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News/Coin360 Daily Dispatch | Crypto Market Updates & Highlights | February 21, 2024

Coin360 Daily Dispatch | Crypto Market Updates & Highlights | February 21, 2024

Van Thanh Le

Feb 21 2024

5 months ago4 minutes read

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Crypto Market Update

Table of Contents

Market Movements and Analysis

  • Bitcoin Faces Bullish and Bearish Signals
  • Ethereum Surges Amid ETF Rumors
  • ETF Trading Volumes Hit New Highs
  • AVAX's Price Drop Post Unlocking Event

Regulatory and Compliance Updates

  • Binance's Compliance with Nigerian Forex Regulations
  • Circle Ends USDC Support on Tron
  • Hong Kong Enhances Crypto Oversight

Exchange and Platform News

  • Ripple’s CEO Is Open to the Idea of Welcoming a Spot Xrp ETF 
  • Puffer Hits $1 Billion in Deposits
  • Lido Teams Up with 1inch
  • AMD Powers Blockchain Interoperability with Wormhole

Legal and Enforcement Actions

  • Atom Exchange's Troubling Transactions
  • LockBit Ransomware Gang Dismantled
  • Celsius's Mashinsky Eyes Bankman-Fried's Lawyers
  • Do Kwon Set for US Extradition After Montenegro Ruling

Community and Ecosystem Developments

  • Starknet's STRK Token Sees Surge in Activity
  • Arthur Hayes Critiques Cardano
  • GameFi Community Seeks Regulatory Relief in Japan
  • Pyth Network Enhances DeFi with BTC ETF Feeds
  • Optimism Rewards NFT Artists with Airdrop
  • Walmart Grows Its NFT Toy Collection
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Bitcoin Faces Bullish and Bearish Signals

Bitcoin and Ethereum navigate uncertain waters, with Bitcoin ETFs driving bullish sentiment despite a recent dip to $50,611 after being rejected at $53,000. Bitcoin futures open interest hits a 26-month high, signaling increased activity. Long-term holders have offloaded 200,000 BTC, a typical bull market behavior, while accumulation addresses hit an all-time high of 25,300 BTC. 

Bitcoin options worth $3.7 billion approach expiration, with a put/call ratio of 0.76 indicating bullishness. Exchange-held Bitcoin drops to its lowest since April 2018, as whales move $1 billion worth of BTC, reflecting a shift towards holding. Overall, market dynamics suggest a cautious yet optimistic outlook.

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Ethereum Surges Amid ETF Rumors

Ethereum soared past $3,000 to hit a 22-month peak before pulling back, driven by ETF approval rumors and the Dencun upgrade, promising network enhancements. Critics argue the rally is detached from reality, noting a user decline. Whale activities spotlight a significant ETH accumulation, with one purchasing 91,316 ETH ($259.1 million), suspected to be Justin Sun. 

Another whale acquired 13,526 ETH, part of a $187 million haul. Institutional interest shifts from Bitcoin to Ethereum, buoyed by ETF speculation and Ethereum's 28% YTD growth outpacing Bitcoin's 21%. Despite regulatory uncertainties, Ethereum's staking and smart contracts fuel positive sentiment, with potential to outperform Bitcoin as per Bloomberg.

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ETF Trading Volumes Hit New Highs

VanEck's spot BTC ETF, HODL, saw a 14-fold increase in trading volume, reaching $250 million midday, with 32,000 trades, 60 times its average. Similarly, WisdomTree's BTC ETF, BTCW, experienced a 12-fold surge to $154 million. VanEck's HODL ETF's trading volume soared following a fee reduction announcement. 

Despite a market shift away from Bitcoin ETFs, with a focus on new launches and regulatory measures, inflows into Bitcoin ETFs remained steady, with cumulative net inflows over $5 billion. Market prices for popular Bitcoin ETFs like Blackrock IBIT and Fidelity's fell by over 1.6%, yet Bitcoin ETFs saw $2.4 billion in inflows last week, a record. Predictions vary, with Standard Chartered expecting $50-$100 billion in ETF inflows this year, while Bernstein anticipates a gradual increase to $10 billion in 2024.


AVAX's Price Drop Post Unlocking Event

AVAX's price dipped 11% due to a $365 million unlocking event increasing its circulating supply by 2.6%. Analysts foresee short-term challenges but note long-term potential due to increasing NFT activity and outperformance against peers. The market remains volatile, influenced by sentiment, regulations, and broader economic trends, impacting AVAX's trajectory. 

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Binance's Compliance with Nigerian Forex Regulations

Binance imposed a 1,802 naira per USDT cap on its Nigerian P2P platform, complying with regulations to combat forex speculation. Accounts attempting to surpass this limit were blocked. Accused of manipulating the Naira, a trading "glitch" temporarily halted USDT trading. Binance denied setting forex rates and collaborated with Nigerian authorities. Amid economic challenges, Binance's platform is pivotal for forex trades and asset purchases in Nigeria.   


Circle Ends USDC Support on Tron

Circle is halting USDC support on Tron, citing risk management and compliance, affecting $313 million in assets. This decision, effective immediately, stops USDC minting on Tron but allows transfers to other chains until February 2025. 

Justin Sun respects Circle's choice, emphasizing Tron's decentralized vision and growth in stablecoin transactions, ranking second with $52 billion in assets. Circle's move, aimed at ensuring USDC's trust and safety, follows disassociations from allegations of illicit activities. Sun remains optimistic, focusing on Tron's roadmap and decentralization, despite speculation on the reasons behind Circle's decision.

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Hong Kong Enhances Crypto Oversight

The Hong Kong government plans to introduce licensing bills for stablecoin and over-the-counter (OTC) crypto trading. The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) initiated public consultations for these proposals. Additionally, the government aims to combat crypto-related criminal cases, with an increase in active regulatory measures. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) requested approval for yuan-linked stablecoins.   


Ripple’s CEO Is Open to the Idea of Welcoming a Spot Xrp ETF

Ripple's CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, expressed openness to a spot XRP exchange-traded fund (ETF), consistent with the industry's growth. Discussions with BlackRock were noted, but the outcome remains unconfirmed. The potential for diversifying risk in the crypto market was emphasized, although the ETF's launch time remains uncertain due to ongoing legal issues.  

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Puffer Hits $1 Billion in Deposits

Liquid restaking protocol Puffer reached $1 billion in deposits in 3 weeks. It funnels deposits into EigenLayer, letting stakers earn interest and venture into "actively validated services." PufETH tokens represent deposits, offering tradeability. Puffer aims to reduce risks and offers incentives for user engagement. EigenLayer has gathered $7.7 billion, fueled by liquid restaking providers.  


Lido Teams Up with 1inch

Lido added support for 1inch, allowing faster withdrawals of staked ether and wraps. Users can quickly swap assets on Ethereum, Arbitrum, and Optimism. Lido's total value locked in DeFi reached $29.5 billion as of Feb. 21, maintaining its position as the leading liquid staking protocol. The platform also supports the Polygon blockchain for staking MATIC.  

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AMD Powers Blockchain Interoperability with Wormhole

AMD collaborates with Wormhole to integrate hardware accelerators into Web3 for blockchain interoperability. The partnership aims to enhance speed and scalability for multichain applications, employing zero-knowledge cryptography for secure blockchain transfers. This move aligns with the industry trend of AI and blockchain convergence, leveraging AMD's expertise in enterprise-grade hardware.  


Atom Exchange's Troubling Transactions

The defunct Atom Asset Exchange in Hong Kong moved $55.6 million worth of Ether to various platforms, evading AML controls. Before collapsing in 2022, it had 2 million users. Following the shutdown, the CEO and board member were arrested, while the founder remains at large with $29.41 million of users' money and access to exchange wallets.  


LockBit Ransomware Gang Dismantled

LockBit, a major ransomware gang, was dismantled in a global operation, seizing over $120 million in Bitcoin and Ethereum. Two Russian nationals were sanctioned, servers and dark web portals were seized, and victims were offered decryption keys. Thousands of rogue accounts were identified, and over 6 million victims globally have received help via the 'No More Ransom' portal.  


Celsius's Mashinsky Eyes Bankman-Fried's Lawyers

Celsius co-founder Alex Mashinsky aims to retain Sam Bankman-Fried's defense lawyers for his trial against criminal charges by the SDNY. Prosecutors have cited potential conflicts of interest due to relationships between Celsius, FTX, and Alameda Research. Mashinsky's trial is set for Jan. 28, while Bankman-Fried's sentencing is scheduled for March 28. 

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Do Kwon Set for US Extradition After Montenegro Ruling

Do Kwon, the founder of Terra, will be extradited to the US from Montenegro, following a ruling by the Montenegrin Supreme Court. The court rejected South Korea's extradition request and emphasized the importance of the US as a key foreign policy partner. Kwon was arrested with fake passports and now faces charges in the US related to financial offenses. 


Starknet's STRK Token Sees Surge in Activity

Starknet's STRK token recorded 420 million claims, with a high of 1.06 million daily transactions. Funding rates are positive, trading volume is at $1.6 billion, and open interest surpasses $150 million. Despite high liquidation levels, the token remains volatile. Total value locked stands at $56 million, up from $40 million.  

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Arthur Hayes Critiques Cardano

Arthur Hayes, former BitMEX CEO, criticized Cardano as a "wannabe Ethereum," expressing skepticism about its potential to rival Ethereum's success. He provocatively labeled Cardano as "dog shit" in the context of investment value. 

Charles Hoskinson, Cardano's founder, responded to Hayes' remarks, defending Cardano's technological advancements and its community's dedication to building a robust ecosystem. Despite Hayes' harsh critique, Hoskinson remains optimistic about Cardano's future and its contributions to the blockchain space.

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GameFi Community Seeks Regulatory Relief in Japan

The Japanese GameFi community approached the Liberal Democratic Party to address liquidity issues in the local crypto market. Strict regulations have led to decreased liquidity, hindering the growth of the GameFi ecosystem. Recent government actions, including easing the stance on crypto adoption and planning to allow startups to raise public funds via crypto asset issuance, indicate a changing regulatory landscape.  


Pyth Network Enhances DeFi with BTC ETF Feeds

Pyth Network has introduced real-time Bitcoin ETF price feeds for 13 funds, facilitating seamless integration into decentralized finance. This move aims to enhance liquidity, transparency, and accessibility for users seeking exposure to Bitcoin. The recent approval of Bitcoin ETFs in the US has attracted substantial investment, signaling growing interest from both retail and institutional investors.  

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Optimism Rewards NFT Artists with Airdrop

Optimism's fourth airdrop allocated $41 million in OP tokens to over 22,998 addresses, with a focus on NFT artists. The selection criteria were based on activity within the Ethereum and Optimism ecosystems. Additional bonuses were awarded for high engagement and creativity. Optimism plans to continue future airdrops, with 560 million OP tokens reserved.  

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Top Altcoin Gainers and Losers

Gainers:

Siacoin SC (+14.15%

Binance Coin BNB (+6.28%

Fetch.AI FET (+6.28%

Losers:

Starknet Token STRK (-60.64%

Beam BEAMX (-7.76%

Optimism OP (-7.58%

NFT Market Map

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Walmart Grows Its NFT Toy Collection

Walmart has expanded Pudgy Penguins' NFT collection, Pudgy Toys, to 1,100 additional U.S. stores, totaling 3,100 nationwide. The new line includes 30 toys priced between $2.99 and $11.97 and features a QR code for access to Pudgy World. NFT holders receive royalties, and Pudgy Penguins briefly surpassed Bored Ape Yacht Club in floor price.  

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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