When Will Ripple’s XRP Hit The Coveted $500 Mark? These Crypto Exchange Analysts Have Shocking Answers

https://zycrypto.com/when-will-ripples-xrp-hit-the-coveted-500-mark-these-crypto-exchange-analysts-have-shocking-answers/

Ripple-backed token XRP has the potential to surmount its present growth stagnancy, with longer-term forecasts setting up sky-high targets as high as $500. A favourable outcome of the legal standoff between Ripple and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and general market dynamics will be paramount in determining whether XRP can achieve this lofty target.

XRP Projected To Surpass $500

Changelly’s Analysts published a report on Tuesday highlighting XRP’s historical price action and its growth potential in the coming years.

The analysts offered a technical overview of the XRP price, noting that bearish signs exceed bullish ones; bearish indicators constitute roughly 69%, while bullish sentiment accounts for 31%.

Despite this observation, the analysts envision a parabolic XRP rally in the coming decades. “We may very well see XRP go to the moon again in the future,” the exchange stated. It expects XRP to be priced at an average of $563.32 by 2050. The predicted trading range also comprises a maximum value of $634.05 and a minimum of $533.85. Hitting these levels would mark a remarkable feat for XRP, which has been stuck in the doldrums for years.

Can XRP Break the $1 Barrier Next Year?

The analysts shared a detailed projection of the price XRP from 2024 to 2025 in the report, suggesting that the sixth-largest digital asset could rocket to an average value of $0.603 in February 2024, with expected minimum and maximum trading values of $0.537 and $0.669, respectively.

The pundits believe XRP could attain an average price of $0.637 by March 2024, with a price range of between $0.732 and $0.542. They then foresee the asset encountering a slight pullback around April and May, to change hands at an average value of $0.549 and $0.556, respectively.

Furthermore, the exchange said the XRP price could oscillate between $0.549 and $0.583 by September before eventually finding a footing at around $0.566. The market pundits expect the token to gradually climb from a price of $0.638 in October to hit $0.817 by December. 

XRP is projected to reclaim the elusive $1 price level in 2025, a high not seen since 2021, with an average price of $1.12. The analysts anticipate the cross-border payments coin to break through its lifetime peak of $3.40 to trade for an average price of $7.30 by 2030.

XRP is up over 4.7% in the past day, now trading hands for just over $0.5867, according to data from CoinGecko. This comes as Bitcoin (BTC), the world’s largest and oldest crypto, zoomed past $60,000 for the first time since November 2021.

Prominent Pundit Asserts XRP Will Stagnate At $0.59 Even When Bitcoin Rockets To $250,000

https://zycrypto.com/prominent-pundit-asserts-xrp-will-stagnate-at-0-59-even-when-bitcoin-rockets-to-250000/

Mike Alfred, a venture investor and formerly a founding CEO at BrightScope and Digital Assets Data, has sparked a discussion in the cryptosphere with his forecast that Ripple-promoted cryptocurrency XRP would remain depressed below $1 even if Bitcoin (BTC) happens to hit $250,000 record highs.

“XRP Only Exists To Enrich Founders & Insiders”

In a March 1 post on X, prominent investor Mike Alfred suggested that XRP is a scam, though not “outright” like Richard Heart’s Hex. According to Alfred, XRP and Hex have very similar mechanisms.

This conclusion stems from his belief that XRP, used in Ripple’s payments network, “only exists as a token printing scheme to enrich the founders and insiders”. This incessant printing has, per the value investor, suppressed the price of XRP for the past 7 years. “Real utility is a mirage,” Alfred summarized.

XRP is used as a bridge currency to reduce friction in areas like cross-border payments. Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service, in particular, uses XRP, allowing customers to transfer funds internationally relatively faster and cheaper.

Alfred’s grim prediction comes on the heels of a protracted legal saga between Ripple and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that has weighed heavily on XRP price since it was initiated in December 2020.

XRP Price Stuck Under $1 As Bitcoin Nears All-Time High

XRP has been dragging its feet as the industry’s benchmark cryptocurrency soared past the remarkable $62,000 milestone. While other altcoins have ridden on the coattails of BTC’s latest upswing, the price of XRP refuses to budge. At press time, XRP was changing hands for $0.5939, a 0.3% drop on the day.

The token has endured many hurdles, mainly due to a regulatory cloud hanging over it. The next key resistance for XRP is at $0.85, a region previously tested when the cryptocurrency spiked in mid-July 2023 after Ripple’s earth-shattering win against the SEC. If XRP breaks past the $0.85 level, the coin’s holders can expect further gains.

Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin is on track to reach its current lifetime high on the back of the roaring success of U.S.-based spot BTC exchange-traded funds (ETFs). At current levels, BTC needs to gain around 10.2% to recapture $69,044. Moreover, hopes are high that Bitcoin could reach $100,000 by June, roughly two months after the miner rewards halving event.

Mega U.S. Brokers Joining Crypto Hype: Wells Fargo, Merrill Introduce Spot Bitcoin ETFs To Wealth Clients

https://zycrypto.com/mega-u-s-brokers-joining-crypto-hype-wells-fargo-merrill-introduce-spot-bitcoin-etfs-to-wealth-clients/

Since spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) made their debut in January, chatter has grown regarding the imminent arrival of major U.S. brokerages. Two Wall Street giants have started offering their top clients exposure to the red-hot investment products: Bank of America’s Merrill arm and Wells Fargo & Co.

Big Players Enter Spot BTC ETF Space

Some of the largest asset managers in the US, including Fidelity and BlackRock, are among the providers of the newly approved spot market Bitcoin ETFs. While most conventional banks and major wirehouses initially declined to offer Bitcoin ETFs to their clients, some mainstream brokerage platforms have added the investment vehicle to their offerings.

According to a Feb. 29 report by Bloomberg citing anonymous individuals privy to the matter, Merrill — the wealth management unit of Bank of America — and Wells Fargo have started offering spot Bitcoin ETFs to their wealth management clients with brokerage accounts. Notably, the BTC ETFs are currently only available to clients who specifically request to get exposure to the products.

Spot Bitcoin ETFs continue to suck in capital, with the funds now holding over $17 billion in the alpha crypto since being greenlighted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in mid-January. Moreover, the trading volume for all the funds hit $7.69 billion this week as Bitcoin skyrocketed. The flagship crypto rose to as high as $64,000 before retracting to $62,060 at press time.

Crypto ETFs offer everyday retail and institutional clients exposure to Bitcoin without the hassle of buying or storing the underlying assets themselves — that explains why they have seen enormous demand.

Morgan Stanley Mulls Offering Spot Bitcoin ETFs

In other related news, Morgan Stanley is also reportedly considering adding spot Bitcoin ETFs on its brokerage platform. The foray of Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo and, perhaps, Morgan Stanley could spur a new wave of demand for the spot BTC ETFs, leading to the influx of billions of dollars in untapped money into the Bitcoin market.

As for traditional finance titans that haven’t yet stepped into the spot crypto ETF business?

“I’m sure pressure is mounting for them,” postulated senior ETF analyst for Bloomberg Eric Balchunas on X. “They like to see track record and get paid off, but [with] grassroots demand like this, they gonna have to expedite.”

Crypto Community Abuzz As Jeff Bezos Is Rumored To Buy Bitcoin After Offloading Billions In Amazon Stock

https://zycrypto.com/crypto-community-abuzz-as-jeff-bezos-is-rumored-to-buy-bitcoin-after-offloading-billions-in-amazon-stock/

Speculation is rife in the cryptocurrency community, with Bitcoin crossing the $60,000 milestone earlier this week. The latest unconfirmed rumour on the crypto streets is that former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is buying Bitcoin (BTC) following his recent financial moves.

Was Bezos Orange-Pilled By Michael Saylor?

The latest rumour comes after Bezos sold a significant portion of his Amazon stock. In a post on the X (formerly Twitter) platform, Apollo co-founder Thomas Fahrer suggested that Bitcoin could be the reason behind the billionaire’s stock selloff.

“Is Jeff Bezos piling into Bitcoin right now?” Fahrer asked provocatively. The pundit speculates that Bezos’s reason for diving into BTC is “billionaire FOMO,” or fear of missing out. 

Bezos got rid of roughly 50 million Amazon shares in February, valued at around $8.5 billion. The sale comes after a substantial increase in Amazon’s stock price, which has spiked over 70% in the past year. Nonetheless, Bezos remains the biggest Amazon shareholder, with a net worth of over $190 billion, despite the stock disposal.

According to a report shared by Fahrer, Bezos and his fiancée, Lauren Sanchez, celebrated her birthday in a yacht docked at the port of Gustavia on the island of Saint Barthélemy in France with a slew of celebrities and business moguls, including Michael Saylor — BTC permabull and MicroStrategy Executive Chairman.

Bezos dining with Saylor has sparked speculation about the ex-Amazon CEO’s interest in the premier cryptocurrency, particularly since Saylor is an outspoken BTC evangelist. Crypto spectators would assume that Bitcoin probably came up, considering the success of MicroStrategy’s BTC gambit. The notoriously pro-Bitcoin software intelligence firm is the largest corporate owner of Bitcoin, currently holding a staggering 193,000 coins.

This speculation was further fueled by crypto commentator InvestAnswers, who noted the creation of a new Bitcoin address that saw a mega transaction of 26,200 BTC at $51K. According to InvestAnswers, the “monster $1.3 BN Bitcoin buy” could have been initiated by a deep-pocketed user such as Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, or even a sovereign wealth fund.

However, it’s important to stress that Bezos has not yet released any statements regarding any potential BTC investment. Moreover, there is no concrete evidence or public records that support such claims.

Ripple Faces New Bombshell Class Action Lawsuit Over Unregistered XRP Sales — XRP’s Fate Hanging In Balance?

https://zycrypto.com/ripple-faces-new-bombshell-class-action-lawsuit-over-unregistered-xrp-sales-xrps-fate-hanging-in-balance/

Ripple, its CEO Bradley Garlinghouse, and subsidiary XRP II, LLC find themselves at the center of a class action lawsuit. As per a recent notice, the defendants are accused of breaking federal and California securities laws by offering and selling XRP without proper registration. 

The Legal Claims

Fox Business journalist Eleanor Terrett revealed in a recent X post that she had received some messages regarding a class action lawsuit against Ripple and its boss, Brad Garlinghouse. “This appears to be a notice to investors about a lawsuit pending in a Northern California district court that claims the defendants violated federal and California securities laws by offering selling XRP,” she added.

The plaintiffs allege that Ripple conducted the unauthorized sale of the XRP token, evading the compulsory registration required under both federal and state securities laws.

The lawsuit seeks to represent two separate groups: the Federal Securities Claims Class and the California State Securities Claims Class. These classes entail all individuals or entities who bought XRP between July 3, 2017, and June 30, 2023, and are either still holding the asset or sold it at a loss.

Notably, Ripple and the co-defendants have disputed these allegations, maintaining that XRP is not a security and, thus, they were not required to register it.

What Next?

The class action could potentially lead to a drawn-out legal scuffle.

As of now, the affected parties could either remain in the case for potential settlement benefits or pull out to pursue independent legal action against Ripple, Garlinghouse, and XRP II, LLC. The deadline for exclusion requests is April 5, 2024, with a trial slated for October 2024, where the plaintiffs must substantiate their claims sufficiently.

This new legal hurdle comes amid an ongoing spat between Ripple and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The regulator slapped Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, and executive chairman Chris Larsen with a $1.3 billion suit in late 2020, alleging the parties offered unregistered securities through XRP tokens.

In July 2023, Judge Torres granted summary judgment in favor of Ripple, proclaiming that XRP was only a security when sold to institutional investors. The SEC later dropped charges against Garlinghouse and Larsen but not Ripple. The firm recently handed over financial statements for 2022-2023 along with contracts governing institutional sales since the case was lodged, fulfilling a request previously made by the Wall Street top financial watchdog.

Apart from the legal drama, Garlinghouse said in a recent interview that Ripple would “welcome” an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on XRP.

Bitcoin Pops Above $62,000 For First Time Since November 2021 As Market Enters Extreme Greed Territory

https://zycrypto.com/bitcoin-pops-above-62000-for-first-time-since-november-2021-as-market-enters-extreme-greed-territory/

Bitcoin broke past the mythical bar of $62,000 on Wednesday for the first time in more than two years after rising by 9.9% over the past 24 hours.

At press time, BTC was trading for $62,308, and the Crypto Fear and Greed index shows the crypto market has delved into the extreme greed phase. The alpha cryptocurrency is up over 20.2% on the weekly chart, 45.7% during the past 30 days, and an eye-popping 155% growth over the last 12 months, according to CoinGecko data.

The last time Bitcoin traded above $62,000 was on Nov. 12, 2021, before BTC plunged into correction mode, erasing 66% of its value to change hands at $19,300 at the start of April 2022.

Bitcoin’s ongoing rally appears to have been driven by a notable increase in institutional interest following the historic launch of U.S.-based spot BTC exchange-traded funds in mid-January. The new nine spot market Bitcoin ETFs registered combined trading volumes of over $2 billion for the second consecutive day on Wednesday. These funds have been a roaring success as investors previously unable to get exposure to Bitcoin in an easy and regulated manner flock to the sector. Collectively, the nine ETFs currently hold over $44 billion in assets.

$100K Possible By Halving?

The Crypto Fear and Greed index, an indicator that measures the overall crypto market investor sentiment on a scale of 1 to 100, recently rose to 82 as Bitcoin rallied. The market is in a state of “extreme greed” for the first time since 2021, highlighting an extremely bullish sentiment among investors as many expect BTC to cross its previous all-time high of $69,000 in the coming days.

Adding fuel to the fire is the much-awaited Bitcoin halving event, which is just 50 days away. Past halvings have led to significant price increases, as the mining rewards are slashed by half, effectively lowering the inflation rate of new Bitcoins entering the market by 50%.

Interestingly, Blockstream CEO Adam Back is confident that the Bitcoin price will hit the $100,000 mark before the pivotal halving event. He cited catalysts such as the liquidation of leveraged shorts, the shift in investor sentiment, and the rocketing buying pressure from ETFs triggering an explosive bull run for Bitcoin.

Crypto Market Cap Recaptures $2 Trillion Crown As Bitcoin Price Blasts Past $59,000

https://zycrypto.com/crypto-market-cap-recaptures-2-trillion-crown-as-bitcoin-price-blasts-past-59000/

Bitcoin surged past $59,000 early Wednesday morning, adding over 4% over the last 24 hours as upbeat market sentiment and massive inflows into spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) propelled BTC’s price higher.

Bitcoin’s impressive resurgence has electrified the broader cryptocurrency market, including ether (ETH) and other digital assets, which has now reclaimed the $2 trillion milestone for the first time since April 2022.

Bitcoin Trades Just Shy Of $60,000 Mark, Showing Sustained Momentum

Bitcoin extended gains Wednesday, touching a more than two-year high above $59K. BTC, currently priced at $59,324.23, has jumped 4.8% since this time yesterday and 14.2% since 7 days ago. The broad crypto rally is steered by Bitcoin, which has enjoyed strong demand on the back of spot market exchange-traded funds (ETFs). At the moment, the ETFs, along with other BTC exchange-traded investment vehicles, have witnessed a total of $3.8 billion worth of volume and boast a market cap of about $44.81 billion, as per CoinGlass.

Ether, the industry’s second-largest cryptocurrency, rose by 2.9% to surpass the $3,300 level, bolstered by investor anticipation about a spot ETH ETF debuting later this year ahead of the Dencun upgrade. BTC and ETH combined now account for $1.5 trillion, or 66%, of all crypto assets globally.

Over the past 24 hours, the total crypto market cap has gained 3.2% to tap $2.31 trillion for the first time in nearly two years, according to CoinGecko data. For perspective, the combined crypto market is now at least $34 billion larger than Amazon and $43 billion bigger than Google parent Alphabet.

Bitcoin Bull Run Just Getting Started

Meanwhile, the fear and greed index, a key tool tracking the market sentiment in cryptocurrency markets, surged to as high as 82 on Wednesday, according to data on the website Alternative.me — suggesting extreme greed and reaching its highest such level in more than a year.

The general belief among crypto enthusiasts is that because the ETFs have been sucking up more Bitcoin than miners can produce each day, it will supercharge the effect of the BTC halving in April.

Bitcoin is just 14.4% off its November 2021 historic peak of $69,044. Investors are expecting it to set a new record in the next couple of weeks or days driven by the network’s upcoming halving, a quadrennial event that has historically set the stage for a meteoric price rally.

Legendary trader Peter Brandt recently upped his September 2025 price target for BTC from $120,000 to $200,000 after results from the premier crypto’s breakout saw gains of around 10%, pulling out of a 15-month channel.

Disgraced Crypto Mogul Do Kwon Will Miss Start Of SEC Trial Amid Extradition Delays

https://zycrypto.com/disgraced-crypto-mogul-do-kwon-will-miss-start-of-sec-trial-amid-extradition-delays/

The legal conundrum surrounding fallen crypto star Kwon Do-hyeong has taken yet another key turn as the U.S. Securities and Exchange prepares to begin its trial against him. Interestingly, Kwon may miss the beginning of the securities fraud trial due to delays in his extradition from Montenegro.

Kwon’s Extradition Unlikely Before End-March

The SEC’s March 25 civil trial against Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon could start without him, according to a Reuters report.

Kwon’s defense attorney, David Patton, stated Monday in a letter to a federal court in New York City that the South Korean crypto entrepreneur did not intend to request a postponement of the trial date.

“[Kwon] will likely not be present or able to attend at least the start of the trial scheduled to begin on March 25, 2024,” wrote Patton. “We provide this information purely as a status update for the Court […] we will not seek any adjournment of the trial date regardless of the timing of Mr. Kwon’s ultimate extradition.”

The lawyer noted that the team anticipated Kwon to have already been deported to the U.S., but “unanticipated mistakes” have stalled the process. This now means the Terra creator will “likely not be extradited before the end of March” from Montenegro, where he has been since his arrest there in March 2023. He recently served time for attempting to flee to Dubai using a forged passport. 

Kwon’s Legal Woes Drag On

Kwon and his lawyers previously asked that the SEC trial be pushed back from January to March so there would be a “realistic possibility” that he could attend in person.

The Montenegro High Court decided on Feb.21 to extradite Kwon to the U.S., against his previous wishes to be taken back to his home country, South Korea. Goran Rodic, Kwon’s lawyer in Montenegro, said in a declaration attached to Patton’s letter that the court’s ruling was “based on erroneous information” that the United States requested the extradition before South Korea — when the opposite was true. Rodic indicated that his client will be filing an appeal “in light of the illegality of the High Court’s decision ordering his extradition to the United States”.

After Terraform Labs’ stablecoin, TerraUSD (UST) and its sister token LUNA tumbled to essentially zero in May 2022 and wiped out $40 billion in investor wealth, authorities in South Korea and the U.S. brought criminal charges against him.

The SEC accused Kwon and Terraform of orchestrating a “multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud” related to offering UST and LUNA in a February 2023 lawsuit, while the Southern District of New York’s U.S. Attorney’s Office brought forward eight criminal charges against Kwon.

PEPE Outshines Dogecoin And SHIB With 53% Price Eruption Amid Parabolic Bitcoin Rally

https://zycrypto.com/pepe-outshines-dogecoin-and-shib-with-53-price-eruption-amid-parabolic-bitcoin-rally/

Bitcoin’s rise to as high as $57,000 this week has also lifted meme coins, including the frog-faced Pepe (PEPE) coin, which has outshined its top rivals in percentage gains.

PEPE’s Meteoric Rally

Pepe, a meme coin inspired by the popular internet frog, is on a tear. The popular frog-themed meme coin is up more than 52.6% in the past day, according to CoinGecko. PEPE is currently trading for $0.00000218. Over the past seven days, it has shot up a whopping 78.2%.

Pepe stole the limelight in the crypto community when one holder turned $260 in PEPE tokens into nearly $8 million in the space of two weeks. Like all joke cryptocurrencies, PEPE is extremely volatile. As such, it’s not clear how long Pepe will maintain investor interest. 

Pepe was one of 2023’s biggest success stories. However, the token had a near miss last August when some unknown rogue developers executed many surprising transfers from the project’s multi-sig wallet and effectively pilfered millions of dollars worth of PEPE. The token’s market cap dipped to $$313 million at the time. But it has since recovered to $917.55 million at press time.

Bitcoin Bull Run Fuels Meme Coins

While Pepe is undoubtedly the best-performing meme coin today, other meme tokens are also doing well. Of the top 20 biggest coins and tokens, the largest meme coin in existence, Dogecoin (DOGE), is the best performer, having risen 12.3% on the day; it’s currently valued at $0.09504.

Meanwhile, its rival dog-themed meme coin Shiba Inu (SHIB) is up over 9.4% in 24 hours. It’s currently changing hands for $00001045 after erasing a zero.

Meme coins are waking up since Bitcoin, the largest and oldest cryptocurrency, saw an incredible price growth above $57,000. When BTC experiences an upsurge, it tends to bring other tokens with it.

Billions to Pour Into Ripple’s XRP as Pundit Reveals When $9 Trillion BlackRock Could Likely File for XRP ETF

https://zycrypto.com/billions-to-pour-into-ripples-xrp-as-pundit-reveals-when-9-trillion-blackrock-could-likely-file-for-xrp-etf/

BlackRock, the enigmatic asset manager currently dominating the crypto ETF world with its recently launched spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), has yet to show any clear intentions of launching a similar spot XRP-based product.

However, a crypto expert has shared a timeline for BlackRock to possibly announce the filing of paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the formation of a spot XRP ETF.

BlackRock Spot XRP ETF Envisioned Weeks After Conclusion Of SEC Suit

The XRP Army continues to clamour for a slice of the sweet ETF action amid strong investor interest in the shiny new spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Advocates argue that XRP also deserves a spot market exchange-traded fund, having received regulatory clarity as a non-security in a court ruling in July 2023. At the time, Judge Analisa Torres declared that programmatic sales of XRP to retail investors did not qualify as securities. However, the judge did say that $770 million worth of contracts for XRP institutional sales did constitute unregistered securities sales.

In a recent post on the X (formerly known as Twitter) platform, analyst Ashley Prosper explored the speculation of whether BlackRock, the world’s preeminent asset manager with over $9 trillion in assets under management, would introduce a spot XRP ETF before or after the Ripple vs. SEC case officially concludes. Ashley told her 15,200 followers that she expects the asset manager’s announcement to “come within weeks of the case ending”, echoing sentiments within the crypto community.

The XRP lawsuit is currently in the remedies phase over Ripple’s XRP sales to institutional investors. Previous reports suggested that the San Francisco-based fintech startup aims to reduce potential settlement costs significantly by perhaps arguing that these sales fall outside the SEC’s jurisdiction. Prosper previously contended the protracted courtroom feud could end in a settlement in April 2024.  

BlackRock’s XRP ETF To Vastly Outperform Its Bitcoin ETF?

Although when exactly BlackRock will launch a spot XRP ETF remains an open question, a member of the XRP community is predicting that an XRP-based product would attract more inflows than the behemoth’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) ETF.

IBIT has raked in around $6.6 billion in assets under management since its launch on Nasdaq on Jan. 11, according to Farside — retaining its position as the top provider across the 11 ETFs.

XRPcryptowolf is convinced that if BlackRock were to create a spot XRP ETF, it would steal the show from the booming IBIT. Given BlackRock is currently the biggest player in the spot BTC ETF game, a potential XRP ETF would draw in mammoth inflows, attracting the attention of investors who want exposure to the sixth-largest crypto asset without having to directly buy or hold it.

Comedy Superstar Trevor Noah Regrets Not Buying Bitcoin Early As BTC Price Taps $57,000

https://zycrypto.com/comedy-superstar-trevor-noah-regrets-not-buying-bitcoin-early-as-btc-price-taps-57000/

After flirting with $54K late Monday, the price of the flagship cryptocurrency did not hesitate to take out $55,000, $56,000, and $57,000 levels in the span of minutes.

The milestone comes as South African comedian Trevor Noah admitted that his life’s biggest mistake was not investing in BTC when it was “worth nothing.”

Bitcoin Looks Primed For Huge Upside

Bitcoin briefly hit $57,000 early Tuesday to reach the highest value in over two years on the back of multiple catalysts, including the soaring volumes on spot BTC exchange-traded funds (ETF) and institutional buying.

Trading volumes for nine new spot BTC ETFs topped $2.4 billion on Feb. 26, surpassing the previous record of $2.2 billion registered on the first trading day — Jan. 11, as per data shared by Bloomberg’s senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas. BlackRock’s IBIT accounted for the most volume on Feb. 26 with $1.3 billion, while Fidelity’s FBTC came in second at $576 million. Balchunas stated he wasn’t “totally sure” where the new interest emanated from, but conjectured that volumes are normally elevated on the first day of the trading week after the weekend.

Bitcoin’s surprising bump also came as leading institutional Bitcoin holder MicroStrategy had just acquired an additional 3,000 Bitcoin for a total of $155 million — bringing the company’s Bitcoin holdings to 193,000 BTC. That stash was acquired for $6.09 billion according to founder and executive chair Michael Saylor, but is now valued at $10.8 billion.

Bitcoin has gained a staggering 33% over the past 30 days and is now just 18.3% down from its November 2021 lifetime peak of $69,044.

The BTC rally buoyed the broader cryptocurrency market. Ethereum (ETH), Solana’s SOL, and Cardano’s ADA rose 4.3%, 7.3%, and 6.0% respectively in the past 24 hours, while top meme coin Dogecoin (DOGE) spiked over 7%. 

Pundits suggest Bitcoin is now comfortably in a new bull market and could see a powerful upside as the much-anticipated halving event draws closer.

Trevor Noah Laments Over Missed Bitcoin Opportunity

Speaking during the opening night of the Web Summit Qatar 2024 in Doha on Feb. 26, 40-year-old Johannesburg-born comedian Trevor Noah told thousands of attendees what the biggest mistake he’s ever made in his life was.

“The biggest mistake I’ve ever made was not buying Bitcoin when it was nothing; that’s the biggest mistake I’ve made. It cost nothing at some point,” Trevor posited.

The comedian has previously discussed how cryptocurrencies are hitting the mainstream, price volatility, and nonfungible token (NFT) trading on the American late-night talk show, The Daily Show, which he hosted for seven years before leaving in September 2022.

Trevor also acknowledged during the Qatar tech conference on Sunday that another mistake he made was “not taking the time to understand” Bitcoin.

With the Bitcoin miner rewards halving just over a month away, which historically boosts the prices, a meteoric rally lies ahead for BTC and other cryptocurrencies. Now is still a great time for Trevor — and other potential investors sitting on the sidelines — to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon.

Bitcoin Leaps Past $54,000 Barrier For First Time Since 2021: Will It Crack $60,000 This Week?

https://zycrypto.com/bitcoin-leaps-past-54000-barrier-for-first-time-since-2021-will-it-crack-60000-this-week/

Bitcoin jumped above $54,000 on Monday, reaching its highest level in over two years — sparking speculations about a potential return to its lifetime high prices.

Ether (ETH), the market’s second-largest digital coin, also surged by around 3.2%, hitting $3,177 amid a crypto-wide market recovery. 

Bitcoin’s Bullish Run

Back in 2021, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC), flew past $53,000 per coin for the first time in history. After dropping by around 74% from its all-time high in the Terra-powered crisis of 2022, the crypto had a lot of ground to make up. But today, BTC finally roared past the $53,000 level once again.

The price of the flagship cryptocurrency was hovering at $54,452 at press time, according to data from CoinGecko. That’s a 5.0% gain from yesterday and a 2.8% increase from last week.

Bitcoin began the month sitting at just above $42,000 and steadily posted gains until it topped $50K on Feb. 12. This was the first time that BTC had surged above $50,000 since December 2021.

Since then, however, the premier crypto hasn’t made any notable price moves. It had been holding steady above the $50K zone for roughly 14 days now but has mostly been trading between the $51,000 and $52,000 range lately before the rally on Monday.

This jump is mainly attributed to rising investor interest, specifically via spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which have seen substantial inflows. The spot BTC investment vehicles saw nearly $5 billion in net inflow since their debut on Jan. 11, spotlighting the shifting investor preference towards regulated and easily accessible products for crypto exposure.

Can Bitcoin Touch $100,000 This Year?

Despite the ongoing pump, the price of Bitcoin is still 22.7% below the $69,044 all-time high registered in Nov. 2021. However, the longer the ETF inflow persists, the higher the chance of a supply shock propelling Bitcoin above $60,000 in the near term.

Moreover, Bitcoin is expected to undergo the halving event around April 20. The halving programmatically happens every four years and slashes the BTC rewards given to miners for securing the network by 50% to ward off inflation. This means fewer new BTC will be minted after the halving, subsequently slowing the supply expansion. Market pundits predict that the skyrocketing demand for BTC following the Bitcoin ETF launch coupled with the upcoming supply crunch resulting from the halving could send BTC to six digits in no time.

Standard Chartered Bank analysts think BTC is set to reach $100,000 before the end of 2024. Bitcoin’s upcoming halving will be one of the catalysts for the price upside.

Bitcoin Holder MicroStrategy X Account Hacked In Ethereum Phishing Scam: Over $440,000 Crypto Stolen

https://zycrypto.com/bitcoin-holder-microstrategy-x-account-hacked-in-ethereum-phishing-scam-over-440000-crypto-stolen/

The X account of Michael Saylor’s Bitcoin development firm MicroStrategy was recently breached, with the hackers broadcasting a series of phishing links to a fake airdrop for a so-called Ethereum-based “MSTR” token. According to independent on-chain sleuth ZachXBT, losses incurred from the hack have already totaled over $440,000.

Fake ‘MSTR’ Airdrop Costs Users $440K 

MicroStrategy, the world’s largest Bitcoin (BTC) corporate holder, has found itself at the center of a cybersecurity incident. The company’s official X account was compromised on Monday to promote a fraudulent airdrop. 

The bad actors published an unauthorized post announcing the airdrop of “MSTR” token and a link for claiming the fake token on a copycat MicroStrategy webpage. The attackers claimed MSTR was Ethereum-based, had low transaction fees, and was backed by MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin reserves. Once unsuspecting users accept a couple of permissions in their Web3 wallet, it is believed that the hackers can automatically drain the tokens from their wallets.

Reports show the phishing attempt has already led to $440,000 being lost, based on analysis by blockchain sleuth ZachXBT. Web3 anti-scam platform Scam Sniffer noted that one victim had lost over $424,000 to the scam only a few minutes after the first malicious link was posted on MicroStrategy’s X account. The crypto assets lost include $134,000 from Wrapped Balance AI (wBAI), $122,000 from Chintai (CHEX), and $45,000 from Wrapped Pocket Network (wPOKT).

The stolen crypto was swiftly moved to the hacker’s wallet as two more transfers were conducted and re-directed automatically to a second wallet address, which was immediately identified due to its link with the notorious PinkDrainer hacking group.

At press time, neither MicroStrategy nor Michael Saylor had issued a public statement regarding the hack. However, it appears that the phishing X posts have been deleted, with MicroStrategy likely regaining control of its account.

Commenting on the incident, market watchers suggested that the phishing scam was rather obvious. Crypto investor Cobie, for instance, remarked that MicroStrategy, a company solely focused on BTC, is highly unlikely to roll out a token on the Ethereum blockchain:

“Obviously trying not to be victim-blaming here, but you gotta be very special to think MicroStrategy is launching an ETH token after Saylor has spent multiple years very famously saying ‘there is no second best’ and ‘you only use one chair’ etc.”

The attacker’s wallet currently holds a total of $321,916 worth of tokens from Ethereum, Polygon, and others.

Cardano Dealt Huge Blow As New Research Shows ADA Dominates Dead Coins

https://zycrypto.com/cardano-dealt-huge-blow-as-new-research-shows-ada-dominates-dead-coins/

Recent research conducted by AlphaQuest Research establishes that Cardano (ADA) is one of the leading ecosystems with dead or failed coins in the past couple of years.

Cardano: Dead Coins King

According to a recent report from AlphaQuest, Cardano is a top network in terms of dead coins in 2024. The study found that 74% of Cardano-based projects had ceased to exist.

To classify projects as dead coins, the researchers utilized criteria such as low trading volume and liquidity, dormant or deleted X accounts, and websites that were no longer active. As such, blockchains with over 50% failed projects are dubbed as dead. Besides Cardano, Terra also experienced a similar 74% rate of project failures.

AlphaQuest noted that the majority of cryptocurrencies that debuted during the 2020-2021 bull market had since become defunct. This suggested that 2021 was quite a challenging year for new cryptocurrency projects.

Apart from Cardano and Terra, AlphaQuest also highlighted multiple other blockchain ecosystems having a significant amount of dead coins, including Harmony ONE, NEAR Protocol, Zilliqa, Celo, and Moonrive.

“A considerable number of crypto projects have a brief existence, with 21.77% lasting less than a year and 11.65% lasting less than six months. Only 22.40% of crypto projects successfully survive more than 4 years,” AlphaQuest postulated.

Avalanche Outage Benefits Cardano

Nonetheless, Dan Gambardello, Founder of Crypto Capital Venture, sang the praises of Cardano as rival blockchain Avalanche suffered a nearly five-hour outage. Avalanche halted block production at around 11 am (UTC) on Friday.

Gambardello emphasized his belief that institutions sooner or later will start investing in ADA because it has “a unique peer-reviewed research approach that has ensured a resilient and reliable foundation.”

Avalanche’s native token AVAX has dipped more than 7% over the past week, while Cardano’s ADA is up by 1.5% over the same timeframe. At publication time, AVAX changed hands at $36.72, some 74.7% lower than its $144.96 November 2021 high.

Pointing to Avalanche’s downtime, Gambardello reminded his X followers that “Cardano has not only proven itself as a consistent top 10 but has proven itself as steady.”

Adopting a more cautious stance, traders appear to be moving their funds from the Avalanche ecosystem into Cardano, seeking safety amid volatility after the major outage. According to Dan, Cardano is on the “path to being the only chain focused on a true decentralized governing system while maintaining consistent uptime”.

Notably, low-latency blockchain Solana also endured a five-hour outage earlier this month as it experienced heavy congestion.

Judge Approves Binance’s $4.3B Plea Deal As Prosecutors Ask Founder CZ To Surrender All Passports

https://zycrypto.com/judge-approves-binances-4-3b-plea-deal-as-prosecutors-ask-founder-cz-to-surrender-all-passports/

A U.S. District Judge signed off on Binance’s guilty plea, along with an eye-popping $4.3 billion in fines and penalties — arguably one of the largest in U.S. history — to settle its case with the U.S. Department of Justice.

This came roughly an hour after U.S. prosecutors requested former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao to hand over all his passports and travel documents.

Binance’s Unprecedented $4.3 Billion Guilty Plea Accepted

During a hearing in Seattle on Friday, Judge Richard Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington approved Binance’s guilty plea, which includes a $1.8 billion criminal fine and a $2.5 billion forfeiture.

“Due in part to Binance’s failure to implement an effective AML program, illicit actors used Binance’s exchange in various ways, including operating mixing services that obfuscated the source and ownership of cryptocurrency,” U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors posited in court documents. “Transacting illicit proceeds from ransomware variants; and moving proceeds of darknet market transactions, exchange hacks, and various internet-related scams.”

The DOJ announced the settlement last November, alleging Binance had breached sanctions and anti-money-laundering rules. Per the terms of the settlement, the exchange would pay $4.3 billion, exit the U.S., and have its chief executive officer at the time, founder Changpeng Zhao, resign. Zhao pleaded guilty to separate charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on 30th April.

Although the $4.3B penalty was first suggested in November during the exchange’s negotiations with U.S. prosecutors, Judge Richard sealed the final deal on Friday.

A Binance representative said in a statement that the firm “accepts responsibility for past action,” adding that it had significantly upgraded its know-your-customer (KYC) requirements and anti-money-laundering compliance in recent years.

Prosecutors Want To Change CZ’s Bond Terms Ahead Of Sentencing

Now that Binance has settled the DOJ’s claims, what will become of ex-chief Zhao — who is currently free on a $175 million bond — remains to be seen.

In a Friday court filing, U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman asked Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida to grant a motion modifying the conditions for Zhao to remain free on bond. Prosecutors want CZ to remain within the continental U.S. until his sentencing hearing in late April and give a minimum of three days’ notice before any travel to allow the government to raise objections. They also asked the crypto billionaire to surrender his Canadian passport and “all other current and expired passports and travel documents” to his defense counsel.

Changpeng faces a prison term of up to 18 months, but prosecutors are free to argue that he should be given as many as 10 years.

Trump Softens His Stance On Bitcoin: ‘I Can Live With It One Way Or The Other’

https://zycrypto.com/trump-softens-his-stance-on-bitcoin-i-can-live-with-it-one-way-or-the-other/

Former United States President Donald Trump seems to have softened his view on Bitcoin, marking a notable deviation from his previous hardline stance. Despite maintaining his preference for the US dollar in a Wednesday interview, the Republican front-runner acknowledged the dominant cryptocurrency’s growing popularity and demand. 

Bitcoin Has “Taken On A Life Of Its Own”

Back in 2019, while still in office, Donald Trump publicly asserted he was “not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies”, arguing that they are “not money” and their value is based on “thin air.” He also reportedly ordered the treasury secretary to “go after Bitcoin” and also called the top crypto a scam in another Fox interview. Let’s also not forget that Trump’s administration was known for its efforts to stonewall spot Bitcoin ETFs and attempted to ban self-hosted wallets.

Since then, he seems to have eased his stance. Speaking to Fox News during a town hall event in South Carolina on Wednesday alongside South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, Trump observed that “many people are embracing” Bitcoin and that as more people want to pay with BTC, he can “live with it one way or the other.”

He followed his comments by talking about plans to regulate the crypto sector. “It’s taken [on] a life of its own,” the former president stated. “You probably have to do some regulation.

Some crypto observers attributed the change in tune to pro-Bitcoin Vivek Ramaswamy, a former Republican candidate who supported Trump after dropping out of the White House race earlier this year. Ramaswamy has been both a champion of the cryptocurrency industry and against the launch of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). In other words, Trump’s U-turn is likely politically motivated to garner more votes from the growing cryptosphere ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Trump’s softer stance on Bitcoin doesn’t necessarily mean that he is now anti-dollar, however. “I’ve always liked one currency. I call it a currency. I like the dollar,” he explained.

Trump believes CBDCs are dangerous and promised to “never allow” the Federal Reserve to create a digital dollar if reelected.

Meanwhile, his biggest competitor, Joe Biden, is skeptical of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Biden previously proposed several measures to rein in crypto, including a 30% tax on crypto mining operations and releasing a scathing report bashing crypto for “ignorance of basic economic principles.”

With that being said, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave the regulatory nod in January to the first spot BTC ETFs in the U.S.

Coinbase Urges SEC To Approve Grayscale’s Spot Ether ETF — Is ETH About To Go Turbo Parabolic?

https://zycrypto.com/coinbase-urges-sec-to-approve-grayscales-spot-ether-etf-is-eth-about-to-go-turbo-parabolic/

Crypto exchange Coinbase has formally asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve Grayscale’s bid to convert its current Ethereum Trust product into a spot ETH exchange-traded fund (ETF). This move comes after a handful of prominent Wall Street titans, including Fidelity and BlackRock, have filed paperwork for Ethereum ETFs.

Ether price could explode to unfathomable heights if the SEC allows the listing of the asset’s spot ETFs on U.S. exchanges.

Spot ETH ETFs Should Be Approved

Coinbase, which is the Grayscale Ethereum Trust’s crypto custodian, has stood firmly behind the asset manager in its application to introduce a spot ETH ETF.

In a 27-page letter shared by Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal on Thursday, the exchange explained several reasons why the Securities and Exchange Commission should approve an ether-based spot ETF.

Key to Coinbase’s argument is the categorization of ether as a commodity, not a security, a distinction crucial for legal compliance and market perception.

“The market has long understood that ETH is not a security,” Coinbase wrote in the letter. “Senior officials of the Commission have publicly said as much on several occasions over the past six years, and neither the Commission nor its staff has disavowed this position, even after the merge.”

Coinbase then praised Ethereum’s proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, stating that the model effectively mitigates risks of fraud and manipulation, leading to a more robust and reliable platform. This remark comes amid growing concerns over concentration risks within the Ethereum network, especially regarding spot ETH ETFs that include staking options.

The exchange also highlighted ETH’s market depth, liquidity, and tight spreads as evidence of a mature and efficient market. Furthermore, Coinbase points to its comprehensive surveillance-sharing agreement with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which would allow it to monitor ETH futures to safeguard against fraudulent and manipulative practices in the Ethereum market.

Finally, ETH futures ETFs are similar products to spot market ether funds, so it would be arbitrary for the SEC to grant approval to one but not the other, given their close correlation, Coinbase argued.

Spot ETF Can Fuel ETH Rally

The SEC’s approval of nearly a dozen spot Bitcoin ETFs in mid-January marked a watershed moment for the crypto industry, spurring the price of BTC to break the $50,000 hurdle in February for the first time since 2021. 

Ether, the market’s second-largest cryptocurrency also managed to rise through the $3,000 mark, buoyed by Bitcoin’s strong upward momentum.

Just like with spot Bitcoin ETFs, these regulated investment products are anticipated to boost ether’s institutional appeal — driving demand for ETH. If retail appetite maintains the momentum while institutions swarm in, ETH could soar past $3,500. If this happens, ether could then quickly find itself returning to its November 2021 lifetime peak of $4,878.

Pro-XRP Attorney John Deaton Formally Launches Senate Bid To Unseat Crypto ‘Hater’ Elizabeth Warren

https://zycrypto.com/pro-xrp-attorney-john-deaton-formally-launches-senate-bid-to-unseat-crypto-hater-elizabeth-warren/

John Deaton, a lawyer who has advocated for the crypto industry, announced on Feb. 20 a Senate campaign to replace incumbent Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in the forthcoming elections this year.

Deaton’s Bold Move To Challenge Warren

John Deaton announced his Republican Senate run on the X (formerly known as Twitter) platform on Tuesday.

In the campaign video, Deaton, 56, said he would be focused on “taking on the Washington elites”, contending that Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 74, “gets nothing done” for Massachusetts despite promising she would be a champion for those in need. 

“I am running for U.S. Senate to continue my life’s mission to shake things up for the people who need it most,” Deaton posited.

Deaton has been a vocal supporter of cryptocurrencies and is behind the CryptoLaw website, which often posts about legal and regulatory developments in the crypto space. He has also played key roles in crypto lawsuits, such as filing an amicus brief in 2021 on behalf of 75,000 XRP holders in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit against Ripple, CEO Brad Garlinghouse, and executive chairman Chris Larsen.

Deaton has frequently called out both Senator Warren and the SEC for their heavyhanded approach towards crypto. He accused Warren and her allies such as JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, of creating a campaign aimed at consolidating support for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) by slandering decentralized cryptocurrencies, thus centralizing financial power.

“This is ALL being coordinated by @ewarren and her anti-crypto army, being co-chaired by Jamie Dimon. They want to introduce a CBDC controlled by the Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Big Banks. She is using her campaign for reelection as a way to create and control the anti-crypto narrative,” Deaton said in a statement on his campaign website.

If elected in November, the crypto lawyer promised to take on the insurance industry and drug companies for affordable healthcare for all Massachusetts citizens, combat inflation, solve the immigration crisis, create better opportunities for children, and fight corruption in Washington.

But for Deaton to challenge Warren for her seat in Congress, he must first win the GOP nomination, where roughly four other contenders have already announced their intentions to run against Warren. Massachusetts Republicans and Democrats are set to hold their U.S. Senate primaries on 3rd September 2024.

As per Fox journalist Eleanor Terrett, Deaton’s campaign will soon start accepting campaign donations via Coinbase.

Deaton’s Hardscrabble Upbringing

The Tuesday video also highlights Deaton’s rough background and his life achievements. 

Born and raised in Detroit’s Highland Park neighborhood, Deaton grew up in a poor household where his mother struggled to put food on the table, but he eventually fought his way to becoming the only graduate in his family. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from the New England School of Law.

Deaton also highlighted some of the struggles he had to overcome, including addiction, cancer, and mountains of debt. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer while studying at Eastern Michigan University and had to undergo treatment while still pursuing his degree.

Deaton promised to “work day and night to make a difference” in the lives of the people of Massachusetts because he believes he knows their struggles as “he has lived them.” Moreover, he indicated that he has no fear and will never give up on fighting for what is right.

Reddit Joins Crypto Club, New IPO Filing Reveals Treasury Exposure To Bitcoin, Ether, and MATIC

https://zycrypto.com/reddit-joins-crypto-club-new-ipo-filing-reveals-treasury-exposure-to-bitcoin-ether-and-matic/

Social media platform Reddit has made headlines with its decision to invest part of its excess cash in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), as revealed in a Feb. 22 S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The crypto investments make Reddit one of the few companies that hold crypto assets in their balance sheets alongside the likes of Elon Musk’s EV maker, Tesla, and Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy.

Crypto Exposure

Reddit has officially filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker RDDT.

In a filing for an initial public offering (IPO), the firm disclosed that it has invested its excess cash reserves in crypto assets, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), and has also acquired Polygon’s MATIC to pay for virtual goods. The social media giant said it may continue this strategy in the future.

Reddit indicated that BTC and ETH were the only cryptocurrencies held in the company’s treasury as of Dec. 31, 2023. It did not reveal how many tokens it holds but said the amounts are “immaterial.”

“The net carrying value of our cryptocurrencies, which consisted primarily of Bitcoin and Ether, as well as all related cryptocurrency activity, was immaterial for the periods presented,” Reddit wrote.

Moreover, the firm said it holds these cryptocurrencies so that its engineering and product teams can use them for specific applications.

Reddit’s Blockchain Experimentation

In the S-1 filing, Reddit said it has been “experiment[ing] with blockchain technology”.

The firm also said it sees some huge potential in cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based technologies but isn’t sure whether adoption by businesses and users will continue:

“While we believe cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have significant potential, the popularity and prevalence of cryptocurrencies is a relatively recent trend, and whether cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will continue to be adopted by consumers and businesses in the long term is uncertain.”

Reddit has cozied up to the crypto asset space in the past: In 2020, the platform launched Moons and Bricks — tokens running on Ethereum’s blockchain. Those who contributed to the cryptocurrency section of the social media site could receive Moons or Bricks as rewards and spend them for specific benefits. But Reddit pulled the plug on the blockchain-based reward service in November, citing problems with scalability and regulation.

While the social community platform reported roughly $804 million in sales in 2023, a decent 20.5% year-on-year increase, profitability remains somewhat of a pipe dream with a net loss of $91 million. The San Francisco-headquartered firm expects to commence trading on the NYSE in March.

Previously Unpublished Emails Of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Revealed In Court

https://zycrypto.com/previously-unpublished-emails-of-bitcoin-creator-satoshi-nakamoto-revealed-in-court/

The crypto sphere has received a treasure trove of early correspondence between Blockstream CEO Adam Back and pseudonymous Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto in the months leading up to the birth of the industry’s benchmark cryptocurrency.

The Emails

In an effort to prove that Australian computer scientist Craig Steven Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto, as he controversially claims, some “real” emails from the father of the oldest and most popular cryptocurrency finally entered the public record.

Bitcoin pioneer Adam Back testified in the UK High Court of Justice on Tuesday in the ongoing case between the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) and CSW. In his testimony, several emails from Satoshi to Back, dating back to 2008 and 2009, were entered into the court record by COPA.

The first emails between Back and Satoshi (or the various team members behind the moniker) predate the launch of Bitcoin by four months. Satoshi wrote to confirm the proper citation format for Back’s “Hashcash” paper in his soon-to-be-released Bitcoin paper. The email reveals the intention to reference Hashcash as part of a new use for hash-based proof-of-work in electronic cash networks.

Satoshi shared a pre-release draft of the Bitcoin whitepaper with Back and requested feedback, indicating that Back was free to share it with other individuals as well. In the resulting back-and-forth discussion, Back suggested Satoshi look into other proposed protocols such as “B-Money” by cryptographer Wei Dai and “Micromint.”

In later emails in January 2009, Nakamoto wrote Back to thank him for recommending the other papers and to inform him that the open-source Bitcoin software had been released to the public.

Nakamoto Remains Ever-Mysterious

15 years after the first Bitcoin block was mined — and the eternal mystery surrounding Satoshi’s identity has not been solved. Despite Adam Back maintaining that he did not contribute to the coding or programming of Bitcoin, some crypto enthusiasts still seem to think he is the enigmatic creator of BTC. Notably, the newly unearthed emails further disprove such claims.

In his written witness statement, Back noted that the conversation between himself and Satoshi was not “elaborate” and he did not become interested in Bitcoin as a contributor until 2012. He also revealed that he had never published the said emails in the past.

A more outlandish theory hinges on the popular belief that the late Hal Finney himself, who was the first to download and receive Bitcoin, was Satoshi. However, there is evidence that debunks such speculations.

ECB Officials Still Believe Bitcoin Has No Value Despite ETF Approvals In The U.S.

https://zycrypto.com/ecb-officials-still-believe-bitcoin-has-no-value-despite-etf-approvals-in-the-u-s/

The approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not convinced European Central Bank (ECB) officials that the flagship cryptocurrency is a good investment.

The bank’s executives suggested that Bitcoin has failed to become a global decentralized crypto and is instead plagued by fraud and price manipulation.

BTC ETF Approvals Compared To ‘Naked Emperor’s New Clothes’

The European Central Bank is still not a fan of Bitcoin, despite the recently approved spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) boosting the institutional legitimacy of the broader crypto industry. 

In a February 22 blog post, ECB Director General for Market Infrastructure and Payments Ulrich Bindseil and Advisor Jürgen Schaaf described the U.S. SEC’s greenlighting of spot Bitcoin ETFs as “the naked emperor’s new clothes.” 

According to the officials, the landmark approval of 11 ETFs and the billions of dollars that have flowed into the market doesn’t alter the fact that “Bitcoin is not suitable as a means of payment or as an investment.”

“For disciples, the formal approval confirms that Bitcoin investments are safe, and the preceding rally is proof of an unstoppable triumph. We disagree with both claims and reiterate that the fair value of Bitcoin is still zero,” the central bankers postulated.

Apart from stating Bitcoin’s oft-cited shortcomings, such as high volatility, cost, slow transactions, and high energy consumption in the mining process, the ECB executives cited three drivers of the latest bull rally. 

“The ongoing manipulation of the ‘price’ in an unregulated market without oversight and without fair value, the growing demand for the ‘currency of crime,’ and shortcomings in the authorities’ judgments and measures” will buoy the price in the short term, but “there is no fair value from which serious forecasts can be derived,” Bindseil and Jürgen explained.

According to them, Bitcoin is also unsuitable as an investment, as it doesn’t generate any cash flow or dividends, cannot be used productively like commodities and offers no social benefit or subjective appreciation based on outstanding abilities.

“Less financially knowledgeable retail investors are attracted by the fear of missing out, leading them to potentially lose their money,” the bankers added.

“Dead Cat Bouncing”

ECB’s latest criticism of Bitcoin follows its November 2022 report, noting that the benchmark cryptocurrency was on its “last gasp before the road to irrelevance” — comments that preceded a bear market bottom after the implosion of Sam Bankman-Fried’s digital asset exchange FTX.

At this time, the central bank officials claimed that the belief Bitcoin would continue soaring was wrong. But, Bitcoin would ultimately bottom out at around $16,200 in late November 2022, just a week after the post, and has since skyrocketed by over 200% to $51,670 at press time, according to CoinGecko data.

Answering their own question “Why is this dead cat bouncing so high,” the ECB executives indicated that the January spot ETF approvals, Bitcoin’s impending halving event, and the hopes of an about-face in Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy were responsible for the bullish price action.

Judge Sets Pretrial Deadline In SEC’s Suit Against Terra As Do Kwon’s Extradition To US Looms

https://zycrypto.com/judge-sets-pretrial-deadline-in-secs-suit-against-terra-as-do-kwons-extradition-to-us-looms/

The presiding judge in a lawsuit playing out in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Terraform Labs — creator of the ill-fated UST and Luna cryptocurrencies — is progressing with new pretrial deadlines that have been set.

This comes as a court in the tiny Balkan nation of Montenegro ruled that it will honor the U.S. prosecution’s request to deport Terraform Labs co-founder and former CEO Do Kwon to face criminal fraud charges.

SEC v. Terra: Pretrial Deadline Set

Judge Jed Rakoff has signed an order granting the proposed order setting pretrial deadlines.

The legal teams for the SEC and Terra attorneys have until March 11 to submit final oppositions to motions, depositions, and counter-designations. The two parties have agreed to a trial postponement to March 25. Notably, the district judge has ordered the regulator and Terra to serve any new motions in limine on or before Feb. 26, 2024.

More crucially, Judge Rakoff instructed the two parties to jointly file a proposed Pretrial Consent Order no later than March 18.

“The SEC shall provide to defense counsel draft(s) of the joint sections of the proposed Pretrial Consent Order on or before March 8, and the Defendants shall respond to the SEC’s draft(s) within five days of receipt,” the court filing reads.

Alleged Crypto Crook Do Kwon Headed To U.S.

Judge Rakoff’s order comes amid news that Montenegro has decided to extradite fallen crypto star Do Kwon to the United States rather than to his native South Korea.

According to a Wednesday report from Montenegrin news outlet Pobjeda, the High Court of Podgorica made the decision to deport Kwon to the U.S. and rejected South Korea’s request to extradite him.

The extradition decision followed an appeal by Kwon’s defense attorneys, contending that Montenegro’s Justice Minister Andrej Milovic had the final say regarding which country would extradite the South Korean crypto mogul — a claim the high court rebuffed.

The Terraform co-founder was arrested in Montenegro last March while trying to travel to Dubai on a falsified passport, after which he was found guilty and sentenced to four months in jail.

Kwon is under indictment in his home country because of the notorious depegging of Terraform Labs’ algorithmic stablecoin UST in May 2022, which sank the crypto market into a deep winter and forced several crypto projects with exposure to the project to declare bankruptcy.

The U.S. SEC’s lawsuit against Terra and Kwon accuses them of “orchestrating a multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud.” That means the disgraced crypto tycoon could also be on the hook for disgorgement and multi-million dollar penalties.

Ether Soars Past $3,000, But This Popular Investor Says Avoid It ‘At All Costs’

https://zycrypto.com/ether-soars-past-3000-but-this-popular-investor-says-avoid-it-at-all-costs/

Ethereum (ETH) is a hot topic in the cryptoverse. The crypto asset, predicted to be next in line for spot exchange-traded fund approval by the SEC, early this week soared past the $3,000 mark for the first time since April 2022.

Some market watchers predict ETH could easily set a new record high this year amid an imminent major network upgrade, Dencun.

But investor Fred Krueger isn’t impressed. He recently expressed concerns about Ethereum’s fundamental trends and potential regulatory barriers. As such, he is advising investors to steer clear of the second-largest cryptocurrency.

Ether’s Plummeting Utility

Fred Krueger observed in an X post that Ethereum has been experiencing declining network usage despite recently topping $3K for the first time in two years. According to Krueger, the number of Ethereum’s daily active users (DAUs) has dropped from 120,000 in 2021 to merely 66,000 over the past year.

The popular commentator also pointed to the fall in user activity on Ethereum’s top decentralized exchange protocol, Uniswap, citing it as a cause for concern. “The top app, Uniswap V3 is only getting 16K DAUs. I remember, back in 2020, this number was 60K or more,” Krueger posited.

That, however, has not stopped investors from pushing ETH to a $361 billion market capitalization, he claimed. He further asserted that ether has become a meme coin, similar to the likes of canine-themed crypto Shiba Inu (SHIB).

“It’s not particularly cheap ($1.50 per transaction), or fast. If you are just interested in reward points for games or casino-style DeFi apps — Solana, Avalanche, Near, etc.. all crush it,” Krueger continued.

Spot ETH ETF: A Pipe Dream?

Krueger’s criticism goes beyond Ethereum’s utility to the asset’s legal outlook in the U.S. In his opinion, there is no chance Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler will approve spot ether ETFs in the future.

“I don’t think Gensler is going to allow an ETH ETF. If you believe in the Tooth Fairy, have fun. I just don’t think Gary wants to make his second ETF a massive pre-mine. Sets a very bad precedent.”

“Avoid ETH at all costs,” Krueger summarized.

As ZyCrypto reported previously, brokerage firm Bernstein says there is about a 50% chance ETH spot ETFs secure SEC approval by May and a near-certain likelihood of approval within the next 12 months. Several institutional players have filed applications for these ETH products, including BlackRock, Fidelity, and Franklin Templeton. The earliest deadline for greenlights is in May for VanEck’s ETF.

Ripple’s XRP On Brink Of Explosive Breakout To $5 Price As Insider Predicts Spot ETF and IPO Launch

https://zycrypto.com/ripples-xrp-on-brink-of-explosive-breakout-to-5-price-as-insider-predicts-spot-etf-and-ipo-launch/

Former Ripple Director Sean McBride has made a bullish prediction about the future of the XRP ecosystem. With the crypto community still buzzing from the SEC’s January approval of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), McBride notes that the XRPArmy can expect a spot XRP ETF to make its debut on the U.S. market sometime this year or in 2025. He also weighed in on the possibility of Ripple going public next year.

Ripple “Would Certainly Welcome” A Spot XRP ETF

Sean McBride, Ripple’s former Director of Global Talent Acquisition, has stirred interest within the crypto community by hinting at the potential launch of an XRP-based spot exchange-traded fund.

In a Tuesday post on X, McBride said: “You will see an XRP ETF in 2024 or 2025.”

On the same day, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse stated during a Bloomberg interview that the company would “certainly welcome” having XRP’s own set of ETFs approved by the SEC.

According to Garlinghouse, it is inevitable that there will be numerous ETFs around different crypto assets. While likening the current situation with the spot BTC ETFs to the early years of the equities market, the Ripple boss claimed it “only makes sense” to have other crypto-based ETFs. In his view, investors don’t want to be exposed to a single stock only but prefer to spread their investments across different assets.

Garlinghouse did not reveal whether Ripple is currently engaging with ETF providers. But he reiterated the company’s stance: “We think it makes sense for the XRP community overall.”

A Ripple IPO Outside U.S.

After being stuck in a lawsuit with the U.S. SEC since late 2020, Ripple has looked at other jurisdictions with clearer rules of the road for its initial public offering.

“In the United States, trying to go public with a very hostile regulator that’s approved your S-1, that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me. Coinbase obviously had their S-1 approved. And now the SEC is suing them for doing things that were outlined in their S-1,” Garlinghouse said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year.

Back in 2022, the Ripple chief said the firm would explore a public listing after its case with the SEC concludes

That said, a positive outcome in the lawsuit, coupled with potential U.S. spot ETF and a Ripple IPO, is painting a bullish picture for the XRP price, with market watchers proclaiming that a rally to the psychologically important $5 mark is inevitable.

Bitcoin Bulls Rejoice: Pundit Names 3 Key Reasons Why BTC Price Will Tap $150,000 This Year

https://zycrypto.com/bitcoin-bulls-rejoice-pundit-names-3-key-reasons-why-btc-price-will-tap-150000-this-year/

Bitcoin recently crossed the $50,000 mark, regaining the $1 trillion market capitalization for the first time since Dec. 2021. The big question now is, when will BTC hit a new all-time high?

Tom Lee, a prominent figure in the crypto community, has identified three major factors he believes will drive Bitcoin to the coveted $150,000 price tag in 2024.

BTC Rocket Fuel: Three Catalysts To Propel Bitcoin Higher

Tom Lee, renowned for his optimistic outlook on Bitcoin, has confidently posited that BTC is primed to hit six figures this year. In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Lee highlighted three catalysts he thinks will propel BTC to $150,000.

The first one is already here: spot BTC exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These investment vehicles allow investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin without the need to purchase or store the crypto asset directly. After a decade of denials, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finally approved nearly a dozen spot BTC ETFs in a historic move.

According to Lee, spot ETFs will gobble up Bitcoins from the market, bringing a steady inflow of non-speculative investment for the first time in Bitcoin’s history. Demand for these new products will light a fire under the industry’s flagship cryptocurrency’s bulls.

The second catalyst is the impending Bitcoin halving in April. The quadrennial event effectively halves the new supply of BTC entering the market each day. Theoretically, fewer Bitcoins in circulation means that the value of the cryptocurrency will soar with demand amid a supply shock.

The final important factor likely to propel Bitcoin prices higher is the benchmark interest rates. There is a growing consensus that U.S. Federal Reserve officials will start cutting rates in 2024. Lower interest rates are a boon to risk assets like Bitcoin, Lee elaborated, contributing to a potential rally.

Lee’s prognostication comes days after “Rich Dad Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki made a similar super bullish forecast on the price of Bitcoin. As reported by ZyCrypto, Kiyosaki said he anticipates Bitcoin to hit $100,000 by June 2024 — which is just two months after the miner rewards halving.

Crypto Pioneer Arthur Hayes Slams Cardano’s ADA As ‘Dogshit’; Hoskinson Responds

https://zycrypto.com/crypto-pioneer-arthur-hayes-slams-cardanos-ada-as-dogshit-hoskinson-responds/

BitMEX founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes has thrown shade at Cardano (ADA), contemptuously calling it “dogshit”. His controversial comment prompted Cardano creator Charles Hoskinson to respond on the X social media platform.

Why The ADA Shade?

In a recent Twitter post, Bitcoin billionaire Arthur Hayes shared an image showing the fee generation of several decentralized applications (dApps) and protocols across the crypto industry and called into question the existence and performance of ADA-based applications within this space.

The image by the BitMEX founder is from the crypto analytics platform Token Terminal. It portrays a bar chart of different cryptocurrency projects, including Kwenta, Gains Network, Aura Finance, Curve, Lido Finance, and Uniswap, ranked by the fees they have amassed over the last year. As per the data, the top fee-generating projects are Aave, MakerDao, Uniswap and Lido Finance.

The absence of Cardano among the leading fee-generating projects in this list appears to be the basis for Hayes’ critical remarks. In his opinion, the lack of a largely used Cardano-based dApp is a sign of the platform’s underperformance in the wider cryptocurrency market.

In other related news, Hayes called Cardano the “first wannabe Ethereum” during a recent interview. Furthermore, he questioned the importance of Cardano in the crypto sector, arguing that it “may be the first one to be irrelevant.” 

Hoskinson’s Response

Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson wasted no time responding to Hayes’ scathing remark.

Hoskinson posited: “Arthur, why are you throwing shade at Cardano? I like you, man.” To which Hayes replied, “Cause ur coin is a piece of shit man. I like u too man, regardless of the price of ADA. Just buy some ETH and chill.” 

ADA, which registered a face-melting rally during the 2021 bull market, seems to have fallen out of favor with cryptocurrency investors in the last couple of months, significantly underperforming rival coins.

After climbing to $0.63 on Feb. 20, ADA has since retreated to $0.5852 at press time — a decline of 6.6% on the day. With a market cap of around $20.6 billion, the Ethereum competitor is ranked 8th on the crypto leaderboard, as per CoinGecko. Moreover, ADA is still down by 80.9% from its September all-time high of $3.09.

Bitcoin Permabull Michael Saylor Asserts He Will Buy BTC Forever — ‘No Reason To Sell The Winner’

https://zycrypto.com/bitcoin-permabull-michael-saylor-asserts-he-will-buy-btc-forever-no-reason-to-sell-the-winner/

MicroStrategy co-founder and executive chairman Michael Saylor said in a recent interview that the software firm will continue buying Bitcoin (BTC) indefinitely, given how they see it as “the exit strategy.” 

This comes as MicroStrategy’s BTC cache has ballooned to reach an unrealized profit just shy of $4 billion.

Opening The Floodgates For Institutional Capital

MicroStrategy has no plans to sell its Bitcoin holdings despite its dramatic gains this year.

Speaking during an interview with Bloomberg Television on Feb. 20, Michael Saylor said the shiny new BTC exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have opened a getaway for institutional money to pour into the Bitcoin space, with demand surpassing the current supply produced by miners.

“If you look at what the spot ETFs are doing, they’re facilitating the digital transformation of capital. And every day, hundreds of millions of dollars of capital is flowing from the traditional analog ecosystem into the digital economy.”

Highlighting his bullish case for BTC, Saylor claimed the alpha cryptocurrency is “technically superior” to gold, the S&P index, and even real estate, despite each asset class boasting a far bigger market cap than Bitcoin’s $1 trillion.

“We believe capital is going to keep flowing from those asset classes into bitcoin because Bitcoin is technically superior to those asset classes and that being the case, there’s just no reason to sell the winner and to buy the losers,” Saylor posited.

Saylor’s Unshakable Belief

As the largest public holder of Bitcoin, MicroStrategy has amassed over 190,000 BTC, worth approximately $10 billion — with nearly $4 billion of that profit. The Tyson, Virginia-based firm started stocking up on the biggest cryptocurrency back in August 2020. Notably, Saylor’s Bitcoin investment strategy has been anything but traditional.

“I’ve famously said, I’m going to be buying the top forever,” Saylor said. “Bitcoin is the exit strategy, it is the strongest asset, so what we see right now is that Bitcoin just emerges as a trillion-dollar asset class. And it’s alongside names like Apple, Google and Microsoft.”

Saylor further dismissed concerns that the spot Bitcoin ETFs would make it harder for MicroStrategy to purchase BTC, noting that the company implements a “levered operating strategy” for investment in the crypto asset.

It pays to recall that MicroStrategy rebranded itself as a “Bitcoin development company” in its Q4 earnings presentation, emphasizing its commitment to the continued development of BTC.

When Will High-Stakes Ripple vs. SEC Lawsuit End? Crypto Expert Predicts Settlement In April — XRP To $1?

https://zycrypto.com/when-will-high-stakes-ripple-vs-sec-lawsuit-end-crypto-expert-predicts-settlement-in-april-xrp-to-1/

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit lodged against Ripple in December 2020 is grabbing headlines, as today (Feb. 20) marks the deadline of the discovery phase.

A crypto pundit has suggested we could see a settlement in the Ripple vs. SEC case in April.

A Settlement On The Cards?

A member of the XRP community has shared a crucial update on the ongoing legal dispute between Ripple and the U.S. SEC to clear up “some misconceptions”.

Ashley Prosper observed that the discovery case in the XRP lawsuit was scheduled to end today. In the X post, Prosper captioned a court filing photo showing four important dates that the XRP community should look out for. The expert highlighted 4 key dates: February 20, March 13, April 12, and April 29. It’s pertinent to mention that today also marks the day Ripple is supposed to comply with the court order and hand over its audited financial statements and institutional sales contracts.

According to Prosper, the community will not have information on the material submitted by Ripple until the SEC files its remedies-related brief on March 13. But, she advised the XRPArmy not to expect much in that development.

Moreover, the analyst noted that the deadline for submitting final remedies is April 29, 2024. This is when the court is supposed to determine penalties for Ripple’s XRP sales to institutional customers. The securities regulator reportedly wants Ripple to pay a hefty $770 million for its securities violations.

Prosper rebutted claims that Judge Analisa Torres’s final verdict on the lawsuit is due in April. She will likely make her decision in July or August. However, the pundit claims that Judge Torres could “take until next year” to give her decision. At the moment, it is expected that the long drawn-out lawsuit will come to a conclusion in April. In Prosper’s opinion, this will only happen if the two parties reach a settlement. 

XRP Price Action

Ripple, the fintech company whose founders created XRP, has had legal issues with the SEC since 2020. At the time, XRP was the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Ripple, however, notched a major victory against the Commission in July 2023, with Judge Torres ruling that the XRP token is not a security when it comes to programmatic sales to retail investors.

XRP climbed 6.5% in the past week. The coin was trading for $0.5614 per coin at publication time, according to data from CoinGecko. With a market cap of $30.6 billion, XRP is now the sixth-largest crypto.

It remains to be seen whether XRP has enough strength to further its upswing and even cross the $1 threshold at some point this year.

UK Is Pushing Hard To Have Stablecoin And Staking Rules Ready Within Next Six Months: Report

https://zycrypto.com/uk-is-pushing-hard-to-have-stablecoin-and-staking-rules-ready-within-next-six-months-report/

The United Kingdom government hopes to bring new legislation regulating stablecoins and cryptocurrency staking services within six months.

Speaking at a Coinbase-hosted industry event in London on Feb. 19, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami revealed that the government is “pushing very hard” to legislate these new regulations ahead of this year’s general election, Bloomberg reported.

“We’re very clear that we want to get these things done as soon as possible. And I think over the next six months, those things are doable.”

The U.K. government’s push for crypto regulation might be influenced by the forthcoming election and the desire to attain political advantage.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2022 vowed to turn the country into a global crypto hub, emphasizing the need to ensure crypto firms can “invest, innovate and scale up” in the UK. However, little regulatory progress has been made in the country since then, with crypto players citing the lack of concise rules as a huge operational barrier and a potential reason to exit the jurisdiction.

It’s worth noting that Afolami declined to give a timeline for comprehensive crypto regulation beyond stablecoins and staking, pointing to the vast scope of ongoing legislative efforts. “Short answer is, I don’t know […] There’s just a huge amount going on, so I don’t want to commit to that now,” he postulated.

The UK Treasury pledged in October 2023 to clarify rules in the crypto space by 2024. Since then, it’s had several consultations on fiat-pegged stablecoins and the implementation of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023.

Pundits have been forecasting that fiat-backed stablecoins will fall under already-existing payment regulations, bringing asset-backed digital tokens under the UK’s realm of financial regulations rather than existing as a standalone regulatory regime.

Last October, the UK government enacted a new law to make it easier for law enforcement agencies and local courts to confiscate and freeze crypto assets tied to criminal activities without a conviction. It’s an advancement from the laws that previously permitted authorities to free the tainted crypto but not seize it until the criminal had been apprehended and convicted.

Bernstein Uber-Bullish On Ethereum: Is Ether The Next ‘Institutional Darling’ With ETH Price Smashing New All-Time High?

https://zycrypto.com/bernstein-uber-bullish-on-ethereum-is-ether-the-next-institutional-darling-with-eth-price-smashing-new-all-time-high/

2024 has everything to be the biggest year in the history of the Ethereum ecosystem.

In addition to the potential approval of an Ether spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States, this year will also mark the blockchain’s first bull cycle since the Merge in 2022, which could see the largest altcoin set a new record high.

Brokerage firm Bernstein has suggested that Ethereum could be the next focus for TradFi institutions.

Ether’s Road To Mainstream Adoption And Investment As ETF Prospects Brighten

Bernstein has made a bullish case for ether as the crypto’s stars are aligned.

In a note to clients on Monday, Bernstein analysts Gautam Chhugani and Mahika Sapra argued that ether is “probably the only other digital asset” likely to secure a spot ETF green light from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Market watchers believe the SEC’s approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs in January could have opened the door to the approval of other crypto-backed spot ETFs, namely a spot ether ETF. And thanks to the precedent set by a BTC ETF, according to Bernstein, there is a 50% probability of that ether investment vehicle entering the market by May and a near-certain likelihood of approval in the next 12 months.

Several prominent asset managers already offering spot BTC ETFs, including BlackRock, Fidelity, and Franklin Templeton, have thrown their weight behind spot ETH ETF applications, buoying ether’s medium-term price outlook. Spot ETH ETFs, if approved, would distinguish ether from direct rivals such as Solana and BNB Chain in terms of access and regulatory standing.

The institutional appetite for ether is largely attributed to a confluence of the speculative anticipation surrounding the potential approval of spot ETH ETFs and upbeat fundamentals such as a rewarding staking program and deep liquidity.

“Ethereum, with its staking yield dynamics, environmentally friendly design, and institutional utility to build new financial markets, is well positioned for mainstream institutional adoption,” the broker’s analysts posited.

Furthermore, the next major Ethereum network upgrade, Dencun (Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844), is scheduled for March 13. The hard fork aims to provide “for a dedicated corridor and blockspace for roll-ups, making transaction costs cheaper by another 50%-90%,” the authors wrote. This will be a significant turning point in this cycle, and it will probably lead Ethereum to its biggest year in history.

Whale Splashes $154 Million In ETH Accumulation Spree

Meanwhile, the cryptosphere is abuzz after a wallet gobbled up a staggering $154 million worth of Ether in less than a day and a half.

Blockchain sleuth Lookonchain revealed on Feb. 19 that an unknown entity amassed a staggering 54,721 ETH worth $154.4 million through transactions on crypto exchange Binance and several decentralized exchanges (DEXes).

After examining the wallet’s history, Lookonchain suggested that the wallet could belong to Justin Sun, Tron founder and advisor to digital asset exchange HTX (formerly known as Huobi).

“30 minutes ago, a wallet ‘TWGHNc’ suspected to be JustinSun deposited 50M USDT into Binance. This wallet also withdrew 500M USDT from HTX yesterday. Maybe no one except JustinSun can withdraw so much USDT from HTX,” Lookonchain observed.

Regardless of who owns the wallet in question, the whale-sized purchase has signalled a positive outlook for the industry’s second-largest cryptocurrency.

Ether Price Eyes New All-Time High

Ether was changing hands at $2,937 at press time, up over 26% year-to-date. This is the first time ETH has crossed the $2,900 milestone since May 2022, before the Terra Luna downfall that ignited a lengthy bear market.

ETH bulls are currently striving for $3,000 as the next stop for ether. Recapturing $3k would open the gates to the $3,500-$4,000 range and possibly a new historic high.