Decentralized Diaries for the Week of 6/18/24

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Industry ups and downs continued as simmering regulatory actions showed a slight slowdown. That said, safety is (still) an issue with rising security concerns.

The headlines:

  • Tether launched a new product and is looking past crypto;
  • Gary Gensler is looking at Summer to approve Spot Ether ETFs;
  • American crypto developers are leaving the country in droves (according to Coinbase);
  • Bitcoin mining stocks outperformed Bitcoin prices in the first half of June;
  • Plus, Ripple’s stablecoin has a new name (read on to find out);
  • And much more!

As always, these are your decentralized diaries!


Bitcoin is Marginal at $65k

Bitcoin’s support level failed after hitting a $69,960.20 high to swing to a $65,056.89 low. Prices are (slightly) up at $65,891.78 (as of 6/17/24).

The altcoins are also (slightly) sideways. Ethereum (ETH) is at $3,525.22, Solana (SOL) is at $143.22, Avalanche (AVAX) at $28.22, Polkadot (DOT) at $6.17 and Chainlink (LINK) at $14.50.

Breaking: Tether Introduced a Gold-Backed Digital Asset

According to a June 17 website post, stablecoin issuer Tether launched “Alloy by Tether” (aUSD₮). The new digital asset is pegged to the greenback and overcollateralized by Tether Gold (XAU₮). Users can mint the new token on the Ethereum blockchain after depositing Tether Gold tokens as collateral.

Moon Gold NA and Moon Gold El Salvador, Tether’s subsidiaries, created the asset.

In related news, in an interview, Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino unveiled $1 billion investment plans until 2025. Ardoino (also) disclosed a shift in Tether’s focus outside crypto-related products.

Coinbase Released a New Report

Premier cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase recently released its “State of Crypto” report with surprising insights. According to the report, American-based crypto developers declined by 14% in the last five years. The United States (currently) has 26% of crypto developers worldwide.

Additionally, the report iterated that 56% of Fortune 500 companies are working on crypto or blockchain-related projects, with a 39% year-over-year increase. Furthermore, 72% of Fortune 500 executives (surveyed) believe that a dollar-backed digital currency is essential for its global lead and competitiveness.

Similarly, in its ongoing legal case with the SEC, Coinbase asserted that the regulator continued its enforcement activities without rule clarifications.

MicroStrategy Enhanced its Debt Offering

Leading software firm MicroStrategy upgraded its (ongoing) debt offering from $500 million to $700 million. The senior convertible notes will mature in 2032 with a 2.25% annual yield. Additionally, the offer is for (qualified) institutional buyers according to the Rule 144A of the Securities Act of 1933.

Furthermore, buyers have a $100 million (extra) purchase option within a 13-day issuance period. The offering closes on June 17, subject to regular (closing) conditions.

Gary Gensler Hinted at Summer Approvals for Ethereum Spot ETFs

During a June 13 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services hearing, SEC Chair Gary Gensler indicated that the regulator approved several Ethereum exchange-traded product proposals.

During an exchange with Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Gensler iterated that the SEC will conclude the approval process for filed spot Ether ETF applications over the Summer. Gensler also avoided an Ether commodity question asked by the Senator.

Similarly, SEC Crypto Asset and Cyber Unit Division of Enforcement Chief David Hirsch announced his departure. Hirsch has yet to speak about any (future) plans.

NiceHash and Marathon Digital Announced a Firmware Development Partnership

Boutique Bitcoin hashing power marketplace NiceHash and crypto miner Marathon Digital unveiled a partnership to develop new firmware for ASIC miners in its ecosystem. Miners that install the firmware enjoy a 1.4% fee if NiceHash becomes their primary mining pool.

Additionally, the firmware has customizable features, including autotune power adjustments and a workload management dashboard.

J.P. Morgan: Listed Miner Stocks Reached a Record High

In a June 17 research report (from J.P. Morgan), the 14 listed Bitcoin miners (reached) a $22.8 billion high on June 15. The surge followed the Core Scientific-CoreWeave deal.

The 14 firms also outperformed Bitcoin’s performance in the same period. Additionally, the firms account for 23.8% of the global network hash rate (on average).

Gemini Reached a Settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office

The Winklevoss-owned crypto exchange Gemini settled with the NYAG over its Gemini Earn program. Gemini will pay investors $50 million in digital assets.

According to a June 14 announcement, the authorities banned Gemini from operating a crypto lending program in New York. Consequently, the exchange indicated that the “final Earn distributions” would be available in customer accounts within seven days from the fourteenth.

Similarly, District Court Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York (SDNY) approved a settlement between Terraform Labs, CEO Do Kwon, and the SEC. Terraform Labs and Kwon will pay $4.5 billion in penalties.

Furthermore, the deal includes a digital asset trading ban.

CISA Unveiled a New Fake Federal Employee Crypto Scam

According to a June 12 alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), scammers (now) impersonate Federal employees in a new (daring) scam. The bad actors (falsely) claim to represent the agency and request wire transfers, cryptocurrency tokens, or gift cards from victims.

Ripple‘s Stablecoin Has a Name

During the XRP Ledger Community Summit in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse revealed the name of its new stablecoin ($RLUSD). The move comes as Ripple Labs continues its (protracted) battle with the SEC.

The UK’s NHS Chief Executive Revealed Crypto Gambling Concerns

We move (over) across the pond to the United Kingdom, where National Health Service (NHS) Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard highlighted a rise in increased gambling addiction cases among young people. In her speech at the NHS ConfedExpo conference, Pritchard said that the NHS (recently) opened its 15th gambling center amid increased efforts to keep young people hooked to unregulated crypto markets.

Pritchard also called for joint solutions to the growing problem.