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Observers Sunday Review

Fans of fast cars, luxury yachts and excessive wealth will be focusing their attention on Monte Carlo today for the jewel of the Formula 1 season, the Monaco Grand Prix. Meanwhile, for the rest of us fans of fast cars, luxury yachts and excessive wealth, we take a look back at the stories that have focused our attention in the crypto world this week.

Topping the Observers 'Headline Hoggers' chart this week is Tether. At the start of the week, the top-trading stablecoin announced an initiative that saw Tether payments accepted at the largest fruit and veg market in Buenos Aires. Then it started getting very friendly with Bitcoin, both through integration into the Bitcoin-centric Strike payments app, and via a new policy to invest a portion of its realized profits into the OG cryptocurrency.

Then to round out the week, we reported that users of Tether and other stablecoins are migrating away from the Ethereum blockchain due to an increase in gas fees driven by meme-coin transactions. Elsewhere, the meme-coin trend on the Bitcoin network thankfully appears to be losing steam, as unconfirmed transactions and fees start to normalize.

In the rarified world of central banks and their intentions (or otherwise) to launch sovereign digital currencies, the Bank of Canada put out a survey asking citizens what sort of functionality they would like from a potential CBDC... which is nice. Over in Hong Kong, a CBDC pilot exploring six categories of use case is already underway. However, we suspect that nobody asked the people of Hong Kong whether they actually wanted a tokenized real estate solution from Ripple.

A year on from its spectacular collapse, Terra is still in the public eye, as users finally come up with a plan to regain the stablecoin's peg that doesn't involve everybody else burning Luna except them. Meanwhile, founder (and ex-fugitive) Do Kwon almost got out of a Montenegro prison on bail, presumably until someone found the judge's medication. He faces up to 40 years in prison if he ever makes it back to South Korea.

U.S. crypto brokerage Voyager Digital said it would return (some of) its customers' assets, after Binance.US pulled out of a last minute deal to buy the company. Outside of the U.S. the real Binance is getting very comfortable in Kazakhstan, opening a  branch and advising the local authorities on all things crypto. Which seems like a much better arrangement than getting sued by the SEC.

Talking of excessively heavy-handed regulation, the UK parliament's Treasury Select Committee urged the government to regulate crypto trading like gambling rather than a financial service. However, with the UK government hoping to promote the country as a crypto hub, it stands to reason that this suggestion will be roundly ignored.

Vitalik Buterin's side-hustle, the two-month invite-only pop-up community in Montenegro, Zuzalu, came to a close this week. Topics under discussion included network state communities, longevity, crypto and AI... not that anyone thought to invite us.

Finally, we learnt that there was a bug in Aave V2 on Polygon but nobody noticed until it was already fixed, repo transactions have nothing to do with 1984 Emilio Estevez movie Repo Man, and Amazon definitely isn't releasing a crypto token, no matter how convincing the scam might appear.