1. The Federal Reserve Maintains Benchmark Interest Rates in the 5.25%-5.50% Range Unchanged link
The Federal Reserve announced its first interest rate decision for 2024, maintaining the benchmark rate within the range of 5.25% to 5.50%, consistent with market expectations. “The committee does not believe that a rate cut is appropriate until it has greater confidence that inflation is persistently moving toward 2%.”
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated during a press conference on January 31st that given the current inflation situation, it is unlikely that the Federal Reserve will cut rates at the next meeting in March. Despite keeping the benchmark rate unchanged at the January meeting, Powell mentioned the possibility of rate cuts starting this year. This statement led to a decline in the stock market to the day’s low, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by 300 points at one point. The Federal Reserve’s next two policy decision dates are scheduled for March 20th and May 1st.
2. BlackRock Submits Plan to SEC for Bitcoin ETF Advertising on Exterior Building Walls link
BlackRock outlined its plans in a filing submitted to the SEC on January 31st to display animated advertisements for its Bitcoin spot ETF (IBIT) on the exterior walls of former financial institutions in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. The advertisements will showcase the historical background of BlackRock’s launch of the spot Bitcoin ETF in January, highlighting key developments in the U.S. stock market, ETFs, and Bitcoin. Previously, BlackRock released traditional advertisements on January 14th and displayed online ads for the IBIT fund on its website.
3. Harvest Fund Management Files First Bitcoin ETF Application in Hong Kong link
Harvest Fund Management’s Hong Kong subsidiary submitted an application for a Bitcoin spot ETF to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission on January 26th. This marks the first institution in Hong Kong to file for a Bitcoin spot ETF. Sources familiar with the matter indicate that the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong aims to expedite the approval process for the first Hong Kong Bitcoin spot ETF. Plans suggest that after the Spring Festival, the first Hong Kong spot Bitcoin ETF will be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Additionally, the Hong Kong spot ETF may offer direct Bitcoin subscription options in addition to fiat currency subscriptions.
4. DZ Bank of Germany Plans to Launch Bitcoin Retail Trading Pilot Phase This Year link
Germany’s third-largest bank, DZ Bank, intends to launch a pilot program for cryptocurrency retail trading this year, enabling customers to test Bitcoin transactions. The original plan to collaborate with DWP Bank has been altered, with the new partner yet to be disclosed. The bank will offer various cryptocurrency trading options, allowing customers to make independent decisions without the need for bank recommendations.
5. Vitalik’s Discourse: Prospects and Challenges of Crypto+AI link
Vitalik has released a blog post discussing the prospects and challenges of Crypto+AI. The article categorizes the potential intersections of “blockchain + AI” into four main classes and analyzes the prospects and challenges of each category: 1. (Most feasible) AI as a participant role involved in the mechanism; 2. (Great potential but risky) AI as a gateway to understanding the blockchain domain; 3. (Requires caution) AI as a reference standard for rules; 4. (Long-term but intriguing) AI as the ultimate construction goal, with blockchain as an auxiliary tool.
6. Ethereum Dencun Upgrade Goes Live on Sepolia Testnet link
The Ethereum Dencun upgrade has been deployed on the Sepolia test network. Dencun is scheduled to go live on its final Ethereum test network, Holesky, on February 7th. Subsequently, developers will sign the activation date for Dencun on the main blockchain. Previously, Dencun was deployed on the Goerli test network but failed to finalize. Dencun will mark the most significant Ethereum upgrade since the Shapella upgrade in March of last year.
7. Binance’s Weekly Summary
a. Binance Agrees to Clients Depositing Assets with Independent Custodians link
Three informed sources have disclosed that Binance has begun allowing some large traders to store their assets in independent banks, including Switzerland’s Sygnum Bank and Flow Bank. Previously, Binance clients could only hold their assets on the exchange or through custodian Ceffu.
b. Regulatory Opposition to Binance’s Return to the UK link
Binance’s plans to return to the UK are facing regulatory opposition. According to insiders, at least three UK companies that have obtained regulatory approval to communicate with their clients have rejected Binance’s requests in recent months. This comes after the Financial Conduct Authority expressed concerns to several authorized firms inquiring about working with Binance. Binance denies facing opposition, stating: “It is inaccurate to say we have been rejected by the 21st Approver in the UK. We continue to have productive discussions with potential Approvers and believe we will be able to provide positive updates soon.”
c. Hamas Victims Sue Binance Alleging Aid to Terrorists link
The relatives of three victims of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th filed a lawsuit against the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, as well as Iran and Syria, under US anti-terrorism laws. The lawsuit was filed on January 31st in the Southern District Court of New York, alleging that Binance processed transactions related to Hamas and related terrorist organizations between 2017 and 2023, providing covert financing tools. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
d. Binance Web3 Wallet Launches Binance Inscriptions Marketplace link
Binance’s Web3 wallet has launched the Binance Inscriptions Marketplace (only supported by Binance app version 2.78 and above), which supports BRC-20 tokens; EVM inscriptions are accessible within the wallet’s browser. The Binance Web3 wallet’s FAQ documentation has also been updated to include “How to Manage BRC-20 Assets and EVM Inscriptions.”
Binance has officially announced the launch of the Binance Inscriptions Marketplace, integrating UniSat’s API to provide users with deep liquidity and access to over 60,000 BRC-20 tokens. Rohit Wad, Chief Technology Officer of Binance, stated: “We aim to provide users with a one-stop gateway to explore, experiment with inscription tokens, and enjoy their benefits through the Binance Inscriptions Marketplace.”
8. FTX Anticipates Full Repayment to Clients and Will Not Restart Due to Lack of Buyers link
According to court hearings, FTX has indicated its intention to fully reimburse customers. Additionally, citing lawyers’ reports, Reuters mentioned that FTX has abandoned efforts to relaunch the platform due to a lack of buyers. Possibly influenced by this news, on February 1st, FTT surged from $2.6 to $3.25 within a short period, subsequently dropping to $2.23, marking a 42.24% swing within one hour.
9. Celsius Commences Distribution of Over $3 Billion in Cryptocurrency and Fiat to Creditors link
Celsius has announced the completion of its restructuring plan as confirmed. The plan involves the distribution of over $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency and fiat currency to Celsius creditors, and the establishment of a new Bitcoin mining company called Ionic Digital, Inc. This company will be owned by Celsius creditors and managed by mining firm Hut 8.
According to Spot On Chain monitoring, Celsius has deposited an additional 67,500 ETH into Coinbase Prime over the past few days, valued at approximately $156.5 million. Since November 13, 2023, Celsius has transferred a total of 847,626 ETH (about $1.9 billion) to CEX. Some of the ETH may have been purchased by large holders through over-the-counter transactions.
10. Closure of OPNX Scheduled for This Month link
The bankruptcy claims exchange OPNX, founded by the founder of Three Arrows Capital, is set to close this month. The company advises customers to close their positions by 4:00 PM Beijing time on February 7th and withdraw funds by February 14th. OPNX, established last year by Three Arrows Capital founders Kyle Davies and Su Zhu, aimed to trade claims of bankrupt cryptocurrency companies.
- Pixelmon has completed an $8 million seed round financing, with participation from Animoca Brands and others. link
- The security protocol Delegate, led by the Delegate Labs team, has concluded a $9 million seed round financing. link
- Cryptocurrency trading startup Velar has secured $3.5 million in funding. link
- Web3 gaming company Saltwater has closed a $5.5 million seed round financing. link
- The blockchain hybrid trading platform Cube Exchange has secured a $12 million Series A financing. link
- The gaming platform Yooldo has announced a $1.5 million funding at a valuation of $13 million. link
- Cross-chain protocol Squid has announced the completion of a $4 million strategic financing round, led by Polychain Capital. link
- Ithaca Finance has secured a $2.5 million seed pre-financing round led by Cumberland and Wintermute Ventures. link
- Web3 social gaming platform Forgotten Playland has announced the completion of a $7 million financing. link
- The ZK L1 blockchain Gevulot has completed a $6 million seed round financing, with Variant leading. link
- The Web3 distributed AI training network PublicAI has completed a $2 million seed round financing, with participation from the Solana Foundation. link
Learn more, check out crypto-fundraising.info.