News Headlines (4th JANUARY 2024)

Bitcoin (BTC) fell 7% on Wednesday, with reports of an analyst’s opinion on the expected U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval later this month contributing to a flush of highly-levered futures tracking the largest cryptocurrency.

While professional analysts remain mixed on the market impact of the approval, expected by Jan. 15, they largely forecast a positive decision from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as does the crypto community, which is betting on it using prediction market Polymarket.

It’s not an approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission, but the Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund has gotten the nod to be listed on the CBOE exchange, according to a new SEC filing.

That will of course depend on whether the SEC grants Fidelity permission to offer its spot Bitcoin ETF to investors. As it stands, the SEC still has a week before it needs to approve, reject, or delay its decision.

The governance token of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) surged by 72% on Jan. 3 after the domain platform received praise from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

In a Jan. 3 post to X (formerly Twitter), Buterin lauded the Ethereum Name Service as “super important” and reiterated that the platform should remain accessible and affordable to all users of the Ethereum network, especially those on layer-2 networks.

“All L2s should be working on (trustless, merkle-proof-based) CCIP resolvers, so that we can have ENS subdomains registerable, updateable and readable directly on L2s,” said Buterin.

According to CoinDesk, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released guidelines for banks on digital assets, indicating a shift in the country’s regulators’ stance on crypto. The guidelines, published on the bank’s website, offer more information on the regulators’ decision to open accounts for virtual asset service providers last month. This change in policy is significant for Africa’s largest economy, which previously had a ban preventing financial institutions from servicing crypto firms. The CBN stated that current global trends demonstrate a need to regulate the activities of virtual asset service providers, including cryptocurrencies and crypto assets.

On Dec. 17, the STX20 protocol was launched on Stacks’ Bitcoin layer two, aiming to test the practicality and impact of Ordinals-style assets on layer two platforms. The surge in popularity of Ordinals and BRC20 tokens has catalyzed a burst of creativity and user engagement within the Bitcoin ecosystem, albeit at the cost of increased network fees and congestion.

Just as Ethereum’s economic activity has gravitated toward layer twos for better efficiency and lower fees, Bitcoin’s Ordinals and multi-token assets can also leverage layer two solutions. Stacks developers believe the STX20 protocol represents a significant step in this direction, with a stress test conducted to evaluate its performance under the intense activity of mass minting and trading STX20 assets.

Bitcoin (BTC) traded just above $43,000 in European morning hours Thursday, recovering some losses after a leverage flush sent it down as much as 7% on Wednesday as markets reacted to analyst reports.

The largest cryptocurrency could rally to as high as $50,000 this month, said Lucas Kiely, the chief investment officer of wealth platform Yield App. Kiely said he expects the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approve a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), dismissing analysis that indicated it will not.

Crypto exchange Binance has added a “monitoring tag” to a list of cryptocurrencies including privacy coins Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), Horizen (ZEN) and Firo (FIRO).

In an announcement, Binance said that tokens with the monitoring tag “exhibit notably higher volatility and risks compared to other listed tokens,” and are “at risk of no longer meeting our listing criteria” and being delisted from the exchange.

South Korea’s top financial regulator is proposing to change the country’s credit finance laws to prohibit local citizens from purchasing cryptocurrency with credit cards.

In a Jan. 3 legislative notice, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) cited concerns about illegal outflows and money laundering that could come with South Korean citizens buying cryptocurrency from foreign exchanges.

“Concerns have been raised about illegal outflow of domestic funds overseas due to card payments on overseas virtual asset exchanges, money laundering, speculation, and encouragement of speculative activities,” the FSC stated.

“Accordingly, virtual assets […] are stipulated as prohibited for payment.”

According to CryptoPotato, Cardano’s ADA experienced an 11% drop recently, but analysts like Captain Faibik see potential for a rally, predicting a rise towards $0.80 by the end of January. ADA’s on-chain trading volume has been on the rise, suggesting increased interest that could lead to a potential uptrend in its value.

External factors, including the possibility of a US Bitcoin ETF approval and the upcoming Bitcoin halving, might positively influence ADA’s price, with some analysts forecasting a significant rise. The cryptocurrency market experienced a severe correction on January 3, with numerous assets plunging by double digits. One of the most affected ones was Cardano’s ADA, which is down 11% in the past 24 hours.

In the last 72 hours, a wallet potentially linked to Tether has once again captured attention. News reported on this particular wallet on Aug. 5, 2023, noting its status as the 11th largest bitcoin wallet.

At that juncture, a research analyst posited that the wallet might be associated with Tether, correlating with the stablecoin issuer’s financial attestations. Tether had previously acknowledged holding bitcoin as part of its assets, yet it hadn’t publicly shared any specific wallet address.

After this initial report, Cryptoquant, a blockchain analytics firm, raised doubts about the wallet’s connection to Tether. 145 days later, on December 31, 2023, a significant sum of 8,888.88 BTC was transferred to the wallet, identified as “bc1qj.”