Happened in Crypto: Bitcoin Boost, Shanghai Upgrade, and Much More
Are we facing a new bull market? Is the Shanghai Upgrade the revolution of staking? To help you stay in the loop of what's hapenning in the crypto industry, we’ve compiled a list of recent news and events.
Bitcoin Soars Beyond $30,000, Reviving Optimism in Crypto Market
Bitcoin has once again captured attention as it breaches the $30,000 mark, hitting a new peak for 2023. CoinGecko data reveals that Bitcoin has climbed to nearly $30,200, a value not seen since June 10, 2022, bringing positivity to the volatile crypto market.
Over the past 30 days, Bitcoin's value increased by about 46%, reaching its highest in ten months on April 11. Market analysts foresee further growth as the market awaits the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) report on April 12. The report will shed light on the Federal Reserve's inflation control measures and could potentially influence the crypto market.
The Crypto Fear and Greed Index, a numerical representation of Bitcoin and crypto market sentiment, has been in the "Greed" zone since last week. Its April 11 update scored 68 out of 100, signaling strong market optimism.
The index hit 68 on March 21, the highest since November 16, 2021, shortly after Bitcoin's record-breaking $69,000 peak on November 10, 2021. The persistently high scores imply a bullish outlook for Bitcoin and the broader crypto market.
Michael Saylor, founder and executive chairman of MicroStrategy, has been an avid Bitcoin proponent, pushing for corporate adoption of cryptocurrency as a strategic asset. MicroStrategy now holds 140,000 BTC, acquired for a total of $4.17 billion. This investment has proven profitable, with an average cost of about $29,803 per coin.
MicroStrategy's consistent investment in Bitcoin since August 2020 has inspired other companies to consider digital assets as strategic investments. Bitcoin's recent price leap reinvigorates optimism in the crypto market. As the US CPI report approaches, experts predict further growth, especially for Bitcoin. MicroStrategy's ongoing investment highlights Bitcoin's long-term potential as a store of value.
Ethereum's Shanghai Upgrade Marks New Era of Staking Withdrawals
Ethereum's Shanghai upgrade, or "Shapella", is now complete, enabling users who have staked their ether (ETH) to secure and validate transactions to withdraw their funds. The hard fork, triggered at 22:27 UTC and finalized around 22:42 UTC, marks a historic milestone in Ethereum's multi-year transition to a full proof-of-stake network. The price of ETH remained largely flat after the Shanghai hard fork, while Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin mentioned scaling as the next priority.
Validators can now perform full or partial withdrawals, with the former allowing them to redeem their 32 ETH along with any accumulated rewards. Market analysts have expressed concerns about potential selling pressure as 18 million ETH, representing 15% of the total supply, has been staked since the Beacon Chain went live in December 2020.
SEC Boosts Crypto Oversight Efforts by Hiring Attorneys for Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) recently announced that they will hire general attorneys for its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit within the Division of Enforcement. This unit is tasked with enforcing laws and regulations related to crypto assets and cyber issues. The new attorneys will conduct complex investigations, draft subpoenas or document requests, question witnesses, and evaluate evidence.
The announcement follows SEC Chairman Gary Gensler's request for nearly $2.4 billion in funding to pursue crypto "misconduct" on March 29. Regulatory pressure on the crypto industry in the United States has been increasing, with concerns that regulations may stifle innovation.
The SEC's recent actions against companies like Beaxy cryptocurrency exchange and the Japan-based decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) Sushi reflect its commitment to enforcing regulations in the crypto space. However, not all regulators agree with the SEC's approach, with Congressman Tom Emmer criticizing Gensler's methods of industry oversight.
This development indicates that the SEC is taking the regulation of the crypto industry seriously. The ongoing debate about the appropriate level of regulation is likely to continue, and the future of the crypto industry in the United States remains uncertain.
Hong Kong Regulator Considers DeFi Licensing and Regulation
Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has indicated that decentralized finance (DeFi) projects could be subject to licensing and regulation. Interim Head of Intermediaries Keith Choy remarked that if DeFi activities are within the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO) scope, they will face the same regulatory requirements as traditional finance. The announcement follows recent DeFi regulation reports from the US and France.
Choy explained that providing automated trading services requires a Type 7 license under the SFO, while offering a collective investment scheme is subject to authorization. The SFC also noted concerns regarding financial stability, limited transparency, and market integrity in DeFi. Hong Kong's virtual asset trading platform licensing regime starts in June 2023.
In the previous crisis, investors and owners of large banks were bailed out, whereas now only specific parts of the banks are being bailed out. The overlap between the crypto and startup communities has led to some support for bank bailouts, as valuable institutions on the border of crypto and fiat need to be saved. Ultimately, the debate on bank bailouts in the crypto community remains divided, but the current approach is viewed as a different solution to a different problem.
Crypto Dusting Attacks: Understanding and Prevention Measures
Crypto dusting attacks involve small amounts of cryptocurrency, or dust, sent to multiple wallet addresses by malicious actors, aiming to link addresses and wallets to personal data and use this information for phishing scams, cyberextortion, blackmail, or identity theft. Dusting attacks cannot directly steal crypto assets, but they can invade user privacy and expose them to targeted hacks off the blockchain.
To prevent dusting attacks, users should consider using privacy tools like The Onion Router (TOR) or a virtual private network (VPN), hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallets that create a new address for each transaction, and dust conversion services to swap crypto dust into native tokens. By practicing due diligence, users can better protect their cryptocurrency assets and privacy from dusting attacks and other cyber threats.
CoinGecko Study: Utility and Long-Term Profits Drive NFT Purchases
A CoinGecko and Blockchain Research Lab survey reveals that utility and long-term profits are the primary reasons behind non-fungible token (NFT) purchases. Over 77% of respondents emphasized the importance of using NFTs for their intended function.
However, 15.7% were neutral on utility, and 6.7% considered it unimportant in their decision to buy NFTs. Long-term profit potential ranked as the second most important factor, with over 76% of participants valuing the possibility of selling their NFTs at higher prices in the future.
Read the whole study about top reasons for NFT purchases.