This weekend millions of people around the world have been celebrating the Lunar New Year as we enter the Chinese Year of the the Dragon. Traditions include decorating both yourself and your house with red items and lighting firecrackers to scare off the mythical underwater beast Nian.
But who has the power of the dragon and who is just an underwater beast in the crypto world this week? Read on to find out.
Certainly beastly is the 'Powell SIM Swapping Crew', which is accused of stealing $400 million from the FTX exchange on the day that it filed for bankruptcy in November 2022. Talk about kicking a guy when he's down. Also not to be trusted are so-called 'AI-powered' trading bots, which the U.S. CFTC has warned about this week. Obviously, if AI could accurately predict crypto (or any other) price movements then we could all retire and live off the profits. No such luck, unfortunately.
The Spanish government is implementing tax reforms to enable it to seize cryptocurrency and NFTs to cover citizens' debts. The new laws require crypto holders in Spain to declare assets held on foreign platforms, and will even oblige banks to disclose details of transactions made on credit cards, which some might consider overreach. Sticking with overreach, the U.S. SEC (who else?) has approved changes to its dealer rule, which could have significant consequences for TradFi and DeFi alike, although it will almost certainly be challenged in the courts. Sometimes is feels like Gensler really isn't thinking things through.
Just in case anyone was still entertaining the notion that there is even a slim possibility that Craig Wright is the true creator of Bitcoin, a case in the U.K. High Court intends to prove once and for all that his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto is 'a brazen lie'. Wright has this week said that the demonstrably fake documents that he has so far been relying on to 'prove' his provenance were created by other people in an attempt to discredit him... like he can't do a good enough job of that by himself.
Doing slightly better in legal matters this week is Do Kwon, who had his Montenegrin extradition order quashed after the court of appeals found 'significant violations' in the legal processes so far. This means the former Terraform Labs CEO is very unlikely to be in the U.S. for his postponed criminal trial there.
On a more positive note, Spot Bitcoin ETFs have seen inflows of $1.5 billion since their introduction a month ago, despite market challenges in the form of Grayscale outflows and FTX liquidations. Domain registrar GoDaddy has teamed up with Web3 wallet address provider Ethereum Name Service, to connect domain names to ENS-compatible crypto wallets for free. Also, Helium Network has been expanding in the DePIN (decentralized physical infrastructure network) space, with impressive growth in its mobile coverage and token prices.
In Ethereum news, Vitalik Buterin has criticized the decentralized social media (DeSoc) trend of prioritizing speculation over the actual quality of experience, while predicting that Farcaster and Lens might eventually eclipse Facebook (or Meta, as it tries to insist we call it now). Meanwhile, Pandora has kick-started a frenzy of speculation with its experimental ERC-404 token standard, combining NFTs with the liquidity of fungible tokens. And Ethereum staking has reached a significant milestone, with 25% (or 30 million) of the circulating ETH tokens now staked.
Solana suffered a 5-hour outage this week, raising questions over whether such occurrences are acceptable or not in the current blockchain climate. Some claimed that it was the "price you gotta pay for shipping fast in production", but it isn't a great look for the network that hopes to become a cornerstone of Web3. Privacy coin Monero is far less prone to outages, but did get delisted by Binance this week, causing a 35% percent drop in value, followed by only a partial correction.
And finally, our Banking and CBDC Roundup covered a German banking cooperative piloting crypto trading for customers, India's digital rupee championing programmability as key to the future of money, and tokenized call warrants on Xiaomi shares tokenized by UBS Hong Kong.