March 04,2024

Fundraising Deals - February 27th To 4th March

Exciting news in the world of venture capital funding and Web3! 🚀 🚀Here's a roundup of recent investments between 27th February to 4th March, 2024, courtesy of CryptoWeekly:

CredShields in Singapore secured $1M in funding in a Series Unknown round led by Draper Associates on 03/01/2024. CredShields provides next-gen security tools for next-gen applications. Users can get overall coverage of their security requirements across all verticals in a single place.

Quantex in the United States raised $150K in a Seed round on 02/29/2024. After transitioning to a Systems/DevOps Engineer in 2017, Andrew Elkhoury leveraged his experience to spearhead Quantex's development. In October 2020, he initiated Cryptiswap, a non-custodial swap platform, which launched in April 2021.

Bakkt in the United States announced a significant $50M Post-IPO Equity investment on 02/29/2024. Bakkt focuses on building viable solutions that enable their clients to grow with the crypto economy through a regulated approach.

Arkis, also in the United States, successfully raised $2.2M in Pre-Seed funding from gumi Cryptos Capital (gCC) on 02/27/2024. Arkis offers multichain, undercollateralized leverage powered by portfolio margin while also ccelerating the maturity of decentralized finance.

Eightco Holdings, Inc. Holdings in the United States received $810K in Post-IPO Equity funding on 02/27/2024. Eightco Holdings is a dynamic technology-focused company committed to driving growth and innovation through strategic acquisitions and management. in the United Kingdom secured $650K in a Seed round with GDA Capital on 02/27/2024. Coinweb is designed for mass adoption, focusing on revolutionising scalability and interoperability via an open- source, consensus-free, and decentralised platform.

Sphere Labs in the United States announced a $2.8M Seed round led by Jump Trading on 02/27/2024. Sphere focuses on improving money movement, from wire, bank transfer, cards, and more, to provide support for every major network. Sphere also concentrates on tracking users' subscriptions, invoices, and payment links both efficiently and seamlessly.

BuildBear Labs in Singapore closed a $1.9M Seed round with 1kx on 02/27/2024. BuildBear is a revolutionary DevTool designed from the ground up to ensure your creation is production-ready from the get-go. Their robust platform empowers users with continuous, automated testing powered by the lightning-fast Phoenix Engine.

Congratulations to these companies and exciting times ahead! Be sure to follow CryptoWeekly for all the latest updates regarding crypto, fundraising, and Web3.

March 03,2024

Bitcoin Experiences Much Needed Comeback As Stocks Rise Once More

Bitcoin has stabilized around the $62,000 mark following a significant surge in its price by over $10,000 during the past week. Meanwhile, alternative coins have resumed their upward trajectory, experiencing substantial gains via tokens such as DOGE, SHIB, BCH, UNI, ADA, among others.

There has been speculation in recent weeks about the possibility of an upcoming surge in altcoin prices, potentially signaling the onset of a new phase of heightened altcoin activity. This speculation seems to be materializing, at least to some extent.

In parallel, Bitcoin experienced a notable week, starting with a surge on Monday to surpassing $60,000 by Tuesday and Wednesday, reaching a 26-month high of $64,000. However, it faced resistance at this level and saw a significant pullback, though it quickly recovered most of its losses.


Altcoin Frenzy

Various altcoins including Cardano, Polkadot, Chainlink, Polygon, Litecoin, and Ripple have demonstrated impressive gains, ranging between 6-10% on a daily basis. The meme coins, in particular, have seen remarkable price increases, with DOGE rising by 20% and hovering near $0.15, while SHIB has surged by almost 70%, trading above $0.000021.

Bitcoin Cash has also seen significant gains, increasing by more than 25% in value and approaching the $400 mark. Other major altcoins like UNI and ETC have also experienced double-digit growth. Consequently, the dominance of Bitcoin over alternative coins has diminished, with its dominance metric dropping to below 50% on platforms like CoinGecko. The total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market remains close to $2.5 trillion.


US Stocks Experience Resurgence

While the resurgence of Bitcoin dominates headlines, the enthusiasm extends beyond cryptocurrencies, with increased demand for bullish stock options and the resurgence of speculative trading reminiscent of the 2021 investment landscape. Three years after speculative fervor swept through the US investment scene, the appetite for thrill-seeking is resurfacing, even ahead of any easing by Jerome Powell & Co. on monetary policies.

Alongside renewed enthusiasm for meme coins, there has been a surge in demand for bullish stock options, reminiscent of the investing trends of 2021. Companies that thrived during the pandemic, such as Carvana Co. and Beyond Meat Inc., have seen significant boosts, catching skeptics off guard.

Although risky debt issued by Corporate America is not the playground for small traders, it is on the rise amid the ongoing credit supercycle. Coupled with impressive earnings by Big Tech giants, major stock indices have recently hit new highs.

Despite growing concerns among traders about the economy and the timing of potential interest rate adjustments by the Federal Reserve, this earnings season has provided investors with ample reasons to continue pouring money into stocks.

March 02,2024

Vanguard May Change Stance On ETFs Following CEO Departure

Vanguard Group CEO Tim Buckley is set to retire by the end of 2024, sparking discussions regarding potential shifts regarding the stance the company could take when it comes to Bitcoin ETFs under new leadership. The company has already begun the process of selecting a new CEO. Greg Davis, Chief Investment Officer, has been appointed as President, effective immediately.

Vanguard, known for its unique position among asset managers, is not currently involved with Bitcoin ETFs in any capacity, prompting speculation about policy changes under incoming management. While Tim was in charge, Vanguard saw its assets surged by 80% to $9 trillion, highlighting his significant impact on overall growth.


Critiques And Predictions

Despite the aforementioned success, Vanguard elected to go with a relatively conservative approach towards cryptocurrency, particularly its avoidance of Bitcoin ETFs. Unsurprisingly, this drew attention and criticism by numerous clients eager to diversify their portfolios with digital assets.

Under Buckley though, Vanguard remained firmly committed to traditional investment values, resulting in the exclusion of Bitcoin ETFs when it came to its offerings. This strategy has been commended for its alignment with overall core principles while also facing criticism via investors interested in digital currencies.


Time For Change

Bloomberg senior analyst Eric Balchunas recently suggested that Vanguard may eventually reconsider its stance on cryptocurrencies to meet the growing demand for diverse investment options, especially with the expansion of its advisory services.

Eric noted that while the current position of Vanguard on cryptocurrencies resonates with its conservative identity and would likely have pleased its founder, John Bogle, the evolving investment landscape and the desire to access alternative asset classes may very well prompt a shift going forward.

In any case, Vanguard finds itself at a crucial juncture, with the financial community observing closely to see if the departure of Buckley will indeed usher in a more receptive approach to Bitcoin ETFs and digital assets, reflecting the changing preferences of investors.


March 01,2024

Merrill Lynch And Wells Fargo Customers Will Be Given Access To BTC Spot ETF

Merrill Lynch of Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co are now offering spot ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) that invest directly in Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency globally, to some of their affluent clients.


Renewed Interest

This decision mirrors the increasing demand and mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin ETFs, especially as BTC reaches new highs, recently surpassing $60,000 according to the information provided by CoinGecko.

Moreover, the aforementioned banks will reportedly provide the approved Bitcoin ETFs to specific asset management clients through brokerage accounts that require such products, as per various undisclosed sources. Many other notable institutions, such as Grayscale and MicroStrategy, are already involved with crypto so this decision certainly makes sense.


The Future Is Bright

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved nearly a dozen Bitcoin ETFs in January, marking a significant development after years of industry speculation and rejections. ETFs enable investors to participate in the crypto market without directly holding the corresponding digital asset.

Generally speaking, Bitcoin ETFs are viewed as a means to attract both institutional and retail investors to the cryptocurrency market, while also enhancing liquidity and transparency. Nonetheless, they bring associated risks including volatility, security vulnerabilities, and regulatory uncertainties.


March 01,2024

Bitcoin Rally Could Not Prevent Dip In Mining Stocks

Bitcoin mining stocks have experienced a significant decline, up to 27%, over the past three trading days despite the recent surge experienced by Bitcoin (BTC). According to Mitchell Askew, the lead analyst at Blockware Solutions, there have been two instances of a similar divergence in 2023, offering a favorable chance to invest in mining stocks at reduced prices.


Caution Advised

One analyst suggests this downturn may be due to unwarranted caution regarding the upcoming halving, implying it could present another attractive opportunity to acquire mining stocks at lower costs. Since February 27th, the two largest Bitcoin miners, Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA) and Riot Platforms (RIOT), have declined by 18.5% and 21.9%, respectively, according to data by Google Finance.

CleanSpark (CLSK) saw a substantial decrease of 27.5%, while TeraWulf (WULF) also experienced a decline of 25.4%. Various notable figures in the industry, like gold advocate Peter Schiff, have observed this trend, speculating whether the drop in Bitcoin mining stocks signals potential trouble for the flagship crypto. One cryptocurrency trader mentioned a shift in sentiment towards mining stocks as Bitcoin approached the $65,000 mark, indicating a cautious approach amid rising prices.


Looking Ahead

Mitchell Askew suggested that investors might be wary of investing in Bitcoin miners due to the looming halving event, which would reduce miner rewards by half. He emphasized that there have been two significant instances in the past year where both Bitcoin and mining stocks plummeted, presenting favorable opportunities to invest at lower prices.

According to Askew, these pullbacks are normal given the volatility of these assets and should be seen as opportunities rather than causes for concern. Looking ahead, Jaran Mellerud, one of the founders and chief mining strategists at Hashlabs Mining, believes the three to four months following the Bitcoin halving could be crucial for publicly-listed miners in the United States, speculating that some high-cost miners may relocate offshore to maintain profitability.

However, Askew disagrees, stating that it would be foolish to believe that the halving would render them unprofitable, as they have some of the lowest energy costs and have been investing in the latest hardware to prepare for the reduced block subsidy.


February 29,2024

Bitcoin Smashes Through $60K As Crypto Community Celebrates

The ongoing upward trend exhibited by Bitcoin (BTC) may persist following a significant technical signal detected during the weekend, triggered by the flagship cryptocurrency experiencing a recent breakthrough of key resistance levels. As of the time of this writing, BTC is trading at just under $62,000.


No Signs Of Selling

Katie Stockton, the founder of Fairlead Strategies, communicated to clients that Bitcoin convincingly surpassed the $48,600 resistance level, signaling an intermediate-term bullish development in its chart. Having surged over 40% in the past month, Bitcoin reached its highest point since November 2021. Its year-to-date increase is 44%, with a remarkable 160% gain over the past year.

Stockton suggests that short-term technical indicators hint at an upcoming consolidation phase in the coming days before Bitcoin resumes its climb to test a final resistance at $64,900, as indicated by Markets Insider. In a previous analysis, Stockton emphasized this positive momentum, highlighting that several key indicators portray a favorable long-term momentum without signs of overbought conditions on the monthly chart, suggesting no immediate sell signals.


ETFs Triggered The Surge

Several factors, including the recent introduction of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), have contributed to this price surge, attracting significant investments. Bitcoin has sustained a winning streak for five consecutive days, aiming for its strongest monthly performance since October 2021, amidst the launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. in early January.

These ETFs have garnered substantial inflows, surpassing $6 billion in net inflows and continuing to drive demand for the leading cryptocurrency. Furthermore, the price surge anticipates its upcoming halving event, which will halve the coinbase reward miners receive per block found to 3.125 BTC, exerting additional pressure on the available supply.


February 29,2024

Serenity Shield Gets Hacked And Loses Over $5 Million

Yesterday, a security breach occurred within the MetaMask wallet of Serenity Shield, resulting in the unauthorized transfer of over 7 million SERSH tokens. This incident caused a significant drop in the value of the token, sparking concerns among holders regarding the future of the platform.


Damage Control

The compromised wallet, which held liquidity for the SERSH token, belonged to Serenity Shield, a platform specializing in data storage solutions. The breach was announced via X (formerly Twitter), with approximately $5.6 million worth of SERSH tokens being transferred to a third-party wallet.

Following the hack, the price of SERSH plummeted by more than 90%, initially trading around $0.8 before falling sharply to $0.0073. Although the price briefly recovered above the $0.2 support level, it continued to decline, eventually settling in the $0.016-$0.017 range within 24 hours, marking a decrease of over 70% according to CoinMarketCap data.

In response to the security breach, all SERSH trading on centralized exchanges was suspended, and users were advised to not make any transactions on the PancakeSwap exchange as a precautionary measure. To safeguard the community, Serenity Shield proposed relaunching the SERSH token through a secure smart contract. Holders who acquired the token before the incident would be eligible for a 1:1 token replacement, limited to transactions conducted on decentralized exchanges and excluding those made after a specified snapshot timeframe.


Hacks Still Commonplace

Regarding transactions on CEXs, the team stated that they would collaborate with the respective platforms to devise a replacement process. Notably, a similar incident led the crypto gaming platform PlayDapp to migrate to the new PDA token after suffering a security breach.

Addressing community speculation, Serenity Shield clarified via Telegram that while the project itself had not been hacked, one of its hot wallets containing SERSH tokens had been compromised. Further investigation revealed a connection between the addresses involved in the hack and a previous security breach at the crypto exchange OKX in December 2023.

This incident underscores the ongoing challenges faced by the crypto community in 2024, prompting experts to advise vigilance against suspicious activities and links as scammers target prominent figures and projects within the crypto sphere.


February 28,2024

Plutus V3 Finally Unveiled By Cardano

Cardano (ADA) has introduced the eagerly awaited Plutus V3 engine, aiming to transform smart contract functionalities and foster developer creativity. Simultaneously, Pullix, a novel DeFi protocol, is preparing to list the PLX token on two exchanges following the conclusion of its presale.

Charles Hoskinson has expressed optimism regarding the transformative impact of Plutus V3 on the protocol. With a focus on interoperability with other blockchains, Cardano anticipates increased adoption, governance support, and overall network scalability.


Plutus V3 Engine

The recently unveiled Plutus V3 engine by Cardano represents a significant upgrade intended to improve performance and functionality within its PoS network. This engine aims to enhance smart contract capabilities, generating interest among developers seeking advanced blockchain solutions.

The newly launched Plutus V3 engine incorporates enhanced cryptographic features, including optimized algorithm usage, Ethereum porting capabilities, and sidechain bridging. Notably, the introduction of Sum of Products (SOPs), an efficient data coding method, aims to reduce script size and enhance smart contract execution speed on Cardano.


ADA Reacts

The unveiling of Plutus V3 has not only excited developers but has also led to a surge in the price of ADA, the native cryptocurrency for Cardano. On February 25th, ADA experienced a significant 24% price increase, currently trading at $0.623 with a 4.88% rise in the last 24 hours. The broader enthusiasm surrounding Bitcoin ETFs and sentiments towards Cardano Plutus V3 have contributed to this positive movement.

As Cardano advances blockchain technology, Pullix emerges as a new DeFi protocol, introducing a hybrid exchange with a unique proposition, Trade-to-Earn. Pullix distinguishes itself when compared to traditional trading platforms by rewarding traders who hold $PLX tokens. A percentage of the daily revenues is used to purchase $PLX tokens via the open market and burn them, reducing the token supply and increasing demand. This mechanism incentivizes users to hold $PLX, providing them with passive income, trading discounts, and exclusive rewards.

Pullix also emphasizes security with a smart contract that has undergone a security audit by Interfi Network. The team plans to lock the liquidity pool for 24 months after launch, reducing the risk of a rug pull. The roadmap includes development plans such as presale launch, license acquisition, and PLX listing on various exchanges including Uniswap and BitMart.


February 28,2024

Ethereum Enters Next Stage As Dencun Upgrade Gets Activated

The Ethereum Foundation has announced the upcoming launch of the Dencun network upgrade on the Ethereum mainnet, following its successful activation on all testnets. Scheduled for March 13th, 2024, this upgrade mandates node operators and stakers to update their software.

Building on the Shapella upgrade, it introduces significant changes such as ephemeral data blobs with EIP-4844, aimed at reducing L2 transaction fees. A community livestream will be accessible for those interested in monitoring the event. This upgrade encompasses modifications to both the consensus and execution layers of Ethereum, as elaborated in EIP-7569.


Noteworthy Adjustments

Notable protocol adjustments include EIP-1153 (Transient storage opcodes), EIP-4788 (Beacon block root in the EVM), EIP-4844 (Shard Blob Transactions), EIP-5656 (MCOPY &ndash Memory copying instruction), EIP-6780 (SELFDESTRUCT only in the same transaction), EIP-7044 (Perpetually Valid Signed Voluntary Exits), EIP-7045 (Increase Max Attestation Inclusion Slot), EIP-7514 (Add Max Epoch Churn Limit), and EIP-7516 (BLOBBASEFEE opcode).

Details regarding consensus layer alterations can be found in the Deneb directory while execution layer adjustments are outlined in the linked EIPs, with an ongoing Python specification in the ethereum/execution-specs repository. Additionally, Dencun requires updates to the Engine API for communication between consensus and execution layer nodes.


Understanding The Requirements

Client releases supporting Dencun on the Ethereum mainnet have been enumerated, including versions for Lighthouse, Lodestar, Nimbus, Prysm, Teku (consensus layer), and Besu, Erigon, go-ethereum, Nethermind, Reth (execution layer). The Ethereum Foundation advises validators on the risks of running a majority client and provides resources for client distribution and switching guides.

For Ethereum users or ETH holders, no action is necessary unless instructed by their exchange or wallet provider. Node operators must update their clients to the specified versions for compatibility with the Dencun upgrade. Stakers are also encouraged to update both their beacon node and validator client. Failure to participate in the upgrade will lead to synchronization with the pre-fork blockchain, resulting in incompatibility with the post-Dencun Ethereum network. Application and tooling developers are urged to review the EIPs included in Dencun for potential impacts on their projects, particularly noting EIPs with backward compatibility implications.


February 27,2024

MicroStrategy Buys An Additional 3K BTC To Expand Its Treasury

Despite reports indicating a breach of security on the X (formerly Twitter) account of MicroStrategy, the renowned enterprise software company based in Tysons Corner, Virginia, has once more bolstered its Bitcoin (BTC) reserves by acquiring an additional 3,000 BTC this month.

According to Bloomberg, this recent acquisition amounts to $155.4 million, significantly adding to the already impressive amount of Bitcoin assets held by MicroStrategy. As of now, the amount has reached approximately $9.88 billion based on current market values.


MicroStrategy Continues Bitcoin Acquisition

As per a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday, the transactions occurred between February 15th and February 25th. Consequently, MicroStrategy saw its total Bitcoin holdings increase to around 193,000 tokens.

Co-founder Michael Saylor initiated the Bitcoin acquisition strategy in 2020 to hedge against inflation and diversify its cash reserves. During a recent interview, Saylor reiterated his conviction in holding onto the cryptocurrency, stating that there is no reason to sell the winner. Since MicroStrategy began acquiring Bitcoin, its value has surged by a whopping 460%.


No Plan To Sell

The average price for the latest 3,000 BTC purchase by MicroStrategy was $51,813, contributing to an average price of $31,544 for the entire Bitcoin holdings, as disclosed in the filing. On Monday, Bitcoin saw its price remain relatively stable around $51,100 in early trading hours. However, the largest cryptocurrency in the market is displaying signs of renewed bullish momentum, currently trading at $52,800, representing a 2.5% increase over the past 24 hours.

As the value of BTC continues to rise, the substantial Bitcoin holdings of MicroStrategy serve as evidence of the forward-thinking approach that the company has adopted in addition to renewed confidence in cryptocurrency as a viable investment.

Still, how MicroStrategy intends to manage its Bitcoin holdings in the future remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the remarks made by Saylor suggest a long-term perspective, indicating that the company has no immediate plans to divest its Bitcoin assets.


February 27,2024

Bitcoin Skyrockets But Liquidation Concerns Continue

Bitcoin (BTC) moved closer to $55,000 on Monday, breaking through the $53,000 mark and rallying to $54,900 within the day, according to TradingView data. At press time, BTC was trading at around $54,700, about 21% lower than its all-time high of $69,000 in November 2021. As bulls take control, the cryptocurrency market capitalization reaches $2.09 trillion, up nearly 4.5% in the last 24 hours.


Caution Advised

As Bitcoin surged against short positions, analysts speculated about the key resistance levels ahead. Within a 24-hour period, the cryptocurrency market witnessed $158 million in Bitcoin short positions and $44 million in Ethereum short positions being wiped out. Binance recorded the largest single liquidation order, involving an ETH-USDT position valued at $10.38 million. In total, over $270 million worth of cryptocurrency shorts were liquidated.

The CoinGlass data cited by Crypto Rover, a cryptocurrency analyst, cautions that Bitcoin short positions totaling over a billion dollars could face liquidation if Bitcoin reaches $52,200. Ethereum also saw a surge, reaching a price of $3,273, a peak not seen since April of the previous year, which starkly contrasts with its record high in November 2021.


Uncertainty Looms

At the onset of the week, substantial liquidations hit investors in the cryptocurrency market who had placed bets against its upward trajectory. According to Coinglass, an on-chain data analysis tool, traders encountered $364 million in liquidations across platforms like Binance, Bybit, OKX, and Huobi. A significant portion of these liquidations were a direct result of Bitcoin short sellers.

The Bitcoin Fear and Greed Index, a gauge of market sentiment for cryptocurrencies, soared to a one-year high of 79 on the scale, a level not observed since Bitcoin experienced its all-time high price near $69,000 all the way back in November 2021.


February 26,2024

Riot Believes Climate Change And Chip Shortage Pose Significant Risks

Riot Platforms recently stated its anticipation of sustained elevated costs for ASIC miners until the resolution of the chip crisis. The statement was made via the annual report where, as a prominent Bitcoin miner, Riot acknowledged in its latest annual report potential risks to its profit, citing the ongoing chip shortage, the necessity to increase hash rate, and the intensifying pro-climate agenda in the United States.

Among the risks highlighted by Riot was the global chip crisis, attributed to the scarcity of semiconductor manufacturers capable of producing the specialized ASIC chips vital for its operations.

Furthermore, Riot noted its expectation to continue incurring above-average expenses in procuring and installing mining equipment until the chip shortage is resolved.


More Complications

Despite access to ASIC miners, Riot acknowledged the potential for encountering design flaws and complications related to software and firmware when adapting miners to operate in specific environments. Riot also highlighted the competitive nature of the industry, necessitating continuous expansion of hash rate to maintain market share in the face of a growing global hash rate.

The firm also pointed out potential scaling challenges for Bitcoin that could hinder its widespread adoption as a payment method, which could, in turn, impact its price and consequently weaken the financial position of Riot.


Climate Change Is A Key Challenge

Riot identified the increasing pro-climate change agenda in government bodies as a potential challenge, citing the possibility of significant costs imposed by new legislation and regulations. The company emphasized the risk of losing a competitive edge if subjected to stricter regulations compared to peers in other regions.

Riot recently achieved a favorable ruling in a lawsuit against US energy officials, alleging invasive data collection by cryptocurrency miners. Meanwhile, Riot reported a 19% increase in Bitcoin production in 2023, mining a total of 6,626 BTC, with a decreased average cost of mining per Bitcoin by 33% compared to the previous year.


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