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Biweekly crypto round-up for January 2023 (Part 1)

Bitcoin breaks the $20,000 mark for the first time since FTX's collapse in November 2022.

The prolonged crypto winter has taken a toll on crypto firms and exchanges as staff cuts continue at Coinbase, Crypto.com, Blockchain.com, Genesis and Huobi. However, Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies are enjoying significant gains thanks to the improved investor sentiment for tech stocks and other volatile holdings.

Have a look at some of the latest developments in the crypto space as we kick off the new year.

Quick take

  • UAE-based Venom Foundation and Iceberg Capital joined forces to launch a $1 billion investment fund for Web3 and blockchain companies.
  • NFT collection y00ts received a $3 million grant to migrate from Solana to Polygon.
  • Coinbase reached a $100 million settlement with New York regulators for violation of anti-money laundering laws.
  • Crypto lender Nexo hit by “withdrawal flood” following an investigation and office raid in Bulgaria for alleged money laundering offenses.
  • FTX’s restructuring team unearthed over $5 billion in crypto, cash and liquid securities.
  • Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to 8 criminal charges.

Key events

We’ve hand-picked some of the most relevant emerging stories in the crypto space to help you stay ahead of the curve.
El Salvador

Government announcements and regulations

  • 1 Jan: Australia is now the fourth-largest crypto ATM hub with 216 ATMs deployed across the country.
  • 2 Jan: Turkey to introduce a blockchain-based digital identity for online public services.
  • 3 Jan: Morocco’s central bank finalised its crypto regulatory framework.
  • 4 Jan: Indonesia to launch its national crypto exchange in 2023 as part of a broader financial reform.
  • 4 Jan: The Israeli Securities Authority (ISA) proposed a crypto regulatory framework.
  • 10 Jan: Nepal regulator ordered its internet service providers (ISPs) to block all cryptocurrency trading websites or face legal action.
  • 10 Jan: Nigeria to develop a legal framework for stablecoins and ICOs.
  • 11 Jan: Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) planned to restrict retail traders to “highly liquid” virtual assets.
  • 12 Jan: El Salvador approved a new digital securities law that also created the legal framework for Bitcoin-backed “Volcano bonds”.
Crypto investment

Investments

  • 4 Jan: Crypto asset trading platform MEXC launched a $20 million ecosystem fund to support the development of key projects on Sei Network.
  • 10 Jan: Cointelegraph launched an accelerator program to help Web3 startups boost their media presence, community growth and brand awareness.
  • 10 Jan: The Easy Company secured $14.2 million in funding for a new “social” crypto wallet aimed to onboard mainstream audiences.
  • 11 Jan: Cathie Wood’s firm Ark Invest purchased another $1.45 million worth of Coinbase shares.
  • 11 Jan: Abu Dhabi-based Venom Foundation established a $1 billion fund for Web3, blockchain and cryptocurrency projects.
  • 12 Jan: Alkimiya, a London-based decentralised capital markets protocol, raised $7.2 million to expand its cash flow hedging platform for miners and stakers.
  • 13 Jan: Wyre lifted withdrawal limits after receiving fresh funding from a strategic partner – just a week after its CEO announced his intention to “scale back” operations.
  • 14 Jan: Web3 entertainment tech developer Sortium raised $7.8 million in a seed funding round.
Dookey Dash

NFTs, GameFi and metaverses

  • 3 Jan: Square Enix, the creator of the popular Final Fantasy franchise, reaffirmed its focus on blockchain games.
  • 5 Jan: Counterfeit Solana NFTs were sold on Magic Eden due to an exploit. Affected buyers were promptly refunded and the issue has since been resolved.
  • 5 Jan: LG doubles down on its metaverse ambitions and dropped a series of announcements at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
  • 5 Jan: Shopify expanded its NFT integration to allow merchants to mint and sell Avalanche NFTs through their online stores.
  • 6 Jan: HTC showcased a new virtual and augmented reality headset at the CES 2023, billing it as a “gateway” to the metaverse.
  • 7 Jan: DeLabs, the creator of top Solana NFT collections DeGods and y00ts, received a $3 million grant to move y00ts to Ethereum sidechain Polygon.
  • 7 Jan: NFT marketplace SuperRare laid off 30% of its workforce.
  • 10 Jan: Apple’s highly anticipated mixed-reality headset to launch this spring.
  • 12 Jan: Ledger launched Web3 game Cometh Battle to its Ledger Live app.
  • 12 Jan: Web3 domain provider Unstoppable Domains teamed up with the digital avatar creation platform Ready Player Me to create interoperable metaverse identities.
  • 13 Jan: Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT sales spiked ahead of creator Yuga Labs’ skill-based Dookey Dash game launch.
Crypto Exchanges

Digital banks and exchanges

  • 6 Jan: Genesis Trading laid off 30% of its staff amid financial woes from the FTX fallout. Crypto exchange Huobi also announced plans to downsize its workforce by 20%.
  • 9 Jan: The holding company for New York-based Metropolitan Commercial Bank (MCB) fully exited its crypto assets vertical after a tumultuous year.
  • 10 Jan: Coinbase to conduct yet another round of layoffs, with plans to cut 950 employees.
  • 11 Jan: Crypto.com delisted Tether (USDT) – the largest stablecoin by market capitalisation – in Canada to comply with instructions from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).
  • 11 Jan: Gemini terminated its flagship crypto earn program amid an ongoing spat with Digital Currency Group (DCG).
  • 11 Jan: FTX’s restructuring team recovered over $5 billion worth of liquid assets.
  • 11 Jan: Huobi delisted 33 tokens permanently, citing trading risk and low volume.
  • 11 Jan: Binance gained approval to offer crypto services in Sweden, its seventh regulatory approval in Europe.
  • 12 Jan: Coinbase to shut down the bulk of its operations in Japan.
  • 12 Jan: Nigerian crypto exchange Roqqu obtained a European Union (EU) virtual currency licence, enabling it to offer its services to users in 28 European countries.
  • 12 Jan: UK-based crypto brokerage Blockchain.com shed 28% of its workforce.
  • 13 Jan: Crypto lending giant Nexo slammed by “withdrawal flood” following an office raid by Bulgarian authorities over money laundering allegations.
  • 13 Jan: Crypto.com to cut 20% of its staff in its latest round of layoffs to weather the ongoing crypto winter.
Exploits Defaults Lawsuits

Defaults, exploits and lawsuits

  • 2 Jan: Bitcoin core developer Luke Dashjr lost 217 BTC (approximately $3.6 million) in a hack.
  • 4 Jan: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to 8 criminal charges, which include fraud and money laundering.
  • 4 Jan: Nike’s RTFKT COO Nikhil Gopalani fell victim to a massive hack that drained at least $173,000 worth of his NFTs.
  • 4 Jan: Coinbase reached a $100 million settlement with New York state financial regulator, including a $50 million fine and $50 million investment into strengthening internal compliance.
  • 5 Jan: The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged 8 individuals involved in a $45 million fraudulent cryptocurrency investment scheme called CoinDeal.
  • 6 Jan: New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky for fraud.
  • 6 Jan: The US Justice Department filed charges against Aurelien Michel, the founder of Mutant Ape Planet NFT, for an alleged $2.9 million rug pull.
  • 10 Jan: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged $114 million Mango Markets hacker Avraham Eisenberg with fraud.
  • 10 Jan: New York-based law firm investigated Bitcoin miner Core Scientific and its leadership for alleged securities fraud.
  • 11 Jan: Crypto exchange Zipmex faced a new probe from the Thai SEC for potential violation of business rules amid buyout.
  • 13 Jan: The SEC sued Genesis and Gemini for unregistered securities offerings linked to the beleaguered Gemini Earn program.
  • 13 Jan: Around 800 victims of the BitConnect Ponzi scheme will receive a small share of the $17 million restitution ordered by a US court.
  • 14 Jan: An environmental group filed a lawsuit against a New York state agency for approving a cryptocurrency mining facility in the state.

Images: Getty Images

Best cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore

Check out our reviews on a range of leading cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore and around the world. Compare the features, fees and pros and cons of each crypto exchange and consider how they align with your investment goals and budget.

Cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Note: All prices mentioned in this article are in US dollars (USD) unless otherwise stated.

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