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November 01,2023

Circle Will Stop Providing Support For Consumer Accounts Soon

Popular stablecoin issuer, Circle, has reportedly informed its users about its intention to discontinue support for specific accounts. In a recent announcement, company representatives stated that Circle would no longer provide assistance to consumer-only accounts as part of its strategic re-evaluation.

Leaving the US behind

This development follows comments made by Circle CEO, Jeremy Allaire, who said that the main focus for the company, especially in the long term, extends beyond the United States. He revealed that a significant portion of business for Circle, approximately 70% of USDC stablecoin adoption in fact, originates via non-US markets.

Notably, Circle recently obtained a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license, which was issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This license allows Circle Singapore to offer digital payment token services in that country, marking a significant advancement for the crypto industry in Asia.

More than meets the eye

The company will officially terminate the wiring and mining features and close user accounts on November 30th, 2023. The specific reasons for this action were not disclosed by Circle, but they emphasized that it aligns with their terms and agreements, as stated in their applicable legal agreement.

In their ongoing global expansion efforts, Circle also announced plans to establish its European headquarters in Paris. This decision is influenced by the favorable stance on cryptocurrencies which France has adopted alongside its aspiration to become a prominent hub for Web3 technologies.

Notably however, experts believe that there is a bigger picture at play here, namely that many crypto-oriented companies are leaving the United States behind. This should come as no surprise, as regulators like the SEC have certainly not made it easy for these companies to succeed in the country. Still, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the recent Bitcoin Spot ETF applications, but only time will tell where that road shall lead.

November 01,2023

DTCC Website Now Shows Invesco Galaxy Spot BTC ETF

The ticker for the Invesco Galaxy Spot Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Fund, BTCO, has been included on the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) website, signifying progress in the application process by both asset management firms. While BTCO is indeed currently visible on the DTCC site, it does not suggest imminent approval.

A big step forward

The addition occurred within the last week, as there was no BTCO listing on October 25th, according to the WayBack Machine web archive. As previously mentioned, adding a ticker to the ETF Products list on the DTCC website does not in any way guarantee future approval of the product. Nevertheless, the buzz generated by the development had briefly caused the DTCC site to crash due to an excessively high amount of traffic.

It is also standard procedure to include securities in the NSCC security eligibility file in preparation for the potential launch of a new ETF in the market. In any case, the crypto community has reacted positively, especially following the recent success regarding the Grayscale ETF application.

A catalyst for a bull run

The joint spot Bitcoin ETF application managed by global investment firm Invesco and crypto asset fund Galaxy Digital was reactivated on June 21st. This decision to resubmit the application to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) followed a surge of similar filings for spot Bitcoin ETF products, sparked by investment giant BlackRock and their submission for a spot Bitcoin ETF on June 15th.

The Bitcoin community is keeping a close eye on the Securities and Exchange Commission and what the regulatory agency does next, particularly during the upcoming closed-door meeting on November 2nd, as it may hint at possible approval of a spot BTC ETF.

A potential approval of such an ETF promises to bring significant new sources of demand for Bitcoin, and many investment firms and market analysts are actively speculating about the price impact it will have on the flagship crypto, claiming that approval could truly kickstart the next bull run.


October 31,2023

Bittrex US Receives Approval For Revised Bankruptcy Plan

Bittrex, a popular cryptocurrency exchange, has received approval for a modified insolvency strategy to wind down its operations in the United States. According to a legal submission, Judge Brendan Shannon approved the liquidation plan presented by the company for repaying its outstanding creditors during a hearing in Delaware on October 30th, 2023.

Settlement reached but work to be done In the aforementioned submission, the Court announced its decision to enter a revised Proposed Order, which resolves the informal remarks put forth by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Bittrex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May after the SEC accused it of operating an unregistered exchange. In August, the firm reached a $24 million settlement with the SEC. It is worth pointing out that while Bittrex has ceased operations in the United States, Bittrex Global continues to operate in other regions.

Looking toward the future Back in August, Bittrex Global CEO Oliver Linch reassured those who were growing wary of any association with the United States due to regulatory uncertainties in the country. He went on to say that if the SEC or any other regulator wishes to engage with an unregulated non-U.S. digital assets exchange, Bittrex Global is available.

Bittrex was once one of the most prominent exchanges in the United States, with a market share of nearly 23% at the start of 2018. However, it fell to less than 1% in 2021 and has not recovered since. Understandably then, the exchange had little choice but to apply for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which was approved as previously mentioned.


October 31,2023

More Than $600,000 Stolen In Massive Unibot Exploit

The Telegram trading bot, known as Unibot, has become the subject of a token approval exploit within its recently deployed order router. Unibot pledged to reimburse any funds stolen in response to this exploitation, claiming losses in excess of $600,000.

A dark day for Unibot. The Unibot protocol had been a profitable investment at its peak, attracting the attention of numerous investors. The aforementioned hack is the latest in a long line of cryptocurrency-related exploits, as LastPass users collectively lost $4.4 million in crypto assets last week. More worryingly, numerous Telegram users believe that, despite the company saying otherwise, their keys and wallets may not be safe anymore and many have actively left Unibot altogether.

Damage control Unsurprisingly, the disclosure of the exploit resulted in a significant drop in the price of the token, which was by 33% to $38.50 before recovering slightly, according to data provided by CoinGecko. PeckShield security experts first raised the alarm on October 31st, 2023, in a post on X, estimating that losses over $600,000 in crypto had been recorded.

Telegram confirmed that Unibot indeed suffered a token approval exploit within the new router and have since suspended its operation to address the situation. The company assured users that any assets lost as a result of this vulnerability will be reimbursed, but there has yet to be any announcement regarding potential improvements to security measures to ensure that this does not happen again. Users are also concerned that PeckShield was able to identify the exploit before Telegram itself.

October 31,2023

Crypto Fundraising October 24 - 30

On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 24th October and 30th October 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done! 

HYTOPIA raised $3M - HYTOPIA (previously NFT Worlds) is a game platform & engine crafted from the ground up. It blends long-sought social and modern features for players.

BRLA Digital raised $600.66K - The fintech BRLA Digital, which specializes in cross-border payments and cryptocurrency infrastructures, has just raised BRL$3 million in its first round of funding.

Cube.Exchange raised $9M - Cube.Exchange aims to solve the problem of founder risk by creating a unique hybrid market structure that takes advantage of the benefits of both traditional exchanges and the efficiencies offered by embracing certain elements of Web3.

Virtual Labs raised $1.2M - Virtual Labs' main research direction is zero-knowledge ZK state channels. Its founder is a Yale University dropout who aims to use zero-knowledge technology.

Noble raised $3.3M - Noble is leveraging the power of cosmos public blockchain infrastructure to usher in a new era of growth for the Interchain ecosystem.

TonUP raised an undisclosed amount - TonUP are delighted to note that the funds amassed from seed round will be strategically channeled to expand.

smIXL raised $13.4M - smlXL will continue to expand and introduce new products building upon the unique capabilities of our iEVM, streaming data platform, and program analysis tools.

Integral raised $8.5M - Integral is a real-time finance platform that automates web3 financial workflows. Integral connects to all of your organization's wallets, safes, exchanges, and custodians.

Atani raised $13M - Atani is an end-to-end platform that enables crypto investors to trade in multiple exchanges, manage their portfolios, perform technical analysis and automate tax reports.

PRINT3R raised $500K - PRINT3R's innovative approach to gamification and user-centric design is setting a new standard. PRINT3R are thrilled to be part of this journey.

Nocturne raised $6M - Founded last year in the United States, Nocturne is building a protocol that aims to allow users to transact anonymously within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Rymedi raised $9M - Rymedi streamlines the transfer of medical records and data via blockchain, and it intends to use the funding to bolster data security and healthcare record accessibility.

Shrapnel raised $37.5M - Shrapnel - is a futuristic shoot-'em-up game built on the Avalanche blockchain. The Shrapnel economy will allow several personas to participate in the ecosystem through play, creation, ownership.

October 30,2023

Firedancer Could Be A Potential Game Changer For Solana

Firedancer is a new Solana validator client developed by Jump Crypto, a division of the Jump Trading Group. It is meant to strengthen the overall resilience of Solana by diversifying its client base and improving performance. Previously, Firedancer processed 1.2 million transactions per second (TPS) in a live demo in November 2022, indicating its potential. It is also written in C/C++ for hardware performance and reliability, and is compatible with Rust.

Solving real problems Notably, Firedancer hopes to greatly reduce the likelihood of software glitches which cause widespread network outages. According to Alchemy, in contrast to the current single validator client that Solana uses, Firedancer aims to diversify the client ecosystem. It is therefore designed for increased performance, resiliency, and scalability. While still in development, Alchemy suggests that early tests indicate Firedancer could provide Solana with some much-needed redundancy and performance boosts.

Enhancing Solana Jump Crypto is mainly offering Firedancer as a solution to the monolithic approach to scalability that Solana has often relied on. Not only did its fd_quic milestone of 1 million TPS show promise, but it also enhanced several components including transaction propagation and load balancing.

Messari believes that Firedancer could alleviate various shortcomings by providing advanced transaction processing, sharding, and optimized networking. For increased efficiency and lower operating costs for node operators, it employs a modified Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus protocol. While Firedancer has the potential to be transformative, the main challenges thus far include execution, timing, and competition with Ethereum, alongside potential bugs and infrastructure provider adaptation.

October 30,2023

New Plan Announced For Stablecoin Regulation In The UK

The United Kingdom government recently updated its plans to supervise fiat-backed stablecoins. The document, which was released on October 30th, aims to support and govern the use of fiat-backed stablecoins in local payment systems. According to the document, there are plans to present specific policies to the UK Parliament in 2024, delegating oversight of fiat-backed stablecoins to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Regulating stablecoins Notably, the UK Treasury is considering designating local businesses as payment organizers, as authorized by the FCA, with the responsibility of ensuring that foreign stablecoins meet local standards. Non-fiat-backed stablecoins, such as algorithmic stablecoins, will not be accepted in regulated payment networks.

Instead of outright prohibition, the document states that these transactions will remain unregulated. Furthermore, the Treasury regards them as subject to the same requirements as unbacked crypto assets.

In the case of standard stablecoins, the FCA will be given the authority to require stablecoin issuers to keep all reserve funds in a legal trust. The terms of the trust will be outlined in a specific set of guidelines provided by the FCA, including redemption obligations if the company experiences financial difficulties. In such a case, stablecoin issuers in the United Kingdom will be subject to procedures outlined in the Insolvency Act of 1986.

Trust is key The Financial Services and Markets Act, which is the overarching framework for all types of cryptocurrency, was passed in the House of Lords in June 2023. The document frequently refers to the FCMA 2023 bill, which grants the Treasury, the Bank of England, and the FCA the authority to regulate cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, specifically.

In any case, there would need to be a certain level of trust established between UK regulators and local crypto-oriented businesses, something which has been lacking for quite a while now. As cryptocurrencies and stablecoins steadily become more popular, the United Kingdom would have to implement the previously mentioned policies as soon as possible so as to not get left behind.

October 28,2023

El Salvador To Become Highly Popular Crypto Destination In The Future

VanEck Strategy Advisor, Gabor Gurbacs, envisions that the economic growth of El Salvador in the foreseeable future will be driven by an influx of fresh investment capital and immigration.

El Salvador gained prominence when President Nayib Bukele made Bitcoin legal tender in September 2021 and introduced the Chivo Wallet, a BTC custodial wallet for all Salvadorans.

Furthermore, the country has ventured into harnessing its volcanic resources to launch a Bitcoin mining operation called Volcano Energy, backed by a substantial $1 billion investment.

Gurbacs draws a parallel, suggesting that El Salvador could emulate Singapore to become a financial hub in the Americas. He often highlights this potential to portfolio managers and asset allocators. He also anticipates that the primary catalysts behind the aforementioned economic upswing will be increased investment capital and an uptick in immigration.

In another strategic move, El Salvador appointed Dr. Saifedean Ammous, renowned as the author of The Bitcoin Standard, as an economic advisor to the National Bitcoin Office in May. The country is actively accumulating Bitcoin as part of its strategy to eliminate its debt within the next five years.

Additionally, in April, President Bukele took a bold step by abolishing all taxes on technological innovations, which may serve as an incentive for more entrepreneurs and foreign investments to flow into the country.

October 27,2023

Solana Introduces Incubator Program To Help Startups

Solana Labs recently introduced its Incubator program, aiming to foster and support the development of startups operating on the Solana network. The initiative offers an array of resources and assistance to early-stage companies, including engineering support, guidance for entering the market, advice on fundraising, and access to the ecosystem.

The program is designed for technical teams looking to harness the potential of the network while taking advantage of the resources and connections facilitated by Solana Labs.

Through close collaboration with the seasoned Solana Labs team, startups can tackle common challenges encountered in the Web3 domain, such as intricacies in engineering and strategies for market entry, ultimately aiding them in establishing successful enterprises.

Program participants will also have hands-on engineering support, assistance with market entry strategies, and fundraising guidance via the protocol. They will additionally receive feedback on designing user experiences, gain exposure through various promotional channels, and have opportunities to connect with other projects in the ecosystem.

Emon Motamedi, Product Manager at Solana Labs, emphasized the overall goal of eliminating hurdles faced by Web3 founders. Motamedi expressed, that the main focus with the Incubator program is to eliminate the primary challenges currently confronting founders, including obstacles related to Web3 integrations and fundraising.

Furthermore, the program aims to foster engagement with venture capital firms in the network, thereby enhancing liquidity prospects for the startups involved. Notably, it welcomes technical teams with varying levels of experience in the Web3 sector, whether they are well-established Web3 teams or Web2 teams venturing into blockchain technology for the first time.

By furnishing essential resources and support, Solana Labs seeks to empower these startups to surmount challenges and build sustainable enterprises in the Web3 domain going forward.

October 25,2023

Mastercard Exploring Potential Partnerships With Ledger and MetaMask

Now that legislators are slowly adopting a more positive approach towards crypto in general, we could see many traditional finance companies trying to get into the booming industry.

Many crypto wallet companies encounter numerous challenges when expanding into new markets, but both Ledger and MetaMask could potentially tap into the extensive global payment network provided by Mastercard to look for viable solutions.

By utilizing payment cards, wallet providers can also attract more users, foster customer loyalty, and create additional revenue streams, all while enabling seamless cryptocurrency transactions.

For its part, the global payment processor has expressed its interest in investigating novel approaches for worldwide issuance through stablecoin-based settlement and cost-effective, rapid blockchain networks.

Mastercard is also developing a set of guidelines for partner firms, focusing on aspects like safeguarding consumers, fostering price competition, and monitoring transactions. Once approved, the next phase will involve the introduction of a card in either the European Union or the United Kingdom.

Notably, in 2021, Mastercard acquired Ciphertrace, a Mastercard company, a blockchain analytics company specializing in tools for identifying illicit cryptocurrency transactions. The company also has the Engage program which aims to introduce new cryptocurrency cards to the market and provide innovative methods for converting crypto into traditional fiat currency.

October 24,2023

Grayscale BTC ETF Must Be Reviewed, As Per US Court

A formal mandate was has recently been issued by a court in Washington, D.C., reaffirming its August ruling that the SEC must reevaluate the application put forth by Grayscale Investments for a Spot Bitcoin ETF.

The decision was made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in response to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission choosing not to appeal the Ripple XRP case outcome. Judge Neomi Rao pointed out that the SEC did not provide valid reasons for rejecting the Spot Bitcoin ETF application, even though it had approved similar products. Nevertheless, the SEC still has the option to present one.

The mandate, which was submitted on October 23rd, states that in line with the judgment of August 29th, and in accordance with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 41, the development constitutes the official directive of the appropriate court.

Grayscale had previously argued that its proposed Bitcoin ETF was comparable to previously approved Bitcoin futures ETFs. Therefore, they should have an equal chance of identifying fraudulent or manipulative activities in the Bitcoin and Bitcoin futures market, as the court emphasized.

Other major asset management companies, such as BlackRock and Fidelity Investments, are also seeking SEC approval for Spot Bitcoin ETFs. The recent decision by the U.S. Court represents another step forward for multiple financial institutions in their pursuit of approval for Spot Bitcoin ETFs, which would greatly simplify the incorporation of cryptocurrencies in banking transactions.

October 23,2023

Crypto Fundraising October 17 - 23

On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 17th October and 23rd October 2023. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done! 

Life Beyond Studios raised $3.5M - The upcoming token launched by Darewise will power a full ecosystem on Bitcoin for gaming brands.

Fileverse - Private Collaboration Tool raised $1.5M - The platform leverages smart contracts and stores encrypted data on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a popular peer-to-peer file sharing network created by Filecoin (FIL)

HeightZero raised an undisclosed amount - HeightZero handles portfolio rebalancing, statement generation, tax loss harvesting and automated billing for crypto clients.

Elixir raised $7.5M - Elixir allows users to supply liquidity directly to pairs on order book exchanges and earn maker rewards with a similar risk-return profile to AMMs. By incentivizing deeper liquidity.

Forge raised $11M - Forge is partnering with game developers, like X Y and Z in the beta period, to help them reach the Forge community and reward their most passionate players and community members.

Beluga raised $4M - Beluga offers a trustworthy platform that onboards and guides new users on their crypto journey. Beluga suite of software tools allows users to manage their crypto portfolio and use new products.

SynFutures raised $36M - SynFutures, a decentralized derivatives exchange focused on trading crypto perpetual futures.

Ryder raised $1.2M - Ryder's new hardware wallet isn't the first to abstract keys through the Shamir Secret Sharing Algorithm. An implementation of SSS was central to the controversial key recovery service.

Securrency raised $48.65M - Securrency delivers financial technology products for the tokenized issuance and trading of securities. The company's protocol can be utilized on the Ethereum, Stellar, Ripple, EOS.

Takadao raised $1.6M - Takadao builds community-owned financial services on the blockchain, with two flagship products in savings & loans.

CoinMetrics raised $64.6M - Coin Metrics was founded in 2017 as an open-source project to determine the economic significance of public blockchains.

Uplant raised $27M - Upland is an NFT-based real estate mogul simulator created on the open-source EOS blockchain. In the game, &ldquodigital landowners" mint properties

Port3 Network raised $3M - Port3 aggregates and standardizes off-chain/on-chain data to build a Social Data Layer that is universally accessible and powerful for Web3 use cases.

Blockaid raised $33M - Blockaid is the right team, at the right time, with the right investors to solve a problem that will propel this industry forward.

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