Selling pressure and option expirations mark eventful week for Bitcoin and Ethereum

This week saw selling pressure among Bitcoin miners, with reserves hitting their lowest level since May, reflecting a steady decline since October. Currently, reserves are at about 1.832 million BTC, with around 3,000 bitcoins sold in the last 24 hours. The market value of Bitcoin is at $42,315 at the time of writing. Additionally, the cryptocurrency options market records the expiration today of more than 178,000 Bitcoin contracts and 1.49 million Ethereum contracts, totaling notional values of $7.6 billion and $3.47 billion, respectively. The market trend for Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and Ethereum (COIN:ETHUSD) is bearish, with a possible increase in volatility due to the expectation of a halving in April and the expiration of options.

Delisting of privacy cryptocurrencies by OKX causes market drop

The market for privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, including Zcash (COIN:ZECUSD) and Monero (COIN:XRMUSD), suffered a significant decline following the announcement by exchange OKX on December 29 of its decision to delist them on January 5. Other affected cryptocurrencies such as Dash (COIN:DASHUSD), Powerpool, and Horizen (COIN:ZENUSD) also experienced substantial drops in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, OKX suspended deposits and set a deadline until March 2024 for withdrawals of these assets. Surprisingly, some privacy cryptocurrencies like Mina (COIN:MINAUSD) remained listed and even appreciated after the announcement.

Avalanche Foundation explores meme coin market in new campaign

The Avalanche Foundation (COIN:AVAXUSD) plans to acquire meme coins to diversify its portfolio and recognize different niches in the crypto market. This initiative, inspired by the recent success of tokens like Bonk (COIN:BONKUSD) on the Solana network, will include purchasing specific meme coins from Avalanche. The selection will be based on criteria such as popularity, liquidity, project maturity, and fair launch principles. The foundation aims to celebrate the culture and humor represented by these coins, recognizing their significant cultural role in cryptographic communities.

Ark 21Shares Bitcoin Trust refines details for ETF launch

The Ark 21Shares Bitcoin Trust made 16 crucial updates in its S1 filing, ranging from the Bitcoin-dollar index price to regulatory and operational details. Changes include clarifications about Bitcoin counterparties (COIN:BTCUSD), revision of share redemption processes, and marketing agreements. Additionally, risks of creation and redemption were detailed, and a limit was set on the Bitcoin trade balance. The Trust can now use Bitcoin to pay certain expenses, with updated tax implications for shareholders in the sale of shares and redemption process. The filing details additional expenses related to issuing and distributing shares, providing a deeper understanding of the financial obligations involved and offering a more transparent and robust framework for the ETF’s operation.

Goldman Sachs anticipates growth in institutional interest in crypto with ETFs

Mathew McDermott, leader of a growing digital assets team at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), predicts an increase in institutional interest in cryptocurrencies with the potential approval of Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and Ether (COIN:ETHUSD) ETFs. He believes this will broaden market liquidity, facilitating the involvement of institutions such as pension funds and insurers, who will be able to trade institutional products without directly interacting with the underlying assets. McDermott sees this change as gradual, happening over the next year, with hopes for SEC approval. He also highlights growth in tokenization and the role of blockchain in commercial applications, mentioning the use of Goldman Sachs’ tokenization platform, GS DAP, in Hong Kong for the sale of tokenized green bonds.

Coinbase sets a 10X leverage limit on perpetual futures contracts

Coinbase International Exchange announced the implementation of a 10X leverage limit on all its perpetual futures contracts, aiming to promote more efficient trading strategies. This change allows users to continue trading within this limit but restricts new transactions to leverage according to the company’s Standard Initial Margin (DIM) rules. Additionally, Coinbase established a maximum notional value limit of $90,000 per Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO), with specific limits for positions in BTC, ETH, and 13 other assets. The company, which regularly reviews these limits, mentioned it could offer higher limits based on user activity. Coinbase International, part of the Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) group and regulated by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, serves international clients, excluding the US.

CZ of Binance requests judicial secrecy for travel documents and preserves personal fortune

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, founder and former CEO of Binance, requested a US court to keep his travel documents secret, aiming to protect his family’s privacy. This action comes amid travel restrictions preventing him from returning to the United Arab Emirates for a hearing in February 2024. CZ particularly seeks to protect the medical privacy of his son. Meanwhile, CZ has maintained his position as one of the world’s richest billionaires, with a net worth of $37.2 billion, ranking 35th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, behind names like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

CataX halts operations after security breach and ongoing investigation

CataX CTS Ltd., operator of the Calgary-based cryptocurrency trading platform Catalyx, announced the suspension of trading and withdrawals following a recent security breach. The move comes after the Alberta Securities Commission issued a cease trade order against the company and its co-founder Jae Ho Lee on December 21. The breach resulted in the loss of customer cryptographic assets, and there are suspicions of employee involvement in the incident. CataX is conducting an investigation with the help of Deloitte LLP, which will provide forensic and investigative services. Exact details of the losses have not been disclosed, and the company promises updates after the investigation’s conclusion.

SEC partially wins against Terraform Labs in unregistered securities case

A New York judge ruled in favor of the SEC in part of the case against Terraform Labs and its co-founder Do Hyeong Kwon, confirming that the company offered and sold unregistered securities, such as UST, LUNA, wLUNA, and MIR. Judge Jed Rakoff stated there is no doubt that these are securities, while allegations of fraud are still awaiting jury trial. The SEC accused Terraform and Kwon of orchestrating a fraud with their algorithmic stablecoin Terra USD. Terraform Labs, in turn, denies the accusations and prepares to defend itself in the trial scheduled for January 2024.

FTX in bankruptcy proposes evaluating digital assets in dollars to speed up the process

FTX, now in bankruptcy proceedings, requested court approval to assess the digital asset claims of its customers in US dollars, aiming to facilitate the bankruptcy process. The exchange justifies that individually liquidating each claim in digital assets is impractical and would cause unnecessary delays in Chapter 11 cases. The platform proposed estimated values for various cryptocurrencies at lower than current market values. However, this action faces opposition from creditors, who consider it an undervaluation and are encouraging customers to contest the plan until January 11.

Yeou Jie Goh leaves DeFiance Capital to lead Chromia in Asia-Pacific

Yeou Jie Goh, head of portfolio growth at DeFiance Capital, led by Arthur Cheong, resigned from the company to take up a new position at the blockchain project Chromia as head of the Asia-Pacific region. Goh, who has been with DeFiance for over two years, was confirmed in the new role by Or Perelman, co-founder of Chromia. His departure comes at a challenging time for DeFiance, which is involved in a legal dispute related to the collapse of Three Arrows Capital. Meanwhile, Chromia, known for its Rell programming language and as a project of ChromaWay, plans to launch its mainnet next year, with Goh focusing on expanding the ecosystem and attracting developers and users.

Japan’s Monex Group expands presence in crypto with acquisition of 3iQ Digital Holdings

The Monex Group, a Japanese corporation with activities in online brokerage, cryptocurrency exchange, and asset management, announced plans to acquire the majority of Canada-based 3iQ Digital Holdings. The goal is to strengthen its asset management business and capitalize on the expected growth in the sector of crypto assets for institutional investors. The Monex, which already owns Coincheck and TradeStation, aims to maximize synergies and innovations with 3iQ, highlighting an advancement in the cryptocurrency industry in Japan, including recent regulations and partnerships with entities such as Circle and SBI Holdings.

Indonesia combats illegal Bitcoin mining with police operations

Indonesia conducted police operations in ten suspected locations of illegal Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) mining, using stolen electricity from the state grid during the Christmas weekend. Although the country is not a major center for cryptocurrency mining, electricity theft is a serious crime, subject to up to five years in prison or hefty fines. In Medan, North Sumatra, 1,314 mining platforms were found and 26 people detained. The action caused estimated losses of $100,000 for the state-owned electricity company, PLN.

India tightens rules on digital assets, impacting major cryptocurrency platforms

The Financial Intelligence Unit of India has stepped up regulation of Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), such as Binance, KuCoin, and Huobi, for failing to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML-CFT) laws. Issuing warnings under the Money Laundering Prevention Act, India’s FIU underscores its commitment to regulating the cryptocurrency sector. This action affects nine offshore entities, including others like Kraken and Bitfinex, which operate with Indian users without proper registration. Additionally, the FIU has requested the blocking of URLs of these platforms for illegal operation. So far, 31 VASPs have registered and are in compliance with India’s regulations, demonstrating the country’s determination to strictly enforce its financial regulations in the digital asset sector.

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