Cryptocurrencies react positively to interest rate cut prospects

The Federal Reserve’s maintenance of the federal funds rate at 5.25 – 5.50% and the indication of a balance sheet reduction adjustment influenced various markets. The Fed’s balance sheet has grown by 59% since January 2020, reaching $7.542 trillion. This policy has caused notable fluctuations in Bitcoin and record highs in gold and the S&P 500, with a 65% rate cut expectation in June. In response, the cryptocurrency market has shown its characteristic volatility, with Bitcoin (COIN:BTCUSD) and Ether (COIN:ETHUSD) notably recovering from Wednesday’s lows. Fernando Pereira, an analyst at Butget, attributed this change in sentiment to Powell’s indications of intention to lower interest rates: “This shows that quantitative easing is increasingly close and should start soon in the early second semester. The market really liked this speech, and the reflection of this was the significant rises in stocks and cryptocurrencies. Now we have to observe if this optimism will continue throughout the week, if so, we can seek new highs soon. It is important to wait until the end of the week before making any hasty decisions,” commented Pereira.

Bitcoin ETFs face record outflows

Recent reports from BitMEX indicate a period of retraction for Bitcoin ETFs, marked by three consecutive days of outflows, reaching a total of $262 million in outflows on March 20, which represents about 3,901 BTC. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (AMEX:GBTC) led this negative trend, with outflows of $387 million, contributing to a total of $1.47 billion in outflows over the past three days. Since January 11, GBTC has seen a dramatic reduction in its assets, with outflows totaling $13.27 billion and its Bitcoin balance dropping from 620,000 to about 350,000 BTC. Meanwhile, inflows into Bitcoin ETFs have also decreased, with BlackRock’s (NASDAQ:IBIT) and Fidelity’s (AMEX:FBTC) ETFs recording significantly low inflows on March 20. The total volume of net inflows into spot Bitcoin ETFs reached $11.4 billion, equivalent to 202,698 BTC.

Notable growth in CME Bitcoin futures contracts

Since the beginning of March, open futures contracts have seen a 25% increase, driven mainly by growth in the CME Group (NASDAQ:CME), a trading platform for institutional investors. CME experienced a 20% surge in its open futures contracts in just ten days, evidencing a robust return of institutional interest. This movement widens the distinction between CME, which operates with cash margins, and platforms like Binance, which use crypto margins, suggesting a possible stabilization of the Bitcoin market due to a preference for less volatile cash margins.

Bernstein raises Bitcoin projection and revises mining stock price targets

Bernstein raised its year-end Bitcoin price forecast to $90,000 from $80,000, also adjusting its expectations for mining company stocks under its analysis. According to the report, the brokerage sees a promising scenario for Bitcoin, with a new bull cycle, strong inflows into ETFs, and growth in mining capacity and revenues, making these stocks attractive to investors. Bernstein forecasts a 7% decrease in hashrate after the next halving, also adjusting the price targets of CleanSpark (NASDAQ:CLSK), Riot Platforms (NASDAQ:RIOT), and Marathon Digital (NASDAQ:MARA).

Base’s popularity raises transaction fees

Base, supported by Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), faces the highest transaction fees among Ethereum Layer-2 solutions, driven by intense demand from crypto traders. High demand, especially from trading bots, has increased transaction volume, reflecting Base’s success after recent upgrades, but also highlighting challenges in maintaining affordable fees. Despite implementing technologies to reduce costs, such as Dencun upgrade Blobs, fees on Base fluctuate significantly, reaching $0.5582 for NFT trades.

EDF’s Exaion expands presence in blockchain as validator for Chiliz Chain

Exaion, a subsidiary of energy giant EDF, has joined the validator team for Chiliz Chain (COIN:CHZUSD), contributing to the security of the platform supporting fan token exchange on Socios.com. The partnership aims to enhance Exaion’s foray into the sports and digital entertainment universe through blockchain, leveraging its expertise in energy efficiency and technology. The initiative marks a strategic step for Exaion to position itself at the forefront of digital interaction, while PSG stands out as the first football club to become a validator on the network.

Conflux and AnchorX prepare launch of HKD stablecoin

Conflux Network (COIN:CFXUSD), along with AnchorX, announces plans to launch a stablecoin pegged to the Hong Kong dollar in the second quarter. The AxHKD initiative, awaited with optimism, seeks to align with Hong Kong’s regulatory sandbox guidelines, signaling a significant advancement in cryptocurrency adoption in the region.

Ethereum whale moves $42.8 million in ETH to Binance

An Ethereum whale (COIN:ETHUSD) who started activities on the network in 2017 transferred a significant amount of ETH to Binance, indicating a possible sale. The address in question sent 12,000 ETH, equivalent to $42.8 million, to the platform, after a previous transfer of nearly 9,000 ETH. The movement may signal a selling strategy in response to the recent 11% increase in Ether’s value, especially amid regulatory tensions in the US regarding the cryptocurrency.

DeFi DApps generate $4.8 billion in annual fees

The top ten decentralized finance (DeFi) decentralized applications (DApps) are on track to accumulate $4.8 billion in annual fees, according to DefiLlama data from the last 24 hours of activity. With activities including staking, decentralized exchanges (DEX), lending, and portfolio management, a total of $13.15 million in fees was generated in one day. However, the actual revenue achieved was only $2.78 million, which corresponds to 21% of total fees. Lido (COIN:LDOUSD) leads in fee generation, while Curve (COIN:CRVUSD) excels in revenue, closely followed by Maker (COIN:MKRUSD) and Lido. There is a significant discrepancy between generated fees and actual revenue in several DApps, including Uniswap (COIN:UNIUSD), which, despite its high fee volume, does not record direct protocol revenue.

Coinbase gets CFTC approval for crypto futures

The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has authorized Coinbase Derivatives Exchange to offer futures contracts for Dogecoin (COIN:DOGEUSD), Bitcoin Cash (COIN:BCHUSD), and Litecoin (COIN:LTCUSD) starting April 1, 2024. This approval, which occurred on March 7, significantly boosted the prices of these cryptocurrencies on March 20. The inclusion of these assets, derived from Bitcoin’s code, may signal a clearer future regulatory classification and pave the way for potential cryptocurrency ETFs.

International appeals for release of Binance executives detained in Nigeria

Pro-crypto advocacy groups in Kenya and the US are pushing for the release of two Binance executives detained by the Nigerian government since late February. Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla went to Nigeria to discuss exchange operations but ended up detained, with no access to their passports. The organizations demand their immediate release, alleging human rights violations and concerns about the impact on blockchain technology innovation and transparency.

OKX ceases operations in India due to regulations

Cryptocurrency exchange OKX has announced it will cease its operations in India by the end of April, citing the strictness of local regulations. Indian users have been instructed to close out margin, perpetual, futures, and options positions, as well as withdraw their assets by April 30. After this date, accounts will be restricted to withdrawal operations only. This measure comes after the inclusion of crypto services in the country’s anti-money laundering legislation, for which OKX did not register as required.

DMG Blockchain Solutions advances in mining and data center development

DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc. (TSXV:DMGI), a leader in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency mining, has announced significant operational updates. The company has commenced the activation of 54 mining containers in Christina Lake, with the first four already operational and full functionality expected by June, aiming for the implementation of the new T21 fleet. Additionally, DMG has adjusted its performance expectations for Bitmain T21 miners, focusing on a more stable and efficient operation, especially during the summer. In parallel, it is progressing in establishing a new data center in Canada, outside of British Columbia, seeking renewable energy and cost-effectiveness, with progress already made and negotiations underway for a definitive agreement. The company has also granted stock options to team members and directors, reinforcing its commitment to continued growth and success in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector.

$4.6 million scam on Super Sushi Samurai game token

Super Sushi Samurai, a project on the Blast Layer-2 network, suffered a $4.6 million scam due to exploitation of a flaw in the smart contract of its SSS token, shortly after its launch. The vulnerability was exploited through the minting function, resulting in massive token sales and over 99% devaluation. The team promises to investigate and reimburse affected users while working with the explorer, which claims to have conducted a white hat rescue.

Rise and fall of Jian Wen: From immigrant to money laundering accused

Jian Wen, an immigrant in the UK, went from living in a basement room to inhabiting a luxurious six-bedroom house in Hampstead within weeks, thanks to a rapid change in fortune. Initially employed in a Chinese food shop, Wen quickly ascended to a lifestyle of opulence, sending her son to a prestigious school and embarking on luxury trips across Europe and Asia, under the guise of being a jewelry trader. Her extravagant lifestyle included acquiring properties in Dubai and an interest in an Italian village. However, her attempt to acquire high-value properties in London raised suspicions about the origin of her wealth, culminating in the discovery of Bitcoin wallets valued at over £2 billion and her subsequent conviction for money laundering.

UN reveals North Korea accumulates $3 billion in crypto hacks

According to a report from Yonhap and a study by the UN Security Council, North Korea has been associated with cryptocurrency thefts totaling $3 billion from 2017 to 2023. The Council is currently reviewing 17 thefts in 2023, valued at over $750 million, possibly linked to the country. These cyberattacks, which represent about 50% of North Korea’s foreign revenues, target the cryptocurrency sector to circumvent international sanctions and fund weapons programs. North Korea is described as the most prolific global “cyber thief,” with the Lazarus hacker group linked to the theft of $3 billion in six years.

US government may claim up to $5 billion from FTX

Estimates indicate that the US government may claim between $3 billion and $5 billion from the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, as detailed in court documents. The exact amount, still uncertain, will depend on future negotiations and judicial decisions. Government and tax claims will be met after payments to customers, creditors, and administrative expenses, following Chapter 11 guidelines. A civil remission fund will be allocated to affected creditors, with a percentage of remaining assets allocated to federal tax obligations.

Espresso raises $28 million to advance blockchain sequencing

Espresso, an innovator in shared blockchain sequencing, has raised $28 million in Series B funding, led by a16z Crypto from Andreessen Horowitz. Polygon Labs also contributed to this round, which aims to expand Espresso’s product development, strengthen the rollup ecosystem, and increase its team. Espresso’s shared sequencing, a solution to the centralization and vulnerabilities of traditional sequencers, promises to improve interoperability and liquidity between rollups.

Sale of CryptoPunk #7804 reaches $16.42 million

CryptoPunk #7804, one of the exclusive “AlienPunks,” was traded for 4,850 ETH, reaching $16.42 million on March 20, becoming the second most valuable CryptoPunk sale to date. This transaction surpassed the previous one for CryptoPunk #3100 but still trails behind the record of #5822, sold for 8,000 ETH ($23.7 million). CryptoPunks continue to generate millions in trading volume, with Yuga Labs now holding the intellectual rights to this influential NFT series.

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