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Tether Taps Chainalysis Veteran to Demystify USDT Usage
Jul 15, 2024
Tether, the company behind the world's largest stablecoin, is upping its transparency game. They've just brought on Philip Gradwell as head of economics. Gradwell, previously the chief economist at Chainalysis, will be crunching numbers on USDT usage. His main job? Explaining USDT's role to regulators and stakeholders. It's a big task. USDT's daily trading volumes are in the billions. In the last 24 hours alone, it hit $32.23 billion, according to Messari. Gradwell's got his work cut out for him. He's aiming to shift the conversation. "Many people still view digital assets as a mystery," he says. His goal is to show how USDT is "supporting dollar hegemony" in the real economy. The new hire comes at a crucial time. Tether's relationship with U.S. regulators has been a bit of a rollercoaster. In 2021, they coughed up $18.5 million to settle with New York's Attorney General. The issue? Allegations of misrepresenting USDT's backing. But they're not all at loggerheads. Tether's been playing ball with the feds lately. They've even let the FBI onto their platform. In March, they helped the DOJ recover $1.4 million in stolen USDT. Gradwell's role will be key in "enhancing communication with regulatory bodies," says Tether. It's a smart move. Government scrutiny has actually boosted USDT's market share. Talk about a silver lining. Right now, USDT dominates 69% of the stablecoin market. Its nearest rival, USDC, is eating dust. DefiLlama puts USDT's current market cap at a whopping $112 billion. Tether's clearly not messing around. They're bringing in the big guns to explain their coin's real-world impact. It's a savvy play in today's regulatory climate. Will Gradwell's number-crunching satisfy the powers that be? Only time will tell. But one thing's for sure: Tether's not sitting on its hands. For now, it's all eyes on Gradwell. Can he demystify USDT for the skeptics? That's the million-dollar question. Or should we say, the 112-billion-dollar question?
Polygon and TON Join Forces in Layer-2 Race
Jul 15, 2024
The TON Application Chain (TAC) is teaming up with Polygon Labs. Their goal? To make the TON ecosystem play nice with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). It's a big deal. TAC is building a Layer-2 network for TON. This blockchain is known for its ties to Telegram, the messaging app. Why does TON need this Layer-2 integration? It's simple. They want to tap into Ethereum's massive developer community. The new Layer-2 chain will use Polygon's tech. It'll leverage Polygon CDK and Agglayer, an interoperability protocol. This combo will let EVM-compatible decentralized apps (DApps) run on TAC. Pavel Altukhov, TAC's CEO, spilled the beans to CoinDesk. "We're going with Polygon for a few reasons," he said. "EVM compatibility, easy liquidity access, solid support, and their EVM know-how." What's in it for developers? A lot, actually. They can port their Ethereum-based apps to TAC without breaking a sweat. And they'll get access to Telegram's huge user base. Altukhov's pretty stoked about recent developments. He pointed to USDT's integration on TON and the success of Notcoin, a popular Tap-to-Earn game. The numbers are looking good. TON's got 5.8 million monthly active on-chain wallets on Telegram. That's nothing to sneeze at. Here's a kicker: TON recently beat Ethereum in daily active addresses. On June 3, it hit 568,300 DAAs and it's worth noting that Ethereum - second most popular crypto in the world - hasn't seen those numbers since September 2023. The Layer-2 race is heating up. Coinbase launched Base last August. It's built on the OP Stack and has already locked in over $6 billion. Other players like Blast, Optimism, and Arbitrum are in the mix too. With TON joining the fray, things are bound to get interesting. It's a young man's game, and TON's playing to win.
BNB Chain Bleeds $1.64bn in Crypto Assets Since Launch Due to Fraud and Hacks
Jul 15, 2024
Bug bounty platform Immunefi has revealed shocking data about BNB Chain. Since its launch in September 2020, the blockchain has lost nearly $1.7 billion in crypto assets. Immunefi's research shows hundreds of fraud and security incidents on BNB Chain. The total loss stands at a whopping $1.64 billion. Hacks account for $1.27 billion across 168 incidents. Fraud makes up the remaining $368 million over 228 incidents. Four major incidents contributed to most of the losses. We are talking about attacks on BNB Chain itself, Venus Protocol, Qubit Finance, and Uranium Finance. The platform has become a hotbed for rug pulls, some experts say, and it is hard to accuse them in exaggeration. It has over twice as much fraud as Ethereum, the leading smart contract platform. "Despite efforts to maintain security, a surprising number of users attempt fraudulent activities in the form of rug pulls on the network," Immunefi notes. BNB Chain took its biggest hits in 2021 and 2022. Yes, those were the truly dark ages. Bad actors drained $911 million from the protocol during this period. Things improved slightly in 2023, with losses dropping to $165 million. However, rug pulls continue to plague the project. They accounted for 44% of total losses on BNB Chain in 2023. In comparison, Ethereum's rug pull losses were just 1.7% in the same year. For those not in the know, rug pulls are a nasty piece of work. Scammers create a fake project to lure in investors. Then they pull the rug out, draining as much money as possible. Though this technology is not new, and there a massive warnings about it all over the crypto world, hundreds and even thousands of rookie investors keep falling for it every year. The crypto world is a wild ride, and BNB Chain's story is no exception. Despite its troubles, the native token BNB is holding steady. It's trading at $532, up 1.68% in the last 24 hours.
Ethereum Staking Hits All-Time High: What It Means for Investors
Jul 15, 2024
Ethereum staking has reached a new milestone. Over a third of the total supply is now staked and some experts say it is time to start worrying about network's centralization. Can Ethereum be seen as truly decentralized blockchain if so much of the tokens are in hands of a relatively small group of people, one might ask. Not an easy question by all means. The figure for staking stands at 47.36 million ETH. That's worth about $147 billion at current prices. A whopping figure to say the least. This marks a significant increase from two years ago, when Ethereum finally switched from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, which was supposed to speed the network up and lower the gas fees. Back then, only 10.9% of the supply was staked. Santiment shared these findings on social media platform X. They highlighted the rapid growth in staking participation. "The ETH2 Beacon Deposit Contract, used for staking deposits for Ethereum 2.0, now holds an all-time high 47.36 million ETH," Santiment reported. Staking is a key feature of Ethereum's new consensus mechanism. It allows token holders to earn rewards by validating transactions. Ethereum made the switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake in September 2022. This move was a game-changer for the network. The transition brought several benefits. It made Ethereum faster and cheaper to use. It also significantly reduced the network's energy consumption. Another major impact was on ETH issuance. The Ethereum Foundation estimated that daily issuance would drop from 13,000 to 1,600 ETH. At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading at $3,143. It's seen a slight uptick in the last 24 hours. In a separate note, Santiment also ranked crypto gaming projects. They looked at non-redundant daily development activity over 30 days. The top contenders included MultiversX, Decentraland, and Immutable X. Skale and Root Network also made the cut. This surge in staking participation is a big deal for Ethereum. It shows growing confidence in the network's future, but it also raises questions about liquidity and centralization risks. We see blockchain as secure no only because of the cryptography, but because of all the decentalization either. As more ETH gets locked up, it could impact market dynamics. Reduced circulating supply might lead to increased volatility. On the flip side, it could also create upward pressure on prices. With less ETH available to trade, any increase in demand could have a magnified effect. For now, Ethereum's staking experiment seems to be paying off. But as with anything in crypto, it's worth keeping a close eye on how things unfold.
Trump Assassination Attempt Sparks Memecoin Surge
Jul 15, 2024
A failed assassination attempt on Donald Trump has sent shockwaves through crypto markets. The incident occurred during a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania on July 13, and now memecoins are the first to react to this. Trump-themed memecoins saw significant price surges. MAGA (TRUMP) token jumped 52% in under an hour. Its market cap shot up from $293 million to $469 million. Someone is already cracking jokes on why don't we shoot them more often, though, of course, that sounds pretty rough. Other Trump-related tokens also rallied. Tremp (TREMP) spiked 63%. MAGA Hat (MAGA) briefly rose 21%. Prediction markets reacted swiftly. Trump's odds of winning the 2024 election increased from 60% to 68% on Polymarket. Biden's chances dropped from 30% to 15%. Right-wing warriors rejoice and call to arms, democrats are mostly silent, as if they already know the loss is inevitable. Trump now leads with a 70% chance of victory. Biden trails at 15%, with Kamala Harris at 9%. As for the crypto market, Trump is seen as a rather positive force, at least now. He previously called Bitcoin a "scam". Now he's promising to end the "war on crypto" if elected. He even went as far as to promise new bright future for Bitcoin mining, and claimed every last Bitcoin must be mined in the U.S. to be 'made in the USA'. Recent surveys show crypto's growing political influence. One in three US voters consider candidates' crypto positions. Another poll found 48% of crypto owners backing Trump, versus 39% for Biden.
Argentina Offers Tax-Free Crypto Declaration, But There's a Catch
Jul 15, 2024
The Argentine government has introduced new measures for cryptocurrency holders. Citizens can avoid certain taxes by declaring their digital assets. The move aims to bring crypto into the financial mainstream, and might be seen as a part of wider crypto adoption and overall economy liberalization. The new rules are part of President Javier Milei's Fiscal Package unveiled last Friday. Under amended money laundering laws, Argentines can declare up to $100,000 in Bitcoin and other tokens tax-free. But there's a catch. The exemption only applies to assets held on government-registered platforms. "Virtual assets are considered 'within Argentina' if managed on exchanges registered with the National Securities Commission (CNV)," the law states. This could be a problem for many Argentines, because they use international wallets not registered with the CNV, like popular Exodus or MetaMask. Valuation is another tricky issue. The law requires using market rates from December 31, 2023, or acquisition value if higher. This complicates things for stablecoin holders, who often pay premiums due to currency controls. "Argentina is an anomalous market where many people buy USDT and don't leave room for much else," Tether's chief Paolo Ardoino tweeted recently. Stablecoins are popular as a hedge against inflation. Anyway, Argentina is going pretty rough on those who will not comply. Failing to declare crypto assets could result in criminal charges. At the same time, declaring crypto won't exempt holders from all taxes. It only avoids a "special" levy on undeclared assets. Economy Minister Luis Caputo said assets must stay in the Argentine financial system until December 2025 to qualify. Similar rules apply to foreign currencies. Non-declaration could result in taxes of 5-15% of the dollar value.
Meme Coin Weekly Watch: DOGE Dips, PEPE Pops, MOG Had Wild Ride
Jul 13, 2024
The meme coin market experienced significant turbulence this week. Top tokens saw dramatic price fluctuations. News events and community actions drove these changes as always, but meme coins also took heavy hits from the outside world. Dogecoin (DOGE) stumbled initially. An Elon Musk tweet failed to spark enthusiasm, causing a 5% drop. But rumors of an e-commerce partnership reversed the trend. DOGE closed the week up 3%. Shiba Inu (SHIB) made a strong comeback. A new DeFi integration announcement propelled it up 12%. Enthusiastic community support pushed SHIB to new weekly highs. Pepe (PEPE) was the week's most stable performer. It surged 18% after launching a new NFT collection. This move tapped into investor nostalgia and excitement. Then it went back to its usual positions. A newcomer, dogwifhat (DOGWH), turned heads with a 15% fall, that followed an amazing 20% jump. Viral social media posts fueled its rise. Fresh investors piled in, drawn by the buzz. Bonk (BONK) had a solid week, climbing 4%. A successful community giveaway event drove the increase. It showcased the power of grassroots initiatives in the meme coin space. Floki (FLOKI) went on a wild ride. A Viking-themed marketing campaign initially boosted it 7%. Profit-taking then led to a 5% dip. FLOKI still ended slightly up for the week, as vikings never surrender, you know. Brett (BRETT) saw a 10% uptick, and then rolled down for 3%. New partnerships with emerging crypto platforms enhanced its appeal. The vocal Brett community played a key role in sustaining momentum. Mog Coin (MOG) truly went through the wringer. It dropped 10% on negative sentiment, then rebounded 15% after launching a staking feature. Talk about a rollercoaster! Book of Meme (BOM) steadily gained 4%. Small but positive platform updates drove its performance. BOM's consistency continued to attract new investors. We love stability, of course. And we lack it so desperately. Dog (Runes) faced headwinds, dropping 8%. Market corrections and regulatory concerns were to blame, no doubt. Yet, the community remained upbeat about future developments. To sum up, this week's events highlight the meme coin market's unpredictability that goes far beyond the ordinary altcoins. But that's why we love meme coins, right? They are insanely fun and insanely risky. That's probably not what Satoshi intended for us, but who says we can't have fun while Daddy is away.
SEC Abandons Paxos Investigation, Rules BUSD Not a Security
Jul 12, 2024
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has called off its probe into stablecoin-issuer Paxos. This move signals a win for the crypto world. It suggests the regulator no longer views stablecoins as securities. Fortune broke the news. The decision could reshape the crypto landscape. It might influence how other digital assets are classified. Binance, however, urges caution. They released a statement saying, "This decision marks a significant development in the ongoing discussions surrounding the classification of digital assets." The crypto exchange added, "The SEC's decision to halt its investigation into PAXOS and its ruling on BUSD could potentially influence future regulatory decisions regarding other digital assets." But Binance isn't popping champagne just yet. They warned, "It is important to note that the SEC's decisions are subject to change and may not necessarily set a precedent for future cases." The SEC's about-face comes over a year after Paxos got a Wells Notice. That's bureaucrat-speak for "we're coming for you." Back in February 2023, Paxos spilled the beans. They said the SEC was "considering recommending an action alleging that BUSD is a security." The regulator thought Paxos should have registered BUSD under federal securities laws. Now, it seems they've had a change of heart. Which is just a phenomenal news for every fan of Paxos, and yes, there are so many of them in the crypto world. This decision could be a game-changer for the crypto industry. It might offer a breather to other stablecoin issuers who've been sweating bullets. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The crypto world is as unpredictable as a cat on catnip. Today's victory could be tomorrow's headache. For now, Paxos can breathe easy. But in the wild west of crypto, who knows what's around the corner? One thing's for sure – this isn't the last we'll hear about stablecoins and securities.
Monero No Safe Haven: UK Authorities Cash In on Seized Crypto
Jul 12, 2024
British law enforcement has sold Monero tokens obtained from a convicted dark web drug dealer. The sale marks a first for UK authorities dealing with this privacy-focused cryptocurrency. Jack Edward Finney, 28, transferred £15,000 worth of Monero to avoid extra jail time. He was already serving 28 months for selling dangerous weight loss pills online. The Cheshire Cyber Crime Unit nabbed the crypto. Det Sgt David MacFarlane said it was tricky. "This posed several challenges due to the particular type of cryptocurrency," he explained. Monero's a big deal in the privacy coin world. It hides user addresses and transactions. That's why it's popular for folks who want to keep their activities on the down-low – legit or not. Finney used Monero while peddling various drugs on the dark web. His main trouble came from selling 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), a risky slimming drug. DNP's no joke. It's caused 33 deaths in the UK. The BBC reports it revs up metabolism, but even a few pills can be lethal. Finney had to cough up £23,000 total or face more time behind bars. He sold his Suzuki Vitara to make up the difference. The Monero sale happened through an unnamed "cryptocurrency trading platform". It took nearly three years to sort out after Finney's sentencing. This case highlights new powers given to British police in April. They can now seize and even "destroy" crypto assets if needed. Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor, didn't mince words: "This shows that criminals cannot hide their money in any cryptocurrencies in the hope it will be safe from the authorities." But here's the kicker: tracking future Monero transactions is still a tough nut to crack. Unlike most blockchains, you can't see the money moving on Monero's network.
Is Solana the Next Ethereum? One Analyst Thinks So
Jul 12, 2024
Solana (SOL) is currently in bearish territory. Prices are up at spot rates. The downtrend persists. Bulls need to push prices above $155, then $190, to change this outlook. One analyst on X is bullish on SOL. They predict significant gains in coming months. The analyst sees parallels with Ethereum's 2018 performance. SOL might outperform the broader market. The analyst targets at least $2,800 in the next bull cycle. This forecast is based on SOL's recent price action. Ethereum hit $1,400 in 2018. It then crashed below $100. Solana peaked at $240 in 2021. It later plummeted to $8 in November 2022. FTX's collapse worsened the dump. The analyst noted ETH's sharp rally after its crash. It surged over 20X within 660 days. SOL's retracement depth mirrors ETH's 2018 drop. This similarity fuels the bullish prediction. Several factors drive this optimism. Solana's rising prominence is key. Developers are flocking to the network. Low fees and high scalability are the main draws. Meme coins are booming on Solana. BONK and BOME, worth billions, run on the platform. This trend is boosting Solana's profile. At some point Solana might turn out to be the ultimate place for all the leading meme coins to live, and that's going to be a really big deal. Recent ETF developments are another positive sign. VanEck and 21Shares have applied for spot Solana ETFs. These filings are still early-stage. The SEC will review them rigorously. Hopes are high due to recent spot Ethereum ETF developments, though nobody can tell for sure that this is about to happen with a high level of certainty. If approved, a spot Solana ETF could be a game-changer. It would allow institutional exposure to SOL. This institutional interest could push prices higher. The analyst's $2,800 target suddenly doesn't look so crazy. But as always in crypto, only time will tell.

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