Issue #79

BlackRock BTC ETF hits $3B in AUM, Tether announce $2.9B in net profit for Q4 23, Congress propose to cancel SAB 121 & more...

Market Overview

As of the time of writing (Monday 5pm), the total market cap of the crypto asset market is $US1.71T, up (0.6%) from last week.

Below is the weekly performance of the top crypto assets. 

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News Headline Highlights

  • Bitcoin ETF update
    • In just 3 weeks, BlackRock's spot Bitcoin ETF hit $3 billion in assets, placing it in the top 10% of all ETFs by assets.
    • Spot bitcoin ETF race heats up as the Invesco/Galaxy ETF slashes its fee from 0.39% to 0.25%.
    • For the first time since launch, one of the new ETFs, BlackRock’s IBIT, passed Grayscales’s GBTC as the largest by volume.
    • BlackRock started projecting advertisements for their spot Bitcoin ETF, IBIT, on old bank buildings in major US cities, including Wall Street.
  • Tether, the largest issuer of USD stablecoins, recorded a record $2.9B in net profit for Q4 2023, according to its latest attestation report conducted by global auditing firm BDO. Net operating profit was ~$1B, primarily resulting from holdings of U.S. Treasuries, with the rest of the gains largely related to the appreciation in the value of Tether's bitcoin and gold reserves during the quarter. The profit increased Tether's excess reserves by $2.2 billion to a total of $5.4 billion.
  • FTX plans to repay customers and creditors in full, the company told the judge overseeing the insolvency case. Magnet Quick Take: the bankruptcy estate has valued customers claims from the date of shutdown in late 2022. This significantly undervalues the asset claims investors would have had should they have held crypto on the exchange. The estate valued claims when BTC was ~$18k and ETH was ~$1,200 (which are trading 240% and 190% higher currently).
  • The Hong Kong arm of Harvest Fund Management, a major Chinese asset manager, submitted an application for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to the local financial regulator. This is another event which continues to suggest Hong Kong appears to be ready to approve a batch of spot Bitcoin ETFs soon.
  • The Department of Justice charged three individuals, Robert Powell, Emily Hernandez and Carter Rohn, for stealing over $400 million from FTX in the days before the exchange’s demise, by coordinating a SIM-swapping attack. The individuals carried out SIM-swapping scams targeting multiple victims, from March 2021 through April 2023, according to the indictment submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

 Crypto Asset Project Updates

  • The Ethereum blockchain's biggest upgrade since early 2023, "Dencun" and its "proto-danksharding", went live on the second of three test networks, bringing the much-anticipated upgrade a step closer to reality (on mainnet). Proto-danksharding is designed to reduce the cost of transactions for layer-2 blockchains as well as make data availability cheaper.
  • Polygon Labs announced plans to lay off 19% of staff. CEO Marc Boiron shared on twitter "we are on a mission to fundamentally change the internet so that everyone in the world is empowered to equitably access its value. Building the infrastructure to make that happen is no easy feat … Regrettably, the team’s rapid growth in the last bull market diluted qualities that enable us to execute in this manner. We must return to those qualities."
  • A portion of the struggling crypto custodian Qredo has been placed into administration after its partial acquisition by 10T Holdings and 1RoundTable Partners, growth equity firms led by veteran investor Dan Tapiero. The acquisition comes after the two firms led Qredo's bridge financing round and reorganised the company late last year.

Regulation Station

The Weekly Deal Room

  • Cube, a hybrid crypto exchange, raised $12m in a Series A led by 6th Man Ventures.
  • Clusters, an omnichain naming service protocol, raised $9m in a Seed Round from Electric Capital, Arca, Variant and others.
  • Pixelmon, a web3 game company, raised $8m in a Seed Round from Animoca Ventures, Delphi Ventures, Amber Group and others.
  • Saltwater Games, a web3 gaming studio, raised $5.5m in a Seed Round co-led by Deus X, 4RC.
  • Squid, a secure cross-chain router that enables interoperability between blockchains and apps, raised $4m in a Strategic Round led by Polychain Capital.
  • Stride, a liquid staking service provider, raised $4m in a strategic round from 1Confirmation, Road Capital, Modular Capital and others.
  • Velar, a decentralised perpetual/futures exchange built on Bitcoin, raised $3.5m in a Seed Round from Bitcoin Startup Lab, CMS, Black Edge Capital and others.
  • Hivello, a streamlining access to decentralised physical infrastructure networks (DePIN), raised $2.5m in a Private Round from Blockchange Ventures, Cypher Capital Group and others. 
  • Ithaca Protocol, a composable options protocol, raised $2.5m in a pre-seed round co-led by Cumberland and Wintermute.
  • Navi Protocol, an All-in-one Lending, Borrowing, and Liquid-Staking Platform, raised $2m in a round co-led by OKX Ventures, Dao5 and Hashed.

Metric of the Week

 There are now over 1 million unique Bitcoin addresses that hold over 1 BTC.

Source: Look into Bitcoin

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