Decentralized Diaries for the Week of 12/4/23


“The harder they rise, the harder they fall”.

At least, that’s how the saying goes.

The crypto space won’t be the same without Changpeng Zhao.

That said, ETF expectations are high.

Voyager’s case with the FTC continued.

November is this year’s worst month for hacks and fraud (read on to find out).

Circle denied terrorist financing allegations.

Plus, Paxos is on the loose again.

These are your decentralized diaries!

Bitcoin is up, Currently at $41k

Everything is looking green for Bitcoin. From a $36,822.64 low,
Bitcoin prices hit a $42,108.59 high. As of 12/4/23, Bitcoin is at $41,416.74.

The altcoins are also soaring. Ethereum (ETH) is at $2,216.84, Chainlink (LINK) at $15.60, Avalanche (AVAX) at $21.78, Solana (SOL) at $60.58 and Polkadot (DOT) at $5.53.

A Judge Gave Final Approval to the FTCVoyager $1.65 Billion Settlement

According to a November 28 court filing, Judge Gregory Woods of the District Court for Southern New York ordered Voyager, the troubled cryptocurrency platform, to pay the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) $1.65 billion in fines as part of a settlement deal.

Additionally, the order doesn’t resolve Steve Ehrlich, Voyager’s former CEO’s case with the CFTC.

The U.S. Treasury Sought Greater Crypto Regulatory Powers

At a Blockchain Association policy event on November 29, Wally Adeyemo, the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, indicated that the regulator sought more powers from Congress to go after crypto’s bad guys.

Beyond sending proposals to Congress, Adeyemo indicated that cooperation with America’s allies was underway.

He said, “My message is simple: We will find you and hold you accountable.”

In related news, the Treasury sanctioned Sinbad, a crypto mixer. The Treasury accused Sinbad of being allegedly used by North Korea’s Lazarus Group to launder funds.

Immunefi: Crypto Hacks Totaled Over $343 Million in November

According to a report from Immunefi, a leading crypto security firm, November has the highest losses for the year, with the bad guys taking away $343 million.

The figure is a fifteen-fold increase from October’s figures. The Ethereum and BNB blockchains were at the top of the hit list.

Binance‘s Financial Flows Stabilized After its DoJ Settlement

Things settled down for Binance following its DoJ $4.3 billion settlement.

According to data from Nansen, a leading blockchain analytics company, Binance had an $86.7 million net flow on Ethereum, with a -$68 million flow across several blockchains.

Similarly, data from CryptoQuant, a blockchain research firm, indicated a 20% drawdown of Binance’s Bitcoin reserves to 500,000 from 634,000 in May.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Binance’s former CEO, stepped down as the Chairman of Binance.U.S.

Additionally, things may be looking up for the beleaguered cryptocurrency exchange. Binance announced a partnership for institutional investors that allows for off-exchange trading.

The solution, developed with an unnamed third-party bank, is collateral-based and is similar to other financial market executions. Binance is the first cryptocurrency exchange to offer such a product.

The SEC Made Some Moves on Crypto ETF Applications

Things are looking up for crypto ETFs, with the SEC making progress on several applications.

Within a 240-day window, the regulator requires public comments for Franklin Templeton’s application.

Following a meeting between the SEC, BlackRock, and Grayscale, the investment behemoth refiled its application with the regulator, addressing its concerns. Also, Hashdex submitted an amended filing.

Pando Asset A.G., a Swiss-based asset manager, filed its form S-1 with the SEC.

The crypto community is buzzing with the hopes of approval at the start of next year.

Also, in related news, the SEC, in its trial against Debt Box, a crypto firm, Judge Robert J. Shelby, Chief United States district judge for the District of Utah, found statements by the regulators’ attorneys to be misleading.

The SEC sought and obtained a restraining order against Debt BOX in August.

Circle Denied Terrorism Funding Allegations

Circle, the USDC stablecoin issuer, vehemently denied allegations of the use of its stablecoin in the financing of Hamas and Hezbollah militant groups.

Dante Disparte, Chief Strategy Officer at Circle, refuted claims made by the Campaign for Accountability.

In a letter, Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren referred to the allegations made by the nonprofit watchdog.

Disparte denounced the claims, indicating that the stablecoin issuer didn’t lay any roles in financing the said groups or related activities.

Dante also indicated that Circle had severed ties with Justin Sun and his related companies in February 2023.

The stablecoin issuer partnered with SBI Holdings, an Asian financial services company, to launch the USDC token in Japan.

Paxos Received Regulatory Approval in Abu Dhabi

Things seem to be on the rebound for the Paxos Trust Company, the issuer of the defunct BUSD token. Paxos received dual in-principle approvals (IPAs) from Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

The approvals allow the blockchain solutions firm to issue stablecoins backed by the greenback or other fiat currencies.

The SEC took enforcement actions against Paxos over its minting of the USD stablecoin in February 2023.