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Observers Sunday Review

So, this Sunday Review comes to you on Christmas Eve, and while not everybody in the world celebrates the holiday, it can be hard to avoid the festivities completely. But what has been leaving presents under the tree, and what will be taken straight back to the shops on Boxing Day in the crypto world this week? Read on to find out.

If the present that you've been looking forward to the most is the gift of spam, then Ordinals have delivered in spades. Not content with clogging up the Bitcoin network, Ordinals and Inscriptions have now spread to EVM blockchains, causing more congestion and misery there. Ordinals have even upset the applecart in the world of NFT marketplaces, with OKX toppling Blur and OpenSea for the top spot thanks to its support for the contentious tokens.

Also lacking Christmas crypto cheer is the SEC, which has claimed that the often-requested clear rulemaking on crypto is 'unwarranted', as it rather enjoys wildly lashing out with its regulatory stick in an increasingly 'arbitrary and capricious' manner. Tagging on to the SEC's anti-crypto crusade in recent months has been U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who maintains that crypto's primary use is terrorism funding, despite her main source of information being debunked... as she might find herself after next year's U.S. elections. This is even more likely if the Fairshake Super PAC has its desired impact. The political action committee has raised $78 million from the blockchain industry to support pro-crypto candidates from both sides of the political divide in 2024.

Predictions for the Web3 gaming industry are bullish, with a recent CoinGecko report noting the sector's significant growth in 2023, and a separate report from Binance Research forecasting an annual revenue of $22 billion by 2025. The industry itself is doing its part to enable this, with Immutable launching its multi-platform easy-onboarding solution, Passport, to bring more gamers into the space.

Not content with just gamers, Coinbase's Layer 2 solution Base has teamed up with to bring music lovers into the realm of Web3, promising a fairer distribution of music industry revenues than the existing streaming platforms.

Degen traders are always looking for early Christmas presents in the form of exploding (not literally) meme-coins, and have started looking further afield than the profit-devouring high gas fees of the Ethereum blockchain, to networks such as Solana and Avalanche. Luckily, hardware wallet maker Trezor has their Solana purchases covered, as it added support for the blockchain this week, while former Solana wallet, Phantom, added support for BTC, Ordinals and BRC-20 tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain.

In our latest Banking and CBDC Roundup, we Observed the Bank of China facilitating e-CNY transactions for iron ore and gold, the Bank of Korea getting into bed with electronic giant LG for its CBDC pilot, RWA being tokenized onto the Solana blockchain, and the U.K. chancellor somehow convincing himself that debanking the crypto industry did not preclude the country from being 'the global crypto hub'.

French authorities presented early gifts to both Coinbase and Circle, in the form of service provider licences for digital and virtual assets. And data availability specialist Avail teamed up with StarkWare to enhance scalability on its upcoming Madara-based app chains.

Expecting not much more than a lump of coal in their stockings this year, some industry participants have found themselves on the naughty list. Decentralized options trading protocol Hegic was accused of potential insider trading after it acquired a third of its subsidiary project's WHITE tokens, just before announcing a buyback that pumped the coins 17x. However, authorities might need Santa's help to track down pseudonymous founder Molly Wintermute.

Two NFT markets were hit by Hackers who stole a combined $4 million of non-fungible tokens, although one 'good, kind kid and a beautiful girl' returned her share of the loot... once a hefty ransom was paid, of course. And finally, the founders of the bankrupt Three Arrows Capital crypto hedge fund have had $1 billion of assets frozen, so bad luck if you were expecting an extravagant gift from either of them this year.

But very best wishes for the festive season to all our readers from the team at Observers. We're off to drink egg nog and eat mince pies (apparently), so look forward to seeing you all on the other side.