CME to Roll Out Micro Euro Bitcoin and Ethereum Futures

https://blockonomi.com/cme-to-roll-out-micro-euro-bitcoin-and-ethereum-futures/

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME), the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, announced today its plans to launch Euro-denominated Micro Bitcoin (BTC) and Micro Ether (ETH) futures contracts on March 18. The offerings are currently under regulatory review, CME noted in its announcement on X.

The CME is prepared to launch new investment products based on Bitcoin and Ethereum, giving clients more flexibility to participate in the crypto market.

Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ethereum futures contracts are small-sized futures contracts based on the underlying assets Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), respectively.

Representing 10% of the respective coin’s value, these futures contracts allow investors with less capital to join the Bitcoin and Ethereum markets. They also potentially reduce risk and make these assets more attractive for portfolio diversification.

Wall St. Is Hot For Cryptos

Giovanni Vicioso, global head of crypto products at CME Group, said that the Euro-denominate contracts would offer CME’s clients additional investment options to hedge their Bitcoin and Ether exposure, in addition to its US dollar ones. He also noted that the Euro is the second-largest traded fiat currency after the US dollar.

The CME’s expansion of its Euro trading options comes following the success of the US dollar-denominated Micro Bitcoin and Ethereum futures contracts, which saw a fourfold increase in volume. The coming products will be listed and subject to CME rules.

“Global investors have sought more precise tools to manage their risk as interest for bitcoin and ether grows. As such, we have seen a four-fold increase in volume in our USD-denominated Micro Bitcoin and Micro Ether futures,” said Vicioso.

The new offerings will be part of a list of CME investment products based on Bitcoin and Ethereum, including the US dollar-denominated Micro Bitcoin and Ethereum futures contracts, the Euro-denominated Bitcoin and Ethereum futures contracts, and Bitcoin and Ethereum options products.

The CME is a vital part of finance. The company is a gateway for major institutions in the US to enter and gain exposure to the crypto market. The CME debuted its first BTC futures contract by the end of 2017, followed by the ETH futures contract in 2021.

The financial giant is also the top preferred derivatives exchange of large traditional financial institutions. Data reveals that it surpassed the leading crypto exchange Binance in terms of futures trading volume in November 2023.

Institutional Demand On The Rise

After a series of collapses in 2022, many crypto observers believed that institutional interest in crypto would crash dramatically. However, 2023 proved the opposite. BlackRock’s application for a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in July officially brought institutional trust back to the game. Since BlackRock’s move, Bitcoin has left the $25,000 behind.

Institutional adoption is becoming more intense after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) eventually approved several spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for trading earlier this year.

Following the debut of spot Bitcoin ETFs, there has been a strong, consistent inflow into these funds, and more Bitcoin has been reportedly accumulated by Wall Street. The strong performance of these ETFs has undoubtedly shown strong institutional interest in crypto investment.

The CME’s coming Euro-denominated micro Bitcoin and Ethereum futures could signify continued interest and confidence in the long-term potential of crypto.

Many hopeful investors now expect the same fate for spot Ethereum ETFs and, obviously, other crypto ETFs. Up to date, eight asset managers, including BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, and ARK Invest, have filed for the spot Ethereum ETFs. All eyes are on May 25, when the SEC will make a decision on these spot Ethereum ETF filings.

Outside of the Bitcoin funds, the SEC’s stance toward these funds remains unclear. In a statement following the spot Bitcoin ETF approval, SEC chair Gary Gensler stressed that the recent approval “should in no way signal the Commission’s willingness to approve listing standards for crypto asset securities.”

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Montenegro Greenlights Extradition of Terra’s Do Kwon to Face Charges in US

https://blockonomi.com/montenegro-greenlights-extradition-of-terras-do-kwon-to-face-charges-in-us/

Montenegro’s government denied South Korea’s request to extradite Terraform Labs’s founder to his homeland, and it looks like Do Kown is heading to the USA!

The Montenegrin Supreme Court of Podgorica has approved the extradition of Terra’s founder, Do Kwon, to the US, as reported by the local publication Pobjeda today. The verdict also put an end to the legal chase over Kwon’s extradition from both South Korea and the US.

Wall Street Journal reported in December last year that Montenegro’s top judicial official planned to extradite Do Kwon to the US instead of Korea. However, the final determination relied on Andrej Milović, Minister of Justice of Montenegro.

Do Kwon Faces The USG

Do Kwon’s defense, led by lawyer Goran Rodić, previously argued for Kwon’s extradition to South Korea based on legal and treaty obligations.

However, Justice Minister Andrej Milović, when discussing whether to extradite Do Kwon to South Korea or the US, said that the US was a key foreign policy partner. Milović expressed a preference to sign a bilateral extradition treaty to establish a legal framework for future extraditions.

With the latest court decision, Kwon now faces charges in the US related to a multibillion-dollar fraud brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

What Will Become of Him?

The extradition and criminal charges of Terra’s founder seemed to have become the focus of the crypto community. Prosecutors in the US and South Korea want to bring Kwon home to face trial for fraud and securities law violations related to the $40 billion collapse in May 2022.

On March 23, Montenegrin authorities said they had arrested Do Kwon and Hang Chang-Joon, Terraform Labs’ former Chief Financial Officer, when these two fugitives planned to escape to Dubai using falsified documents. They were then detained in the Balkans.

Immediately after news of Do Kwon’s arrest surfaced, the US federal prosecutor requested his extradition to New York to stand trial, where the former CEO was accused of defrauding investors and manipulating the price of the USTC stablecoin.

Kim Hee-kyung, a spokeswoman for the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office, said that the South Korean prosecutor would take steps to repatriate Do Kwon to the homeland. She also confirmed that they were working on the process of his extradition.

Burning Man!!!

The US SEC accused both Terraform Labs and its founder of orchestrating the scheme, raising billions of dollars from investors through disguised securities offerings and many unregistered trading assets. The US Department of Justice also issued a criminal indictment charging Do Kwon with fraud related to LUNA-UST.

By the end of 2023, Kwon asked the federal court to dismiss the US SEC’s interrogation order to question him in the US about the ecosystem’s collapse.

In a filing dated September 27, Kwon’s legal team said that the SEC’s request to be questioned before October 13 was unfeasible. He likely wants to avoid the US legal system, into which he may disappear like banchan at a Korean BBQ.

The reason was that he was detained in Montenegro at that time and had no release date-specific preferences or extradition schedule. In addition, Terra’s founder refused to provide written testimony to the SEC on the grounds that it violated procedural rights under US law.

Unlike Kwon, Chang-joon was extradited to South Korea following a court ruling earlier this month. He is now facing criminal proceedings in the country for fraud in financial services, investments, and the capital market, which is punishable by life imprisonment.

Luna Classic and Luna Still Traded

Luna Classic (LUNC) and Luna (LUNA) experienced a slight decrease. CoinGecko’s data shows that LUNC dropped around 1% while LUNA was down 2%. More shocking is that these tokens are still traded. Is there value there?

Only time will tell!

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Worldcoin WLD Price: Skyrockets Following OpenAI’s Sora Intro

https://blockonomi.com/worldcoin-wld-price-skyrockets-following-openais-sora-intro/

OpenAI, the US-based artificial intelligence (AI) research behind the prominent ChatGPT, introduced Sora last week, a new AI model that can help generate a 60-second video from textual commands. While this is a big moment, the tech is still new.

Shortly after the tool’s introduction, Worldcoin (WLD), a blockchain project led by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, soared from around $3 at the time of Sora’s introduction to over $7 at press time, according to CoinGecko’s data.

WLD has surged over 188% over the last seven days and set a new record high as bullish momentum keeps building up on OpenAI’s landmark milestone in AI development. AI is making big things happen. People are throwing money at it – but its long term impact may be limited.


AI is Hot!

OpenAI further posted a couple of short clips that showcase what Sora’s output looks like. One of the clips shows Tokyo in winter, with people walking around an area of ​​stalls under a row of blooming cherry blossom trees. Another clip shows a model walking under the neon lights of downtown Tokyo.

According to OpenAI, Sora can generate high-quality, almost lifelike videos for up to one minute, allowing language users to customize complex content details, footage, layout, and colors of people and scenes, among others.

Last 7 Days WLD Price, Source: Coingecko

However, the company notes that Sora’s videos still have some limitations, such as being unable to simulate physical effects, ensuring a cause-effect relationship, distinguishing between left and right, or following the camera trajectory.

Altman also interacted with the community, resharing text descriptions from followers and their Sora-built videos. Undoubtedly, the AI tool quickly drew public attention and sparked widespread interest.

A few hours after the introduction, Sora became one of the most popular hashtags on X. Most members embraced the tool as the next big thing in AI development. On the other hand, Sora also sparked controversies over its rapid advancement, as many considered it a threat to the human workforce.


Many Questions Remain

While making waves across social channels, Sora is currently unavailable for public use due to safety and security concerns. OpenAI affirms that it will work with technology and legal experts to ensure its products will not be abused by bad actors to create fake news, harmful content, and image copyright infringement.

In the past, WLD has also been volatile due to news surrounding OpenAI. The most recent event was when Sam Altman reportedly departed from his position as CEO, which caused a price drop. When he was reinstated a few days later, WLD surged 13% on the news.

While a set of OpenAI tools focuses on having AI assist humans, Worldcoin’s vision is to scan humans’ iris to distinguish them from robots.

Despite ongoing debates, Worldcoin has secured several achievements since its launch. Following two funding rounds in 2021 and 2022, with $125 million in total, the firm raised $115 million in May 2023 in a funding round led by Blockchain Capital, with the participation of a16z, Bain Capital Ventures, and Distributed Global.

Apart from funding, Worldcoin has established partnerships with a number of key industry players, including Optimism. According to the firm’s announcement, Worldcoin’s World ID and World App will leverage the OP Stack.

By the end of last year, Worldcoin launched World ID 2.0 with three-level verification and integration with major platforms such as Minecraft, Reddit, Telegram, and Shopify. Worldcoin also revealed at launch that it is implementing plans to expand operations to Mexico, Singapore, and many other Asian countries.

According to information from the project’s website, over 3.4 million people have scanned their iris with Orb to verify their identity, and over 76 million WLD tokens have been distributed to Worldcoin’s users.

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Genesis GBTC Sale: Coinbase Confident of Minimal Impact on Crypto Market

https://blockonomi.com/genesis-gbtc-sale-coinbase-confident-of-minimal-impact-on-crypto-market/

Bitcoin’s price concerns have risen after a federal Judge authorized Genesis to sell approximately $1.66 billion in assets last week. In a weekly report, Coinbase addressed these concerns by stating that the massive sale would most likely have a “neutral overall effect in the market”.

Coinbase remains optimistic about the crypto market after its own revenue went up 51% over the last quarter of 2023. This optimism, however, didn’t prevent the exchange from recently announcing changes to its Coinbase Commerce service. The changes include the removal of native Bitcoin support.

Time To Worry?

The assets Genesis was allowed to sell are 35.9 million shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), 8.7 million of Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE), and 3.0 million of Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust (ETCG). Whether the shares will be exchanged for their underlying assets or sold for cash to distribute to its creditors is still a matter of speculation.

Coinbase’s prediction of a “neutral overall effect” from the sale of GBTC, ETHE, and ETCG obeys its assertion that all of the assets will “remain within the crypto ecosystem”. This, combined with the momentum the cryptocurrency market is experiencing, would be enough to counterbalance the selling pressure.

What happens to these shares will be decided on February 26th, the date when the confirmation hearing is scheduled to take place. The hearing will decide whether Genesis’ debt repayment plan is a viable path forward or not, setting the stage for the next step in Genesis’ Chapter 11 process.

No More Support for Native Bitcoin

Coinbase Commerce’s decision to drop its support for native Bitcoin comes at a time when the cryptocurrency has gained 25% in value over the past month. The cryptocurrency has led a surge in activity in the crypto market, which has now surpassed the $2 trillion capitalization for the first time since May 2022.

Coinbase’s Head of Product Lauren Dowling referred to the drop of support as a “difficult decision”. According to Dowling, Bitcoin’s lack of stablecoins and smart contracts made it difficult to develop the same features the company offered through other networks.

The drop of native Bitcoin support doesn’t mean customers will no longer be able to pay using the cryptocurrency. Any customer who owns a Coinbase account will be able to continue paying with Bitcoin, which Dowling said makes a “significant portion” of customers already using the service.

According to Dowling, the change will bring “higher conversion rates” and “less manual effort”, while also being well received by many merchants. They also reassured customers that the on-chain payment protocol “will remain open”, ensuring that tokens and networks not supported by it can still be used with the service.

Coinbase Is Finally Profitable

Despite being one of the biggest exchanges in the world and one of the few ones able to operate legally in the U.S., Coinbase has struggled to reach profitability for a while. This, however, changed during 2023 as the exchange posted its first profitable quarter since going public.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong celebrated the good quarter by sharing some insights via X, formerly known as Twitter. Armstrong cited the $95 million in positive net income, the launch of the Coinbase International Exchange, new products like derivatives and Layer 2 Base, and its lobbying efforts to get Bitcoin ETFs approved, as major milestones.

Now that it is in “a strong financial position”, Coinbase will be focusing on “growing trading fee revenue” this year. To achieve that objective, the exchange will be expanding internationally and enhancing the utility of its payment solutions, as well as “developing Coinbase Wallet into an onchain superapp”.

Armstrong also reaffirmed his belief that Coinbase’s “long term focus on compliance” was one of the major drivers behind last year’s success. As such, the exchange will also be “driving regulatory clarity for crypto” in 2024 through its lobbying, legal, and standwithcrypto.org efforts.

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Crypto Money Laundering Drops by 30%, Says Chainalysis: Warns of New Strategies

https://blockonomi.com/crypto-money-laundering-drops-by-30-says-chainalysis-warns-of-new-strategies/

Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis has found that the crypto transaction volume associated with money laundering activity dropped by almost $10B in 2023. Compared to the $31.5B in total cryptocurrency laundered in 2022, last year’s $22.2B represents a decrease of 29.5%.

The firm also found that the value of all crypto raised from ransomware attacks increased significantly, almost doubling that of last year. With $1.1B in total value received by ransomware operators, 2023 set a new record. The report, however, concludes the surge in activity is the result of major geopolitical events and not an indication of an ongoing trend.

The findings come at a time when countries around the world are trying to put systems in place to deter the use of crypto for illegal activities. While this has been much more difficult in the past due to illicit crypto services, the increasing popularity of DeFi is making things easier.

A Year in Review

In its report, Chainalysis found that the drop in money laundering activity matched the timing of an overall decrease in crypto transaction volume. The drop in money laundering-related activity surpassed that of legitimate market activity by 14.6%.

The rise of DeFi has also resulted in the shrinking of illicit services, which has resulted in more illicit funds going to DeFi protocols. This growth can be counterintuitive as DeFi’s additional transparency makes it easier to track all transactions, making obfuscation much harder. As such, Chainalysis attributes this to the growth of DeFi in general, instead of it being the most efficient method.

As in previous years, centralized exchanges continue to be the main destination for illicit cryptocurrency, with a volume almost five times higher than DeFi. This is explained by the multiple fiat off-ramps offered by centralized exchanges, with five services being especially attractive to bad actors. These five unnamed services account for 71.7% of all illicit funds sent to fiat off-ramps.

Money Launderers are Changing Tactics

Despite the reduction in money laundering-related transaction volume, 2023 saw more wallets being used than ever before. In 2022 only 40 exchange deposit addresses received more than $10 million in transactions each, for a total of almost $2 billion. 2023, on the other hand, saw a total of $3.4 being spread in 109 wallets that received over $10 million.

Crypto money laundering by year, Source: Chainalysis

This trend suggests that bad actors are “diluting” transactions at an increasing rate, using more addresses to avoid detection. An added benefit of such an approach is mitigating the impact of seizing by regulators, law enforcers, and centralized platforms. The strategy has proven to be most popular among scammers and market vendors, which show much less concentration than ransomware operators.

While most of this illegal activity is performed by unsophisticated actors who make use of basic tools and strategies, many are using much more advanced strategies. Cross-chain bridges and mixers have become the go-to solutions for entities like North Korea’s Lazarus Group, who have found services like YoMix especially useful.

Law Enforcers and Compliance Teams Must Step Up

Governments around the world have scrambled over the past decade to pass legislation specifically designed to regulate cryptocurrency. While some countries have succeeded, the technical complexity of cryptocurrency and its decentralized nature makes it difficult to keep up with illicit and legitimate use of the technology.

South Korea saw an increase of 48.8% in the reports for suspicious cryptocurrency transactions. This increase is partly explained by more efficient communication between law enforcement and crypto firms. Countries like Nigeria have also seen illicit activity related to crypto increase over the past year, which has prompted experts to push for crypto regulation.

According to Chainalysis, which works with several government agencies across the world, “studying these new laundering methods” is the way to go. The firm believes that by “becoming familiar with the on-chain patterns associated with them”, regulators and enforcers can become much more efficient at taking action.

However, the firm believes this record to be the result of major geopolitical events like the Russian Invasion has made these efforts more difficult, often resulting in governments establishing harsher controls over all crypto transactions.

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Avalanche AVAX: Up 134% as Institutions Embrace Network for Capital Markets 2.0

https://blockonomi.com/avalanche-avax-up-134-as-institutions-embrace-network-for-capital-markets-2-0/

Avalanche’s Spruce Subnet has been used by Citi to successfully explore the tokenization of private equity funds. In collaboration with Wellington Management and WisdomTree, the experiment sought to determine the network’s potential to re-architect capital markets and improve financial services.

Avalanche has received increasing interest at the institutional and individual level, resulting in its currency gaining over 134% in value during the past year. The network has recently deployed the pre-release code for its Durango upgrade on the Fuji Testnet, while also gaining traction in the NFT sector.


TLDR

  • Citi successfully tested tokenizing a private equity fund on Avalanche’s Spruce testnet, finding it could unlock automation and data improvements in capital markets
  • Avalanche’s Durango upgrade brings cross-chain messaging, staking enhancements, and better error handling to improve the developer experience
  • Avalanche’s AVAX token has gained over 134% in the last year as institutions explore using the network to reimagine financial services
  • The Empire State Building launched an NFT loyalty program on Avalanche, issuing digital collectibles that unlock rewards like tickets and events
  • Avalanche was chosen for the loyalty program due to its enterprise scalability, speed, and support for managing hundreds of thousands of users

Bringing FInancial Markets to a New Age

Citi’s experiment was conducted on Avalanche’s Spruce testnet, which is specifically designed to cater to the needs of financial enterprises due to its permissioned nature. This makes the testnet uniquely suited to explore solutions for the lack of transparency, automation, and standardization in the $10 trillion AUM markets.

As part of the test, Citi explored tokenizing a Wellington private equity fund on a distributed ledger. After encoding multiple compliance and identity rules into Avalanche smart contracts, this token was issued to a WisdomTree wallet. Secondary transfers between WisdomTree wallets and collateralized lending were also tested.

After the successful completion of all of the tests, Citi concluded that Avalanche’s tokenization capabilities “unlocks the value in traditional markets to new use-cases and digital distribution channels”. Some of the benefits found by Citi include “greater automation, data, and operating models”.

Avalanche’s Durango Upgrade

Avalanche’s Durango upgrade, which implements several key Avalanche Community Proposals (ACPs), went live on the Fuji testnet on February 13th. The upgrade brings native transfers to the Platform Chain (P-chain), allowing users to manage assets more efficiently and securely. Subnet ownership transfers are also supported now, giving operators the ability to transition control as needed.

A major feature is the integration of Avalanche Warp Messaging (AWM) into the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). AWM establishes native cross-chain communication between Avalanche subnets and the Contract Chain (C-Chain) without any third-party intermediaries. This means that messages are now passed directly using the P-Chain as a validator set registry, giving Avalanche cross-chain interoperability.

Durango is also set to improve the developer experience through VM application error signaling and the removal of the staking Start-Time setting. This means that the staking period would now start when a staking transaction is accepted, increasing efficiency and opening the doors to continuous staking in the future.

This streamlines P-Chain operations and paves the way for future scalability enhancements to support 100,000 subnets. Wide adoption of BLS keys accelerates this roadmap, unlocking capabilities like arbitrary subnet rewards and trustless state attestations. Overall, the upgrade delivers greater flexibility and improved tooling for Avalanche developers.

Empire State Launches Avalanche-Powered NFT Loyalty Program

Web3 loyalty platform Uptop has partnered with Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) to launch an innovative NFT ambassador program built on the Avalanche blockchain. This initiative aims to recognize and reward the over 4 million annual visitors to New York’s most famous attraction: the Empire State Building.

The program issues NFTs to visitors that serve as digital keepsakes and unlock rewards for every repeated visit. Uptop chose Avalanche due to its enterprise scalability, as it expects to reach “hundreds of thousands of people in its first year”. With over 4 million people visiting the iconic building, Avalanche’s speed, security, and support were key factors in the decision.

The program’s NFTs will include rewards like complimentary tickets, exclusive event access, entries to annual events like the Run-Up, and additional perks as visitors level up. Uptop believes that digital mementos’ ability to offer added value could replace physical souvenirs, which is why they chose to implement the program.

The NFTs will integrate with partner merchants like Tacombi and STATE Grill and Bar, offering holders redeemable benefits designed to improve their NYC visit. Uptop Cofounder John Timoney celebrated the partnership by calling it a “blend of tradition and digital innovation” that would “immortalize visits”.

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Racing to Regulation: Crypto Exchanges Banxa, OKX, & EDX Make Major Internationalization Moves

https://blockonomi.com/racing-to-regulation-crypto-exchanges-banxa-okx-edx-make-major-internationalization-moves/

With the global cryptocurrency market capitalization getting closer to $2 trillion by the hour, cryptocurrency companies are looking to capitalize on the uptrend. Three major crypto exchanges – Banxa, OKX, and EDX – have all recently made moves to expand their operations abroad.

Banxa secured a key registration with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, something most cryptoasset businesses fail to achieve. OKX, on the other hand, has launched in Argentina as part of its Latin American growth strategy. Meanwhile, EDX Markets has solidified its plans to expand into the Singapore market this year.


TLDR

  • Banxa has registered with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), making it the first crypto company to do so in 2023
  • OKX has officially launched in Argentina as part of its expansion into Latin America.
  • EDX Markets, backed by Fidelity and Schwab, plans to expand into the Singapore crypto market this year.
  • Cryptocurrency companies like exchanges are rapidly expanding internationally to capitalize on the current crypto market uptrend and growing adoption.
  • Regulatory approval remains a major hurdle for crypto companies expanding overseas.

Banxa Reaches a Major Milestone

Banxa, one of the most popular cryptocurrency on and off ramps, has secured a registration with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The addition to the registry allows Banxa to operate as a cryptoasset business in the country, benefiting partners like Binance, KuCoin, and OKX.

Banxa has now become the first to register with the FCA this year, a process that has an approval rate of only 7%. Over the past year, only other four companies had secured a registration with the FCA, including Paypal and Bitstamp.

By offering its on and off-ramp services to some of the biggest exchanges and cryptocurrency platforms in the world, Banxa has become a powerhouse of the crypto industry. This notoriety, however, comes with increasing regulatory oversight and competition.

Banxa UK Managing Director Brinda Paul, the company’s former Director/Head of Compliance, spearheaded the company’s efforts. They expressed their belief that the FCA’s “high standards” would help the company drive adoption in the UK.

OKX Bets on Latin America

Cryptocurrency exchange OKX has officially launched in Argentina. The launch brings OKX’s trading services and web3 wallet to what it considers “a crucial launch pad” for its regional expansion. Argentinians will now be able to access a localized platform that lacks none of OKX’s features and services, according to OKX President Hong Fang.

Fang referred to Argentina as “one of the top crypto markets in Latin America” while expressing his excitement about the expansion. They also expressed the company’s commitment to continue its expansion in the region, stating “We’re just getting started!”.

Over the past decades, Argentinians have gotten used to keeping their savings in U.S. dollars as distrust in the local currency is commonplace. However, the former governments placed harsh restrictions on how many dollars can be acquired every month and who has access to them. As such, stablecoins and cryptocurrencies have emerged as the most popular alternative.

Cryptocurrency platforms have seen an opportunity in the soaring inflation, harsh economic measures, and a growing USD black market, as crypto offers a lifeline to millions of Argentinians. As the fourth-largest centralized exchange by trading volume, OKX’s launch was well received by Argentinian crypto users.

EDX Enters the Singapore Crypto Market

EDX Markets, a cryptocurrency exchange backed by Fidelity and Schwab, will expand its operations to the Singapore market. The company had already shared its plans to expand into Asia, but CEO Jamil Nazarali has now confirmed the move will take place this year.

Nazarali told DL News the company’s decision was mostly due to the inability to offer a comprehensive list of tokens due to regulatory uncertainty in the United States. The exchange seeks to offer spot and perpetual futures, something that the company “can’t do in the US”.

In addition to Singapore’s “strong regulatory framework” being one of the main reasons to choose the country, Nazarali also cited its reputation as a “global financial capital” and its big “supply of talent”. While full approval by Singapore’s regulators could take as much as 24 months, EDX aims to establish its presence in the country this year.

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Crypto Finance Secured BaFin Licenses As Demand for Crypto Soars in Germany

https://blockonomi.com/crypto-finance-secured-bafin-licenses-as-demand-for-crypto-soars-in-germany/

Zurich-based financial group Crypto Finance AG has secured four licenses from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). The licenses are for the group’s subsidiary Crypto Finance in Germany, allowing it to offer trading, settlement, and custody services for digital assets in the country.

The news comes at a time when interest in cryptocurrencies and other financial assets is soaring in the world’s third-largest economy Not only have local politicians advocated for Bitcoin adoption but both individuals and private institutions have also shown an increasing appetite for crypto exposure.

Institutional Interest in Crypto is Driving Competition

Crypto Finance has been redoubling its efforts to solidify its presence in the European crypto market after being acquired by the Deutsche Börse Group in 2021. The group acquired the firm to have a foundation for the creation of its “ecosystem for digital assets under European regulation”.

The four licenses mean that Crypto Finance can now operate as a digital assets manager both in Germany and Switzerland, where it is regulated by FINMA. The firm will continue to focus on offering “highly regulated services” to institutional investors, especially those “seeking access to the dynamic world of digital assets”.

Institutional interest in crypto and blockchain has been rising in Germany recently. Last year, Commerzbank became the first bank in the country to receive a cryptocurrency custody license. This year, Germany’s second-largest bank DZ Bank is set to pilot crypto trading. With more institutions exploring crypto-related services, competition is getting more fierce.

Deutsche Börse Group has referred to blockchain and distributed ledger technologies as “a game changer for the financial markets”. The group plans to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange known as Deutsche Börse Digital Exchange. While not many details are known at this time, the company was already included in the group’s 2022 annual financial report.

Say Hello to Tokenized Environmental Assets

Neutral and DLT Finance announced a partnership last week to launch the first platform for “tokenized environmental assets”. These tokenized assets include carbon and renewable energy credits, two markets that have been estimated to be worth over $103.8 billion and $11.4 billion respectively.

DLT Finance’s regulated services will make it possible for the platform to be launched in Germany, as the company holds the necessary BaFin licenses to operate in the country. Neutral’s technology, on the other hand, will allow users to buy, sell, and interact with tokenized environmental assets by enabling “efficient interaction and trade”.

According to Neutral Co-founder and CEO Farouq Ghandour, interest in such a platform has been increasing over the past years. However, with regulators failing to keep up with technological progress, companies offering such services have been unable to meet the demand. Ghandour called the partnership a “first step” to “bring legitimacy, price discovery, and liquidity to the on-chain environmental asset ecosystem”.

Crypto Adoption Is Growing in Germany

A survey by Paysafe found that 28% of German respondents had owned cryptocurrency at some point over the past 12 months. This percentage was significantly higher than that of Italy (17%) and Poland (8%), and only 4 points higher than France and the United Kingdom.

The survey also found that digital wallets could be the best vehicle towards widespread cryptocurrency adoption, as it was the preferred local payment method of 25% of all respondents. The company also concluded that the adoption of cryptocurrency and its related services was “likely to grow” due to crypto-friendly regulation.

A 2023 report by Chainalysis found that “trustworthy regulation and education provided to investors by institutions” was one of the most important elements driving growth in Germany. According to Dr. Sven Hildebrandt, the country also has “very strong historical routing in technical blockchain development” and the most jobs in the sector.

Regulation has long been seen as the enemy of cryptocurrency in the United States, where legislators and regulators can’t agree on a stance. However, Germany has managed to become an increasingly attractive destination for companies looking to harvest blockchain and DLT technologies.

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Coinbase Advanced Trading Platform Guide: All You Need to Know

https://blockonomi.com/coinbase-advanced-trading-platform/

As cryptocurrencies continue to grow in popularity among retail and institutional investors, crypto exchanges are competing to provide the most robust and seamless trading experiences. Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges globally, recently launched Coinbase Advanced Trade, replacing its previous advanced trading platform Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase Advanced Trade offers a dedicated space tailored specifically for advanced crypto traders. The goal is to consolidate all of Coinbase’s services into one streamlined and intuitive platform to meet traders’ needs. This eliminates the complications traders previously faced in having to transfer between Coinbase’s various products.

A key focus in developing Advanced Trade was addressing trader feedback to provide faster access to the features and market information needed to execute trading strategies. As such, Coinbase has added comprehensive charting through a partnership with TradingView, increased asset availability to over 500 trading pairs, and introduced perks like rewards programs.

Coinbase Advanced Trading

With Coinbase Pro having been retired as of November 2023, existing users will have their balances and trade history automatically ported over to Advanced Trade. The transition aims to be simple, allowing traders to pick up right where they left off. Both new and existing traders will also continue enjoying Coinbase’s industry-leading security protections.

This guide will walk through all that Advanced Trade has to offer compared to Coinbase Pro, detailing the improved charts, expanded asset availability, rewards incentives, mobile app capabilities, and more.

We’ll also outline how to get started on the new platform as both a existing Coinbase Pro user as well as a new Coinbase trader. By the end, you’ll have all the information needed to take advantage of everything Coinbase Advanced Trade provides for a superior and seamless advanced trading experience.

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KeyPoints

  • It replaces Coinbase Pro to provide an enhanced trading experience with more tools and features in one platform.
  • Offers advanced TradingView charts with 104 indicators, more advanced order types, and ability to earn up to 6% rewards on assets like USDC.
  • Provides the same low trading fees based on 30-day volume as Coinbase Pro.
  • Gives access to over 550 trading pairs with the same liquidity as Coinbase Pro.
  • Seamless transfer of funds from Coinbase Pro; Coinbase automatically credits users’ funds.

Key Features

Coinbase Advanced Trade offers several upgrades over the previous Coinbase Pro platform to unlock a more powerful yet user-friendly advanced trading experience. Some of the key features traders can now benefit from include:

Advanced TradingView Charts

One major improvement is the addition of fully-customizable TradingView charts. Traders get access to over 100 different indicators like moving averages, relative strength index (RSI), moving average convergence divergence (MACD), Bollinger bands, and more. These can help better identify trends, spot potential reversals, pick entry and exit points, and ultimately make better trading decisions. The platform supports advanced chart types and detailed candlestick charts as well.

More Order Flexibility

In addition to market and limit orders, Coinbase Advanced Trade supports stop limit orders. These allow traders to help manage their risk exposure by automatically selling or buying once an asset hits a predefined threshold price. The order management dashboard also makes it easier for traders to track their open positions.

Rewards Up to 6% APY

Unlike Coinbase Pro, Advanced Trade enables users to earn rewards on assets held on the platform. For example, traders can earn up to 6% rewards on USD Coin (USDC) balances. This unlocks free crypto rewards that traders can periodically withdraw or use to re-invest back into their trading strategies.

Smooth Mobile App Integration

The full suite of Advanced Trade tools and features are seamlessly accessible on Coinbase’s mobile apps. This includes the TradingView charts, order types, rewards programs, asset availability, trading pairs, and more. Users no longer need to switch between Pro and regular Coinbase apps.


Getting Started

Getting started with Coinbase Advanced Trade is simple, especially for those migrating over from Coinbase Pro.

For Existing Coinbase Pro Users

The transfer of assets and trading history from your Coinbase Pro account happens automatically. The process began in November 2022 and funds are credited in your regular Coinbase portfolio.

To access Advanced Trade, simply update your Coinbase mobile app or access it on the web at advanced.coinbase.com. Then navigate to the “Trade” tab and select “Advance Trade” to enter the dedicated advanced trading dashboard.

From here, you can view all your transferred balances under “Portfolios” and pick up right where you left off in Coinbase Pro with tools tailored for serious traders.

For New Coinbase Users

Those new to Coinbase first need to set up an account, which takes just a few minutes. Follow these steps:

  1. On coinbase.com or the Coinbase mobile app, click Sign Up.
  2. Enter your name, email, password and location to create an account.
  3. Verify your email address.
  4. Input your phone number to receive an SMS code, then enter it to verify.
  5. Provide personal details for identity verification.
  6. Upload a valid government ID document.
  7. Enable two-factor authentication for security.
  8. Link a bank account or card as a payment method.

Once your account is open, you can toggle to Advanced Trade from your user profile on web and mobile to utilize all of its rich capabilities catered for active crypto traders explained in this guide.


The Advanced Trading Interface

Once you access the Advanced Trade Dashboard, you can find tools and features to help you take greater control of your digital assets, including:

  • Price chart
    The price chart here gives you a fast and easy way to view historical pricing. With the chart, you can customize your price chart display by time range and chart type, as well as use a series of indicators to provide additional insight into pricing trends.
  • Time Range
    It is to check the pricing history and trading volume of an asset over a specific period.
  • Order Book
    An order book is a list of buy orders (bids) and sell orders (asks) for an asset. Look at order books, you can see the price buyers and sellers are willing to pay, as well as how many discrete units they seek to buy or sell at each price.  On Coinbase, order books are separated vertically, with asks in red on the top and bids in green on the bottom.
  • Depth Chart
    The depth chart presents the order book. The x-axis shows price points, increasing from left to right. The y-axis shows the total amount of available assets to buy or sell, increasing from bottom to top. Like the order book, the depth chart has a buy side and a sell side. The green bid line shows the total value of the bids, or buy orders while the red ask line shows the total value of the asks, or sell orders. In the middle, you can see the current mid-market price, along with the gap between the highest bid and lowest ask.
  • Chart Types
    The candlestick chart shows the high, low, open, and closing prices of an asset for a specific time frame. In that, O (open) is the opening price of the asset at the beginning of the specified period, H (high) is the highest trading price of the asset in that period, L (low) is the lowest trading price of the asset in that period, and C (close) is the closing price of the asset at the end of the specific period. Meanwhile, the line chart captures an asset’s historical price by connecting a series of data points with a continuous line.

Charting Tools

As said, Charts on Coinbase Advanced are powered by TradingView with EMA, MA, MACD, RSI, Bollinger Brand, and drawing tools.

Technical indicators

TradingView brings users 104 market indicators, which track market trends and patterns to help inform your trading decisions. It allows you to select multiple indicators to give you a better perspective of an asset’s buy and sell price. Below are some of the most common:

  • RSI (relative strength index) shows a trend’s duration and gives you a spot when it will reverse.
  • EMA (exponential moving average) measures the average price points of an asset.
  • SMA (smooth moving average) measures the average price points of an asset over a longer period.
  • MACD (moving average convergence/divergence) measures the highest and lowest average price points.

Watchlists

The platform offers a customizable watchlist helping users easier and sooner catching the trend of the game.

Order Types

Coinbase Advanced allows traders to manage risks in volatile markets with maker orders, limit orders, and stop-limit orders.

Maker orders are buy or sell orders that execute immediately at the best available market prices, meaning you can buy or sell at the best available market price. Market orders are useful in case prices are changing fast and you want to enter or exit your position as soon as possible.

Limit orders allow you to manually select the maximum price for your buy order and minimum price for your sell order, meaning it will execute only if that price is hit. It is also a good way to trade large amounts because it ensures you’re only paying your preferred price.

Meanwhile, Stop-limit orders allow you to automatically place a limit order to buy or sell when an asset’s price reaches a specified value, known as the stop price. As so, it can protect your profits as well as limit losses.

What is different from Coinbase Pro is the Advanced Trade added Auction mode.

Liquidity and Market Availability

Coinbase Advanced offers 552 market pairs, with the same liquidity as Pro to help your trades more efficiently.

Trading via API

Support real-time market data including APIs for REST/WebSocket protocols.


How to Trade

Now that your Coinbase Advanced Trade account is set up, let’s walk through executing a sample trade from start to finish to highlight the key features in action.

Accessing Your Trading Dashboard

First, ensure you are logged into your Coinbase account on the website or mobile app, and toggle your profile setting to enter Advanced Trade. This brings you into the dedicated advanced trading dashboard.

On the left sidebar, you will see the key components:

  • Portfolios View holdings, balances, transfers
  • Spot Trading Dashboard to trade, view charts
  • Orders & Fills For managing open or past orders
  • Borrow Place collateral, borrow assets
  • Earn Rewards Stake assets to earn rewards
Advanced Trade Assets
Advanced Trade Assets

Placing Your Order

  1. Go to Spot Trading and use the search bar to select BTC-ETH as your trading pair.
  2. The Price Chart displays by default when you choose a trading pair. You can customize timeframes and chart types, as well as add indicators.
  3. Check the depth and order size relative to market conditions using the Depth Chart (order book visualization) underneath the Price Chart.
  4. When ready, go to the Order Form panel to place your trade order. Here you pick:
  • Order type (limit, market, stop limit)
  • Side (buy/sell)
  • Size (quantity of BTC)
  • Price

We will do a limit order to buy 0.5 ETH at a limit price of 0.033 BTC.

  1. Double check order details and confirm. The Open Orders panel will display your pending order.

Monitoring and Closing Out Trades

Go to Orders & Fills to track open orders status. Once filled, they become complete fills. Here you can also access full historical order activity.

When ready to close a position, navigate back to the BTC-ETH trading pair and place a new order opposite your original trade.

For example, if you bought ETH with BTC originally, you would now select sell for ETH. Pick the right size to fully or partially close the position.

Use the intuitive Advanced Trade dashboard to execute and manage your crypto trades! Take advantage of detailed charts, dynamic order types, rewards programs, and more – all from one unified Coinbase platform.


Costs and Rewards

Fee Structure

Advanced Trade also offers competitive fees. Starting at the 100k volume tier, fees are at <=0.1% maker; $100k trade volume. Zero maker fees for 15 stable pairs. Stable Pairs are 0 bps for maker volumes and 0.1 bps for taker volumes for all volume tiers.

CategoryCoinbase AdvancedCoinbase Pro
Fees<=0.4% maker, <=0.6% taker<=0.4% maker, <=0.6% taker
RewardsEarn rewards for USDC1 or up to 6% APY2 on eligible crypto balances such as staked ETH (ETH2) and moreNot supported
Asset Availability550+ market pairs, with the same liquidity350+ market pairs
Order TypesMarket, Limit, Stop LimitMarket, Limit, Stop Limit
ChartsCharts powered by TradingView with EMA, MA, MACD, RSI, Bollinger Bands, and drawing toolsBasics charts with EMA12 and EMA26 indicators
Security2FA, biometrics for mobile, FDIC-insured USD balances up to $250K, YubiKey support, Coinbase Vault, Address Whitelisting (aka Allowlist)2FA, biometrics for mobile, Address Whitelisting, FDIC-insured USD balances up to $250K
Mobile AppYesYes
Trading APIYesYes

Earning Rewards on Assets

Earn rewards for USDC or up to 6% APY* on eligible crypto balances such as staked ETH (ETH2) and more. Also, automatically earn USDC rewards on USDC that you are holding or using for partial/un-filled orders

Security

Security should be top of mind for any cryptocurrency investor, and Coinbase prioritizes safety across its platforms. By using Coinbase Advanced Trade, traders gain access to the exchange’s robust security architecture.

Some of the key protections include:

  • Cold Storage: Coinbase stores the vast majority of digital assets in air-gapped cold storage facilities. These addresses are not connected to the internet, minimizing exposure to hacking risks.
  • 2-Factor Authentication (2FA): Users should enable 2FA through Authy or hardware security keys to require an additional credential to login aside from just a password. This prevents unauthorized access.
  • Address Allowlisting: Whitelist specific wallet address you own so withdrawals outside those known addresses are automatically rejected as an extra withdrawal verification safeguard.
  • Device Management: Take advantage of device confirmation prompts when logging in from a new device and get alerts about unrecognized logins for monitoring suspicious activity.

In addition to these measures, Coinbase maintains fidelity bonds to cover theft insurance, has biometric login on mobile, offers a secure Coinbase Vault to lock away funds, and provides robust API keys management for automated traders.

So traders can feel at ease knowing Advanced Trade upholds the highest security standards traders expect from Coinbase. Take a look at their full transparency report for more details on their robust security posture.


Conclusion

Coinbase Advanced Trade provides a major step forward for crypto traders who previously relied on Coinbase Pro. The improved charts, order flexibility, rewards incentives, and seamless mobile experience unlock a much more robust and intuitive platform to execute trading strategies.

Key advantages that traders gain include:

  • Customizable TradingView charts with over 100 indicators
  • Stop limit orders for risk management
  • Up to 6% APY rewards on assets like USDC
  • Access to 550+ trading pairs with deep liquidity
  • Easy transfer of balances from retired Coinbase Pro

Both existing Coinbase Pro users as well as those new to Coinbase can get started on Advanced Trade quickly. The automatic account transition combined with streamlined onboarding makes adopting Advanced Trade a frictionless move.

As Coinbase continues enhancing the product, traders can expect more features like new chart overlays, order types, portfolio analytics, and more. But even from day one, Advanced Trade delivers the most powerful crypto trading experience Coinbase has made available to date.

So whether you are a casual crypto trader or an active day trader, Coinbase Advanced Trade deserves a close look. Visit Coinbase today to unlock charting, trading tools and security to start trading crypto like a pro.

Visit Coinbase

Coinbase offers simple and advanced trading in eligible jurisdictions. Advanced trading is for experienced traders and is subject to the Trading Rules. Fees on the two platforms vary. Content is for informational purposes and not investment advice. Investing in crypto comes with risk. Please carefully consider whether trading or holding cryptocurrencies is suitable for you given your financial situation.

*The APY you receive depends on the rewards received from the network, which can change over time. Coinbase takes a commission on all rewards received, and the APY for our customers reflects this commission. Customers will be able to see the latest rate directly within their accounts.

The post Coinbase Advanced Trading Platform Guide: All You Need to Know appeared first on Blockonomi.

Bitcoin Smashes $50,000 Following $1.1 Billion Inflows: New ATH Soon?

https://blockonomi.com/bitcoin-smashes-50000-following-1-1-billion-inflows-new-ath-soon/

Bitcoin has finally reclaimed the $50,000 mark after two years!

Bulls are back in the crypto town as the price of Bitcoin (BTC) surpassed $50,000 earlier today following massive inflows into the crypto market, on-chain data shows. This is the highest level in two years. The flagship crypto is currently trading at around $49,700, up 3% in the last 24 hours. Bitcoin’s next target is the $51,000-$55,000 range.

There is a lot of intertest in cryptos now. People see it as an emerging asset class. With big buying, higher prices are likely in 2024.

Bitcoin Blasts Higher

Last week, Bitcoin broke through the $48,000 mark after a month of moving sideways in the $40,000 – $43,000 range. With Bitcoin gaining momentum, the bulls have also revisited other top coins. ETH surged past $2,600, up around 4.7% in the last 24 hours, ADA was up 3.35% to $0.55, Binance Coin (BNB) was up around 2% to $328, and Solana (SOL) surged to around $110.

According to a recent report from CoinShares, over $1.1 billion was poured into the crypto market last week, with Bitcoin accounting for 98% of the inflows. The other two major coins that also saw significant investments were Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA), with $16.5 million and $6.1 million in inflows, respectively.

The surge in inflows came amid massive inflows into spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). BitMEX Research revealed that spot Bitcoin fund inflows surged to $541 million on Friday, the largest level excluding the first trading day.

Additionally, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Grayscale’s spot Bitcoin ETF, experienced an outflow slowdown of over $51 million on Friday. This trend indicates less selling pressure from Grayscale’s spot ETFs.

ETFs create an easy way for people to buy into Bitcoin. Many investors are comfortable with ETFs, so there may be more money coming into the crypto market.

ETFs Hit The Market

Apart from these newly launched spot ETFs, other factors, including the coming Bitcoin halving and the anticipated Fed’s monetary policy, potentially contribute to Bitcoin’s price momentum. The fourth halving event is set to happen in less than two months, which will see the block mining reward cut from 6.25 BTC to 3.125 BTC.

While the halving does not directly affect price, it may create supply and demand dynamics, especially given the fact that Wall Street is accumulating more Bitcoin following the spot Bitcoin ETF launch. BlackRock and other ETF providers currently hold over 200,000 BTC in one month. This figure even surpasses MicroStrategy’s 190,000 BTC. These ETFs now account for almost 1% of Bitcoin in circulation, and the percentage is expected to grow.

Historically, a Bitcoin halving has set the stage for a bull run, with Bitcoin typically hitting a new record high. For instance, following the third halving on May 11, 2020, Bitcoin climbed to nearly $69,000 – its new all-time high – in November 2021. Historical data shows a similar pattern in the first and second halvings.

Meanwhile, the Fed’s monetary policy shift could benefit Bitcoin’s price. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a recent speech that the federal agency would unlikely hike interest rates. While this remark didn’t necessarily imply a rate cut, it suggested a looser monetary policy.

“The question of when it will be appropriate to cut rates is coming into view,” Powell stated.

The Fed has been tightening its monetary policy since early last year with the goal of combating high inflation, which is well above the Fed’s policy goal of 2%. According to updates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation was up 3.4% in December 2023.

Lowering interest rates or quantitative easing tends to attract more capital into investment avenues, including crypto, potentially creating a rally scenario, unlike rate hikes, which often drive investors away from riskier assets like Bitcoin and altcoins.

We may see much lower rates in the coming years, as government debt expands globally.

The post Bitcoin Smashes $50,000 Following $1.1 Billion Inflows: New ATH Soon? appeared first on Blockonomi.

EOS Leap 5 Upgrade: Ushers in New Era of Speed and Scalability

https://blockonomi.com/eos-leap-5-upgrade-ushers-in-new-era-of-speed-and-scalability/

The EOS Network Foundation is making the blockchain space better, and giving devs more tools to create real solutions. While Leap 5 doesn’t solve all the issues blockchain devs face, it is a step along a path that will lead to a new era in blockchain functionality.

Leap 5 is a big development for blockchain technology. It is the brainchild of the EOS Network Foundation, and will drive the blockchain development space forward. Leap 5 will improve features, and lay solid foundations for the future.


TLDR

  • Leap 5 is a major upgrade launched by the EOS Network Foundation on January 4th to improve the EOS blockchain.
  • It aims to reduce limitations, increase speed, improve efficiency, and expand governance capabilities.
  • Two key changes are removing constraints on smart contract inline action size and transaction times to allow more data transfer and computation.
  • Leap 5 quadruples the speed of ABI-intensive queries and enables parallel processing for faster read-only transactions.
  • It optimizes block creation reliability and provides node operators more customization and control.
  • Together this increases flexibility for developers, efficiency of the network, and lays the groundwork for further upgrades like Leap 6.
  • Leap 6 will introduce instant finality and other consensus improvements to stay at the forefront of blockchain technology.
  • EOS also offers EOS EVM as a bridge between EOS and Ethereum, providing advantages of both ecosystems to developers.

Leap 5 is Here!

Leap 5 launched on January 4, and found a warm welcome in the EOS community. It shifts the process of setting up systems that are efficient, reliable, and scalable for anyone in the global EOS ecosystem.

Leap 5 improves the backbone of the network, and will make the next planned update a reality. This happens while the EOS Network is preparing for the Leap 6 consensus upgrade.

Four primary goals are at the heart of this upgrade. It reduces limitations, increases the speed, improves efficiency, and increases governance capacities.

The EOS community initially anticipated that the large consensus update and the introduction of Instant Finality would be included in this release. However, they will be introduced with Leap 6 instead. Further information on these developments will hit global media in the following months!


Smashing Constraints

Leap 5 brings in two changes that redefine constraints placed on smart contracts. The first significant change is the deletion of max-nonprivileged-inline-action-size, keeping only the objective limit managed on-chain as a constraint for inline action size, maximum_inline-transfer-size.

This change enables the smart contracts to move more kilobytes via in-line action when idle interacting with other prose. For instance, this modification’s latest call action for EOS EVM empowers deploying contracts over 4 kilobits.

The second amendment intends to modify the initial value for max-transaction time so that the transaction will be restricted up until point by on-chain supervised max.

This alteration allows transactions to achieve more within their given time window. For example, the EOS EVM could use its extended transaction time to perform additional and complete transactions that could have been rejected at a high network load.

Many blockchains have struggled with network congestion, which in some cases leads to high transaction prices, and slow clearance times. Now, EOS is addressing these issues, and creating real solutions.


Boosting Speed

Leap 5 is set to quadruple the efficiency of ABI-intensive queries through non-blocking deserialization and allows for a higher volume of read-only transactions by enabling parallel processing across up to 128 threads.

Moreover, the optimization feature of EOS VM OC can now enhance the execution of select smart contracts, significantly reducing execution time. This optimization is limited to trusted smart contracts on accounts prefixed with “eosio.”

Smart contracts for EOS EVM, being deployed on accounts with the “eosio.” prefix, benefit from these optimization gains, providing alternative ways to execute EVM transactions requiring substantial computational resources within the transaction time limits.

Big Efficiency Upgrade

Through the implementation of streamlined sync and memory-optimized chainbase, the introduction of Leap 5 makes Antelope networks more cost-effective. This results in a reduction of around twenty percent in the amount of state memory used.

Augmenting Governance

In addition, node operators are provided with expanded governance tools, including the capability to personalize node settings, address peering difficulties via Prometheus logging, and guarantee efficient and secure connections for usage exclusively within the local area.


More Features Leap 5 Delivers

Leap 5 introduces enhancements that significantly relax previous restrictions, broadening the scope for larger transactions. This is achieved through adjustments in system configurations that allow for greater payload deliveries and extended transaction times, providing developers and contracts with newfound flexibility.

Accelerating Performance

The system’s performance undergoes a dramatic transformation with Leap 5, boasting up to four times the speed in ABI-intensive queries and enabling parallel processing on an unprecedented scale. Such enhancements not only improve the execution times of smart contracts but also extend these benefits to EOS EVM, leveraging the EOS Virtual Machine for optimized smart contract deployment and execution.

Optimizing Block Creation and Networking

Block creation reliability receives a significant boost from optimized block start times, effectively reducing delays between rounds. Customizable endpoints further empower users with greater network control, allowing for tailored configurations that meet diverse operational needs.

Leap 6 and Beyond

The Leap 5 upgrade has an emphasis on quick operations, efficiency, command and control capabilities, and flexibility to provide a solid basis for further updates that will be implemented.

The anticipated Leap 6 consensus update is intended to be released shortly, and this is the forerunner to such an update. In terms of blockchain technology, they are the building blocks of an update that will enable EOS Network to maintain its position at the forefront of the industry.

Leap 5 is a representation of the progress that the developers have made, and it represents API providers and node operators.

Both of these entities are involved in their development. It provides a more robust and comprehensive environment for software developers.

It improves the quality of application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by providers while simultaneously developing more extensive tools for operators to use in dealing with transaction processing and maintaining networks.

As Leap 5 ushers in a new age of blockchain technology for the EOS Network, it also serves to reinforce the EOS Network Foundation’s commitment to innovation, efficiency, and community involvement. This is because Leap 5 is now in the process of being implemented.

The Foundation is in an excellent position to further develop consensus methods via the use of Leap 6, which will allow it to continue its journey toward a prosperous and decentralized future. Specifically, this is because the Foundation is excited about the future.


The EOS Network and EOS EVM

The EOS Network sees value in its third-generation blockchain platform that delivers low latency and high capacity. The platform gives users a better Web3 experience and transactions that work quickly.

For developers, the EOS EVM serves as a bridge between the EOS and Ethereum ecosystems, providing them with the advantages of both ecosystems: the powerful Ethereum tools and libraries as well as EOS features.

The EOS Network Foundation’s core goals are to support multi–chain synergy, ecosystem funding, and open technology systems. As the EOS Network’s guardian, the EOS Network Foundation is making the changes that devs and users need.

With Leap 5, an era of blockchain technology that focuses on efficiency, adaptability, and scalability is here. It marks a breakthrough in evolving the EOS Network at a core level.

As it prepares for the Leap 6 update, the EOS Network Foundation sees a brighter future ahead for both its network, and the wider blockchain ecosystem.


EOS Growing With Blockchain

EOS is part of a global movement to free movement of data. While many people pay attention to price, the real power of decentralized blockchain technology is found in making data work for everyone.

Bitcoin is likely the most successful proof-of-concept in human history, but the network is severely limited in many ways. EOS sees how to move data sharing forward, and make the base-layer blockchain efficient and reliable.

With a high-speed blockchain, novel data use across industries can thrive. The EOS Network Foundation is pushing blockchain forward with Leap 5 and Leap 6. As more devs see the value in these advancements, EOS is primed to grow with the blockchain sector as a whole.

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Ethereum Foundation Sets Date for Dencun Upgrade

https://blockonomi.com/ethereum-foundation-sets-date-for-dencun-upgrade/

Dencun, the long-awaited latest upgrade to the Ethereum network, will go live in the Ethereum mainnet on March 13. The upgrade will introduce proto-danksharding, reduce transaction costs, and improve the overall performance of the network.

The date of the launch was decided in a call with developers last Thursday, only one day after the upgrade was deployed to the Holesky testnet. The upgrade is part of the “The Surge” era, whose goal is to see the network handle over 100,000 transactions per second on rollups.

Once the current era finishes, the Ethereum team will switch its efforts to mitigating centralization concerns. These come from the risks inherent to the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism Ethereum implemented years ago.

Lower Fees for More Scalability

Ethereum Improvement Proposal 4844 (EIP-4844) is one of the most anticipated features included in the Dencun upgrade. The proposal introduces “Shard Blob Transactions”, also known as Proto-Danksharding, so the network accepts transactions with the ability to contain large amounts of data.

By allowing persistent blobs of data to be stored in the network, Ethereum makes it easier for rollups to interact with the ecosystem. As “the only trustless scaling solution for Ethereum”, ensuring rollups can offer lower fees is essential, especially since full data sharing won’t be coming any time soon.

High gas prices have been a major concern for the Ethereum community, as these prevent regular users from interacting with Layer1. While rollups like Arbitrum have helped, transaction fees still remain considerably higher than those of other networks, especially at times of high demand.

EIP-4844 is expected to reduce fees now “by orders of magnitude”, all without having to sacrifice decentralization. The team believes this will allow the network to remain competitive and increase scalability by ensuring Rollups remain viable scalability vehicles.

Ethereum Staking Reaches Major Milestone

News of the upcoming upgrade was not the only reason for the Ethereum community to rejoice. Data shows that over 25% of the total ETH supply has been staked at the time of writing, with 31% of it having been staked through Lido and 14.4 through Coinbase.

With more than 943k validators helping secure the network and the equivalent of $73.2 staked, this represents a major milestone for Ethereum. The numbers show positive sentiment among investors and validators, indicating strong confidence in Ethereum’s future.

This sentiment is reflected by ETH’s performance over the past weeks, as the token has gone through a 5.5% gain over the past week and 9.4% over the past two. While these two are similar to the gains seen by BTC during the same period, Ethereum has been able to sustain a gain of 7% over the past month, compared to BTC’s 3% loss.

Making Ethereum Accessible to Developers

Despite being one of the most popular networks for developers in the blockchain space, Ethereum hasn’t necessarily been the most accessible. This is not a matter of developers being barred from contributing to the ecosystem but because of the complexities of the development process.

The Ethereum Foundation launched the Ethereum Protocol Fellowship (EPF) program in 2021. The program was designed to onboard developers and help them “dive deep into the protocol” while learning by doing. Now, the foundation has gone one step further by launching the EPF study group (EPFsg), which is a precursor to the EPF program.

The EPFsg takes place over 10 weeks and helps participants understand topics such as protocol design, testing methods, and research and roadmap items like Verkle trees. The program is open and only requires part-time commitment, starting on February 19 of this year.

ETH prices are also screaming higher. While there will be bumps along the road, 2024 looks great for Ethereum both in terms of development, and price.

The post Ethereum Foundation Sets Date for Dencun Upgrade appeared first on Blockonomi.

GHOsts Are Real: Aave’s GHO Officially Becomes a Stablecoin After Reaching $1 Peg

https://blockonomi.com/ghosts-are-real-aaves-gho-officially-becomes-a-stablecoin-after-reaching-1-peg/

It’s been almost seven months since Aave officially launched its overcollateralized algorithmic stablecoin. Using the ticker GHO, the stablecoin operated all of this time under the $1 peg due to low demand and other technical difficulties. Now, GHO has finally reached its peg value.

Aave founder Stani Kulechov made the announcement via X (formerly known as Tweeter) on February 6th. In his tweet, Kulechov congratulated the community on enabling what he called a “fundamental building block for DeFi and payments”.

Stablecoins are hot, and people are using them all over the world. But, with their popularity, a lot of questions come to the surface. There are also loads of questions surrounding regulations, which is being talked about at the highest levels of government.

A Not-so-stable Stablecoin

A total of $2 million in GHO was minted on the Ethereum network when the stablecoin was launched back in July of 2023. While the launch was seen as a success by most of the Aave community, many crypto users considered GHO to be a failure.

Because of its algorithmic nature, GHO’s volatility was just too high for many to consider it a true stablecoin. GHO’s value was as low as $0.917 back on October 24, only three months after being launched, a price that was mostly sustained until November of that year.

While the price of the stablecoin has risen by 8.6% over its all-time low at the time of writing, this volatility has prevented it from going mainstream. Despite this, GHO has generated over $2.1 million in annualized revenue and has seen great improvement over the months, like the GHO Stability Module.

These improvements seem to be working so far, as GHO’s volatility has certainly decreased over the past weeks. In fact, the stablecoin’s value has managed to stay over the $0.995 mark until the time of writing, which would be a good performance if maintained for a longer period of time.

How Does GHO Work?

Unlike some of the most popular stablecoins, GHO doesn’t have a redemption mechanism that allows its holder to trade it for its equivalent in non-crypto assets. The lack of a redemption mechanism means that users can only trade their GHO at market value in secondary markets.

Popular stablecoins often back their value with a USD reserve, ensuring that the 1-on-1 peg is always maintained. GHO, on the other hand, tries to maintain this peg by using crypto-based over-collateralization.

As these underlying assets are also highly volatile, keeping GHO’s peg value relies heavily on demand. With Aave’s interest rates also being under the direct controls of the users thanks to Aave’s decentralized governance model, things can get even more complicated really quickly.

Another Big Win for DeFi

While GHO is not the first algorithmic decentralized stablecoin, as its open-source code, decentralized governance, and over-collateralization are similar to those of DAI and other coins. What sets GHO apart from its competitors is its multi-collateral banking, which allows users to use any Aave-supported cryptocurrency to mint it.

GHO also generates interest when users supply collateral to the Aave Protocol to mint it. This means Aave can use these assets to provide loans to other users, benefiting the whole ecosystem and allowing users to effectively reduce their interest rates when borrowing.

With the debate around stablecoin regulation continuing to grow by the day, the increased decentralization of stablecoins like GHO is paramount. Only by having efficient and flexible stablecoins can this type of asset become a true driver of crypto’s mission to open financial markets and remove regulators.

Some regulators see stablecoins as a systemic risk, although this is far from certain. In fact, the banking system is under strain, and stablecoins seems like a small asset class given the size of the Western financial markets.

The post GHOsts Are Real: Aave’s GHO Officially Becomes a Stablecoin After Reaching $1 Peg appeared first on Blockonomi.

Treasury Secretary Yellen Calls for Stablecoin Regulation Despite not Being “Systemic Risk”

https://blockonomi.com/treasury-secretary-yellen-calls-for-stablecoin-regulation-despite-not-being-systemic-risk/

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testified before the House’s Financial Services Committee. Topics like cybersecurity risks, coordination efforts among regulatory agencies, the role of AI in the financial sector, and cryptocurrency regulation were discussed. Stablecoins had a central role during the hearing, with Yellen stressing the need for lawmakers to pass regulations specifically tailored to the industry.

In her opening statement, Yellen stressed the importance of enforcing existing regulations on crypto assets and stablecoins while also calling for lawmakers to take action.

The Secretary also referred to the “proliferation of platforms acting out of compliance”, the risks of crypto/stablecoin platforms, and the volatility of crypto as the main focus of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) she oversees.


Stablecoins Remain a Major Concern

Most of Secretary Yellen’s focus during the hearing was set on stablecoins. Yellen noted that while “no stablecoin at this point may yet have achieved the scale it would pose a systemic risk”, this could change in the future if their use became widespread.

As such, the FSOC called for lawmakers to create a regulatory framework that helps avoid such risks in the future. Such regulatory framework should focus on filling the gaps in which no clear regulatory authority exists, as these are where consumer investor protection and financial stability risks exist according to Yellen.

Yellen cited the lack of regulatory authority by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the spot markets for commodities like Bitcoin and stablecoins as an example of these gaps. While states like New York have allowed companies to issue stablecoins and operate legally by complying with local regulations, no such framework exists at the federal level.


Stablecoins Are Not the Enemy

While Secretary Yellen has been critical of cryptocurrencies in the past and called Bitcoin “extremely inefficient”, she didn’t call for an outright bank nor a crackdown on crypto during the hearing. I

n fact, her statements make it clear that she considers many cryptocurrencies not to be securities and her calls for a regulatory framework for these coins could bring further clarity in an increasingly hostile financial environment.

During the hearing, Rep. Ritchie Torres referenced a PWG report that suggested that stablecoins issuers should be subject to regulation similar to that of banks.

When Torres asked if “stablecoins operate differently from a bank, why not regulate it differently?”, Yellen agreed by saying “Perhaps it should”.

To Yellen, the urgency seems to be on regulating the risks and making sure “the deposits are channeled into safe assets”. This is something many stablecoin issuers already do, as pointed out by Representative Warred Davidson when referring to four stablecoin issuers certified by the New York Department of Financial Services.

According to Davidson, however, the lack of regulatory clarity has prompted to move offshores because of the U.S. Government’s “failure to regulate our own markets”.


Stablecoin Regulations Might be Coming Soon

During the hearing, Yellen proposed the development of a “regulatory floor” that would provide a basic framework to all states and operators. She also suggested that a federal regulator would have “the ability to decide if a stablecoin issuer should be barred”.

Such regulation wouldn’t be targeted at stablecoins only but a variety of crypto-related products and services so wide that it would include wallets. In this regard, Yellen said it was “critical to enact regulatory protections” as these wallets are a “critical part of the stablecoin ecosystem” that can result in “significant losses”.

U.S. lawmakers seem to agree with Yellen on the urgency, with the issue being more about reaching a consensus. Senator Cynthia Lummis recently said that “pretty delicate” negotiations were taking place around the topic, with these being an everyday matter despite the apparent slow progress.

Senator Lummis told CoinDesk that she remained optimistic, stating that legislation could be seen as soon as “the first half of this calendar year”. As a member of the banking committee and one of the most vocal supporters of stablecoins in Congress, Lummis has played a central role in the push for regulatory clarity.

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We’re In the End Game Now: Gitcoin’s 2024 is All About Grants

https://blockonomi.com/were-in-the-end-game-now-gitcoins-2024-is-all-about-grants/

Open-source software funding platform Gitcoin will be doubling down on grants this year as it seeks to reach $1 billion in funds distributed. The period that Gitcoin has called “the end game”, comparing it to the last phase in every chess game, will see the project become all about “explosive growth”.

The approach is intended to allow the Gitcoin team to reach its $1 billion milestone over “the next several years” by using its funding allocation protocol Allo. So far, Gitcoin has distributed over $56 million through its Gitcoin Grants program, cementing its position in the grants space, especially in the Ethereum ecosystem.


Change Is on the Way

While Gitcoin has been providing funding to projects with high impact ever since it launched its “Gitcoin Grants” program in 2019, this year will see significant changes in how this is achieved. With a focus on “building the tech and showcasing best practices”, the Gitcoin team will not only revamp its selection process and infrastructure but also increase its research and experimentation efforts.

These efforts come in the form of two new business units for Grant Labs and Passport, with the plans for the latter including becoming its own standalone project. By creating these two units, Gitcoin seeks to increase the autonomy of the teams to allow the projects to become market fit faster by removing competing priorities and allowing roadmaps designed by those with intimate knowledge.

The Gitcoin team will also be winding down the Public Goods Network (PGN) over the next six months. The decision was made after a review of metrics like usage, incentives, and costs, which led to the conclusion that the project failed to gain enough adoption and interest to be sustainable.


The Year of the Grant

Thanks to the increased autonomy the new business units will get to enjoy, the Gitcoin team will get to focus on “fostering community” and “creating more opportunities”. The new Ecosystem Collective subDAO will be in charge of dealing with governance and community-related matters.

While a roadmap and charter are still being developed, the Citizen Grants Program has already been announced and is currently under. The program will allow community members not only to receive retroactive funding but also proactive funding through a system of direct grants instead of quadratic funding.

Each of the three parts of this project will focus on a different need of the ecosystem. Citizens Retro will focus on retroactive funding, Citizens Innovate on community Proposals, and Citizens Forward on requests for proposals. Whereas Citizens Innovate and Forward will launch as a 6-month pilot, with its excess funds being returned to the DAO afterward, Citizens Retro will operate as a separate initiative.


Support Public Goods Through Blockchain

Quadratic funding has been core to Gitcoin’s grants model since the mechanism was first proposed in 2018 by Vitalik Buterin, Zoe Hitzing, and Glen Weyl. The mechanism allows community members to vote on funding allocation through donations, which then decide how the resources of a central fund are allocated based on the number of donors instead of the value of the donation.

Not only was Gitcoin the first implementation of quadratic funding but it also became the most famous, gaining widespread support from organizations outside the blockchain space. Some of these partnerships, however, have raised criticism from community members who believe companies like Shell are using the project for their Greenwashing efforts.

Since 2019, Gitcoin has allowed 3715 projects to raise funds from over 3.8 million donations, totaling more than $56 million designed for public goods. The revamp of Gitcoin’s “corporate” structure and its new focus on grants will decide whether that funding pace is just a warm-up or the explosive growth it seeks to achieve.

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Ox.Fun – The Next OPNX or An Elaborate Crypto Scam?

https://blockonomi.com/ox-fun-the-next-opnx-or-an-elaborate-crypto-scam/

OPNX, the cryptocurrency exchange co-founded in 2023 by Three Arrow Capital’s Su Zhu and Kyle Davies, announced earlier this month that it would be shutting down. Less than a week after prompting its users to withdraw their funds by February 14th, platforms catering to former users have started to emerge.

Crypto platform Ox.Fun has started a campaign to promote itself as an alternative to OPNX, according to Coin Telegraph. While the exchange’s features seem to be operating normally, there is no information available on who is behind the new platform.

While this is not necessarily unusual for a decentralized platform, everything indicates Ox.Fun operates in a centralized manner. The promise of yields of up to 200% when farming OX and a fee share of 69% for all referrals has raised further suspicion among former OPNX users.

No More Claims Trading

OPNX was launched in April of 2023 as an alternative exchange that allowed users to trade claims of bankrupt cryptocurrency companies. The idea was the brainchild of Zhu and Davies, who had previously co-founded Three Arrows Capital and would later face jail time.

The exchange notified its customers less than a year after launching that it would cease all trading on February 7th before ceasing operations on the 14th. No announcement of the closure was made via social media or the web platform, just in the same way no explanation was given to the users who received the email. Zhu, however, blamed the FTX recovery for the decision.

The effects of the announcement were swift, causing the value of the OX token to drop sharply by over 40% in only an hour. While the value of the token has rebounded slightly, holders remain uncertain about what will come next for the exchange’s cryptocurrency.

Taking the Bull by the Horns

While Fun.Ox has made no claims of being OPNX successor, Coin Telegraph reports that members of the OX Community remain confused about the ties between the two platforms. This confusion has been exacerbated by OPNX’s tweets in late January, as the last 3 referred to Ox.Fun in a positive way.

Zhu and Davies said they are advisers to Ox.Fun and that “the OX community will be focusing on Ox.Fun”. Outlets like Coin Telegraph have tried to get more information on who runs the site with no success, while some users report the site admins claim there is “no connection” between the two. No information on regulatory compliance is available either, raising even more questions about the platform’s legitimacy.

The platform offers a 200% yield on OX deposits for “completing daily trading missions”, rewards for being at the top of the leaderboards, 69% commission on referrals, and an OX giveaway. This, of course, has led many users to throw away all caution and join the platform despite the uncertainty surrounding it.

No Rest for The Wicked

Zhu and Davies got to become one of the most well-known names in the cryptocurrency world as the co-founders of Three Arrows Capital. This notoriety increased in June of 2022 when the crypto hedge fund collapsed, resulting in a fallout that took with it companies as big as BlockFi, Celcius, and Voyager.

Early investigations suggested that the collapse of the hedge was the result of poor decision-making and “potentially criminal behavior”. This led to the freezing of over $1 billion worth of assets tied to the pair, a 9-year ban from regulated activities, and their eventual arrest by Singaporean authorities.

In recent months, Zhu has been openly talking about his time in prison, claiming that “it’s definitely good for you”. His remarks have been seen by many as an attempt to rebuild his reputation, no more than “clever marketing” to continue pushing his newest crypto projects.

The post Ox.Fun – The Next OPNX or An Elaborate Crypto Scam? appeared first on Blockonomi.

Celsius Reorganization a Success: Over $3 Billion is Being Paid to Creditors

https://blockonomi.com/celsius-reorganization-a-success-over-3-billion-is-being-paid-to-creditors/

Celsius Network made it!

The company filed for Chapter 11 back in 2022, announced that it had successfully completed the process and is now in condition to pay its creditors. According to the announcement, the company says the distribution of more than $3 billion in cryptocurrency, fiat to creditors, and common stock has already begun.

The distribution of the payments will be made via PayPal and Coinbase, with the assigned distribution partner depending on the location of the creditors. So far, it is not clear how customers from certain countries will receive their distribution if they are unable to meet Coinbase’s KYC requirements.


Celsius’ New Mining Operation

The successful completion of Celcius’ Chapter 11 process came with the fulfillment of the transactions it had established under its bankruptcy plan. This plan, which a court had approved back in November 2023, not only included the distribution of over $3 billion to creditors but also the creation of a new Bitcoin mining operation: Ionic Digital Inc.

The new company will be owned by Celsius creditors who will receive equity in the form of common stock. It will be publicly traded “once the requisite approvals are received”. According to the company, the shares will be issued “shortly after the effective date of the Plan, which is January 31, 2024.” Odyssey Transfer and Trust Company will be in charge of helping customers receive their Ionic Digital shares.

Hut 8 Corp was selected to manage the new mining company, with its Chief Commercial Officer, (CCO) Matt Prusak, taking the role of CEO of Ionic Digital. Prusak, who was with Hut 8 Corp for three months only, had previously served as USBTC’s CCO


So, What Are Creditors Getting?

Celsius’ plan was described by the Plan Administrator and former Chief Restructuring Officer Chris Ferraro as “the best outcome for creditors” and was approved by almost 98% of the company’s account holders. This plan originally allocated $2 billion to be distributed to the creditors, established the return of between 67% and 85% of all holdings, and proposed the launch of Ionic Digital.

The assets to be received by every creditor will depend on their class, meaning that it is possible for two creditors to receive different distributions. According to the notice of effective date, only Class 2 (Retail Borrower Deposit Claims), Class 5 (General Earn Claims), Class 7 (Withhold Claims), Class 8 (Unsecured Loan Claims), and Class 9 (General Unsecured Claims) will receive Ionic Digital stock.

Creditors in Class 2, Class 4 (Convenience Claims), Class 5, Class 7, Class 8, and Class 9 will receive “liquid cryptocurrency” as part of the distribution. These creditors will have to wait up to two weeks to receive instructions on how to claim their distribution, a waiting time the company attributes to “the volume of distributions”.

As this distribution of liquid cryptocurrency won’t use Celcius’ mobile or web apps, Paypal/Venmo and Coinbase will be used as distribution partners. Among the many nuances creditors will have to deal with are the completion of AML/KYC processes with their distribution partners and the submission of additional information such as “Election Forms”.


A Win For the Underdogs

Celcius Network is only one of the multiple cryptocurrency-related companies to file for Chapter 11 over the past two years. Names like FTX, BlockFi, Genesis, Voyager Digital, and Terraform Labs are all part of the list, a fact that has become a common argument against cryptocurrency by detractors.

While Celcius is not alone in filing for Chapter 11, its successful emergence from it has been received with surprise by many. Not only did many people expect the company not to make it but even fewer expected all creditors to be paid in the process. This was highlighted in the announcement by David Barse and Alan Carr, members of the Special Committee of the Board of Celsius, who said “everyone assumed Celsius would disappear completely like the other crypto lenders”.

The successful reorganization of Celsius Network offers a glimmer of hope to creditors of other cryptocurrency companies going through Chapter 11. While the path through bankruptcy can be long and uncertain, Celsius demonstrated that it is possible for these companies to restructure their debts and emerge in a position to make up for their creditors.

The post Celsius Reorganization a Success: Over $3 Billion is Being Paid to Creditors appeared first on Blockonomi.

What Happened in the $112.5 Million XRP Hack? Here’s What We Know

https://blockonomi.com/what-happened-in-the-112-5-million-xrp-hack-heres-what-we-know/

A Ripple co-founder was the target of a hack that drained $112.5 million in XRP tokens from several accounts.

Ripple is hot after news of a hack targeting the company’s address surfaced. According to a recent confirmation from Ripple co-founder and executive chairman Chris Larsen, $112.5 million worth of XRP was siphoned, not from Ripple’s wallet, but from Larsen’s personal wallets.

Larsen’s statement came as a response to an earlier post from famous pseudonymous on-chain detective ZachXBT. ZachXBT said that Ripple was potentially exploited for 213 million XRP tokens, equivalent to around $112.5 million.

The analyst added that the hacker’s address moved the stolen tokens across eight crypto exchanges, including MEXC, Gate, Binance, Kraken, OKX, HTX, and HitBTC.


Ripple Wallets Are Safe

Larsen also told media that Ripple wallets’ were fine, saying they were never compromised. He said a significant portion of the stolen funds were frozen, and the cops were going after the rest. Exchanges are happy to work with law enforcement these days, given how far up their collective *** the US government is with regulations.

A Series of XRP Exploits

Last month, $15 billion worth of XRP tokens, accounting for nearly half of the XRP circulating supply, were also at risk in a hacking attempt on the Bitfinex exchange. According to Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino, the hacker tried to conduct the hack through a “Partial Payments Exploit.” Fortunately, Bitfinex quickly flagged this attempt, so the hacker failed to proceed.

XRP dropped below $0.49 briefly after the hack was discovered. The crypto is trading at around $0.50 at current prices, down 1.4% in the last 24 hours, per CoinGecko’s data. Following the news, the entire crypto market also took a hit, with Bitcoin falling below $43,000, Ethereum dropping under $2,300, and Solana down below $98.

Far From A Rally

Throughout the recent crypto rally in December, XRP was among the coins that showed little surge. Compared to Injective or Solana, which strongly increased during the same period, the price of Ripple was flat.

One of the main reasons behind this underperformance is the legal battle between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Ripple Labs.

Following a court verdict last year, which ruled that XRP is a non-security in retail transactions, the SEC filed a letter of intent to request an interlocutory appeal to the case’s summary judgment. However, the SEC’s motion was rejected.

While the court verdict didn’t favor the agency, it was not a complete failure for the SEC. The SEC and Ripple will continue to have another court hearing in April this year to resolve some of the case’s issues, which could create an opportunity for the SEC to turn the tables.

The parties involved in the lawsuit must submit to the court documents for the proceedings in preparation for the hearing. The deadline to submit evidence in the SEC and Ripple lawsuit is February 12.


XRP is Going Nowhere

Ripple may face high price volatility as the court hearing approaches.

But a potential case settlement in 2024 could be a game-changer for Ripple’s price and the crypto market. After Ripple’s partial victory last year, XRP skyrocketed to nearly $1.00. The coin was also re-listed on many crypto exchanges.

Apart from legal issues, Ripple has formed several major partnerships with major banks like Bank of America or Santander Bank and institutions worldwide to facilitate cross-border payments. The firm expects to onboard more US institutions upon the latest court ruling.

While not decentralized in the way Bitcoin is, XRP offers value. One wonders if all this pressure would be put on an asset that was worthless – or if the US financial has designs on slurping up Ripple Labs on the cheap while markets dither over a silly lawsuit.

The post What Happened in the $112.5 Million XRP Hack? Here’s What We Know appeared first on Blockonomi.

Pyth Network: Leading the Way for Blockchain Oracles

https://blockonomi.com/pyth-network/

Pyth Network, a growing blockchain oracle project, has rapidly become the go-to real-time data source for blockchain applications across 50 blockchains. As a trailblazer in the world of oracles, Pyth Network is working to change how data is accessed and used within the blockchain space.

Pyth Network changes how blockchain oracles work. Instead of looking for free data to scrape, it goes right to the source, and makes the data available. With a process that is simple and transparent, Pyth is making the blockchain space better for everyone.


Why Blockchain Oracles Matter

Oracles are an important technology in a future where blockchain applications rely on data from the outside world. At the moment, it can be hard for blockchains to know what is ‘true’ in the real world.

Off-chain data enables blockchains to be accurate. Early oracle networks were confronted with some critical issues, including latency and fragmentation across several chains.

The Pyth Network was established to fix all the problems with blockchain oracles. It is working to resolve the oracle issue for DeFi (Decentralized Finance) and developing the most reliable real-time data feed found anywhere in the world. A coalition of trading businesses and exchanges initiated it, and still support the project.

The network was first established with donations from prominent trading businesses and cryptocurrency exchanges. Since then, it has grown to include numerous trading firms, cryptocurrency exchanges, DEXs (Decentralized Exchanges), and TradFis (Traditional Finance) exchanges.

Pyth Network has become a comprehensive source of low-latency pricing data. Because of this, it now serves over 300 decentralized applications (dApps) across fifty blockchains.


Pyth Network’s Unique Proposition

The dynamic nature of data is why Pyth Network matters. Pyth Network solves the problem of more data on the internet becoming private or paywalled. It does this by offering owners of proprietary real-time data an incentive to broadcast it to the blockchain in exchange for payments.

In contrast to other approaches in the oracle space, which involve retrieving data from the public internet, Pyth Network enables data providers to post confidential information directly on the blockchain.

The strategy creates data flow in real time. It reduces the influence of paywalls and restricted data sources, establishing the Pyth Network as a source of truth in the world of blockchain.


Solid Performance

The development of Pyth Network has been smooth ever since the company was first established. It all started on April 7, 2021, when the project laid the groundwork for what would later become a major undertaking.

After that, the release of the Devnet occurred on May 15, 2021, and then on August 26, 2021, this was followed by the release of the Mainnet. Today, the platform is reliable, and offers blockchains access to valuable data in real time.


A Practical Solution

Pyth Network’s delivery of real time data is popular. The project is used on 50 blockchains and maintains a market share of over 90% on one-third and over 50% on half of them.

Pyth’s capabilities attracted Synthetix, a marquee dApp, which switched from Chainlink to Pyth as its primary oracle in early 2023, leading to explosive growth.

The oracle space is still evolving. With the need for accurate data on blockchains, Pyth is well placed to grow with the blockchain sector. It is well past its proof-of-concept phase. Now, it is attracting dApps from the biggest oracles out there.


The People Behind Pyth Network

Pyth Network has deep talent driving its development. With great people on the team, it is set to change how blockchain oracles work for the wider industry.

Mike Cahill’s extensive background with financial companies, including Morgan Stanley, KCG, and Jump, has positioned him as a leader in blockchain. His ability to foresee trends and adapt to new challenges has been instrumental in Pyth Network’s success.

Jayant Krishnamurthy, an expert in AI with credentials from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and the Allen Institute, plays a crucial role in Pyth Network’s technical development. His ability to articulate complex ideas and insights makes him an asset at all levels of the project.

Pyth Network has gained support from prominent crypto investors, including Castle Island Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Wintermute Ventures, Borderless Capital, CMT Digital, Bodhi Ventures, Distributed Global, and Delphi Digital.


Empowering Blockchain Applications

Pyth Network has a robust business model built on providing real-time data feeds to blockchain applications. Pyth’s price feeds update once every 400 milliseconds, ensuring DeFi applications have accurate data and enhancing liquidity and competitiveness.

Most of the people in blockchain have a connection to finance. Blockchains live on prices, so the data that Pyth delivers is vital to operations.

Real-Time Data from Real-World Markets

The project architecture allows instant availability of newly launched feeds on all supported chains, eliminating the need for individual feed setups on different chains. Pyth directly sources data from financial market prices, reducing price tracking errors by 5–10 times compared to competitors.

Pyth Network has a diverse customer base, from blockchain builders who use the network without direct contact due to the protocol’s built-in economics to DeFi applications, decentralized exchanges, and traditional financial institutions.

High-throughput applications, including on-chain derivative exchanges, rely on Pyth for real-time data. Now that Bitcoin ETFs are live on major legacy exchanges, the need for derivatives is set to grow.


Roadmap: Shaping the Future of Oracles

Pyth Network’s near-term plans include expanding services to include on-chain randomness, Bitcoin ETF feeds, and energy price feeds. The project also envisions offering NFT price oracles, improved liquidity oracles, and non-financial data sets in the future.

While the blockchain oracle space is competitive, Pyth Network distinguishes itself by being the only protocol that creates a singular source of truth available equally to all applications via messaging protocols.

Chainlink, one of the most prominent competitors, operates a network of automation nodes that fetch data from the open internet, leading to fragmented data sources and off-chain risks. Pyth Network’s transparent economic model eliminates the need for off-chain payments, ensuring accessibility and reliability.


In the Press: Recognition and Acknowledgment

Pyth Network’s achievements have appeared in major media, and its impact on the blockchain ecosystem is already being felt. Recent press coverage includes articles by CoinDesk, CryptoNews, Forbes, Unchained Crypto, Bloomberg, and Fortune.

Additionally, its PR efforts focus on educating the community, showcasing the team’s thought leadership, and highlighting the project’s unique value propositions and achievements.

The project collaborates with financial institutions, L1s, L2s, large dApps, and Chainlink while positioning itself apart from smaller oracles that can’t compete with its capabilities. People just want blockchains to work. With oracles like Pyth Network, that goal is a lot easier to achieve.


Pyth Network: Shaping the Future of Oracles

Pyth Network is a forward thinking blockchain initiative that offers real-time data feeds to blockchain apps that are running on a variety of different blockchains. Its reach is already global, and it provides conventional financial institutions and decentralized finance apps with high-frequency, low-latency data.

The post Pyth Network: Leading the Way for Blockchain Oracles appeared first on Blockonomi.

FTX Gives Up on Relaunch: Focuses on Repaying Customers

https://blockonomi.com/ftx-gives-up-on-relaunch-focuses-on-repaying-customers/

Bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX will cease to exist after abandoning its efforts to relaunch the platform. The exchange also vowed to pay every customer back once it has “sufficient funds to pay all allowed customer and creditor claims in full”.

The claims were made by FTX Lawyer Andrew Dietderich on Wednesday during a bankruptcy hearing. The lawyer also explained the exchange had recovered over $7 billion so far, which would be used to repay customers.

With over $9 billion in claims so far, multiple U.S. regulators have accepted a proposal to wait until all customers are repaid, in which case FTX would proceed to pay the different agencies.

After all that drama, it looks like FTX is being thrown into the dumpster fire of financial history.

Forget About FTX 2.0

FTX informed the public and regulators about its intention to reorganize the business and reboot under what was nicknamed “FTX 2.0”. The exchange reportedly contacted over 75 bidders for this purpose but was unable to get a buyer. According to Dietderich, FTX was doomed to fail right from the start as it was not more than “an irresponsible sham created by a convicted felon”.

This lack of technological and financial infrastructure meant that the costs of rebuilding over “what Mr. Bankman-Fried left in a dumpster” would have been “simply too high”. As such, FTX was unable to find investors or bidders willing to risk the money necessary to reboot the exchange despite the team’s efforts.

Now that plans for FTX 2.0 have been scrapped, the exchange is focusing its efforts on getting all assets liquidated to repay customers, something that Dietderich “anticipates” will be possible. While most FTX customers received the news with glee, many believe that more has to be done in order to ensure proper compensation is given for the failure to protect their funds.

Storm Clouds Ahead for FTX Customers

As part of the bankruptcy process, FTX has said customers would be repaid based on the value of their assets back in November of 2022. Many customers believe that such a decision means they would be shortchanged by the exchange, given the low value the assets had at the time compared to today’s market.

Reuters reported earlier this year that “dozens of FTX customers” had requested a judge to declare that decision null, preventing the exchange from deciding the price unilaterally. Not only did many customers believe this equals a “second act of theft” but many expressed their belief that something “much shadier” could be taking place.

As FTX claims that American bankruptcy law dictates such valuation for the assets, FTX customers should expect to have an uphill battle getting their repayments adjusted for volatility. While an update of the value is possible in some instances, FTX’s decision not to reorganize and reboot the exchange makes this more unlikely.

Bankman-Fried Still Has a Role To Play

While Sam Bankman-Fried was convicted of all charges back in 2023, the fallen crypto magnate still has a role to play in the FTX saga. This is in the form of his remaining assets, which would be used to liquidate part of the debt the exchange has with its customer base.

Bankman-Fried parents were sued by FTX back in September as the company believes they would have “enriched themselves” as a result of their son’s misconduct. This included a $10 million cash gift, a $16.4 million luxury property in the Bahamas, and many other assets.

The couple filed to dismiss the case earlier this year, a move that could determine whether their assets can be seized or not. While not over, the FTX saga seems to be drawing to a close. We are left to wonder what people will recoup from the exchange, if anything of value.

The post FTX Gives Up on Relaunch: Focuses on Repaying Customers appeared first on Blockonomi.

Manta Network Joins Top Ten Blockchains as TVL Surges 68% In One Month

https://blockonomi.com/manta-network-joins-top-ten-blockchains-as-tvl-surges-68-in-one-month/

Manta Network, an AI and ZK-powered modular blockchain, has achieved a new milestone as its total value locked (TVL) surged 68% month-to-date to around $464 million, according to data from blockchain analysis firm DeFiLlama. With this surge, Manta outpaced Coinbase’s Base and Sui to become the ninth-largest blockchain in TVL.

Manta Network has surpassed Coinbase’s Base and Sui to become the ninth-largest blockchain measured by TVL.

Meanwhile, Manta Pacific, a layer 2 scaling solution of Manta Network, also sees its TVL rally to $1.7 billion, according to data from layer 2 tracking platform L2Beat. It is now the third largest layer 2 blockchain, just behind Arbitrum One and Optimism with $10.8 billion and $5.4 billion, respectively.

TVL typically reflects how much the crypto assets are used in a particular blockchain project. The higher the TVL, the more users participate in the project.

Flying Under The Radar

Originally known as a layer 1 project on the Polkadot infrastructure, Manta later shifted toward developing a layer 2 chain named Manta Pacific – following a funding round when it secured $25 million.

The growth started in early December 2023 when Manta Network announced an airdrop of MANTA tokens for people joining the New Paradigm campaign. Accordingly, the project awarded 50 million tokens to early users who locked Ether into the platform.

The project instituted a weekly reward system for contributors to liquidity, distributing Box Pieces as incentives. Each Box comprises 25 pieces and represents a unique NFT that holds tradable value on platforms like Element.

More Coming From Manta

Participants stand to benefit further by collecting all six distinct NFT types, as this achievement unlocks the opportunity to exchange them for a more exclusive NFT known as ‘The First Modular L2.’ This not only adds to the appeal of the airdrop initiatives but also introduces a captivating element of rarity and collectibility for participants.

These airdrop strategies successfully attracted many participants – a critical factor in the system’s growth. In just under two weeks, the TVL of Manta Pacific witnessed a substantial surge.

Adding to this achievement, Manta also secured its position as the 44th Binance Launchpool project. The revelation of listing on almost the entire CEX exchange further heightened the anticipation surrounding the Token Generation Event (TGE) and the MANTA airdrop.

Kenny Li, co-founder of Manta Network, explained:

“Overall, I think that drove a massive amount of interest in a short amount of time. And that grew us to the top four,” stated Li, “And then after our token launch itself, with a lot of the liquidity and volume on our actual chain — because that’s where it’s natively deployed — I think that really pushed us into the top three.”

Beyond airdrops, Manta Pacific’s growth trajectory is significantly influenced by its development. Opting for a strategic shift from Optimism’s OP Stack to the layer-2 development kit (CDK) offered by Polygon, the project strategically aligns itself with efficiency.

Manta has partnered with Celestia to implement a Data Availability (DA) solution to optimize user transaction costs. Notably, LayerZero’s support further bolsters Manta’s developmental endeavors.

The TGE event recently encountered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack, rendering the website inaccessible for many users seeking to claim their tokens.

Li attributed this incident to a deliberate and malicious attack, wherein an overwhelming volume of requests was directed at RPC nodes simultaneously. Despite the adversity, the Manta Pacific network swiftly returned to normalcy, thanks to the timely and effective response from the project team.

MANTA token value has continuously set a new record high since its listing on exchanges. At the time of writing, it is trading at around $3.5, an increase of about 47% in the last month, according to CoinGecko’s data.

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Challenging the Throne: Will Bitcoin Be the BRICS’ Secret Weapon Against Dollar Hegemony?

https://blockonomi.com/challenging-the-throne-will-bitcoin-be-the-brics-secret-weapon-against-dollar-hegemony/

The BRICS could benefit from crypto if they integrate it into their system or adopt the underlying technology to create their own currency.

The possibilities of using crypto, notably Bitcoin, in daily transactions have progressed, particularly after the US greenlighted spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This rise in real-world utility coincides with the BRICS nations’ exploration of a shared currency to reduce the US dollar’s dominance.

For context, BRICS is an acronym for a group founded by five major developing national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The union advocates reforming international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and seeks a more inclusive and representative global governance structure.


BRICS Expanding Reach

In early 2024, the organization welcomed six new members, including Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This year, BRICS is expected to continue to focus on de-dollarization, expansion, and the development of a common currency.

While the purpose of BRICS is to promote cooperation and consultation on significant issues of mutual interest among the participating countries, it’s not difficult to realize their shared stances against the Western-led global order.

Russia, facing sanctions over its Ukrainian conflict, stands as a prime example. Similarly, China and the US have witnessed escalating disputes across the trade, technology, and military domains. Among them, Iran’s recent BRICS entry carries even greater weight.

The relationship between the US and Iran has been marked by decades of tension, with various conflicts and confrontations. Tensions have been fueled by Iran’s nuclear program, support for proxy forces in the Middle East, and the US response to these activities

The US has imposed sanctions on Iran, and there have been instances of military confrontation and strikes against Iranian-backed groups in the Middle East. The potential for a worsening conflict between the two countries has significant economic, political, and security implications.

With Iran now an official member of BRICS, other members can benefit from Iran’s regional position and access to the north. Iran also finds increased diplomatic backing within the BRICS alliance, potentially opening up new avenues for economic cooperation, trade, and investment.


The Role of Bitcoin and Crypto

As part of their mission to diminish the reliance on the US dollar, the BRICS may consider adopting Bitcoin or crypto as their common currency.

According to reports from the Russian news agency TASS, the Bank of Russia is actively exploring the introduction of an ‘experimental legal regime’ for cryptocurrencies, specifically designed for use in export-import deals.

Elvira Naiullina, the head of the regulatory agency, outlined plans for creating special organizations tasked with mining cryptocurrencies and facilitating payments for cross-border trade deals. The initiative, while in its early stages, aims to tackle the challenges posed by international sanctions and the exclusion of Russia from the US dollar-powered global payment infrastructure.

Naiullina’s deputy, Alexey Guznov, said that the Bank of Russia is in discussions with the government to define the participation criteria for organizations in the experiment. In the initial phases, government-sponsored companies are likely to take the lead. The experiment is seen as a response to Western sanctions imposed on Russia, which have excluded the country from conventional global payment mechanisms.

According to the International Business Times, it is becoming increasingly plausible that Bitcoin could play an important role in the new international monetary system. Additionally, “the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in recent months is a clear indication that investors and others are seeking alternatives to the current system.”

The euro, seen as a potential challenger to the US dollar, has not succeeded in dethroning it. Meanwhile, the yuan and ruble are still far from posing a serious threat to the US dollar. Considering Bitcoin’s widespread adoption and potential to challenge the US dollar, it deserves serious consideration.

Even if the BRICS doesn’t integrate crypto or Bitcoin into its system, it may employ blockchain technology as the foundational element for developing its common currency.

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Azarus Game Streaming Platform Review: A Comprehensive Look

https://blockonomi.com/azarus/

Blockchain technology is reshaping many fields, with the gaming sector being the talk of the town. Last year’s acquisition of the blockchain game streaming platform Azarus by Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based Web3 gaming giant, marked a significant development in this arena.

Gaming is a big market, and people love to watch streamers. With such a great confluence of markets, this seems like a winning idea.

Azarus, operating on the principle that “streams are not TV,” offers a unique platform where players can broadcast their gaming experiences in real time and earn tokens as rewards. This approach echoes Twitch’s successful strategy and aims to foster a stronger bond between streamers and their audiences. Through multi-tiered incentives, Azarus has the potential to expand the reach of blockchain games significantly.

The project has already come a long way. Over 20 million players from all over the world have been given over $2 million in prizes. This success shows how well the platform keeps people interested and improves the game experience.


Vision and Growth

The acquisition by Animoca Brands is seen as an amplification of Azarus’s vision. Animoca’s Executive Chairman, Yat Siu, compares Azarus’s current stage to the early days of The Sandbox, suggesting significant growth potential. Integrating Azarus’s technology with Animoca’s vast array of Web3 games could create robust gaming communities centered on shared interests.

The evolving nature of television into interactive services plays a crucial role in this transformation. Incorporating blockchain code in interactive TV shows like “Love, Death & Robots” and “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” points to the growing interactivity of media, an aspect that Azarus is poised to capitalize on.

Azarus’s integration with Twitch, offering interactive games from brands like Logitech and Red Bull, draws 80 million views daily. This demonstrates the platform’s ability to manage and reward viewer engagement effectively, an essential aspect of its success.


The Future of Gaming: AI, Prototyping, and Esports

Individuals such as the war veteran Wayne Lee of Bloxmoth and others have acknowledged the revolutionary potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and its far-reaching implications on the video game industry. Although human creatives will continue to play an important part in ensuring that games are interesting and flow effectively, artificial intelligence is anticipated to have a considerable influence on the pre-production, development, and testing phases of the game development process.

The video game business is transforming due to the introduction of artificial intelligence concept art tools (Leonardo) and voice-commanded game prototyping (FRVR). When it comes to the creation of video games, these technologies enable greater efficiency and innovativeness than ever before.

If artificial intelligence is incorporated into esports, there are potential business opportunities. Because of the significant potential for innovation at the intersection of technology and competitive gaming, this area holds great promise for initiatives using artificial intelligence.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Legal experts highlight the importance of understanding the legal implications of using AI in gaming. Issues like data licensing, ownership of AI-generated content, and the use of personal data are critical considerations for developers and companies.

Last year’s GameExpo Summit in Dubai showcased the growth of the international and local gaming industries, focusing on AI investment. The event highlighted the need for clear policies on AI use in the workplace and the importance of navigating the legal landscape of AI in gaming.

Azarus CEO Alex Casassovici’s presentation at the Developer Toolkit track provided insights into the evolution of interactive TV and its relevance to modern game streaming platforms. The historical context, from “The Wheel of Fortune” in the 1980s to current trends, illustrates the growing demand for interactive media.


A Look at Azarus’s 2023 Achievements

Azarus, in the past few months, announced two significant enhancements to its platform, revolutionizing how users interact with digital rewards. The integration of PayPal in the Azarus Store and the launch of AzaCoin on Uniswap marked a new era in the digital reward ecosystem.

Understanding the needs of its community, Azarus introduced PayPal as a new payment method in its store, making it easier for users to redeem their AZA coin balance. This update provided flexibility and convenience, addressing the common issue of being just a few AzaCoins short for that desired game, DLC, or gift card. With over 35,000 digital items, users can effortlessly cover any shortfall using PayPal, ensuring instant gratification and enjoyment of their rewards.


AzaCoin Debuts on Uniswap

In another move, Azarus also announced in early 2023 that AzaCoin would live on Uniswap. Revealed in a recent Twitch livestream, AzaCoin, an ERC-20 Token on the Ethereum Mainnet, is accessible through various platforms, including UniSwap and OKX. This development not only broadens the accessibility of AzaCoin but also enhances its utility in the digital realm.


Genesis Pass: A Leap in Gaming Experience

Introducing the Genesis Pass, Azarus’s new ‘black card,’ also brought exclusive features to elevate the gaming experience. With benefits like Star Bonus, Multiplay, Early Access, Store Discounts, Free Unwraps, and Free Plays, Genesis Pass holders enjoy a privileged status in the Azarus universe. These features enhance gameplay and provide tangible benefits in the Azarus Store.

Azarus is committed to a secure and enriched user experience. The platform now offers account verification for increased security, a bridge for transferring and withdrawing AzaCoins, and the return of premium rewards in the store. The upcoming feature to purchase $AZA with a credit card directly from the Azarus wallet further simplifies the user experience.

The excitement doesn’t stop there. Azarus also has daily giveaways of $AZA to a lucky player, fostering community engagement. Users can participate by getting verified on Discord, adding AzaCoins to their wallet, and staking at least 1 $AZA on the bridge, with each coin staked increasing their chance of winning.

Azarus continues its journey to create a shared ecosystem where users collaborate to win greater value and ownership rewards. This commitment to enhancing user experience and value is evident in the project’s never-ending updates, making Azarus a leader in the digital rewards space.


Join the Discussion and Be Part of the Future

An invitation is extended to the members of the Azarus community to participate in this thrilling adventure. Users are strongly urged to participate in the conversation that is taking place on Discord, interact with the community, and investigate the many features and possibilities that Azarus provides. As a result of these improvements, Azarus reaffirms its commitment to providing an unparalleled digital reward experience.

Incorporating PayPal by Azarus and introducing AzaCoin on Uniswap are important steps to develop digital incentives. These improvements make new opportunities for user interaction and reward available in the digital arena, improving user convenience and security.

The inclusion of cutting-edge streaming technology, the promise of artificial intelligence in game design, and the focus on interactive broadcasting brought out by Azarus all contribute to the gaming industry’s potential for a prosperous future.

Blockchain gaming has the potential to burst in popularity, attracting a whole new category of gamers and shaping the entertainment business of the future. This may be accomplished by comprehensively examining the ethical and legal ramifications of blockchain gaming.

With many more options open for gamers, a much brighter future awaits. In this exciting new chapter, Azarus invites you to become a part of a community that highly emphasizes innovation and the pleasure of its users.

The post Azarus Game Streaming Platform Review: A Comprehensive Look appeared first on Blockonomi.

Fhenix: The Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) Powered L2 for Encrypted Web3

https://blockonomi.com/fhenix/

Privacy and security remain paramount concerns in the rapidly evolving world of blockchain technology. Fhenix, an emerging cryptographic project, promises to address these issues through Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE).

This innovative approach to intelligent contract computation marks a significant leap in blockchain technology, offering a blend of transparency and confidentiality. This guide delves into Fhenix, exploring its concept, technology, and potential impact on the blockchain ecosystem.


Concept and Vision

Guy Itzhaki, Fhenix CEO, brings extensive experience from his tenure at Intel and collaboration with Accenture. His journey in blockchain technology led him to Fhenix, aiming to revolutionize data management in Web3 applications.

Fhenix’s core concept revolves around FHE – a technique enabling calculations on encrypted data without needing to decrypt it first. This feature is groundbreaking as it maintains data confidentiality throughout the computation process.

Fhenix operates on an EVM-compatible layer-2 network powered by FHEVM, a private programming environment. This setup allows developers to create applications on Fhenix’s platform without extensive knowledge of FHE. The technology differentiates itself from other privacy solutions like ZK-SNARKs, offering more comprehensive data security, particularly in scenarios involving data from multiple sources.


Fhenix and the Fully Homomorphic Encrypted Virtual Machine (fhEVM)

Fhenix leverages Zama’s fhEVM technology, allowing developers to integrate FHE into their blockchain applications seamlessly. This integration is a significant advancement in blockchain technology, enabling encrypted smart contracts to be written in Solidity without requiring extensive cryptographic knowledge. The FHE Rollup, Fhenix’s first development achievement, permits the secure processing of sensitive and private data on Ethereum, enhancing the blockchain’s utility for various applications.

Potential Use Cases

Fhenix’s introduction of FHE opens doors to various use cases, especially those requiring high levels of data privacy and security:

  • Identity Verification: FHE can provide a more secure and private way of verifying identities on the blockchain, protecting personal information from unauthorized access.
  • Private Financial Transactions: Ensuring transaction privacy is a significant concern in the blockchain space, and FHE can enable secure and confidential transfers.
  • Decentralized Gaming: Fhenix can revolutionize the gaming industry, allowing for trustless, private gaming experiences. For instance, in casino games, the dealer would not know the card values beforehand, ensuring fairness and privacy.
  • Private Voting: FHE can also facilitate private and secure voting mechanisms, which is crucial for various decentralized governance models.
  • Sealed Bid Auctions: Auctions can be conducted with enhanced security, where bids remain encrypted until the end of the auction.

Integration with Existing Chains and Platforms

Blockchain technology stands at a crossroads, with Fhenix playing a crucial role in addressing its critical limitation: the public nature of on-chain data. Fhenix introduces Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) to the blockchain, ensuring on-chain confidentiality. FHE is a groundbreaking encryption method allowing computations on encrypted data without prior decryption, a significant advancement in the field.

Integrating FHE into Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) workflows is a testament to Fhenix’s commitment to simplifying and democratizing this technology. Their initiative, the fhEVM programming language, is designed to make this transformative technology accessible to all developers.

The significance of FHE cannot be overstated in today’s digital world, where vast amounts of sensitive data exist online. Traditional encryption methods have shown vulnerabilities, as evident from the numerous data breaches affecting millions of users. FHE presents a superior method by keeping data encrypted throughout its lifecycle, substantially reducing attack vectors and enhancing privacy and security.

Fhenix’s approach to integrating FHE into the blockchain has three phases. Phase 1 focuses on enhancing security and privacy across industries, offering benefits such as reduced data security costs and enabling private on-chain transactions. Phase 2 will usher in the development new applications like private voting, trustless gaming, and secure healthcare data handling. Finally, Phase 3 envisions a transformation in web technology, with impacts yet to be fully comprehended but promising to revolutionize how industries operate.


Transforming the Gaming Industry

Fhenix emerges as a game-changer in the trustless gaming sector. Its innovative Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) algorithm is set to redefine online gaming by addressing critical privacy and security concerns inherent in blockchain technology.

Blockchain’s openness, while fostering trust, has been a double-edged sword, particularly in trustless games where the risk of data exposure can lead to cheating and manipulation. Traditional methods, such as Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs), have offered limited solutions by securing only the final game results, leaving other data vulnerable.

Fhenix’s FHE algorithm triumphs where others fall short. It encrypts data at every step, ensuring privacy while updating the shared state of the network for each transaction. This bolsters data security and strengthens trust in trustless gaming environments. It’s essential for incorporating secret computing into workflows using familiar EVM languages like Solidity, marking a significant stride in adopting Web3.

The technology particularly shines in player-vs-player games, addressing the entire trustless gaming industry, limitations of ZKPs, and the need for privacy and security at low-level gaming infrastructure through FHE Rollups. Unlike traditional gaming platforms, trustless gaming on blockchain eliminates the need for a central authority, offering various environments, from casino games to virtual reality experiences.

With a burgeoning gaming market projected to generate $490 billion in revenue by 2023, Fhenix’s technology is an advancement and a necessity. It addresses critical challenges like real-time position vulnerabilities, historical tactics analysis, identity correlation risks, and game manipulation on public blockchains.

Fhenix stands not in competition with games but as a foundational infrastructure, enhancing privacy and security from the ground up. It paves the way for unique app chains through FHE Rollups, catering to different gaming genres while ensuring total confidentiality and safety.


What’s in Store for 2024?

Fhenix represents a significant step forward in the blockchain industry, offering a solution to the long-standing privacy and security challenges. By enabling encrypted on-chain transactions and computation, Fhenix paves the way for a new encryption standard in Web3, potentially transforming how data is handled and protected in the blockchain ecosystem.

In line with its ambitions, In the first quarter of 2024, Fhenix is participating in and significantly influencing key events in the tech community. This aligns with their landmark achievement: the launch of their public testnet.

The selected events, including Penn Blockchain Week, ETH Denver, ETHGlobal London, and ETHSeoul, are platforms for Fhenix to exhibit their groundbreaking advancements. These forums enable Fhenix to engage with tech enthusiasts, sharing insights with industry leaders and aspiring developers. The focus is shaping a secure, private digital future – a commitment Fhenix will uphold.

Penn Blockchain Week and ETH Denver in February are pivotal gatherings. At ETH Denver, Fhenix will host or attend various events like DeFi Day, a Private Research Dinner, Encryption Day, and the renowned ETHDenver Hackathon. These events underline Fhenix’s deep involvement in the tech sphere, showcasing its commitment to fostering a private and secure digital environment.


Deep Industry Connections

ETHGlobal London and ETHSeoul in March further testify to Fhenix’s global outreach. These events, known for attracting top Ethereum researchers and developers, will be vital platforms for Fhenix to extend its influence and share its vision for a new computing era.

This quarter’s activities are just the beginning of Fhenix’s extensive roadmap for 2024. Their active participation is a strategic move to propel the industry forward, emphasizing their dedication to leading the charge in a new era of computing where privacy and security are not afterthoughts but foundational elements.


Conclusion

Fhenix stands at the forefront of blockchain privacy and security innovation. Its unique encryption and data computation approach could significantly impact how blockchain technology is used in various sectors.

As the project progresses towards its mainnet launch, it will be interesting to see how Fhenix navigates the challenges ahead and how it shapes the future of blockchain privacy.

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‘Delete Immediately’: Trezor Warns Users of Elaborate Phishing Emails and Large Scale Attack

https://blockonomi.com/delete-immediately-trezor-warns-users-of-elaborate-phishing-emails-and-large-scale-attack/

Hardware wallets might promise security but the human factor remains a vulnerability. Popular hardware wallet manufacturer Trezor has recently cautioned its users of a sophisticated phishing attack targeting its customers.

Users who received an “Assets undergoing upgrade” email on January 24th could have had their funds stolen if they followed the link it contained.

This incident comes just days after unauthorized access to Trezor’s customer support database. While investigations continue, the Trezor is yet to determine if the attacks are linked. For now, the company has actively warned its customers about the incident and stressed they safeguard their recovery phrases and delete unsolicited emails to protect against fraud.

A Different Kind of Phishing Attack

Phishing emails are received by billions of people every day, with an estimated 3.4 billion such emails being sent every day. More often than not, these emails are sent from email addresses trying to be as similar to the original to not raise suspicion. In this case, however, the use of an official address would have given most users a sense of security strong enough to click the link.

The emails were sent from Trezor’s official email address noreply@trezor.io as a result of a compromised third-party email provider. If the links in the email were clicked, users would be taken to a fake Trezor website where they were to share their seed phrases.

Trezor believes that an “unauthorized individual” gained access to the company’s database that contained the email addresses of its newsletter subscribers. This information was later used to send all of the Phishing emails to all subscribers. Users who were not subscribed to Trezor’s newsletter were not affected.

What Was Trezor’s Response?

Trezor is still to share more information on how the attack happened, with the only available information being a blog post and Tweet informing users about the incident. The company was also able to “swiftly” deactivate the malicious link, remove access to unauthorized users, and secure the newsletter database in an attempt to limit the reach of the threat.

While the investigation is still ongoing, Trezor was able to figure out that “only” the third-party service used to deliver newsletter email communications and newsletter database were compromised. The company has also warned its users of the need to transfer all funds immediately if they had entered their recovery seed in any form.

For those users who received the email but didn’t engage with it, Trezor said “No further action is required”. All users were also warned of the need to remain alert for potential phishing attacks, independently of the result of this attack.

More Than an Isolated Incident

The phishing attack on January 24th was not an isolated incident for Trezor. The company has been dealing with cybersecurity threats for years, with the latest before this incident having taken place on January 17th.

The January 17th attack saw Trezor’s third-party support ticketing portal accessed by an unauthorized individual. This attack compromised over 66k users who interacted with Trezor’s customer support since December 2021. The information obtained by the attackers potentially included ”contact details, limited to email and name/nickname.”

While both attacks differed, Trezo believes that the company could be the target of “skilled hackers on a larger scale” at this time. As no conclusion can be made until now, the company says it is closely monitoring both incidents and working to enhance its security.

Until more information is known, hardware wallets should remain wary of any emails, calls, SMSs, or websites asking them to provide personal information. While hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger remain excellent options in terms of security, social engineering remains a threat.

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It Runs Doom! Dogecoin (DOGE) Is Now a Perpetual Playground for Retro Gamers

https://blockonomi.com/it-runs-doom-dogecoin-doge-is-now-a-perpetual-playground-for-retro-gamers/

One of the internet and hacking culture’s biggest phenomena has found a new home: Dogecoin. The original Doom was launched in 1993 and quickly became one of the most popular first-person shooters, long before the release of its source code in 1997. Since then, the game has been ported to devices as unexpected as ATMs, ultrasound scanners, calculators, and even toasters (kind of).

Twitter user “Mini Doge” announced on January 22nd that they had been able to port Doom into Dogecoin, meaning that anyone can now use the network to play the game. According to Mini Doge, the achievement is a reflection of the potential Dogecoin’s latest feature (Doginals) has to reshape the blockchain as a whole.

Using Dogecoin to Store Data

Getting the original Doom to run on unconventional devices is now seen as a badge of honor by many, with entire sites dedicated to tracking these achievements and offering bounties. It is not surprising then that someone eventually got Doom to “run” on blockchain, with Dogecoin being their network of choice.

Requiring only 4.2 MB of storage, around the average size of an MP3 file, Doom was uploaded to the Dogecoin network as Shibescription 61832420. While the game actually runs locally in the user’s browser, all of the data it requires is loaded directly from the network. Despite the small size of the data, the game is fully playable and doesn’t lack any of the features or other elements of the original game.

Shibescriptions make use of the Doginal standard, which was introduced to the Doge network in February 2023 by Apezord. Doginals are similar to Bitcoin’s Ordinals, as they allow users to inscribe information onto its smallest units “shibes” whereas Bitcoin uses “satoshis”. Thousands of Shibescription have been created ever since as people started using them to store gifs, images, text, and more.

Doginals Vs. Ordinals: Does Doge Lead the Pack?

While Doge’s Doginals are the network’s equivalent to Bitcoin’s Ordinals, Doginals have proven to be more powerful in many ways. The Doge Labs team highlights the reduced costs, improved efficiency, room for experimentation, and accessibility. Doginals also make it much easier to store data, as Bitcoin’s Ordinals can store up to 400KB if created without the help of a miner while Doginals have no such limitations.

Bitcoin’s Ordinals have also been found to be a potential vulnerability for the network by the U.S. National Vulnerability Database. The vulnerability, which was deemed to be of medium severity, could facilitate the obfuscation of malicious code.

This difference in capacity makes Doginals much more accessible to users looking to create interactive content using blockchain as their storage. Combine this with the considerably lower fees and “less serious” nature of Dogecoin and a playground for experimentation will naturally emerge.

Dogecoin is No Longer a Joke

Originally envisioned and designed to be a satire of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin’s relevance in meme culture transformed it into something else a long time ago. Today, the cryptocurrency is #11 by market capitalization, surpassing names like Tron, Polkadot, and Polygon.

Dogecoin’s success has also been linked to prominent figures like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk, both of whom have shown their support and love for the currency in the past. When X (formerly known as Twitter) dedicated an official account for its payment feature, investors speculated on the addition of Dogecoin as a valid payment method, driving the coin’s price.

The fusion of blockchain technology with retro gaming on Dogecoin is just an example of how resilient the crypto community (and its trends) can be. Over a decade after its launch, Dogecoin remains an example of how a strong community can drive sustained growth and innovation in the blockchain space.

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SUI Gains Momentum Amid Market Volatility, TVL Surpassing Cardano ADA

https://blockonomi.com/sui-gains-momentum-amid-market-volatility-tvl-surpassing-cardano-ada/

The total value locked (TVL) on the Sui blockchain has jumped by around 82% over the past month to over $358 million, according to data from DeFillama. With this surge, Sui officially surpasses Cardano (ADA) in TVL, ranking at 12th position.

Despite the recent market turbulence, Sui shows strong performance, outpacing Cardano in TVL. There is a lot of strength in the DeFi market, regardless of the shifting token prices.

TVL on the Sui network has grown significantly since the Sui Foundation announced that the SUI token will be used as an incentive for projects built on the Sui ecosystem. This potentially drives a broader user base.

SUI Is Looking Good

Other on-chain data also suggest the growth of the Sui blockchain. Sui Explorer, Sui’s native on-chain tracking platform, shows that the number of daily active accounts is around 17,500. This represents a decline in the number of daily users compared to the recent peak in early December when the network saw a spike of up to 180,000 users in a short period. However, the overall account base has rapidly grown to over 9.5 million.

One of the reasons behind last month’s surge could be the increasing interest in inscriptions, with the introduction of SuiMint and Red Bull, a limited inscription collection on Sui.

Additionally, its native token, SUI, is among the cryptocurrencies that have gained momentum amid the market volatility. According to data from CoinGecko, SUI hit $1.3 per coin, up nearly 20% today. Besides SUI, MANTA, PENDLE, and ACE also show strong performance.

The gain happened when most top coins, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, underperformed week-to-date. Notably, Bitcoin dropped below $40,000, down over 7% since the trading debut of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Ethereum was also below $2,300 despite the recently successful Dencun launch on the Goerli testnet.

ETH prices are still way up from last year, and 2024 looks good for the token.

Enhanced Ecosystem

While unlocking new use cases for its native token, the Sui team also makes new developments within its ecosystem. Earlier this week, Mysten Lab, the team behind the Sui network, announced that it would extend its partnership with Alibaba Cloud.

In a recent tweet, Mysten Lab expressed enthusiasm, saying that the partnership is set to introduce a range of services dedicated to supporting both current and prospective developers on the Sui network. Among the offerings are an AI-enabled development environment, educational programming in universities, community events, and the translation of Move documentation into Mandarin Chinese and Korean.

One of the most exciting developments is the creation of an AI-assisted tool by Mysten Labs and ChainIDE. This tool will enable the generation of Move code based on natural language prompts from developers, leveraging the robust infrastructure and tech support provided by Alibaba Cloud. The initiative aims to enhance the efficiency of experienced developers while facilitating the learning process for newcomers to the Move language.

Alibaba Cloud will further strengthen the Sui infrastructure by offering full node services, ensuring the seamless functioning of the blockchain. The collaboration with strategic partner ShinamiCorp will see the provision of Gas Station benefits, simplifying user transactions and enabling smooth onboarding for new users.

Furthermore, Cetu, a leading Automated Market Maker (AMM) in the Sui Network ecosystem, has received backing from MetaMask. This development allows users to access Cetus using the MetaMask wallet. Cetus has experienced remarkable growth, with its cumulative transaction volume surpassing $700 million.

In December last year, Solend, a prominent lending platform with over $140 million in TVL and a community of over 170,000 members, expanded its presence to the Sui network. Having established itself on the Solana blockchain, Solend aims to leverage the Sui ecosystem to reach a wider user base and attract new builders.

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OKX’s OKB Token Tumbles 50% Due to Leveraged Liquidations and Market Pressure

https://blockonomi.com/okxs-okb-token-tumbles-50-due-to-leveraged-liquidations-and-market-pressure/

OKB, the native token of OKX, suddenly dropped by 50% from $52 to a minimum of $25, according to data from the OKX exchange. The sharp decline, according to OKX’s explanation, was the result of a wave of massive liquidations, coupled with an overall bearish trend in the market.

OKB token suffered a flash crash, dropping its price by 50% within minutes. Crypto markets have been falling. OKB is not a major token, but it shows how weak liquidity can be in the crypto markets.

OKX’s market cap decreased by more than 10% after this price movement, from approximately $3 billion to $2.7 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap. At press time, the OKB token has rebounded above $44, and OKX’s market cap has also recovered above $3 billion

The cause was initially unknown. However, after a few hours of the incident, OKX shed light on the leading causes of the early crash, citing massive liquidations and the market’s downward trend. According to OKX, OKB’s price movements were initially consistent with general market trends. However, when the price of OKB reached around $48, it triggered the liquidation of multiple large leverage positions.

A Downdraft Hits Markets

The wave of liquidations, coupled with the ongoing market downturn, sharply drove OKB’s price down. As the price continued to fall, it triggered further liquidations, affecting pledged loans, leverage transactions, and cross-currency transactions. This spiral of liquidations created a feedback loop, with OKB hitting the day’s low of around $25 in a short period.

OKX has pledged to compensate its users for any additional losses incurred due to this incident. The exchange announced that details regarding the compensation process would be released within the next 72 hours.

Furthermore, OKX said that it will take proactive measures to prevent such incidents in the future. These include optimizing spot leverage gradients, enhancing pledged lending risk control rules, and refining liquidation mechanisms.

OKX Faces Scam Allegations

In addition to the price decline of its native token, OKX is also facing a recent accusation of being a “scam exchange.” The decentralized blockchain platform, Ice, took to Twitter yesterday to voice serious allegations against the exchange.

In a tweet, Ice blockchain declared OKX a “scam exchange” following their ICE token listing on January 19. Ice claimed that despite a prior agreement with OKX for the listing, numerous issues plagued the launch day, including users struggling to find the newly listed coin, trading restrictions based on local compliance, and conflicting responses from OKX support.

Ice emphasized that they reported these concerns promptly to OKX, but as of yet, no concrete actions have been taken by the exchange to address or rectify the reported problems.

In response to Ice’s accusations, Haider Rafique, OKX’s Chief Marketing Officer, said that OKX is actively investigating the cases of users unable to locate the listing on their app or website. Rafique cited the complexity of new listings, attributing discrepancies in user experiences to factors such as local laws, regulations, KYC requirements, and listing policies.

OKX ranks as the second-largest crypto exchange after Binance, holding over $14 billion in user assets, according to data from DefiLlama. Despite facing challenges in the market during 2023, OKX demonstrated resilience and strategic prowess by forging impactful partnerships with prominent global entities.

One notable collaboration was revealed in December when OKX announced its alliance with the renowned F1 racing team McLaren. This partnership was established to expedite access to Web3

Last year, OKX announced it extended its partnership with the famous football team Machester City. Manchester City is also OKX’s first global brand partner. The goal of their partnership is not only to enhance brand visibility but also to contribute to the development of Web3 technologies.

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Terra LUNA Price Crashes on Terraform Insolvency News

https://blockonomi.com/terra-luna-price-crashes-on-terraform-insolvency-news/

Terraform Labs, the company behind the LUNA token, filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in the US, as reported by Reuters.

The move comes ahead of the SEC’s trial against Terraform Labs and its co-founder, Do Kwon. The case is ongoing, and given the losses, could end in major jail time.

According to a court filing with Delaware Court dated January 21, Terraform Labs possesses assets and liabilities within the range of $100 to $500 million.

The company assures the fulfillment of all financial obligations to both employees and vendors throughout the bankruptcy proceedings. Furthermore, it affirms its commitment to sustaining the growth of Web3 offerings as an integral part of its strategic plans.

“The filing will allow TFL to execute on its business plan while navigating ongoing legal proceedings, including representative litigation pending in Singapore and U.S. litigation involving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” stated Terraform Labs.

More Legal Trouble In The USA

The move comes amid a legal battle between Terraform Labs and the Securities Exchange and Commission (SEC). Earlier last year, the SEC accused the company and its co-founder Do Kwon of conducting unregistered securities and “orchestrating a multi-billion-dollar crypto asset securities fraud.”

In December last year, the court ruled in favor of the SEC, asserting that LUNA and UST are securities. This led to allegations that Terraform Labs violated US law by offering these coins to investors without SEC approval.

The planned trial has been postponed to March, awaiting the participation of detained co-founder Do Kwon. Besides the SEC, Do Kwon faced multiple lawsuits from South Korean investors.

Initially blaming external actors, Terraform Labs’ claims of corruption by investment funds like Citadel Securities lacked specific evidence and were refuted.

LUNA Craters

According to data from CoinGecko, the price of LUNA, Terraform Labs’ token, has dipped nearly 6% following the bankruptcy announcement. LUNA was issued in May 2022 as the company’s effort to resurge after the de-pegging event. Two tokens linked to the case, LUNC and USTC, formerly known as LUNA and UST, have also seen a price drop.

Terra is a decentralized blockchain platform that provides stablecoins pegged to various fiat currencies. The primary stablecoin on the Terra network is Terra’s native stablecoin, Terra (UST). Luna serves as the governance and staking token for the Terra ecosystem.

Following the notorious de-pegging of UST, the ecosystem crashed dramatically. Following the collapse that activated the crypto winter, Do Kwon came up with LUNA 2.0, a hard fork of LUNA, in an effort to revive the ecosystem.

The idea faced controversy as some industry figures found it unrealistic. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the former CEO of Binance, voiced against this idea, claiming that it wouldn’t work. CZ said that forking wasn’t a valuable option and deactivating on-chain and off-chain transactions based on snapshots was impossible.

The Do Kwon Angle

While Do Kwon sought a revival with LUNA 2.0, the Terra community decided to stick with the old Terra blockchain. The original LUNA and UST were rebranded as LUNC and USTC.

In December last year, LUNC and USTC saw a strong rally. USTC soared to over $ 0.03, marking a remarkable 170% increase. Simultaneously, Terra Luna Classic (LUNC) experienced a substantial 30% surge, reaching $0.000096.

The primary catalyst for this notable upswing is attributed to the initial outcomes of a community-driven initiative to restore the Terra Classic ecosystem to its former glory in 2021.

The surge in staking rates and increased utilization of the Terra Classic network indicate a positive sentiment among users, signaling a trajectory toward recovery for the ecosystem. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the current growth, while significant, still needs to catch up to the project’s previous stature.

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Three Legal Battles Shaping Crypto’s Future in 2024

https://blockonomi.com/three-legal-battles-shaping-cryptos-future-in-2024/

From a regulatory standpoint, 2023 was one of the toughest years for the cryptocurrency ecosystem in its relatively short history. Increasing regulatory pressure both in the United States and elsewhere, meant that crypto advocates remained on the edge of their seats for most of the year.

While already set to a great start, this year will not be free of regulatory challenges. As the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulators in the United States seek to establish a regulatory framework (or enforce a non-existent one) the future of crypto still needs to be determined.

This year, two of the biggest cryptocurrencies (Coinbase and Binance) will seek to have their lawsuits favorably resolved. Other minor legal battles, like that of OpenSea’s former Product Manager’s appeal, will also be quintessential in establishing legal clarity for crypto and other blockchain-based technologies in the long term.


SEC v. Binance: Evasion of U.S. Law

Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, was sued late last year by the SEC for what the agency considered to be a “blatant disregard of the federal securities laws” and its “investor and market protections”. The exchange, as well as the other defendants, would also have operated while unregistered, offering “three essential securities market functions” while avoiding U.S. laws through several entities.

According to the agency, this disregard would have allowed Binance the defendants to “enrich themselves by billions of U.S. dollars” while also facilitating money laundering and sanction evasion. The lawsuit was filed back in mid-2023 but is still an ongoing case, one which Binance has attempted to have dismissed by claiming the agency didn’t have the necessary authority.

Before jumping straight into allegations of fraud, market manipulation, etc, however, the federal judge overseeing the case has decided to focus her early efforts on establishing what digital assets even are, according to CoinTelegraph. Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in a minute order that the court would hear arguments on ”whether a digital asset remains a security in perpetuity”. If found to be a security, the lawsuit would be likely to move forward, while the opposite would likely be the case otherwise.


SEC v. Coinbase: Are Cryptocurrencies a Security?

The issue of cryptocurrencies being a security has long been one of the major topics of discussion when it comes to cryptocurrency regulation. Unlike the SEC’s case against Binance, this is the cornerstone of the agency’s legal battle with Coinbase, a fact CEO Brian Armstrong was quick to point out hours after the filing. Binance’s lawsuit claims 13 violations while Coinbase’s claims are substantially lower at only 4, all of them focused on registrations.

According to the filing, Coinbase has broken the law by acting “as an exchange, a broker, and clearing agency, without registering as an exchange, broker, or clearing agency”. Armstrong’s tweet states that “the complaint filed against us is exclusively focused on what is or is not a security”.

When U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres sided with Ripple Labs back in 2023 by declaring that XRP didn’t violate the law as XRP was not a security, most experts saw it as a victory for crypto. This was boosted when the SEC had its appeal request rejected before choosing to drop all charges. Coinbase’s legal battle will bring further clarity on what the law considers to be a security, determining which agency (if any) can regulate it and how.


United States v. Nathaniel Chastain: Can NFTs Be Property?

Former OpenSea executive Nathaniel Chastain made news in 2022 when he was charged with wire fraud and money laundering for running the “first ever digital asset insider trading scheme”. As a high-level employee, Chastain was in charge of choosing which NFTs would be featured on the marketplace’s homepage. According to the charges, Chastain chose to use this information to “secretly purchase dozens of NFTs shortly before they were featured”.

Almost a year after being convicted last year, Chastain is appealing the decision by claiming that the confidential information he possessed “had no commercial value.” As this meant the information was not “protected property”, Chastain’s lawyers ascertained the conviction didn’t have legal ground.

While this case doesn’t directly relate to NFTs, cryptocurrency, or any other digital asset but the information surrounding it, its implications have the potential to affect the space. Regulators have long argued that by cracking down on these assets, they are protecting consumers from market manipulation, fraud, and similar activity.

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