Decentralized Diaries for the Week of 1/29/24


How well are things going to turn out for the cryptospace by spring?

Well, the answer might surprise you (we are keeping our cards to ourselves)!

  • That said, the SEC is back in the delay game with BlackRock Spot Ether futures as the first victim;
  • OneCoin’s lawyer got ten years with (some) justice served;
  • Texas residents may (soon) be able to breathe with the Abra settlements;
  • Plus, how well are developers doing in the industry? (read on to find out)

As always, these are your decentralized diaries!

Bitcoin Rebounds, Currently at $43k

Bitcoin prices returned to a $43,301.42 high from a $41,818.33 low following ETF selloff pressures. Prices have stabilized at $43081.79 (as of 1/29/24).

The altcoins have remained (relatively) calm as well. Ethereum (ETH) is currently at $2,308.50, Solana (SOL) at $100.63, Avalanche (AVAX) at $35.97, Polkadot (DOT) at $7.02, and Chainlink (LINK at $14.98.

The SEC Postponed its Decision on BlackRock’s Spot Ether ETF to March

BlackRock’s Ether Spot ETF application got hit by a curveball from the SEC. According to a January 24 filing by the regulator, the deadline for a final decision on the application by BlackRock is March 10.

OneCoin‘s Lawyer Got Sentenced to Ten Years

On January 25, Judge Edgardo Ramos of the District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Mark Scott, the attorney accused of laundering more than $400 million in the OneCoin scam, to ten years.

The sentencing comes three years after his November 2019 conviction. Ruja Ignatova, the so-called “crypto queen” and founder of OneCoin, is still in the wind.

Unsealed Filings Revealed the Denial of CZ‘s Travel Request

January 23 court filings revealed the denial of Changpeng Zhao’s request to return to the UAE despite $4.5 billion pledge of his equity stake in Binance.US., the American arm of the global cryptocurrency exchange.

The presiding Judge found Zhao’s commitment insufficient to ensure his return to the United States.

In related news, the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities rejected the renewal of the exchange’s operating license. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation suspended the cryptocurrency exchange from operating in the sunny state.

Abra Settled with Texan Authorities

According to a January 22 statement from the Texas State Securities Board (TSSB), the group of affiliated crypto firms known as Abra settled (in principle) with the regulator.

Customers can withdraw their assets from the “Abra Boost” and “Abra Earn” products. Abra will notify users with $10 and above about the withdrawal process.

On June 15, 2023, the TSSB declared Abra Boost and Abra Earn insolvent and ordered the submission of financial statements for review.

Electric Capital-Monthly Active Crypto Developers Declined by 24% in 2023

A January 17 report from Electric Capital, a crypto-focused VC, revealed deep insights about the crypto developer community. According to the report, monthly active crypto developers fell by 24%. The numbers came with a twist, however.

A higher number of those who were leaving the space were newbies. Additionally, other numbers show that the number of veteran developers with industry experience of two years and over grew by 52% in the past five years.

Artemis-Solana‘s Monthly Transfers Surpass $300 Billion in Volume

Solana may be the next big thing in the crypto community, with January 21 data from Artemis, a blockchain analytics crypto firm, showing monthly transfers worth over $300 billion.

The blockchain experienced 2,500% (approximately) growth YoY, with monthly transfers hitting $11 billion in January 2023.

Estonia will Extradite Two Citizens to the United States

In a surprising twist, The Estonian government will extradite Ivan Turogin and Sergei Potapenko, its citizens behind HashFlare, an alleged crypto mining scam, to the United States.

According to a January 25 article from Postimees, an Estonian news outlet, the European Country’s Ministry of Justice approved the extradition despite a November 29, 2023, court ruling that prevented the action.

The event follows investigations by the FBI and local law enforcement agencies. A grand jury indicted the duo in October 2022 at a Western District of Washington court.

Coinbase: Eighteen Senators Are Open Crypto Supporters

According to the Coinbase “Stand With Crypto” website, 18 Senators support the industry. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R, Wyoming) leads the pack with eight sponsored or backed crypto bills and 184 public comments.

Also included on the list are Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama).

“I Stand With Crypto” is an advocacy thrust powered by Coinbase.

In related news, Paul Grewal, the crypto exchange’s Chief Legal Officer, hit back at claims by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

On December 13, 2023, the GAO published a report indicating issues with enforcing sanctions on crypto transactions and published the Federal response to the report on January 16.

The U.S. Government Plans to Sell $130 Million Worth of “Silk Road” Bitcoins

On January 25, the American Government filed a notice to sell $130 million worth of Bitcoins seized from Silk Road. The sale will occur in two amounts-2900 BTC at $129 million and 58 BTC at 3.3 million (approximately).

Additionally, interested parties (excluding defendants in the legal proceedings involving the tokens) can file petitions indicating interest within 60 days (from January 10).