One stablecoin reports record profits but could threaten the crypto sector, Bitcoin ETFs can now advertise on Google, and how much money do pump-and-dump schemes actually make? These stories and more, this week in crypto.
Tether Threatens Cryptos
Tether’s stablecoin USDT, which has nearly $100 billion in circulation, achieved record-breaking profits of $6.2 billion in 2023. The success is shadowed by growing concerns from traditional financial players, as JPMorgan analysts criticized Tether as being a risk to the crypto sector, given its market dominance and lack of regulatory compliance and transparency.
Google Warms-up to Crypto
Google has updated its advertising policy, allowing ads featuring certain cryptocurrency financial products. The update aims to clarify guidelines for advertising “cryptocurrency coin trusts”, allowing third parties to promote US targeted financial products compliant with local laws. Companies like Vaneck and Blackrock are already taking advantage of this change by posting ads on Google.
Ripple Co-Founder’s Wallet Hacked
Hackers stole $112 million in XRP from Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen’s personal wallet. While Larsen swiftly detected and reported the unauthorized access, the stolen funds were already laundered through various platforms. However, on-chain data makes the actual ownership of the hacked wallet unclear, raising questions about its possible connection to Ripple.
Former Policymaker Joins Coinbase
Former government official George Osborne, who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom, has joined Coinbase as a global advisor. Coinbase’s advisory council already includes a former US Secretary of Defense and a former Senator, underscoring the growing influence of former policymakers in the crypto industry.
Record Breaking Bitcoin Seizure
German authorities have seized a record breaking 2 billion euros worth of bitcoin, investigating two men for alleged involvement in a piracy website in 2013, where the suspects purportedly purchased Bitcoins with the portal’s earnings. Meanwhile in the UK, London Metropolitan Police seized Bitcoin worth over 1.4 billion British pounds, during the trial of a woman accused of laundering funds for her former employer, implicated in a Chinese investment fraud.
FTX Abandons Attempts to Relaunch
FTX has abandoned plans to relaunch, opting for liquidation to repay customers after potential buyers were unwilling to invest in rebuilding. FTX’s focus now is on liquidating $7 billion in assets to repay claims. Meanwhile, Celsius Network has successfully emerged from bankruptcy after an 18 month process. Along with a $3 billion payout, a new publicly traded entity, Ionic Digital, will be established, to be owned by Celsius creditors.
US Bitcoin Mining Operations Surge
Bitcoin mining operations in the United States now consume as much electricity as the entire state of Utah. The U.S. Energy report estimates that mining represented an equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 3 to 6 million homes last year. The US has seen a surge in mining activity, with facilities concentrated in states like in Texas, Georgia, and New York.
Are Crypto Pump-And-Dumps Worth it?
A Chainalysis report highlights the high failure rate of illicit pump-and-dump schemes on the Ethereum DEX ecosystem. Of the more than 370,000 tokens introduced on Ethereum last year, 54% met criteria that would indicate potential market manipulation. Malicious entities gained $240 million through these schemes, but the average profit per token was just $2,600, constituting 1% of annual Ethereum DEX trading volume.
That’s what’s happened this week in crypto, see you next week.