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March 22,2024

Apple Sued By DOJ For Illegally Throttling Competition And Stifling Innovation

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a comprehensive antitrust lawsuit against tech giant Apple, alleging that its regulations in the app market and its perceived monopoly have unfairly suppressed competition and hindered innovation.

Filed on March 21st in a federal court in New Jersey, the complaint, supported by 16 state attorneys general, contends that the dominance of Apple within the smartphone market has been exploited to compel developers to utilize its payment system, thereby locking in both developers and users to its platform.


Manipulating The Market

According to the DOJ, the App Store guidelines and developer agreements impose a range of evolving rules and restrictions, enabling the company to charge higher fees, impede innovation, provide a less secure or diminished user experience, and stifle competitive alternatives. This situation may be why numerous crypto-based apps currently offer only limited functionality on iOS devices.

The DOJ also asserted that the anticompetitive behavior exhibited by Apple not only restricts competition in the smartphone market but also has repercussions on industries affected by these limitations, including financial services. For instance, Apple has allegedly eliminated alternative payment systems in ways deemed anticompetitive and exclusionary.


A Chokehold On The Industry

The DOJ highlighted the 30% fee, commonly referred to as the Apple tax, which the company imposes on apps and in-app payments for content, products, or services it did not create. This fee is only compatible with fiat currencies and has effectively prohibited the use of cryptocurrency in apps or made it economically unfeasible for crypto-based apps to offer in-app purchases.

Apple does provide certain enterprise and public sector customers the option to offer their own apps through custom app stores, but iPhone users and developers are not granted access to such alternative app stores, according to the DOJ.

The DOJ further alleged that Apple often applies its App Store rules inconsistently and employs them to penalize and restrict developers leveraging technologies that threaten its monopoly power. Some NFT marketplaces, such as OpenSea, have disabled features on their iOS apps due to the 30% fee on NFT sales. The Bitcoin-friendly social app known as Damus also had to remove a BTC tipping feature after Apple removed its app for not utilizing its in-app payments function.


March 21,2024

Ethereum Foundation In Hot Water As Government Authorities Initiate Investigation

The Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Switzerland and a significant player in the Ethereum ecosystem, is currently under investigation by an undisclosed government entity. Details regarding the focus and scope of this investigation have not been made public. The revelation surfaced through GitHub on February 26th, 2024, indicating receipt of a confidential inquiry by a governmental source.


A Confusing Development

This inquiry coincides with a period of notable technological advancements within Ethereum, the second-largest blockchain by market capitalization. Ethereum, launched in 2015 through an initial coin offering (ICO) for its ETH token, recently underwent a significant technical upgrade known as Dencun.

Previously, the Ethereum Foundation made a statement affirming no contact by any entity requesting confidentiality. However, this statement, along with the aforementioned search warrant notification, was removed on February 26th in a GitHub update. Such notifications indicate that companies have not received confidential subpoenas or document requests via government authorities. Removal of such notices often indirectly suggests receipt of such requests.


More Than Meets The Eye

Legal experts familiar with the situation suggest that Swiss regulators may have solicited documents through the Ethereum Foundation and may be collaborating with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Additionally, it is speculated that other offshore entities might be under similar scrutiny.

The SEC is presently evaluating several applications for an Ethereum Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). However, optimism regarding the approval of these applications has waned due to perceived limited communication between applicants and SEC officials. Speculation suggests that any reported interactions between the SEC and its international counterparts could be linked to the impending May 23rd ETF deadline faced by the SEC.


March 21,2024

Trezor Gets Exploited As Hacker Targets X Account

Trezor saw its X account recently encounter a breach, wherein a hacker utilized the social media account to promote a fraudulent crypto presale, accompanied by a malicious link. The crypto community promptly detected the suspicious activity and alerted other X users. As of now, the Trezor team has regained control of the account.


Exploiting Goodwill

In the now-removed tweets, the hacker claimed Trezor was supporting the $SLERF Community, leveraging ongoing fundraising efforts in the crypto sphere. The unauthorized post advertised a fake $TRZR token presale, requiring users to send SOL to the address of the hacker. Additionally, supporters were promised a separate bonus airdrop upon visiting a linked website, which is a typical tactic of a wallet drainer.

Unsurprisingly, many expressed concerns over the security breach, considering Trezor likes to emphasize its security features. Gratitude was extended to those who alerted others, potentially preventing further victims. Some users questioned the precedent set by fundraising for participants affected by the Slerf presale debacle, fearing it could enable similar behavior.


Damage Control

Despite the relatively small sum stolen, questions arose regarding whether the vigilance of the community or the limitations of the hacker led to the modest haul. This incident, although a minor victory, highlights a potential vulnerability nonetheless.

Lastly, the theft prompts speculation regarding the adequacy of security measures or the possibility of an inside job. Trezor acknowledged the incident, citing robust protections, including two-factor authentication, and reassured users of ongoing investigation and vigilance against future threats.


March 20,2024

South Korea Initiates Crypto Regulation Discussions With ASEAN

South Korean regulators engaged in discussions with officials representing ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the OECD regarding cryptocurrency policy in Seoul on March 18th, 2024. According to Yonhap, the event was organized by the Seoul-based Financial Services Commission (FSC), the primary financial regulatory body in South Korea.

The international conference aimed to share the progress of digital finance policies in ASEAN countries. The participants expressed their desire to address risks associated with cryptocurrencies and related issues. The regulatory meeting was part of an event titled South Korea-OECD Roundtable: On Digital Finance in ASEAN.


An Important Meeting

Various representatives by the Korea Institute of Finance also participated in the discussions. The discussions on March 18th focused on presentations and discussions related to topics concerning central bank digital currencies and crypto assets.

Joining South Korean regulators were representatives by financial regulatory authorities, central bank officials, and other major financial institution officials by Asia and OECD member countries. The FSC announced that the parties agreed to exchange findings on global trends and share opinions on digital finance. On March 19th, the participants convened to exchange views on artificial intelligence in the financial sector.


FSC Vice Chairman Speaks

In his opening address, Kim So-young, Vice Chairman of the FSC, highlighted the positive impact of financial innovation through digital technology, including increased productivity in the financial industry. He emphasized the importance of establishing an appropriate regulatory framework to manage the risks associated with new technologies and protect consumers.

Kim urged South Korean regulators, along with their counterparts by ASEAN and the OECD, to proactively address the challenges posed by digital finance and cryptocurrency markets. He also emphasized the expanding international cooperation in the financial industry and called for sharing the latest financial trends with international organizations and major global countries, including ASEAN nations.

Kim concluded that South Korea and ASEAN nations should enhance cooperation to ensure alignment with the international regulatory framework. The direct investment by South Korea flowing into China last year fell the most in data dating back more than three decades, indicating weakening economic ties. 


March 20,2024

Fidelity Adds Staking Feature To Ethereum Spot ETF Application

As per various recent updates, Fidelity has reportedly modified its prior Ethereum Spot ETF application to incorporate the Staking feature. The move has significance as it indicates a keen focus toward making the biggest altcoin more mainstream and accessible to everyone.


Still A Ways To Go

The introduction of the staking functionality in Ethereum followed the transition to the Proof of Stake (PoS) mechanism. Wallet holders who locked their respective coins were rewarded with ETH in exchange for contributing to the overall security of the network.

Still, it was very evident that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed reluctance towards this feature, leading many Spot ETF applicants to omit it from their submissions. This is unsurprising, especially since SEC Chair Gary Gensler has long been against the idea of making cryptocurrencies mainstream.


Is The SEC Working With TradFi?

Former Yahoo Finance reporter Zack Guzmán expressed intrigue about the development, stating that the progression of Ethereum ETFs seems peculiar as it appears Fidelity might be adding a component to justify the denial of the ETH ETF by the SEC, potentially striking a deal with Gensler.

That statement has caused many to wonder if Gensler may in fact be aligned with traditional financial giants. In related news, CEO Dan Tapiero shares his projection for the price of Bitcoin over the next two years. Notably, the aforementioned adjustment by Fidelity stirred activity in the price department, with BTC trading at around $65,600 as of the time of this writing.


March 20,2024

BlackRock Submits Application For Inaugural Tokenized Asset Fund

BlackRock has taken a notable step towards the future of digital asset management by submitting the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form D for the BlackRock USD Institutional Digital Liquidity Fund.

The launch of the fund represents a significant shift in asset management, laying the groundwork for broader adoption of tokenization in the financial sector. Backed by a strong reputation and plenty of relevant expertise, this initiative is poised to establish a new benchmark for digital asset funds. Additionally, the partnership with Securitize further reinforces the legitimacy and regulatory compliance of the tokenized offering.


Overview Of The Fund

The establishment of the BlackRock USD Institutional Digital Liquidity Fund occurred in 2023, intending to tokenize it on the Ethereum blockchain utilizing an ERC-20 token named BUIDL. This innovative initiative aims to transform traditional asset management by introducing a tokenized system facilitating instant settlement and aiming to address illicit activities within financial markets. Notably, the fund operates under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands and requires a minimum investment of $100,000.

Securitize, a notable U.S. firm specializing in digital asset securities, has been engaged by BlackRock to facilitate token offerings for the fund. As a registered stock transfer agent and alternative trading system with the SEC, Securitize brings expertise and regulatory compliance to the table. The involvement of the firm underscores the commitment to ensuring a smooth and compliant tokenization process.


Looking Ahead

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has been an outspoken proponent of tokenizing financial assets as the next frontier in asset management. Fink sees transitioning assets onto a single ledger through tokenization as a way to streamline processes, enhance transparency, and mitigate risks associated with illicit activities. Fink recently expressed optimism about the future of tokenization, highlighting its potential to revolutionize the financial landscape.

Fink believes the next step going forward will be the tokenization of financial assets, and that means every stock, every bond, and so on, will be on one general ledger. The CEO further stated that every investor will have their identification, enabling BlackRock to eradicate issues surrounding illicit activities in the realm of bonds, stocks, and digital assets.


March 20,2024

XRP Officially Recognized As A Utility Token By ECGI

Enthusiastic members of the XRP community are rejoicing over a recent development that could significantly influence the future of the Ripple-supported token. A fresh research paper by the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) has reinforced the classification of XRP as a utility token, aligning with a U.S. federal court ruling in July 2023.


Addressing The Legal Classification

The paper, titled Corporate Governance Meets Data and Technology, authored by Wei Jiang of Emory University and Tao Li of the University of Florida, examines the evolving landscape of fundraising methods in the blockchain sphere. It explores various fundraising avenues, including Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Security Token Offerings (STOs).

The primary focus of the research lies in the ambiguous regulatory environment surrounding cryptocurrencies, particularly highlighting concerns raised by regulatory bodies like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the categorization of tokens issued through these fundraising mechanisms.

Notably, SEC chairman Gary Gensler has maintained the stance that nearly all cryptocurrencies, including XRP, should be treated as securities and thus fall under the jurisdiction of the SEC. However, a federal judge ruled last July that XRP transactions on public crypto exchanges do not qualify as securities.


Focus Shifts To Key Date In SEC Vs. Ripple Case

The affirmation by ECGI concerning the utility token status of XRP lends credibility to claims that the cryptocurrency serves as a global bridge currency within Ripple Payments (formerly RippleNet), facilitating real-time and cost-effective cross-border transactions. This could pave the way for widespread adoption of XRP by banks and other financial institutions seeking efficient payment solutions.

Attention surrounding the SEC Vs. Ripple lawsuit has now shifted to March 22nd, the day when the securities regulator will present crucial opening briefs on the proposed Ripple remedies. Reputable defense attorney James K. Filan highlighted that the opposition brief by Ripple representatives is expected by April 22nd, 2024, followed by the reply brief of the SEC two weeks later, on May 6th, 2024.


March 18,2024

Charles Hoskinson Defends Hydra Protocol As Cardano Reaches New Milestone

Cardano (ADA) has reached a significant milestone with the introduction of USDM, a stablecoin backed by fiat currency. The Mehen token (USDM) serves as a digital store of value, issued by Mehen Finance, with a 1:1 conversion rate to USD.

As a native token on the Cardano blockchain, USDM can be transferred without the need for additional smart contracts. Mehen announced on X that institutional customers will commence the onboarding process, expected to take one to two days, indicating that USDM will gradually integrate into the blockchain during the week starting March 18th. This development marks a pivotal moment for Cardano as it expands its ecosystem, attracting more users and developers.


Introducing USDM

USDM is distinguished as the first stablecoin of its kind on Cardano, in contrast to algorithmic or synthetic tokens like iUSD and DJED. Notably, USDM is fully backed by USD at a 1:1 ratio. Users deposit dollars into their Mehen account, which shall be held within separate accounts for token holders.

Following the completion of transactions, users can mint an equivalent amount of USDM cryptocurrency tokens. Consequently, the stablecoin market on Cardano has seen significant growth, with a 37% increase quarter-over-quarter and a remarkable 673% year-over-year surge, further fueled by the introduction of the USDM stablecoin.


Promoting Hydra

Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson recently responded to concerns regarding the Hydra protocol on X, dismissing what he termed as FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Hoskinson affirmed the continued progress of the project, emphasizing the heightened productivity and motivation of the team as well as their commitment to see things through.

Charles went out of his way to reassure Cardano enthusiasts and ADA holders while simultaneously underscoring that Hydra is in fact advancing with robust community engagement and substantial protocol enhancements, and that the best is yet to come.


March 18,2024

SHIB Community Adopts A Proactive Approach By Burning Millions Of Tokens

Recent data disclosed by the Shibburn tracker unveiled a notable reduction in circulating Shiba Inu (SHIB) meme coins. Within the past 24 hours, the SHIB community cooperatively moved 28,709,351 SHIB coins into a non-functional wallet, effectively diminishing the overall supply.

This accomplishment was realized through six specific transactions, the largest of which transferred 21,657,489 and 6,824,773 SHIB coins respectively. This strategic move marks a significant step in reducing the availability of SHIB in the cryptocurrency market. The decision to burn these coins underscores a growing dedication by the Shiba Inu community toward enhancing the value of their preferred cryptocurrency by limiting its circulation.


Going Back And Forth

Concurrently, Shiba Inu cryptocurrency has witnessed substantial fluctuations in its price. Over the last 48 hours, SHIB experienced a sharp decline of 19.20%, with 13.17% of this drop occurring within the last day. This decline follows a period of remarkable growth during which SHIB eliminated two zeros from its value, reaching a peak of $0.00003 before correcting to its current trading price of $0.00002811.

These price fluctuations in Shiba Inu are closely correlated with broader trends in the cryptocurrency market, particularly in response to a significant correction in the value of Bitcoin. Following its peak at $73,750, Bitcoin underwent a downturn and is presently trading at $68,321. This movement reflects the volatile nature of the cryptocurrency market, where substantial gains can swiftly be followed by steep declines.


Pros And Cons Of Meme Coins

The recent actions concerning Shiba Inu, including coin burning and price adjustments, underscore the dynamic and community-driven nature of meme cryptocurrencies. These occurrences highlight the unique factors that influence the valuation and perception of digital currencies like Shiba Inu within the constantly evolving crypto landscape.

Meme coins present both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, they often experience rapid price appreciation driven by enthusiastic communities and speculative trading. Their low entry barriers make them accessible to new investors, and they can serve as an introduction to the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

However, these coins also come with significant drawbacks. Their speculative nature makes them highly volatile and prone to unpredictable price swings. Moreover, meme coins typically lack intrinsic value or utility beyond speculative trading, leaving them vulnerable to pump-and-dump schemes. They may also have limited long-term viability as investment assets and pose risks of scams and rug pulls due to the decentralized and unregulated nature of many meme coin projects.


March 18,2024

Fundraising Deals - March 12th to 18th, 2024

Here are the latest fundraising deals in Web3, courtesy of CryptoWeekly.



Berachain from the United States secured an impressive $69M in a Venture round of funding led by BH Digital on March 15th, 2024. Berachain is a high-performance, EVM-compatible blockchain built on Proof-of-Liquidity consensus.



Nyan Heroes, based in Singapore, raised $3M in a Venture round, supported by Mechanism Capital on March 14th, 2024. Powered by Unreal Engine 5 and blockchain technology, Nyan Heroes offers a AAA multiplayer experience with multiple character classes and unique gameplay abilities.



D2X Group, operating out of The Netherlands, closed a Series A funding round worth $10M, with Point72 Ventures as the lead investor on March 14th, 2024. D2X is launching the first regulated (MiFID II) crypto futures & options trading venue out of the Netherlands to facilitate the institutional adoption of the asset class.



Polyhedra Network, headquartered in the United States, announced a successful Series B funding round of $20M, with Polychain leading the investment on March 14th, 2024. Polyhedra focuses on empowering interoperability and computation via ZK in addition to making Web3 more scalable.



mmERCH, a startup based in the United States, secured $6.4M in seed funding from Liberty City Ventures on March 14th, 2024. This is a company that believes in a world of difference where clothes are as distinctive as DNA and users have got the on-chain data to prove it.



Clique, also from the United States, raised $8M in a Series A round with Polychain as the primary investor on March 14th, 2024. The Clique Compute Coordination Network organizes various heterogenous compute resources, allocating them as needed by both general applications and smart contracts.



Gaxos.AI, based in the United States, received $3.5M in Post-IPO Equity funding, although the investor remains unknown, on March 13th, 2024. Gaxos.AI is transforming the way humans interact with AI.



Coinbase announced a significant Post-IPO Debt funding round of $1.1B, with the investor undisclosed, on March 13th , 2024. Coinbase is an American publicly traded company that operates a crypto exchange platform.



SnowSeed, hailing from Indonesia, secured $5M in seed funding from Medi Crypto International on March 12th, 2024. This is an NFT investmet platform that combines the advantages of physical assets and non-fungible tokens.



Kulipa, operating in the United States, raised $3M in seed funding from an undisclosed investor on March 12th, 2024. Kulipa enables self custodial crypto wallets to issue their own debit card through their API-as-a-service platform for seamless integration.



Elixir Network closed a Series B funding round with a notable $8M investment led by Maelstrom on March 12th, 2024. Elixir builds orderbook liquidity across exchanges via a high-throughput DPoS network.

March 17,2024

Bitcoin Struggles A Bit As US Economy Looks To Bounce Back

Binance Coin (BNB) stood out as a significant gainer this week among the leading alternative cryptocurrencies, while SHIB and DOGE have experienced a decline of 3% amid the ongoing meme coin frenzy. Bitcoin (BTC) encountered heightened volatility toward the end of the trading week, witnessing a drop of $8,000 in its price.

However, it has since recovered some of these losses. Several alternative cryptocurrencies have also rebounded since the crash on Friday, with AVAX, BNB, SOL, and APT emerging as the top performers recently.


Bitcoin Bounces Around

The week began with fluctuations, starting with a drop to $67,000 before a surge led to a new all-time high of approximately $73,000. Despite briefly surpassing this level on Tuesday, Bitcoin faced selling pressure, dropping to under $69,000 within hours. Subsequent volatility saw another all-time high near $74,000 on Thursday, followed by a sharp decline of around $8,000, leading to a weekly low of under $66,000.

BTC initiated its recovery shortly after, briefly exceeding $70,000 overnight but struggling to sustain this level. Currently, BTC trades at just over $69,000, with a market cap exceeding $1.350 trillion and dominance over alternative cryptocurrencies sitting at 49.2%. Meanwhile, SOL displayed notable resilience, with an 8% increase and trading above $190, its highest in over two years. AVAX surged by 12% to $60, reclaiming multi-year highs, while BNB has surpassed $600 again with a 5% increase. APT has surged by 14% to $15, while DOGE and SHIB have experienced a modest decline of just over 3%, and ETH remains stable at just over $3,700.

The total cryptocurrency market cap has rebounded by over $60 billion in a day, now standing at over $2.760 trillion on CoinGecko.


Other Markets

The considerable drop in US natural gas prices this year is quietly aiding the local economy, reducing certain energy expenses while other essential costs continue to climb. Despite not garnering as much attention as crude oil, natural gas plays a crucial role in the US economy, serving as a foundational fuel utilized for heating homes, generating electricity, powering factories, and producing fertilizer.

Elsewhere, the European Union is increasingly exerting pressure on importers of Russian liquefied natural gas to curtail purchases this year, as stated by Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. This initiative indicates growing efforts to realign energy sources and disrupt the funding of Russian military operations following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Bond fund managers are grappling with excess cash, turning to the derivatives market to deploy it, thereby driving down the cost of safeguarding against defaults to levels akin to those seen when central banks were initiating interest rate hikes.

For those on the lookout for market bubbles, indicators of overextension are readily apparent, with cryptocurrencies experiencing a resurgence and Nvidia Corp. surging by almost 80% since the beginning of the year. However, despite potential signs of speculative fervor on Wall Street, such sentiment has not permeated one of the riskiest sectors of the US stock market, namely unprofitable technology firms.


March 16,2024

BOME Skyrockets As Meme Coin Mania Grips The Crypto Community

The Book of Meme (BOME), crafted by the creator of Pepe, Darkfarms, has seen an astounding surge, increasing by 20 times within just three hours. This surge has catapulted the market value of the crypto to nearly $400 million. The pre-sale for BOME commenced on March 13th, enabling participants to transfer an unspecified amount of SOL tokens to a specified address.

The Book of Meme encompasses an updatable electronic magazine, a meme creation tool, and an extensive meme library featuring non-mint JPEGs. Developed on Solana by the creator behind the Pepe meme coin, the project employs Arweave, IPFS, and inscriptions for data storage, doubling as a social platform for cross-chain storage. Future plans involve using a single NFT to connect all stored content related to a specific meme.


Solana Meme Coin Skyrockets

BOME quickly gained traction within the Sino-British community. The pre-sale garnered an unexpected 10,131 SOL, surpassing initial expectations of 500 to 600 SOL by a significant margin. This overwhelming response prompted a subsequent community vote on how to allocate the pre-sale funds.

Following the pre-sale, Darkfarms utilized the raised funds to establish a liquidity pool, setting the initial price of BOME at $0.0000496. Substantial purchase orders of 100 SOL contributed to a highly liquid market, resulting in a price peak of $0.0012. This surge subsequently increased the market capitalization of BOME to $375 million.

Shortly afterwards, several exchanges, including BitMart and HTX, expressed intentions to list the asset. Bitmart later confirmed the primary listing of the altcoin on March 14th, introducing an initial trading pair with USDT.


Meme Coin Frenzy

BOME skyrocketing aligns with a broader uptick in the meme coin sector, which recently reached a market cap of $40 billion and saw many people become millionaires in a short amount of time. Earlier this year, Dogecoin (DOGE), Pepe (PEPE), and Dogwifhat (WIF) were prominent, with WIF surging by 45% and reaching a new all-time high of $3.45. Elsewhere, a token based on U.S. President Joe Biden surged by 830% on Wednesday morning on over $23 million worth of trading volume. Several other meme coins based on celebrities and politicians have also been issued on Solana.

However, the recent surge in Solana network activity has also attracted malicious actors. Security firm BlockAid reported cryptocurrency scams two months ago targeting Solana users through wallet drainer attacks. 


A New Era

This emerging trend coincides with meme coin speculators openly embracing a risky new wave of cartoonish tokens based on notable politicians and celebrities this week, with Solana-issued meme coins leading the market following a volatile trading session on Tuesday.

DOGA is anticipated to surge as the project prepares to announce the listing of its token on a top 5 centralized exchange (CEX) in March, according to sources familiar with the matter as reported by Crypto Intelligence on Friday. This is one of several dog-themed tokens, such as Shiba Inu and Dogecoin, but it holds considerable upside potential due to its modest market cap of just $5.2 million.

Additionally, other memecoins such as SHIB and PEPE have recently witnessed large whales sell their tokens on various centralized cryptocurrency exchanges to capitalize on their gains, with one whale making over $6 million by depositing more than 200 SHIB on and Gemini.