News Headlines (14th FEB 2024)

The notional open interest, or the dollar value locked in the number of open or active bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts, has risen to a 26-month high, according to CoinGlass.

As of writing, open interest in perpetuals and standard futures stood at over $21 billion, with bitcoin trading at $49,570 in the spot market. The open interest tally has increased 22% this year, nearing the record $24 billion seen in mid-November 2021 when bitcoin traded above $65,000.

The renewed interest in leveraged products like futures alongside a price rise represents an influx of new money on the bullish side and confirms the uptrend. Bitcoin has rallied 28% in just over three weeks, mainly due to strong inflows into the recently launched spot ETFs in the U.S.

Bitcoin is starting to look like the hot commodity on the market again after the launch of the much-anticipated spot Bitcoin ETFs. With so much enthusiasm surrounding these products, the question becomes how much more can “number go up.”

The answer is, of course, unknown, but that won’t stop analysts from speculating, including those at the $725 billion asset manager AllianceBernstein. They predict it’s possible Bitcoin will breach a new all-time high this year.

“We think the best days of Bitcoin are ahead, and the ETF-led Bitcoin market is poised for what we expect to be a FOMO rally,” analysts Gautam Chhugani and Mahika Sapra wrote in a note circulated to clients on Monday.

According to South Korea’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the local virtual asset exchanges reported 49% more suspicious transactions to the FIU last year than in 2022.

On Feb. 14, the FIU published the summary of its Work Plan for 2024, in which it shared crucial data and strategic initiatives for crypto market oversight.

The FIU has been actively encouraging crypto exchanges to report any transactions that raise suspicions of money laundering and illegal “foreign exchange outflow.”

As a result, the number of reports by the local crypto exchanges grew 49% in 2023 compared to 2022 — up to 16,076 cases from 10,797. In comparison, the number of total suspicious transactions, including but not limited to crypto assets, increased by a modest 10.2%.

According to CoinDesk, the price of bitcoin has risen to over $49,000, causing traders to enter a period of ‘extreme greed’ as indicated by the Fear & Greed Index. This index, published by data source, measures market sentiment for bitcoin and other prominent digital assets. The last time the index reached a score of 79 out of 100 was when bitcoin hit its all-time high of around $69,000 in November 2021. states that when investors become too greedy, the market is due for a correction. Savvy traders typically prefer buying when the index shows extreme fear and become more cautious when greed is higher.

In the latter half of 2023, Founders Fund, a venture capital (VC) firm established by German-American billionaire Peter Thiel, is thought to have invested $200 million in bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH). A Reuters report indicates that the $200 million was equally divided between the two leading cryptocurrencies.

The VC’s previously undisclosed investment, as detailed in the report, is seen as an indication of its revived interest in the digital asset markets. Prior to this investment, the Thiel-founded venture firm, along with many of its Silicon Valley counterparts, largely refrained from investing in cryptocurrencies.

Tokens of key gaming and NFT projects Sandbox and ApeCoin could see short-term selling pressure as planned unlocks release a cumulative $125 million worth of the tokens in the coming days.

Token unlocks refer to the release of previously locked or restricted tokens into the market. These tokens become available for trading, buying, and selling after the end of their vesting period – and are typically vested for early investors, treasury, and public sale investors.

Data shows $95 million worth of Sandbox’s SAND will be released in early European hours on Wednesday, while nearly $25 million of ApeCoin (APE) will be released Friday.

Stacks, a layer 2 protocol that enables smart contracts on Bitcoin, has reached an all-time high in the value locked on its network.

Data from onchain analytics aggregator DefiLlama shows that the total value locked (TVL) on Stacks currently stands at $70.41 million, an increase of more than 400% in the past four months.

Total value locked represents the monetary value deposited in Stack’s DeFi platforms, “generally in the form of tokens used for lending, staking, or liquidity pool participation,” per blockchain intelligence firm Artemis.

Bitcoin spot ETFs in the United States have collectively breached $3 billion in net flows roughly one month after birth, blasting past the performance of gold ETFs when they were launched 20 years ago. This milestone comes even inclusive of Grayscale’s fund, which has seen only outflows as long-term investors cash out—many likely moving to competitive offerings.

Excluding Grayscale, inflows are closing in on $10 billion, according to data from BitMEX Research. As of late Monday, inflows across those other Bitcoin spot ETFs tallied more than $9.6 billion worth.

Brian Nelson tells House lawmakers that despite the agency’s authority to hold firms such as Binance accountable, more powers are needed.

A United States Treasury official has expressed concerns regarding crypto in illicit finance in a statement to the House Financial Services Committee, asking for more authority to go after bad actors. The committee hearing is set for Feb. 15.

The Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, emphasized this request in his prepared statement for a congressional hearing on terrorism and cryptocurrency crimes.

According to Cointelegraph: A cryptocurrency user spent a whopping $113,000 on gas fees attempting to snipe a newly launched token, only to witness its value plummet to nearly zero within 35 minutes of purchase.

A user spent $113,000 on gas for a $26,000 transaction: Source: Etherscan

As per Etherscan transaction data, on February 13th, a single-user wallet engaged with a smart contract and transferred an equivalent of $26,000 in ETH. This was exchanged to Wrapped Ether (WETH), which was then swapped for 30 units of a new ERC-404 token, known as No Handle (NO).

The wallet appears to be the initial caller of the smart contract. Source: DeBank

However, following a short-lived price surge from $6.80 to a staggering peak of about $70,000, the value of the NO token fell sharply back to near zero, all within 35 minutes. The term “rug pull” was used by Lookonchain to describe the sudden collapse in value. Blockchain analytics service Crypto Monkey flagged the NO token as high risk (0/100 safety score) and informed users that 90% of it was held by only two addresses.