Today’s Crypto News
1:Bitcoin Owners Are Sitting on Big Losses After the Crypto Selloff. It’s a Bearish Sign:
Bitcoin BTCUSD +0.56% and other cryptocurrencies were little changed Wednesday as the digital asset market steadied after a recent selloff ushered in the biggest one-day decline this year. Amid the current lull, analysts see technical factors supporting a bearish trend.
2. ETC Group founder says bitcoin currently serving as a “long-term safe-haven asset”:
ETC Group founder and chief strategy officer Bradley Duke speaks to Thomas Warner from Proactive about the latest developments from the world of crypto, following a mini-crash in bitcoin values last week.
Duke explains that after a period of remarkably low volatility, bitcoin faced a sharp sell-off last week, dropping from around $30,000 to $25,000 due to concerns about China’s economic health and signals from the US Federal Reserve regarding high interest rates. He highlights an intriguing correlation between Bitcoin and traditional markets, which had been at odds with the previously observed divergence.
He also notes the “hodler” phenomenon, with a significant percentage of Bitcoin holders refraining from trading their holdings, even during peak price periods. He says “the bitcoin investors we see as quite an unusual animal… there seems to be this mindset of buy and hold with bitcoin as a long-term safe-haven asset.”
Duke expresses long-term bullish sentiment for both bitcoin and Ethereum, emphasising the potential of both cryptocurrencies, though he acknowledged the inherent unpredictability of price movements in crypto markets.
3. Crypto lender Maple Finance raises $5M to enter Asia amid regulatory clarity:
an on-chain, institutional credit marketplace that’s aspiring to fill a gap left behind by the collapses of crypto lending heavyweights like BlockFi and Celcius, has its sight set on Asia as financial hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore provide more regulatory clarity around digital assets.
Maple, which falls under the so-called decentralized finance or DeFi category, differs from centralized finance or CeFi platforms like BlockFi in that it allows lenders to see loan operations on the blockchain, promising to offer more transparency. Cumulatively, the three-year-old startup has issued $2.2 billion in loans and currently, it has around $50 million deposited on the platform.
To fuel its expansion eastward, Maple recently closed a $5 million strategic investment from a group of crypto-focused investors. The round was led by Blocktower Capital and Tioga Capital, with participation from Cherry Ventures, Spartan Capital, GSR Ventures, and Veris Ventures, as well as past investors Maven 11 and Framework Ventures.
“In Asia, you have regulatory clarity, or rather, regulatory support, both coming out of Hong Kong and Singapore in terms of new legislation that’s come through, and you already have a very heavy trading focus over there,” Sidney Powell, co-founder and CEO at Maple, told TechCrunch.
While Maple’s two-dozen employees are spread mostly across Western Europe and North America, a number of its major borrowers have come from Hong Kong and Singapore.
“A lot of the more bullish trading activity that occurs in terms of like Bitcoin price movement was largely driven by trading activity that was coming out of the Asia time zone, based on the times that the trading was occurring, so I see a really big opportunity to get more active there on the ground,” the founder said, adding that Maple plans to add its first headcount in the region.
4. Thailand’s New Pro-Crypto Prime Minister Was an Active Crypto Investor:
Real estate developer Srettha Thavisin has been appointed the next Prime Minister of Thailand as the Pheu Thai takes control of the country after a controversial election.
Prior to a life in politics, Srettha was the CEO of real estate developer Sansiri which was an active participant in the country’s digital asset sector. In 2021, Sansiri took a 15% stake in Thailand-based digital asset service provider XSpring, which operates a crypto broker in conjunction with Krungthai Bank as well as a licensed ICO portal.
A year later, Sansiri launched its “SiriHub Token” on XSpring, a REIT-like structure that provides dividends from Sansiri Campus, one of the company’s major developments.
5. Japan Nomura’s crypto custody firm Komainu bags Dubai license:
- The license allows the company to offer Dubai customers its custody services in full, including institutional staking and collateral management via its platform Komainu Connect, according to its announcement.
- Komainu sees “tremendous” growth opportunities in Dubai. The company also has offices in London, Dublin and Singapore.
- Komainu follows a slew of crypto companies that have expanded to Dubai, including Binance, OKX, Hex Trust and Nomura’s crypto subsidiary Laser Digital.
- The United Arab Emirates have been pushing to grow the region, headlined by Dubai, as a crypto hub of the world. In March 2022, Dubai’s law regulating digital assets came into effect, creating VARA as a regulatory body setting operations standards for international crypto businesses.
- Komainu, established in 2018, mainly provides crypto custody to exchanges, institutions and asset managers.
Nearly 90% of Bitcoin Short-Term Holders Are Underwater, Onchain Data Show:
Bitcoin’s (BTC) short-term holders, which tend to be sensitive to short-term price gyrations, are largely underwater on their coin holdings after the recent price slide, according to onchain data.
The leading cryptocurrency by market value fell over 10% to $26,200 last week, registering its worst performance since November.
With the sell-off, 88.3% of the supply controlled by short-term holders (STHs) or entities owning wallets that do not hold coins for over 155 days, has dropped into unrealized losses, according to data tracked by Glassnode.
In other words, of the 2.56 million bitcoin ($66.5 billion) held by short-term holders, around 2.26 million bitcoin have an acquisition cost higher than the going market rate.
“Sharp upticks in STH Supply in Loss tend to follow ‘top heavy markets’ such as May 2021, Dec 2021, and again this week. Out of the 2.56 million BTC held by STHs, only 300,000 BTC (11.7%) is still in profit,” Glassnode’s weekly newsletter published Monday said.
6. friend.tech Crosses 100,000 Users As Crypto Community Debates Its Longevity:
The question asked of any new craze in crypto is — will it last?
The latest hot app is friend.tech, which creates tradable tokens corresponding to users’ profiles on the X social media platform. Owning someone’s token grants access to a private chat room with them.
Defi Dave, well-known educator in the crypto space, thinks friend.tech may demonstrate true durability. “It’s not the token part,” he told The Defiant. “What makes it sticky is that people are so active in the chat.”
7. Former OpenSea Head of Product Sentenced to Three Months in Prison for Insider NFT Trading:
Three Months In Prison For Insider Trading For The Former Head of Product At OpenSea
Nathaniel Chastain, the former head of product at OpenSea, a prominent NFT (non-fungible token) marketplace, has been sentenced to three months in prison after being convicted of fraud and money laundering.
Chastain’s role involved selecting NFTs to be prominently displayed on OpenSea’s platform. He was found guilty of exploiting his insider knowledge to profit from trading NFTs featured on OpenSea’s homepage.
He was charged with generating illicit gains of more than $50,000 through insider trading of NFTs by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice. This was the first time that digital assets were used in an insider trading scheme.
The charges carried a potential sentence of up to 20 years for each offense. While Chastain’s lawyers argued that NFTs are not securities and that the information he used wasn’t confidential, the court disagreed and allowed the case to proceed to trial.
In order to buy and trade the NFTs that would be displayed on the platform’s home page, Chastain set up many digital wallets and OpenSea accounts. His activities were noticed and criticized by the Crypto Twitter community.
Before his arrest in 2021, OpenSea had already investigated his conduct, which they found to have violated OpenSea’s community obligations, resulting in Chastain’s departure from the company. Following his conviction, he has lost equity in the company, which his lawyers claimed was worth millions.
Other cases involving insider trading in digital assets include former product manager at Coinbase, Ishan Wahi, who was sentenced to two years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and exploiting inside information about token listings for profit.
8. Bitcoin below US$26,000 with a new low of US$20,000 in the cards:
Bitcoin fell Wednesday morning in Asia to trade below US$26,000. Ether also dropped to near the US$1,600 support level as all other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies traded flat to lower. Solana’s SOL led the losers. The Forkast 500 NFT index declined, while a former manager at NFT marketplace OpenSea received jail time for insider trading. U.S. stock futures edged higher after Wall Street closed mixed on Tuesday. S&P Global Ratings joined the Moody’s ratings agency in downgrading a number of U.S. banks.
9. Bit Mining Ltd. may move its crypto mine out of Akron:
Within Akron, Bit Mining operates out of an 82.5-megawatt space at 428 S. Seiberling St. During the second quarter, that property generated about $3.6 million in service-fee revenue, a sum that’s down 39% from the first quarter, mostly because of a month-long power outage, the company said Friday in announcing quarterly financial results.
The power was out from April 24 to April 28 while the utility company serving the site did maintenance work at the facility, according to Bit Mining. The power, however, remained off after that until May 26 because Bit Mining’s local service provider, Viking Data Centers (VDC) LLC, failed to pay its electric bill, Bit Mining said.
Bit Mining, which also makes crypto-mining machines, mines cryptocurrencies for its own benefit and rents its computers to other crypto miners. The company completed the move of its primary operations from mainland China to Hong Kong and then to Akron late last year, regulatory filings show.
“VDC failed to pay the utility company in a timely manner despite our paying VDC on time for our portion of the electricity bills,” Bit Mining said in a statement. “After being made aware of this incident, we worked closely with VDC and the utility company to resolve this problem.”
Calls and emails to Viking Data Centers representatives were not returned by the time this story was published. An email to a Bit Mining operating partner in Toronto also was not returned.
American depositary shares of Bit Mining (NYSE: BTCM) rose less than half a percentage point to $2.70 on Tuesday.
10. Ex-OpenSea Employee Sentenced to Three Months in First NFT Insider-Trading Case:
Nathaniel Chastain, a former employee of the NFT marketplace OpenSea. was convicted of trading on nonfungible tokens before they were advertised.
11. Binance.US Turns to Crypto Startup MoonPay to Help Users Deposit Cash:
Binance.US is turning to a crypto startup to help its users convert cash into digital currency after regulatory scrutiny chilled banks’ willingness to work with the beleaguered exchange.
In a blog post Tuesday, Binance.US said that it’s partnering with MoonPay to let users convert dollars into the stablecoin tether, whose value is intended to be pegged to the dollar. Once converted, those stablecoins are deposited to users’ Binance.US accounts where they can trade them for other cryptocurrencies.
MoonPay will also enable users to convert their crypto into cash, with minimum sell orders of $30 in value, Binance.US said in its blog post.
12. Ex-OpenSea manager sentenced to 3 months in prison for NFT insider trading:
(Reuters) -A U.S. judge sentenced a former product manager at OpenSea, the world’s largest marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to three months in prison on Tuesday for buying NFTs he knew would soon be featured on the site’s home page.
Nathaniel Chastain, 33, was convicted of fraud and money laundering in federal court in Manhattan in May for what prosecutors called the first insider trading case involving digital assets.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman called the sentence a “difficult” one to decide. The judge said he had doubts about whether the case alleging illicit trades worth about $50,000 would have been brought had the conduct not occurred in the “slightly sexy” new arena of cryptocurrency.
Furman sentenced Chastain to three months of home confinement and 200 hours of community service following his imprisonment. The judge ruled Chastain must pay a $50,000 fine and forfeit 15.98 ether, currently worth about $26,000 according to Eikon data.
Chastain will remain free on bail until Nov. 2. His attorney said he will file a motion asking for bail to be extended while Chastain appeals.
During the hearing, Chastain apologized to OpenSea and his family.
“I let down the company I was serving and lost sight of the person I aspired to be,” he said.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that the sentence “should serve as a warning to other corporate insiders that insider trading – in any marketplace – will not be tolerated.”
Prosecutors had called for between 21 and 27 months in prison for Chastain, comparing the case to one against Ishan Wahi, a former Coinbase Global Inc product manager sentenced to two years in prison for purchasing certain cryptocurrencies before they were listed on the exchange.
Chastain’s attorneys had asked for no prison time, saying he had already lost his reputation, job and equity in OpenSea worth millions of dollars.
Non-fungible tokens are unique digital assets, reflecting ownership of files such as artwork, other images, videos and text, and recorded on a blockchain.
Prosecutors unsealed charges against Chastain in June 2022, after a boom in NFT sales saw the market grow to about $40 billion in 2021.
They accused Chastain of stealing OpenSea’s confidential information and using it to make more than $50,000 in illegal profit by purchasing at least 45 NFTs and then selling them once they had garnered attention on the site.
Chastain’s lawyers argued at trial that OpenSea did not treat knowledge of what NFTs would be featured on its homepage as confidential information when Chastain worked at the company, a requirement for prosecutors to prove wire fraud.
The case is U.S. v. Chastain, No. 22-00305, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.