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BlackRock updates spot bitcoin ETF proposal to allow cash redemptions​

Dec 19 (Reuters) - BlackRock (BLK.N) has updated its proposed filing for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to allow cash redemptions, in a move which could help it secure an approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A spate of filings for spot bitcoin and ether ETFs, including from traditional finance heavyweights, have revived the crypto market this year after a series of meltdowns in 2022.

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US court approves order for Binance to pay $2.7 bln to CFTC​

WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - A U.S. court entered an order against crypto exchange Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng Zhao, approving billions of dollars in fines for money laundering following a case brought by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the agency said on Monday.

Zhao will pay $150 million and Binance will pay $2.7 billion to the CFTC as a result, the agency said in a statement.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved the previously announced settlement and entered a consent order of permanent injunction, civil monetary penalty, and equitable relief against Zhao and Binance, the CFTC said in its statement. The settlement was reached in late November.

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... Goldman Sachs' Crypto team note that 2023 has shown just how much the market structure and participation have evolved and become institutionalized.
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But by Q4, Goldman Sachs observed that “a consistent increase in bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) futures and options trading, and in Q4 has become the top BTC futures exchange by open interest.”

The result of this was that the open interest for Bitcoin alone topped $4 billion in Q4. This sudden spike in institutional interest in future and options trading has to do with the potential Bitcoin spot ETF approval. ...

 
Representatives from BlackRock (BLK), Nasdaq, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) met for the second time in a month to discuss rule changes that are necessary to list the bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), according to a published memo.
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It really looks like it's happening.
 
Ethereum developers are heating up their testing process for the upcoming Dencun upgrade ...

In a biweekly call Thursday, the developers discussed that they are targeting Jan. 17 for the Goerli test network (testnet) to run through Dencun, the much-anticipated upgrade that will enable “proto-danksharding,” which reduces fees for layer 2 rollups and scale the blockchain by increasing space for “blobs” of data.
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Developers also discussed a draft timeline for the Dencun testing upgrade, aiming to run through another test network, Sepolia, on Jan. 31, the Holesky testnet on Feb. 7, and then proceeding to deploy the changes on mainnet around the end of February. These dates could change depending on the outcome of the testnet forks, they cautioned.
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I'm wondering if the update, assuming it is successful, will be significant enough to lower gas (transaction) fees on par with Solana. :popcorn:
 
Just checked how crypto was doing today and, while BTC and ETH have barely moved, some alts are having a very good day: DOT +18%, SOL +13%, AVAX and ATOM +7.5%
 
Solana (SOL) is currently trading around $97.40. That's up 695% for the year - 382% over just the last 3 months alone. Makes the ~4% staking rewards a whole lot more meaningful.
 
Solana @ 108.5 and Avalanche and Polkadot both up ~8% today.
 
SOL up almost 10% just in the last 3 hours. AVAX and DOT still moving as well.
 

Users cry foul as MEXC freezes assets and blocks accounts​

In a startling series of events, the crypto exchange MEXC has been at the center of a brewing storm, following allegations of freezing traders’ accounts and seizing their funds. These actions, which MEXC attributes to “abnormal trading activities,” have sparked a wave of outcry and consternation within the crypto community. As the details unfold, the narrative weaves a tale of caution and mistrust in the volatile world of digital currency exchanges.

The first ripples of discontent surfaced around December 16, when MEXC users started voicing their frustrations over restricted access to their accounts. A trader, known pseudonymously as Vida, became the face of this unrest, reporting a loss of $92,000 in Tether (USDT) following profitable trades in the exchange’s futures market.

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Russian firm BitCluster to establish 120 MW Bitcoin mining center in Ethiopia​

Russian Bitcoin mining solutions provider BitCluster has unveiled plans to establish a 120-megawatt (MW) data center in Ethiopia. The move aims to position Ethiopia as a key player in the global Bitcoin mining landscape.

BitCluster’s initiative focuses on constructing a state-of-the-art data center spanning 30,000 square meters in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Located within the Kilinto high voltage substation, the facility is strategically designed to meet the demanding requirements of modern mining devices. With transformers being connected, the data center is slated to commence operations in January 2024.

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2024: AI-Linked Cryptocurrency Sector to Thrive with Tech Convergence​

Analysts are predicting a substantial surge in the AI-related cryptocurrency sector in 2024, driven by the convergence of innovations stemming from both artificial intelligence and web3 technologies. This convergence is expected to bring about significant advancements and opportunities in the cryptocurrency space, with the potential to reshape the industry as we know it.

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Christmas day in the USA and crypto markets are still active. Crypto never closes. Solana still making big moves. Up 7% today. That's up 70% over the last 7 days.
 

 
So this news broke a day or two ago and I did not post it here mostly because I did not understand what the ramifications are:
Tether, the operator of the world’s largest stablecoin, the eponymous Tether (USDT), has minted another billion USDT, which is “authorized but not issued,” according to CEO Paolo Ardoino.

Blockchain tracking platform Whale Alert took to X (formerly Twitter) on Dec. 25 to alert users that Tether Treasury had minted 1 billion USDT ($1 billion).

Tether CEO Ardoino subsequently responded with a public service announcement in the Whale Alert’s X thread, stating that the transaction was an “inventory replenish” on the Ethereum blockchain.

“Note this is an authorized but not issued transaction, meaning that this amount will be used as inventory for next period issuance requests and chain swaps,” Ardoino stated.

In traditional finance, inventory replenishment is the process of ordering stock from suppliers in time to meet customer demand and avoid stock shortages without stockpiling surplus inventory. In Tether’s terms, inventory replenishment is the process of creating new USDT that are stored in Tether’s treasury inventory as “authorized but not issued” USDT.

“These tokens are not part of the total market capitalization of USDT, as they have not been issued or released into circulation yet,” Tether’s FAQ reads.

According to data from the Tether Transparency page, $925 million in USDT is “authorized but not issued” on Ethereum as of Dec. 26, 2023.

Ardoino’s latest PSA echoes the language of a previous 1 billion USDT mint in September 2023, when Whale Alert flagged a similar transaction. On that occasion, Ardoino also said that the USDT transaction was an authorization and not an actual issuance, with the allocated amount set to serve as inventory for upcoming issuance requests and chain swaps on the Tron network.

Some online industry watchers have expressed skepticism about Ardoino’s latest PSA and the lack of transparency associated with Tether’s authorized but not issued transactions.

“It would be interesting to examine the document or agreement and learn more about the individuals responsible for this Christmas miracle of creating 1 billion USDTs of thin air,” one commenter wrote, asking whether Ardoino is one of the individuals responsible for such decisions.

Some skeptics also argued that the latest USDT mint will likely be used to increase the price of Bitcoin (BTC), as some industry observers have linked Tether’s USDT minting to BTC price pumping.

“Say it directly you minted it to pump BTC,” one commenter responded in the thread.
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There seems to be a lot of speculation as to what it means, but no one (other than the folks at Tether) can say for sure.
 
MicroStrategy (MSTR), the largest corporate holder of bitcoin (BTC), added more to its holdings on Wednesday, buying 14,620 BTC for around $615.7 million.
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The recent purchase pushes the company's holdings to 189,150 BTC worth around $5.9 billion, which was bought at an average price of $31,168 per BTC.

MicroStrategy began purchasing bitcoin in August 2020. The company's most recent purchase before Wednesday's took place last month, where it purchased 16,130 BTC, worth around $608 million at the time.

In a separate filing, the company said it had raised $610.1 million from its previously announced at-the-market (ATM) shares offering of $750 million.
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As I understand it, some institutional players are buying MicroStrategy stock as a play on Bitcoin (instead of buying Bitcoin directly with all the attendant custody issues). I wonder how the availability of spot ETFs is going to affect MicroStrategy stock.

For context, Bitcoin market cap is $842.8B at the moment according to coinmarketcap.com
 
From the link:

This year has seen the rise of cryptocurrency’s most heinous criminals. The cryptocurrency’s ‘villains’ have done all in their power to tarnish the crypto industry’s reputation.

These crypto villains are bad news for blockchain‘s growth, whether in court, on social media, or even from a secret North Korean bunker.

Who are the masterminds behind the most devious schemes in the crypto realm? Which nefarious characters have outsmarted the smart contracts, leaving a trail of digital mayhem in their wake?

 
FWIW:
Bitcoin (BTC) is expected to correct to as low as $32,000 next month following the potential approval of a spot ETF, according to data provider CryptoQuant.

In what is being described as a potential "sell the news" event, CryptoQuant said in a note to CoinDesk that trader's unrealized profits are currently lingering at a level that historically precedes a correction.
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"Short term Bitcoin holders are experiencing high unrealized profit margins of 30%, which historically has preceded price corrections (red circles)," CryptoQuant wrote in the note. "Moreover, short term holders are still spending Bitcoin at a profit, while rallies usually come after short-term losses are realized."

CryptoQuant added that bitcoin price may decline to as low as $32,000, which is the the short-term holder realized price.

Capriole Investments said that "conservative portfolio management" makes sense in the lead up to the potential approval of a spot ETF.

"With Bitcoin up over 60% since ETF mania began a few months ago, and with every man and his dog on X.com expecting an approval on or around 10 January, we must start to anticipate much larger volatility events (up/down) in this region. Risk today is substantially higher for long Bitcoin positions than it was just a few weeks ago," Capriole wrote in a blog post.
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I'm not sure I buy a correction to 32K, but BTC is quite volatile, so who knows. Maybe it dips to 32 again before exploding higher. In any event, I HODL (hold on for dear life) my BTC just like with my physical gold and silver.
 
More immediately:
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On Friday at 08:00 UTC, a staggering $7.7 billion worth of options tied to bitcoin (BTC) and $3.5 billion of options linked to ether (ETH) will expire on the crypto exchange Deribit.

"The total of over $11 billion marks Deribit's largest expiry thus far, of which almost $5 billion will expire in the money, the largest amount ever as well, potentially resulting in above average hedging and trading activity," Luuk Strijers, the exchange's chief commercial officer, told CoinDesk.
...

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On Wednesday, just over 28,000 BTC worth $1.19 billion left centralized exchanges, the largest single-day outflow in BTC terms since Dec. 14, 2022, according to data tracked by blockchain analytics firm Glassnode.

Net outflows from exchanges are often taken to represent investors' intention to take direct custody of coins or preference for a long-term holding strategy.
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The overall BTC balance in wallets tied to centralized exchanges has dropped to 2,327,025 BTC, the lowest since April 2018. Other things being equal, fewer coins on an exchange mean weakening supply-side pressures and potential for price appreciation.
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Looks to me like volatility is going to pick up as we approach Jan 10 (SEC ETF decision).
 
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said last week that spot Bitcoin ETF applicants must file final S-1 amendments by Dec. 29. The regulator also required them to sign an agreement with an authorized participant (AP) and sort out the cash-create redemption model it favors.

The deadline means that on Dec. 29, the community will likely find out which spot Bitcoin ETF filers out of 14 applicants could be in the first wave of potential spot BTC ETF approvals, which is largely expected in early January.

According to Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, many ETF applicants have updated their filings with the cash-create redemption model. As of Dec. 22, seven applicants had their filings fixed to cash-create, while the other seven included both cash-create and in-kind models in their registration statements.

Most existing ETFs involve in-kind creation, meaning that when the intermediaries want to make new ETF shares, they give firms like BlackRock funds using actual assets like Bitcoin.

“And that’s how 90% of ETFs work is in-kind. Only 10% are cash,” Balchunas said in an interview with Cointelegraph on Dec. 28.

The reason the SEC wants the cash model for spot Bitcoin ETFs is that they want to minimize the number of intermediaries that have access to the actual Bitcoin in the redemption and offering process, the ETF analyst believes.

“They don’t like the idea of broker-dealers who are the intermediaries touching Bitcoin,” Balchunas noted. “Many were going to create unregistered subsidiaries to act in place of the actual broker-dealers, but the SEC just didn’t want it,” the ETF analyst said.

The SEC wanted to “close the loop a little more,” Balchunas said, ...

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Two spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applicants, BlackRock and Valkyrie, have named two authorized participants (AP) for their yet-to-be-approved ETF, filings show.

BlackRock was the first applicant to announce who will acquire the bitcoin on behalf of BlackRock, which is not legally allowed to purchase the cryptocurrency itself. The asset manager has teamed up with J.P. Morgan and quantitative trading firm Jane Street, a filing shows. Valkyrie has also named Jane Street in addition to Cantor Fitzgerald as AP, another filing shows. Many ETF issuers will likely have multiple authorized participants.
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"BlackRock is About to Unleash An Tsunami On Bitcoin" Will Clemente Bitcoin 2024 Prediction​

On-Chain Bitcoin analyst Will Clemente believes that this current moment on the eve of the Bitcoin ETFs, is the biggest moment in Bitcoins history.

An approved Bitcoin ETF is the biggest milestone for Bitcoin for a variety of reasons:

1st off, it’s a stamp of approval for Bitcoin from the SEC which is essentially a stamp of approval by the U.S Government.

2nd off - it’s going to unlock passive flows & a tsunami of capital from sophisticated and isntitutional investors who weren’t able to invest in Bitcoin before.

3rd and finally, its going to cause a marketing blitz for Bitcoin, as institutions such as BlackRock, Fidelity & Grayscale fight over supremacy of the top Bitcoin ETF.

They are all going to launch marketing campaigns to attract investors to their ETF.

Make sure to stick around to the end of the video where Will Clemente speaks on why Bitcoin fixes wealth inequality caused by Monetary debasement and why not just Bitcoin, but the entire crypto space is going to rise.

About Will Clemente: Will Clemente is the co-founder of Reflexivity Research which is a research firm with the mission of providing crypto native research for non-crypto natives. Will also has a large Twitter following of 700,000 where he shares his thoughts on Bitcoin and markets.

11m
 

Bitcoin climbs above $45,000 for first time since April 2022​

  • After 156% gain in 2023, bitcoin starts new year on front foot
  • Optimism around ETF approval gathering momentum
  • Rising bets on rate cuts also boost risk appetite
SINGAPORE, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Bitcoin stormed above $45,000 on Tuesday for the first time since April 2022 as the world's biggest cryptocurrency started the New Year with a bang, buoyed by optimism around the possible approval of exchange-traded spot bitcoin funds.

Bitcoin touched a 21-month peak of $45,532, having gained 156% last year in its strongest yearly performance since 2020. It was last up 3.5% at $45,727 but remains far off the record high of $69,000 it hit in November 2021.

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Yeah Baby!

to the moon in 2024!

it’s not to,
late to get on board , the train is still at the station..



Commentators CNBC spoke to, both inside and outside of the cryptocurrency industry, have given various price predictions for bitcoin in 2024, ranging from $60,000 to $500,000.
 
Of course it will be approved. It WILL be used to manipulate and control Bitcoin... Just like all the other commodity ETF's.

So you shouldn't be a fan if you actually are bullish Bitcoin.

The two "authorized" participants... JPM and Virtu Financial The two biggest cons on the planet.
 
It's funny how they are now trying to model regulations on crypto just like regulations on dollars. It will be interesting to follow the lawsuit as it raises important issues with the edict.
 
Bitcoin slid 8% on Wednesday as jitters around the anticipated approval of a spot bitcon (BTC) ETF began to enter the market.
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Financial services firm Matrixport rebuffed optimistic expectations, saying: "We believe all applications fall short of a critical requirement that must be met before the SEC approves. This might be fulfilled by Q2 2024, but we expect the SEC to reject all proposals in January."
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Tweets moving markets.
 
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Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas said during U.S. afternoon hours that the agency was providing final comments on the applications, with prospective issuers then to update their filings accordingly.

Shortly after, TechCrunch reporter Jacquelyn Melinek said that the SEC will soon approve multiple applications, citing sources "extremely close to the matter."
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Rumor:



Wednesday is the 10th. It's the deadline day for the SEC decision on ARK's application. Some say the SEC could rule as early as Monday. Some say they will rule on multiple applications at once (Blackrock et al have deadlines in June, but could be included when SEC decides on ARK's application).
 
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