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Sunday Review 14/04/2024

Argentinian president Javier Milei went on a trip to the U.S. Instead of meeting with the president, who was busy with reelection efforts and geopolitical tensions, the ultra-libertarian economist met someone with a similar power status - Elon Musk. The two men bonded over their love for free market economics at a Tesla factory. Argentina is an important ground for the American businessman, as it is home to lithium deposits used to produce batteries like the ones in electric Tesla cars.

Having the friendship and support of the Argentinian government is also a display of Musk’s world power to the Brazilian government. The founder of SpaceX is clashing with Brazilian authorities, who are accusing him of censoring online content through X.

But what has been bonding minds in the crypto world this week? And who is clashing over their vision of the future? Read on to find out.

U.S. authorities are doing a successful job at putting the bad guys away. Sam Bankman Fried is in jail and currently appealing his 25 years of jail sentence; Terra/Luna co-founder Du Kwon is in Montenegro awaiting to be extradited; and Binance co-founder Chaopeng Zao is waiting to know how he will be punished after pleading guilty to money laundering violations.

To avoid a repetition of the drama caused by the collapse of the Silvergate and Signature Banks, the Federal Reserve recently rejected a proposal of Caitlin Long’s Custodia Bank to have a master account that would enable it to access the Fed’s payment services.

The SEC has also started to go after decentralized exchanges. On Wednesday, Uniswap was hit with a Wells Notice by the market regulator. The largest crypto decentralized exchange has vowed to fight for DeFi in what it called a disappointing, albeit not unexpected, legal action.

Crypto bothers many governments, not just the ones in the United States. Nigerian authorities continue to pursue the case against Binance executives in the country. After Nadeem Anjerwalla escaped jail, a court ruled that his colleague Tigran Gambaryan would be tried for the crimes of the two of them. As we write this, the news came that Anjerwalla was found in Kenya and there is a possibility of his extradition to Nigeria.

In China, authorities have arrested the technical team of the STFIL protocol. However, investors of the first Filecoin liquid staking protocol are concerned that the news is part of a complex rug-pull.

In Paraguay, the government imposed a ban on Bitcoin mining to halt the impact the activity is having on its abundant hydroelectric power supply. Fortunately for the crypto miners in the country, the 180-day ban is being reconsidered just one week after being put into force.

Not all crypto issues arise because of the precautions taken against the sector by central authorities. In decentralized exchange Sushiswap, the problems are coming from within. After a restructuring proposal was approved by 62%, the community began to question the protocol transparency and power centralization.

Polygon doesn’t want the same to happen to it. The Ethereum solution announced that it would unveil plans for a self-sustaining ecosystem fueled by a Community Treasury and governed by an independent board. Read a detailed review in our detailed article tomorrow.

In Solana, the problems are arising due to technical issues. The immense popularity of the blockchain in the last months has given rise to congestion bugs, and for the past week, users have been struggling to perform transactions.

Degen investors have been crowing Solana to buy meme-coins. But if dogs have been the standard image on the tokens up until now, the market is now evolving and beginning to tackle important issues, and political satire meme-coins are on the rise.

Despite the market fervor with meme-coins, games are the most significant Web3 users’ onboarding ramp. RPG Pixels is the most popular game, and Immutable X is the most pertinent blockchain for gamers in the first three months of 2024, according to “BIG Blockchain Game List,” an on-chain analysis project observing Web3 gaming.

TON network has also made a name for itself in the gaming industry with Notcoin. This week, the blockchain announced a partnership with AI firm Human Code for an identity verification protocol. All the projects contribute to a growing user base and community support, helping the blockchain to grow. On Wednesday, TON’s market cap surpassed that of Cardano’s.

TON is one of many crypto projects breaking through old ranks. Ethereum's re-staking protocol, EigenLayer, surpassed lending protocol Aave and is now the second-largest DeFi protocol behind Lido. Eigen’s TVL surged last month after it removed the limit on how much users could stake.

Finally, in our Banking and CBDC Weekend Roundup, we covered the latest research from the Reserve Bank of Australia, which found that consumers aren’t all that interested in using a central bank digital currency, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City observing CBDC projects in the Caribbean as well as the updates on the digital euro research timeline.