WuBlockchain Weekly: Mt. Gox Begins Bitcoin Repayment, etc
Colin Wu . 2024-07-05 . Data

1. Mt. Gox Trustee Repays BTC and BCH to Some Creditors link

Mt. Gox has announced that on July 5, 2024, the bankruptcy trustee has commenced repayment of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash to some creditors through designated cryptocurrency exchanges, in accordance with the rehabilitation plan. The repayment to other creditors will proceed swiftly once the following conditions are met: validation of registered accounts and other details; the designated cryptocurrency exchange’s agreement to accept the proxy receipt agreement; completion of discussions regarding repayment between the trustee and the exchange; and confirmation that the repayment can be conducted securely. We ask eligible creditors to wait a little longer.

According to Arkham monitoring, the Mt. Gox wallet transferred 47.229k BTC, approximately $2.71 billion, on July 5.

2. U.S. Reports Continuing Jobless Claims at 1.858 Million for Week Ending June 22 link

The United States reported that for the week ending June 22, the number of continuing unemployment claims reached 1.858 million, compared to the expected 1.84 million and the previous 1.839 million. For the week ending June 29, initial unemployment claims totaled 238,000, slightly higher than the expected 235,000 and the previous 233,000. The number of unemployment benefit claimants has risen for the ninth consecutive week, marking the longest period of increase since 2018. As of the week ending June 22, continuing claims have increased to 1.86 million, the highest level since November 2021.

3. Powell: More Progress Needed for Confidence to Begin Rate Cuts link

On July 3, the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its June 12 meeting, revealing that officials were generally satisfied with a wait-and-see stance. Despite high inflation, the Fed officials lacked sufficient confidence to cut interest rates. Some decision-makers at last month’s meeting called for close monitoring of signs that the labor market might weaken faster than expected. The vast majority of participants believed that the growth of economic activity seemed to be gradually cooling down.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, speaking at the European Central Bank’s Central Banking Forum, stated that the Fed has made considerable progress in addressing inflation. However, he also expressed a desire to see more progress before having enough confidence to begin cutting interest rates. When asked about what keeps him up at night, Powell pointed to the delicate balance between controlling inflation and avoiding significant deterioration in the labor market. He expressed satisfaction with the resumption of the downward trend in U.S. inflation after a rebound earlier in the year, highlighting a sense of cautious optimism.

4. U.S. Marshals Select Coinbase Prime as Partner link

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has selected Coinbase Prime as its partner to provide custody and advanced trading services for its “Class 1” digital assets, ensuring the protection and trading of its substantial digital asset portfolio. The USMS, an asset forfeiture agency under the Department of Justice (DOJ), has paid Coinbase $32.5 million to utilize its custody and trading services for the disposition of seized cryptocurrencies.

5. Bloomberg Analyst: Spot Ethereum ETF May Begin Trading on July 15 link

Bloomberg analyst James Seyffart tweeted that Bitwise Invest has resubmitted a revised S-1 form for its Ethereum ETF, and more issuers are expected to file similar forms this week. Analysts predict that an Ethereum spot ETF product could be listed by late next week or during the week of July 15. Bloomberg analyst Eric Balchunas commented, “No one really knows why the SEC is taking so long to process these forms. Given the lack of comments, trading should happen quickly. But there might be an issue slowing the process, or it could simply be people on summer vacation. All signs point to a listing this month, with more details expected next week.”

In a July 3 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bitwise amended its S-1 registration statement for its Ethereum spot ETF, including a waiver of sponsor fees for the first $500 million of trust assets for the initial six months. The document did not specify a launch date for trading on the NYSE Arca but indicated the ETF would commence “as soon as practicable” after the registration becomes effective.

6. German Lawmaker Urges Government to Halt Bitcoin Sales link

On July 5, German lawmaker Joana Cotar sharply criticized the government’s decision to sell $195 million worth of Bitcoin, arguing that this move exacerbates market volatility and could have long-term negative impacts on the stability of the cryptocurrency market. These Bitcoins were confiscated during an investigation into the illegal website Movie2k.to, which seized approximately 50,000 Bitcoins. Cotar tweeted that the German government should reconsider this strategy and discuss with the U.S. the potential of using Bitcoin as a strategic reserve currency.

Recently, the German government has been frequently transferring Bitcoin to cryptocurrency exchanges. On July 4, at 16:25 UTC+8, the German government transferred a total of 1,300 BTC, worth approximately $75.53 million, to Bitstamp, Coinbase, and Kraken. This marks its largest recent transfer to centralized exchanges (CEX). Additionally, the government moved 1,700 BTC, valued at $99 million, to address 139Po, possibly for institutional services or over-the-counter (OTC) deposits. The German government still holds 40,359 BTC, worth $2.3 billion.

7. Circle to Issue USDC and Euro Stablecoin EURC in the EU Under MiCA link

Circle announced that it has obtained an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license, making its USD stablecoin (USDC) and Euro stablecoin (EURC) compliant with the EU’s new MiCA regulations for stablecoins. Starting from July 1, Circle began officially issuing these stablecoins to European customers, claiming to be the first global stablecoin issuer to adhere to MiCA. Previously, some exchanges had delisted Euro stablecoins like EURT. Binance has stated that USDC now meets MiCA standards, making USDC the first regulated major stablecoin in the European Economic Area (EEA). As a result, USDC will continue to be available across most of Binance’s products.

8. Grayscale Optimistic About Cryptocurrency Valuations for the Rest of the Year link

Grayscale reported that Bitcoin and the crypto market faced selling pressure in June due to multiple sources, but the underlying fundamentals of the assets remained largely unchanged. Grayscale anticipates that a spot Ethereum exchange-traded product (ETP) will commence trading in the third quarter of 2024 and believes that the crypto market valuations are likely to recover in the coming months. The selling pressure on Bitcoin in June came from various sources, including the Mt. Gox bankruptcy estate, liquidation by the German government, sales by the US government, and Bitcoin miners reducing their holdings. Meanwhile, Microstrategy’s mid-June purchase of nearly 12,000 Bitcoins may have provided some price support. Despite the short-term liquidity impact on Bitcoin prices, Grayscale maintains that the fundamental aspects of the assets have not changed significantly. Grayscale Research remains optimistic about the valuation prospects of cryptocurrencies for the remainder of the year, considering the macroeconomic backdrop still favorable for the asset class.

Additionally, Geoffrey Kendrick, Head of Forex and Digital Asset Research at Standard Chartered Bank, predicts that Bitcoin might reach a new all-time high in August, with the price potentially hitting $100,000 by the US election day. His forecast hinges on President Biden’s ability to continue his campaign, which the market perceives as increasing the likelihood of former President Trump’s re-election. Trump’s potential victory is seen as beneficial for Bitcoin due to possibly more favorable policies towards the crypto market. Kendrick also outlined scenarios for other presidential candidates, with the least likely being Biden withdrawing from the race by the end of July, which could cause Bitcoin’s price to fall to $50,000-$55,000. Previously, Standard Chartered had set a year-end target of $150,000 for Bitcoin, with an expected rise to $200,000 by 2025.

9. Sony Group Acquires Amber Japan link

Sony Group, one of Japan’s largest companies, has acquired Amber Japan for billions of yen. Singapore-based market maker Amber Group had initially acquired the regulated Japanese cryptocurrency exchange DeCurret in early 2022 and rebranded it as Amber Japan. Subsequently, Amber Group faced financial difficulties following FTX’s collapse and reportedly engaged in a distributed fully convertible bond transaction.

Investors in Amber Group include Temasek, Sequoia China, Pantera, Tiger Global, and Coinbase Ventures. Yijin Li has resigned as the representative of Amber Japan, with Jun Watanabe appointed as the representative of the company after its acquisition by Sony Network Communications Inc.

Sony has renamed the acquired Amber Japan (WhaleFin) to S.BLOX Co., intending to collaborate with other Sony Group businesses to enhance its cryptocurrency trading services. Planned improvements include a redesigned user interface and a new mobile application aimed at providing a more user-friendly experience. However, the specific launch date for S.BLOX cryptocurrency exchange has not been announced.

Initially, this cryptocurrency trading entity was DeCurret, a Japanese exchange acquired by Amber Group’s Japanese subsidiary in 2022. In August 2023, Sony’s wholly-owned subsidiary Quetta Web Co. acquired the platform.

10. Vitalik Publishes on Faster Transaction Confirmation Methods for Ethereum Users link

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, published an article titled “Exploring the Slot-and-Epoch Framework: Methods to Provide Faster Transaction Finality for Ethereum Users.” In his article, Buterin explores practical options Ethereum is exploring to expedite transaction confirmation times, with a focus on the concept of Single-Slot Finality (SSF) within the existing slot-and-epoch architecture.

Currently, Ethereum’s Gasper consensus mechanism operates on a slot-and-epoch framework, which is complex and results in long finality confirmation times (12.8 minutes). SSF, inspired by mechanisms like Tendermint, aims to achieve finality for blocks before the next block is generated, while maintaining the “inactivity leak” mechanism to ensure stable operation and resilience of the chain.

Fundraising

  • UniSat announced completion of a Pre-Series A round led by Binance in May. link
  • ZK technology verification company Pi Squared completed a $12.5 million seed round. link
  • Bitcoin rehypothecation protocol Lombard completed a $16 million seed round. link
  • Modular blockchain oracle provider RedStone completed a $15 million Series A round. link
  • Open-source AI platform Sentient completed an $85 million seed round. link
  • Distributed cloud computing company Prodia completed a $15 million seed round. link
  • Shared sorter network Astria announced completion of a $12.5 million strategic financing. link
  • Decentralized oracle network developer AnchorZero announced completion of an $8 million seed round. link
  • Web3 multi-chain MMORPG game Swords and Dungeons completed a $5 million financing. link
  • GPU tokenization protocol Compute Labs based on Solana completed a $3 million financing. link
  • Bitcoin scaling protocol QED Protocol announced completion of a $6 million seed round. link
  • Blockchain data management startup SendBlocks announced completion of an $8.2 million seed round. link
  • Blockchain company OpenLedger announced completion of an $8 million seed round. link
  • Web3 security firm Mamori announced raising $5 million in a seed round. link

Learn more, check out crypto-fundraising.info.

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