News Headlines (17th JAN 2024)

Since bitcoin’s (BTC) inception over a decade ago, crypto propounders have been obsessed with “de-dollarization,” a term used to describe shifting away from the U.S. dollar’s (USD) role as the global reserve currency.

The calls grew louder last year as several regional banks in the U.S. faced turmoil and the federal debt hit a record $34 trillion. However, data shows the dollar remained the most favored currency in international transactions, with global demand for U.S. government bonds holding steady.

“USD’s share in international SWIFT transactions surged in 2023 to reach its highest level in more than ten years. In contrast, the EUR share collapsed, and that of the JPY and GBP moderated,” Credit Agricole’s G10 FX strategy team said in a note to clients on Monday.

One month after the original Solana Saga smartphone sold through the rest of its production run following a rise in value for free tokens awarded to owners, Solana Labs revealed the Saga “Chapter 2” smartphone on Tuesday.

It’s a cheaper follow-up with similar core features built around the Solana crypto ecosystem. The Solana Saga “Chapter 2” will launch in 2025 for a preorder price of $450, making it a more affordable option than the original high-end device released in April 2023.

The value of crypto projects based in Switzerland and Liechtenstein has increased by 107% year-over-year to $382.93 billion.

According to a Jan. 16 report by Swiss venture capital firm Crypto Valley (CV VC), Ethereum, through the Ethereum Foundation, is currently the highest-valued project based in the two countries, with a market cap of $273 billion. This is followed by Solana at $43.3 billion and Cardano at $20.8 billion. The increase in valuation is mainly due to momentum from the overall crypto market recovery.

Despite a market rebound for tokens, the global Web3 venture capital landscape has yet to recover. Researchers at CV VC have tallied 1,031 deals amounting to $9.8 billion in VC funding for firms in the category, representing 55% and 69% declines for the same metrics in 2022, respectively. Crypto firms in Switzerland and Liechtenstein raised $283.5 million across 49 deals in 2023, compared to $964.3 million through 93 deals in 2022.

According to Decrypt, ApeCoin, the token of Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) ecosystem, experienced a 10% increase on Wednesday following the announcement of a new free-to-play edition of the BAYC-themed game Dookey Dash. CoinGecko data shows that ApeCoin is currently trading at $1.58, up 10.1% in the past day and 17.9% on the week. The endless runner title Dookey Dash will launch a new ‘Unclogged’ edition with public access, previously limited to holders of Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Sewer Pass NFTs.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed that he still owns a bunch of meme cryptocurrency dogecoin (DOGE) and his spacecraft manufacturing company, Spacex, still owns a bunch of bitcoin (BTC). In a discussion on X Space last week, the billionaire said:

I still own a bunch of dogecoin, and Spacex owns a bunch of bitcoin.

Known in the dogecoin community as the Dogefather, the Tesla CEO has long been a supporter of the meme crypto. He previously revealed that he personally owns DOGE alongside BTC and ETH. In June 2022, Musk said that he will keep buying and supporting dogecoin.

Interoperability service Socket and its bridging platform Bungee restarted operations early Wednesday after an apparent $3.3 million exploit led to a temporary pause in trading activity.

The incident occurred as attackers targeted wallets with infinite approvals to Socket contracts, developers said. Approvals are authorizations for blockchain-based tools that allow applications to access tokens, or a specific token, in a user’s wallet.

Anonymous security research @speekaway was the first to flag the exploits at around 18:20 UTC on Tuesday. A wallet connected to the exploit believed to be the attackers’ holds nearly $3 million in ether (ETH) and $300,000 worth of other tokens.

Solana Mobile is planning to launch a follow-up to its Saga smartphone, with a cheaper price point.

According to a person familiar with the matter, CoinDesk reported, the new smartphone will feature different hardware, while incorporating the same crypto-friendly features as the original Saga smartphone. Those include a built-in crypto wallet, decentralized application (dapp) store and custom Android software.

Several experts addressed issues related to the role of social media and influencers in the crypto space at the World Crypto Forum (WCF) in Davos.

Speaking at the WCF Crypto2030 on Jan. 15, Cointelegraph’s Kristina Lucrezia Cornèr spoke with other panelists, including The Birb Nest founder and CEO Adrian Zduńczyk, on how crypto influencers and media publications may impact the space. According to Cornèr, many people outside of the industry want to know how to become rich using crypto, but the space offers solutions to various problems through blockchain technology.

“I would say we are in a stage of greed for the industry, and this is something that is pushing the whole crypto community forward,” said Cornèr. “Obviously, like not 100%. But this is what makes it powerful right now. And I believe that the next circle of this crypto life will actually be about use cases and applications.”

According to Cointelegraph: Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, stated that he expects the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve more cryptocurrency-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs) following the approvals of several Bitcoin ETFs. Speaking to CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal at the 2024 Davos World Economic Forum, Garlinghouse asserted these recent approvals would lead to the launch of more cryptocurrency investment products in the coming year.

Korea might enact regulations against cryptocurrency mixing platforms in the future. According to local reports, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) would be considering the introduction of a legal framework targeting cryptocurrency mixing platforms, aiming to curb illegal money laundering by criminal groups.

The Korean authorities would be studying if to allow virtual assets service providers (VASPs) to reject transactions from addresses having used these services.

Mixing, a process that encompasses the obfuscation of the origin of the funds of a transaction or a series of transactions, has been targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which has proposed rules that seek to increase the transparency around platforms providing these services.