Crypto News Headlines (02-March-2022)

Ukrainians are buying more Bitcoin than ever before to protect their holdings as they fend off an attack from neighboring Russia.

A report released Tuesday from Arcane Research showed Ukrainians were using Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to snap up stablecoin Tether and Bitcoin with the hryvnia. (One Ukrainian hryvnia currently is worth about $.033.)

Arcane’s data shows that 24-hour Tether-hryvnia trading volume shot up from a little over $6 million right before the invasion to about $8.5 million. Over the preceding six weeks, volume rarely exceeded $3 million. Additionally, Bitcoin-hryvnia 24-hour trades roughly went from $1 million to $3 million.

A broad run in the digital asset market, led by bitcoin nearing $45K, has pushed the total market cap for crypto past $2 trillion, according to CoinGecko data.

The crypto market was last at $2 trillion in August 2021.

In the last week, bitcoin has jumped nearly 14%, and ether 12%.

Analysts that spoke with CoinDesk previously said that capital controls in Russia are a factor in this rapid appreciation.

“Capital controls without demand don’t make an impact on price. Capital controls mean price will deviate to one side or the other depending or where the demand is,” Trader and analyst Alex Kruger told CoinDesk in a prior interview.

Terra’s LUNA token had a stratospheric rise, climbing nearly 70% during the last week, and is now trading at approximately $94.

Solana’s SOL and other layer 1 tokens like Avalanche’s AVAX and Polkadot’s DOT also responded favorably to the market. SOL gained 18.5% this week, while AVAX was up approximately 16% and DOT nearly 13%.

With the recent gains, bitcoin now has a higher market cap than the rapidly-declining russian ruble.

Bitcoin has a market cap of approximately $835 billion while the ruble has a market cap of around $626 billion.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD reaching $44,250 on Bitstamp before consolidating, still above $43,000 at the time of writing.

The move had come in two main bursts, beginning just prior to the Wall Street open.

Against a highly uncertain macro backdrop, analysts had been hard-pressed to forecast what Bitcoin price action would do next, a mood that continued as local highs appeared.

Looking ahead to the month of March, popular trader and analyst Pentoshi noted that even more triggers were about to be added to the macro mix.

“Want to state, March is a month of massive variables,” he told Twitter followers on the day.

“So I think day to day approach is best. There is a lot going on in the world right now. It’s anyones guess. I’m leaning towards yearly open still, but after that it’s wait and see.”

He nonetheless admitted that he “did not see coming” the extent of Bitcoin’s rapid gains, despite adopting a more bullish posture in February.

Aside from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the U.S. Federal Reserve is due to make a decision on key interest rate hikes this month. Data for the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) is due on March 10.

After a three-month court battle by The Times of Israel, together with Britain’s The Financial Times, and separately, the Haaretz newspaper, an Israeli judge has lifted a gag order on two more of ten suspects arrested on November 18 as part of an alleged crypto scam that defrauded victims worldwide of colossal sums of money. Their names are Yaron Shalem and Ido Sadeh Man.

Neither responded to a request for comment from The Times of Israel. Shalem was a vice president at the venture capital firm Singulariteam, and until recently the CFO of Celsius Network, a multibillion-dollar cryptocurrency lending platform. Sadeh Man is the founder of the Saga cryptocurrency company.

Lawyers for Shalem told the Financial Times he “acted in accordance with the law and strongly and utterly rejects any attempt to associate him with any act of fraud.” They added: “Our client is certain that at the end of the investigation, it will be found that he had committed no wrongdoing.

The delay in India’s cryptocurrency and digital assets legislation is justified because of its complexity and the impact such a decision will have on investors and broader financial markets, said experts.

In its current form, the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill aims to ban all cryptocurrencies as a payment method in India, barring a few private coins to promote underlying technologies, even as it allows the Reserve Bank of India to set up an official digital currency.

The Reserve Bank of India made clear its reservations and, in repeated messages, has said it was in favour of a complete ban on cryptos highlighting concerns relating to macroeconomic and financial stability from virtual currencies, the challenge of exchange management, monitoring and regulating such assets.

However, the government had previously said it aims to promote underlying technologies such as blockchain. Industry experts, too, opine that reforms to the bill with more comprehensive consultations can take India to the forefront of blockchain tech.

Finance Minister, in her budget, announced the RBI would introduce the digital rupee within the following year.

The actor Ben McKenzie is sitting in the den of his Brooklyn Heights townhouse, summarizing a 24-part MIT lecture series about the blockchain by SEC chair Gary Gensler. “Gensler talks about finance being the intermediation of risk and capital,” he explains before whipping me through the reliability of state-held currencies, the dangers of speculation, and the history of encryption from the Merkle tree (an early method of computer encryption) to ethereum (the biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin). Once he gets through the three sides of the fraud triangle and the definition of securities, he takes a sip of tea. “It’s really good that you’re here talking to me,” McKenzie says. “Now my wife can say, ‘Thank God, for one day, I don’t have to listen to this shit.’”

Billionaire Ken Griffin has a rocky relationship with the crypto sphere, to say the least.

After being one of the fledgling critics of the young industry, he distinguished himself by buying up at the last minute a copy of the American Constitution that fans and admirers of the crypto industry wanted to acquire by organizing themselves around ConstitutionDao.

Dao is a decentralized autonomous organization whose objective is to replace hedge funds and the hierarchical organization of the classic corporate structure. You can read more about DAOs here.

In addition to this fact of war, Griffin had harsh words with respect to bitcoin, of which he often denied the usefulness or even the existence.

He has thus dealt with the most popular cryptocurrency of “jihadist call that we don’t believe in the dollar.”

Griffin is ranked 41st in Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, with an estimated net worth of $30.2 billion.

“I wish all this passion and energy that went to crypto was directed towards making the United States stronger,” Griffin said at the Economic Club of Chicago last October.

“It’s a jihadist call that we don’t believe in the dollar,” he said. “What a crazy concept this is, that we as a country embrace so many bright, young, talented people to come up with a replacement for our reserve currency.”

According to Ali Sajwani, the managing director of the real estate property developer DAMAC Properties, his company is planning to start a project in the metaverse sometime in March. The project, if launched, will be a first for the London Stock Exchange-listed property developer.

Sajwani’s confirmation of the company’s planned foray into the metaverse came a few weeks after an online poll he conducted suggested real estate is likely to be the first sector to adopt non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In addition, the revelation came shortly after Sajwani himself was said to have purchased a plot in The Sandbox metaverse.

In remarks following an announcement made during NFT collection Crypto Bear Watch Club (CBWC)’s ask me anything (AMA) session, Sajwani is quoted by Unlock Media explaining the rationale behind DAMAC’s decision. He said:

At DAMAC we are looking into different ways to include NFTs and the metaverse. As you know DAMAC is not only a multi-billion dollar property developer but also holds brands such as Roberto Cavalli (purchased in 2019). So, while most use the term Metaverse loosely we think it is much more and we have come up with a solution where we bridge the physical and digital assets to allow for cross-utilization.

He added that DAMAC has already created a solution that will integrate the real estate developer’s different platforms which range from real estate to fashion and jewelry. The objective, according to Sajwani, is to bring these into the metaverse.

It’s been almost four months since Bitcoin nearly touched $69,000—an all-time high—and, according to a new report, it now appears that most top-of-the-market buyers have since unloaded their coins.

According to on-chain analytics provider Glassnode, more than half of the coins once bought for about $60,000 have since been resold for about $35,000 to $38,000. Meanwhile, multiple indicators showed remarkably strong hands from long-term holders, even in the face of geopolitical conflict.

The Glassnode report zoomed in on Bitcoin’s UTXO Realized Price Distribution (URPD) on significant dates last year, comparing them to today. URPD essentially tracks the prices at which existing Bitcoin last moved on-chain. This data can be useful for identifying how many buyers profited—or find themselves underwater.

A price surge in Terra’s LUNA token over the past week has made it the second-largest staked asset among all major cryptocurrencies in terms of total value staked, according to data. LUNA surpassed ether, which has just over $28 billion in staked value, at the time of writing.

Data from Staking Rewards show over $30 billion worth of LUNA is now staked directly on various protocols, representing a majority of the token’s $34 billion market capitalization.

Participants are earning over 6.98% in annual yields. Some 41% of all eligible tokens are staked, the data shows.

Cross-chain protocol holds over $2 billion in staked LUNA, the largest among all staking applications that support LUNA. Its 43,000 stakers generate nearly 7% in yields.