Decentralized Diaries for the Week of 5/20/24


Things seemed settled, with the (usual) exits and rebounds confirming (some) stability. State-level adoption improved, with rising interest, and bankruptcy resolutions moved forward. 

The headlines:

  • Tether continued policing its ecosystem;
  • Circle is moving its headquarters back home;
  • Bankruptcy proceedings moved up a notch;
  • North Korea’s crypto theft imprint is (allegedly) huge;
  • Plus, how much have crypto donors contributed so far ahead of November? (read on to find out);

As always, these are your decentralized diaries!

Bitcoin Rebounds to $66k

Following a $67,694.30 high from a $61,131.54 low, Bitcoin prices are testing resistance levels at $66,831.17 (as of 5/20/24). Ethereum (ETH) is $3,081.85, Solana (SOL) is $175.69, Avalanche (AVAX) is $35.81, Polkadot (DOT) is $6.97, and Chainlink (LINK) is $16.49. 

Tether Froze USDT Tokens Worth $5.2 Million 

Stablecoin issuer Tether continued its enforcement by freezing $5.2 million in USDT tokens linked to 12 wallet addresses. Tether hasn’t released an official statement about the seizure, but the source wallet addresses are (reportedly) linked to scams.

In related news, Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino hinted on his X (formerly Twitter) about launching a peer-to-peer marketplace using Holepunch, a serverless protocol. 

IBEX Pay Revealed the Suspension of Services to Americans

Premier Lighting Network service IBEX Pay announced the suspension of services to Americans. The platform cited regulatory headwinds as the reason for the move. 

Additionally, the platform advised users to pull out their outstanding balances by May 31. 

Congress Overturned SAB 121

In a rare moment of unity on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed Joint Resolution 109, seeking to overturn the SEC’s SAB 121 accounting rule. SAB 121 requires crypto custodians to report digital asset liabilities. The President Joe Biden-led administration has promised to veto the measure should it reach the Oval Office desk. 

A Bankruptcy Court Approved the Genesis Bankruptcy Plan, Giving Hope to Gemini Earn Customers

Gemini Earn customers will soon have cause to smile following the approval of a US court’s bankruptcy plan for the shuttered crypto platform Genesis. 

Following Judge Sean Lane’s approval, the Winklevoss-owned cryptocurrency exchange Gemini announced the impending return of $3 billion in assets to the customers of its Earn program. 

Circle Announced United States Relocation Plans

According to a May 15 Bloomberg report, stablecoin issuer Circle filed with an Irish High Court to move its headquarters from Europe back to the United States. The move follows a confidential IPO filing earlier in the year. 

Oklahoma’s Governor Signed a Crypto Rights Bill into Law

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed OKHB3594, a bill prohibiting bans on crypto custody or wallet ownership. The bill also allows state residents to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, provided they comply with local regulations.

Additionally, residents can pay for goods and services without extra tax obligations. 

FTX Postponed the Creditor Claims Deadline

Bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX revealed the extension of the deadline in a bid to give creditors more time to file their claims. The previous date was May 15, but the Bahamas bar date is now between ten and twelve weeks. Furthermore, FTX must align the yet-to-be-fixed deadline with the creditor voting deadline by US Chapter Eleven bankruptcy procedures. 

Similarly, attorneys for former FTX executive Ryan Salame are negotiating with prosecutors for an eighteen-month prison sentence. According to a May 15 filing, the lawyers argued that Salame was not a part of former CEO Sam Bankman Fried’s inner circle.

A UN Confidential Report Exposed $147.5 Million Lazarus Group Alleged Crypto Theft

According to a May 14 Reuters report, a confidential United Nations Security Council (UNSC) report connected the North Korean-linked Lazarus Group with a theft incident of crypto tokens worth $147.5 million (approximately). 

The hackers (allegedly) laundered the tokens in March using the (now) defunct tornado Cash mixing platform after (reportedly) stealing them from a cryptocurrency exchange last year. Furthermore, the incident is part of 97 North Korean-linked crypt theft events between 2017 and 2024 worth $3.6 billion (approximately). 

In related news, Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev appealed a four-month sentence handed (down) by a Dutch Judge. Through his lawyer, Keith Cheng, Pertsev argued that the fundamental vision behind founding Tornado Cash was not money laundering. 

Mastercard Added Five Startups to its Blockchain and Digital Asset Program

In a May 15 announcement, payments giant Mastercard announced the addition of five startups to its Start Path Blockchain and Digital Asset program. The program explores the utility and use cases of blockchain-related technologies. 

Furthermore, new companies are Peaq (from Singapore), Kulipa (from France), Parfin (from the UK), Venly (from Belgium), and Triangle (from the United States). 

The Wisconsin Investment Board Invested Over $162 Million in Bitcoin ETFs

Wisconsin pensions are in line to benefit from exposure to Bitcoin ETFs. According to a May 14 filing, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) holds $100 million in BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF (IBIT) and over $63 million in the Grayscale spot Bitcoin ETF (GBTC). The disclosures make the SWIB the first state institution to (publicly) disclose its crypto-related holdings. 

2024-Crypto Political Donations Cross $94 Million

According to a May 16 Bloomberg report, the crypto donors in the current election cycle have topped $94 million, surpassing the previous $83 million. 

Also, the donations (mainly) came from industry insiders, including the Winklevoss twins, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, Ripple Labs, VC titans Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, and more. 

There are (approximately) 168 days until the November 5 US presidential elections.