Crypto News Headlines (22-Feb-2023)

The hunt for the infamous “CryptoQueen,” Ruja Ignatova, took a dark turn as an investigation by Bulgarian news outlet Bird reported that she was killed in 2018, citing documents reportedly found in the possession of a murdered Bulgarian police official.

Ignatova was head of the multimillion-dollar OneCoin scam and disappeared after allegedly fleecing investors out of as much as $5 billion in 2017. She was added to international fugitive lists, including the FBI’s ten most wanted and Europe’s most wanted list. If the Bird report is true, she achieved this notoriety last summer—up to two years after her supposed death.

Australian crypto gaming company Immutable is cutting 11% of its workforce, according to a letter to employees from the CEO shared with CoinDesk by the platform.

The news was first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

Chief executive and co-founder James Ferguson announced the job cuts in the note blaming the layoffs on a need to maximise how long its cash reserves will last and put its resources towards the most important projects.

“I take full ownership for these actions,” Ferguson wrote while adding that “I am sorry to all Immutables impacted by these changes.” Affected staff would be offered an average of 10 weeks’ redundancy pay, laptops, counselling, coaching and outplacement services, the report said. Healthcare would be extended to the staff in the U.S.

The VeChain team announced via a Medium post on Monday that it has launched VeWorld, its new fully decentralized self-custody wallet. This new wallet introduces many quality-of-life upgrades for the VeChain ecosystem, with an extensive roadmap of features in the pipeline. VeWorld was initially launched as a web wallet and will be iteratively upgraded on a bi-weekly cadence by a dedicated team of Foundation developers. Mobile and desktop versions of the wallet will launch in Q3, allowing users to download a version that suits them best.

The team added that VeWorld allows users to perform a variety of crypto-related actions, such as creating and importing wallets, managing crypto portfolios, sending and receiving crypto assets, securely transacting on decentralized applications (DApps) and managing crypto in combination with a Ledger hardware device.

According to Nansen’s data journalist Martin Lee, the amount of usd coin (USDC) held on Binance has been steadily climbing this week. “Interesting to see the amount of USDC on Binance increase so much since the BUSD news,” Lee tweeted on Tuesday. Lee further detailed that Binance saw a $1.5 billion increase in USDC in the last seven days.

He also noted that he would have expected the supply of tether (USDT) to increase on Binance more than USDC, “given that you can’t trade using USDC” on Binance. On Sept. 5, 2022, Binance dropped usd coin (USDC) trading pairs and auto-converted customer balances to BUSD. Two weeks later, Wazirx followed Binance’s move, delisting usd coin (USDC) and a couple of other stablecoins to auto-convert balances to BUSD.

Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko announced the Shapella upgrade is scheduled for Feb. 28. The Shapella network upgrade will activate on the Sepolia network at epoch 56832.

Shanghai and Capella (Shapella) are the upcoming Ethereum hard fork names. Shanghai is the fork’s name on the execution layer client side, and Capella is the upgrade name on the consensus layer client side.

Some key Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) changes on the execution layer include warm coinbase (not to be confused with the crypto exchange) and Beacon Chain push withdrawals. The push withdrawals will allow validator withdrawals from the Beacon Chain to the Ethereum Virtual Machine via a new “system-level” operation type. On the other hand, warm coinbase could be a game changer that reduces network fees for builders.

Coinbase, the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., took an opportunity to address the current regulatory landscape in its Q4 2022 earnings report released Tuesday, saying it is in a strong position to overcome both existing and future challenges.

The San Francisco-based company insists it has built “reliable infrastructure, a durable business model, and a strong balance sheet,” while prioritizing “prudent risk management” and “transparency with customers, market participants, and government authorities, all to help encourage the cryptoeconomy’s development.”

Coinbase sales totaled $605 million in the previous quarter, beating analyst expectations that anticipated revenue would come in at around $588 million.

Bitcoin breached a rare “Golden Cross” over the weekend, a bullish signal that typically foreshadows short-term gains.

Prices have increased 1% since the latest cross occurred.

A Golden Cross occurs when the 50-day moving average for an asset crosses above the 200-day moving average. Bitcoin’s latest cross occurred on Feb 18. Bitcoin has seen only six other crosses since 2015. The most recent prior to this latest cross was on Aug. 14, 2021.

A cross reflects BTC’s exponential moving averages (EMA) and not the simple moving average (SMA). The calculation of an asset’s EMA weighs more recent pricing data, whereas SMAs measure each date equally.

Investors opt for one or the other depending on their personal preferences. The SMA group would have seen a cross occur Feb. 7.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, layer 2 scaling solution Arbitrum surpassed Ethereum in daily transactions, increasing Arbitrum’s dominance as the leading layer 2 rollup.

The number of daily transactions on the Arbitrum, the fourth-largest blockchain overall in terms of total value locked (TVL), jumped from 159,919 in daily transactions on Jan. 1 to over 1,103,398 at the time of press, representing a roughly 590% increase in less than two months, according to block explorer Arbiscan.

In comparison, the number of daily transactions on Ethereum increased a meager 46% in the same period to 1,084,290, per Etherscan.

Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary has shared his outlook for the crypto industry following several enforcement actions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Mr. Wonderful tweeted Monday:

Venture funding for new crypto projects is virtually dead and aftermarket trading for existing projects is at massive discounts. Reason? The regulator is now regulating by enforcement, penalties, and massive fines.

“The venture community has moved on to the next ‘big’ thing, AI,” he added.

O’Leary explained in an interview with Trader TV Live, published Sunday, that following the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, U.S. lawmakers are “pissed” about having to regularly meet to deal with the failures of crypto companies. Senators are “fatigued” and “really tired of gathering every six months when the next crypto company blows up and goes to zero,” the Shark Tank star described. He believes this is one of the reasons SEC Chairman Gary Gensler recently came down “heavy-handed” on crypto exchange Kraken over its staking program.

A self-confessed crypto trading addict and father of two is facing the dire prospect of losing his family forever after secretly racking up $180,000 in debt from his crypto trading habits.

Posting his story on the r/relationship advice subreddit on Feb. 21, Reddit user “Leather_Opposite2135” said he started dabbling in cryptocurrency trading around 2021.

Fast forward two years to the present day and he’s been kicked out by his wife and is at least $180,000 in debt.

 “It started just dabbling,” said Leather. “It’s a tech space so I found it very interesting. Joined a bunch of online spaces (discord) and eventually watched a few people trading btc and immediately got hooked.”