2023-Decentralized Diaries, A Look Back, Part 1

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Decentralized Diaries for the Year of 2023 (Part 1)

From the SBF trial to Changpeng Zhao’s spectacular fall, 2023 had unexpected curveballs.

  • We’ll showcase the year’s biggest stories and how they impacted the sector.
  • We focused on the BIGGEST players in the industry.
  • Everyone expects a MASSIVE breakout in prices any day now.
  • A bullish cycle is highly likely.
  • Self-compliance is emerging (read on to find out).

These are your decentralized diaries!


Bitcoin Hit $44k and is Set to Explode

From a $41,826.34 low, Bitcoin prices hit a $44,155.47 high before settling at $42,638.02 (as of 12/26/23).

The altcoins are ranging, too. Ethereum (ETH) is at $2,238.52, Solana (SOL) at $112.97, Avalanche (AVAX) at $45.44, Polkadot (DOT) at $8.99, and Chainlink (LINK) at $15.27.

Sam Bankman-Fried Exchanged Regular Clothes for Orange Jumpsuits

The most defining story of the year is the SBF arrest, trial, and subsequent verdict.

From his December 12th, 2022, extradition to the United States and the subsequent drama, many people remember Sam Bankman-Fried for different reasons.

The courtroom drama did little to affect crypto prices as the world listened with rapt attention to allegations of an FTX backdoor and more.

Additionally, SBF attempted to throw everyone under the bus (including his ex), but the reverse happened with a November 2nd seven count guilty charge.

His sentencing is on March 28th, 2024.

Troubles at Binance Reached a Head, and CZ Stepped Down

The year began with indications of things to come, with enforcement actions taken against Paxos for minting the BUSD stablecoin by the SEC.

Regulators were quietly building cases against Binance and several top shots, including Changpeng Zhao, its former CEO, and Sam Lim, its former compliance officer.

Subsequently, Binance.US, the cryptocurrency exchange’s American arm, got hammered severally by regulators with a complete shutdown of deposits and withdrawals.

Additionally, the cryptospace woke up to the shocking news of Changpeng Zhao’s resignation as the CEO of Binance Global. CZ also pled guilty to money laundering charges and paid $50 million in settlements. Binance paid $4.3 billion.

Also, the cryptocurrency exchange agreed to pay the CFTC $1.35 billion and agreed to forfeit another $1.35 billion.

In this instance, Changpeng Zhao also agreed to pay $50 million, while Samuel Lim paid $1.5 million.

Zhao was also released on a $175 million bond but was mandated to remain in the United States until his sentencing on February 23rd, 2024.

Richard Teng took over the reins at Binance as its new CEO.

Institutional Heavyweights Filed Crypto ETF Applications

The big guns indicated a massive interest in the cryptospace with several crypto ETF applications. Finance giants, including BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, and Hashdex, filed applications.

Throughout the year, the SEC asked questions and requested additional answers from the petitioners, delaying its ultimate conclusion.

The SEC seems to favor cash-settled bitcoin ETFs, which have raised the hopes of crypto enthusiasts.

Consequently, Ethereum ETFs are still viewed by the SEC with skepticism. Final decisions on Ethereum ETFs will come in the Summer of 2024.

The commodity/security argument continued on friendly terms between the CFTC and the SEC, with unknown implications for both sides (we have all of 2024 to find out).

Also, the Catherine Wood-backed ARK Invest partnered with 21Shares, a leading ETP provider, to launch a crypto ETF suite.

The fivefold product suite trades on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and investors can’t access crypto spot markets.

Tether Unveiled its Cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies

In an open letter to federal legislators, Tether, the USDT stablecoin issuer, indicated that it cooperated severally with law enforcement agencies, resulting in the seizure and freezing of 436 wallets containing $435 million of USDT tokens.

Before unveiling its wallet freezing policy in early December, Tether revealed the freezing of several stablecoin wallets this year, including $225 million in USDT tokens linked to a human trafficking syndicate.

The stablecoin issuer emerged from the crypto-linked bank failures relatively unscathed to launch the Tether Gold (XAUT) and Euro Tether (EURT) on the Uquid Web 3 shopping platform.

Also, Paolo Ardoino, Tether’s CEO, revealed $500 million in Bitcoin mining plans.

Coinbase Proved its Mettle

Coinbase continued to prove its leadership position in the industry by defying the odds. The cryptocurrency exchange kept the SEC busy with legal drama, and crypto allies filed several amicus briefs in its favor.

The SEC’s supporters argued that existing laws applied to the crypto industry.

Things reached a head when the SEC ruled 3-2, stating that it would continue its regulatory activities using current laws.

On the innovation side, Coinbase was busy with Base, its Layer-1 chain, and several other solutions. Sending funds across apps became as easy as sending a DM with Coinbase wallet integrations.

Coinbase also launched a payment protocol that converts tokens on the Polygon, Ethereum, and Base blockchains into USDC stablecoins.

The cryptocurrency exchange continued its offshore expansion activities with licensing and approvals from other governments.