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Hodler’s Digest, Jan. 21-27 – Cointelegraph Magazine

Top Stories This Week

CZ tried to pledge his entire Binance stake to leave US in January

Former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao tried to pledge his multibillion-dollar stake in Binance.US as security to be permitted to travel back to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) temporarily, according to a newly unsealed court filing. According to a letter to Judge Richard Jones, Zhao’s equity on the exchange was worth $4.5 billion, based on a funding round two years ago. Zhao intended to travel to the UAE for up to four weeks in early January to see a friend or family member undergoing surgery and staying in hospital. Court records show Judge Richard Jones denied the request in a Dec. 29 closed-door hearing.

SEC pushes decision on BlackRock’s spot Ethereum ETF to March

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has pushed a decision on BlackRock’s spot Ethereum ETF to March, citing the need for more time to review the proposed rule change. In a separate decision, the regulator also invited public comments on Grayscale’s Ether ETF proposal, therefore pushing the deadline for a decision back by an additional 35 days upon publication in the Federal Register. Many experts speculate the commission could take the maximum allowable 240 days to decide on whether to approve or deny the investment vehicle. Ether ETF applicants also include VanEck, Ark 21Shares, Invesco Galaxy and Fidelity.

Elon Musk’s “everything app” X (formerly Twitter) has created a dedicated account for its upcoming payments feature, fueling crypto community speculation about whether cryptocurrencies will be implemented. There is anticipation that the X app will introduce in-app payment services by mid-2024. However, it’s unconfirmed whether the feature will support payments beyond traditional fiat currencies. While no posts have been made on the account yet, it holds the gold badge, indicating it is a verified organization. Additionally, it carries the X badge, suggesting it is associated with X.

SEC crypto enforcement actions under Gary Gensler reach 10-year high

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought 46 enforcement actions against crypto firms in 2023, more than double the number of cases in 2021. According to a report from litigation consulting firm Cornerstone Research, the number of crypto-related enforcement cases brought by the SEC in 2023 was the highest since 2013, suggesting that digital assets were a “top priority” for the commission. Of the 46 enforcement actions in 2023, Cornerstone reported the SEC imposed $281 million in monetary penalties for settlements and tripled the number of administrative proceedings from 2022.

Celsius moves a massive $1B in Ethereum to CEXs: Repayments incoming?

The defunct crypto lending platform Celsius has moved large amounts of Ether (ETH) to centralized exchanges amid expectations that the firm will start repaying creditors in liquid crypto in mid-February. On Jan. 26, there were several large transactions of Ether from the Celsius Network wallet to deposit wallets for Paxos and Coinbase Prime. The largest transaction was for 443,961 ETH worth $984 million at the time of the transfer from Celsius to another network-controlled wallet in preparation for moving.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $41,925, Ether (ETH) at $2,254 and XRP at $0.52. The total market cap is at $1.61 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Manta Network (MANTA) at 31.35%, Chiliz (CHZ) at 24.97 and Conflux (CFX) at 22.12%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are ORDI (ORDI) at -14.92%, WOO (WOO) at -14.29 and BitTorrent New (BTT) at -12.88%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

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The ethics of hiring cheap Filipino staff: Crypto in the Philippines Part 2

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Crypto is changing how humanitarian agencies deliver aid and services

Most Memorable Quotations

“In the highly partisan atmosphere prevalent in the U.S., it is hardly surprising that a debate about the merits, or lack thereof, of a digital dollar takes on partisan overtones as well.”

Eswar Prasad, Tolani senior professor of trade policy at Cornell University

“Chair Gensler has noted that ‘enforcement is a tool, not the destination.’”

Simona Mola, principal at Cornerstone Research

“AI services lower barriers to entry, increasing the number of cyber criminals, and will boost their capability by improving the scale, speed, and effectiveness of existing attack methods.”

James Babbage, director general at the National Crime Agency

“We think the catalyst in Bitcoin ETFs that has pushed the ecosystem out of its winter will disappoint market participants.”

JPMorgan

“As blockchain technology advances, there is a decentralized alternative for every centralized option.”

Nick Johnson, founder and lead developer of Ethereum Name Service

“Obviously, no one wants to go to prison, but I think that it was a really enjoyable experience overall.”

Su Zhu, co-founder of bankrupt hedge fund Three Arrows Capital

Prediction of the week

Crypto exec sees ‘mid to low’ $20K BTC price before new all-time highs

Bitcoin faces months of struggle to reclaim lost ground and challenge local highs, investor Chris Burniske predicts. In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Jan. 25, Burniske, who is now a partner at crypto venture capital firm Placeholder, said that the BTC price should “at least” drop to $30,000.

“Imo bitcoin to *at least* $30-36K before a local bottom, and wouldn’t be surprised if we test the mid-to-high 20s before all is said and done, and we can make an actual move towards previous ATHs,” he summarized. “The path to get there will be volatile– expect fakeouts, and will take months to play out.” The theory appears to take BTC/USD beyond April’s block subsidy halving, expecting the recovery from this month’s 20% dip to be a much longer-term affair.

FUD of the Week

OneCoin lawyer sentenced to 10 years in prison

A federal judge sentenced a lawyer responsible for money laundering through the OneCoin crypto scheme to 10 years in prison. Judge Edgardo Ramos sentenced Mark Scott to a decade behind bars on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Scott worked with OneCoin by laundering funds under the direction of “crypto queen” Ruja Ignatova. The lawyer was convicted in November 2019 and has been awaiting sentencing since then. Prosecutors pushed for Scott to receive a minimum sentence of 17 years, while his legal team recommended only five years in prison.

Algorand CEO’s hacked account dances into pole position

The Algorand Foundation announced that its CEO Staci Warden’s X account was compromised and asked its community to refrain from clicking links or responding to direct messages. On Jan. 26, Warden’s X account shared a post calling the Algorand community poor while using a racial slur, indicating that someone else is in control of the account. Following this, the hacker urged the community to sell Algorand’s native token ALGO. Roughly 15 hours after the first announcement, the individual was still running the account, posting messages containing racial slurs and insults about Warden, both while posting and replying to X users.

Users report new Trezor phishing emails days after support portal breach

Hardware wallet provider Trezor has confirmed unauthorized use of its third-party email provider is behind a spate of malicious emails sent to users. The malicious email, sent from “noreply@trezor.io” instructs users to upgrade their “network” or face losing their funds, providing them with a malicious link that leads to a web page asking them enter their seed phrase. The attack could be related to a recent security breach of Trezor’s support portal, which had exposed the contact information of nearly 66,000 users on Jan. 17.

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Breaking into Liberland: Dodging guards with inner-tubes, decoys and diplomats

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Crypto Crimes Rated: From the Twitter Hackers to Not Your Keyser, Not Your Coins

Top Magazine Pieces of the Week

Web3 Gamer: ‘Axie moment’ for Shrapnel & Star Atlas? Hit game recipe, Nine Chronicles review

Industry figures try and predict which titles this year could generate excitement on par with Axie Infinity.

Big Questions: How can Bitcoin payments stage a comeback?

How can Bitcoin payments rise once again? We speak to Lightning Network and payments experts to find out.

Crypto+AI token picks, AGI will take ‘a long time’, Galaxy AI to 100M phones: AI Eye

Grayscale Research highlights use cases in AI and crypto, AGI could take a very long time, and ChatGPT doesn’t understand Where’s Waldo.

Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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