Stellar seeks to compete with Ethereum by adding smart contracts to its network

A new competitor has emerged in the smart contract blockchain market, with the Stellar (COIN:XLMUSD) project, known for its payment solutions, preparing to integrate smart contract functionality into its platform. While Ethereum leads the industry, Stellar hopes to attract developers and users to its network with this upgrade, although it faces significant competition. The introduction of the “Soroban” project marks a notable effort by Stellar to carve out space in the decentralized finance (DeFi) market and potentially increase demand for its native token, XLM.

CryptoQuant predicts approval of Bitcoin ETFs could boost market value to $1 trillion

A report from CryptoQuant suggests that the cryptocurrency market could reach a market cap of $1 trillion, with Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) becoming a $900 billion asset, if Bitcoin spot ETFs are approved. The analysis points out that the next wave of institutional adoption could come through financial institutions that offer access to Bitcoin through these ETFs. If issuers allocate 1% of their assets under management (AUM) to these ETFs, around $155 billion could enter the Bitcoin market, pushing its price to between $50,000 and $73,000.

Bitcoin Fund (GBTC) discount declines on US Bitcoin ETF expectations

On Tuesday, the discount on shares of the Grayscale Bitcoin Fund (USOTC:GBTC), the world’s largest Bitcoin investment vehicle, decreased due to optimism about the potential approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States. The difference between GBTC shares and the Net Asset Value (NAV) shrank to 12%, the closest level since December 2021. GBTC has been trading at a discount since February 2021 and reached a record low of nearly 50% last December. Grayscale has stated that it is ready to convert GBTC into an ETF after SEC approval.

Floki developers announce staking feature for new utility token

Floki (COIN:FLOKIUSD) developers plan to launch a staking feature that will allow users to earn a new utility token. To acquire this token, users will have to stake their FLOKI tokens for a period of 3 months to 4 years. The initiative aims to increase investor interest in the Floki ecosystem and reduce the amount of FLOKI in circulation.

Coinbase launches perpetual trading outside the US to expand derivatives offerings

Hamas militants’ use of cryptocurrencies to finance recent attacks on Israel may have set back Coinbase’s (NASDAQ:COIN) lobbying efforts in the U.S. cryptocurrency space, according to a new investment report from Berenberg Capital Markets. This is due to several regulatory actions imposed against Coinbase in the US, as well as political pressure arising from the Israel-Hamas conflict. Berenberg looked at a number of concerns regarding Coinbase’s future performance, but maintained its “Hold” recommendation on the company’s shares, with a price target of $39. In other news, Coinbase is expanding its derivatives offerings with perpetual trades, called “perps,” for retail customers outside the US through the Coinbase Advanced platform. The new option includes four contracts for Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD), Litecoin (COIN:LTCUSD), Ethereum and XRP (COIN:XRPUSD), all settled in the stablecoin USDC (COIN:USDCUSD). The platform allows maximum leverage of up to 5x for BTC, ETH and LTC contracts, and 3x for XRP, with regulation provided by the Bermuda Monetary Authority and financial protections in USDC.

Helix launches pre-launch futures for cryptocurrencies

Decentralized exchange Helix, built on the Injective blockchain, is offering pre-launch futures, allowing users to trade tokens before their official launch or listing on exchanges. The first token to be made available on the Helix pre-launch futures market is Celestia (TIA). Helix seeks to democratize access to pre-release tokens through its decentralized platform, challenging the traditional system of accessing highly anticipated crypto tokens.

Former FTX CEO’s political tentacles revealed in trial

At his trial in New York, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried had his encounters with political figures highlighted. Records showed meetings with former President Bill Clinton, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, Saudi Arabian leaders and New York City Mayor Eric Adams in September 2022. Details of these meetings have not yet been revealed, but shed light on his political influence efforts. Bankman-Fried faces fraud charges related to FTX’s November 2022 liquidity crisis and bankruptcy.

Paris Blockchain Week 2024 promises an unparalleled blockchain experience

Paris Blockchain Week announced its 5th edition, which will take place from April 8 to 12, 2024, at the Carrousel du Louvre, in Paris, France. The three-day event will feature prominent speakers and cutting-edge topics related to the blockchain and Web3 space, including open finance, artificial intelligence, regulations and more. In addition, there will be activities such as a hackathon, talent fair, Investors and Founders Day, an exclusive VIP experience and a corporate program. Paris Blockchain Week is expected to attract more than 10,000 participants and more than 500 speakers. Advance tickets are available until October 31st.

US Treasury Department imposes sanctions on cryptocurrency exchange for alleged ties to Hamas

The US Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned several people and entities it says support Hamas terrorist operations, including a Gaza-based exchange. Among the entities sanctioned is Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company, a company that Treasury alleges has a long history of financing terrorist groups and has handled assets such as Bitcoin.

eToro and Index Coop team up to launch Web3 smart portfolio

Trading and investment platform eToro has collaborated with decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) Index Coop to launch a smart crypto portfolio, called ‘Index-Coop’, designed to offer exposure to emerging Web3 sectors. This strategic portfolio spans Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD), Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD), DeFi, and the Metaverse, with the aim of providing balanced exposure to these four essential sectors. The collaboration reflects growing interest in Web3, DeFi and the Metaverse as investors seek to harness the potential of blockchain technology and virtual economies.

Fidelity Digital Assets adopts Ernst & Young blockchain tool to improve risk management

Fidelity Digital Assets, a division of Fidelity Investments, has incorporated Ernst & Young’s (EY) latest blockchain analytics tool called “EY Blockchain Analyzer: Reconciler”. The fourth-generation platform allows organizations to query on-chain data independently, improving internal risk management and trust among investors and regulators. The tool provides analysis, identifying transaction incompatibilities and more, and was the result of a six-year multimillion-dollar investment by EY.

Unchained launches Bitcoin advisory service for high net worth investors

Unchained, a Bitcoin financial services company, announced the launch of Sound Advisory, an advisory service aimed at high net worth investors. The service will provide a network of expert Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) financial planners to help investors create strategies, deal with tax and inheritance issues, filling a gap in the advisory market for Bitcoin-native investors. This initiative follows Unchained’s recent partnership with Coincover to strengthen custody of its Bitcoin assets, valued at $2 billion.

Methodic Capital Management launches CoinDesk ETH staking fund

Methodic Capital Management has launched the Methodic CoinDesk ETH Staking Fund, which offers investors exposure to Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD) and staking rewards. The fund uses the CoinDesk Ether Total Return Index (ETXTR) and will be custodied and staked by BitGo, with Oasis Pro Markets acting as the tokenization agent to facilitate trading. This launch follows the trend of asset managers looking to offer investment vehicles in digital assets, such as ETH ETFs.

Reddit ends blockchain-based Community Points program

Reddit is ending its Community Points program, which operated on blockchain technology for about three years. The decision was made due to high resource costs and the constantly evolving regulatory environment. The native tokens of the affected communities, such as Moons (MOON) and Bricks (BRICK), suffered significant drops in value following the announcement.

IMF Managing Director emphasizes the importance of digitalization in financial inclusion

During a seminar on financial inclusion in Marrakech, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva stressed that digitalization plays a crucial role in promoting financial inclusion. She highlighted the positive impact of digital money transfers during the pandemic in countries like Togo. Georgieva called for comprehensive national strategies for financial inclusion but also warned about the risks associated with digitalization that can affect financial stability. The IMF recently proposed a crypto risk assessment matrix to guide countries in regulating the cryptocurrency sector.

ECB Digital Euro project moves into preparation phase

The European Central Bank (ECB) is moving into the preparation phase of its Digital Euro project, paving the way for a possible future decision to issue a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the European Union. This preparation phase, which will begin in November and last two years, will include defining rules for the Digital Euro, selecting suppliers for the development of the CBDC platform and additional testing. The final decision to issue the Digital Euro will be considered by the Governing Council after the completion of the European Union legislative process.

California moves closer to cryptocurrency regulation, listening to industry

California is following New York’s lead in regulating cryptocurrencies, but with a more collaborative approach. Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that will give the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation regulatory power over cryptocurrencies. This move indicates a willingness by the state to listen and work with industry experts to develop balanced regulations. However, cryptocurrency companies are cautious and hope that California learns from the lessons of New York, whose regulation was considered overly restrictive.

Team Blackbird and SK Telecom launch T Wallet cryptocurrency wallet

Team Blackbird, the South Korean cryptographic services company that runs the CryptoQuant platform, in partnership with SK Telecom, the largest mobile phone operator in South Korea, has launched T Wallet. This cryptocurrency wallet allows users to store tokens and access CryptoQuant’s on-chain analysis tools through a blockchain-based application. The initiative aims to contribute to the growing cryptocurrency market in South Korea, known for its large trading volume and local interest.

Size of UK crypto economy surpasses other European countries

A study by Chainalysis revealed that the UK leads Central, Northern and Western Europe (CNWE) in terms of crypto transaction volume. CNWE represented 17.6% of global transaction volume between July 2022 and June 2023, totaling around US$1 trillion in on-chain value during the period. The United Kingdom led the region, receiving approximately $252.1 billion in crypto transactions, followed by Germany and Spain.

Hacker invades rapper Nelly’s account on X and carries out phishing attacks

Famous American rapper Nelly’s X (formerly Twitter) account was hacked and used to carry out social engineering attacks, luring unsuspecting people to a cryptocurrency phishing website. The hacker even posed as a security analyst for Scam Sniffer, a reliable security solution. The rapper is not associated with these illegal activities, and the compromised account has been removed or deleted.

Yuga Labs completes restructuring, focuses on metaverse project Otherside

The company Yuga Labs, responsible for the famous NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), has completed its restructuring and is now focused on developing the Otherside project, a gamified and interoperable metaverse. CEO Daniel Alegre emphasized the technical and creative challenges of building an “immersive metaverse” and highlighted the importance of the Otherside project for the company. The restructuring follows previous announcements about changes necessary for Yuga Labs’ long-term success. The company also promised respectful treatment to team members affected by the restructuring.

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