Decentralized Diaries for the Week of 5/6/24

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This period marks a significant shift in the cryptocurrency industry, with the departure of influential figures who once seemed invincible.

The landscape is evolving, with a notable increase in compliance and transparency, and crypto transactions now carrying geopolitical implications. 

The headlines:

  • CZ is going to jail for four months;
  • Senators on Capitol Hill are the new crypto vanguard;
  • There may (soon) be a Bitcoin research facility at Texas A&M;
  • Coinbase is the new crypto darling;
  • Plus, a coal mining firm in Oklahoma made good use of its excess power (more on that later);

As always, these are your decentralized diaries! 


Bitcoin Rebounds to $63k

Bitcoin has made a remarkable recovery, bouncing back from a low of $56,555.29 to a current high of $63,807.63 (as of 5/6/24). Despite the volatility, Bitcoin maintains its dominance with a 53.3% market share, according to CoinMarketCap. 

The altcoins are in similar positions. Ethereum (ETH) is at $3,123.33, Solana (SOL) at $152.51, Avalanche (AVAX) at $7.95, Polkadot (DOT) at $7.23 and Chainlink (LINK) at $14.95.  

A Court Sentenced Changpeng Zhao to Four Months

In a Seattle Courthouse, Judge Richard A. Jones sentenced former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao to four months in jail. The sentence is much lower than the three years prosecutors proposed. Also, with a net worth of $40 billion, CZ will be the richest person in history to go to an American jail.

Tether Revealed Its Transaction Monitoring Partnership with Chainalysis 

Stablecoin issuer Tether partnered with boutique crypto analytics firm Chainalysis to develop a transaction monitoring solution. The product will enable transaction monitoring and intelligence.

Furthermore, the tool will enable sanctions monitoring, with the ability to view and categorize wallet holders, including exchange access and dark net transactions.

In related news, Tether’s sister firm and cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex partnered with Synonym, a Lightning Network infrastructure firm, to improve the adoption of the LN protocol by minimizing the technical requirements required for integration.

MicroStrategy wants to Launch a Bitcoin Decentralized Identity Solution

At the MicroStrategy World: Bitcoin for Corporations 2024 event, the software firm introduced MicroStrategy Orange, a Bitcoin-based decentralized identity (DID) platform.  The solution allows for the issuance of identities based on Bitcoin ordinals.

The firm has also already built a service within the new ecosystem (Orange For Outlook) that verifies email senders’ identities. In related news, MicroStrategy bought 122 Bitcoins in April at $7.8 million, bringing the total number of tokens in its portfolio to 214,400 BTC.

A Texas A&M Professor will Launch a Bitcoin Research Institute

At the MicroStrategy World: Bitcoin for Corporations 2024 event, Korok Ray, an Associate Professor at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, revealed his intentions to establish a Bitcoin Research Institute. Ray intends to delve deeper into interactions that involve Bitcoin and AI.

Senator Warren Expressed Her Concern About Iranian Crypto Mining

On the geopolitical front, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) wrote Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan over Iranian attempts to evade sanctions via cryptocurrency mining. The May 1 letter iterated that the Iranian Central Bank uses cryptocurrency tokens to fund the economy. 

Additionally, the letter indicated that cryptocurrency mining activities had led to several blackouts, suggesting its prominence.

Similarly, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) stated the American federal government’s approach to regulating the crypto space. On her official X handle, Sen. Lummis faulted the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) position on the status of noncustodial services as money transmission services.

Additionally, Sen. Lummis iterated that the DoJ’s (current) stance is aberrant to the Treasury’s.

Stripe Integrated with the Avalanche Ecosystem

Payments giant Stripe took one (more) leap forward by integrating with the Avalanche ecosystem. According to a recent blog post on the Avalanche network website, the C-Chain integration with Stripe includes the Core native wallet. Furthermore, developers can now embed a widget in their projects to enable the fiat-crypto onramp solution.

The DoJ Pushed Back Against a Motion to Dismiss Charges Against Tornado Cash Developer

At the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York, prosecutors countered a motion filed by Tornado Cash Developer Roman Semenov. The prosecutors asserted that the accused knew of the illicit transactions on the crypto-mixing platforms. They indicated that further evidence would (soon) be available for the court.  

Similarly, on May 1, federal prosecutors charged Samurai Wallet founders Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill, accusing them of (allegedly) conspiring to launder over $100 million. 

The SEC Postponed its Decision on a Bitcoin ETF

With prior Bitcoin ETF approvals in its rearview mirror, the SEC delayed its decision on the 7RCC Spot Bitcoin and Carbon Credit Futures ETF. The decision extended the regulator’s evaluation timeline to June 24, 2024.

Coinbase Enabled Bitcoin Lightning Network Support for American Users 

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase revealed the integration of the Bitcoin Lightning Network for its US users, save for New York. The integration enables faster and cheaper Bitcoin transfers, saving users money and improving efficiency. Coinbase partnered with Lightspark to deploy the integration. 

In related news, in its May 2 earnings call, Coinbase revealed that it adopted new accounting standards in Q1 2024 to record gains. Adopting mark-to-market rules enabled the realization of $737 million in profit (pre-taxed). 

Additionally, $85 million of the profits were from operational digital asset gains, while the remaining $650 million came from investments. 

An American Coal Miner Used Excess Power to Mine Bitcoin 

Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) recently revealed its use of excess power to mine Bitcoin. CFO Cary Marshall disclosed that ARLP ended Q1 2024 with 425 Bitcoins (approximately). Also, Marshall iterated that the firm mined 61 Bitcoins at $24,000.