin ETF filings to November 18th, and the comment period has just concluded. Regardless, there is no indication thus far of any decision regarding the approval of a Bitcoin ETF by the SEC.

November 13,2023

Competition Among South Korean Exchanges Heats Up As Bithumb Unveils Ambitious Plans

Bithumb, a popular South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, aims to achieve a new milestone by becoming the inaugural digital asset company to undergo an initial public offering (IPO) on the South Korean stock market. Established in 2014,  the exchange currently boasts a 24-hour trading volume of approximately $580 million, according to data by CoinGecko at the time of this publication.

Reports via local news outlet Edaily on November 12th indicate that Bithumb is actively preparing for an IPO on KOSDAQ, the South Korean equivalent to Nasdaq, with a projected listing date in the latter half of 2025.

Choosing the right people

While Bithumb has not officially confirmed the IPO, the company did disclose the recent selection of an underwriter, a company responsible for ensuring the financial stability of another entity typically before it goes public. It has also been reported that Samsung Securities was reportedly chosen as the potential underwriter for the IPO.

In a noteworthy development, the former chairman of Bithumb, Lee Jeong-hoon, has returned to the company as its registered director. Simultaneously, CEO Lee Sang-jun is reportedly no longer being considered for a position on the board of directors due to an ongoing investigation into alleged bribery.

Going public

Sources familiar with the matter have asserted that Bithumb deciding to go public is motivated by a desire to avoid ceding additional market share to Upbit, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea. Presently, Bithumb holds the position of the second largest crypto exchange in the country in terms of daily trading volume. In July, Upbit surpassed Coinbase and Binance in monthly trading volumes for the first time.

Furthermore, both Upbit and Bithumb faced scrutiny in May when South Korean authorities conducted raids on their offices, investigating alleged fraudulent crypto trading on behalf of a local lawmaker. In February, Kang Jong-hyun, a significant shareholder in Bithumb and suspected real owner, was arrested on embezzlement charges following a lengthy police investigation into his purportedly illicit activities.

Kang Jong-hyun, aged 41, is the elder brother of Kang Ji-yeon, the head of Bithumb affiliate Inbiogen, which holds the largest share in Vidente, the principal Bithumb shareholder with a 34.2% stake.

November 13,2023

Two Major Altcoins Will Receive Futures Support Via Coinbase

Coinbase Global, the preeminent cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, has officially declared the inclusion of Solana (SOL) and Avalanche (AVAX) in its global futures exchange. Despite a tumultuous 2022, the company insists that crypto is not dead and adoption is still increasing at an exponential rate.

Getting involved

The genesis of Coinbase International, unveiled in May of this year, is a direct result of the company trying to tap into the vacuum left by the infamous collapse of FTX in the futures market. Notably, Coinbase had not gotten involved in this particular market segment before, but the company has nevertheless expressed its intention to cater to institutional users for perpetual futures trading in eligible countries outside the United States.

With that in mind, the SOL-PERP and AVAX-PERP markets are slated for launch on November 14th, 2023. The launch is also contingent upon meeting certain parameters and liquidity requirements, as outlined in the official announcement.

A new opportunity

In a bid to diversify revenue streams and mitigate the impact of lackluster stock performance, particularly after underwhelming quarterly earnings reports, Coinbase has decided to try different trading techniques and tap into new markets, not just spot trading.

With that in mind, the exchange notes that perpetual futures trading constitutes a substantial portion of the overall global cryptocurrency trading volume, up to 75% in fact. In addition, the company is proactively managing regulatory uncertainties by spreading out risks, aligning with its broader strategy for a more resilient business approach. Coinbase representatives informed the press to stay tuned for further updates down the line.

November 12,2023

Gmail Accounts Can Now Receive Crypto Via New ZK Tech

As the crypto industry continues to become more popular and widespread, many notable corporations are slowly adopting the new digital asset class. Google is no different, as it was recently revealed that Bonsai Pay through RISC Zero introduced the testnet version of its ZK-protected escrow, enabling smooth Ethereum (ETH) transfers to Google accounts.

A unique approach

This unconventional cryptocurrency application, employing zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs), explores a unique approach to Web2-Web3 collaboration. Bonsai Pay transforms each Google account into a non-custodial crypto wallet seamlessly, allowing Ether to be sent to Gmail accounts through ZK proofs. The platform, built on the Sepolia Ethereum testnet, presents a cutting-edge method of replacing complex Ethereum wallet addresses with familiar email contacts.

According to the team, any active Google account is compatible with the service and necessitates no additional setup to receive ETH funds. Cryptocurrency transactions occur through an escrow contract on the Ethereum network, and recipients can access their assets by logging into Gmail and generating a ZKP. The product is also supported by JSON-based identity tokens and the OpenID Connect Protocol, with its core codebase crafted in the Rust programming language.

The future is bright

Bonsai Pay also utilizes the RISC Zero zkVM, which can be accessed by third-party developers through API keys. So far, the team has launched a live demo on the Sepolia testnet, encouraging developers to stress-test the platform and provide feedback on GitHub.

As zero-knowledge proofs are a cryptographic method allowing the prover to confirm the truth of a statement without revealing additional information, these provide the basis for the entire protocol. Notably, several ZK-powered projects, such as Polygon zkEVM, zkSync Era, and Scroll, have demonstrated substantial increases in total value locked (TVL) on the Ethereum mainnet in the past 24 hours, with even higher gains being recorded on a weekly basis. Needless to say, ZKPs are going to play a significant role in a wide variety of areas going forward.

November 11,2023

Another Hack As Popular Centralized Exchange Gets Targeted

Poloniex, a popular centralized cryptocurrency exchange (CEX), appears to have experienced a security breach involving one of its wallets, identified as Poloniex 4 on Etherscan. An examination of the apparent hot wallet reveals various suspicious outflows, indicating a substantial impact on its funds. The estimated value of these outflows linked to the incident, based on on-chain data, now surpasses $100 million.

Over $100 million at risk

Although the exchange has not officially disclosed the affected amount, preliminary assessments via analyst firms PeckShield and Arkham Intelligence suggest that crypto assets exceeding $100 million may have been compromised.

The exchange acknowledged the situation through its customer support X account, stating that the wallet in question has been disabled for maintenance and that regular updates will be provided. Having functioned as a centralized exchange since 2014, Poloniex was acquired by Tron founder Justin Sun in 2019.

In response to the incident, Sun asserted that Poloniex is actively investigating the hack and committed to reimbursing all affected user funds. He claims that the team is currently looking into the incident, before adding that Poloniex maintains a healthy financial position and will fully reimburse the affected funds.

Damage control

Sun also proposed a 5% whitehat bounty to the attacker, contingent on a complete fund return, setting a seven-day deadline before considering legal action with law enforcement. Addressing the situation later in the day, Sun reported that the Poloniex team has successfully identified and frozen a portion of the assets associated with the addresses of the hacker.

According to Justin, the losses are presently within manageable limits, and the operating revenue generated by Poloniex should be able to cover these losses. Additionally, he mentioned that the team has restored all Poloniex systems, preserved relevant evidence, and aims to gradually resume deposits and withdrawals, ensuring 100% security.

November 10,2023

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.

November 10,2023

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.

ETH surges

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.

November 09,2023

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.

Lacking knowledge

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.

November 09,2023

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.

Renewed scrutiny

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.

November 08,2023

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.