Crypto News Headlines (10-May-2023)

While bitcoin and ether slid for a fourth consecutive day to trim a portion of their respective 66% and 53% year-to-date gains, a couple of lesser-known altcoins rose on high trading volume Tuesday.

Bitcoin appears to be settling into a range, flirting with support levels around the $27,500 mark. The visible range volume profile (VRVP) tool shows high levels of trading activity between 28,000 and 27,400. Those “high volume nodes,” generally represent areas where price moves can stall, as they represent historic areas of agreement between buyers and sellers.

Lower volume nodes between 26,700 and 25,000 represent areas where prices could decline quickly, given the decreased levels of historic agreement.

Estonia has given up on its brief attempt to become a world leader in the digital asset industry, with more stringent crypto licensing rules set to come into effect on June 15.

Estonia once enjoyed international attention for its crypto initiatives. In 2019, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) issued a report praising Estonia’s efforts to implement blockchain for digital IDs, drivers licenses, e-residency, and governance technologies. Similarly, the World Economic Forum lauded Estonia’s efforts to digitize government and healthcare services in 2020.

Last year, Estonia was home to half of the world’s Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). Unfortunately, bad actors abused Estonia’s previously lax rules for obtaining a license. Shell companies were bought in the country and used for shady activities — operators often didn’t have a physical presence in the country.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has recently announced it is working to integrate Lightning Network, a bitcoin-based scaling solution, into its platform. The exchange made the announcement after having to pause bitcoin withdrawals twice in a single day due to network congestion.

The congestion issue Binance referred to had to do with the rise of BRC-20 tokens, which are issued on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, and have overwhelmed the BTC mempool, having more than 450,000 transactions pending with fees of $13 dollars at the time of writing, according to blockchain data.

The implementation of Lightning Network withdrawals would allow users to have the option of sidestepping the high fees collected by the BTC network when experiencing this kind of congestion. Binance announced that, besides starting to work on this implementation, it would adjust its withdrawal fees to avoid facing this issue in the future and that it would continue to monitor the situation, adjusting fees accordingly.

Bitcoin (BTC) users in Africa are increasingly moving to the Lightning network and stablecoins as transaction fees have soared to their highest level in about two years.

The Lightning network is a layer built on top of the Bitcoin network to process transactions more quickly.

Many across the continent have already been using these tools, so they weren’t necessarily troubled by spiking fees, but instability has also been noticed even in wallets that use the Lightning network, some said.

As a result of the higher fees there has been a shift of demand from customers who now “prefer moving their transactions through stablecoins like USDT, while folk with low volume transactions now prefer lightning network transactions over the base layer transactions,” said Heritage Falodun, the founder of Africa-focused over-the-counter liquidity provider Digioats.

On May 9, the total market capitalization of BRC-20 Bitcoin tokens surpassed $1 billion, with a total trading volume of $207.7 million in the past 24 hours. Some of the most notable deployed tokens include ORDI, NALS, VMPX, PEPE and MEME, with price variance of between +11% and -55% within the past day.

According to analysts at multichain wallet BitKeep, the BRC-20 token standard is a novel form of fungible token that “employs Ordinals and Inscriptions to create and manage token contracts, token minting, and token transfers, which are stored on the Bitcoin base chain.” Ordinals is a numbering system that assigns a unique number to each satoshi, or 0.00000001 Bitcoin BTC tickers down $27,764, enabling its tracking and transfer. Meanwhile, the “inscription” process adds a layer of data to each satoshi, allowing users to create unique digital assets on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Joseph O’Connor, the U.K. national behind a 2020 Twitter hack, has been extradited to the United States, where he has pled guilty to multiple cybercrime offenses, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York announced Tuesday

“O’Connor used his sophisticated technological abilities for malicious purposes — conducting a complex SIM swap attack to steal large amounts of cryptocurrency, hacking Twitter, conducting computer intrusions to take over social media accounts, and even cyberstalking two victims, including a minor victim,” the SDNY said in a statement.

During the 2020 Twitter hack, multiple high-profile Twitter accounts were taken over – including CoinDesk’s – and used to promote a bitcoin giveaway scam. Despite multi-factor authentication being enabled on some of the accounts, the attackers managed to hide scam warning responses, including from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, and amassed approximately 11.3 BTC ($103,960) from the fraudulent activity.

Europe’s landmark crypto regulation could serve as a model for the U.S., a top American regulator has said.

Hester Peirce, a commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who has previously been outspoken in her support for crypto, expressed her admiration for the speed at which the European Union put together its digital finance package.

Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) was passed by the European Parliament last month, putting in place a comprehensive framework for crypto regulation across the 27-country bloc.

 “MiCA can serve as a model for us,” Peirce said at the Financial Times’s Crypto and Digital Assets Summit in London on Wednesday. She added that the UK’s efforts to build a crypto-friendly regulatory regime could also serve as inspiration to the U.S.

Numerous investors reaped significant rewards from the surging PEPE meme token market; however, its worth has diminished from its all-time high (ATH). Just four days prior, on May 5, PEPE reached a pinnacle price of $0.00000431 per unit, but has since plunged over 50% from that position. Presently, its market valuation rests below $1 billion at $790 million, whereas on May 5, it ascended to an ATH of $1.8 billion.

Meme Token PEPE’s Market Cap Plunges Below $1 Billion Mark Amidst Market Decline

Despite the devaluation, PEPE has still managed to soar by 3,456% since its all-time low on April 18, set only 22 days earlier at $0.000000055142 per unit. Additionally, the meme coin has gained over 500% in the past two weeks when compared to the U.S. dollar. Yet since May 5, gains have eluded PEPE’s grasp. Nevertheless, PEPE boasts $804 million in global trade volume within a day—ranking eighth among total crypto trade volumes.

Crypto media outlet Blockworks has raised $12 million in a funding round led by private equity firm 10T Holdings at a $135 million post-money valuation. The capital will be used to help expand the outlet’s research and data analytics offering, Blockworks Research.

“For the past year, we’ve been building Blockworks Research, a powerful investment platform that brings together data, analytics, research, governance, and real-time news,” Blockworks co-founders Jason Yanowitz and Michael Ippolito wrote in an announcement post. “Financial institutions and deeply crypto-native investors rely on Blockworks Research to make better decisions. This investment allows us to double-down on this effort to bring better information to the industry.”

Framework Ventures and Santiago Santos also participated in the round.

The lion’s share of the fintech’s held cryptocurrency assets lies in BTC and ETH with $499 million and $362 million, respectively — up more than 56% since Q4 2022.

Financial technology company PayPal recently disclosed its cryptocurrency holdings in a quarterly report filed to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Claiming a combined total of $943 million in cryptocurrency assets as of March 31, 2023, the filing shows a 56% increase over the company’s previous quarter where PayPal disclosed $604 million.

PayPal’s reported total financial liabilities for this quarter were $1.2 billion, with crypto assets making up 77.9% — up more than 10% from 2022’s reported fourth quarter liabilities.