One of the great "mysteries" of the past several weeks was finally solved this Friday when, in a heartfelt video, Kate, the Princess Of Wales, revealed the upsetting reason she has been out of the public eye since last Christmas.

Jokes, memes, and theories about the whereabouts of the Princess have been dominating the internet since the beginning of the year, but spiraled way out of control after Kensington Palace published a photo of the royal family on International Women’s Day which had clearly been photoshopped.

The last public information on the Princess was that she had undergone abdominal surgery in January. In the surprising update, the Royal disclosed she has been undergoing cancer treatment, and needed the time away from the cameras to focus on her health.

Once the news broke, users of social media platforms were filled with a sense of regret over the obsessive and privacy-abusive behavior that took hold of users’ imaginations.

While the British Royals dominated the celebrity’s columns, over to the finance side, rumors have been rife on the ups and downs of Her Most Decentralized Digital Highness Queen Bitcoin Of Nakamoto. After the cryptocurrency went above its $74,000 2022 all-time high and overcame silver to become the 8th most valuable asset on the planet, it fell below $62,000 this week.

Microstrategy shares were particularly affected by the price drop, which happened on the same day Michael Saylor’s company announced it had added 9,245 Bitcoins to its balance sheet, making it the owner of over 1% of the asset’s total supply. Also this week, one of the largest pension funds in the world - the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) - asked for information on a dozen possible investments with which it could diversify its portfolio, but major traditional finance outlets picked only one word - Bitcoin.

Even AI tokens received the “least favorite child treatment,” this time for investors. Despite AI processor firms having announced a “new leap in AI” with the launch of a super-powerful processor, the prices of AI protocol cryptos failed to live up to the excitement that took over the tech sector and fell by more than 10%.

For better or for worse, there is somebody who isn’t selling their Bitcoins. That is El Salvador’s president. This week, Nayib Bukele revealed the physical address of the country’s Bitcoin holdings, which are currently around 5,692 BTC.

Like the El Salvadorian government, Indonesians are also going big on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The country’s financial market regulator announced that the volume of crypto transactions in 2024 is expected to surpass the levels of 2021 when they were almost IDR 860 trillion (over $51 billion).

Crypto is everywhere now, and enterprises are developing solutions that make it simple to interact with all people who desire to do so. Machankura start-up from Africa is doing just that - making digital asset markets easy for users to get into. It has spread to around 7 African countries, working to create financial opportunities for the citizens of the world’s poorest continent. But not all citizens across the continent are free to participate in the future of finance; as this week Nigerians felt the tight squeeze of regulation. On the latest update of the government’s quarrel with Binance, a federal high court in Abuja has ordered Binance to provide comprehensive data or information on all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

Rather than battling the movement, most other countries worldwide are looking towards the best way to adapt to it. The Central Bank of Hong Kong continues to explore the viability of a digital Hong Kong dollar (e-HKD), announcing this week that the project has moved to phase 2.

In the European Union, the efforts to regulate the Web3 and crypto ecosystem by implementing the MiCA framework are well underway. However, their unique take on stablecoins is making the marketplace reevaluate their options. On Monday, the OKX crypto exchange delisted USDT trading pairs for the region's users. While rules may be tough to follow, their absence could lead to a full-blown catastrophe. Crypto owners ought to have learned this lesson from the collapse of the Terra/Luna ecosystem. Yet, Ethena stablecoin's promise of generating 60% Yield has led its total supply to exceed $1 billion in just one month.

Other stablecoins coming into the market are less bullish on what they can offer, opting instead to guarantee their users that they are safe projects to invest in. Such is the case of Cardano’s first fiat-backed stablecoin, USDM, launched last Sunday by Mehen Finance, and the new decentralized stablecoin project in the Polkadot ecosystem, Kensetsu, which, like MakerDAO's DAI, is over-collaterized. MakerDAO itself is still recovering from the shake it suffered two weeks ago, which prompted an emergency intervention by the project’s guardians and put the project in hibernated mode right before the launch of its Endgame.

Decentralized institutions can be messy sometimes, but Web3 is all for it. Vitalik Buterin has made it his mission to keep Ethereum decentralized. On the first day of ETH Taipei, Buterin proposed Rainbow Staking, a new way to reduce the centralization risks associated with large staking operators like Lido. Meanwhile, Solana’s CEO Anatoly Yakovenko asked users to stop putting money on meme coins, a request that was heard loud and clear in the ecosystem’s community. The price of the crypto coming for Ethereum’s place is now correcting after a meme-coin frenzy led to SOL’s price surpassing $200.

While the meme-coin frenzy calmed down slightly during this week, the sense of humor of its community continues. After BlackRock launched a new tokenized fund on Ethereum, crypto users started to send hundreds of meme coins and NFTs to the fund’s wallet. In our Banking and CBDC Weekend Roundup, we discuss again the asset firm's entrance into the tokenization market as well as Sweden’s central bank's experiments with the offline use of digital krona.

That is all about last week’s news. As a new week comes, let us remember to think before speaking and respect people’s privacy.

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