• The total crypto market capitalization has remained above $1 trillion despite a recent 5.5% weekly decline and a failed test of the channel’s upper band on Feb. 21.
• Regulators have recently created FUD about cryptocurrencies, including a U.S. court ruling regarding emojis and the IMF issuing guidance on how countries should treat crypto assets.
• Despite this, investors remain cautiously optimistic with room for an additional 3.5% correction down to $1.025 trillion market capitalization still sustaining the bullish formation.
Positive Crypto Sentiment
A 5.5% weekly decline in the total crypto market capitalization might have sucked the wind out of some altcoins, but it has done little to alter traders‘ bullish point-of-view. The ascending channel initiated in mid-January has room for an additional 3.5% correction down to $1.025 trillion market capitalization while still sustaining the bullish formation, indicating that investors remain cautiously optimistic despite recent negative remarks from regulators.
U.S Court Ruling Regarding Emojis
On Feb 22nd, a United States district court judge ruled that emojis such as the rocket ship, stock chart and money bags infer „a financial return on investment.“ This ruling was made against Dapper Labs in regards to their NBA Top Shot Moments which allegedly violated security laws by using such emojis to denote profit .
IMF Guidance On Crypto Assets
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released guidance on Feb 23rd for how countries should treat crypto assets, strongly advising against giving Bitcoin legal tender status due to potential risks it poses to monetary policy, capital flow management measures and fiscal risks if widely adopted by nations around the world .
Cautious Optimism Despite FUD
Despite these warnings from regulators creating fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) around cryptocurrency investments , investors remain cautiously optimistic after a new round of negative remarks from regulators . The total crypto market cap remains above the psychological $1 trillion mark and provides room for further correction before affecting long term trends .
Overall , traders continue to display positive sentiment and belief in further upside despite recent news from regulators that could potentially negatively affect the cryptocurrency sector . By remaining above the psychological $1 trillion mark , there is evidence that investors remain cautiously optimistic about future price movements .
• Solana Spaces will close its two stores in New York City and Miami at the end of February.
• The stores did not bring in as many users as initially hoped, prompting a shift to digital products such as DRiP, an NFT product.
• Founder Vibhu Norby said that while the stores onboarded 500-1000 people per week, DRiP onboarded the same quantity every day.
Solana Spaces Closing Stores
Solana Spaces announced on Feb 21st that it was closing its two SOL $24 Solana -5.71% themed retail stores located in New York City and Miami at the end of February due to „an inflection point“ with the stores.
Onboarding Not Meeting Expectations
The primary reason for closing these two stores was due to them not bringing in enough users as anticipated when they opened back in July/August of 2022. Founder Vibhu Norby said that while the stores were able to onboard between 500-1000 people per week, their new nonfungible token artwork airdrop platform (DRiP) was able to onboard that same quantity EVERY DAY.
Shift To Digital Products
Due to this, Solana Spaces decided it would be best to shift their investment focus away from their physical store locations and towards more digital products such as DRiP which is a free NFT product with an open source infrastructure that allows anyone with a web3 wallet to receive artworks associated with different projects on Solana’s blockchain directly into their wallet without having to buy or sell anything on secondary markets. This is part of Solana’s larger plan to onboard more people into the Solana and Web3 ecosystem.
End Of An Experiment
Norby said the decision had been made „a few weeks ago,“ and that this experiment was part of a broader plan by Solana Spaces but ultimately didn’t result in enough users being onboarded onto their chain for it to remain viable longterm.
Though short-lived, Solana Spaces‘ physical retail locations were an ambitious initiative which ultimately did not meet expectations prompting them to close down operations by the end of February 2021 and shift their focus onto digital products like DRiP instead.
• A class-action lawsuit has been filed by FTX investors against venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, private equity firms Thoma Bravo and Paradigm.
• The investors are accusing the firms of touting their own investments in FTX and adding an “air of legitimacy” to the exchange.
• A crypto lawyer is calling it a „tricky case“ as it is unknown what obligation these firms had to „completely separate investors.“
FTX Investor Lawsuit Filed Against Venture Capital Firms
A class-action lawsuit has been filed by FTX investors against venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, private equity firms Thoma Bravo and Paradigm. The investors are accusing the firms of touting their own investments in FTX and adding an “air of legitimacy” to the crypto exchange.
The investors allege that the three firms were involved in a promotional marketing campaign in 2021 which added an “air of legitimacy” to FTX. All three firms were also investors in FTX’s $900 million Series B raise in July 2021, with various partners speaking highly of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
„Tricky Case“ For Investors
A crypto lawyer is calling this case a „tricky case“ as it is unknown what obligation these firms had to „completely separate investors“. Liam Hennessy, partner at Australian law firm Gadens stated that while Sequoia’s due diligence wasn’t great, it doesn’t make them liable to others. Hennessy believes this could be a case of „buyer beware“, as there is no suggestion that Sequoia was not playing within regulatory rules.
Subpoenas Issued To Former Executives
In a separate court filing on Feb 15th, Sam Bankman-Fried along with his father, Caroline Ellison (former FTX & Alameda Research exec), Nishad Singh and Gary Wang were issued with subpoenas to provide further evidence for this case. Joseph Bankman, Ellison, Wang and Singh are due to attend court soon.
This investor lawsuit against venture capital firms over allegations they added an “air of legitimacy” to defunct crypto exchange FTX is considered tricky by a crypto lawyer due its unknown obligations regarding complete separation between investor parties. Subpoenas have been issued for former executives for further evidence for this case which will be held in court soon.
• Ethereum gas prices spiked by 29% in January 2023 as user activity on the blockchain rose.
• Average number of unique active Ethereum wallets per day dropped to 387,475, the lowest figure over the past six months.
• Average number of Ethereum transactions per day also decreased by 0.8%.
Ethereum Gas Price Spikes in January
Ethereum block statistics show that the average number of blocks mined each day showed little to no change, while the total block size per month increased by 7%. According to a data report from Analytex, Ethereum’s average gas price rose by 29.27% in January 2023 compared to December 2022. This spike can be attributed to an increase in user activity on the blockchain.
Average Unique Active Wallets Decline
The report also notes that the average number of unique active Ethereum wallets per day decreased by around 10% to 387,475, the lowest figure over the past six months. Meanwhile, the average number of unique active smart contracts increased by 6.74%.
Transaction Data Decrease
As shown above, other important metrics measured include daily Ethereum transaction data, which showed a slight decrease of 0.8% from December to January. The report notes that the average number of Ethereum transactions per day has declined for eight months.
Reaction From Investors
Stepping into 2023, cryptocurrency investors seemed to have shrugged off a year-long bearish sentiment from 2022 with significant reactions showcased through on-chain activities on the Ethereum blockchain.
Overall it is clear that user activity on Ethereum is increasing and so is its average gas prices as more users flock towards this digital asset class for investment purposes and various other services like decentralized finance (DeFi).
• Attorney denies claims by crypto blogger Tiffany Fong that five bids for Celsius‘ crypto assets were mostly abandoned
• White & Case LLP attorneys Gregory Pesce and Aaron Colodny address the so-called „leaked“ bids for Celsius‘ crypto assets
• Counsel representing Celsius‘ official creditor committee state that the assertion that the bids have been rejected is false
Celsius Bankruptcy Bids Denied
Attorney’s for Celsius’ official creditor committee are denying claims by crypto blogger Tiffany Fong that five bids for the bankrupt lender’s crypto assets were mostly abandoned. During a recent Twitter Space “town hall” following the examiner’s report on Celsius, attorneys from White & Case LLP, Gregory Pesce and Aaron Colodny, addressed the so-called „leaked“ bids for Celsius‘ crypto assets.
Bids Not Rejected
The counsel representing Celsius‘ official creditor committee has denied assertions that the bids for Celsius‘ crypto assets have been rejected. The attorney refrained from confirming whether bids mentioned in the leak were accurate or not but said it was „regrettable“ as it reduces the flexibility the committee has in the negotiation process.
Fong’s Jan. 27 post on Substack pointed to at least five firms that were reportedly interested in bidding on Celsius‘ crypto assets, including Binance, Bank To The Future, Galaxy Digital, crypto trading company Cumberland DRW and digital asset investment firm NovaWulf. At the time Fong said the bids were „for the most part, abandoned“ — referring to an earlier statement from a Celsius lawyer proclaiming the bids they received so far „have not been compelling.“
However, lawyers for Celsuis UCC argued that this was not true. Every day, they and debtors are providing public messages and private messages to potential investors about where they stand in their process according to Pesce. This allows them to be flexible with negotiations and get more return from account holders recoveries.
In conclusion lawyers of White & Case LLP deny all claims made my Tiffany Fong of rejected proposals of five firms wanting to purchase Celcius Crypto Assets while also aiming to achieve maximum recovery rate form account holders through their negotiation process..
• Non-Fungible Token (NFT) sales reached a total of 101 million in 2022.
• Crypto lawyers believe that court orders could be served to defendants through NFTs in cases of blockchain-based crime.
• Binance has tightened its rules on NFT listings.
The world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) is experiencing an unprecedented growth. According to a report by decentralized app tracker DappRadar, NFT sales in 2022 reached an impressive total of 101 million, representing a 67.57% increase compared with 2021. The Ethereum blockchain remains the top contender in the NFT ecosystem, with 21.2 million transactions processed in the year. This is followed by WAX (14.5 million), Polygon (13.3 million) and Solana (12.9 million).
The potential of NFTs continues to grow with each passing day. Crypto lawyers believe that serving court orders through NFTs could be a solution for blockchain crime cases in which defendants are unreachable. Agustin Barba, managing partner of The Crypto Lawyers, said that summoning defendants through NFTs is a good tool for blockchain crime when it’s impossible to identify bad actors. In this situation, summoning the unknown entity would be conducted by sending an NFT court order to the blockchain wallet address where the stolen assets are held.
Binance, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, has recently tightened its rules on NFT listings. The exchange’s new rules will require users to submit additional documentation, including an official certification from the seller indicating that the NFT is authentic and legally obtained. Binance will also require all sellers to complete a KYC process, and has established a policy to blacklist any NFTs that violate copyright laws.
All in all, the NFT market continues to grow and evolve, offering new and exciting opportunities for the crypto community. With the help of NFTs, crypto lawyers can now summon defendants in cases of blockchain-based crime. Furthermore, Binance’s new rules on NFT listings are expected to help protect the rights of buyers and sellers by ensuring that all NFTs are authentic and legally obtained.
• The Bank of Japan (BoJ) decided to keep its ultra-easy policy in place, defying expectations of an interest rate hike.
• Bitcoin (BTC) remained stable at above $21,000 during the saga, with the Japanese Yen and United States Dollar taking a hit.
• Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe noted a bearish retest taking place on the United States Dollar Index (DXY).
The saga of the Bank of Japan’s decision to keep an ultra-easy policy in place, defying expectations of an interest rate hike, ruffled feathers in global forex markets on Monday. Despite the market uncertainty, Bitcoin (BTC) held its ground, remaining in a trading zone near two-month highs.
Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD holding firm above $21,000 on the day, staying relatively unaffected by the news. ING Bank commented on the decision, saying that “in keeping its key rate and yield curve control policy unchanged at today’s meeting, the Bank of Japan probably wanted to convey a message to the market; don’t fight the BoJ.”
Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe also noted a bearish retest taking place on the United States Dollar Index (DXY) following the news. He commented that “another bearish retest taking place on the DXY, in which this one starts to drop substantially, maybe even due to the announcements from the BoJ earlier today.”
The decision from the Bank of Japan caused a stir in the markets, and had a ripple effect on the Japanese Yen and United States Dollar. However, Bitcoin held its own and remained cool amid the uncertainty. While the DXY dropped, BTC/USD remained in a trading zone near two-month highs.
Though it is too early to predict the long-term effects of the Bank of Japan’s decision on the global markets, it is clear that so far, Bitcoin has stayed relatively immune to the volatility. With a bearish retest taking place on the DXY, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the cryptocurrency.
• Coinbase will be closing down most of its operations in Japan as part of its efforts to survive in the bear market.
• As part of this restructuring, the company had already slashed its headcount by 18% due to the uncertainty in market conditions.
• Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong cited the recession as he announced the layoffs.
Coinbase, one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, recently announced that it will be closing down most of its operations in Japan as part of its efforts to survive in the bear market. This decision follows the recent announcement that the firm would reduce its employee count by 20%.
In an interview with BNN Bloomberg, Coinbase Executive Vice President of International and Business Development, Nana Murugesan, said that the firm decided to “wind down” the majority of its operations in Japan. Murugesan did not offer any specifics on the closure, but did mention that a small number of employees in the Japanese branch will remain to ensure that customer assets are secure.
When asked by Bloomberg about potential mergers and acquisitions, a Coinbase spokesperson said they are currently evaluating all options. “We are carefully evaluating all options and will communicate any further updates as they become available,” they said.
The restructuring is part of a larger effort by Coinbase to survive in the bear market. On June 14, the crypto exchange slashed its headcount by 18% due to the uncertain market conditions. In a public announcement, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong cited the recession and the fact that employee costs had become too high to manage effectively.
Coinbase is not the only cryptocurrency firm that has been affected by the bear market. In recent months, many firms have had to reduce their headcount or close down operations completely in order to remain competitive. Despite these challenges, Coinbase remains committed to providing its customers with the best possible service and resources.
• The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is launching a dedicated cryptocurrency unit to investigate U.K. cyber incidents.
• The new unit, called the NCCU Crypto Cell, will initially contain five officers dedicated to „proactive cryptocurrency remit.“
• NCA is seeking to hire a cryptocurrency investigator with good knowledge of crypto and strong experience in conducting blockchain forensic investigations on serious and organized crime.
The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is taking steps to combat cryptocurrency-related crime and is launching a dedicated crypto unit to investigate U.K. cyber incidents involving the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The new unit, called the NCCU Crypto Cell, will be staffed by five officers dedicated to „proactive cryptocurrency remit“ and will be tasked with identifying, disrupting, and prosecuting perpetrators of cybercrime involving the use of digital currencies. The NCA has also announced that it is looking to hire a cryptocurrency investigator with good knowledge of cryptocurrencies and strong experience in conducting blockchain forensic investigations.
The NCA’s cyber-focused command, the National Cyber Crime Unit, is responsible for the establishment of the Crypto Cell. Chris Lewis-Evans, NCA Infrastructure Investigations Director, said: „This is a really exciting opportunity which involves working in a team at the forefront of protecting the U.K. from cyber crime. Cryptocurrency and virtual assets are widely viewed as specialist areas of knowledge, and this role is key to supporting NCA investigations in which these are used to enable serious criminality.“
The NCA’s Crypto Cell is part of a larger effort by the agency to investigate and prosecute crimes related to cryptocurrencies. The UK government has recently implemented several regulations to better track and control the use of cryptos in the country, including the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Additionally, the NCA has been working on improving its cyber crime capabilities, such as the Cyber Incident Response Team (CIRT) which was launched in 2018.
The NCA hopes that the newly formed Crypto Cell will help to protect the UK public from cybercrime and financial fraud related to cryptocurrency use. They are also looking to recruit a cryptocurrency investigator with experience in blockchain forensics and the tracking of digital assets to join the unit.
The Crypto Cell is part of a larger initiative by the NCA to investigate and prosecute crime in the digital age. The agency is implementing several measures to combat cryptocurrency-related criminal activity and is taking a proactive approach to protect the UK public from cybercrime. The Crypto Cell is just one of many ways the agency is taking to ensure the safety of the public.
• The Israeli Securities Authority (ISA) proposed a framework for regulating digital assets to respond to the risks associated with investing in digital assets and promote the development of digital markets in Israel.
• The latest committee was tasked with examining the Authority’s policy on investment products in digital assets and an amendment to the definition of the term „securities“ to include „digital assets“ was included in the proposal.
• The authority also seeks powers to oversee the digital asset industry, including setting requirements for issuers and intermediaries and imposing sanctions for non-compliance.
The Israeli Securities Authority (ISA) has been working for the past several years to examine and regulate the issuance of cryptocurrencies and promote the development of digital markets in Israel. In January 2023, the ISA released a proposal outlining its purpose to achieve the “double value” of responding to the risks associated with investing in digital assets alongside giving the authority means to adopt a regulation.
The latest committee was tasked with examining the Authority’s policy on investment products in digital assets. An amendment to the definition of the term „securities“ to include „digital assets“ used for financial investment was also included in the proposal. It was further added that the definition of „digital assets“ as a digital „representation“ of value or rights used for financial investment.
The authority also seeks powers to oversee the digital asset industry, including setting requirements for issuers and intermediaries and imposing sanctions for non-compliance. This will ensure that the authority has the ability to take necessary steps to protect investors from any form of abuse or fraud that may arise from investing in digital assets.
The ISA has also taken steps to ensure that investors have access to adequate information about the digital asset industry. The proposal includes the establishment of a disclosure system for digital asset issuers and a centralized database for digital asset transactions. The ISA also seeks to establish rules concerning the trading of digital assets and the use of digital asset trading platforms.
As the number of Israeli investors exposed to digital assets continues to grow, and over 150 companies operate in Israel, the ISA has taken steps to ensure that the digital asset industry is properly regulated. The ISA’s proposed framework seeks to promote the development of a secure and transparent digital asset industry in Israel, while at the same time protecting investors from potential risks associated with investing in digital assets. The proposal is currently open for public comment.