Decentralized Diaries for the Week of 3/18/24

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Industry maturity is a given. How far things have come signals the emergence of a new normal.

That said, legal issues are still a thing, with increased institutional adoption alongside fiery crypto advocacy.

  • SBF may be north of seventy (or older) before he gets released from prison;
  • A court limited CZ from traveling;
  • According to a UK judge, the real Satoshi should not stand up (not yet);
  • The White House wants to tax crypto miners at 30%;
  • Tether’s law enforcement cooperation continued;
  • Plus, NFTs with coffee at Starbucks will soon end;

As always, these are your decentralized diaries!


Bitcoin Hovers at a $68k Support Level

The Bitcoin bull run slowed (slightly) as prices cooled to a $64,545.32 low from a $73,637.47 high. The top crypto token maintained its position, with dominance at 51.9% (according to CoinMarketCap). Bitcoin is currently priced at $68,000.19 (as of 18/03/24).

The Altcoins are generally ranging, too. Ethereum (ETH) is at $3,585.24, Avalanche (AVAX) at $62.99, Polkadot at $10.35, and Chainlink (LINK) at $19.19.

Prosecutors-SBF Should Get 40–50 Years in Jail

In an anti-climatic moment in the ongoing legal drama involving Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, prosecutors asked for a 40-50-year sentence. Also, the prosecutors highlighted his penchant for high-risk behavior and (apparent) lack of remorse.

Two Senators Urged the SEC to Stop Approving Crypto ETPs

In a March 11 letter to the SEC, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-CA) pushed to end crypto ETP approvals. The letter was specific, referring to cryptocurrency products other than Bitcoin. Consequently, the Senators iterated on other cryptocurrency liquidity issues and vulnerability to market manipulators.

CZ Surrendered His Passport

Via Changpeng Zhao’s current bail bond, District Judge Richard Jones required the surrender (of) his passport to third-party custodians. Judge Jones instructed the former Binance CEO to require Court approval before traveling within the continental United States. Additionally, according to the March 11 filing, the custodians must accompany him on any journeys he undertakes.

The court will (expectedly) sentence Zhao on April 30.

In related news, it has (reportedly) emerged that Binance Labs, the venture capital arm of the cryptocurrency exchange, was quietly spun off as Richard Teng, the new CEO at Binance, took charge.

UK Judge-Craig Wright is Not Satoshi Nakamoto

The protracted legal dispute between Dr. Craig Wright, the self-described anonymous developer of Bitcoin, and the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) is over.

A High Court Judge across the pond in the United Kingdom concluded that Wright is not Satoshi, contrary to his claims.

In 2021, COPA sued Wright in the UK after issues with developers and intellectual property prevention efforts.

The UK FCA Approved Crypto ETNs

Again, across the pond in the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved the involvement of professional investors in crypto-focused exchange-traded notes (ETNs). Regulated exchanges must create the ETNs.

EU rules (currently) prohibit crypto ETFs. The Brexit event has not hindered parallel compliance measures.

The Crypto Community Opposed The Government’s 30% Mining Tax Plan

Opposition to the government’s efforts to tax mining operations continued following revelations of a bullish stance by the Biden White House.

Pierre Rochard, Vice President of Research at Riot Platforms, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), indicated that the government expects Bitcoin to reach a $250,000 high by 2035. Consequently, the 2025 budget proposal includes $10 billion in (expected) inflows from regulation and taxation activities.

Additionally, the proposal includes a previously shelved 30% tax plan (that was) presented by the Treasury in 2024. The government suspended the plan during debt ceiling negotiations.

Tentatively, miners will be taxed 10% in the first year, 20% in the second year and 30% moving forward.

The measure was (vehemently) opposed on social media, with industry leaders arguing against its implementation.

WEF-US Firms Lead Metaverse Investments

It seems America still maintains its edge in the industry. According to a March 12 report published by the World Economic Forum(WEF), a majority (of) executives of US manufacturing firms have integrated the metaverse into their investment plans.

According to a survey of 100 (of the) biggest companies in 10 industries, 92% of execs are (currently) exploring ways of deploying metaverse-focused technologies. Additionally, the execs are considering (up to) six different use cases.

The firms aim to use the metaverse to help solve production problems.

Judge-The SECGemini/Genesis Case Should Continue

Following a May 2023 motion by Gemini and Genesis to dismiss charges brought against the duo by the SEC, Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that the proceedings should continue.

According to a March 13 filing, Judge Ramos indicated that the regulator’s complaint was plausible. In its charges, the SEC alleges that both parties offered (and sold) retail investors unregistered securities via the Gemini Earn product.

Tether Cooperated with Law Enforcement Authorities in a $1.4 Million Seizure

According to a March 12 blog post, Tether, the USDT stablecoin issuer, revealed its collaboration with the DoJ and FBI to seize $1.4 million in USDT tokens linked to an alleged tech support scam.

The funds were (reportedly) traced to five wallets and traced from an Illinois-based victim. Additionally, the tokens were (allegedly) routed through middleman wallets.

Starbucks Will Close its NFT Program

Coffee giant Starbucks announced the closure of Odyssey Beta, a rewards-focused NFT program, on March 31. Stamps (the NFTs) will remain on Nifty Gateway, a specialty marketplace. Also, Nifty will absorb the Odyssey marketplace.

Users can still transfer and hold stamps in external wallets.

Cetera Approved Four Bitcoin ETFs Alongside Training

The Bitcoin ETF buzz continued with Cetera approving four funds. In a March 14 statement, the wealth manager indicated the selection of Blackrock iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO), Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC) and Franklin Bitcoin ETF (EZBC).

Additionally, the finance behemoth revealed that training for financial professionals on the Bitcoin ETFs will start on March 25.